Written on 3 February 2020
We interview with Victoria Chatterton, Director, Flame Conference. What were the common issues and topics Victoria saw in her research for this years event, and how will they be tackled at Flame 2014?
What was the most interesting trend you came across during your research for Flame?
I love doing my research for Flame- the trends of interest to the natural gas community are trends that are of interest to anyone concerned with energy security, geopolitical challenges and the future for energy policy (isn’t that all of us?!). It is such a fascinating area to be involved in! What I found most fascinating is that Europe is importing and using so much coal (due to cheaper export prices from the US) and this is challenging gas’s marketplace prominence. I was shocked to hear that our coal usage is going up in this day and age and with our level of environmental awareness! It will be interesting to see how this trend plays out and what the impact on emissions will be moving forward.
What will be the big industry themes under discussion at Flame this year?
So much will be discussed- it is really hard to pick! However interesting themes that have prominence this year are the future for the midstream market in Europe, the prospects for small scale LNG, the outlook for American shale gas, the prospects for investment in infrastructure given the current regulatory and economic constraints.
Who are some of the new speakers at Flame this year, and what new messages will they deliver?
We have some fresh perspectives this year! From outside the industry, Jim O’Neill, the former Chief Economist of Goldman Sachs will be joining us this year to discuss his MINT acronym and how developed markets need to be responding to new emerging economic power houses- he has been in the press a lot recently so it will be fantastic to hear him in person. From within the industry, for the first time, I am pleased to have leading geologist, Peter Styles of University Of Keele on site to explain to us which geological factors stand between Europe experiencing similar levels of success in shale gas exploration as the USA. John McGoldrick of Dart Energy will also be joining us for the first time to give the European shale gas production update.
What is new with Flame in 2014?
This year, the biggest new inclusion is the ‘in the board room’ working groups. These are designed in recognition of the fact that sometimes the most meaningful conversations happen off the stage. These sessions enable a group of up to 20 people to gather in a Chatham House Rules environment to discuss a topic that is most of interest to them. It is a free flowing discussion so it offers a nice break from presentations and gives people the chance to discuss their thoughts and meet like-minded people. Themes up for discussion include storage, market regulation, the USA, renewables, pricing, gas to power- check out the agenda for the full list.
What are you most looking forward to at Flame this year?
We have invigorated the Monday programme this year. The LNG Summit is taking place as normal of course but in addition, I am really excited to be launching a new Pricing Forum and also a Russian Gas forum. During my research, these themes came up so often (and they are of course also covered in the main conference) however, this is the first year I have been able to offer a full day to really go into depth on these topics. These forums should be fantastic for discussions and also enable so much more research and content to be presented on these key themes. I hope the delegation will be as excited as I am!
Tell us an unknown fact about your life outside of producing Europe’s largest natural gas conference?
Hmm-well, I can juggle- does that count? In fact, I used to teach juggling at high school! It is great fun and quite a good work out actually- maybe I should set up a lunchtime juggling club at Flame- burning calories and improving hand eye coordination in one go- who wouldn’t want to do that?!