Ghasemi was speaking at the gasworld MENA Industrial Gases Conference 2019 in Dubai (UAE), where he has been delivering the event’s official opening keynote.
More than 200 delegates from around the world, including strong local participation from the MENA region, had keenly anticipated the talk, and they were not left wanting.
Titled From The Cradle of Civilisation to Energising the World, Ghasemi’s presentation described how the Middle East region is the birthplace of civilisation as we know it.
He explained that it’s where up to 10,000 years ago humans first domesticated sheep and wheat and established farming communities in the Fertile Crescent; where 7,000-9,000 years ago the first slow-fired pottery was made and the potter’s wheel was invented; where 5,000 to 7,000 years agohumans first developed irrigation and flood control and made sailboats in Mesopotamia; and where 3,000 to 5,000 years ago humans started using modern ploughs in Mesopotamia, and beganmaking bread using yeast.
“This is where human civilisation, as we know it, began,” he said proudly.“It all happened here. The people of the Middle East should be proud of their past and aspire to reinvent their past glory. It can be done, it was done before, and it can be done again.”
This affirmed the sentiments of gasworld Publisher and CEO John Raquet when introducing Ghasemi, having said, “This region means more to Seifi than just business – it is part of his DNA.”
The focus did indeed move onto business, however, with Ghasemi keen to point out that the Middle East region has the greatest concentrations of hydrocarbons in the world, and abundant sunshine to be converted into clean electricity and hydrogen fuel. ”I am absolutely convinced that the fuel of the futue is hydrogen, and green hydrogen at tha,” he underlined.
Adding that the Middle East region boasts a very young, dynamic and talented population, and already has great wealth, Ghasemi emphasised that, “The Middle East has all of the ingredients required for this region to have great progress and prosperity. That is why we want to significantly expand our presence here.”
Air Products is already in the midst of growing its activities in the Middle East region.
Since Ghasemi became Chairman, President and CEO of Air Products in July 2014, the company has built the world’s largest industrial gas complex in Jazan, Saudi Arabia, and established a world-class technology centre in the Dhahran Techno-Valley.
Air Products is also in the final stages of negotiations to acquire, start-up and operate the world’s largest gasification facility from Saudi Aramco.
“We have already committed to invest more than $12bn in industrial gas projects in the region,” Ghasemi explained in his keynote.
“We see significant additional opportunities in this region. We are proud to be in this part of the world, and we are committed to perform and create value for our customers.”
“We are committed to the region for the long-term, these are not equipment or product sales and then we leave again – we are going to be here for a long time.”
Business Models Fit for Purpose
Held at the Hilton Dubai Al Habtoor City hotel complex in Dubai, the MENA Industrial Gases Conference 2019 is addressing the theme Business Models Fit for Purpose in the Middle East and North Africa over the course of its 2.5 days.
The event is exploring the challenges and opportunities facing the region as it moves forward into the next decade, through a series of pointed panel discussions and regional case studies.
It also includes an exhibition programme of 40+ key product, equipment and services innovators, and a range of invaluable networking and knowledge sharing opportunities. The conference is sponsored by Air Products (Gold Sponsor), Anova and Dohmeyer (Silver Sponsors), INOXCVA (Bronze Sponsor) and Brothers Gas (Lanyards Sponsor).
Follow the conference online
Stay up-to-date with all the latest news, views and developments at the MENA Industrial Gases Conference 2019 via the gasworld website, updated throughout the event.
gasworld will also tweet updates during the conference, which you can follow and interact with on Twitter using the hashtag #GWMENA19
A full review of the conference will be published in the January 2020 global edition of gasworld magazine.