The highlight of the IBC in 2017 was the 20th Annual General Meeting, which was held at the invitation of OMV Aktiengesellschaft on May 25-26, 2017, in Vienna, Austria. The gala event brought together more than 350 participants from 90 representative companies from 26 countries. Dr. Hans Jörg Schelling, Austrian Federal Minister of Finance, addressed the Congress delegates with a welcoming speech.
In his welcoming speech, Alexander B. Miller, President of the IBC and Chairman of the Management Committee of Gazprom, noted that the IBC is in fact becoming an international organization. Along with European companies and organizations, companies and banks from the Asia-Pacific region began to join the Congress: Petrovietnam, Mitsui & Co. Moscow, SREI Infrastructure Finance Limited, Mizuho Bank, Huawei Technologies Co Ltd, Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation, Mitsubishi and CNPC. The new scale of activity requires considering the specifics of individual regions, which will be represented in the association in the foreseeable future, as well as new approaches to business development focused on human values.
International conference "Natural gas as the fuel of the future" was held under the guidance of Mr. Manfred Leitner, Member of the Board of OMV Aktiengesellschaft. The conference was traditionally opened by the President of IBC, Dr. A. Miller. He noted that the use of natural gas meets the main criteria of modern development and is the most environmentally friendly form of energy. Mr. M. Leitner spoke in his report about the importance of Russian gas supplies for the European market. Mr. K. Schäfer, Chairman of the Management Board of Uniper SE, devoted his speech to the topic "Natural Gas in a Low-Carbon World". Dr. O. Lazar, President of Shell Russia, spoke about the prospects of natural gas and Russia. Mr. M. Mehren, Chairman of the Management Board of Wintershall Holding GmbH, stressed in his speech that the use of natural gas facilitated the transition to new energy sources. In conclusion Mr. K. Blum, Executive Vice-President of "Schneider Electric Industries" SAS made a presentation "Smart Gas and Smart Future", where he described the transition of the gas industry to a new level of "smart" technologies.
The gala dinner was held in the Parade Hall of Vienna City Hall, one of the most beautiful places in Vienna.
In 2017, the IBC Presidium approved a new work project "Methane and its Impact on Climate Change" presented by the Industry, Innovation and Prospective Development Working Committee. The project included a scientific study analyzing the role of methane in climate change, which resulted in the publication of a book.
In 2017, there was a change in the leadership of the Ecology and Healthcare Working Committee. Dr. Nebojsa Jankovic, Head of the Comita Group of Companies for Russia and the CIS, was selected as the new Chair following the retirement of Ms. Stella Blagova, Head of Environment and Sustainability at Overgas Inc.
Margarita Hoffmann, Senior Vice President of Wintershall Dea AG, was elected as a new member of the IBC Board in 2017. Ms. Hoffmann is still a member of the IBC Board of Executive Directors.