History of the International Business Congress
In 2022, the International Business Congress (IBC) celebrates its 25th anniversary. During its twenty-five-year history, the IBC has been consistently developing effective mechanisms to secure interaction between representatives of business communities around the world. At present, eight Working Committees of the Congress work successfully on a permanent basis. They bring together a total of more than 100 companies and organizations. The International Business Congress has proven its resilience in difficult economic conditions and continues its activities, providing a platform for business meetings and open discussions. We would like to recall all the milestones of the IBC history.
2021: New Opportunities in the Work of the IBC
Despite the further spread of the pandemic, the International Business Congress continued its work in 2021. For the first time in the history of the Congress, the 24th Annual General Meeting was held in a hybrid format. The IBC members and guests had the opportunity to participate in the events of the forum in person in studios in St. Petersburg and Singapore, as well as online in real time.
More than 500 IBC members and invited guests participated in the in-person and on-line formats at the meetings of the IBC Working Committees, the Plenary Session and the International Conference on "Challenges and Opportunities of Growing Energy Markets in Asia" held from September 14 to September 17.
In his welcoming address to the participants of the 24th IBC Annual General Meeting, Dr. A. Miller, Chairman of the Management Committee of Gazprom and the IBC President, noted that despite the ongoing pandemic, the Congress had once again attracted a large and professional audience from 25 countries.
The vivid discussions during the Working Committees’ meetings focused on current trends in the global economy in the pandemic era, digitalization issues, and climate goals of the IBC member-companies.
The General Meeting elected Dr. B. Frei, Member of the Executive Committee and Executive Vice President, Industrial Automation, Schneider Electric Industries SAS as successor of Mr. L. Mukhamedov, Schneider Electric Industries SAS. Ms. Frei became a new Chaorlady of the “Information and Communication” Working Committee.
After the Plenary Session the AGM participants took part in the International Conference on "Challenges and Opportunities of Energy Markets in Asia". The conference was moderated by Dr. A. Medvedev, Advisor to the General Director of Gazprom Export LLC in the studio in St. Petersburg and Mr. S. V. Eddrenkine, General Manager, Gazprom Marketing and Trading Singapore Pte. Ltd. In the studio in Singapore.
The presentations at the conference were made by Dr. A. Miller, Chairman of the Management Committee, Gazprom; Prof. K-D. Maubach, Chief Executive Officer, Uniper SE; Mr. G. Kunihiro, President, Diamond Gas International Pte. Ltd.; Dr. B. Frei, Member of the Executive Committee, Executive Vice President, Industrial Automation, Schneider Electric Industries SAS; Mr. Lee Pak Sing, Assistant Chief Executive Officer, Enterprise Singapore and Mr. Dato Mohammad Medan bin Abdullah, Group Chief Executive Officer, Bintulu Port Holdings Berhad.
The year 2021 was wrapped up by the joint meeting of the IBC Working Committees: “Information and Communications” and “Industry, Innovation and Prospective Development” and the meeting of the "Ecology and Healthcare” Working Committee held in a hybrid format in December in Dubai, UAE.
2020 – IBC in the new reality
The year 2020 was a breaking point in the development of the global community. The measures to combat the spread of the corona virus and the restrictions it has caused have forced us all to rethink the importance of face-to-face meetings and the need for open dialogue in all areas of activities.
In accordance with the decision of the IBC President and the Board of Executive Directors, the 23rd Annual General Meeting of the Congress was held remotely. The remote format of the Annual General Meeting provided a written voting by members of Congress on all procedural matters.
In the second half of the year, the two IBC Working Committees organized their first meetings via videoconference. On July 8, 2020, the first ever online meeting in the history of the Congress was held by the "Information and Communications" Working Committee on "O&G Digitalization within New Reality: Conceptions, Drivers, Barriers and Points of Economic Growth" supported by SAP CIS. The event was moderated by Ms. Alexandra Suvorova, economic news anchor of Russia 24 TV channel. The online meeting of the “Human Resources” Committee held on September 25, 2020 was attended by 72 people from 32 companies. The participants discussed the "Effective staff performance during the remote work period. International Experience" addressing the current developments and challenges faced by all IBC member -companies. The further realization of the IBC project: "Youth Day: Energy Challenge" in online format was also presented during the meeting.
The meeting of the "Energy” Working Committee held on December 2, 2020, focused on the "Decarbonization of Natural Gas and Hydrogen Economy in Germany and Europe?". The online session was attended by 60 guests from more than 10 countries. The meeting participants addressed the current development of hydrogen as energy source.
Even though the work of the IBC did not stop despite the imposed restrictions due to the further spread of the coronavirus, the IBC members expressed their willingness to come back to face-to-face meeting next year.
2019: 22nd Annual General Meeting of the IBC in Bonn, Germany
Twenty-two years after the founding conference in 1997, the city of Bonn welcomed the IBC again in spring 2019. The representatives of the 88 member-companies of the Congress attended the 22nd Annual General Meeting. At the opening ceremony, Mr. Sigmar Gabriel, guest of honor and a former German Foreign Minister and former Vice Chancellor, welcomed guests and participants of the forum. The largest event of the Congress have been sponsored by Linde Group, Uniper CE and Wintreshal Dea GmbH.
Mr. Ch. Bruch, Member of the Board of Linde Group; Mr. M. Mehren, Chairman of the Board of Wintershall Dea GmbH; Mr. K. Martin, Member of the Board of Uniper SE; Mr. H. Fennema, Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of the Board of N.V Nederlandse Gasunie.; Mr. Jiao Fangzheng, CNPC Vice President; and Mr. T. Kehler, managing director of Zukunft Erdgas have been invited as speakers at the international conference “Natural Gas – Paving the Way to Ecological Economy”.
In 2019, there was an active change in the governing positions in the Congress. Due to the resignation of Dr. Klaus Schaefer, Uniper CE, from the position of Vice President of the IBC, the General Meeting elected Dr. Rainer Seele, OMV Aktiengesellschaft as his successor. The decision of the IBC Presidium to create a new position of the Chairman of the IBC Board and to elect Dr. Alexander Medvedev, Gazprom Export LLC, to hold this position was also approved. Mr. Udo Voelker announced his resignation from the position of the Coordinator of the Board of the IBC. Mr. Andreas Boeldt, Head of the OMV AG Representative Office in Russia, was elected as his successor. Dr. Andrey Kruglov handed over the post of the Chairman of the "Law, Banking and Finance" Working Committee to Dr. Famil Sadygov, Gazprom. Mr. Leonid Mukhamedov, Schneider Electric Industries SAS became the new Chairman of the “Information and Communication” Working Committee. It was also announced that the name of the IBC Working Committee "Human Resources, Education and Science" was changed to "Human Resources".
2018: First Annual General Meeting of the IBC in the Asia-Pacific Region
In 2018 the International Business Congress held its first Annual General Meeting in the Asia-Pacific region. Over 270 IBC members came to the capital of India - New Delhi to participate in the 21st Annual General Meeting of the Congress at the invitation of the IBC member company - SREI Infrastructure Finance Limited. Mr. Suresh Prabhakar Prabhu, Minister of Commerce, Industry and Aviation of India, and Mr. Amitabh Kant, Head of the National Institution for Transforming India Aayog, were the distinguished guests attended the forum.
The topic of the International Conference was dedicated to "Natural Gas a Clean Fuels for India and the World". The presentations were made by Mr. H. Kanoria, Chairman of the Board and Managing Director of SREI Infrastructure Finance Limited; Mr. K. Schaefer, Chairman of the Board of Uniper SE; Mr. T. Jinghui, Vice President of PetroChina Company Ltd. and Mr. T. Wieland, Member of the Board of Wintershall Holding GmbH. The conference was moderated by Dr. Dietrich Moeller, President of Siemens AG in Russia.
During the gala dinner, the guests enjoyed a vibrant cultural program and high traditional Indian cuisine.
In 2018 the IBC launched two new social projects: "Oil and Gas Projects: A Glance into the Future" and "MedSupport". The implementation of both projects is currently underway.
The project of the Working Committee "Modern Technologies and Perspective Oil and Gas Industry Projects" - "Oil and Gas Projects: A Glance into the Future" is aimed at finding and promoting advanced technologies and innovative developments for further development of the oil and gas complex.
The project "MedSupport" implemented by the “Ecology and Healthcare” Working Committee provides financial assistance to finance the medical rehabilitation to children diagnosed with cerebral palsy.
Due to the retirement of Dr. N. Doniy, who headed the IBC Secretariat from 2002 to 2017 Ms. Irina Inzhevatova – a former Secretary of the "Business Security" and "Human Resources, Education and Science" Working Committees was appointed to this post. Since 2000 Ms. Inzhevatova has been actively participating in the life of the Congress and its activities.
2017: 20th Anniversary Annual General Meeting of the IBC
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.
2016: First Annual General Meeting of the IBC in the international format
In 2016, the 19th Annual General Meeting of the IBC was held. For the first time, the meeting was held in an international format. The event was attended by 96 companies from 27 countries, including representatives of companies from China, Bolivia, and Vietnam.
The forum was held with the support of the Senior sponsoring member, Gazprom, in the famous Tavrichesky Palace in St. Petersburg on May 26-27, 2016. The opening ceremony was attended by Mr. G. Poltavchenko, Governor of St. Petersburg.
On the first day of the forum there was a grand opening of the auto rally "Blue Corridor - 2016: Amber Route", which was organized in the framework of the IBC project "LNG in transport in Eastern Europe". The rally took place from May 26 to June 10, 2016, around the Baltic Sea through the territory of Russia, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Germany, Denmark, Sweden and Finland. As part of the rally, roundtables on "Using LNG as Fuel for Ship Bunkering" were held in the cities of Tallinn, Gdansk, Rostock, Copenhagen, Stockholm and Turku. Sergey Kogogin, General Director of Kamaz and Mr. Fernando Dario Salinas Fernandez, Director of the Executive Body for NGV Fuel under the Ministry of Hydrocarbons and Energy of Bolivia took part in the opening ceremony of the motor rally.
The international conference entitled "Cooperation in the Energy Sector as a Stabilizing Factor for the Global Economy" was chaired by Alexander Medvedev, Deputy Chairman of the Management Committee of Gazprom. The conference was opened by Dr. A. Miller, Chairman of the Management Committee of Gazprom and President of the IBC. He briefly outlined the current situation in the global energy sector and stressed the importance of cooperation in this area. Mr. Paul Corcoran, CFO of the Nord Stream 2 AG, Mr. K. Schaefer, Chairman of the Management Board of Uniper SE, Mr. K. Blum, Executive Vice President of Schneider Electric Industries SAS, Mr. Aiden Wu, Director General of Huawei Russia spoke during the conference.
In 2016, IBC launched the social project "Youth Day: Dialogue of Generations", which is currently continuing to develop successfully. The project was presented by the Working Committee "Human Resources". "Youth Day: Dialogue of Generations" is an informational and educational platform for transferring current knowledge about the energy business, its purpose is to unite representatives of major energy companies and the youth audience of leading universities in different countries to organize a direct dialogue and discuss the prospects of the gas industry.
An important event in 2016 was the establishment of the Eighth Working Committee "Modern Technologies and Promising Projects of the Oil and Gas Industry" chaired by Dr. V. Markelov, Member of the Board of Directors, Deputy Chairman of the Management Committee of Gazprom. The task of the new Working Committee is to identify priority technologies and develop advanced approaches to uniquely complex and significant projects.
2015: Expanding the scope of the EBC
The historic 18th Annual General Meeting of the EBC was held in the Serbian capital, Belgrade, on May 28-29, 2015, at the invitation of Srbijagas.
In 2015, the authorized representatives of the member-companies of the European Business Congress decided to expand the scope of the organization. During the Plenary session the EBC members amended the Articles of the Association and agreed on its new name.
The European Business Congress was renamed into the International Business Congress (IBC), a new logo of the association was also approved.
The goals of the IBC were defined as: assistance in the development of the interstate and international economic cooperation, including in the OSCE member countries; international promotion of economic development, including in the OSCE member countries.
Membership in the IBC is open to all enterprises regardless of their location and industry, as well as unions and organizations representing the interests of enterprises.
In his speech, the President of the IBC Dr. A. Miller noted that the expansion of the scope of the Congress will promote the development of relations between the European and Asia-Pacific business communities.
Mr. Aleksandar Antic, Minister of Energy and Mining of Serbia, addressed the delegates of the 18th EBC Annual General Meeting with a welcoming speech.
At the International Conference the attendees discussed “Europe’s Energy Sector: Future Structure and Place in the Global Market”. The conference was moderated by Mr. Marcel Kramer, Senior Advisor to the Management Committee of Gazprom.
Speaches at the conference have been delivered by Dr. A. Miller, Chairman of the Management Committee of Gazprom, Mr. Jaroslav Lissovolik, Member of the Management Board of Deutsche Bank AG, Mr. Dusan Bajatovic, President of Srbijagas. The speakers assessed the current situation in the global energy market, presented the main energy development trends in South-Eastern Europe, and analyzed the macroeconomic factors affecting the energy security of Europe.
In 2015, the IBC launched “Save the City” computer game, initiated by the “Ecology and Healthcare” Working Committee to present benefits of natural gas. After the presentation of the game, various universities and schools have expressed the wish to present it to their students and pupils.
2014: 17th Annual General Meeting of the IBC in Athens, Greece
The 17th IBC Annual General Meeting was dedicated to “Gas motor fuel for European environment” and was held at the invitation of the Greek company Prometheus Gas on 29-30 May 2014 in Athens, Greece.
The forum was attended by Mr. Yannis Maniatis, Minister of Environment, Energy and Climate Change of the Government of Greece and Mr. Spyros Palaiogiannis, Managing Director of the Public Gas Corporation.
The speakers for the International Conference was arranged so that the audience could familiarize themselves with the positions of the heads of the leading European energy companies and influential international structures on this topic.
The following energy company executives addressed the focal topic: Dr. A. Miller, Chairman of the Management Commity of Gazprom; Mr. Wim Groenendijk, Vice President International affairs and regulations of N.V. Nederlandse Gasunie; Mr. Christopher Delbrueck, Chairman of the Management Board of E.ON Global Commodities SE; Mr. V. Krupenkov, Director General, Gazprom Germania; Mr. Matthias Maedge, Director for EU affairs at NGVA Europe.
In his address at the 17th Annual General Meeting of the EBC, Dr. A. Miller emphasized the growing demand for gas in the Asia-Pacific region and highlighted the current situation with Russian gas supplies on a global scale. Speeches on NGVs and the environment emphasized the important role of gas in Europe’s energy mix, the potential of LNG to make transport more environmentally friendly, the prospects for NGV promotion and the European transport policy development. The delegates of the 17th AGM watched a video on the prospects for NGVs use in transportation.
A unique performance of folklore groups, professional singers and dancers from Greece and neighboring Southern European countries has been a part of the cultural program at the gala dinner for the AGM participants.
In 2014, the EBC launched three new projects. A comprehensive research work on white storks monitoring and inventory in Armenia, Bulgaria, Russia, Slovenia, and Czech Republic was carried out in the framework of the “White Stork” project, executed by the “Ecology and Healthcare” Working Committee (2014 – 2016). In total 89 artificial nesting platforms have been built. Moreover, the project executers launched an extensive information campaign aimed at further development of environmental protection measures.
In the framework of the “Parental School System” project, initiated by the “Information and Communication” Working Committee, a system for school safety and the improved information support had been provided at the “Vuk Karadzic” school in Serbia.
The “Assessment of integral environmental and economic effects associated with the South Stream project for European countries”, initiated by the “Industry and Construction” Working Committee was stopped due to the suspension of the South Stream project in 2014.
2013: 16th Annual General Meeting of the EBC in Amsterdam, the Netherlands
The 16th Annual General Meeting of the EBC (now IBC) was held on 30-31 May 2013 in Amsterdam, the Netherlands at the invitation of the Nederlandse Gasunie and Royal Boskalis Westminster. The event was co-sponsored by Shell, ING Bank and South Stream Transport.
The event brought together over 370 delegates and guests from 25 OSCE member-states and was dedicated to “Development of LNG and its Impact on the European Gas Markets”. Mr. Jos de Groot, Director of Energy Markets, Ministry of Economy of the Netherlands, took part in the opening ceremony.
The conference was moderated by Mr. Lincoln Payton, Executive Committee member, BNP Paribas, and Mrs. Tatiana Mitrova, head of Oil and Gas Department at the Energy Research Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences.
Dr. A. B. Miller, Gazprom, Mr. P. van Gelder, Nederlandse Gasunie, Mr. K. Schaefer, E.ON Global Commodities SE, Mr. P. Berdowski, Royal Boskalis Westminster, Dr. O. Lazare, Shell Russia were among the panel speakers.
In 2013 the EBC launched three projects. As part of the project “Secrets of Natural Gas for Schoolchildren” the Congress had issued a book about the properties of the natural gas in English and German. Another project – “Environmental Consequences of Shale Gas Production in Europe” was executed in the form of a comprehensive scientific analysis of shale gas production technologies in the U.S. and Canada to assess possible impact of large-scale development of shale gas fields on environment and population in Europe. Both projects were implemented by the “Industry and Construction” Working Committee (now “Industry, Innovation and Prospective Development”) and fully paid in 2014.
The “Ecology and Healthcare” Committee launched the “Bicycle – Ecology and Health” project to booster the environmental thinking and promote bicycles as universal eco-friendly means of transportation. In total 100 bicycles and numerous bike stands have been produced and installed in Bulgaria, Serbia, the Czech Republic and Russia. Furthermore, the project executives organized a bike-marathon and held a conference to promote the benefits of cycling for environment and human health . The project was implemented in March 2015.
Launch of the new IBC social project: "Scholarship Program“
2012 was marked in the IBC history by the launch of the new social project – the Scholarship Program. The project supervised by the Law, Banking and Finance Working Committee was designed to support promising students with disabilities and from low-income families. Between 2012 and 2021 in total 213 students continued their studies thanks to the IBC financial support.
The 15th Annual General Meeting, held on May 31 in Portoroz – one of the most picturesque places on the Adriatic coast of Slovenia, was devoted to the topic of “Energy security and new opportunities for natural gas”.
The event was hosted by Comita d.d., a Slovenian company, and co-sponsored by IFC Metropol, Bank Renaissance Capital, Sakhalin Energy, Gazprombank and Srbijagas.
The Minister of Infrastructure and Spatial Planning Mr. Zvonko Černič and the Head of the Representation of the European Commission in Slovenia Mrs. Nataša Goršhek-Mencin took part in the opening ceremony of the Plenary session.
The International Conference on “Energy Security and New Opportunities for Natural Gas” was chaired by Mr. Lincoln Payton, Member of the Executive Committee of BNP Paribas. The conference was opened by Dr. A.B. Miller, IBC President, Chairman of the Management Committee of Gazprom. In his speech he analyzed current trends in the global gas sector development and presented his vision of the new opportunities for natural gas. Ms. T. Mitrova, Head of the Energy Center “Global Energy” at the “Skolkovo” Moscow School of Management and Mr. F. Beckenbauer, Honorary President of FC Bayern Munich participated in the conference Along with the heads of the leading energy companies.
One of the important decisions made at the Presiding Committee meeting in Portoroz was to transfer the chairmanship of the “Human Resources, Education and Science” Working Committee (from 2019 “Human Resources” Working Committee) from Mr. J. Moepert, President of Wintershall Holding GmbH, who chaired the committee from 2007 to 2012, to one of the co-chairs – Dr. E.B. Kasyan, Head of Human Resources Management Department, Gazprom. Dr. Kasyan holds the position to this day. The Committee is co-chaired by Mrs. Petra Angstmann, Vice President of Wintershall Dea AG, and Mr. Marcel Kramer, President of the Energy Delta Institute.
2011: Opening ceremony of the Prague – Leipzig– Wolfsburg – Berlin – Greifswald car rally
The major event of the European Business Congress in 2011 was the 14th Annual General Meeting held on 2-3 June in one of the most beautiful capitals of Europe – Prague (Czech Republic). It was hosted by the Czech company Vemex and supported by the Royal Bank of Scotland and Moravské naftové doly, a major Czech energy company. More than 300 delegates from 23 OSCE member-states attended the forum. The First Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade of the Czech Republic, Mr. Tomáš Huener, gave a welcoming speech at the Plenary Session of the 14th Annual General Meeting.
На Общем собрании делегаты поздравили Председателя Правления ОАО «Газпром» д-ра А. Б. Миллера с 10-летием его руководства Конгрессом.
After 11 years of service, the EBC Vice President, Dr. von Heidebreck, announced his resignation. Mr. Juergen Fitzchen, member of the Board of Deutsche Bank AG, was elected as his successor.
The International Conference on “Ecological Challenges and the Energy Sector” was moderated by Mr. Marcel Kramer, CEO of South Stream, and Mr. Lincoln Payton, Member of Executive Committee, BNP Paribas. Presentations were made by Dr. Alexey Miller, Chairman of the Management Committee of Gazprom, Mr. Klaus Schaefer, Chairman of the Executive Board of E.ON Ruhrgas AG, Mr. Michael Borell, Senior Vice President, Continental Europe and Central Asia, Total S.A., Dr. Rajapillai Achillan, Managing Director for Advanced Engineering Consulting, GL Noble Denton, Mr. Ali Majid, Vice President Commercial, Statoil ASA Russia, Mr. Charles Watson, Executive Vice President for Russia and Caspian of Shell Group and Ms. Stella Blagova, Head of Ecology and Sustainable Development Department, Overgas Inc. The conference participants assessed current environmental situation in the energy sector and identified effective approaches to ensure the ecological balance in the energy industry.
Later that day the AGM participants attended the opening ceremony of the international gas-powered car rally following the route from Prague to Leipzig, Wolfsburg, Berlin and finishing in Greifswald. The purpose of the rally was to demonstrate the potential of the compressed natural gas as the cleanest and most efficient fuel for transport.
Later this day the AGM participants attended the opening ceremony of the international gas-powered car rally following the route from Prague to Leipzig, Wolfsburg, Berlin and finishing in Greifswald. The purpose of the rally was to demonstrate the potential of the compressed natural gas as the cleanest and most efficient fuel for transport.
In 2011 the EBC launched the new working project “Leo Tolstoy European School in Berlin”. The project has been successfully developing for over than 11 years now, contributing to the quality improvement and the raise of attractiveness of the bilingual school education.
2010: 13th Annual General Meeting of the EBC in Cannes, France
The 13th Annual General Meeting of the EBC (IBC) was held on 10-11 June 2010 in Cannes, France. The AGM was hosted by the EBC member-company Total SA (France) and supported by the EBC members Crédit Agricole and Société Général. The representative of the hosting company Mr. Yves-Louis Darricarrére, President of Exploration and Production, Total S.A, welcomed the participants at the opening ceremony.
The afternoon conference was dedicated to: “Natural Gas – Energy of the 21st Century” and was moderated by Mr. Marcel Kramer, Chairman of the Executive Board and CEO, N.V. Nederlandse Gasunie. Many distinguished speakers participated in the conference: Professor Rob de Wijk, Director of the Hague Centre for Strategic Studies, Dr. Jochen Weise, Member of the Executive Board of E.ON Ruhrgas AG, Dr. Rainer Seele, Chairman of the Executive Board of Directors, Wintershall Holding GmbH, Mr. Richard Guerrant, President of ExxonMobil Gas Marketing Europe, Mr. Jean-Marie Dauger, Executive Vice President, Gaz de France SUEZ, Mr. Bengt Lie Hansen, President of Statoil Russia, Mr. Arnaud Breuillac, Senior Vice President for Continental Europe – Central Asia, Total S.A.The exchange of views of the parties on the focal topic of the General meeting helped to analyze possible systemic transformations in the global geopolitical and economic situation expected in the coming decades, as well as to find balanced approaches for the natural gas prospects assessment in the global energy mix.
In 2010 two joint social projects have been launched by “Industry and Construction” and “Ecology and Healthcare” Working Committees: “Natural gas stations in Europe” to develop necessary tools for legal, fiscal, marketing, technical and other necessary conditions for natural gas stations construction and maintenance in European countries and “Technological catalogue” (digital and print versions) to analyze and distribute information about brand-new technologies in energy sector for industrial and private needs. The “Natural gas stations in Europe” project was fully implemented in 2012. Upon the completion of the “Technological catalog” project in 2011 printed and digital versions have been approved by the EBC Board and distributed among the members of the Congress.
12th Annual General Meeting of the EBC
“Energy sector and turmoil on financial markets: implications for investments and supply/demand balance” was the focal topic of the 12th Annual General Meeting of the EBC (now IBC). Over 250 delegates attended the forum held on 10-11 June 2009 at the invitation of the EBC senior sponsoring member, Eni in Porto Cervo, Sardinia.
Keynote speakers participated in the conference: Dr. Alexey Miller, Chairman of the Gazprom Management Committee and EBC President, Mr. Andrew Gould, CEO and Chairman of the Board, Schlumberger, Mr Marcel Kramer, CEO of Nederlandse Gasunie, Dr. Andrey Kruglov, Deputy Chairman of the Gazprom Management Committee, Mr. Uwe Fip, Senior Vice President of E. ON Ruhrgas AG, Mr. Marco Alvera, Senior Vice President, Eni, Mr. Stewart Snow, President, ConocoPhillips Russia Inc., Mr. Mohammed Zaki, Vice President Russia, Total, Dr. Leonid Grigoriev, Director of Institute of Energy and Finance, Moscow. The session was moderated by Mr. Sead Vilogorac, Senior Economic Affairs Officer of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe. Conference participants discussed the impact of the financial crisis on the oil and gas sector, trends in technological development, sources of funding and development prospects of natural gas and oil markets.
д-р Леонид Григорьев, Президент Института Энергетики и финансов г. Москва. Модерировал заседание г-н Сеад Вилогорак, Старший представитель по экономическим вопросам Европейской экономической комиссии ООН. Участники конференции обсудили влияние финансового кризиса на нефтегазовый сектор, тенденции технологического развития, источники финансирования и перспективы развития рынка природного газа и нефти.
In 2009, the Congress launched a new pilot project initiated by the “Industry and Construction” and “Ecology and Healthcare” Working Committees. The aim of the project was to study and evaluate energy saving and renewable energy measures in Yambol town to further reduce costs in the production, distribution and consumption of energy in the city. The project was fully implemented in 2010.
2008: 11th Annual General Meeting of the EBC in Deauville, France
On 10-11 June 2008 the European Business Congress e.V. hold its 11th Annual General Meeting (AGM) in Deauville, France at the invitation of Gaz de France and Schlumberger. The General meeting was held under the chairmanship of Dr. Alexey Miller, Chairman of Gazprom Management Committee and the EBC President. The General meeting was attended by more than 300 participants representing 21 OSCE member-states.
Mr. Jean-Marie Dauger, CEO, Gaz de France, and Mr. Pierre-Alain Duplais, Vice mayor of Deauville, welcomed the AGM participants at the opening ceremony.
At the international conference held in the framework of the General meeting and dedicated to “Globalization of the energy markets” following high-ranking officials gave their presentations: Mr. J-M. Dauger, CEO of Gaz de France, Dr. L. Grigoriev, President of Energy and Finance Institute, Russia, Mr. B. Lie Hansen, President, StatoilHydro ASA, Norway, Dr. A. Landia, Chairman of the Board of Directors, SUEK, Russia, Mr. S. Vilogorac, Senior Economic Affairs Officer, UN Economic Commission for Europe, Mrs. D. Patry, Co-ordinator of Oil and Oil Services Sector, Credit Agricole Cheuvreux S.A., France, Mr. S. Tsygankov, Head of International Business Department, Gazprom and Mr. M. Bachman, Vice President Russia, Caspian and SE Europe, Shell Energy Europe, Russia.
The speakers noted the growth in oil and gas demand, the impact of the financial crisis on the energy sector development, the increased competition to access the energy sources in the world, and the development and construction of the new energy projects. Within the framework of the General Meeting Dr. A.B. Miller held a press briefing.
A new working project of the Congress have been approved at the Presiding Committee winter session held on 10 December 2008 . The EBC – Lower Saxony state (Germany) joint project “Transfer of Western energy efficiency technologies” was launched to analyze and transfer Western energy efficiency technologies to Eastern Europe by developing a catalog of export-oriented Western technologies for industrial and private use. The project’s implementation (2008-2011) was supervised by the “Industry and Construction” and “Ecology and Healthcare” Working Committees.
In the same year the “Human Resources, Education and Science” Working Committee launched the “Fellowship on Energy” project – a three-module practical management skills training program for young promising employees from the EBC member-companies necessary for the implementation of the joint international projects in the energy sector.
At the meeting, Mr. Bogdan Budzulyak announced his resignation from the post of the Chairman of the “Industry and Construction” Working Committee due to his job transfer. On behalf of the Presiding Committee members the EBC President thanked Mr. Budzulyak for numerous years of his fruitful work at the Congress. Dr. Oleg Aksyutin, member of the Management Board, Head of the Department of Transportation, Underground Storage and Use of Gas of Gazprom, was elected as his successor. Dr. Aksyutin continues to successfully lead the work of the Committee up to this day. (In 2016 the Committee was renamed as “Industry, Innovations and Prospective Development” ).
2007: 10th anniversary of the European Business Congress
In 2007, the EBC celebrated its 10th anniversary.
The anniversary celebration took place in June in Berlin, Germany. More than 300 delegates attended the international conference on “Global Challenges: Climate Change and Energy Supply”. The EBC President A.B. Miller chaired the 10th Anniversary General Meeting and was greeted by Dr. Joachim Wuermeling, Deputy Minister for Economics and Technology of the Federal Republic of Germany and Dr. Harald Wolf, Mayor of Berlin.
It was noted that during the past decade, passed since the founding of the Congress, serious changes took place in numerous countries, establishing a new format of the international market relations. Over the years the European Business Congress had been constantly looking for additional opportunities to further develop good relations between the Eastern and Western business communities, it contributed positively to the process of creating common cooperation standards as much as it could.
Ten EBC member-companies have jointly supported the organization of the 10th Annual General Meeting: Wintershall Holding AG, Daimler Chrysler AG, Deutsche Bank AG, Dresdner Bank AG, E. OH Ruhrgas AG, Max Streicher GmbH & Co KG AA, MAN Ferrostahl AG, Roche Diagnostics GmbH, Siemens AG, White & Case LLP.
The evening reception for participants and guests of the 10th AGM was held in the Charlottenburg Palace, one of the Germany’s most beautiful palaces.
In 2007 a new EBC Working Committee “Personnel, Education and Science” was established at the initiative of Wintershall Holding AG, Gazprom and Nederlandse Gasunie N.V.. Mr. J. Moepert, Wintershall Holding AG was appointed as it first Chairperson. The work of the Committee was co-chaired by Mrs. E. Kasyan (Gazprom) and Mr. E. Dam (Nederlandse Gasunie N.V.).
In 2007 due to a resignation of Mr. S. Ushakov, Dr. S. Khomyakov, Deputy Chairman of the Management Committee, General Director of Corporate Protection Service of Gazprom was elected as Chairman of the “Business Security” Working Committee and a new member of the EBC Presidium. Dr. S. Khomyakov has been successfully leading the Committee to date.
In October that year the EBC Board adopted a proposal by the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe to implement the joint project “Balanced Energy Policy to Reduce Energy Security Risks”. The goal of the project was to maintain a multilateral dialogue on risk assessment, the impact of a balanced energy policy on energy security, and the contribution to international energy cooperation. The project was fully implemented by 2010.
2006: The year of the intensive growth of the EBC
2006 is marked in the history of the EBC as the year of its intensive growth. Between December 2005 and December 2006, 22 new companies joined the organization, increasing its membership base to 100 companies. Among the companies that joined the EBC that year were Shell, Schlumberger, Niederlandse Gasunie N.V., Roche Diagnostics and NIIgazekonomika – these companies remained active members of the Congress until now.
The 9th Annual General Meeting of the EBC, dedicated to “Development of the European Energy Sector. Prospective 2020 Scenarios”, held on June 15, 2006 in Portoroz, Slovenia, was one of the most successful in the history of the EBC. More than 300 delegates took part in the forum, which was organized with the support of Comita d.d. and Gazprom Export.
The Slovenian Prime Minister Mr. Janez Janza gave a working breakfast in honor of the EBC President Dr. A. Miller, discussing most important issues of the European cooperation in the energy sector. The Slovenian Minister of Economy, Mr. Andrej Vizjak and the Vice Mayor of Piran and Portoroz, Mr. Drago Zjeral took part in the Presiding Committee meeting and in the Plenary session of the General Meeting. Presentations at the afternoon conference were made by the executives of the companies: Accenture and Holding Slovenske Elektrarne, Wintershall Holding AG, Gaz de France, Gazprom, E.ON Ruhrgas, Shell, and Exxon Mobil.
In 2006, the EBC and the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) launched the first joint project – Energy Efficiency 21 – to help countries in Southeast and Eastern Europe, the Caucasus and Central Asia to improve their energy efficiency, reduce transition-related energy poverty and meet their environmental obligations set by the UNECE. Four EBC Working Committees worked together to implement this project: “Law, Banking, Finance”, “Industry and Construction”, “Ecology and Healthcare” and “Energy”. The project was successfully implemented in 2010.
As part of the Energy Efficiency 21 (EE21) project of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE), the European Business Congress (EBC) together with the United Nations Foundation (UNF) co-financed “Financing Energy Efficiency Investments for Climate Change Mitigation”. The EBC financed a “Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions through Inter-fuel Substitution in the Russian Federation” study.
The goal was to analyze current legislation on the efficient use of fuel and energy resources in the municipal sector and its impact on the formation of the investment climate. As a result a study was published analyzing “Prospects and optimal options for investing in inter-fuel substitution in the Siberian Federal District of the Russian Federation”.
8th Annual General Meeting of the EBC
In 2005, 84 companies from 20 European countries were members of the European Business Congress. Leading European political leaders often participated in the EBC events. Thus, during the 8th EBC Annual General Meeting in Vilnius, Republic of Lithuania, the President Mr. Valdas Adamkus received the delegation of the EBC member-companies in the Presidential Palace, and the Prime Minister of Lithuania, Mr. Algirdas Mykolas Brazauskas made a welcoming speech at the EBC Annual General Meeting. Lithuania’s accession to the European Union in 2004 determined the focal topic of the conference held in the framework of the Annual General Meeting- “The Baltic Sea Region – a Growth Hub for Europe”. The speakers discussed economic and energy issues and challenges of Lithuania and its neighboring states. Dr. O. Hahn, former Ambassador of the European Union (1996-1999) moderated the conference. Reports at the conference were made by the heads of leading European companies in the gas industry and banking sector: AO Ahema, Gazprom, UN Economic Commission for Europe, JSC Latvijas Gaze, AO Lietuvos Dujos, Skandinaviska Еnskilde Banken – Vilnius Bankas.
In 2005 Mr. Udo Voelker, Executive Vice President, MAN Ferrostal AG was elected as Coordinator of the EBC Board. Holding this position for 14 years, Mr. Voelker has contributed significantly to the development of the Congress and its global recognition in the business and political circles.
2004: 7th Annual Meeting of the EBC in Varna, Republic of Bulgaria
In 2004, the EBC (now IBC) held its 7th Annual General Meeting in Varna, Republic of Bulgaria at the invitation of Overgas Inc. High-level guests such as President of the Republic of Bulgaria, Mr. Georgi Parvanov, Deputy Government Chairlady and Minister for Economics of the Republic of Bulgaria, Ms. Lyda Shouleva, and Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Bulgaria and Commissioner of the OSCE, Dr. Solomon Passy took part in the event and welcomed the participants at the opening ceremony of the General meeting.
In his speech Dr. A. Miller, EBC President, noted that since Congress’s establishment it has been a platform for direct communication and exchange of views on issues of mutual interest of the participating companies. The EBC brings people together and contributes to the creation of a particular atmosphere of mutual trust. Mutually beneficial agreements and contracts have been concluded with the help of the EBC, while Working Committees have made proposals for implementation of the non-profit projects.
Heads of Gaz de France, Siemens AG, Berlin University of Technology, German Institute of Economic Research, Gazprom and Pipeline Industries Guild delivered reports at the conference on “Infrastructure as Basis for Sustainable Regional Development”. The discussion was focused on the energy sector development in the Baltic Sea region and the prospects for its cooperation with the EU- and CIS countries.
The participants of the 7th Annual General Meeting of the EBC elected Mr. Uwe Fip, Senior Vice President and Head of Gas Supply to the East, E.ON Ruhrgas AG, Board Member of the EBC, as Chairman of the “Energy” Working Committee. To this day Mr. Uwe Fip, Senior Executive Vice President, Uniper Global Commodities SE, successfully chairs the work of the Committee.
6th Annual General Meeting of the EBC
The sixth General Meeting of the EBC (now IBC) in 2003 was held at the invitation of Gazprom in Moscow. In his welcome speech to the AGM participants Dr. A. Miller, Chairman of the Management Committee of Gazprom noted the growing influence of the EBC in the international arena developing practical cooperation mechanisms between private business communities of East and West. The steady growth of the Congress’s membership base – in 2003 the Congress had 72 member-companies from 19 countries, testified to further development of the organization as strong international institution.
The following International Conference on “Energy policy in a transforming Europe” attracted more than 200 delegates from all over the world. Mr. Gennady Ustyuzhanin, Deputy Energy Minister of the Russian Federation; Mr. Reinier Zwitserloot, Chairman of the Management Board of Wintershall AG; Dr. Stuart McGill, President of Exxon Mobil Gas and Power Marketing Company; Mr. Stanislav Tsygankov, Head of Gazprom International Relations Department; Dr. Hans-Joachim Frank, Director of Scientific Research Department, Deutsche Bank AG; academician Mr. Anatoly Dmitrievsky, Director of the Institute of Oil and Gas Problems of the Russian Academy of Sciences and Mr. George Kowalski, Director of the Industry, Energy and Enterprise Development (UNECE). The conference was moderated by Mr. Jean-Marie Dauger, Senior Executive Vice President of Gaz de France.
A brief overview of the energy market state and its dynamics in a transforming Europe and effective communication strategies between business and government institutions regarding trends on energy market have been addressed at the conference.
Upon resignation of Dr. Sergey Semenov at the end of 2002, Ms. Nadezhda Doniy was elected to the post of Executive Secretary of the European Business Congress e.V. A former Gazprom employee Ms. Doniy stood at the origins of the creation of the organization. She made an important contribution to the EBC establishment, managed, and organized main events of the Congress. Ms. Doniy remained EBC (IBC) Executive Secretary until the end of 2017.
2002: New EBC President
The 5th Anniversary Annual General Meeting of the EBC (now IBC) was held on June 4-5, 2002 in Budapest, Hungary at the invitation of MOL Hungarian Oil and Gas. More than 200 representatives of EBC member-companies and special guests took part in the event dedicated to: “Russia in a Changing Europe”.
In 2002 the EBC President Dr. Rem Vyakhirev announced his resignation from his position after five years term. Dr. Alexey Miller, Chairman of the Management Committee of Gazprom, was elected as new EBC President.
One of the Congress’s tasks is to develop effective cooperation with international organizations promoting the development of the world economy. In 2002, the EBC Board and representatives of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (ECE) met at headquarters of the Congress in Berlin to discuss further cooperation.
During the meeting the parties also discussed preparation and organizational issues of the UN-ECE seminar on “Policy and Regulatory Options to Promote Industrial Restructuring in the UN-ECE Region” (28 October 2002, Geneva).
4th Annual General Meeting of the EBC
In June 2001 in Antalya, Turkey, more than 200 delegates and guests of the EBC (now IBC) gathered at the 4th Annual General Meeting of the Congress held on the focal topic “Water Resources”. The meeting participants addressed economic and social aspects of water resources and came up with effective approaches to solve water supply issues as well as drinking water conservation in Europe and in the world. The 9th President of the Republic of Turkey, Mr. S. Demirel attended the meeting as the honorary guest. Organizational and financial assistance for the event was provided by GAMA Industry A.S.
To optimize the activities of the Congress EBC Secretariat relocated its headquarters from Bonn to the capital of Germany – Berlin in May 2001.
2000: “Community Internet Center” – the first social project of the EBC
The beginning of the new century was marked in the history of the EBC (now IBC) by a special event: upon the decision of the EBC Presiding Committee, the official opening ceremony of the Public Internet Center was held in Maloyaroslavets (Kaluga Region, Russia). This was the first project implemented by the Information and Communication Working Committee. The project was sponsored by RAO “Gazprom”, Siemens AG and Alcatel AG and considered as one of the first steps to introduce information technologies by providing public access to the Internet and related modern services. The opening ceremony was attended by more than a hundred members of public and business communities as well as journalists and special guests.
The Information and Communication Working Committee was established in 1998 under the chairmanship of Mr. I. Fermann, Vice President, Siemens AG. The committee addresses following issues: energy industry digitalization and efficiency improvement of enterprises by means of modern IT technologies. Since 2021 the Committee is chaired by Dr. Barbara Frei, Member of the Executive Committee, Executive Vice President Industrial Automation, Schneider Electric Industries SAS.
In June 2000, the EBC held its third Annual General Meeting in Paris, France on the topic: “Economic Relationships between Russia and Western Europe”.
1999: EBC (now IBC) – an international nongovernmental, non-profit organization:
1999 marked the completion of the most important stage in the Congress’s history – the acquisition of a legal entity status. The Congress is an international nongovernmental non-profit organization. IBC member companies have a real opportunity to lear about business conditions in different countries, establish direct business contacts, cooperate on joint projects, conclude mutually beneficial agreements and contracts in specific business areas.
The most important distinctive features of the Congress are its independence, autonomy and unaccountability in organizational strategy and tactics development.
In 1999 the second Annual General Meeting of the Congress was held in Athens (Greece) at the invitation of Prometheus Gas. The meeting participants discussed mechanisms of business contacts expansion and infrastructure development of international economic relations. Mr. H.-D. Genscher, former German Minister of Foreign Affairs and Vice Chancellor took part at the conference as a guest of honor.
This year the sixth Working Committee "Industry and Construction" (renamed "Industry, Innovation and Prospective Development" in 2016) was established. Dr. N. Tolmachev, Tubokomplekt Ltd. was elected as chairman of the committee from 1999 to 2002. From 2003 to 2006, the committee was chaired by B. Budzulyak, RAO Gazprom. Since 2009, the committee has been chaired by O. Aksyutin, Deputy Chairman of the Management Committee of Gazprom. The committee focuses on developing mechanisms for international cooperation in industry and science.
1998: Start of the IBC active work
In 1998, the European Business Congress (now International Business Congress) began its active work. First meetings of the five newly-created Working Committees took place over the course of the year. Following topics have been addressed at the meetings:
- “Energy”: liberalization of natural gas and electricity markets in Europe, problems of oil and gas supplies to European markets and prospects for their production in the states of the former Soviet Union.
- “Information and Communication”: information technologies issues in the context of liberalization, privatization, and deregulation of information markets.
- “Ecology and Healthcare”: introduction of environmental management systems in accordance with ISO 14001, standardization of health care facilities and medical services in emergency situations, medical prevention at the production.
- “Business Security”: business security issues in the OSCE region, the establishment of a unified legal system to regulate business.
- “Law, Banking and Finance”: legal banking and financial issues between East and West, ways to overcome the crisis of the banking system in Russia.
Working bodies of the Congress have been established in accordance with the EBC Articles of Association: the Annual General Meeting, the Presiding Committee Meeting, the Board of Executive Directors and the Secretariat.
The first Annual General Meeting of the EBC was held in Italy, on the island of Sardinia, at the invitation of ENI. More than 200 representatives from 64 companies and organizations representing 24 OSCE countries attended the event. The General meeting addressed economic integration of Eastern and Western Europe and the prospects for the energy sector development in the OSCE region.
1997: Founding of the IBC (EBC)
International Business Congress (former European Business Congress) was created on the idea of the participants of the OSCE Economic Forum in December 1997 to promote the development of economic cooperation between East and West, establishing a dialogue between political and business circles of different countries. More than 500 representatives of the leading companies from 37 countries participated in the founding conference. The Russian fuel and energy complex was represented by Gazprom, UES of Russia, LUKOIL. The conference was also attended by major Western companies like Daimler Chrysler, Eni, Ruhrgas, Siemens, ABB, Deutsche Bank, Norsk Hydro, Phillips, Dresdner Bank, Credit Lyonnais, Bayernwerk, Gaz de France, Mannesmann, Neste Oil, Ferrostaal, Gasunie and others. One of the main organizers of the Congress was Gazprom, whose head Mr. Rem Vyakhirev was elected as President of the Congress for five years term (1997-2002). Mr. Georg Krupp, a member of the Board of Deutsche Bank, was elected by EBC members as Vice President of the Congress. The city of Bonn was chosen to host the headquarters of the newly-established organization.
Five Working Committees have been established during the first year after the Congress was instituted: “Energy”, “Law, Banking and Finance”, “Information and Communication”, “Ecology and Healthcare”, and “Business Security”.