The gathering in Paris was the first in an ongoing series of "IEF Thought-Leader Roundtables" designed to elicit insights from elite conversations among small groups of industry experts, and then have the IEF share those insights with stakeholders worldwide. The IEF Roundtables were inspired by the realisation that the most valuable points one learns at large conferences and events are quite often picked up during coffee breaks or smaller scale interactions. Accordingly, through the IEF Roundtables we endeavor to distill the key findings from an "extended coffee break" and share those points with all actors in the global energy dialogue – with the ultimate objective of facilitating what we at the IEF call "decision-finding" at all levels.
The impact of a technology-driven step-change on the global outlook for gas, coupled with unfolding shifts in gas market variables (such as pricing mechanisms and LNG trade), made gas the ideal subject matter for the inaugural IEF event. he roundtable discussants – virtually all industry veterans – acknowledged that while natural gas is often discussed relative to other energy sources, this should not detract from the importance of gas to the world energy mix. One speaker noted that gas used to be written in three words (gas and oil); it was subsequently written in three letters (gas); now it is again written in three words (gas and electricity). Though it is difficult to talk about gas in isolation because of its links to electricity, coal and renewables, there was shared sentiment in the room that gas is far from being what some market observers label a bridging fuel. Gas is here to stay.