As new technology continues to revolutionise the gas industry, governments and global majors are set to invest heavily in new infrastructure.
With rising demand and advances in technology, major gas projects are becoming both increasingly attractive and commercially viable and the race to ensure the world's top gas-producing regions can realise the potential of their vast resources is on.
With such colossal projects on the horizon - including those in the waters west of Shetland - it is critical that the industry takes time to seek out and harness the knowledge and best practice of those who have already taken on the challenge of laying down new supply networks.
Some of the most groundbreaking technological advances within the industry are now set to go under the spotlight on one of the biggest stages available - the Gastech Conference and Exhibition (www.gastech.co.uk).
Now in its 40th year, Gastech has become the world's leading natural gas conference and exhibition and will this year be held at the ExCeL, London, from 8-11 October.
Gastech's specialist seminar programme, Centres of Technical Excellence (CoTEs), is a crucial showcase for the latest innovation, technologies, products, services and suppliers involved in the gas industry.
The seminar programme features a range of specialist themes including the Pipelines & Transmission stream, on 11 October. Presented by the Pipeline Industries Guild - the only association worldwide to cater directly for the needs of the pipeline industry - this stream will feature top industry professionals discussing the latest in pipeline technology and projects.
Formed in 1957, the Guild's membership comprises those with interests in pipelines worldwide, transporting hydrocarbon products, chemicals, water, wastewater, and many other substances, both on and offshore. All are governed by the industry's twin need to combine quality with safety, while at the same time meeting all the latest environmental and legislative requirements.
Dr Cheryl Burgess, Director General of the Guild, said: "Gastech provides the Guild with the opportunity to not only showcase the innovation of our members but also to engage with the much wider energy industry. Pipelines are the hidden assets of the industry - often not thought of unless there is a problem such as a leak - yet they are a vital part of the infrastructure for the upstream, midstream and downstream elements of the sector.
"Technological innovation is vital to the industry and this is being driven by high-performance engineering. One of the key objectives for which the Guild was established is about encouraging the exchange of ideas and sharing of knowledge. Gastech is an important opportunity to bring the views of our membership to this global audience."
Other speakers featuring within the Pipelines & Transmission stream include Director of the Transmission Division for Enagas, Juan Carlos Arancon.
Between 2004 and 2009, Enagas, Spain's principal high-pressure natural gas transport company, undertook the design and installation of a submarine pipeline linking the Spanish mainland to the Balearic Islands of Ibiza and Mallorca.
Mr Arancon, one of the top speakers within the seminar programme, said: "The Balearic Submarine Pipeline project was one of the most interesting and challenging that I have been involved in. There were a number of key decisions to be made regarding the routes and the techniques used to lay pipelines.
"Due to the geography of the area some of the pipelines had to be laid at depths of up to 1,000m and the topography of the region also meant there was a need to use horizontal drilling techniques to install the pipes to the shoreline."
The pipeline was constructed in two distinct sections, the first linking the mainland from a point on Spain's eastern coast in the vicinity of Denia to the Island of Ibiza - with an approximate length of 120km.
The second section linked the Island of Ibiza to the Island of Mallorca with an approximate length of 150km. The overall construction project also included a compressor station in Denia and control/regulating valve stations on each of the two islands.
The company used the Castoro Sei vessel and an auxiliary fleet of six boats to lay more than 22,500 pipes in the construction of the underwater section of the pipeline. More than 500 people were employed to construct the pipeline, not including the 500 who worked on the Castoro Sei pipelay vessel.
Mr Arancon will be joined by the firm's project engineer, Daniel Velez, as they discuss the design and construction of the project, which involved laying almost 300km (186 miles) of subsea pipeline. Construction started on the pipeline at the end of 2008, with the project being completed in June 2009.
Experts will join Enagas to specifically explore the latest advancements in pipeline technology, materials, and maintenance. The speakers taking part in the Pipelines & Transmission CoTE stream include: Dean Rookes, Vice President, Corrosion Services Company Europe Ltd; James Harrison, Networking Manager - Gas Distribution, National Grid; Dr John De Rosa, Manager - Technical Support, Subterra; Abel Lopes, Marketing Development Manager, TD Williamson; and Edward Johnston, Managing Director - Infrastructure Sector, Gas Technology Institute.
Created to deliver knowledge, education and awareness of new innovations and developments in gas technology, the CoTEs exhibition show floor seminars are designed to provide a platform for many of the world's most-respected industry associations and organisations. Featuring high-level speakers throughout the four days of the seminar, the streams will focus on specific areas of great interest for those working in the global gas industry, encouraging thought-provoking discussion.
To register for the Gastech Exhibition and to reserve a free place at the CoTEs please visit www.gastech.co.uk/cotes.