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Palabras de Su Alteza Real el Príncipe de Asturias en la inauguración del 23º Congreso Mundial de GLP (Gas Licuado del Petróleo), el Congreso Europeo de GLP 2010, el 25 Congreso Iberoamericano de GLP y la Conferencia Global sobre Tecnología

Madrid, 30.09.2010

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Muy buenos días y mi más cordial bienvenida a todos!

I would like to begin by thanking you and organization committee for your kind invitation to inaugurate such a major event for the energy industry as a whole, and especially for liquefied petroleum gas (LPG). Spain and Madrid are both very proud to host all-in-one four major events: the 23rd World LPGas Forum, together with the 2010 European LPG Association Congress (AEGPL), the 25th Ibero-American LPGas Association Congress (AIGLP), and the Global Technology Conference.

So allow me to extend a warm welcome to all the participants, experts, and guests who have come from more than fifty countries from around the world. We are very pleased to receive you in Madrid, which is during these few days -as was just said- the world capital of the LP gas industry. I thank the speakers who have preceded me for their kindness and insightful words; and congratulations to the organisers for their extraordinary initiative, their hard work, and their efficiency.

Spain is a nation with a modern and dynamic business sector in many fields; and we are home to a fair number of leading companies in the international energy sector. Mind you, our society is also highly aware of environmental issues, and always keen and interested in promoting those instruments that enable us to ensure an increasingly secure, clean and efficient energy supply; one that is able to respond to the needs and expectations of both consumers and economic operators alike. This is why I am so pleased by the timely selection of our country to host these Congresses.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

The energy sector has unique characteristics that make international events like these especially important.

This Forum provides us with the ideal venue for taking a multilateral approach to the industry's challenges, as well as for deep and cooperative reflection on which instruments are necessary -or more so- to provide the best responses to those challenges. Proof of this can easily be found by merely looking at the programs and the topics that have been -or will be- discussed during the events we are gathered here for, ranging from regional prospects for the energy industry to environmental issues, and LP gas distribution and logistics.

For a long time, the energy industries of many countries have carried on as if they were independent from each other. However, in recent years it has become clear to what extent they are increasingly interdependent.

There are many examples of factors that transcend national energy systems and have a cross-border impact reaching the entire international community. Noteworthy among these is the impact that energy consumption models have upon the planet, as well as the pressure that demand in emerging countries is exerting on the price of fossil fuels.

We could also mention here different energy interconnection projects between neighbouring countries, and the technological development of renewable generation sources. As I had the chance to highlight -and also listen- at the World Future Energy Summit held in Abu Dhabi last January, undoubtedly, interdependence has become a defining feature of the energy industry; that is as much between different regions and nations as between different technologies and sources. This is, of course, another conclusion we extract from recent developments: just how important it is to be aware of the long-term value that lies in keeping a diversified energy matrix, including the different primary sources of energy.

History has already shown many times that advances in new energy sources have not led to a radical replacement of previous sources, but rather to a situation of coexistence. When oil came to the fore in the 20th century, there were those who called it the end of the coal era. And yet today, coal still accounts for nearly 30 percent of the world's primary energy.

By the same token, in recent years the rise of renewable energy -so necessary for the future- is taking place in parallel with important technological advances also in conventional energy sources. Among these sources, liquefied petroleum gas will certainly continue to play a key role for years to come. Its special characteristics, such as production flexibility and ease of transport and storage, make it a necessary and un-renounceable part of the energy matrix and a strong player in the world energy market.

LP gas, commonly sold in the popular form of butane tanks, has traditionally held pride of place in Spanish homes, and in the country's energy matrix as a whole, becoming a symbol of an energy that was able to satisfy new and different consumer demands.

Despite the steady introduction of natural gas into the Spanish energy structure in recent years, LP gas has continued to play a major role, which in the future should expand into new development areas. To ensure that, to lay the foundation for sustainable long-term growth, we need to help it adapt to changing times and stick to the demands of society. I am certain that the liquefied petroleum gas industry will find a way to keep moving forward.

In closing, I would like to congratulate again all of the participants and organizers. I wish you every success. It's a real pleasure to be with you here today and I also hope you can enjoy what the friendly city of Madrid has to offer, to fill in your leisure time

I now hereby declare the 23rd World LP Gas Forum, the 2010 European LPG Association Congress, the 25th Ibero-American LP Gas Association Congress, and the Global Technology Conference to be officially opened.

Thank you very much.

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