Algeria has delayed opening of the 16th International Conference on Liquefied Natural Gas by a day as a cloud of ash from a volcano in Iceland grounded flights across much of Europe, preventing delegates and senior ministers from the venue in the port city of Oran. Algerian national carrier Air Algerie is in talks with the UK, France and Spain to arrange special flights to bring delegates to the conference, the conference organisers said in a statement.
The disruption to air travel has been so extreme that some LNG16 delegates have already opted to travel to Oran by ferry from Malaga. However, several European ministers have been unable to reach Algeria. At present, Air Algerie is hoping to operate four flights today - two from Marseille to Algiers, one from Alicante to Oran and a final flight from Barcelona to Algiers. However, these are subject to cancellation at short notice.
Oran is also hosting a meeting of the Gas Producing Countries Forum (FGEC) with representatives from more than 200 companies involved in the LNG sector. The organisers said on the conference website the exhibition being held in conjunction with LNG16 will open as planned today, although there will be no conference presentations. The opening ceremony has been rescheduled for this afternoon. All paper sessions, plenary sessions, workshops and posters sessions will now take place on 20 April and 21 April.