The triennial 27th World Gas Conference (WGC), which got underway Monday in Washington, DC, has returned to the country that now is the largest global consumer and producer of natural gas.

WGC is expected to have 12,000 attendees, more than 600 presenters and 350 exhibitors. It will also have a cast of presenters and feature U.S. Energy Secretary Rick Perry as well as international policymakers and exhibitors from more than 40 countries. The exhibit space will offer pavilions featuring sustainable energy, robotics, automation and gas-for-transportation.

"WGC is committed to providing speakers on all segments of the gas value chain, and at various breakout sessions will address additional critical business issues facing the industry currently," said a conference spokesperson.

The American Gas Association (AGA) is hosting the week-long sessions featuring CEOs from global companies and international ministerial heads.

"The United States is both the world's largest gas producer and consumer, making us the ideal host for this global conversation," said AGA CEO Dave McCurdy. "Natural gas has been playing a crucial role in revitalizing domestic industries, reducing emissions to their lowest point in 25 years, and creating important jobs in our economy."

AGA is planning a Government Day on Wednesday for congressional staffers to visit; an Operations Conference for U.S. gas distribution/transmission managers; and a Young Professionals Program held Wednesday through Friday.

WGC is offering an online interactive conference program with sessions covering all facets of the industry from transmission to storage and exploration/production to strategy, pricing and regulation. In between, there are marketing, liquefied natural gas, research/development, and workforce development sessions.

Offsite tours also are to be offered to Dominion Energy Inc.'s Cove Point LNG terminal, Baltimore Gas & Electric Co.’s LNG plant and gas control center, as well as Washington Gas Light Co.'s Pipetown Facility, built as a training facility to simulate an urban environment.

WGC is staged every three years by the International Gas Union (IGU). IGU President David Carroll welcomed participants from all corners of the globe and said it was a historic week for the energy industry. He also praised "the level of preparation and insight that went into this conference.”

(NGI is a WGC exhibitor and will be hosting Booth 1208, featuring its newsletters, data and maps. Be sure to check out our latest service, Mexico Gas Price Index, as well as an on-site TV screen streaming live World Cup soccer action. Enter to win an autographed and framed Lionel Messi jersey.)