IGEM looks to the future while preserving the past

IGEM is a UK-based professional membership body for companies and individuals in the gas industry. With a membership of approximately 4,000 individuals and 150 industrial affiliates, the institution has branches in Hong Kong, China, New Zealand, the Middle East and South America, and is a regular participant at international industry events.

IGEM has been quick to take advantage of new communications technology to keep its members informed, however it has a strong historical underpinning.

Founded in 1863 and under the governance of a Royal Charter since 1929, the institution was formed in response to a rapid development of engineering-based industries in the mid-nineteenth century. Then simply known as the Institution of Gas Engineers, the organisation played an important role during the Second World War, helping gas engineers maintain gas supplies under adverse conditions. The institution has also seen its members through times of dramatic industry change, including post-war industry nationalisation, the subsequent privatisation of British Gas in 1986 and, perhaps most significantly, the liberalisation of the industry in the 1990s.

Today the organisation’s website is a hub for industry information and services and includes an online professional development scheme, a services directory and professional recruitment links. Industry news and events are reported in a monthly eNewsletter, along with an industry newsfeed that provides up-to-date information from around the world. The institution also produces a monthly journal, Gas International, covering the gas and utility industries, including technical articles and company information. The journal has a circulation of approximately 5,000 subscribers in over 70 countries.

Published since the 1960s, IGEM’s technical standards are also available online. Recognised by regulatory bodies such as the UK’s Health and Safety Executive, the standards are updated every five years and are accompanied by technical seminars, courses and conferences to assist in promoting future publications. The standards – covering transmission and distribution, gas measurement, utilisation, gas legislation and safety – often mirror the scope of British European Standards, with added detail.

Looking to the future, IGEM has an active Young Person’s Network (YPN), run by young professionals within the gas industry. Through seminars and networking events, the YPN aims to help springboard young professionals into the gas industry by providing them with key contacts and mentors to develop their careers.

True to the institution’s vision to support young professionals around the globe, IGEM president EurIng Robert Murray, together with IGEM Chief Executive Officer John Williams, addressed the AGIT Gas Speak Colloquium in Canberra in September last year.

Mindful of its valuable historical roots, the IGEM Panel for the History of the Gas Industry was formed in the mid-1970s, collecting archival material and old appliances to create collections for gas museums and to conserve the industry’s heritage. The panel also produces the Historic Gas Times, a quarterly newsletter.

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