Those are byproducts of an industry still struggling for recovery from three years of down prices for crude oil and natural gas, a reconfigured venue and an emphasis on programming. So expect the “scaled back” at LAGCOE 2017. But leaner needn’t be less.
“I don’t know of a show in the last 12 months that has sold out,” said Angela Cring, LAGCOE’s executive director. “That’s the climate of the industry.”
Louisiana’s premier oil and gas show still expects to draw good crowds and enthusiastic exhibitors, but not at the volume of past years. LAGCOE crowds exceeded 17,000 and 16,000 in 2013 and 2015.
“We’re not going to meet that this time,” Cring said.
Nor will the show likely draw the 450 exhibitors who squeezed into the 2015 exhibition. The renovated Cajundome allows for less exhibitor space and many companies are still weighing their decisions.
But programming, Cring said, will be better than ever. It will include technical sessions; daily keynote speakers at luncheons; and a research and development session hosted by the University of Louisiana at Lafayette.
Five countries — Canada, Mexico, Ghana, Ukraine and Saudi Arabia — will send delegations to LAGCOE 2017 under the Commerce Department’s International Buyer Select program. Other visiting business recruiters will include United Arab Emirates and Brazil, Cring said.
To showcase new technologies, LAGCOE and INNOV8 Acadiana will host an Energy Innovators Pitch Challenge, a “Shark Tank” style competition that will be held on the show’s last day.
Don Briggs, president of Louisiana Oil & Gas Association, will serve as LAGCOE Looey, the show’s goodwill ambassador and ceremonial host. In a break from tradition, that announcement was made in advance of the LAGCOE Looey luncheon planned for Aug. 9 at the Petroleum Club.
Briggs was tapped for that role by Kenny Crouch, this year’s LAGCOE chairman.
LAGCOE Looey evolved from the cartoon character “Lafayette Looey,” used for LAGCOE’s first show in 1955. Lyle Cummins served as the initial, “every man” character for the oil industry at that show. Since then, three dozen people have filled the role.