If the energy industry's at rock bottom, don't tell the folks who'll pack LAGCOE this week. They already know the struggles.
Nonetheless, the Louisiana Gulf Coast Oil Exposition's 31st industry showcase has sold out its vendor slots inside the Cajundome and signed up more than 360 exhibitors to market their products and services at this year's show, scheduled for Tuesday through Thursday.
"With what's happened to the industry, especially in South Louisiana, it's a very good showing to have that many companies," said Angela Cring, LAGCOE's executive director. This is her third biennial show.Exhibitor numbers were likely to fall this year because the Cajundome renovation has eliminated some exhibition floor space. Attendance may slide a tad, too, because there won't be a public attendance day at this year's industry-only event.
What's grown is the scheduled number of technical exhibitors — there will be four exhibition areas, operating continuously and covering the span of the industry — as well as more keynote speakers: three instead of one.
Programming will be better than ever, Cring promises. The show's attention will split about 50-50 in focus from offshore to onshore, which is a marked change for a show that used to be more focused on drilling offshore."As drilling on land has increased, the show has started to morph," Cring said.
This much will stay the same: Delegations from around the world will make their way to the state's largest oil and gas show. That includes companies that will visit through the International Buyer Select program, a Commerce Department-industry effort to bring distant industry representatives here. This year's program visitors will include Canada, Mexico, Saudi Arabia, Ukraine, Ghana and Brazil.In all, Cring said, at least 14 countries will be represented.
In addition, there will be a large delegation from Turkey with high-level officials from that country's Ministry of Energy.
Among keynote speakers will be Scott Angelle of Breaux Bridge, director of the federal Bureau of Environmental Safety and Enforcement, who'll share a stage with Ryan Malone, projects general manager for BP. The two will focus on energy production in the Gulf of Mexico.
Some two dozen volunteers — that's about a tenth of the number of volunteers who'll work on the show — were on hand Wednesday to help set up fencing, tents and the base for exhibitions that will open Tuesday. The image of LAGCOE Looey, the "every man" figure that represents the show, was hoisted over Congress Street.Don Briggs, president of the Louisiana Oil & Gas Association, will perform the ceremonial duties of LAGCOE Looey, now an honorary ambassador for the show chosen by the LAGCOE chairman. This year's chairman is Kenny Crouch of Pressure Control Specialties; chairman-elect is Greg Stutes of Completion Specialists.
"Everything is staged at Blackham Coliseum," Hebert said. Trucks enter the grounds in orderly fashion when called to the site. Exhibitors were to press into the Cajundome and on the grounds Friday; clean-up is Monday.
This much was good news, too: Sunny skies with temperatures in the 70s were predicted for the three days of the show, which will run from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday and from 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Thursday.
A "Power Visit"
Here's how Angela Cring said folks should maximize their time at the show if they have only a short while to visit: