In a year when the oil industry is struggling globally, who can blame the biennial Louisiana Gulf Coast Oil Exposition for looking ahead? Solutions are being sought now; opportunities lie ahead.
That’s why LAGCOE 2015 ought to draw serious attention from oil professionals around the world. It certainly should lure those interested in oil’s future along the oil-rich Gulf Coast. For those reasons, this year’s exposition should generate considerable enthusiasm.
Friday’s count of booked vendors at LAGCOE rose to 448, director Angela Cring said. That’s a sellout, more than the 415 who attended LAGCOE 2013. That’s because some larger vendors opted for smaller spaces, opening up additional booth spaces for new companies to exhibit goods and services. Cring said about 100 vendors new to LAGCOE are exhibiting.
"We’re not recycling the same show from two years ago,” Cring said.
The global market environment has shifted dramatically from Oct. 15, 2013, the day the last LAGCOE opened. Back then, oil sold at $101.21 a barrel, far higher than the $44.63 it drew on the market Friday.
That’s why sessions like Wednesday’s keynote address by Gary Luquette, president and CEO of Frank’s International, should draw widespread interest. His topic is "Surviving and Prospering in a Difficult Market.”
Indeed, many industry leaders who have weathered a tough year need to know what comes next. Doug Lawler, president and CEO of Chesapeake Energy, may have answers when he delivers his Tuesday keynote speech, "2016 Outlook: Leadership, Performance and Value.”
The world itself has changed. Mexico, for seven decades a government-controlled oil power to the south, has opened its borders for private partnerships. U.S. companies interested in deals with Mexico will find Tuesday’s afternoon session, "Mexico — New Opportunities and Opening the Gulf,” helpful.
Nor is Mexico the only international entity looking for partners. Ukraine will present investment opportunities on Monday. Saudi Arabia has a Wednesday session scheduled. Brazil, Canada, Nigeria and others will be at LAGCOE.
There’s plenty more, too: student presentations, tours for STEM students and, on Thursday, a "Shark Tank”-style competition involving energy innovators making their funding pitches. Job hopefuls can attend the third annual job fair.
More than 300 volunteers are pitching in to make LAGCOE 2015 a worthy event. Cring said even professionals on tight travel budgets regionally should drive in for a day.
LAGCOE 2015 gives energy professionals needed opportunities to explore the industry’s changing environment, to explore new ways to do business, to consider redefining their companies. Change or disappear, companies are told. This exposition is about informed, effective change.