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HOUSTON–With domestic and global crude inventories declining, crude and natural gas prices trending higher, and economic growth sustaining increased energy demand, what could be a better time for one of the most significant upstream industry events to celebrate its 25th anniversary?
Renewed optimism about the year ahead is the prevailing sentiment as independent, major integrated and multinational oil companies prepare to present a myriad of land and offshore opportunities at the 2018 NAPE Summit, Feb. 5-9 at the George R. Brown Convention Center in Houston.
NAPE Summit Week begins with Monday and Tuesday workshops and panel sessions put on by the NAPE partners. The business conference begins on Wednesday, with an all-star cast of industry analysts and operators.
This year’s lineup includes Doug Lawler, chief executive officer, Chesapeake Energy Corporation; Wil Van Loh, founder and CEO, Quantum Energy Partners; Joseph Mills, president and CEO, Samson Resources II; and Jerry Schuyler, director (former president), Laredo Petroleum. Also on tap are panel discussions focusing on offshore leasing, LNG exports, energy commodity marketing, and discussions about the relative merits and rewards of conventional and unconventional onshore and deepwater operations.
The deal-making action begins first thing Thursday morning and continues through Friday. In all, 2018 NAPE will host an expected 800 exhibiting companies and 16,000 attendees, including petroleum landmen, geoscientists, petroleum engineers, capital providers, and oil and gas company executives. Attendees from throughout the world will tour more than 1,000 exhibits of their peers as well as service and supply vendors varying from data and computing companies to hydraulic fracturing equipment and service providers.
The 2002 inaugural NAPE Charities Luncheon certainly has become a Thursday highlight of the first day of the exposition, and one of the high-profile event attractions, which in turn exemplifies the many ways NAPE helps the industry and community. The fund was started principally as a way to help America’s heroes, focusing on veterans returning from battles in Iraq and Afghanistan, and later from various fronts, including America’s battle against ISIS. NAPE Charities donations from corporations and individuals have helped provide veterans with homes, financial aid, jobs, rehabilitation and even service dogs. NAPE Charities continues to help veteran-focused funds such as Operation Homefront, The Mission Continues and K9s for Warriors.
But the NAPE Charities and the hosting organizations do far more, including providing funding for global relief efforts. In the wake of Hurricane Harvey, NAPE donated $50,000 to the Red Cross, and it continues to look for new ways to extend the industry’s generosity to those in need. To date, NAPE has donated more than $3 million to multiple charities.
Security was high when the 43rd President of the United States, George W. Bush, appeared in front of the NAPE Charities crowd in 2012. Not to be outdone, former first lady Laura Bush delighted the crowds in 2015. Last year may have set yet another high bar, as NAPE attendees reveled in a speech by General Colin Powell, one of the few officials to serve under both President George H.W. Bush, as his chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, and under President George W. Bush, as secretary of state.
Perhaps it is only fitting that the headliner of the 2018 NAPE Charities Luncheon is Tom Brokaw, a man who covered the words and actions of every NAPE Charities speaker since the luncheon began.
Best known for his tenure as anchor and managing editor of NBC Nightly News for 22 years, from 1982 to 2004, Brokaw is the only individual to host all three major NBC News programs, and he now serves as a special correspondent for NBC News and works independently on documentaries for other news outlets.
While the donations to NAPE Charities may be among the most personally satisfying to those writing the checks, there are many other noteworthy benefactors. The positive economic impact of NAPE to Houston alone is estimated at $21.9 million annually.
All net profits from NAPE Expo LP are distributed back to the partner organizations–the American Association of Petroleum Landmen, Independent Petroleum Association of America, the Society of Exploration Geophysicists, and the American Association of Petroleum Geologists–so that each partnering association can benefit its members and the industry at large through programs such as those focusing on education, legislative and regulatory advocacy, technical publications, public lands access and scholarships.
New For 2018
In addition to the flagship two-day expo that brings together thousands of the industry’s top decision makers to one marketplace where deals happen, NAPE Summit Week offers four networking events, five education seminars and a new job fair.
Also, the NAPE Theater has been expanded on the show floor and into Friday’s conclusion of the two-day exposition. The theater will continue to host U.S. and international prospect presentations, as well as capital and service provider previews given by exhibiting companies looking to maximize their exposure among the hundreds of companies participating. On Friday, the theater will host a special question and answer session with Texas Railroad Commissioner Ryan Sitton.
While the Wednesday evening icebreaker reception is always a great chance to spend some time with friends and get the inside scoop on deals to acquire while the getting is good, NAPE is adding to the special recognition of its 25 years of continued growth with a sweepstakes for a brand new 2018 Ford F-150.
While NAPE was founded in 1993 as the brainchild of AAPL, IPAA joined the following year after the first successful meeting and exposition of primarily independent producers and capital providers at the Westin Galleria in Houston. The initial trailblazers who dared to try something new to jump-start an industry on its heels–much as it has been over the past several years–literally turned conventional industry thinking on its collective head.
The immediate success of the event, which many skeptics claimed would never be accepted in the industry (and admittedly was a field away from the conventional ways of oil and gas deal making), soon required additional space at the adjacent Westin Oaks at the Houston Galleria. The expanded space accommodated the growing ranks of oil and gas companies eager to discuss their assets and strategically acquire others, along with accessing the legal advice and capital backing to make it all happen.
As NAPE’s two events, the NAPE Summit and Summer NAPE (scheduled for Aug. 15-16 this year) became two focal points in successful industry partnerships, AAPG and SEG soon joined NAPE’s ranks. If any doubts remained about the permanent role NAPE would play in domestic and global upstream operations, they were soon quelled as NAPE organizers moved what had become a shoulder-room only event to the spacious George R. Brown Convention Center in 1998 and added the NAPE International Forum, yet another crucial component of NAPE.
While AAPL set the inaugural NAPE into motion, what sets it apart from other industry events is that it brings together all disciplines; draws in decision makers; focuses its participation on prospect generators; and hosts companies of all sizes–from large and small independent producers and operators with conventional and unconventional operations, to major integrated and state-owned companies that use the venue to further a variety of objectives, from announcing new onshore and offshore licensing rounds to seeking investment opportunities.
Although AAPL, IPAA, SEG and AAPG are the four official NAPE partners, there are few organizations in the industry that do not participate or have exhibits in the exposition area.
NAPE has held true to its founding principles of sharing risk and reward to “make deals happen,” from the purchase of mineral interests and acreage positions, to undertaking drilling and field development projects of all sizes. Its primary mission statement also is intact: connecting decision makers in oil and gas companies with investors to get those deals done.
From a little more than 100 exhibiting companies and 1,000 participants in its inaugural year to the 800 companies and 16,000 attendees in Houston 25 years later, there is no limit to future growth.
Marty Searcy, then a landman with Union Pacific Resources Corp., said about the inaugural 1993 NAPE, “I believe the North American Prospect Expo has created a new sense of enthusiasm and encouragement among energy professionals all around the country.”
As NAPE celebrates its silver anniversary, Searcy’s quote still rings true. NAPE brings excitement in both upturns and downturns as it invigorates the exploration and development industry and boosts the economy.
After the first NAPE, Bruce Vincent (then senior vice president of funds management at Swift Energy Co.) said, “Anyone who is in the exploration and development business in North America needed to be at this meeting, and I look forward to the next one with great expectation.”
Twenty-five years later, there is no doubt that Vincent and many other special friends, such as a devoted industry publisher who has never missed the annual expo, will be in attendance at NAPE–where deals truly happen! Have a great 2018 NAPE, and don’t forget the cake!
For more information about attending, exhibiting, or sponsorship opportunities, please call the NAPE office at 817-847-7700, or visit www.napeexpo.com.
LE’ANN PEMBROKE CALLIHAN is director of communications for the American Association of Professional Landmen and NAPE. She started with AAPL as an intern in 1989, served on the first NAPE advisory committee, assisted with the inaugural NAPE event in 1993 and also held the positions of advertising manager, editor of the “Landman” magazine, and senior director of publishing, marketing and media relations for AAPL. Callihan earned a B.A. in journalism, cum laude, from Texas Christian University.