Summer NAPE was a sizzlin’ event at the George R. Brown Convention Center in Houston -- which was sizzlin’ in a whole different way during the “dog days” of late August.
The action at the popular prospect expo was so intense there were viewers huddled in deep conversation with exhibitors up until the very last minute as the booths were being dismantled around them.
Summer Nape was created and produced by NAPE Expo LP, which is a partnership comprised of the AAPL, AAPG, IPAA and SEG. The former AAPG-sponsored APPEX summer prospect expo was rolled into the NAPE affair when AAPG joined the NAPE partnership.
“This year’s Summer NAPE was a wildly successful event,” said Rick Fritz, executive director of AAPG. “This thing has grown by 40 percent, so it’s clearly successful.
“There were skeptics who said you couldn’t do one at this time of year,” Fritz noted, “and it’s clearly proven those skeptics wrong.”
Indeed, the numbers increased dramatically over the 2005 summer event, which also was deemed a success story.
The booth count was up 40 percent to 525 this time around, and the attendance was up 33 percent to 5,300, according to Robin Forte, executive vice president of AAPL, where NAPE originated as a late winter-only event that continues. Even the evening icebreaker hit a record, at 2,000.
“There were very good vibes from people who were selling,” Forte said, “and obviously the people buying were happy, too. One guy said he had shown his deal to people he hadn’t thought would be interested and probably wouldn’t have gotten in to see -- but here, they came to him.
“We couldn’t be happier with the results,” Forte said. “It’s doing what it’s supposed to do -- providing networking, prospect exchange and marketing -- and doing it very well.”
The confab kicked off with an E&P forum -- “Perspectives on North American Oil & Gas Plays” -- sponsored by IHS Energy. The morning session featured talks dealing with hot North American plays, with shale plays such as the Woodford and the wildly active Barnett taking center stage.
The Rocky Mountains also justifiably grabbed its fair share of the spotlight given the region’s emerging shale plays, tight gas sands and coalbed methane deposits. Presentation themes included approaches to help characterize shale reservoirs in the United States, shale fracing and well completion case histories, among others.
The presentations were followed by an industry luncheon, featuring a presentation by John Richels, president of Devon Energy, and an afternoon prospect promotions session.
‘They’re Having Fun Again’
In what appears to be a trend, small company booths dotted much of the landscape in the convention center. A sustained period of high commodity prices and company mergers apparently have inspired a lot of entrepreneurial types to put together their own shops to generate prospects, along with other ventures.
In fact, the exhibitors were promoting a lot more than just prospects.
The folks at the ShaleQuest booth, for example, were promoting a recently completed geological and petrophysical study of the Fayetteville shale. The ShaleQuest partners staffing the booth included Barnett shale veteran geologist Kent Bowker, whose mantra these days is “shale good.”
In fact, he’s predicting the Neal/Floyd shale in Alabama is next in line to see some serious action.
Two-year old Circle Oil Plc, an Irish company traded on the London AIM exchange, was at NAPE to acquaint viewers with opportunities rather than to sell anything.
Circle’s vice president of exploration, Bob LoPiccolo, noted the company generates prospects in Oman, Panama and Namibia, and he had high marks for the NAPE event.
“It’s definitely worthwhile being here,” he said, “and we’ll likely return in the winter.”
United Kingdom-based ENVOI is a regular at NAPE get-togethers with an attendance track record of seven years -- winter and summer. The organization specializes in advisory services, which include how to market a deal.
ENVOI’s director Mike Lakin, who serves as vice president of the AAPG European Region, said he sees increasing interest from domestic players wanting to go international.
“They have more money, and they’re having fun again,” Lakin noted, “and they have an increased appetite for risk.”
Summer NAPE viewer Gerritt Wind of Wind & Associates commented on the enthusiastic crowd at the event and the steady flow of traffic.
“Some people said traffic has been so good, they don’t even know what their neighbors have,” Wind said. “They haven’t had a chance to get out of their booth.”
The folks at Summer NAPE newcomer Dorado Energy, which operates in East Texas in the Cotton Valley in Panola County, were pleasantly surprised at the experience.
“It’s bigger than we thought it would be,” said Tom Schaefer, senior vice president of Dorado, “and we’ve had a lot more attention than we expected.
“There’s good energy and people,” Schaefer noted. “It’s been busy and functional.”