APPEX Houston Closes at Apex

APPEX London, NAPE on Tap for '05

Just as its originators predicted at its inception four years ago, APPEX grew bigger and better each year.

In fact the 2004 show in September maxed out with record numbers of 2,012 attendees and 289 booths, according to Rick Fritz, AAPG executive director.

A cadre of participants from both the viewing and the booth-holder side gave the latest by-geologists/for-geologists expo a thumbs-up — for both the schmooze factor and the deal-cutting opportunities.

"There were not many people looking around just kicking tires to see what's going on," said Robert Pledger, president of Benchmark Oil & Gas. "Those who came through our booth were definitely interested in participating in outside drilling deals."

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Just as its originators predicted at its inception four years ago, APPEX grew bigger and better each year.

In fact the 2004 show in September maxed out with record numbers of 2,012 attendees and 289 booths, according to Rick Fritz, AAPG executive director.

A cadre of participants from both the viewing and the booth-holder side gave the latest by-geologists/for-geologists expo a thumbs-up — for both the schmooze factor and the deal-cutting opportunities.

"There were not many people looking around just kicking tires to see what's going on," said Robert Pledger, president of Benchmark Oil & Gas. "Those who came through our booth were definitely interested in participating in outside drilling deals."

The opportunity to just see and be seen in today's competitive business environment has its own element of value.

"APPEX is a good meeting for us as a matter of friends re-establishing contacts, more than specific sales," said James Gibbs, a former AAPG president and chairman of Five States Energy Co., Dallas. "For us, it's a matter of showing the flag."

Something New

Come next year, however, the flag will be fluttering with a far larger gathering when APPEX joins forces with the long-standing, landman-sponsored NAPE event.

Here's the game plan, according to Fritz: The London-based APPEX show will continue as is, and the usual early spring NAPE show will be followed by a NAPE-hosted event in the fall. Participating board members will include AAPL, AAPG, IPAA, and SEG. SIPES and the Houston Geological Society will endorse the meeting.

(APPEX-London is set for March 1-3, 2005 at the IBIS Hotel, Earl's Court. For more information go to www.aapg.org.)

The huge volunteer effort required to produce APPEX will be supplanted in large part by a professional staff skilled in expo production.

Given that the industry has contracted immensely since the heyday of 20-something years ago, many participants say the element of non-competition is a good thing.

"It's always been my view that professional societies should get together and cooperate on services to members," said Dan Smith, former AAPG president, "and this is a good opportunity.

"Besides being very supportive of our domestic members' development projects, we can use our international APPEX expertise to help expand that of NAPE," Fritz added.

The desire to continue with two events annually has strong support among many of the rank-and-file.

"One in the spring and one in the fall makes a lot of sense," Gibbs said. "In the spring there will be people coming to look for plays they can take and do seismic on through the year; in the fall, they'll come looking for drilling prospects to participate in before the end of the year."

While some oil and gas folks are concerned about the potential loss of the personal appeal indigenous to a smaller show like APPEX, others take a more pragmatic view.

"I like APPEX because it's a geology-driven show," said Dan Morris, president of Viking International Petroleum, Houston, "but a lot of deals are made by landmen."

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