APPEX Growth Expectations Met

Prospects Are the Key

APPEX 2002, sponsored by AAPG along with co-conveners SIPES, HGS and PLS, is proof positive that you can take a good thing and make it even better.

The highly successful 2001 inaugural event in Houston had the oil and gas prospectors abuzz — so much so that the organizers realized early-on that a repeat performance would require a larger venue to accommodate the anticipated number of participants and attendees.

"Our move to the George R. Brown Convention Center this year was two years earlier than our business plan called for," said Rick Fritz, AAPG executive director, "but when we were so successful with the first event, we felt we couldn't stay in the original hotel venue and just be stagnant."

This year's numbers prove out the wisdom of this decision.

The 300 booths at the show were a 40 percent increase over 2001, and the number of registrants jumped from 1,400 in 2001 to slightly more than 2,000.

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APPEX 2002, sponsored by AAPG along with co-conveners SIPES, HGS and PLS, is proof positive that you can take a good thing and make it even better.

The highly successful 2001 inaugural event in Houston had the oil and gas prospectors abuzz — so much so that the organizers realized early-on that a repeat performance would require a larger venue to accommodate the anticipated number of participants and attendees.

"Our move to the George R. Brown Convention Center this year was two years earlier than our business plan called for," said Rick Fritz, AAPG executive director, "but when we were so successful with the first event, we felt we couldn't stay in the original hotel venue and just be stagnant."

This year's numbers prove out the wisdom of this decision.

The 300 booths at the show were a 40 percent increase over 2001, and the number of registrants jumped from 1,400 in 2001 to slightly more than 2,000.

APPEX is unique in the realm of prospects expos in that it is designed by geologists, for geologists, which is in keeping with what the participants demand.

"Our 2001 exit interviews indicated that the attendees like the fact there are mostly geologists and prospectors here," said Chuck Noll, APPEX general chair, "and it's a great place to network. It's almost a requirement to attend, because so many prospectors do.

"In fact, we've made an effort both years to have 70 percent or more prospectors," he said, "and we're closer to 80 percent this year."

The Art of the Deal

Still, it's more than just maps and cross sections.

The Dealmakers' Conference held the spotlight during Day One, with most of the morning devoted to finance issues, such as private equity for the E&P industry and mezzanine capital.

This was particularly timely given the dearth of money available for exploration now as investors increasingly seek "safe" places for capital, such as production in the ground.

Following a "power lunch" with talks by Texas Democratic gubernatorial candidate Tony Sanchez and AAPG president Dan Smith the afternoon schedule featured individual sessions focused on E&P, innovative exploration and support systems for exploration. Presentations included new seismic technology applications, offshore success how-to for a small company, onshore Louisiana deep drilling discoveries and potential and more.

The prospect viewing segment of the expo grabbed all attention beginning on Day Two, which culminated with the HGS international dinner, featuring talks by Gene Van Dyke, president of Vanco Energy, and Iain Murray, Britain's consul-general.

The expo continued through noon of the following day, eliciting some enthusiastic comments.

"This is our first time here, and we like the facility and the space, and we've had great traffic today," said Peter Duncan, chief operating officer at Chroma Energy. "We're a technology provider but in the exploration business," he said, "so prospectors and geoscientists are interested in what we're doing."

Dan Smith, who in addition to being AAPG president, wears the added hat of executive vice president of Sandalwood Oil and Gas, said that at his company's booth "we've had a steady stream of people interested in our prospects and wanting us to provide them with more information — we're showing two prospects in South Louisiana, and this has worked real well for us."

Looking Ahead

Even so, the powers-that-be have set their sights on a still-better APPEX for 2003, when space already is reserved for September 9 -11 at the Brown Convention Center.

For the first time, there will be a designated space for deepwater prospects. Also, there is an effort underway to increase the international participation, which has been hindered by the August time slot that previously was dictated by circumstances beyond the control of the organizers.

Fritz noted the second week of September is now the permanent date for future APPEX events.

Another noteworthy "upgrade" on tap for 2003, according to Smith, is the addition of a computer setup to enable participants to specify what geographic area or specific trend they're interested in and immediately locate the booths they need to visit.

Fritz said the goal is to attract more than 3,000 attendees next year and more than 400 booths. He emphasized that the sponsors welcome ideas on how to improve the show, which receives strong support from sponsoring society members.

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