In the professional event milieu, nothing
is more exhilarating than a successful debut. The recent APPEX (AAPG
Prospect and Property Exposition) show in Houston at the Adams Mark
Hotel, judging from the rash of kudos equivalent to a standing ovation,
fits neatly into this category.
The combined domestic/international event was sponsored
by AAPG, SIPES and Houston Geological Society. It was designed to
replace and expand upon the former Torch/PLS Dealmakers Houston
event, which was bought out by AAPG.
All 200 available exhibitor booth spaces were sold,
and approximately 1,500 registrants braved rainy weather to view
the array of prospects being shown.
A string of sequels already is well along in the
"We're just ecstatic at the response we've had here,
and we'll be at the George R. Brown convention center in Houston
next year on the same dates -- Aug. 27-29 -- with 400 booths available
for exhibitors," said Rick Fritz, executive director of AAPG. "With
a whole year to plan, instead of only the three months we had this
time, we're especially looking forward to increasing the international
presence at the event."
In fact, Fritz noted, there's an international venue
being planned for either 2002 or 2003 in London, England.
The Art of the Deal
The Houston expo kicked off with an SRO day-long
conference focused on the business of the E&P business. Speakers
addressed topics such as capital sourcing, deep exploration drilling
onshore and offshore, A&D market conditions, innovative exploration
techniques and more.
The day's sold-out luncheon was billed as a "power
lunch" featuring a duo of speakers -- J.P. Bryan with Torch Energy
Advisors and Scott Tinker, Texas state geologist and head of the
Bureau of Economic Geology in Austin. (See related stories on pages
23 and 25.) Day one concluded with an icebreaker in the dual booth
areas for prospects.
During the following day and a half, the focus was
on the prospect viewing segment of the expo. An international night
event held the second evening featured Alfredo Guzman, exploration
manager of Mexico's PEMEX, who shared the spotlight with a trio
of independent geologists who recounted their experiences with "going
The North American Prospect Exposition (NAPE) has
long been an established powerhouse when it comes to prospect expos,
but NAPE is a landman-sponsored event where prospect generators
-- read: geologists -- congregate to show their wares.
APPEX stakes a claim on the expo turf as a prospect
venue "by geologists and for geologists.
"Our members have been asking for their own prospect/property
show," Fritz said, "and this gives us another profit center to increase
our member services."
He emphasized AAPG is not a newcomer to the world
of prospect expos. The association has sponsored such events in
conjunction with its annual meeting, but this created a dual focus.
They recognized a standalone affair was the way to go.
This decision definitely punched the right buttons.
"We have absolutely no complaints, and this is a
great start," said APPEX exhibitor Frank Harrison with Optimistic
Oil. "The companies are being careful with their drilling dollars
and very selective about what they'll buy, but we're here to show
support for AAPG."
Bob Schneeflock with Paramount Petroleum was equally
"I've sold everything, but I have to be here to see
the people I've been talking to all year," he said. "It's a happening."
Industry veteran Scot Laurent, of Laurent Oil &
Gas,said "This whole event is absolutely marvelous, and there are
an awful lot of people here doing just what I do," he said, "selling
and buying deals."
The show was a definite draw for the decision-makers,
according to Brian Anderson at FUGRO-LCT, who noted the presence
of a large number of exploration managers.
According to Fritz and APPEX general chair Chuck
Noll, there will be many opportunities to increase attendance.
"We're in this for the haul," they remarked almost
in sync. "This is not just a flash in the pan."