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
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
"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
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
"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."
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.