When the crowd of 4,200 registrants gathered at Summer NAPE in Houston during a couple of sultry days late in August, the exhibit hall at the George R. Brown Convention Center was a rockin' place.
Indeed, the energy level was almost palpable, as the din from the high-octane congregation reverberated off the walls in the big room. In all, 250 companies participated in the event, where 375 booths were set up.
Summer NAPE was created and produced by NAPE Expo LP, which is a partnership comprising AAPL, AAPG, IPAA and SEG. The event replaces the former AAPG-sponsored APPEX event held each summer before AAPG joined into the NAPE partnership.
The earlier success of APPEX aptly demonstrated the need for a summer prospect expo.
Near-$70 oil and $10 gas alone can create excitement among a group of deal sellers and buyers. Commodity prices aside, there were plenty of good prospects being displayed for sale that had the buyers all revved up.
As a sign of the times, there also were a number of "sold" signs in some of the booths early on the expo's first day. While some deals were cut directly on the floor, there were instances where exhibitors planned to show prospects that sold before the meeting commenced.
There were reports that at least one prospect was sold during an owner's walk from his car to the exhibit booth where he planned to put it on display.
Not surprisingly, the bulk of the prospect generating shops showing their wares were smaller companies, with a number of new names included. There were properties being promoted as far away as Australia, in addition to the expected plethora of prospects in always-popular drilling locales such as Texas and Louisiana.
As is often the case with creative prospect generators, some of the deals on display carried some intriguing and catchy monikers. Sandalwood Oil & Gas, for instance, was promoting its "Monkey in the Mirror" prospect offshore South Louisiana. The prospect is a mirror image of one to be drilled by Sandalwood a short distance away at Monkey Island.
Smiles All Around
For those who were there to learn something as well as buy and sell, Summer NAPE kicked off with a forum on "Perspectives on North American E&P." The forum, sponsored by IHS Energy, featured technologies that spur commercial production from unconventional reservoirs. The Summer NAPE luncheon featured a presentation by James Flores, chairman and CEO of Plains Exploration and Production.
All of it added up to satisfaction aplenty being expressed over AAPG's first experience in the summer event.
"I think it's great," said Rick Fritz, executive director of AAPG. "I think the high level of participation shows the importance of these merged meetings and how successful they can be. It shows how much can be accomplished with inter-society cooperation."
"We're very pleased with Summer NAPE," said Robin Forte, executive vice president of AAPL, where NAPE originated. "There's good energy here, and the prospects are selling.
"In fact," he added, "the energy level is comparable to the larger winter meeting. We'll absolutely do another."
Forte noted also that NAPE is a good competitor for a deal. He told of hearing from prospect generators on the brink of selling a prospect and then closing the deal as soon as they mentioned they would be taking it to NAPE.
Obviously the exhibitors, too, were happy campers.
"We sold what we have," said Robert Pledger, president of Benchmark Oil & Gas. "And we happened to mention a 12-well drilling program to someone who said he wanted in on it even though he hadn't seen it -- we'll see what happens."
Exhibitor Jim Allen, president of J.L. Allen Exploration Ventures, was equally enthusiastic about the confab, even though he arrived empty-handed, having sold the prospects he had prior to the expo.
"This is really very good," he said. "It's comfortable and not so crowded like the bigger meeting. There's a good variety of prospects and a lot of lookers, and I've heard that many people have sold or made appointments."