Trade show a no go

Moira Baird
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Offshore

It may be a sign of the offshore times in Newfoundland and Labrador.

The largest oil and gas trade show held in the province has been cancelled this year due to lack of interest and the inability to generate traffic during the two-day event.

It will be the first time in more than 20 years the Offshore Newfoundland Petroleum Show - a trade show for local and international companies providing offshore services, supplies and technology - has not taken place.

It may be a sign of the offshore times in Newfoundland and Labrador.

The largest oil and gas trade show held in the province has been cancelled this year due to lack of interest and the inability to generate traffic during the two-day event.

It will be the first time in more than 20 years the Offshore Newfoundland Petroleum Show - a trade show for local and international companies providing offshore services, supplies and technology - has not taken place.

And if no new oil and gas projects are announced off Newfoundland in the coming year, the U.K. company that organizes the trade show says it won't go ahead in 2008.

DMG World Media notified exhibitors of its decision Monday.

"It's a sign of what's happening in Atlantic Canada," said Wes Scott, commercial and business development director for DMG, from his Calgary office.

"We felt that we could probably get the exhibitors there again, and I don't want to say kicking and screaming, but it'd be darn near.

"At the end of the day, though, we didn't feel that we could deliver the attendance that they deserve, either because there isn't an interest in the event or those people just aren't in Newfoundland anymore.

"They're off working elsewhere in places like Fort McMurray, or they're just simply too busy to come down to the event."

DMG's trade show is not the same offshore conference held annually by the Newfoundland Ocean Industry Association (NOIA).

Both events have been held simultaneously, but organized separately.

NOIA said its conference, scheduled for June 18-22, is going ahead.

"We don't expect that this (cancellation) will affect our overall attendance at the conference at all," said Ted Howell, president and chief executive officer of NOIA. "We feel we have a very strong program this year, and are looking forward to having really good attendance at all events."

The association represents more than 450 offshore supply and service companies in the province

NOIA expects about 700 delegates to attend its conference entitled "Building a Strong, Competitive Industry." Howell said the conference will include sessions on harsh environment technology, updates from oil companies operating off Newfoundland, and keynote speakers such as former Alberta premier Ralph Klein.

Scott said the lack of new offshore projects off Newfoundland makes it difficult to attract potential buyers for the supplies and services on display at trade-show booths.

"In previous years, Newfoundland was getting treated like a centre where foreign decision-makers could come to the event and find Newfoundland technology or Canadian technology.

"Those people have now gone away."

As well, designing, manufacturing and engineering companies are not as interested in renting booths.

"There is no project for them on the horizon, so they have no bidding to look forward to," Scott said.

Howell said the cancellation of the trade show reflects the "depressed activity levels" in the province's offshore industry and a lack of new oil projects, such as Hebron.

With three oilfields in production, many service and supply contracts are also locked up and new opportunities are scarce.

"If there were all kinds of new projects, then, potentially, we could see new contractors and new suppliers coming in here to ... set up shop, establish distributor relationships or something of that nature," Howell said.

"Clearly, it is related to the fact that we do not have new activity going on here in the marketplace."

DMG organizes more than 300 trade shows worldwide, and Scott said attendance at the Newfoundland trade show has been declining for a few years.

"Like everybody else, we were holding out thinking this would turn around ... but we just couldn't keep taking that financial hit as a company. Three years in a row we had lost money on the event.

"We were forecasting to lose money again this year."

Last year, the Newfoundland trade show drew 100 exhibitors and about 1,800 delegates. In 2005, there were 90 company booths and 1,624 delegates.

That pales when compared with Alberta where DMG is organizing three trade shows. The Gas and Oil Exposition in Calgary is expected to draw 20,000 visitors and 600 companies in June.

Scott expects DMG will make a decision by the fall on whether or not to hold a Newfoundland trade show next year.

"If there's no projects imminent, we will not return for 2008."

It would be another difficult decision.

"We really did not want to have to cancel this event. If we have the opportunity to be back in the market, absolutely we will."

mbaird@thetelegram.com

Organizations: Newfoundland Ocean Industry Association, DMG World Media

Geographic location: Newfoundland and Labrador, Calgary, U.K. Atlantic Canada Alberta Fort McMurray Hebron

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Comments

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Recent comments

  • Newfoundlander
    July 02, 2010 - 13:21

    This is another result of the Williams government approach to the oil and gas industry. Even if that approach is the best in the long run, it would definitely have a chill effect on the industry and that is exactly what we are seeing. Quite franky, the industry doesn't see Newfoundland as being open for business.

    One can debate the merits of the Hebron deal if you wish . . . the complexities are beyond what most people can assess in determining if something is fair. But other recent actions by the Williams government were seen as downright unreasonable. The petulant attempt to install Andy Wells as chairman of the CNLOPB looked silly in the face of a clear binding process that had selected another more qualified candidate. Then the recent veto of the CNLOPB's decisionon Hibernia South looks to be a pure power play. It seems to be Williams showing who is boss. I can't choose the chairman I want but I can veto everything you do seems to be the message.

    The fact that the rationale of the provincial government's decision looks absurd seems lost on Williams. The decision overturns years and years of standard industry and CNLOPB practice without any real reason. Williams doesn't seem to understand that a stable regulatory regime was one of the few advantages Newfoundland held over a lot of the other offshore prospects in the world.

    Williams is boss. He CAN pretty much veto every offshore activity that industry desires to do. He can also state if they don't like it they can go elsewhere -- Unfortunately for Premier Williams, for the most part, they HAVE already gone on to other things. ( The Hebron team is now just a couple of people, down from 60 a year ago for example)

    The Newfoundland offshore ?? It used to be considered high-risk-high reward . . . Now its high risk and then the government will want to change the rules to appropriate a fair share of the reward.

    I do believe that premier Williams does try to do what is in the best interests of the province. But in the oil industry, I hace serious doubts as to the effectiveness of his combative approach. BUt since BIGOIL is not something people will ever sympathize with, the combative approach will garner votes and support. No Newfoundland politician ever lost many votes by telling a big company to shove it . The merits of their position are usually irrelevant.

    So the impacts start to be felt. Its too bad really. If Hebron was a go, I have no doubt this trade show would be proceeding

  • Jason
    July 02, 2010 - 13:18

    I'm amazed that pitchforks and torches aren't out for Danny Williams - maybe this well draw attention to his horrendous , laughable skills .

  • Annie
    July 02, 2010 - 13:10

    Tradeshows being cancelled! Come on
    who are we kidding here. The big Entrepreneurs are just waiting for it to fall in their laps. So be it. I understand them being very conscious.
    But sorry I guess NF is not for sale like it used to be. It is about time someone took a stand. Do you think Calgary and Fort Mac would give their resources away? Not a chance. Danny Williams is doing the province a world of good. It takes time to turn years of bad decisions around. I hope Danny Williams can keep his back bone like Ralph Klein did. Danny Williams can learn a thing or two from him. I don't know much about the Hebron etc... The only thing I can say is Danny Williams can't be doing any worse than the bind NF is in now. So he can only go up from here. I live in Alberta and it is nice to see that maybe one day my family may make it home because he didn't give our resources away. He may not be making all the right decisions Noboby is perfect. For example, Everybody is not happy with all of Ralph Klein's decisions. But the province is debt free. Thanks to him.
    So raise your glass to Danny Williams for trying to put the province back on its feet! Having the courage to stand up in the face of skeptics. What difference is it going to make even if he loses the deal. We can't lose what we didn't havein the first place. But at least someone else don't own the resources. One day that will pay off. Good Luck Mr. Williams!

  • Newfoundlander
    July 01, 2010 - 20:04

    This is another result of the Williams government approach to the oil and gas industry. Even if that approach is the best in the long run, it would definitely have a chill effect on the industry and that is exactly what we are seeing. Quite franky, the industry doesn't see Newfoundland as being open for business.

    One can debate the merits of the Hebron deal if you wish . . . the complexities are beyond what most people can assess in determining if something is fair. But other recent actions by the Williams government were seen as downright unreasonable. The petulant attempt to install Andy Wells as chairman of the CNLOPB looked silly in the face of a clear binding process that had selected another more qualified candidate. Then the recent veto of the CNLOPB's decisionon Hibernia South looks to be a pure power play. It seems to be Williams showing who is boss. I can't choose the chairman I want but I can veto everything you do seems to be the message.

    The fact that the rationale of the provincial government's decision looks absurd seems lost on Williams. The decision overturns years and years of standard industry and CNLOPB practice without any real reason. Williams doesn't seem to understand that a stable regulatory regime was one of the few advantages Newfoundland held over a lot of the other offshore prospects in the world.

    Williams is boss. He CAN pretty much veto every offshore activity that industry desires to do. He can also state if they don't like it they can go elsewhere -- Unfortunately for Premier Williams, for the most part, they HAVE already gone on to other things. ( The Hebron team is now just a couple of people, down from 60 a year ago for example)

    The Newfoundland offshore ?? It used to be considered high-risk-high reward . . . Now its high risk and then the government will want to change the rules to appropriate a fair share of the reward.

    I do believe that premier Williams does try to do what is in the best interests of the province. But in the oil industry, I hace serious doubts as to the effectiveness of his combative approach. BUt since BIGOIL is not something people will ever sympathize with, the combative approach will garner votes and support. No Newfoundland politician ever lost many votes by telling a big company to shove it . The merits of their position are usually irrelevant.

    So the impacts start to be felt. Its too bad really. If Hebron was a go, I have no doubt this trade show would be proceeding

  • Jason
    July 01, 2010 - 19:59

    I'm amazed that pitchforks and torches aren't out for Danny Williams - maybe this well draw attention to his horrendous , laughable skills .

  • Annie
    July 01, 2010 - 19:47

    Tradeshows being cancelled! Come on
    who are we kidding here. The big Entrepreneurs are just waiting for it to fall in their laps. So be it. I understand them being very conscious.
    But sorry I guess NF is not for sale like it used to be. It is about time someone took a stand. Do you think Calgary and Fort Mac would give their resources away? Not a chance. Danny Williams is doing the province a world of good. It takes time to turn years of bad decisions around. I hope Danny Williams can keep his back bone like Ralph Klein did. Danny Williams can learn a thing or two from him. I don't know much about the Hebron etc... The only thing I can say is Danny Williams can't be doing any worse than the bind NF is in now. So he can only go up from here. I live in Alberta and it is nice to see that maybe one day my family may make it home because he didn't give our resources away. He may not be making all the right decisions Noboby is perfect. For example, Everybody is not happy with all of Ralph Klein's decisions. But the province is debt free. Thanks to him.
    So raise your glass to Danny Williams for trying to put the province back on its feet! Having the courage to stand up in the face of skeptics. What difference is it going to make even if he loses the deal. We can't lose what we didn't havein the first place. But at least someone else don't own the resources. One day that will pay off. Good Luck Mr. Williams!