Noia conference will cover plenty of ground

Ashley Fitzpatrick
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Past chair of the board of the Newfoundland and Labrador Oil and Gas Industries Association (Noia) and chair of the organizing committee for this year’s Noia conference, Mike Critch of NSB Energy, is seen at last year’s Noia conference. Critch says the 2013 conference event will attempt to prompt discussion on some big issues for local producers and the local supply and service community. — Submitted photo

The main events of the Newfoundland and Labrador Oil and Gas Industries Association (Noia) conference are set to get underway Tuesday in St. John’s.

The conference typically features updates from oil companies operating offshore and this year will be no different. Representatives from Husky, Statoil, Suncor, ExxonMobil and Chevron are all included in the three-day schedule of presentations.

The conference also has planned guest speakers and panel discussions covering an extensive collection of topics relevant to the local industry.

“This year I think we have a fantastic lineup,” Mike Critch of NSB Energy said in a recent interview. He is a past chair of the Noia board and chair of the organizing committee for this year’s conference.

“Included in this year’s lineup, Nalcor’s going to be out explaining what they’ve discovered. They’ve discovered three to four new basins offshore Labrador and northern Newfoundland, and that’s only with the data they’ve received so far, and they’ve only surveyed down to about the northern tip of Newfoundland from the northern tip of Labrador — so they’re still gong to be doing a lot more seismic study work offshore Newfoundland,” he said.

“All in all, I think it’s going to be attracting a lot more explorers here.”

He noted some featured guests, including: CBC business correspondent Amanda Lang of “The Lang and O’Leary Exchange”; author of “Oil, Dollars, Debt and Crises,” Amy Myers Jaffe; and Erik Finnstrom, responsible for Statoil exploration in North America.

“On the international side and on the national side, we’ve got speakers like Felipe Bayon (Pardo) who is a senior vice-president with BP petroleum and he’s coming in to discuss lessons being applied now following the deepwater accident in the Gulf of Mexico,” he said.

“We have Kevin Heffernan (of the Canadian Society for Unconventional Resources) who is in here discussing the revolution happening in our industry caused by hydraulic fracturing of shale beneath the surface and, of course, that’s something that’s, I guess you could say, controversial in our industry as everyone is trying to learn and understand how it affects communities, how it affects environment,” he said.

“Included with that we have a panel discussion that will explore the social issues arising from our developing industry and how we can responsibly develop all these resources with only positive impacts for the community and reduced impacts on the environment, as we obviously have a social licence in all of this. So we’re digging into some interesting topics this year.”

Premier Kathy Dunderdale is set to open the conference at 8:30 a.m. Tuesday.

Meanwhile, on Wednesday and Thursday, the Atlantic Canada Petroleum Show will be held at Mile One Centre, simultaneous to the conference presentations and panels. The trade show showcases the offerings of supply and service companies.

The Telegram will have full coverage from the conference floor.

Organizations: Statoil, Newfoundland and Labrador Oil and Gas Industries Association, ExxonMobil Noia board CBC BP Canadian Society for Unconventional Resources

Geographic location: Newfoundland, Northern Newfoundland, North America Gulf of Mexico

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