NOIA expecting record turnout at conference

Moira Baird
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The offshore oil and gas conference is NOIA's major event of the year - and in its 26th year it's drawing a larger audience than ever.

Sessions at the Newfoundland and Labrador Oil and Gas Industries Association conference begin Wednesday. This year's theme is Play on the Edge.

Geoff Cunningham

The offshore oil and gas conference is NOIA's major event of the year - and in its 26th year it's drawing a larger audience than ever.

Sessions at the Newfoundland and Labrador Oil and Gas Industries Association conference begin Wednesday. This year's theme is Play on the Edge.

Bob Cadigan, president and CEO of NOIA, said it's a play on the word play, which in industry lingo refers to an oil and gas prospect.

And he said the local offshore industry's harsh weather experience gives the province an edge in technology and expertise.

"The other side of that is the edge of opportunity, and the opportunity as things move north to take the harsh-environment expertise that we've developed ... and to push that expertise and our members further north."

No major announcements are expected this year on the scale of the Hibernia South deal announced at last year's NOIA conference or the Hebron deal announced in 2008.

"The announcements of the signings are obviously key milestones," Cadigan said.

"This year, we're going to be getting more detail on how some of those projects are ... going to progress.

Geoff Cunningham, NOIA conference chairman, said about 900 people were registered by late this week. He is also manager of A. Harvey and Co., which operates the offshore supply base in St. John's harbour.

The number of people attending the conference has increased steadily in the past few years - and he attributes that to presenters NOIA is able to attract to the event.

"We have all the operators that are doing business here giving us updates on their projects and what their future plans are."

Cunningham said upd-ates on the province's three producing oilfields, the White Rose expansion, Hibernia South and Hebron projects are valuable to anyone in the oil and gas industry.

"We're hearing about what the new plans are," he said. "On top of that, we're still focused on the Arctic opportunities ... how to do business in the Arctic."

Cadigan expects the number of conference participants to grow in the next few days.

"We'll probably surpass 1,000 in folks attending some portion of conference events this year," he said.

"This is the largest offshore oil and gas conference in Canada."

The luncheon speakers include: Jeff Rubin, economist and author of "Why Your World is About To Get a Whole Lot Smaller"; Jason Grumet, executive director of the U.S. National Commission on Energy Policy and energy adviser for the Obama presidential campaign; and Elyse Allan, president and CEO of GE Canada and vice-chair of the Energy Policy Institute of Canada.

NOIA represents more than 500 offshore supply and service companies working in the province's oil industry.

mbaird@thetelegram.com

Organizations: Newfoundland and Labrador Oil and Gas Industries Association, A. Harvey and Co., U.S. National Commission on Energy Policy GE Canada Energy Policy Institute of Canada

Geographic location: Hibernia South, Hebron, Arctic St. John's White Rose Canada

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