Noia conference begins main events

Premier Tom Marshall to address participants

Ashley Fitzpatrick
Published on June 18, 2014
A project manager with Technip Canada, Trevor Giles has also been a main organizer for the annual conference for Noia, the local oil and gas industries association. The conference continues through Friday. — Submitted photo courtesy of Noia

With the theme “Our energy, our home, our future,” the annual Noia oil and gas industry conference is launching into its main presentations Wednesday, with an opening address from Newfoundland and Labrador premier Tom Marshall.

A volunteer on the conference organizing committee and project manager at Technip Canada, Trevor Giles told The Telegram — while Newfoundland politics has been the favoured topic this week, with the exit of premier-designate Frank Coleman — he does not believe that news will take away from the buzz and public discussions regularly generated by Atlantic Canada’s largest oil and gas industry event.

“I’m certainly excited about the conference and the program that we put together with the committee this year, I think, is phenomenal,” he said.

The Noia conference is technically already underway, with social events including a golf challenge held earlier in the week, but the main program runs now through Friday at the St. John’s Convention Centre.

Scheduled presentations include reflections on the local industry from longtime politician and former Lt.-Gov. John Crosbie, discussion of political influences on our energy future with former Shell Oil president John Hofmeister and a “leaders panel” with former premiers Brian Tobin and Danny Williams. Those three sessions are set for Wednesday, Thursday and Friday respectively.

Throughout the program, representatives for oil companies active offshore Newfoundland and Labrador — Suncor Energy, Husky Energy, ExxonMobil Canada, Nalcor Energy, Statoil Canada and Chevron Canada — will present the latest updates on their company’s work.

Between 1,000-1,200 people are expected to attend the conference, representing oil companies, but also companies that make up the offshore supply and service sector.

“The reason we kind of picked the theme this year, which is around ‘Our energy, our home, our future,’ is it speaks to the sort of three sub-themes that we as a committee wanted to establish this year ... The first (point) being we wanted to take time to reflect, quickly on our successes and then to quickly move into the current opportunities that exist in our industry here and then to lead into the third theme, which is really getting prepared for our future,” Giles said.

On the future, he said major projects like the $14-billion, ExxonMobil-led Hebron project and, on the horizon, Husky Energy’s proposed West White Rose will not mark an end to the “boom” in oil and gas work in the province in recent years. He pointed to maintenance and expansion work on existing developments including Hibernia, with subsea tieback activity and new investments into seismic data collection, as all contributing to the industry’s coming years.

“I think what it is is we’re a developing industry, where one time we were an industry that was probably cyclic from one development to the next,” he said.

Meanwhile, when considered with the Atlantic Canada Petroleum Show also happening this week at Mile One Centre, the Noia conference has become a solid draw for the City of St. John’s, according to Coun. Bruce Tilley.

“It not only brings together the local industry, but attracts interest in (local) business from other parts of Canada and all around the world,” he said, offering his support for the event, welcoming all conference attendees.

“The oil and gas industry of course, without question, is fueling the economic growth in our city and within our province,” he said. He highlighted new office buildings, hotel and condominium developments in the city’s downtown as the obvious evidence.

“And of course with our next project Hebron and its development and Statoil’s recent finds, there is a positive atmosphere within the business community and of course throughout the province. These (offshore) developments combined with other exploration efforts offer great potential for this industry, which may translate into continued investment and additional benefits to our city and to our province in the long-term.”

The Telegram will carry full Noia conference coverage at and in our daily print and digital editions.