Students, CEOs, roughnecks sign up by the thousands for expo in Lafayette

Exhibitor space sold out for LAGCOE

Oil and gas personnel from around the world, from chief executive officers to drilling roughnecks, will pour into Lafayette this week for the LAGCOE 2013 show.

Up to 14,000 visitors are expected at the Cajundome & Convention Center, according to Angela Cring, executive director for the Louisiana Gulf Coast Oil Exposition.

A total of 416 exhibitors started setting up displays up to a week before the show, which begins Tuesday, she said.

“Based on the exhibitor participation and pre-registration numbers, we’re expecting a very large crowd who are interested in the latest and greatest oil and gas technology,” Cring said.

Exhibitor space has been sold out since the summer, and more than 400 companies that wanted to be part of LAGCOE 2013 are on a waiting list, said Claire Thom, LAGCOE communications director.

This year’s biennial LAGCOE is the exhibition’s 29th show, graduating from Blackham Coliseum in 1995 to the Cajundome.

And through the years, technology that has been developed to extract oil and gas and to get it to marketplaces has improved exponentially.

Deposits formerly thought of as unreachable in shale formations and below thousands of feet of water are now just financial commitments away from extraction.

A lot of that technology will be displayed this year at LAGCOE, which is second in size only to Houston’s yearly Offshore Technology Conference in the number of exhibitors and visitors.

This year’s LAGCOE also has a more international flavor than in years past. Technical and economic presentations will be made by international oil and gas officials.

Speakers from India, Mexico, Malaysia, Saudi Arabia, Brazil and other countries will tout the advantages of doing business in their countries.

U.S. officials, trying to catch the ears of foreign guests, will take the lectern to speak about the economic advantages of spending their money in America.

At the local level, Lafayette and Louisiana economic officials will draw upon Louisiana’s tax incentives and abundant oilfield labor pool.

And keeping with LAGCOE’s push to bring young oil and gas professionals into the fold — there are 500 Louisiana members of Young Professionals of LAGCOE — LAGCOE 2013 on Thursday will feature a technical presentation competition for engineering students at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, LSU and the University of Houston.

Cring said there will be another feature to this year’s LAGCOE, an event on Thursday that has not been publicized.

It’s being billed as an Industry Think Tank Event, from 10:30 a.m. until 11:45 a.m.

On the second floor of the Convention Center, college engineering students will hear from industry executives about how to be a leader in the industry.

“It’s how to get the students to learn from the CEOs and meet them,” Cring said.

She said the event is by invitation only, and students and others who want to be invited can contact organizers at info@lagcoe.com.

Another first this year is an oil and gas career fair, for which 600 to 700 people have pre-registered for the chance to meet employers, Cring said.