Offshore Europe traditionally attracts a huge influx of overseas visitors to Aberdeen, many of them organised into national and regional delegations.
One such grouping is the delegation from Louisiana which, from a north-east Scottish perspective, might be regarded as living in the shadow of Texas, and especially Houston.
Reality is that Louisiana is hugely important, and this year’s group is led by Dane Revette, director of energy at the Louisiana Department of Energy Development, plus international services director Larry Collins.
Speaking with Collins for this preview, Energy learned that Louisiana is highly important as the coalface gateway to the US Gulf of Mexico – also Mexico and South America.
He said it made huge sense for Scottish/wider UK companies to pay more attention to Louisiana than they had perhaps considered; equally, it was important for companies from there to connect into the North Sea. It was, in effect, a two-way street.
“The oil&gas industry is, from our perspective, even though it’s worldwide, is really a very small community of companies and actors that make this work,” said Collins.
“We believe it’s important for our companies to be a part of the worldwide fabric. Of course, in the case of the North Sea and Gulf of Mexico, while they’re thousands of miles apart, our companies and UK companies work in both arenas and they have to know what’s going on in one another’s yards.
“And so our goal is not just to pitch for Louisiana but help our companies forge closer ties with their counterparts on the North Sea side. Moreover, more and more companies are co-operating with one another than competing. The pie is big enough for both sides and more besides.”
Collins agreed with Energy that UK companies have tended to be less adventurous that they ought.
“I think that they’ve been overly cautious … that would be my assessment. There are opportunities in the Gulf of Mexico and extending down towards South America.
“Indeed, that’s one of the things our companies have to offer … potential partners for UK companies as our guys are out there … in Mexico, in South America and so forth. That’s a good way for UK firms to learn what’s going on in such areas.
“We have this cowboy mentality … we’ll ride in and go do business where things are not perfect and, because of that, our companies are probably a little ahead of the curve and in a position to help UK companies partner and take advantage of some of those connections.
“Mexico’s a great example. I see a lot of work that your economic development and our organisation is doing there, but its catch-up as opposed to staying ahead.”
Collins said UK companies are well embedded in Houston but that, while it is home to a lot of the white-collar side of the oil&gas industry, Louisiana produces more oil&gas than Texas, and most of the wells.
As for Offshore Europe, he said it was a very important forum and that among this year’s Louisiana party would be five companies that had never made the trek to Aberdeen.
“There’s comfort in numbers … travelling as a herd … so we’re going to introduce them to opportunities.
“The other real reason for us being at OE is that we co-operate with SDI (Scottish Development International ) and UKTI (UK Trade & Investment) and Aberdeen City and we have both sent delegations to and received delegations from Scotland.
“This (OE) is where we cultivate such relationships. If they need to know something about the Gulf of Mexico, we want them to feel they are able to turn to us as a resource … pick up the phone or send an e-mail. And vice versa.
“To me, that’s one of the most valuable reasons for our participating in Offshore Europe. Besides that, Aberdeen’s a great place to be.”