Calgary is competing for the right to host one of the largest oil and gas forums in the world in 2023.
Held every three years, the World Petroleum Congress attracts heads of state, ministers of energy and c-suite executives from around the world. The last time Calgary hosted, in 2000, approximately 2,500 delegates from 97 countries attended. Since then, the event has more than doubled in size.
While interested cities have until Jan. 31 to submit their letters of intent, it appears the Canadian bid will be competing against Azerbaijan, the United Arab Emirates and Argentina. This is the second time in a row Calgary will mount a bid to host the congress — a pitch to host the 2020 Congress ultimately lost out to Houston, Texas.
“The feedback we got from delegates who attended the last congress here in Calgary in 2000 is that it was the best congress ever. And we want to make it even better than that,” said Denis Painchaud, chair of WPC Canada, the committee mounting the bid.
Painchaud, the president of Baneret Consulting in Calgary and a former director of international government relations for Nexen Energy ULC and later CNOOC Nexen, said hosting an event of this scale would sell out hotels around the city and bring an estimated $65 million in visitor spending to Calgary. It would also provide a much-needed shot in the arm for Canada’s energy industry.
“We think our industry could benefit from that kind of exposure, especially on the international marketplace where we’ve seen interest in investment in Canada decline over the last number of years,” he said. “It’s an opportunity to profile our industry back on the world stage again, to talk about all the positives and all the good things that are happening in our industry in Canada.”
Calgary’s bid proposes to host the majority of WPC events at Stampede Park, with the opening and closing ceremonies at Telus Convention Centre. While discussions about a proposed $500-million expansion of the BMO Centre at Stampede Park are underway at city hall, Calgary’s bid to host the WPC assumes that project will not be finished by 2023.
Painchaud said the limitations of Calgary’s existing convention space may mean the event would be capped at 5,000 or so delegates, while Houston 2020 is expected to attract up to 10,000 people.
“We’d love to have bigger and better facilities, but we’re confident that the facilities we have in place are going to be sufficient to allow us to win the bid,” Painchaud said. “We’re going to do the best we can to sell the facilities we can.”
“We’re excited about going up against some pretty major cities but we think Calgary has a special offering we can win this on,” said Telus Convention Centre CEO Clark Grue.
When Calgary hosted in 2000, the event attracted anti-oil and anti-globalization protesters, saw some city streets temporarily shut down to ensure safe transit of dignitaries and delegates, and racked up a $2.2-million security tab. Painchaud said discussions around security for a possible 2023 event are already underway, though he said the general consensus is that the exceedingly tight security in place in 2000 was “not necessary.”
The winning bid city for the 2023 World Petroleum Congress will be announced on June 25 in St. Petersburg, Russia.
You can read more of the news on source