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Gas, oil deals to flourish at Pittsburgh expo

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Members of the gas and oil industry looking to do business will soon have the opportunity at an event described as a mash-up of a farmer's market and the stock exchange.

The North American Prospect Expo, or NAPE, has been hosted for the past 20 years in Houston. With current developments in new gas plays thriving in the Marcellus and Utica shale, organizers are duplicating the affair in Pittsburgh.

NAPE comes to Pittsburgh on April 10-12 at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center.  Marty Schardt, general partner with NAPE and executive vice president of the American Association of Professional Landmen (AAPL) said deals are made all the time in the industry, but the event allows companies to quickly secure multiple opportunities.

"It's a prospect expo where upstream oil and gas companies get on a convention floor and display projects they are looking to sell or looking for investors and there's others looking to invest and looking for projects to get involved in," Schardt said. "It's an opportunity for the upstream oil and gas business community to get together."

Financiers and law firms servicing the industry will also be on hand helping out with trades and deals. NAPE has expanded its offerings and is hoping for strong results in its first Northeastern conference.

"We were looking at the demographics of the people who come to Houston and realized that while we get folks from various parts of the country, we weren't really servicing some parts of the country as well as we could," Schardt said. "… We're bringing it to Pittsburgh and really hoping to attract the area around Pittsburgh in the old conventional or in the Marcellus or Utica plays."

Schardt said they hope to attract oil and gas business from Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, eastern Ohio, New York and even southern Ontario.

"That's where most of the plays are going on right now, so that's our drawing area for this regional event," he said.

While there is a more traditional conference featuring informative sessions on the first day, the expo gets right to business the next day.

"The purpose of the business conference is more informational," Schardt said, saying that it was more of an update on federal legislation instead of a training or educational event.

Booths will be set up around the center and oil and gas men can make business deals immediately on the spot.

"It's a major, major networking event," he said. "… Many business transactions are accomplished through an introduction on the floor. … Even companies are bought and sold through an introduction made on the floor."

Schardt said one attendee even told him that one NAPE conference can replace 20 business trips.

"He can see everyone he wants and needs to see right on the floor of the show," Schardt said.

The event will feature prospect and property organization, capital services and vendors and other providers of services to the industry. Since it is a first year event, organizers aren't sure how many will participate, though one estimate was 2,500 attendees and there are more than 550 booth spaces available.

"Whether you are a player in the region, or you're looking to become a player in the region, this is a good opportunity to see what's going on," Schardt said. "… This is a chance to meet potential partners, meet your competitors, meet friends and make new acquaintances and to establish new business relationships."

More than 17,000 people attended a recent winter NAPE in Houston. A summer event about one-third of the size is also held in Houston.

More information on the expo can be found at their website: http://www.napeexpo.com/nape-shows/regional-nape-east.