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Annual Noia conference opens today in St. John’s with new technical and business-to-business programs

The 34th annual Noia conference begins in St. John’s today. The three-day event — themed Redefining Oil: The Time is Now — features guest speakers such as J.D. Irving Ltd. co-CEO John Irving and former Saskatchewan premier Brad Wall.
The 34th annual Noia conference begins in St. John’s today. The three-day event — themed Redefining Oil: The Time is Now — features guest speakers such as J.D. Irving Ltd. co-CEO John Irving and former Saskatchewan premier Brad Wall. - Contributed

With Hebron coming on stream last fall, the province’s offshore is now home to four producing oilfields and thanks to Nalcor’s efforts to map the rest of the enormous offshore, there’s no denying the tremendous potential that exists beneath the waves.

But the province’s oil and gas industry is not without its risks above the water, specifically as it relates to regulatory uncertainty.

“We need to start exploring, developing and producing our resources now because as we know … by 2060 or 2070 is going to be that crossover with renewables,” says Newfoundland and Labrador Oil & Gas Industry Association (Noia) CEO Charlene Johnson.

“In our experience here, it’s at least 15 years before we get to production and then a well will produce for 20 years or so, so that takes us out close to that 2060 mark. If we put this out much further, there’s a potential here that that oil will stay in the ground.”

It’s fitting then, that the theme for Noia’s 34th annual conference, starting today at the St. John’s Convention Centre, is “Redefining Oil: The Time is Now.”

The federal government has proposed new environmental assessment legislation that many in the industry feel will create unnecessary roadblocks and redundancies in a system that already works well.

“We have existed sustainably with the marine environment and fishery for the last 20-plus years and we want to continue that, so protection is really important to us, but so is progress and we don’t want to get bogged down in process.” Johnson said.

With an industry star-studded cast of speakers and panelists, the three-day conference will offer programs similar to previous years, but Noia has added a few new components this year to broaden the discussion.

Each day will feature an afternoon technical session exploring topics such as the emerging Ocean Supercluster organization, marginal field development and how it can be used to further develop resources, and an entire session dedicated to the solutions that can improve the viability of deepwater fields.

“A lot of our frontier activity is in deep water and we’ll be drawing on experiences from the U.K. and Norway and some of the production systems there,” says Johnson.

Noia is also playing matchmaker this year, offering a business-to-business program for the first time, with 12 companies signed on — many of them Tier 1 contractors and some operators.

“It’s kind of like speed dating. They will have 10 minutes with each of those 12 companies that came forward,” Johnson says.
“Local companies and others certainly welcome the opportunity to have their ear.”

In addition to Premier Dwight Ball and Minister of Natural Resources Siobhan Coady, keynote speakers this year include former Saskatchewan premier Brad Wall, now a special adviser for Osler, Hoskin and Harcourt LLP, who will speak on Canada’s competitiveness in oil and gas globally; Calgary Herald business and energy columnist and University of Calgary chancellor Deborah Yedlin, speaking on innovation in the energy sector, global energy trends and the challenges facing oil and gas this year and into the future; and Atlantic Canada business leader John Risley.

Jim Irving, co-CEO of J.D. Irving Ltd., will deliver the opening keynote address this morning.

Another new component this year is the introduction of a free conference app, offered through Attendify, allowing delegates to create a profile that they can use to follow the conference program, communicate with other delegates and provide feedback on conference sessions.

It’ll also notify delegates when sessions are about to begin and be an extension of the business-to-business component.
“On the app, you can see who the other participants are and reach out to them if you want to set up your own side meetings,” says Johnson.

The conference concludes Thursday afternoon.

kennoliver@thetelegram.com

Twitter: kennoliver79

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