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Sector focus: oil & gas

by EN

British event organisers dominate the global oil and gas arena.

For an island only producing 900,000 barrels of oil a month (the equivalent of Columbia), we certainly know how to put on a show. The oil and gas event industry (O&G) has come a long way since the North Sea boom of the 1970s and 80s. It’s no surprise, that the birthplace of modern global events, combined with our intrepid nature, is a natural fit for some of the strongest shows in the sector. The lucrative booming oilfields of offshore Scotland has supported growth during this period with the creation home-turf events such as Offshore Europe (REED). Many established events today were geo-cloned with the expansion of these businesses, most notably IIR (UBM/Informa). Very few independent operators are now left in the UK, with the biggest being acquired in a broad industry trend of consolidation between 2013-2015. This saw already established British players become dominant market leaders in certain geographies, such as the Hyve’s (Formerly ITE) purchase of Africa Oil Week. The exception to the rule in Europe is the sizeable Offshore Mediterranean Conference & Exhibition in Italy.

UBM’s All World acquisition ($485m) saw them secure a significant foothold in the O&G space (Middle East Oil Show (MEOS), Middle East Petrotech and GEO exhibitions in Bahrain) but it is unclear what their future plans are for Petrotech, once one of the biggest events in the region. Hyve’s Africa Oil Week is having somewhat of a renaissance since its heyday in 2014. DMG dominates the O&G global market with ADIPEC and Gastec, the two biggest privately-owned events in the industry rumoured to generate around £30m per event. 

Clarion Events first moved into the oil and gas space with the acquisition of the Energy Exchange and World Refining Association brands at the end of the last decade.  It supplemented this with the launch of the Oil Council series of shows in 2010 that have now been geo-cloned internationally.  In 2015 The Global Technology Forum was acquired from Incisive Media which gave an additional downstream brand.  Clarion’s focus seems different to its UK peer group with a clear bias towards higher yielding large-scale confex, though some of these events such as the World Energy Capital Assembly and ERTC event are notably larger than many industry exhibitions.  

The O&G market is divided into four main areas. Upstream – Oil out of the ground, Midstream – Transportation, pipeline, Downstream – Refining, petrochemical and products and Fullstream (all sectors above).

The big five trends and how they influence oil and gas markets and events.

European O&G majors are in restructuring mode driven by shareholders being more active with ESG sustainable goals than American peer groups.  Companies like Shell have now committed 15% of capex to renewable energy, while Total owns the biggest energy storage business in Europe (Safte).  The knock-on impact is they are now looking at sponsoring events that can be demonstrate a desire for a lower carbon future. 

All regions are not created equal. The US has seen production increase by 100% in little over seven years, turning the country from the world’s biggest buyer of crude to a net exporter of natural resources. This has been driven by the shale revolution, which allows the industry to extract O&G from the source rock and not the traditional reservoir. This affects African shows in particular.  The region has a higher cost to break even on extraction which has been traditionally stable as the US would buy whatever they produced. This is not the case now, and some shows in those countries have suffered as a result. Canada for the same reason and industry events like Calgary Stampede and Global Petroleum Show have disappeared or continue to suffer.  

Renewables will continue to grow but gas flexibility and cost dynamics are compelling. For instance, there is not a road in London without gas mains.  Electrification can solve many issues such as harmful gases from cars, but no solution for scaled central heating has yet been discovered.  Gas basic chemistry is 30% cleaner than oil and it has a key role to play for the next 25 years.  This has seen gas events such as LNG hold strong numbers despite the price of oil.  

While the profitability of upstream activities (especially offshore) has taken a hit with lower prices and the growth of renewables, this has only been good for the downstream sector where oil is turned into usable products such as fuel.  Events such as those like ERTC and Petrochem (now Reuters Events) have seen strong double-digit growth as a result.


Availability of potential buyers for non-core businesses of majors is driving a wave of M&A mainly driven by private equity and ultra high-net-worth individuals. This has seen those events that look at the finance of the industry outperform the fundamental market for the past four years.  

Like oil companies themselves, event businesses are trying to move their hydrocarbon rich portfolios to reflect lower carbon events.  Informa/UBM legacy Flame gas event includes an energy transition element for the first time as did and Gastec with the much publicised GPEX launch in Barcelona last year.  Both events brought in industry veterans to support the launch with varying degrees of success. 

Event organisers are trying to find the right way to blend low-carbon products into their traditional hydrocarbon events. Some have tried through gas which is accepted as an industry ‘bridge’ fuel with significantly lower carbon than oil, whereas others have branched into full renewables via organic launch or acquisition.  

The Events:

1. Clarion 

Oil and Gas Council (The world’s largest O&G finance event) and World Refining Association, with organises the largest downstream event in Europe ERTC. Oil and Gas Council’s World Energy Capital Assembly (Market leader in CEO led events). Clarion is and only operator that has a scaled presence in the USA.

Iain Pitt MD of Oil and Gas at Clarion Events said: “Our core product line is the Oil and Gas Council which is ten years old this October and has been led for a number of years by Amy Miller.  This is the largest oil and gas confex events series in the world with leading shows located in every major production region in the world including the USA.  This gives us a unique position that sets us apart from the other global operators in this space.  The business follows the expert network model and was the first to introduce membership as well as event content via our drillers and dealers magazine which has now evolved into an all-digital offering called iCouncil. Our membership following is now over 80,000 and includes executives from every FTSE 100, NYSE, ASX and TSX listed O&G company.  The core focus remains deal-making between executives and investors which we have recently evolved through the launch of our Council Connect One2One match making service.  There is always room for growth in such a large industry, and we are always looking to innovate and evolve our business to best support the underlying market. 

Our downstream business the World Refining Association has been a staple of the industry for nearly two decades.  The ERTC show is now the largest downstream event in Europe and we are excited that this will be hosted in Madrid in 2020.  This is run via our London based team under the stewardship of Marc Jones.  The team have been able to deliver exceptional customer outcomes by developing a deep understanding of the highly specialised field of process engineering.  This has only been possible by our ability to develop and retain an industry-leading talent pool in all the functions of production, sales and marketing. This has seen the brand successfully geo-clone into South America and Asia in recent years with the support of our regional Clarion offices”


2. REED 

SPE Offshore Europe, 7-10 September 2021, Aberdeen.

SPE Offshore Europe is recognised by offshore E&P professionals as Europe’s leading E&P event. It’s expected to attract over 36,000 attendees interested in staying up-to-date with significant technologies from over 900 exhibitors. The event is produced in association with The Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE) who serve more than 164,000 members in 143 countries worldwide. SPE is a key resource for technical knowledge related to the oil and gas exploration and production industry and provides services through its publications, events, training courses, and online resources.

3. DMG 

ADIPEC (Abu Dhabi International Petroleum Exhibition and Conference), 11-14 November 2019.

With over 2,200 exhibitors from 59 countries across the globe and 145,000 attendees, it doesn’t get any bigger. The event has 23 country pavilions showcasing the latest tech in the O&G sector. In 2018, US$17.99bn of business was done onsite at the event. The event boasts an impressive 82% of visitors that are decision makers. Their seminar programme features over 1,000 speakers making the event by far the biggest resource in the O&G sector.

Gastech Exhibition and Conference, 8-10 September 2020, Singapore

Gastech is the biggest global gas, LNG and energy industry event. Moving from city to city, it focuses heavily on the future of gas and is expected to attract over 35,000 visitors and 700 exhibitors. Senior figures at NOCs, IOCs, utility companies, EPC contractors, E&P companies, service companies, technology providers, shipbuilders and manufacturers attend the event.


4. HYVE 

African Oil Week, 4-8 November 2019, Cape Town. 

It attracts 1,800 C-level delegates and its seminar programme features over 250 speakers. Over 30 African and International Ministers, around 21 National Oil Companies and is CPD accredited. It’s an Upstream event but further development could be in the offing.

Elizabeth Deeming, Divisional Director at Hyve said: 

“We remain very proud of Africa Oil Week, the show has exceeded our goals for the 2019 edition. We have seen high growth in both sponsor and exhibitor numbers, as well as an uplift in the quality and seniority of delegates. 

We believe that the show’s performance is a direct result of the support Hyve Group has provided since it acquired AOW back in 2016, particularly the TAG programme investments across our whole portfolio of African shows. 

Changes made specifically at AOW included investments into our content programme to ensure a better return on time for our visitors, as well as the benefit of CPD accreditation (AOW is now accredited by the Continuing Professional Development Certification Service). We have also increased our marketing offering and have added a brand-new Government & VIP relations team. 

Last but not least – “think customer” is at the heart of everything that we do. 

This year across our portfolio of African shows, (AOW and Mining Indaba) we are improving the delegate experience and we have introduced business intelligence pieces – market reports and webinars developed in conjunction with industry thought leaders – to ensure continual engagement throughout the year with our audiences. Our purpose is to bring the global oil and gas community together not only during the show, but throughout the whole year.”

This piece recently featured in the November issue of Exhibition News. For more content like this, subscribe now.

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