Upcoming energy conference adds innovation focus for Houston-based event
The World Petroleum Congress, which plans to return to in-person status in December, is adding a new wrinkle — a pitch competition — to this year's event.
On August 4, the World Petroleum Congress announced the launch this year of the Innovation Zone, which will enable energy pioneers to showcase their offerings. The 2021 World Petroleum Congress — hosted in Houston this time around — is set for December 5-9 at the George R. Brown Convention Center.
Houston-based energy giant ConocoPhillips is sponsoring the Innovation Zone.
"For more than a century, innovation has enabled our industry to keep pace with the growing demand for safe and reliable energy," Bill Bullock, executive vice president and chief financial officer of ConocoPhillips, says in a news release. He adds that the Innovation Zone will highlight "innovations that can propel our industry's purposeful journey through the energy transition and into the future."
In all, 32 startups and individuals will pitch their products or practices on the World Petroleum Congress stage. One winner will be honored with the inaugural Energy Innovator Award.
The Innovation Zone is open to energy companies, private entities, and individuals working as independent contractors. Proposals will be evaluated on seven criteria:
- Potential or actual technical or business success
- Environmental impact
- Stakeholder impact
- Broad-based uses
Applications for the Innovation Zone are due Aug. 20. To obtain an application, visit the World Petroleum Congress website. Representatives of ConocoPhillips and the World Petroleum Congress will sift through the applications and pick 32 finalists, who will be notified in early September.
"Startups, with their innovative business models, will play a decisive role in shaping a sustainable energy future, and for participating companies, this is a good opportunity to present and forge new links with key stakeholders and investors," says Serafina Lalany, interim executive director of entrepreneurship and innovation nonprofit Houston Exponential.
Aside from ConocoPhillips, sponsors of this year's World Petroleum Congress include Chevron, Halliburton, Accenture, Hess, ExxonMobil, BP, Qatar Petroleum, Baker Hughes, and Saudi Aramco.
The 23rd World Petroleum Congress was supposed to happen last year in Houston but was shifted to 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. More than 10,000 people are expected to attend this year's event. It's been estimated that the World Petroleum Congress will pump $60 million to $80 million into the Houston economy.
Staged by the World Petroleum Council, the event hasn't been held in North America since 1987, when Houston hosted it. It's known as the "Olympics" of the oil and gas sector.
The 24th World Petroleum Congress will be held in 2023 in Calgary, Canada. The event traditionally takes place every three years.