Houston Out, Istanbul In as Host Site for 2017 World Oil Congress

It was a case of “close, but no cigar” for Houston as it lost to Istanbul late Wednesday in its bid to host the 22nd Annual World Petroleum Congress (WPC) in 2017. Houston received 45 percent of the vote, compared with 55 percent for Istanbul.

WPC is a five-day forum held every three years that encompasses all aspects of the global petroleum industry.

If Houston feels like it is always a bridesmaid, and never a bride, there is good reason. Houston had already lost in a close contest with Moscow to host the 2014 WPC amid worries some delegates had about obtaining visas to the U.S.

The last time that a U.S. city hosted the event, Ronald Reagan occupied the White House. Copenhagen, Denmark and Astana, Kazakhstan had already been eliminated in the bidding to hold the 2017 event.

Like the other 60-plus contenders, Houston and several local companies lobbied heavily to be the host site in an effort not unlike a country vying to host the Olympics. More than a dozen energy companies ponied up $500,000 in putting together a bid package for Houston.

Although Houston is host to the Offshore Technology Conference and several other major oil and gas events each year, WPC would have generated direct economic expenditures of $10 million, in addition to indirect spending in the tens of millions of dollars.

“While we are disappointed that we were not able to bring WPC back to Houston, I am very proud of the work our committee did to create a first-class bid,” said Don Hrap, president, Lower 48 and Latin America for ConocoPhillips.

“Dozens of leaders from a variety of organizations came together in an unprecedented way to make this pitch for Houston, which shows the strength of our energy industry and our city’s commitment to this sector.”


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