NAPE opens with an international flavor

Tuesday was Jifon Francis’ first time at NAPE, but the geopysicist said he is no neophyte when it comes to making deals.

Cameroon, the West African country where Francis is deputy manager for the National Hydrocarbons Corporation, has an active oil and gas exploration scene.

Still, Francis and a colleague, Serge Edouard Angoua Biouele, were among people from 47 countries at the NAPE Winter Conference — formerly known as the North American Prospect Expo — Tuesday.

The action started slowly, but Francis wasn’t discouraged.

“They do come by,” he said. “It’s not difficult to get their attention.”

The NAPE Winter Conference opened Tuesday with an international show, a chance for advocates from countries around the world to hawk their prospects.

The business conference begins Wednesday, and the traditional expo will be Thursday and Friday.

The expo is the heart of NAPE, drawing people from major oil companies, tiny independents and everything in between to try to make a deal as they buy, sell and trade properties.

But the international portion of the convention suggests the increasingly global nature of the business.

That’s true even as the North American shale plays have heated up, causing some exploration companies to pull money from international work to focus prospects closer to home.

Overall, activity is growing. Global oil and gas capital expenditures are expected to reach $1.2 trillion in 2013, up 15 percent from $1.03 trillion in 2012, according to an analysis by GlobalData.