HOUSTON - The eyes of the energy world are on Houston this week as leaders from around the globe are meeting at the George R. Brown Convention Center for the World Petroleum Congress. Held every three years, it's the first time this meeting has been held in the U.S., and Houston, since 1987.
More than 4,000 energy leaders, from around the globe, will be in attendance for conversations that will look to the future.
On the exhibitor floor, modern eye-catching displays clearly show the international reach of the event. Saudi Arabia, Qatar, India, Peru, and Angola are among the countries inviting conversation. The collecting message is clear: They have heard and share the concern about climate change, and the need to find new ways to power the future. Organizers insist it is all very real.
"The hearts and minds of people in the energy sector and the oil and gas sector, as we know it, has really shifted," says the WPC's Eithne Treanor. "They've really come on board and want to be part of the solution."
That's not a sentiment that would have been heard, among participants, until very recently. Still, as government ministers, CEO's, experts, and thinkers spend their time in Houston discussing a variety of energy and oil and gas topics, it is particularly significant that those conversations are happening in Houston.
In the energy capital of the world, smart use of fossil fuels is already front and center, among companies that drive the industry, as is work to transition to whatever comes next.
"Houston will be at the forefront of transitions and modifications and, I think, over the next 50 years, you will see significant changes in the way energy is created and managed in the United States," argues Houston energy analyst Art Gelber.
The meetings in Houston will not provide any binding policy, but one measure of success is the urgent conversation among decision-makers in a community that is positioned to hear what they have to say and do something about it.