Looks like the third time really is the charm. After two recent failed attempts to host the World Petroleum Congress, Houston was chosen to host the major meeting of leading oil executives in 2020.
The Bayou City beat out Vancouver in a vote held today in Bahrain. Houston officials had bid to host the conference, which is held every three years, in 2014 and 2017 but lost out to Moscow and Istanbul, respectively. The last time Houston was selected as host was 1987.
The gathering draws as many as 10,000 top-level oil executives and has an estimated economic impact of $60-80 million.
Mayor Sylvester Turner and members of the U.S. WPC Bid Committee, including chair Galen Cobb from Halliburton, Gerardo Uria of the American Petroleum Institute, Pinar Yilmaz from ExxonMobil and Daniel Palomo from the Houston Convention and Visitors Bureau, traveled to Bahrain to make the final pitch on Houston’s behalf and witness the vote. They believe a key factor why Houston was chosen was the promise to dedicate 100 percent of the net profit from the event to establish a Global Legacy Program to develop the next generation of energy industry young professionals in six underdeveloped regions of the world.
Beside noting Houston's reputation as the "Energy Capital of the World," Turner pointed out that Houston is the most diverse city in the United States, with more than 140 languages spoken and a consular corps representing more than 90 nations. The bid also touted the compact downtown convention district, where attendees can walk to all events, and non-stop air service to Houston from 195 cities and direct connections to 74 international cities.
While in Bahrain, Tuner is also meeting with the U.S. Arab Chamber of Commerce, the Bahrain Ministers of Education and Oil, the Bahrain Economic Development Board and the U.S. Embassy Deputy Chief of Mission.