The 2017 edition of the Louisiana Gulf Coast Oil Exposition, or LAGCOE, kicks off Tuesday at the Cajundome in Lafayette, with more than 350 exhibits planned. That’s a bit fewer than the biennial exhibition typically attracts, the result of oil prices that haven’t fully recovered from precipitous declines starting three years ago.

But LAGCOE, which is also the name of the nonprofit organization that produces the exhibition, is happy with the number of exhibits, said LAGCOE marketing coordinator Lauren Rabalais. The exhibitor index shows a smattering of manufacturers, supply companies, equipment services and other businesses. Most are from Louisiana and Texas, but other states are represented as well and a few exhibitors are coming from Canada and the United Kingdom.

“The industry is slow right now,” Rabalais said. “LAGCOE is choosing to focus on the future of energy rather than sit around and cry about bad oil prices.”

The first LAGCOE was held at the Oil Center in 1953. The theme of this year's exhibition is "Energy Moving Forward."

Admission is free, but registration is required and restricted to people who work in the oil-and-gas industry, Rabalais said. Registration is available on site.

The three-day exhibition will feature staples of past events, such as a pitch competition on Thursday in which eight entrepreneurs will try to persuade investors to back their proposals. New this year is the Louisiana Energy Research and Development Forum, which is being presented in conjunction with the Louisiana Energy Institute.

The research and development forum will consist of panel discussions and presentations focused on petroleum or alternative energy.

The primary slate of LAGCOE presentations will proceed all day Tuesday and Wednesday and the first half of Thursday, with lunchtime keynote presentations on all three days. The keynotes will focus on the outer continental shelf, industry adaptation in the Gulf of Mexico, changing energy trends in Washington, D.C. and liquefied natural gas. 

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