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Redvers Oil Showcase celebrates the industry

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Bob Somerville from Baker Hughes (right) listens to a question about his company's technology from a potential client.

The oil patch in southeast Saskatchewan, southwest Manitoba and other regions focussed its attention on Redvers May 10 and 11 for the fourth edition of the biennial Redvers and District Oil Showcase, which was the biggest showcase yet.

A total of 137 exhibitors were part of the event. Fifty-two booths were located outdoors and 85 more were inside at the Redvers Sports Arena. Event spokesperson Leta Brisebois said that both indoor and outdoor booths were sold out.

About 1,500 people attended the event during the two days.

Many exhibitors were oilfield companies demonstrating the services, the supplies and the technology that can offer the patch. Several big tanks and separators were featured attractions at the outdoor exhibits. MagnaFabs brought their genie lift, which is used to reach the top of tall buildings and structures. Brisebois said she went to the top of the genie lift, and it gave her a view of the entire area used for outdoor exhibitors.

Indoor exhibitors also brought some of their newest technology to the showcase.

A supper at the Redvers Curling Club on May 10 was also sold out. Painted Pony Petroleum president and CEO Patrick Ward was the guest speaker. Ward has enjoyed a lengthy career in the oil patch, and has been the president and CEO at Painted Pony since 2007.

"He gave us a bit of history on his family and their immigration (from England) into Canada," said Brisebois. "It was kind of nice to hear that. He did the same thing with Painted Pony, with a bit of the history on the company, and (he gave) a general history on the oil industry – where the first wells were drilled and where they produced oil."

Ward also shared his thoughts on the future of the industry.

There were other speakers at the event. Bob Ross and Susan Morris from Enform – an organization that promotes safety in the oil and gas sector – discussed some health and safety issues in the afternoon of May 10.

Brad Orsted from Enbridge Pipelines discussed their operations and projects in southeast Saskatchewan and southwest Manitoba, as well as their plans for the upcoming year, during an address in the afternoon of May 11.

Brisebois said the oil showcase was a big success, but they had to overcome challenging conditions a week earlier to ensure the viability of the outdoor exhibits.

"We had about three inches of rain in the two or three weeks prior to the show," said Brisebois.

The area where the outdoor exhibits were set up was "a muddy mess" a few days prior to the oil showcase. Volunteers worked tirelessly to make sure that the site could still be used.

"We actually managed to fit in all the outside exhibitors. Nobody got scared and didn't show up," said Brisebois.

The oil showcase is a great way to promote the industry to the general public, she said, and to promote the Redvers area to the oil companies.

"It's definitely a way for a small town such as Redvers to show what a community like this can offer to the oil industry," said Brisebois. "You don't have to be in the bigger centres like Weyburn or Estevan or Medicine Hat or Lloydminster to benefit from what a small town has to offer."

Feedback has been positive, Brisbois said. Exhibitors were pleased with the way in which the oil showcase was organized, and they were happy that there was a record number of booths.

This year also marked the first time that the event was on a Thursday and a Friday, as opposed to a Friday and a Saturday. Brisebois said the change in days worked out well.

Brisebois said the oil showcase's committee will have a meeting in late May, when they will discuss this year's event, and the areas in which they might be able to further expand.

"I know for the next show, we're going to have (another) hotel in town, which is going to hopefully alleviate the commuting that people had to do for this show, and we're going to have a larger campground as well, and that's going to help out tremendously," said Brisebois.

The curling club is currently used for the supper, so it's unlikely that it could be used for indoor exhibitors. They could move the supper to another location, she said, or they could use other areas in the arena than just the floor for the booths.

One thing that has already been decided is the date for the next edition of the oil showcase, as it will happen on May 8 and 9, 2014.

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