Developing Unconventional Gas (DUG) Australia Conference

  • One of the world’s largest unconventional resources conferences
  • The first international DUG event ever held outside North America
  • Conference injected $1.5 million into the Brisbane economy
  • The first international conference held at the recently opened RICC
Attendance 440 delegates
Host City Brisbane, Australia
Venue Royal International Convention Centre (RICC)
Date 2013 - August

Photo Credit: DUG Australia 2013; Hart Energy

The DUG Australia 2013 conference was run by Houston-based company Hart Energy which stages a number of similar events in North America. In 2012, six DUG conferences in the US and Canada attracted more than 17,000 industry professionals. In addition to hosting conferences, Hart Energy also publishes and distributes print and online magazines and information services and provides research and consulting services for the oil and gas industry.

The 2013 Brisbane conference was the first time that a DUG series event had ever been held in Australia, or for that matter, outside North America.

The conference theme “LNG, Unconventional Gas and the emerging Shale Boom in Asia-Pacific” focussed on the challenges and opportunities in Australia for unconventional gas (includes coal-seam gas, tight-gas and shale gas), LNG and emerging shale resource development.  Presentations were given by senior industry leaders from within the oil and gas industry and included a number of international speakers. 

A trade show ran concurrently with the conference and included displays by 36 exhibitors, who included Halliburton, Schlumberger, Santos, Finder Exploration and Titan Energy Services. An optional half day workshop was also held the day before the conference. 

Conference delegates included those from the oil and gas exploration and production sector, financial investors, service companies, pipeline operators, policy-makers and regulators, attorneys and a range of other professional service firms.

Brisbane is an important hub for the gas industry in Australia, with many international gas companies headquartered in the city. With more than A$500 million expected to be spent on exploration in Australia over the next two years, Australia is expected to soon become the world’s number one exporter of LNG and will be the largest supplier to Asia.

The Brisbane Marketing Convention Bureau prepared the bid which gave Brisbane the right to host the DUG Australia 2013 conference, competing against Sydney, Darwin and Perth.

Asthe official Convention Bureau, Brisbane Marketing is responsible for promoting Brisbane nationally and internationally as a Business Events destination. In association with its member partners, the Convention Bureau plays a key role in securing Business Events for Brisbane.  It provides meeting planners and event organisers with free advice, support and a wide range of services, in order to ensure that the city meets all of the conference’s needs and objectives.

Brisbane’s bid to host DUG Australia 2013 was prepared and submitted by the Convention Bureau in record time, requiring just a three day turnaround from receipt of the initial urgent request through to delivery of the formal bid. This document included:

  • details of suitable venues and accommodation that met the event’s specific criteria
  • advice and assistance on staging this inaugural event in Australia
  • information on Brisbane’s strengths and key contacts in the oil and gas industry
  • competitive quotations from key Brisbane venues and event suppliers
  • flight access and transport information
  • visa and immigration travel advice
  • Brisbane visitor and tourist information
  • letters of support from relevant key industry bodies and business leaders
  • specific funding and marketing support strategies to assist Hart Energy in promoting the conference to attract the maximum number of delegates

Brisbane Marketing incorporates not only the official Convention Bureau but also the city’s investment attraction, tourism and major events and CBD retail and export divisions.  As a result, the conference organiser, Hart Energy,was ableto access the 100-strong Brisbane Marketing team’s invaluable expertise and broad networks of contacts across industry, government and academia.

The Convention Bureau assisted Hart Energy not only with their selection of the conference venue, hotel and event suppliers, but also provided valuable introductions to key oil and gas industry players. This was achieved by leveraging the strong relationships already established by Brisbane Marketing’s Invest Brisbane team, via their strategic network of global resource hub connections.

Brisbane Marketing also liaised with the Brisbane Lord Mayor’s office to provide Hart Energy with a pre-conference media release for DUG Australia, as part of the marketing and promotion in Australia for this inaugural conference.

Considerable delegate boosting support was also made available via the Convention Bureau’s ‘Convention Support Toolkit’. This complimentary assistance package comprises a selection of promotional collateral, pre and post touring ideas, and visitor support services which are designed to assist with the attraction of delegates to conferences held in Brisbane.

In the case of DUG Australia, this included the provision of pre and post touring itineraries as well as general visitor information for lodgement on the conference website. A selection of Brisbane images was also provided for adding to the conference welcome video and additional oil and gas images arranged via the Bureau’s contacts at gas explorer and producer, QGC, and also the Queensland Resources Council.

Pocket-sized fold out city maps were supplied for insertion into all delegate satchels and an onsite Brisbane Tourist Information desk was set up at the convention centre for the duration of the conference for delegates seeking information about the city and beyond.

Brisbane Marketing Convention Bureau General Manager Rob Nelson said: - “We were delighted that Brisbane was chosen as the first international destination for a DUG event, outside of North America. It is undoubtedly a testament to Brisbane’s significance as a global resources sector hub with many oil and gas exploration and production companies headquartered here, and also an indication of the depth of capability of our meetings infrastructure.  This was a very prestigious and important event for our newly opened Royal International Convention Centre and is one of three international events being held there in its first year of operation.”

Conference a first for the Royal International Convention Centre (RICC)
DUG Australia 2013 was the first international conference held at the RICC, which only opened in March this year.  The conference and trade show were run concurrently, enabling the centre to showcase its versatility, with delegates moving with ease as required from the plenary conference sessions in Hall C to the exhibition area in Halls A and B.

The Welcome Reception on the opening night and the Networking Cocktail Function the following evening were both held in the Exhibition Halls, providing scope for delegates to mix and mingle with exhibitors.

A number of small group off-site dinners were held in Brisbane’s CBD Riverside Restaurant Precinct and included the contemporary Japanese cuisine of Saké, Queensland seafood specialist Jellyfish and signature steakhouse restaurant, Cha Cha Char. All of these venues boast panoramic riverfront views which include Brisbane’s famous landmark Story Bridge.

The official conference hotel was the Brisbane Marriott Hotel and a shuttle bus was organised by the RICC each day to transfer delegates to and from the Convention Centre.

Social media plays a role
Social media played an active role in the dispersal of information about the conference. Twitter and LinkedIn were all utilised to spread the conference word prior to and during the conference, with several conference sponsors actively involved as well. Images of exhibitors, speakers and networking receptions were also posted to provide ongoing conference updates for those unable to attend the event.

“We’re newcomers to Australia, certainly newcomers to Brisbane and Brisbane Marketing has not only given us marketing support and helped us with site selection, but they’ve also introduced us to a number of key players in the industry.

Brisbane is the centre of the unconventional resources industry. All of the major oil and gas companies who are involved in drilling and exploring unconventional gas have a base here, so it made a completely logical choice to come for an unconventional gas conference. Additionally, Brisbane is very accessible to travellers coming to the conference from overseas, be it Asia, or North America or Europe.

Brisbane is kind of an undiscovered gem for people coming from the outside and we think that it offers a lot of holiday options when the conference is over. We didn’t know the city. We didn’t particularly know Australia and without Brisbane Marketing, we would have been hard pressed to find the accommodation and the conference hotel that we ultimately selected.”
Michael Silber, Managing Director
Hart Energy Australasia


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