Oil Show, solar eclipse big for Odessa

Oct. 17-19 oil technology exhibition, Oct. 14 eclipse to inundate city with visitors

Attendees walk through the outdoor displays at the Permian Basin International Oil Show on its opening day Tuesday, Oct. 19, 2021, at the Ector County Coliseum. (OA File Photo)

If it’s not The Greatest Show on Earth like the heyday of the Ringling Brothers, Barnum & Bailey Circus, the Permian Basin International Oil Show is close.

The energy industry’s top technology extravaganza will hit the Ector County Coliseum Oct. 17-19 and bring in 30,000-plus oil and gas professionals from around the nation and world, bringing Odessa an economic impact of at least $14.4 million as every hotel and motel room is rented in a 60-mile radius and the restaurants and bars stay packed.

Couple that with an as-yet unknown but no doubt huge influx of visitors to see the Saturday, Oct. 14, solar eclipse from one of the best five vantage points in Texas and the City of Contrasts is guaranteed a boffo week.

Discover Odessa Director Monica Tschauner and Oil Show President Larry Richards say the ducks are all lined up.

“Old Timers” Lynn Palmore, left, and M.G. Clark slide plate of a steam-powered pumpjack as they work on getting it running in time for the opening of the Permian Basin International Oil Show Tuesday, Oct. 19, 2021 in Odessa, Texas. Palmore and Clark are members of the PBIOS “Old Timers” who monitor, run and repair historic oilfield equipment for the show which occurs every two years. (OA File Photo)

Tschauner said all of Odessa’s 4,613 hotel and motel rooms have already been rented for the oil show and an overflow of participants will be driving in from Andrews, Seminole, Monahans and other area towns with the 2021 exhibition’s attendance of 16,000 expected at least to double now that the pandemic is history.

“The oil show people will start coming on the 13th to set up the large equipment they’ll bring to the coliseum,” said Tschauner, who manages conventions and tourism for the Odessa Chamber of Commerce. “The direct impact from ’21 was $7,179,869 when we had 8,953 room nights and it’ll be a lot bigger this time.

“We had 30,000 in ’18 when the weather was cloudy, rainy and cold. It’s the largest event that comes to Odessa every two years. The oil and gas companies hire bands and throw parties for their vendors and clients all over town. I think we’ll see at least 30,000 again. It’s a very big to-do for the city that week.”

Tschauner said NASA Solar System Exploration has been promoting Odessa-Midland, San Angelo, San Antonio and Corpus Christi as the best places in Texas to view the annular or partial eclipse when the moon comes between the earth and sun for seven minutes starting at 11:45 a.m. Oct. 14.

“We’re trying to prepare our community because Tennessee had this two years ago and they had 3 million visitors from out of state,” she said.

Permian Basin International Oil Show attendees browse the indoor displays on the final day of the oil and gas trade show Thursday, Oct. 21, 2021, at the Ector County Coliseum. (Eli Hartman|Odessa American)

Richards expects a record turnout for the oil show.

“While most of our residents are used to the influx of visitors every other year, many don’t know why so many industry professionals travel from across the U.S. and the globe to Odessa,” he said. “The United States is on pace to have the highest oil production in its history this year and the Permian Basin leads the nation with huge gains in volume and efficiency.

“The shocker is that much of these gains are from fields discovered in the 1920s and massive leaps in technology and innovation have unlocked huge-volume wells in fields previously considered depleted. While most of the major technological advances used to occur in the offshore and international market, most of the advances over the past decade were born within 150 miles of Odessa.

“Our entrepreneurial spirit and the unique West Texas work ethic drive innovation and that innovation and new technology are on display at PBIOS like nowhere else.”

Held every two years so lots of new things can be shown, Richards said, PBIOS admittance and parking for the show will be free to all adults working in the industry.

“I’ve personally been contacted by executives from as far away as Libya and Guyana who plan to attend,” he said. “We’ll have hundreds of engineers, executives and field personnel from every basin across America and it will be the only time that many of these visitors ever see or visit our city and experience true West Texas hospitality.”

Richards commended Ector County leaders for repainting and updating the Coliseum.

“While it’s a great start, we hope that this venue with so much history can continue being updated and improved to be a showplace that our community and the 700-plus exhibitors at PBIOS can be proud of,” he said.