place in Luanda, the Angolan capital. For the second time in 12 years, the conference is heading to Accra, Ghana, the newest magnet for African exploration money. Citing logistical difficulties, the PennWell group-conference organizers and publishers- decided to relocate the meeting from Luanda to Accra. The dates remain 9-11 March 2010. OWA has been held in only four other West African cities since its premiere in Libreville, Gabon, in 1996. It was held in Accra in 1997. There was no 1998 event. For the next two years-1999 and 2000-it held in Abidjan, Cote D’Ivoire. The conference arrived Abuja, Nigeria in 2001, held again in 2002 and headed for Windhoek, Namibia in 2003. The sharp drop in conference attendance occasioned by the change from Abuja to Windhoek forced the conference back to Abuja, where it has held six times from 2004 to 2009. The failure to get Luanda is happening for the second time in nine years. In 2000 OWA conference organizers tried to interest the Angolan government in hosting the event in West Africa’s second largest oil producing nation. OWA, which is being run from Houston in the United States, requires partnership of the host government in order to hold in an African city. But Sonangol, the Angolan state hydrocarbon company, simply wasn’t keen. Angola just isn’t as enthusiastic as other African governments to host the largest gathering of oil and gas professionals on the continent. In moving to Accra, though, the organizers are comforted by the fact that there’s been heightened interest in the country. ‘The decision was also based on the growing energy industry interest in Ghana and nearby countries as the next big thing off West Africa”, PennWell said in a statement. “Ghana was chosen as the new site for the event because it is one of the most promising offshore exploration regions off West Africa. Activity there is expected to increase significantly with the recent $4 billion bid by ExxonMobil for a share in the offshore Jubilee field. Energy analysts view Ghana as an emerging offshore province with enormous potential for oil and gas reserves”. The release reminds us that “The ExxunMobil deal comes less than a month after Anadarko Petroleum announced another find off the coast of Sierra Leone and held out the possibility that a large, 700-mile span of ocean off the coast of West Africa could hold major reserves”. The PennWell statement reinforces its conviction that the conference in Accra might offer the level of audience participation that a venue like Luanda guarantees: “Industry sources say that the same oil companies that operate offshore Angola and Nigeria are equally interested in the opportunities offshore Ghana and neighboring countries, and they will be in attendance at OWA next March in Accra’, it said. “We are pleased to be able to bring OWA to Ghana at a time when the industry interest in the region is at an all time high”.