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The "Comic-Con" of Energy Conferences Wraps Up in Houston

I.H.S. Vice Chairman Daniel Yergin talking to EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy at the I.H.S. CERAweek conference in Houston last week. (Leigh Paterson / Inside Energy)

The huge annual energy gathering known as CERA Week wrapped up on Friday in Houston.

The conference, now in its 34th year, brings energy industry leaders and experts together alongside policymakers - and more than a few bomb-sniffing dogs - for a week of deep-diving into the state of the industry and predictions for the road ahead.

Inside Energy's Dan Boyce was at the conference all last week. We caught up with him on Friday to talk about the big conversations that were swirling among the biggest players in the energy world.

"This is like the Comic-Con of energy conferences," Boyce says. "We have all the biggest oil executives from around the world come to this thing, as well as top government officials. There are drug-sniffing and bomb-sniffing dogs walking around the hotel at all hours of the day."

As Boyce describes it, the big theme for this year's CERA Week was, of course, the oil and gas industry at a turning point.

"Oil and gas is in a very different position now than it was six or nine months ago, and it's about these oil and gas executives trying to learn to adapt to that, to still focus on keeping their bottom lines strong," he says.

Boyce tells us after a week of high-level conversations on energy - including top officials from Permian Basin companies Pioneer Natural Resources and Occidental Petroleum - producers are staying positive through the oil price downturn.

Producers are being forced to innovate and make their operations more efficient with the downturn, leading some to predict that if prices do rebound, they'll be in an even better position than they were before the downturn.

Inside Energy is a public media collaboration focused on America's energy issues.

Travis Bubenik is All Things Considered Host and Big Bend Reporter at Marfa Public Radio.