SOURCE: SMU Cox Executive Education

June 18, 2008 08:00 ET

Institutional Investors Attending SMU Oil & Gas Investing Conference Remain Bullish on Energy; Over Half Set to Increase E&P Sector Holdings in Near Term

DALLAS, TX--(Marketwire - June 18, 2008) - A poll of institutional investors attending the SMU Cox Executive Education Oil & Gas Investing seminar last week revealed that the majority of those responding continue to see upside potential in the energy market. In fact, more than half (55 percent) expected to increase or significantly increase their oil and gas holdings in the next 12 months.

Seventy-five percent of those see upstream exploration and production (E&P) as the most attractive investment climate, while 14 percent prefer to focus on the service and supply sector. Midstream and retail petroleum segments did not fare as well, each receiving low single-digit percentages as industry sectors most attractive for investment growth.

At this year's Oil and Gas Investing seminar, 70 institutional investors representing a cross-section of firms and institutions from around the world had the rare opportunity to learn about the petroleum industry and how to evaluate investment opportunities within that sector, in addition to meeting industry leaders. The conference was capped off with a site visit to a drilling operation in the nearby Barnett Shale.

"Until you actually see first hand what it takes to find, produce, process and deliver oil and natural gas products, it's almost impossible to understand the colossal risks and rewards this industry represents," said Bruce Bullock, director of SMU's Maguire Energy Institute and former oil industry executive. "Mix in the environmental, political, technological and cultural challenges of global petroleum, and you have a very complex landscape for investors to navigate. There's no substitute for hearing from industry pros who have spent literally lifetimes getting prepared for today's critical and highly dynamic oil and gas marketplace."

Speakers at this year's conference included notables from the oil and gas media, investment and corporate ranks, all focused on educating those in attendance about oil and gas industry segments and investment decision making.

David Miller, partner for EnCap Investments L.P., a major sponsor of the two-day program hosted at SMU's James M. Collins Executive Education Center said, "Institutional interest in oil and gas investment has grown rapidly over the past decade. EnCap is very pleased to support an event that provides those investors a comprehensive overview of the industry, as well as keen insight on how to develop a successful investment strategy in the space."

A common theme among presenters was the importance of selecting companies led by experienced management teams with proven track records of success.

"Leadership is of utmost importance in any industry," said Dr. Frank Lloyd, associate dean of Executive Education, Cox School of Business. "Nowhere is this more true than in today's global petroleum industry. It is only with capable leaders in place that companies can hope to navigate the turbulent waters of price volatility, shifting alliances and ownership, skilled talent shortages, supply and demand uncertainties and political risk. This year's Oil & Gas Investing program confirmed for me just how critical leadership development is for the future of the world's energy supply."

About SMU Cox Executive Education

SMU Cox Executive Education offers new, innovative and flexible programs -- both open and custom -- that provide a relevant and dynamic learning experience for professionals, managers, and executives. Executive Education programs are offered in Dallas and Plano, as well as in-house for corporate clients. Programs provide skills development in areas such as management, leadership, sales and marketing, and accounting and finance. By developing these skills, managers are able to make better decisions, resulting in positive business results.

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