Leslie Turk

'Optimistic' Harrison is 2009 LAGCOE Looey

by Leslie Turk

It's fitting that the man who would choose to call his business Optimistic Oil Co. in 1990 would be chosen to represent the industry as LAGCOE Looey this year. The energy industry is in need of Frank Harrison Jr.’s optimistic outlook and then some — as the Obama administration’s proposed legislation could have devastating consequences for its future.

“President Obama’s proposed fiscal year 2010 budget strips from U.S. oil and natural producers economic incentives that are vital to the existence of the industry as we know it today,” Louisiana Oil and Gas Association President Don Briggs wrote in his June column in Acadiana Business. “Obama’s proposed budget is not a mere confrontation but instead a direct frontal attack on the core economic fundamentals that help provide capital to a high-risk, capital-intensive industry.”

Harrison was “hard-hatted” as LAGCOE Looey at the Petroleum Club Monday, saying he was honored to be representing the “Working Man’s Oil Show” and noting that he had spent his career working in the best industry in the world. “The only direction we’ve ever gotten from Washington is to keep energy cheap,” Harrison said, “and we’ve been able to do that so that the U.S. economy could become the greatest society the world has ever known. I’m proud to be in an industry that helped make that happen.”

LAGCOE Looey made his debut as an affable representative of the first show in 1955. Each year since then, a person has been chosen for accomplishments in, and contributions to, the energy industry. Harrison was born in Bastrop, where his father was employed by Union Producing Company as an area production and drilling supervisor. He studied geology at LSU and moved to Lafayette in 1956, working as district geologist for TransTex Drilling Company, a subsidiary of Husky Oil Co. He struck out on his own in 1959, eventually establishing Optimistic Oil Co. His son, Billy, is a partner in Houston Energy LP.

Throughout his five decades in Lafayette, Harrison has been an active civic and business leader. Additionally, he has contributed significantly on the technical side of his profession, having authored and presented 15 papers to a number of geological groups nationwide.

From Oct. 27-29 at the Cajundome and Cajundome Convention Center, Lafayette will host LAGCOE, the country’s 2nd largest energy exposition. LAGCOE provides unprecedented access to key decision makers, state-of-the-art technologies and the very latest in offshore and onshore drilling capabilities. In 2007 (the show is held biennially), LAGCOE featured 328 exhibiting companies, 755 indoor and outdoor exhibit spaces and welcomed more than 16,000 attendees.

Admission to the show and technical presentations is free but is limited to energy industry personnel.