ConocoPhillips CEO Headlines Economic Summit

Source: Billings Gazette

ConocoPhillips CEO Ryan Lance will meet with Montanans to discuss energy development during a two-day economic summit set for September.

Lance, a Great Falls native and Montana Tech University graduate, is headlining the Montana Economic Development Summit, an event intended to connect Montana business men and women with representatives from 100 different companies from out of state. The summit is organized by U.S. Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont.

Previous summits have resulted in out-of-state investments in Montana’s economy. The summits take place in Butte at Montana Tech. Lance’s involvement was announced Monday at the Billings engineering office of Sanderson Stewart.

“We of course have seen great benefit from the resurgence of the natural resource extraction play. Eastern Montana and western North Dakota has been very good to us,” said Rick Leuthold, Sanderson Stewart director of business development. “We’re very excited about the things happening in the region. Billings has seen great growth.”

Baucus said Lance was the first of several summit headliners to be disclosed. Energy development of all kinds will play a significant role, he said.

“This two-day conference is going to have a little bit more of an energy bent to it because we’re such an energy state,” Baucus said. “It’s not just conventional energy — coal, oil and gas, Bakken, etc. — it’s also renewables. And we’ve helped in a lot of those areas.

Previous summit participants include General Electric, which built the 200-employee Center of Excellence in Billings after attending the 2007 summit. Jeff Immelt, GE CEO, returned to Butte for the 2010 summit and forged a partnership between GE Aviation and SeaCast to produce jet engine parts. In Butte, SeaCast now has 70 employees and expects to hire more.

Commodities giant Bunge North America attended the summit in 2007 and later constructed two high-speed grain elevators on the Hi-Line with Itochu of Japan and STX Pan Ocean of South Korea.

The last summit occurred in 2010 and attracted 2,500 people and 150 businesses. This year’s summit in Butte takes place Sept. 16 and 17. The Montana Chamber of Commerce is partnering with Baucus on this year’s event.

Original Article »