The Energy Progress & Innovation Conference has made the difficult decision to move our 2021 conference completely online, for January 26-27, 2021. The decision to make this transition was not an easy one, and was made after consulting the energy generation and refining companies represented on our conference board. With COVID-19 currently at its highest point in North Dakota, the companies were not eager to send essential workers into an environment that would put them, and the facilities in a tough situation. Without the attendees at the conference, we know it changes the value of this event for our vendors.
Annually, our conference expense is close to $400,000. In moving to a virtual format, we are saving over 75% of these expenses. We felt that reducing costs will allow us to offer the 2021 conference with the goal of continuing in our regular face-to-face format again in 2022. The 2021 conference, in support of Bismarck State College, is obligated to provide financial support of roughly $100,000.
The energy facilities are committing to support the conference through sponsorship and with virtual attendees. We recognize vendors have a significant role in the conference and we are asking you to consider a sponsorship as well. Our planning committee has established the sponsorship levels and benefits below, which include early booth registration for select sponsor companies for 2022, a benefit that has been requested for some time. Sponsorship registration will be online starting October 14.
Although 2020 has been a different year and 2021 is on the horizon and looks to be similar (for now), we are looking forward to our first virtual, but 42nd annual Energy Progress and Innovation Conference. We sincerely hope you choose to join us as well.