BY NKECHI NAECHE ( HOUSTON, TEXAS) Offshore energy industry experts and leaders from across the world came together at NRG Park in Houston 30 April–3 May to celebrate the 50th edition of the Offshore Technology Conference (OTC).
As it has since 1969, the conference convened professionals to make critical decisions, share ideas, and develop business partnerships to meet global energy demands. In addition, OTC directly benefitted the advancement of the energy sector by supporting the conference’s 13 nonprofit sponsoring organizations, and the Houston community.
The 50th edition of OTC focused on subjects such as the current state of the industry, reducing costs and improving overall value, breakthrough technologies in a low oil price environment, and industry-leading safety practices in addition to recurring topics.
More than 61,300 attendees from more than 100 countries gathered at the annual conference while the exhibition covered more than 585,000 net square feet, including outdoor exhibits. This year’s conference also had more than 2,300 exhibiting companies representing 44 countries. Nearly 300 were new exhibitors, and international companies made up 55 percent of exhibitors.
“We are very pleased with this year’s attendance, as it is above our 52,570 attendance average across OTC’s 50 editions. We are also seeing high interest in next year’s event. 2019 exhibition space in NRG Center was sold out before our 2018 event, and rebooking for the other exhibition areas is underway,” said Wafik Beydoun, 2018 OTC Board of Directors Chairman.
OTC celebrated its 50th edition with special events on 30 April, including an opening ceremony and ribbon pulling, Legacy Luncheon, and Chairman’s Panel on Energy Transformation.
CEOs and presidents from across the global energy industry came to OTC 2018 to help celebrate its 50th edition, including Patrick Pouyanné, Total; Ryan Lance, ConocoPhillips; Jeff Miller, Halliburton; Clay Williams, National Oilwell Varco; Eldar Saetre, Statoil; Remi Eriksen, DNV GL; Lorenzo Simoneli, Baker Hughes, a GE company; Steve Demetriou, Jacobs Engineering Group; Luis Araujo, Aker Solutions; Rod Larson, Oceaneering International; and Jean Cahuzac, Subsea 7. Their presentations provided the opportunity for technology transfer and insights into the offshore sector’s future.
“OTC 2018 began the celebration of 50 years of OTC, culminating in 2019, and reminded all of us of this conference’s deep commitment to the people and companies who have helped it reach this milestone,” added Beydoun. “We are grateful to the offshore energy industry, our exhibitors, and our attendees who have and continue to collectively work to uncover new techniques, technologies, and connections at OTC year after year. More importantly, we look forward to the innovations and discoveries we will make together at OTC over the next 50 years of the conference.”
The Legacy Luncheon paid homage to the volunteers and exhibitors who have given their time and hard work throughout the years to make OTC what it is today. Former OTC Board Chairs Dennis Gregg and Susan Cunningham were joined by Cindy Taylor, CEO and President from Oil States—a company with a long history of exhibiting at OTC—to share their memories of OTC.
OTC’s annual Spotlight on New Technology Awards recognized 17 technologies from exhibiting companies for their new and innovative products and services, including two companies who won the Small Business Award.
OTC’s Distinguished Achievement Awards Luncheon raised USD 150,000 for its beneficiary, the Young Women’s College Preparatory Academy. During the luncheon, OTC presented its 2018 Distinguished Achievement Award for Individuals to Brian Skeels and the Distinguished Achievement Award for Companies, Organizations and Institutions to Shell and SBM Offshore. OTC’s Heritage Award was presented to Cesar del Vecchio, and Tom Sifferman received a Special Citation.
The topical breakfasts and luncheons featured top executives from international and national oil companies on a wide range of management, research, and technology-related issues.
In one of Thursday’s breakfasts, PEMEX provided an update on its E&P activities following the Energy Reform, including how it is tackling challenges derived from a legacy complex cost structure, a maturing E&P portfolio, and limited access to financial resources. Carlos Treviño Medina, CEO of PEMEX, was among those in attendance.
OTC also hosted the Rice Alliance Startup Roundup for the fourth time, where 50 emerging companies met one-on-one with investors. More than 275 attended to learn more about these startups and enabled potential partnerships as well as investments.
The WISE (Women in the Industry Sharing Experiences) event, a staple at OTC since 2012, offered an opportunity for women and men to share experiences and collaborate on topics such as improved diversity, mentorship, and communications in the workplace.
OTC’s The Next Wave program, “The Next 50: The Evolution of the Industry,” included keynote speakers Ashild Larsen, CIO and Senior Vice President Corporate IT, Statoil and Emeka Emembolu, Vice President, Reservoir Development, Gulf of Mexico, BP. The program helped young industry professionals with open communication between the generations by providing a forum for attendees to share, learn, and network with their peers.
Additionally, as part of OTC’s continuous commitment to education, the Energy Education Institute conducted two events during the week – one for high school students and another for all grade level teachers. Participating teachers and students engaged in grade-appropriate, hands-on energy exploration experiments provided by the NEED Project.
Finally, a separate group of 60 local high school students also participated in the OTC Energy Challenge, which asked them to solve real-world energy challenges. Teams from Stratford High School, Westside High School, and The Village School were recognized for their creative solutions.
Celebrating 50 years since 1969, OTC is where energy professionals meet to exchange ideas and opinions to advance scientific and technical knowledge for offshore resources and environmental matters. OTC’s flagship conference is held annually in Houston. OTC has expanded technically and globally with the Arctic Technology Conference, OTC Brasil, and OTC Asia. For more information, visit www.otcnet.org.