Global oil downturn depresses turnout as OTC 2016 closes

*The NRG Centre, venue of the OTC

*The NRG Centre, venue of the OTC.

*Annual event’s 48th Edition attracts 68,000 from across the globe to Houston

Oscarline Onwuemenyi

06 May 2016, Sweetcrude, Houston, Texas – Offshore energy industry experts and leaders gathered from across the world at NRG Park in Houston 2–5 May for the 2016 Offshore Technology Conference (OTC).

More than 68,000 attendees from 120 countries gathered at the annual conference, placing 2016’s OTC among the top 15 highest attended in its 48-year history. However, attendance was far below that of recent years which the organisers attributed to the global energy crises experienced in the industry.

Several of the attendees who spoke to SweetcrudeReports expressed concerns about the falling price of crude in the global market, noting that the phenomenon has impacted on companies revenues and, thus, on their involvement in this year’s conference.

Some of the participants, however, noted that in spite of the decrease in the number of participants, the quality of attendees had improved, since only serious industry players with business to do made a point to attend.

Organisers of OTC noted that the exhibition floor was sold out before the conference and was the third largest in show history at 672,300 ft², including outdoor exhibits.

“This year’s conference had more than 2,600 companies exhibiting. These exhibitors represented 47 countries, up from last year’s 37. Additionally, nearly 300 were new exhibitors, and international companies made up 51 percent of exhibitors.

“As it has since 1969, the world came to OTC to make critical decisions, share ideas and develop business partnerships to meet global energy demands,” said Joe Fowler, OTC 2016 chairman.

He added that “The commitment from OTC’s volunteers and staff ensured, regardless of the price of oil per barrel, that OTC upheld its unwavering commitment to delivering attendees unparalleled information on new technologies and global developments.

“Also, revenue from OTC directly benefits the member programs of its 13 nonprofit sponsoring organizations.”

OTC 2016 featured 11-panel sessions, 24 executive keynote presentations at luncheons and breakfasts, and more than 325 technical paper presentations.

Speakers including international and national oil companies, federal and regional government officials, and academics—presented their views on a wide variety of topics, including future industry directions, operational integrity, and risk management.

OTC’s Spotlight on New Technology Awards recognized 13 technologies for their innovation in allowing the industry to produce offshore resources, including one company in the category of Small Business Awards.

Increasing efficiencies while ensuring safe operations was a key theme at this year’s conference. Sessions covered new technologies which not only reduce costs to the operator but enhance the overall safety of the operations; cost-effective advances in well cementing technologies; and use of RFID to precisely track drill pipe for enhanced safety and efficiency.

OTC also provided updates on new and emerging markets from around the world. Of particular note, several sessions focused on Mexico’s developments since the Energy Reform Bill became law. A more open structure in the country will provide opportunities for Mexican companies to partner with international companies, bringing technology and capital investment into the country.

The 2016 OTC University R&D Showcase featured projects from universities in the US, Germany, Nigeria and Japan. Leading-edge projects included drones in a wave prediction system; coatings which improve drill bit efficiency; and recalibration of drilling data from all the major ocean basins.

The conference’s Energy Education Institute was attended by 100 Houston-area classroom teachers and 200 students. Teachers learned about scientific concepts of energy and its importance in a fun and informative way. Participating students saw firsthand the exciting opportunities the energy industry can offer.

Individuals seeking to jump-start or restart their careers were invited to participate in OTC’s Open Access Day, which provided free registration to 737 attendees seeking to tap into the conference’s professional opportunities. As part of the day’s programming, attendees learned how to build valuable relationships and start their own businesses through two professional development sessions.

For the second year, OTC also hosted the Rice Alliance Startup Roundup, attended by 50 emerging companies that met one-on-one with investors. It offered an excellent opportunity for OTC attendees to learn more about these startups and enable potential partnerships and investments.

The Next Wave, OTC’s program for young professionals, focused on how to face the challenges ahead for young professionals while recognizing the increased interconnectivity of our global industry.

OTC’s Distinguished Achievement Awards Luncheon, formerly the Annual OTC Dinner, raised USD 200,000 for Junior Achievement of Southeast Texas.

During the luncheon, OTC presented its 2016 Distinguished Achievement Award for Individuals to Robert (Don) Vardeman. The Distinguished Achievement Award for Companies, Organizations and Institutions was presented to the Marine Technology Society Dynamic Positioning (DP) Committee. OTC’s Heritage Awards were presented to two winners this year: George Hirasaki and Yuri Makogon.

New to the conference this year were OTC’s Training Courses held 30 April and 1 May at the George R. Brown Convention Center in downtown Houston. The courses were organized by several of OTC’s sponsoring organizations and included: Deep Foundations: Design, Construction and Quality Control; Subsea Production and Technologies; Deepwater Drilling and Production Technology; and Petroleum Geology for Engineers.

OTC 2017 will take place 1–4 May 2017 at NRG Park.

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