OTC 2015 Poised To Offer Direction in a Challenging Environment

Oil price volatility is a major challenge facing operators and service companies this year. One of the world’s largest oil and gas conferences, the Offshore Technology Conference (OTC), will address this challenge in depth, covering a range of topics related to the offshore energy industry, including technological advances, safety and environmental risks, and economic and regulatory impacts.

The conference will take place 4–7 May at NRG Park in Houston. One of the highlights is d5, a new OTC event designed to spark creativity and innovation in the offshore energy industry.

Last year’s attendance exceeded 108,000, the highest in the history of the conference. This year, OTC expects 2,500 companies to be present on the exhibit floor, representing 37 countries.

Annual OTC Dinner

New Event Aims To Spark Creativity, Innovation

To be held for the first time, d5 is a daylong event taking place after OTC on 8 May at the University of Houston. It is aimed at inspiring members of the oil and gas industry with a diverse series of speakers.

The event will bring together forward-thinking innovators who will give thought-provoking presentations on diverse topics in three major areas of

  • Business: energy outlook, challenges and opportunities, energy economics, startups, environment, competitive advantage, and winning strategies
  • Technology: innovation, game-changing capabilities, science, and big data
  • People: motivation, sense of purpose, risks, health and productivity, and workplace culture

The speaker lineup will feature

  • Michael Bloomfield, vice president and general manager of Oceaneering Space Systems and former US astronaut
  • Bjorn Lomborg, director of the Copenhagen Consensus Center and one of Timemagazine’s 100 most influential people in the world
  • Jane McGonigal, game designer and author of Reality Is Broken: How Games Make Us Better and How They Can Change the World, a New York Timesbest-seller
  • Mike Abrashoff, former commander of the navy destroyer USS Benfold
  • Frans Johansson, entrepreneur and author of The Medici Effect
  • Lisa Bodell, futurist and author of Kill the Company: End the Status Quo, Start an Innovation Revolution
  • Juan Enriquez, cofounder of Synthetic Geonomics and director of Excel Venture
  • Avi Reichental, president and CEO of 3D Systems
  • Michael Porter, author and Bishop William Lawrence University Professor at Harvard Business School

This year’s beneficiaries of the Annual OTC Dinner are the Independent Petroleum Association of America and the Petroleum Equipment & Services Association’s Energy Education Center, which will use the proceeds for the Energy Institute High School, a new energy magnet school in the Houston Independent School District.

During the dinner, the OTC Awards Committee will recognize Elmer (Bud) Danenberger III for individual achievement for his contributions to offshore safety and environmental protection. Danenberger worked for 38 years at the US Department of the Interior and coauthored legislation leading to offshore renewable energy and alternate use authority. He approved and monitored the first exploratory drilling in the Atlantic Ocean and has written papers on offshore oil spills and blowouts.

Brazil’s Petrobras will receive the distinguished achievement award for corporate achievement for its successful implementation of ultradeepwater technologies and for setting new water depth records in its pre-salt assets.

The Heritage Award will be presented to Ray R. Ayers in recognition of more than 50 years of work in offshore research and development through joint industry programs that he formed at Shell and for work performed for the Pipeline Research Council International, DeepStar, the US Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement, and the Research Partnership to Secure Energy for America.

Technical Program

This year, OTC received a record submission of 1,313 abstracts. Some highlights of the conference’s 46 sessions will include project updates from Total’s CLOV project offshore Angola, the Hess Gulfstar spar, energy applications for aerospace technology, and advancements in flexible pipe.

Panel sessions include experts speaking on a variety of oil and gas industry topics. Monday morning will begin with a panel session titled “Offshore Energy Development: Improving Federal and State Cooperation,” in which governors from coastal US states will discuss the development of offshore resources and the role of the federal government. It will be moderated by Charles Knobloch of Arnold, Knobloch, and Sanders. In the afternoon, a session titled “Active Arena: The Next Energy Hotspots” will be moderated by Y. Doreen Chin of Shell. Six panelists will discuss how recent changes in policy or the business environment in their respective countries have stimulated investment.

Tuesday’s morning session, called “Global Energy Outlook: North America Challenges and Opportunities,” will be moderated by Gamal Hassan of ADH International Group and Charles Knobloch of Arnold, Knobloch, and Sanders. The afternoon session, titled “Serving Offshore Industry for Win-Win: Competition and Collaboration” and moderated by Y. Doreen Chin of Shell and Gregory Carter of Nautilus Offshore, will explore the need for operators to develop effective relationships with supporting companies to save money amid high costs.

On Wednesday morning, there will be two panel sessions, “Aligning Diverse Portfolio and Execution for Capital Efficiency” and “Deepwater Dual Gradient Well Control and Riser Gas Handling: Is the Industry Ready for the Challenge?” The afternoon session, titled “Operational Regulations in Deep Water After the Macondo Incident,” will be moderated by Alvaro Negrao of Chevron and Carlos Mastrangelo of SBM Offshore. Panelists are Brian Salerno of the US Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement, Alfonso Zegbe of Agencia de Seguridad Energetica y Ambiental, Magda Chambriard of ANP Brazil, and Anne Myhrvold of Petroleum Safety Authority Norway.

On Thursday morning, the conference offers two panel sessions, “Project Management, Contracts and the Law: Can Attorneys and Managers Get Along?” and “Technical Session with the Center for Offshore Safety: Improving Performance through Safety and Environmental Management Systems.” In the afternoon, the OTC will hold its final panel session titled “Corporate Social Responsibility.” It will be moderated by Pierre-Alain Delaittre of Total Technology and Trey Shaffer of Environmental Resources Management. The panelists are Mary-Grace Anderson of Shell, Paulino Jeronimo of Sonangol, Jerome Schmidt of Total; Natalie Stirling-Sanders of ExxonMobil, and Armando Tripodi of Petrobras.

Special Events

Topical Breakfasts—A variety of topical breakfasts will be offered during OTC, including “Emerging Offshore Technology Trends: More Value from Technology and Faster Cycle Times,” “A World’s-Eye View of Unconventional vs. Offshore Technology,” “Ethical Responsibilities of Licensed Professional Engineers and Professional Geoscientists,” and “Political Decisions and Policies that Shape the Offshore Oil and Gas Industry.”

Industry Breakfasts—Beginning Tuesday, there will be an industry breakfast each morning, with a focus on the state of the oil and gas industry in Canada (Tuesday), China (Wednesday), and Ghana (Thursday).

Topical Luncheons—More than a dozen topical luncheons will take place over the course of the conference. The following is a list of subjects and scheduled speakers:

  • “Brazilian Offshore Industry: The New Government Guidelines, Drivers, and Perspectives” by Eduardo Braga, Mining and Energy Minister, Brazil
  • “Deepwater Exploration: A View Forward” with Bob Fryklund, IHS
  • “Pioneers of OTC Luncheon” honoring OTC’s past and present leaders by Edward Stokes, ConocoPhillips
  • “Pre-Salt: What Has Been Done So Far and What is Coming Ahead” by Joe Fowler, Stress Engineering Services
  • “Shell Arctic: Strategies for the New Prospectives” by Ann Pickard, Royal Dutch Shell
  • “Corporate Ocean Responsibility: Industry Leadership, Marine Ecosystem Impacts and Ocean Governance” with Paul Holthus, World Ocean Council
  • “Offshore US Drilling Coast to Coast: Where are We Heading?” by Congressman Pete Olson, US House of Representatives, 22nd District of Texas
  • “Enhancing Efficiency and Precision: Marine Technology for Dynamic Positioning” by Lex Nijsen, MAN Diesel & Turbo SE; Roland Schwandt, Schottell GmbH; and Mike Ford, L-3 Dynamic Positioning and Control Systems
  • “The Onshore Shale Revolution, Is It Spindletop All Over Again?” by Torstein Hole, Statoil
  • “Developing Competitive Deepwater Projects” by Ian Silk, Shell Exploration and Production
  • “Process Safety Challenges in Offshore Operations” by Louisa Nara and Charles Cowley, Center for Chemical Process Safety; Steve Arendt, ABS Consulting; Michael Broadribb, Baker Engineering and Risk Consultants; and Mike Neill, Petrotechnics USA
  • “The Jack St Malo Development: A Bellwether for the Lower Tertiary Trend” by Stephen Thurston, Chevron
  • “The Role of Offshore Technology in Indonesia’s Strategic Framework for Development” by Naryanto Wagimin, Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources, Indonesia
  • “Luncheon with the Center for Offshore Safety: Improving Effectiveness of Safety and Environmental Management Systems and Recognizing Contributions” by Brian Salerno, US Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement, and Paul Thomas, US Coast Guard

The Next Wave—The Next Wave is a one-day event for young professionals to be held on Monday. During the program, “Think Globally: Your Impact as a Young Professional,” participants will learn how to respond to new challenges and career opportunities created by technological advancements and changing conditions in the oil and gas industry.

The keynote speaker will be Patricia Vega, president and chief executive officer (CEO) of GE Oil & Gas for Latin America. After, Sophie Hildebrand, exploration director of the Gulf of Mexico at BP, will moderate a panel including Christi Craddick, chair of the Texas Railroad Commission; Rick Fowler, vice president of deepwater projects at LLOG Exploration; Michelle Michot Foss, chief energy economist and program manager at the University of Texas at Austin; and Mario Ruscev, chief technology officer of Baker Hughes.

Teacher and Student Events—On Thursday, 200 invited Houston-area teachers will attend an energy education workshop. They will tour the exhibit floor and learn about the global significance of hydrocarbon exploration and production and the scientific concepts involved. In addition, the teachers will receive educational materials that will help them introduce oil and gas topics in their grades 4 to 12 classrooms.

The conference will also host a group of 200 Houston-area high school students who will meet industry professionals, take part in a scavenger hunt, and participate in experiments provided by the US National Energy Education Development Project.

For more information about the conference, please visit

OTC 2015 Poised To Offer Direction in a Challenging Environment

Jack Betz, JPT Staff Writer

01 April 2015

Volume: 67 | Issue: 4

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