OTC 2014: Global Offshore Technology From A to Z

The 45th edition of the Offshore Technology Conference (OTC) will take place 5–8 May at Reliant Park in Houston, Texas.

Last year’s edition was OTC’s second-largest, with 104,800 attendees. The event drew 2,728 exhibiting companies, representing 40 countries. OTC ranks among the largest 200 trade shows held annually in the United States and is among the United States’ 10 largest meetings in terms of attendance.

Awards and Annual OTC Dinner

More than 1,000 people attended the 2013 Annual OTC Dinner, which raised USD 250,000 for the Offshore Energy Center. This year, proceeds from the annual OTC dinner, scheduled for 4 May, will be donated to Medical Bridges, a Houston-based organization that provides medicine and medical supplies to health care providers in need worldwide.

Each year, the OTC Awards Committee uses the dinner as the main event to recognize major technological, humanitarian, environmental, and leadership contributions to the industry. This year, OTC honors Carl Arne Carlsen, senior vice president and member of the governing board at Det Norske Veritas, for his significant advancements in the safety and reliability of mobile offshore structures, and practical applications of risk management. His ongoing focus on safety has led to important developments in the industry, including establishing rules for dynamic behavior in harsh environments of jackup platforms, semisubmersible platforms, and floating production, storage, and offloading vessels.

The OTC 2014 Distinguished Achievement Award for Companies, Organizations, and Institutions recognizes the deployment of BP’s reduced-salinity enhanced oil recovery (EOR) technology in the Clair Ridge development, located west of Shetland, UK. The technology reduces the salinity of seawater used for waterflooding. According to BP’s EOR team, using the reduced-salinity water releases more oil from the rock surfaces than waterflooding using conventional seawater.

The OTC 2014 Heritage Award will be presented to Susan Cunningham in recognition of her exemplary leadership and outstanding technical contributions in the Gulf of Mexico, west Africa, and eastern Mediterranean regions. She is senior vice president of Gulf of Mexico, Africa, frontier ventures, and business innovation for Noble Energy. Cunningham was OTC chair in 2010 and 2011, representing the American Association of Petroleum Geologists.

Technical Program

A technical program consisting of more than 50 technical sessions—during which more than 300 technical papers will be presented—is scheduled throughout the 4-day conference. The technical program includes nine panel sessions.

Technical Paper Sessions—OTC’s technical paper sessions will address a wide range of topics, including high-pressure/high-temperature challenges, flow assurance technologies, materials for extreme environments, marine archaeology, metocean new developments and perspectives, the evolution of deepwater technology, offshore wind and wave energy, and American Petroleum Institute subsea standards for deep water. New topics include new applications and solutions for underwater monitoring networks and sensing. 

OTC’s invited organization—the Japan Oil, Gas, and Metals National Corporation (known as JOGMEC)—will share results from the first marine methane hydrates production test and will focus on methane hydrates as a resource.

Panel Sessions—To generate discussion about issues offshore operators face, nine panel discussions were organized as part of the technical program. The first is scheduled for Monday morning, 5 May, and is titled “Emerging Offshore Geosciences Technologies.”

The Monday afternoon panel will discuss “How Will the Unconventional Play Revolution Impact the Offshore Deepwater Industry?” Speakers on this panel will talk about how onshore shale gas is likely to play an ever-increasing role in the global gas supply. Panelists include James Slutz, president, Global Energy Strategies; Greg Guidry, executive vice president–upstream Americas–unconventionals, Shell; Lee Tillman, president and chief executive officer (CEO), Marathon; Torstein Hole, senior vice president of development and production, Statoil North America; Darrell Hollek, senior vice president of deepwater Americas operations and development, Anadarko Petroleum; and David Eyton, group head of technology, BP America.

On Tuesday morning, 6 May, a panel discussion is scheduled to address the topic “Global Energy Outlook: Shaping the Future.” Panelists include William Flores, member of the US House of Representatives, from Texas’ 17th Congressional District; Gustavo Hernández-Garcia, director general of exploration and production, Pemex; and Christopher Smith, acting assistant secretary for fossil energy, US Department of Energy.

Tuesday afternoon’s panel—titled “Energy Security and Economic Prosperity: Oil Spill Prevention”—will examine the US government’s efforts to promote safe offshore technologies. The US Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) signed an agreement with the US Department of Energy to ensure the safe production of oil and natural gas in offshore areas. Panelists include Christopher Smith, acting assistant secretary for fossil energy, US Department of Energy; and Brian Salerno, BSEE director.

On Wednesday morning, 7 May, a panel will discuss the “Law of the Sea.”

Wednesday’s afternoon panel will talk about “Funding New E&P Technologies.” Panelists are scheduled to cover present funding solicitations, the evaluation process, technology needs over the next 3 years, and what prospective researchers need to do well to secure funding. Members of the panel include Jim Sledzik, partner and president, Energy Ventures; Richard Erskine, managing director, Statoil Technology Invest; James Pappas, vice president of ultradeepwater programs, RPSEA; Charlie Smith, CEO, Research and Development Corporation; Paddy O’Brien, CEO, Industry Technology Facilitator; and Greg Kusinski, Deepstar director and senior advisor, Chevron.

On Thursday morning, 8 May, a panel will address the question, “Is Dual Gradient Ready for Prime Time?” Another Thursday morning panel will talk about “Local and Global Solutions for Improving Safety Management Systems.”

Thursday’s afternoon panel topic will be “A Look Back at Off-shore Megaprojects.”

Special Events

Special events include topical and industry breakfasts, topical luncheons, and an ethics breakfast titled “Geoethics: A Way of Thinking About and Practicing the Geosciences.” Geoethics is considered a meeting point between the geosciences, philosophy, and sociology. The scheduled speaker is Silvia Peppoloni, representing Instituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia (Italy) and the International Association for Promoting Geoethics. Other special events include networking events; The Next Wave, a program for young professionals; a free, daylong energy education workshop for classroom teachers; and a high school student STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) event.

Topical Breakfasts—Several topical breakfasts will be presented on a range of subjects. Some topics are “America’s Energy Renaissance”; “Community-Driven, Telepresence-Enabled Ocean Ex-ploration and the NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer”; “Oil & Gas Industry Commercial Use of NASA’s Neutral Buoyancy Laboratory”; “Global Subsea University Alliance: Providing Talent for the Industrial Future”; “Statoil’s North America Growth Strategy”; “Advances in Offshore Decommissioning Technology in the US Gulf of Mexico”; “The Importance of Process Safety in Offshore Operations”; and “Pursuing Operational Excellence Through Safety Management Systems.”

Industry Breakfasts—Industry breakfasts, organized by OTC and the US Department of Commerce, offer expert views on doing business in emerging areas of interest for the oil and gas industry. Three industry breakfasts will be held: Australia (Tuesday), Mexico (Wednesday), and east Africa (Thursday).

Topical Luncheons—OTC will hold several topical luncheons. The following is a list of topics and scheduled speakers:

  • “Deepwater Brownfields: Yes, We Have to Tackle Them Right Now!” with Pascal Carrier, vice president–projects, Total E&P Angola
  • “CAPEX Compression and the Impact on the Offshore Services Community,” with John Westwood, founder and chairman, Douglas-Westwood 
  • “Sustainable Deepwater Development Through Innovation,” with Bill Henry, vice president upstream development, SIEP, Shell
  • “New Horizons in Frontier Exploration,” with Marc Blaizot, executive vice president exploration, Total E&P
  • “Increasing Hydrocarbon Production in an Anti-Hydrocarbon Era,” by John Hofmeister, founder and CEO, Citizens for Affordable Energy
  • “Water Management—Change of Paradigm: Water as an Asset,” with Emmanuel Garland, exploration–production environmental expert, Total
  • “BP Energy Outlook 2035,” with Mark Finley, general manager, global energy markets and US economics, BP
  • “Serving the Global Energy Industry for the Future,” Jeffrey Immelt, chairman and CEO, GE
  • “Midstream Gas Monetization,” with Laurent Maurel, senior vice president–strategy, markets, and LNG, Total
  • “Independent Entrepreneur Perspective: Vision and Values to Drive Performance,” Susan Cunningham, senior vice president–Gulf of Mexico, Africa, frontier ventures, and business innovation, Noble Energy 
  • “Improving Safety Management Systems and Recognizing Contributions,” with Charlie Williams, executive director, Center for Offshore Safety; and Brian Salerno, director of the BSEE 

The Next Wave: A Program for Young Professionals—OTC 2014 will present The Next Wave, a program for young professionals, titled “The First Decade: The Foundation of Your Career.” The program, scheduled for Monday, 5 May from 0800–1630, will include a panel session remodeled into an Empire session, whose discussions will “climb a pyramid,” taking participants on three important journeys.

The keynote speaker is Leigh-Ann Russell, vice president of performance–global wells at BP. The Empire speakers include Greg Robey, global engineer development manager at Weatherford, covering the first journey, titled “Your Beginning: The First 5 Years”; Sylvestor Ukpokolo, vice president of operations at Schlumberger, covering the second journey, titled “Your Recognition: Five to 10 Years”; and Archie Deskus, chief information officer at Baker Hughes, covering the third journey, titled “Your Acceleration: Ten Years and Beyond.”

After each Empire speaker, participants will move to roundtable discussions in breakout groups, giving the opportunity for discussing and exploring career development options and common themes with thought leaders and peers. Participants are invited to “join The Next Wave for networking and leave with a new perspective.”

Teacher and Student Events—OTC will continue its tradition of inviting 100 Houston-area classroom teachers (grades 4 through 12) to attend a free, daylong energy education workshop. Educators will receive comprehensive, objective information about the scientific concepts of energy and its importance, while discovering the world of oil and natural gas exploration and production.

In addition, OTC has invited approximately 200 Houston-area high school students to participate in a 5-hour series of events designed to promote interest in opportunities the oil and gas industry can offer. The students—possibly some of the next generation of aspiring engineers, scientists, and managers—will learn through hands-on energy experiments; meet and talk with industry professionals; and, through a fun scavenger hunt among the technology exhibits, see a vast array of technology firsthand. 

OTC 2014: Global Offshore Technology From A to Z

Keefe Borden, Staff Writer

16 March 2014

Volume: 66 | Issue: 4



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