New is Better at the 2017 Offshore Technology Conference

Some of the best opportunities for upstream companies to move forward during this downturn will be represented through the new technologies and processes discussed and displayed at the Offshore Technology Conference (OTC) in Houston from 1-4 May.

In the midst of enormous change, shifting business, political, and economic paradigms have altered the complexion of the event—but not its status as a “must attend” technical conference for engineers and scientists.

OTC’s uniqueness spurs from its organizers: 13 nonprofit societies in the energy sector that work cooperatively to develop the technical program. This year’s event features more than 300 technical papers from leading upstream firms, more than 60 technical sessions, 24 topical breakfasts and luncheons, along with several in-depth panel discussions.

New Projects, Tech, and Exploration

A theme that will permeate OTC’s technical program is updates on world-class projects, including Shell’s Gulf of Mexico Stones project, billed as the world’s deepest subsea development. Low oil prices have created new demand for lower-cost ways to support such projects and that in turn is driving development of breakthrough technologies.

Technologies that will be presented at OTC include a new cement integrity evaluation system developed by Baker Hughes and several all-electric subsea systems that will be the focus of an entire technical session.

OTC will also address new developments in major offshore basins, especially those of Mexico and Brazil, two countries that have made significant changes in the regulation and development of their offshore resources.

One panel session will feature executives from Chevron, BP, ExxonMobil, BHP Billiton, Statoil, and Murphy Oil Corporation that will shed light on companies’ plans to explore Mexico’s virgin deepwater blocks.

There will also be breakfast and luncheon forums on business opportunities in Brazil and a panel session featuring leaders of Shell, Total, ExxonMobil, and Petrobras sharing views on how recently announced government incentives will affect that country’s offshore future.

The New and The Old

OTC will also feature new technical topics that were not on the radars of E&P professionals a decade ago. The digital revolution has hacked its way into the program, which will closely examine the issues of big data and the growing importance of cybersecurity.

James Pappas, an OTC program subcommittee vice chairperson representing the Marine Technology Society, said the committee also selected thought-provoking technical papers that match the dual industry needs of safety and improved economics.

“These papers, and the sessions in which they are a part of, provide insights into cutting-edge technologies that will result in more efficient and safer operations,” he said. “Those in attendance will have unique and ample opportunity to interact with others who have similar interests, including the authors and presenters, to discuss their thoughts and experiences and delve into more in-depth knowledge on particular topics.”

Pappas noted that attendees of OTC are sure to learn something new to take back to their companies. “All they need to do is show up, listen, and speak up, either during the presentations or after the sessions,” he said.

A Professional Touch

Paul Jones, a member of the  OTC board representing SPE, explained that attending the conference has enabled him to challenge his thinking and engage with other thought leaders.

“OTC is important because it is the premiere venue to see and learn about new technologies and expand your professional networks,” he noted, adding that the conference is “a must-attend event at any time because of the quality of technical papers and expanse of the exhibition.”

To foster the growth of attendees’ professional skills there will a number of networking events as well as discussions on how to improve business operations. A networking opportunity focusing on efficiency will feature high-level managers from Hess and Kiewit while a luncheon keynoted by executive leaders of Intecsea and Schlumberger will discuss the importance of diversity in an organization.

Joe Fowler, OTC Board Chairperson, emphasized that the conference represents an invaluable platform for new business opportunities and technologies, especially in challenging times. “OTC is important because it is the best source of technology for new offshore developments,” he said.

Among this year’s returning highlights is the University R&D Showcase, which showcases innovative ideas and emerging technologies from the world of academia. In a separate event, the Rice Alliance Startup Roundup will give 50 young upstream-focused firms a chance to pitch their innovations to potential investors and interested attendees.

OTC 2017 runs 1–4 May at NRG Park in Houston, Texas. The event is sponsored by 13 nonprofit organizations in the energy industry (including SPE), which work cooperatively to develop the technical program. Revenue from OTC directly benefits the membership of these societies. In addition to the technical program, OTC also features an exhibition, training courses, special events, and more. For more information and to register to attend, visit New online feature: when you browse the technical program, there is a function to “Search by Sponsoring Organization.” Choose Society of Petroleum Engineers to view the sessions that SPE is sponsoring or co-sponsoring with other societies.


New is Better at the 2017 Offshore Technology Conference

Megan Magana, SPE Event Marketing Manager

28 February 2017



Don't miss out on the latest technology delivered to your email weekly.  Sign up for the JPT newsletter.  If you are not logged in, you will receive a confirmation email that you will need to click on to confirm you want to receive the newsletter.