OTC at 50: Offshore Sector More Optimistic as Oil Prices Continue To Rise
- Stephen Rassenfoss (JPT Emerging Technology Senior Editor) | Stephen Whitfield (JPT Senior Staff Writer) | Matt Zborowski (JPT Technology Writer) | Trent Jacobs (JPT Digital Editor) | John Donnelly (JPT Editor)
- Document ID
- Society of Petroleum Engineers
- Journal of Petroleum Technology
- Publication Date
- July 2018
- Document Type
- Journal Paper
- 38 - 43
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The offshore oil and gas sector is beginning to recover 2 years after oil prices bottomed out, which has led to cautious optimism in the sector. At this year’s Offshore Technology Conference, held 30 April–3 May in Houston, that feeling was evident, although there is still a strong emphasis on cost containment and efficiency.
This year was the 50th OTC, which has become a bellwether for the health of the offshore industry. Panel sessions, individual talks, and technical sessions focused on a range of topics, including the current state of the industry, reducing costs, breakthrough technologies in a low-oil-price environment, and the growing use of data analytics and digital technologies. More than 61,300 attendees from more than 100 countries gathered at the annual conference.
Below are selected highlights from the conference.
The 50th edition of OTC kicked off with a distinguished panel representing operators and service companies evaluating the contributions of the past half century. And while the panel took a look back at the significant progress and innovation that has occurred since 1969, they also painted an optimistic view of the offshore sector’s future.
The opening ceremony featured remarks from Wafik Beydoun, chairman of the OTC Board of Directors, and panelists Patrick Pouyanné, chairman and CEO, Total; Ryan Lance, chairman and CEO, ConocoPhillips; Jeff Miller, president and CEO, Halliburton; Harry Brekelmans, project and technology director, Royal Dutch Shell; Clay Williams, chairman and CEO, National Oilwell Varco (NOV); and Solange da Silva Guedes, chief exploration and production officer, Petrobras.
Speakers emphasized the progress made in the safety of offshore operations as well as the technological innovation that has occurred since the first OTC was held in a small convention hall in Houston that attracted 2,800 attendees. More than 60,000 industry professionals attended last year’s conference.
After listing some of his company’s significant offshore developments over the years in Abu Dhabi, Africa, and the North Sea, Total’s Pouyanné expressed optimism about the offshore sector’s continued health, noting that many legacy discoveries are still producing or have led to new ones. “The past also affects the future,” he said. Oil price cycles and technical challenges will continue to be managed. “In our industry, anything is possible and nothing is impossible,” he added. “What makes me very confident for the future of offshore and the deep water industry is its capacity to innovate.”
Lance, noting emergence of unconventional onshore output, said offshore projects in the future have to work at the lower end of the oil price boundary. Projects need improved design and efficiency as well as standardization. “Design one, and build many” should be the watchword going forward, he said. The use of data analytics, machine learning, and blockchain all have potential to make the offshore sector more efficient and economic, he added.
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