2015 SPE Annual Technical Conference and Exhibition: ATCE Looks to Brighter Future Amid Challenging Market
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- Document ID
- Society of Petroleum Engineers
- Journal of Petroleum Technology
- Publication Date
- November 2015
- Document Type
- Journal Paper
- 62 - 67
- 2015. Society of Petroleum Engineers
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- 51 since 2007
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Conference review - 2015 Annual Technical Conference and Exhibition
More than 13,500 oil and gas professionals gathered at SPE’s Annual Technical Conference and Exhibition (ATCE) on 28–30 September in Houston, making it the second highest-attended ATCE.
The conference, which focused on the positive potential of the future while addressing the current challenges of the oil and gas market, furthered the exchange of industry knowledge with more than 400 technical papers presented at 46 technical sessions. In addition, 450 companies filled the exhibition floor.
A look ahead on the global energy road map to 2040 prompted a lively discussion among panelists at the opening general session on the first day. No one underestimated the challenges faced by the oil industry in the current climate of low prices, project cutbacks, and layoffs. But the discussion also stressed the resilience of the industry, the continued importance of fossil fuel energy to the world economy, and reassurance that the industry will come through a difficult period and be stronger.
Bernard Looney, chief operating officer of production at BP, noted that even before the drop in oil prices, the company was increasingly aware that costs had “really gotten out of control in our industry, particularly in the last 5 years.” The oil price collapse compounded that challenge.
“Small things, they add up, all the way to very big developments like Mad Dog Stage 2 here in the Gulf of Mexico,” Looney said. Through re-examining the project, BP has lowered the price tag from USD 20 billion to USD 14 billion. “And, quite frankly, the question for the team today is could we do that project for less than USD 10 billion?” he said.
Looking forward, Looney cited the positive role that fossil fuel should have in lifting people from poverty around the globe. At the same time, Looney stressed the need for the world to put a price on carbon. Notwithstanding the challenges of the current economic environment, Looney said, “I’m convinced, and I think we’re convinced, that we’ll get through this. The industry has been here before, and we’re an incredibly adaptive industry.”
Incoming 2016 SPE President Nathan Meehan, a senior executive adviser at Baker Hughes, noted that in the 1980s, oil prices were depressed and, during those rough times, many of the technologies that enabled production from unconventional and deepwater reservoirs were developed.Speaking at the SPE Research and Development Technical Section dinner on the eve of the conference’s opening, Meehan called upon industry professionals to respond to the oil price downturn with a renewed spirit of determination. “You are the ones who will have to come up with the technologies that enable us to solve problems differently than we used to solve them,” he said. “You can do it in today’s price environment. You can come up with these innovations.”
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