Big crowds, award-winning technology

As an indicator of the health of the oil & gas industry, attendance at May's Offshore Technology Conference in Houston suggests that recovery from the global recession is well underway. OE looks back over some of the sights and sounds of OTC 2011.

At 78,150, this year's Reliant Park attendance figure for the four days of OTC 2011 represented a 29-year high and was a full 8% better than last year's show, while the number of exhibiting companies grew to 2520, including 306 new exhibitors.

‘I think this was a great conference,' commented OTC chairperson and Noble Energy senior VP Susan Cunningham. ‘All of the metrics that we measure' – including attendance figures, technical presentations and ticket sales – ‘have increased.' The strong showing was perhaps even more impressive considering that 2011 saw the introduction of two new OTC-branded events: the Arctic Technology Conference, which debuted in Houston in February (OE March), and OTC Brasil, to be held 4-6 October. The new conferences ‘just expanded the focus', Cunningham said.

‘There was no negative effect on Houston. If anything, I think [OTC Houston] actually increased interest in Brazil. We are getting a lot of abstracts, and it's on a good track.'

Along with its geographical scope, OTC's thematic focus has expanded, with several sessions dedicated to onshore unconventional gas stretching the show's traditional offshore purview. Cunningham agreed that ‘there are things that overlap', but said the conference is in no danger of shedding its original raison d'être.

For the first time this year, OTC handed out its annual distinguished achievement awards at a gala dinner the night before the conference itself opened. Cort Cooper received the award for individuals for his pioneering work in metocean research and his leadership of joint industry efforts to address oceanographic challenges. Cooper is a meteorology and oceanographic specialist in Chevron's Energy Technology Company and a Chevron Fellow. His research work is credited with identifying a link between Gulf of Mexico hurricane severity and the Loop Current. He also investigated the causes for the recent severe hurricanes, studied the possible impacts of global warming on hurricane severity, and provided a post-assessment of metocean conditions during Hurricane Ivan.

BP Norway collected the distinguished achievement award for companies for its long-running Valhall Life of Field project (OE July 2003), which is demonstrating the practicality of implementing seismic surveillance of producing hydrocarbon reservoirs. According to the OTC citation, the project's permanent installation of seismic cables covering 45km2 of the Norwegian field allowed for cost-effective repeat seismic surveys and the system provided 4D data with repeatability comparable to standard streamer data.

ExxonMobil Development Company received a special citation for the development and implementation of the ‘Design One, Build Multiple' philosophy to deliver major deepwater projects in Angola's block 15.

Technology to the fore
One thing that's remained consistent at OTC is, as the following roundup of some of this year's product offerings demonstrates, the wealth of technology on display in the exhibition booths. Baker Hughes, SBM Offshore and Schlumberger all figured twice on this year's ‘Spotlight on New Technology' roster – BH for its Kymera hybrid bit technology and GeoFORM conformable sand management system; SBM for the COOL Hose product and its High Voltage Electric AC Swivel for turret moored FPSOs and floating power generation units, and Schlumberger for both the Dielectric Scanner multi-frequency dielectric dispersion service and its SonicScope multipole sonic-while-drilling service (OE March).

Also in the OTC ‘Spotlight' this year were Canrig Drilling Technology, with its SureGrip ball-and-pocket gripping technology; Halliburton, with its CleanWave water treatment service; Mycelx Technologies for the Mycelx Clean Water system; National Oilwell Varco, for its ShearMax low force casing shear rams; PG Pump Solutions and Techni for the PG-Maps product; Reelwell, for its Reelwell Multi Gradient System; Schilling Robotics for its Heavy-Duty ROV (see page 60); Twin Filter for the Dynamic Centrifugal Coalescer, and Weatherford International, for its Deepwater Closed-Loop Drilling System. OE

  • OTC will return to Reliant Park on 30 April-3 May 2012. OTC¡¦s Brazil meeting kicks off in Rio de Janeiro 4-6 October, and the Arctic Technology Conference returns to Houston 3-5 December.

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