Safety and innovation on OTC agenda

March 3, 2012

Now in its 43rd year, the Offshore Technology Conference returns to Houston’s Reliant Park 30 April-3 May. Almost as old as the offshore industry itself, the annual gathering has thrived throughout an E&P era marked by peaks, valleys, tremendous challenges and astonishing technological breakthroughs. OE offers a sneak peek at what’s on the agenda for OTC 2012.

While unconventional shale gas is the hot topic in the US, global offshore oil & gas remains a major focus for operators and service providers. And few events put the spotlight on the offshore industry with as much energy as OTC. Last year, the conference & exhibition drew nearly 79,000 attendees from 110 countries and 2520 exhibiting companies representing 41 nations. Over the course of four days, delegates were presented with a menu of 48 panel discussions, nearly 300 papers presented at technical sessions, and numerous special events showcasing new technologies and honoring notable industry figures.

The 2012 gathering kicks off 29 April with one such event: the annual dinner, held in Houston’s George R Brown Convention Center, to benefit Engineers Without Borders USA. The OTC Distinguished Achievement Award recipients, still unnamed at press time, will be honored at the event. The action moves to Reliant Park the following day, where the morning starts with a panel discussion on risk management strategies for deepwater exploration.

safety otc

Safety and regulation have been much-discussed topics since Macondo, and will figure prominently at OTC, says 2012 program chairman Joseph M. Reilly.

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‘Regulatory environment, ethics, design standards, safety and operational integrity are in high focus’ at OTC 2012, Reilly says. ‘The program includes numerous panels, sessions and topical breakfasts and lunches which will cover different aspects of this topic.’

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Perhaps the offshore industry’s greatest challenge, he says, is the spectrum of activities that fall under what Reilly calls ‘operational integrity’.

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‘This is a fundamental enabler of our license to operate in the offshore environment and greatly influences the regulatory environment,’ he says. ‘Operational integrity includes a large range of activities including design standards, maintenance, testing, safety and environment. These topics are essential elements in educating the general public about our industry.’

Each day features a topical breakfast and lunch. The popular events tend to fill up, so advance reservations and tickets are recommended. The conference includes programs targeted to young professionals, students and teachers. This year’s OTC expands on recent efforts to incorporate ocean renewable technologies into the conference agenda. And as in years past, one of the most anticipated OTC events honors the Spotlight on New Technology award winners.

‘It’s actually quite an enjoyable experience’ putting together such an ambitious agenda, Reilly says.

‘You must remember that with our 12 sponsoring societies we have the direct input of 24 chairs/co-chairs supported by their respective subcommittee members. In my experience, the breadth of knowledge and insight is unmatched in any other professional conference.’ OE



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