The Offshore Technology Conference (OTC) celebrates its 25th anniversary of reflecting the offshore industry May 3-6 at the Astrodomain Complex in Houston. The four-day conference and exhibition features a 49-session technical program which includes two keynote sessions, 11 special sessions and four OTC Topical Luncheons. OTC serves as a forum for the exchange of technical information vital for exploration and development of ocean resources and protection of the offshore environment.
Since its inception in 1969, OTC has served as a barometer of the industry's health and progress, said OTC Board Chairman Dennis Gregg. Some 4,200 people attended the first OTC, an event which occupied 38,500 square feet of floor space at Houston's Albert Thomas Convention Center. OTC experienced its zenith during the boom years of high oil prices, with 108,161 registrants, and 2,500 exhibiting companies occupying a total of 631,000 square feet in 1982. OTC primarily serves offshore industry engineers, managers and scientists from around the world who participate in the four-day technical program.
More than one million registrants from more than 100 countries have attended combined technical programs and exhibitions of OTC since its inception, and more than 30,000 attendees are expected at this year's meeting.
OTC registration decreased significantly during the mid-1980's at the same time that oil prices declined. Recently, OTC attendance has steadily increased. The 1992 OTC, in fact, posted the largest attendance in seven years, 34,828.
Attendance numbers are just one indication that OTC mirrors the worldwide offshore industry. Through its 24-year history, OTC registration has reflected the global scope of the offshore industry.
Last year, registrants from 83 countries attended. One-third of the 1,257 exhibiting companies in 1992 were from 23 countries outside of the U.S. Total exhibit space exceeded 238,000 square feet. To accommodate future growth and to provide access to purposebuilt outdoor exhibition space, OTC will take on a new look for its Silver anniversary. OTC's main entrance will shift from the Astrohall to the new ExpoCenter on the southeast side of the Astrodomain Complex. Expanding to the ExpoCenter will afford exhibitors an additional 60,000 net square feet of space with increased ceiling heights enabling exhibitors to bring larger equipment displays inside.
Additionally, the adjacent purpose- built outdoor exhibit space features in-ground utilities, reinforced pavement, and easy access to the indoor exhibition through the ExpoCenter's covered entrance. "OTC is indeed the premier showcase and arena of dialogue for the offshore, but not just the offshore," Mr. Gregg said. "OTC also is addressing Arctic operations and its related technology. With Russia opening its oil and gas business to outsiders, interest in this area has skyrocketed. And as western companies become increasingly involved there, the emphasis on Arctic operations will be reflected in both OTC exhibits and technical sessions." Accordingly, one of the two OTC General Sessions will address "What It's Like Doing Business in the C. I. S." The Wednesday, May 5 afternoon panel session will include oil and gas industry officials from the Commonwealth of Independent States as well as executives from major operating companies and the service/ supply sector.
The other keynote session, set for Tuesday, May 4 in the afternoon, will examine issues related to the real cost of policies that support the lowest possible energy prices. "At What Price Cheap Oil?" promises to present a variety of viewpoints. Panelists include a senior oil company executive, a government official, an energy industry analyst, and spokesmen from major environmental organizations.
"It is my impression that the industry is now concerned with the economic ways to develop what already has been found rather than on the more glamorous deepwater frontier," Mr. Gregg said.
The OTC technical program reflects this focus with sessions addressing resource economics, costreduction measures to facilitate economic hydrocarbon production, development in materials technology, platform damage and repair and slimhole wells. Safety and environmental issues also are reflected throughout the program, with five sessions devoted entirely to safety and environmental considerations. Four of the 11 OTC special sessions detail specific offshore projects. They include "The Deep Star Project" on Monday afternoon, "Exxon's Zinc Subsea Development" on Tuesday morning, "Troll Oil Development" on Wednesday morning, and "Snorre TLP Installation" on Wednesday afternoon. Another program feature will debut at OTC '93. The Technical Keynote Address on Monday, May 3, in the afternoon, features a presentation by an individual who is preeminent in the field of offshore technology. Odd M. Faitinsen, professor of marine hydrodynamics at the Norwegian Inst, of Technology, will examine "Sea Loads on Floating Offshore Systems." Mr. Faitinsen is a renowned expert on wave induced motions and loads on ships and offshore structures. Other activities include the industry exhibition and three days of special luncheon events. The OTC exhibition continues to be the offshore industry's leading international event. This year, nearly 1,300 of the world's foremost manufacturers and suppliers of offshore equipment and services will occupy more than 238,000 net square feet of exhibit space in the ExpoCenter, Astohall, and outdoor exhibition area during the 1993 event.
The OTC Awards Luncheon on Tuesday, May 4, will feature the presentation of the OTC Distinguished Achievement Awards and will include a keynote address from a major international official. Four OTC Topical Luncheons, scheduled Monday and Wednesday, May 3 and 5, will offer opportunities for dialogue with international authorities on innovative technologies and newsmaking projects.
These special luncheons include: "Partnering: A Joint Perspective," held by Larry Broussard, project director with Brown & Root, Inc., on Monday, May 3 at noon. Also on Monday , "Impacts of Hurricane Andrew" will feature discussion from a panel on the short- and long-term physical and economic consequences of the hurricane which swept through the heart of the Gulf of Mexico's most concentrated offshore oil and gas producing areas last summer. On Wednesday, in "Expanding and Changing Role of the MMS in the Offshore Oil Industry," a top official from the U.S. Minerals Management Service (MMS) will discuss the role the agency plays in overseeing exploration and production operations on the U.S. Outer Continental Shelf. Finally, also on Wednesday, Terry B. Wood, technical support manager for Amoco Production Co.'s construction department, will present "Total Quality Management in the Offshore Industry." The popular OTC Topical Luncheons will take place at the Sheraton Astrodome Hotel.