OTC showcases new energy technologies

The Offshore Technology Conference kicked off at Houston's Reliant Center on May 5. More than 80,000 professionals from all parts of the offshore energy industry typically attend OTC, making it one of the 10 most popular trade shows in the United States. This year, organizers projected that the four-day conference would attract more than 100,000 people.

"OTC is the showcase for what's happening in the oil and gas business, especially in the sub-sea realm," one attendee told local news station KPRC Houston. "It's a good opportunity to get with the public and let them know about the latest things we are doing."

The Oil and Gas Journal took a closer look at what is happening inside the conference. At a panel discussion on opening day, Marathon Oil CEO Lee Tillman said deepwater development has been one of the key factors behind the recent "supply renaissance" in the United States. He also noted the growing importance of hydraulic fracturing operations used to access reservoirs locked in shale formations. These two areas of development were compared in a technical paper presented at the conference by two industry experts: Doreen Chin and Sandeep Khurana.

One of the primary differences they discussed is that with shale development, producers are focused on completing as many wells as possible, because each one has a relatively small output and short lifespan. In contrast, deepwater wells can produce much more oil and gas, but their development also comes with much higher upfront costs, longer production timelines and greater risks.

Statoil Senior Vice President Torstein Hole emphasized the opportunities for "cross-learning." Specifically, he said that offshore operators can apply some of the lessons being learned on land in their own operations. BP's David Eyton pointed out that the rapid development of shale resources and the tight profit margins faced by companies in this space have driven innovation in processes and technologies, which may be adaptable for use in the deepwater environment.

According to KPRC, more than 2,700 companies registered to set up shop on an exhibit floor the size of twelve football fields. While new technologies will be essential to the development of ocean energy resources, companies in the industry will also need to be able to rely on quality CNC machining services to keep their equipment in working condition.

When oil and gas companies need hard-to-find replacement parts, they can depend on Windham Manufacturing to meet their needs. We can produce custom parts at our machine shop in Dallas, and our central location allows us to offer economical shipping to customers in the region.