This week, more than 70,000 offshore and energy professionals are descending on Houston for the Offshore Technology Conference - one of the largest crowds since OTC attendee numbers peaked at 108,161 in 1982.
Not only is this international gathering a boon to an ever-changing and diverse energy community; it's also a major benefit to the Houston economy, generating more than $70 million in just a few days' time.
What do we have to thank for the rejuvenation of the energy industry and OTC? In a word, technology.
In the wake of rising oil prices, natural and manmade disasters, and the quest for green energy solutions, the energy and offshore industries are relying on innovative technological solutions more than ever. Take technical papers, for example: in 1982, 144 technical papers were presented. Compare that to the 297 technical papers presented in 2011, and you'll see that the industry is pursuing more innovative and efficient methods of energy retrieval and exploration than ever before.
Even events such as the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster have spurred new technology. Take, for example, "The Claw." This 10-story set of claws allows for the grabbing of sunken pieces of offshore platform or other types of debris off the ocean floor in the event of a disaster.
The Offshore Technology Conference is one of the world's premier offshore and energy conferences. It brings together some of the industry's brightest minds and most innovative companies. OTC isn't just a great event for exchanging business cards - it's also one of the most ideal and important venues for exchanging ideas.