With the dive in crude oil prices we’ve seen in the last few quarters, it’s understandable that the environment at OTC – the premier international oil and gas gathering, attracting 100,000 attendees from more than 130 countries worldwide – has been somewhat more subdued than in previous years. The last several months have been a time of drawing back and regrouping for the O&G industry, and nowhere is this more evident than at this year’s Offshore Technology Conference.
Experts in the field, such as OTC Chairman Ed Stokes and Vice Chairman Joe Fowler, have been bullish on the show’s (and, one can assume, the industry’s) prospects, in spite of recent setbacks. What is most interesting, though, is examining the practical elements that may support an O&G industry comeback and vindicate this optimism. As Fowler told the OTC 2015 Show Daily for Day 1 (p. 1), OTC is “a chance to see and hear the latest technology in the papers and exhibits; to see what oil companies, suppliers and service companies are doing new […]”
These new developments are key. Austerity has been a necessary response for companies across the industry, in the wake of the market’s drop, but it has also been a catalyst for new, proactive reactions that may support a brighter outlook. Without a booming market to rely on, companies have turned to two intriguing reactions: collaboration and innovation.
Competitors in the market – from Anadarko to Shell – seem to be embracing collaboration, displaying a focus on drawing together to advance the new technologies and practices that may create a renaissance for the flagging industry. More so than in previous years, the spread and sharing of ideas in this space have been vital, and we’ve seen companies across the trade show floor display their projects and technologies that can increase efficiency, improve reliability, and lower initial and operating costs for the benefit of attendees and fellow exhibitors.
This year’s OTC technical program, especially, has displayed this focus on innovation and new technologies, with 328 technical papers, 11 panel sessions, and more events providing platforms for knowledge-sharing, an activity that is especially vital as the industry works to push constant evolution in the frontiers of drilling, exploration, production, and environmental protection. Events such as this Friday’s new d5 gatheringtake this even further, with speeches planned by experts from outside the oil and gas industry that will encourage the integration of disruptive technologies such as 3-D printing that may infuse new blood into the O&G space.
Today is Day 3 of the show, and OTC 2015 has already shown us the various ways the oil and gas industry has begun to adapt to its dramatic market shifts. How will its prospects develop as time goes on? Though we can’t answer this question certainly, we do know that – as electronic components find their place in more and more offshore and drilling technologies – Smith will continue to support this evolving industry as semiconductors and electronics offer their own disruptions and opportunities for progress.