OTC 2010 cast a ‘bigger net’ this year, seeking diversity, Program Chair Khurana says

Sandeep Khurana, 2010 Offshore Technology Conference Programs Chairman.
Sandeep Khurana, 2010 Offshore Technology Conference Programs Chairman.

“The 2010 OTC program will provide a well balanced, three-prong focus on technical, business and policy/regulatory issues in the oil and gas industry with emphasis on a wider energy spectrum and a global reach,” said Sandeep Khurana, subsea and facilities advisor for Devon Energy and the 2010 Offshore Technology Conference Programs chairman.

“We made a concerted effort to throw a bigger net at the energy industry for more abstracts this year,” Mr Khurana said. “As a result, we received 750 abstracts this year, a 40% increase over the number of abstracts received in 2009.”

Mr Khurana noted that OTC programs were seeking increased diversity this year. “Although we are the Offshore Technology Conference, we also are looking at alternate energy sources such as wind power and gas hydrates,” he said. “We also wanted to include sessions on policy issues and business topics.”

“A person does not always have to be an engineer or technical person to come away with valuable information,” Mr Khurana continued.

More technical sessions in 2010

The number of technical sessions scheduled for 2010 increased to 60 from 56 in 2009. Additionally, four of the technical sessions will be held in the Reliant Arena.

Technical sessions will cover the offshore oil and gas industry and its technical accomplishments such as Shell’s Perdido and BC-10 developments, BP’s Thunderhorse and Atlantis projects, ATP Oil & Gas’ Mirage development, Murphy’s Azurite field and Eni’s Longhorn project.

Cutting edge technology will be presented, including salt tectonics, geosciences, well completion innovations, surface BOPs, API code practices, riser technology, subsea processing and power, flow assurance and materials technology.

As a result of throwing out a wider net, in addition to the “typical” technology presented at OTC, there also will be technical sessions on metocean, hindcasting and updates, and storm and hurricane forecasting.

“A full-day discussion will be presented on metocean conditions covering recent hindcasts and future updates on storms and hurricanes,” Mr Khurana said. “There also will be a topical luncheon presentation from Jill Hasling with the Weather Research Center.”

This year’s OTC will cover a wider spectrum of the energy industry. “The program has expanded to include alternative energy sources such as offshore wind energy, ocean wave energy, ocean thermal energy and gas hydrates,” Mr Khurana said.

In addition to technical sessions, he noted, there will be breakfast presentations covering ocean renewable and thermal energy. “There also will be a series of sessions discussing new developments in gas hydrates, from resource evaluation to flow testing,” he said.

Global reach

As for the global reach, the technical program covers oil and gas prospects in the deepwater “golden triangle” region of the Gulf of Mexico, Brazil and Africa but also other areas. “Other areas covered are upcoming Caspian Sea region, evergreen Middle East area of the United Arab Emirates and Atlantic Canada,” Mr Khurana said. ‘We also will have coverage of the offshore construction business in China.”

As part of the global reach effort, the OTC invited organization this year is the American International Petroleum Negotiators (AIPN). The group has members in more than 80 countries representing international and national oil companies, host governments, law firms and academic institutions.

“AIPN works internationally to help write production-sharing agreements, explain how the international oil and gas industry works, how to obtain foreign leases, setting up international businesses and working with governments in an international environment, among other things,” Mr Khurana explained. “It’s a good organization, and I was excited to have them attend.”

AIPN will conduct a panel session on Sustaining Business in Global Volatility.

Business sessions

Several of the panel sessions, breakfasts and topical luncheons will feature programs on how the business environment may change and explores some of the key execution challenges resulting from these changes. “For example, there will be discussions on whether conventional oil and gas are entering their twilight years, understanding how the industry’s competitive framework may evolve, and a topical luncheon on energy myths and realities,” Mr Khurana said.

“Within the changing business context, senior executives will discuss how best to manage social and environmental risks in international projects,” he continued. “Other topics include how to sustain technological innovation in periods of volatile earnings. Another topic will discuss how oilfield service companies can manage through current tough times,” he added, “and we also will learn about the oil companies’ perspective on the upstream business in Brazil.”

Policy sessions

“OTC guidelines say that policy sessions are structured to bring diverse and balanced opinions with the care that they do not advocate a political position,” Mr Khurana explained. “To this end, the program will include a discussion of costs to implement climate change policies, whether climate changed and humans are at fault for more and stronger hurricanes, and the U.S. Department of Energy carbon capture and sequestration program.”

Additionally, panel sessions will discuss the role of energy on jobs and the economy, including proposals on “the right energy mix” going forward.

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