Subsea Valley travels to Offshore Technology Conference (OTC)
The annual Offshore Technology Conference in Houston is the biggest gathering of industry executive and stakeholders in the global oil and gas calendar, and this year Subsea Valley organised the first delegation trip to Texas.
Member companies as well as Mayors from Asker, Bærum and Drammen joined the group of about 25 delegates. This year OTC gathered more than 94 000 visitors, with 2 682 exhibitors. It is the world’s largest oil and energy conference in the world.
Collaboration, sustainability and innovation
After networking during the weekend, we started Monday morning with a breakfast seminar on the market outlook, hosted by Greater Stavanger. Jostein Mykletun the Ambassador Consul General of Norway to Houston opened the seminar, by introducing Dr. Michelle Michot Foss, Chief Energy Economist Program Manager for Center for Energy Economics Bureau of Economic Geology University of Texas. She was followed by Kevin Mc Evoy, CEO and Director of Oceaneering International, Inc. Helge Hove Haldorsen, CEO and President of Statoil Mexico and President of the Society of Petroleum Engineers 2015, continued the session, ending with Philip M. Tennenbaum, Senior Partner, Global Leader of the Mercer Energy Vertical. Here is a brief summary of their main talking points:
Michelle Michot Foss – market will see faster cycles in the coming years!
Dr. Foss predicts faster cycles in the coming years, and based on her calculations of the oil price, the equilibrium for oil is at $80 per barrel. Her worry in today’s market is that young students get discouraged and chooses other fields of study, instead of going into oil and gas related studies. As she said, the market will adjust and we will still need people in many years to come.
Kevin Mc Evoy – we need to simplify
Mr. Mc Evoy spoke about the adjustments that need to happen in our industry, and said that structural changes are necessary to survive. We need to look at how we can ‘work together’ by collaborating more, be more open to innovation and be diligent with quality. His key word was simplification. Minimize bureaucracy and simplify supply chains, to make it easier for the service companies. He felt it was important for the operators to understand what role they play, for them to know it is with them we need to see more efficiencies in order for the industry as a whole to follow.
Dr. Helge Hove Haldorsen – We compete and we collaborate
Dr. Haldorsen took us through some interesting topics. He touched on the moral case for fossil fuels. As of today, 2-3% of our energy consumption comes from sun, bio-fuels and wind, while the energy need grows each year. We need to look at how we can produce the oil in a sustainable way, rather than believing that we can switch energy sources in an instant. Haldorsen who works with Mexico, also spoke about how the market is changing, and what is happening now that PEMEX has opened the market to other operators. As of today, PEMEX lacks capacity and capital to manage on their own, and this is partly the reason they have opened the market to other operators. On July 15, the first bid for exploration will go out, and as of now, 39 companies have entered into the bidding process. The future is bright and exciting, though there are still pit falls, as this is a market with a high level of corruption. The good news is that they look to Norway to emulate what we have been able to create here.
Philip M. Tennenbaum – make sure to retain your work force
The seminar ended with Mr. Tennenbaum looking at the work force. Even though we are going through an adjustment in the market, he spoke of the importance of keeping your employees happy and trying to hold on to as many as possible. He believes it might be hard to get them back when the market turns. He also talked about how the job market sees a gap in the workforce. A large group of engineers will soon retire, and then there is a shortage of engineers trained to take over for the highly experienced workforce. However, we also see a peak in newly educated engineers that need training. He suggested putting effort into training your people to be equipped for the future.
The political delegation
During our trip, we also spent time at the OTC exhibition with our delegation, where we met with member companies, Innovation Norway, as well as other clusters, such as NODE from Kristiansand.
The Mayors were also able to meet companies from their own municipality. This is the first time the Mayors from our Subsea Valley area visited the OTC. Our intention was therefore to increase their knowledge level and make sure they understand the importance of the industry in their own back yard. In return, they were able to open doors and help pin us to the map. Moving forward we look forward to an even closer relationship with the local Mayors.
Cluster thinking – panel debate with big players talking competition and collaboration
While the exhibition hall was pulsating with networking and displaying products and services, there were technical sessions conducted on the second floor of the exhibition hall. On Tuesday May 5, we were able to listen in to a panel debate with Thierry Pilenko, Chairman and CEO, Technip, Luis Araujo, CEO, Aker Solutions, John Gremp, CEO, FMC Technologies, Lorenzo Simonelli, President and CEO, GE Oil and Gas, Jean Cahuzac, CEO, Subsea 7 and Bruno Chabas, CEO, SBM Offshore. These important leaders had been tasked with debating competition and collaboration – in our minds in Subsea Valley – cluster thinking. The name of the session was Serving Offshore Industry for Win-Win: Competition and Collaboration. An interesting session that left us with two key take-aways – early involvement and innovation.
Rice Space Institute at University of Houston
We also visited the Rice Space Institute, where Dr. David Alexander, Director of Wiess School of Natural Sciences and Professor in Physics & Astronomy, took us through some of the history of the University and the story behind “Houston we’ve got a problem”, which would not have been, had it not been for Rice Space Institute.
Jan Odegard from Ken Kennedy Institute for High Performance Computing, talked about Big data, though he called it Data Science, because he said it is really about having just the right amount of data and not necessarily large quantities of data, just for the sake of it. Mr. Odegard talked about the importance of engaging, educating and networking, and believes that we cannot work on data alone, but we have to work together to create partnerships across industries such as the oil and gas industry, space and data sciences.
The last speaker at Rice Space Institute was Chuck McConnell from the Energy and Environment Initiative and SubSea Institute. His insights were fascinating and he shared with us some of his thoughts for the future, and on how we ought to be working moving forward. Yet again during our trip, we listened to someone who also believes we cannot just switch off the oil supply tomorrow. Instead, he talked about how we need to produce oil sustainably, by eliminating waste and finding a way to store CO2 efficiently. He also spoke about how we need to use Big data in such a way that we can do predictive maintenance, by developing tools to work even smarter. Moving forward he thinks we will have enough data to know where to drill, instead of guesstimating it.
Overall, we are pleased with our trip to Houston, and all that we learned during our stay. We built and strengthened relationships with stakeholders who play an important role in shaping our future, globally as well as in our local communities. We promoted Subsea Valley are a great place to do business and to innovate and we came back from Houston with renewed optimism on behalf of our industry and our region. The feedback from the delegates is positive and we therefore hope to go back to OTC in 2016 with an even bigger delegation.
We look forward to going back to the OTC in 2016, and we hope you will join us!