OTC To Draw Global Participants for Look at Industry’s Future

As the industry moves toward recovery and stability, OTC will attract global industry professionals, government officials, academic experts, and many other organizational representatives to discuss technology and broader industry issues and assess the future.


As the oil and gas industry moves toward recovery and stability, the Offshore Technology Conference (OTC) will attract global industry professionals, government officials, academic experts, and representatives of many influential organizations to discuss technological and broader industry issues and assess the future. To be held from 30 April to 3 May at NRG Center in Houston, it will be OTC’s 50th gathering, the first conference having taken place in 1969.

One of the industry’s largest conferences worldwide, which drew an attendance exceeding 64,700 last year, OTC hosts a major exhibition of technology and services. More than 1,900 companies and organizations representing 43 countries are expected to exhibit.

Awards Luncheon

During the OTC Distinguished Achievement Awards Luncheon on 1 May, the conference will recognize Brian Skeels for individual achievement and Shell and SBM Offshore for institutional achievement. Additionally, Cesar del Vecchio will receive the Heritage Award, and the conference will present a Special Citation to Tom Sifferman.



del Vecchio




Skeels will be honored with the Distinguished Achievement Award for Individuals for his extraordinary accomplishments in pioneering new subsea completions in record water depths and the development of new tieback connections that have set and redefined industry standards.

As TechnipFMC’s Technology Fellow, he serves as a technical subsea adviser for high-pressure, high-temperature (HPHT) developments.

Over a career of 36 years in subsea completion and pipeline design and installation, Skeels has been a contributing author to nearly 40 industry-related technical papers and articles. He holds 14 US patents. Skeels has presented, session-chaired, conference-chaired, or participated as an advisory board/program committee member at OTC and other conferences.

Shell and SBM Offshore will be presented the OTC Distinguished Achievement Award for the successful development of the world’s deepest oil and gas project, the Stones field in the United States Gulf of Mexico. The development used a leased floating production, storage, and offloading (FPSO) vessel and features an industry-first pairing of a steel lazy-wave riser with a disconnectable buoy turret mooring system, the world’s largest. Stones has an artificial lift system designed for 15,000-psi operations.

Together, Shell and SBM also completed a successful safety milestone, when the FPSO project logged more than 18 million work hours in the construction phase with only one lost-time incident, a notable achievement for an endeavor of this scale.

Del Vecchio will be given the Heritage Award for his contribution to the safe, economic development of deepwater floating systems by establishing, proving, and gaining worldwide acceptance for the use of polyester mooring systems. His initial research in replacing all-steel catenary systems with synthetic taut moorings is considered a technological breakthrough for floating production systems by extending the range of moored floaters into deep and ultradeep water, while reducing the seabed footprint

With Petrobras, del Vecchio led an effort that used a full life-cycle approach to design systems. Some have now been in service for more than 20 years. He currently works at Stress Engineering Services and continues to direct his expertise toward the integrity management of mooring systems for various clients.

Sifferman will receive a Special Citation for his lifetime of significant contributions toward advancing production enhancement, complex rheology mitigation, and chemical flow assurance of difficult-to-handle reservoir fluids. A licensed professional engineer with 45 years of experience in the petroleum business, he has held many responsibilities in drilling, completions, and production.

In addition to being an SPE Distinguished Member, Sifferman is a Fellow with the American Society of Mechanical Engineers. He has authored 30 professional publications, holds 17 US patents, and has served as chair and organizer of flow-assurance sessions for OTC since 2006.

The OTC Distinguished Achievement Awards Luncheon recognizes the award recipients, raises funds for a worthy cause, and provides an opportunity for industry leaders to network with colleagues from around the world.

The luncheon’s 2018 beneficiary is the Young Women’s College Preparatory Academy (YWCPA). The organization is an all-girl, college preparatory magnet school in the Houston Independent School District with middle and high school divisions. YWCPA focuses on college readiness and science, technology, engineering and mathematics with all core-curriculum classes at the preadvanced- or advanced-placement levels.

A presentation on geophysical advances at a 2017 technical session.

Technical Program

The program committee has selected approximately 400 papers to be presented at technical sessions or in poster format. More than 840 abstracts were submitted. OTC’s 48 technical sessions will be spread over the entire conference schedule with presentations each morning and afternoon. Additionally, there will be nine panel sessions, which include

30 April

  • How To Make Offshore Oil and Gas Projects Feasible in a $45–$50 Per-Bbl Environment
  • Policy Panel: Offshore Energy: Safety, Technology, and Production—Governmental Perspectives

1 May

  • Active Arena: Global Intellectual Property Strategy
  • Integrated Offshore Activities: Mega-Mergers and Alliances: A Competitive Integration

2 May

  • Big Data Next Chapter
  • Deep Pockets: Private Equity Investment in Offshore Projects—A New Trend?

3 May

  • Center for Offshore Safety: Interaction of Culture, Systems, and Human Performance—The Next Step in Safety Management
  • One Gulf Reaching 50 Billion BOE and Growing
  • Jack & St. Malo: 3 Years After First Oil on a Staged Deepwater Development

Special Events

Topical Breakfasts—Nine topical breakfasts will be held over the 4-day conference on safe operations, portfolios, the technology outlook, talent management, ethics, ocean sounds and marine animals, and further subjects.

Topical Luncheons—Twelve topical luncheons are scheduled throughout the conference. Topics include Brazil’s presalt, US offshore regulation, cost inflation and declining well productivity, digital transformation, women in the industry, subsea processing, offshore safety, and other issues.

Networking Events—Events are scheduled the first two afternoons of the conference. Expert panels will discuss “Data, Drilling and Discovery: Five Decades of OTC: How Our Past Has Shaped Our Future” on 30 April and “Automation, Efficiency, and Optimization Offshore: Remote Management of Our Industry” on 1 May. Audience members can actively participate through a question-and-answer session and open networking at the end of each event.

The Next Wave—As OTC celebrates its 50th edition, the conference looks toward the next 50 years. The Next Wave program for young professionals (YPs) will offer insights from oil and gas sector leaders on the industry’s evolution and a chance to reflect on technologies and processes that have driven that evolution—all of which will help YPs to shape the future. The program will focus on challenges and responsibilities from technical, business, and social perspectives and how they will shape careers in the coming decades.

Teacher and student programs—The Energy Education teacher workshop welcomes science teachers (grades 1–12) to attend a free, 1-day seminar to receive hands-on training by qualified facilitators, hear a presentation from a prominent speaker, and tour the exhibit floor. The teachers will receive a variety of free instructional materials to take back to their classrooms. About 200 high school students will get a firsthand look at the opportunities the industry offers. The students will go on a scavenger hunt of the technology exhibits, take part in hands-on energy lessons led by qualified facilitators, and meet industry professionals to learn about E&P careers.