Houston’s Offshore Technology Conference, the industry’s largest annual summit, kicks off Monday morning with a keynote from Richard Morrison, BP’s regional director for the Gulf of Mexico, the first of many focusing on new technologies and strategies to rebuild the offshore drilling industry after the oil bust.
The conference, known as OTC, attracts thousands of oil and gas professionals who will spend the week at Houston’s NRG Park navigating hallways lined with giant blowout preventers, massive ocean robots and the displays of more than 2,400 exhibitors.
The technology on display will focus on reducing expenses to help deepwater drillers compete with lower-cost onshore shale drillers. The conference crowd is expected to be more upbeat this year following the oil market collapse in 2016, when the attendance was the lowest since the Great Recession.
Last year, conference organizers let in nearly 1,000 unemployed oil professionals, free of charge, on one day of the conference to network and proffer resumes.
On Monday afternoon, Ryan Zinke, the new secretary of the U.S. Department of the Interior, will speak about federal policies on offshore drilling and the future of the offshore industry. Other panels on Monday will focus on drilling operations in the Gulf of Mexico and off the coast of Brazil.