All dressed up for OTC

You never saw massive pumps, pipes and all else that makes up structures that extract oil and gas from beneath the seafloor look this pretty. This year’s annual Offshore Technology Conference is in full swing at Reliant Center and Reliant Stadium, and the booths in the convention center’s exhibition halls are as elaborate as ever.
Drilling pumps, valves and huge pipes in bright primary colors are on display, from kelly green to cobalt blue and bright fire-engine red. Plenty of models also grace the booth landscape, but some companies simply hauled in the real bulk–from machinery for drillships to a Peterbilt tractor-trailer truck. No room for wimps here.
But even the small displays can grab attention. Charles Phillips, a model maker for Scale Reproductions in Fairhope, Ala., made a beeline for Endine Inc.’s booth where steel ball bearings in a round plastic container atop a vibrating platform danced incessantly. However, the same kind of ball bearings in another container a few inches away stood dormant. The difference was braided steel cable underneath the still container, absorbing the shock. Endine spokesman Cary Crane says the cables cut down on vibrations for generators, pumps and other equipment on an offshore oil platform.
“I might try something like that,” Phillips said. “I’ve just got to know how it works.”