OTC: Making waves in the energy industry

Bloomberg News

Hurricane Ivan wreaked all sorts of havoc in the Gulf of Mexico nearly four years ago, such as this crumpled Ensco drilling rig.

Waves are always an area of focus at the Offshore Technology Conference: How to improve forecasting of hurricanes, and their damaging waves. How to build better equipment that withstands waves. How to predict the patterns of ocean currents that produce the most destructive waves.
But this year’s conference, beginning today at Reliant park, is focused more on the figurative waves of change that are roiling the offshore oil and gas industry.
The push to deeper water and more challenging rock formations. The technology advances needed to get there. The tremendous costs of moving into new geographical regions and frontier areas of the Gulf of Mexico and other mature areas. The political challenges of working with increasingly powerful national oil companies. The rewards and obstacles of operating at a time when oil prices are at record highs.
It’s all part of the backdrop of this year’s OTC. Each topic will be addressed this week, both in super technical presentations and research papers and in broadly-themed speeches. We won’t get to all of it. But stay tuned for updates here and in the pages of the Chronicle this week.