Offshore Technology Conference Day 1

Looks like it will take more than a Democratic administration, global recession, $50 oil and the threat of swine flu to shut down the oil and gas exploration business — The latest annual installment of the Offshore Technology Conference kicks off today at Reliant Park.
In addition to the acres of exhibits on everything related to offshore exploration and production of oil and gas, the show features panel discussions and dozens of technical papers, from the somewhat accessible (An Analysis of the Challenges of Manufacturing and Installing One of the World’s Deepest Pipelines) to those and make you realize you’re really over your head (Global Buckling and Axial Stability Study for HP/HT Flowlines ).
This morning’s big panel talk features a few well-known political and industry types, including Alaskan Senator Lisa Murkowski and Marvin Odum, President of Shell Oil Company.
Some key things we’ll try to get an early read on are if the downturn has affected attendance (most likely) and if the flu worries have had any impact. The European Union warned against travel to the U.S. last week unless absolutely necessary (a warning that seems to have been blown out of proportion), so it will be interesting to see if all the Scandinavian, Scottish and English companies who are such a big part of the offshore business send a full contingent.
At least one executive has said he won’t be making it: According to Upstream Online, Petrobras CEO Jose Sergio Gabrielli will not travel to the U.S. because of the threat.
The conference runs through Thursday.