Attending OTC, but investing in onshore drilling

Even as he manned his company’s booth at Houston’s Offshore Technology Conference on Wednesday, Kevin Anderson saw a certain irony in attending the industry’s annual summit.

“You have to go where the oil companies are putting their focus,” he said. And, for many companies, that focus is not on offshore drilling.

Anderson is the director of business management for Micro-Smart Systems, Inc., a Houston-based company that makes a device for downhole data collection. The company services both the on and offshore industries, and while shale is thriving, offshore operations continue to lag, Anderson said.

Micro-Smart has had a booth on OTC’s exhibit floor for two decades. But the company is focusing its research and development on onshore operations, because that’s where operators can make money with current oil prices, he said.

Many oil and gas companies have learned to make their operations profitable at $50 a barrel, but most expensive offshore operations have struggled to do the same. On Monday, Richard Morrison, BP’s regional president for the Gulf of Mexico, has said that the company won’t pump oil offshore when prices are below $50.