OTC 2014 chairman expects mega-sized event to leave people “awestruck”

otc-huston-2014The Houston Business Journal is reporting that Houston’s mega-sized Offshore Technology Conference is ready to kick off May 5 with all the pomp and circumstance the energy sector and 100,000 participants can muster.

OTC 2014 comes to Houston for its 45th anniversary at the newly renamed NRG Park with more than 2,700 exhibitors covering a record 680,000 square feet, said OTC Chairman Ed Stokes.

“Wear some comfortable shoes,” Stokes joked. “You better take a map and know where you’re going.”

The conference is arranged by 13 societies and brings energy sector workers and executives together from around the world for networking, topical seminars, presentations, new offshore technology exhibitions and, well, partying.

“You’re kind of awestruck because of the size of it,” Stokes said, noting that some of the rigs and pieces of technological equipment on display are particularly impressive. “I’m still amazed by the innovation that’s occurring.”

Apart from new exploration and production technologies — as well as the ever-pervasive focus on safety advancements — Stokes said some new topics getting increased attention at the conference include Mexico’s ongoing energy reform, the increasing costs of offshore production in harsher environments, and the growing emphasis on women and diversity in the energy sector.

Some of the early events include BP America Inc. CEO and President John Mingé chatting up “America’s Energy Renaissance” during a May 5 breakfast session, a breakfast discussion on May 6 about “Mexico Energy Reform: Challenges and Opportunities,” and another competing breakfast on May 6 involving former astronaut Mike Bloomfield discussing the energy sector’s use of NASA’s Neutral Buoyancy Laboratory.

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