There are some big meetings in the oil industry, but the Offshore Technology Conference (OTC), set for May 2-5 at the Reliant Center in Houston, may be the Big Daddy of them all.
Sponsored by 23 professional and technical societies, including AAPG, OTC focuses on the technology and science that impacts the offshore oil and gas industry.
Held the first week of May every year, this year's May OTC will be impressive in its scale, said Dan Orange, AAPG's Program Committee chairman. Attendance at the 2004 meeting was 50,900, the highest attendance in 19 years, with attendance having climbed steadily for the last five years.
Orange said over the last few years the AAPG program committee has made a concerted effort to carve out a set of topics that are relevant to offshore E&P but would not necessarily compete with AAPG's annual, international or regional meetings.
"In particular," Orange said, "we have chosen to make OTC the premier venue for offshore geohazards. This is a topic that's never been regularly showcased at an annual meeting. Because of the centralization of the offshore oil industry in a few major cities, and principally in Houston, this topic is of high interest to our potential client base."
Topics of the AAPG technical program include:
- Petrotechnical Visualization (two-part session begins at 9:30 a.m. Monday, May 2): Highlights the use of visualization in E&P, featuring real-time visualizations by geoscientists flying through their data, and explaining what it means and why it's important. [PFItemLinkShortcode|id:41201|type:standard|anchorText:See related story|cssClass:asshref|title:Visualization Not a Parlor Trick|PFItemLinkShortcode].
- Controlled-Source Electromagnetics (joint session with SEG begins at 9:30 a.m. Tuesday, May 3). CSEM has given control of the source to the geophysicist such that they can evaluate the resistivity contrasts of thin beds. This session is the first technical session devoted to this important new technology for E&P at any national or international meeting.
- Quantifying Risk and Uncertainty in Geohazard Site Assessments for Facility Engineering (begins at 9:30 a.m. Tuesday, May 3). Incorporating probabilistic models and uncertainty in translating G&G to economics, risk and decision making.
- Gas Hydrates as a Potential Drilling Hazard (begins at 2 p.m. Tuesday, May 3). This will be the first dedicated technical session that addresses an issue that is not widely recognized (or widely admitted).
- Geohazard Assessment of Field Developments (joint session with SEG and MTS begins at 2 p.m. Wednesday, May 4). Big discoveries, extensive seafloor infrastructure, big bucks, active geologic processes, incredible data.
- Ivan the Terrible (joint session with SME begins at 9:30 a.m. Thursday, May 5). Details of the aftermath of Hurricane Ivan are just beginning to seep out, and those in the geohazard industry know the extent of the impact.
"What is amazing is that a 1,000-year storm came straight through the heart of the oil industry in the Gulf of Mexico, caused an impressive amount of destruction, yet resulted in no significant environmental or safety disaster," Orange said.
Craig Shipp is AAPG's technical session vice-chair. Susan Cunningham is AAPG's representative on the OTC board of directors.
For registration information and details on the technical sessions, see http://www.otcnet.org.