The world of offshore drilling will be concentrated in Houston next week for an annual conference on technology expected to draw 70,000 participants from more than 100 countries.
Many of the attendees at the Offshore Technology Conference will have one eye focused on Washington, though, as the Obama administration considers opening the Arctic Ocean off the coast of Alaska to oil and gas exploration, continues fine-tuning regulation of drilling in the Gulf of Mexico, and contemplates new leasing in other offshore areas.
Held in Houston’s Reliant Center, a massive convention facility more than a quarter-mile long and two football fields wide, the OTC is sponsored annually by a dozen industry groups, from the Society of Exploration Geophysicists to the American Society of Civil Engineers.
Supporting organizations include the American Petroleum Institute, the American Association of Drilling Engineers, the Independent Petroleum Association of America, and the National Ocean Industries Association.
A host of presentations, panel discussions, and special events are on the agenda for the OTC, which runs from Monday through Thursday. Among the sessions will be a status report on deepwater drilling off the coast of West Africa, a new regulatory regime for offshore development in Brazil, and China’s emerging role in the offshore industry.
Washington-watchers at the conference will hear from Rear Adm. James Watson, director of the Interior Department’s Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement.
Rep. Bill Flores, R-Texas, a member of the House Energy and Mineral Resources Subcommittee, is scheduled to address the conference on Wednesday on “Energy Policy in the United States: Realities, Fantasies, and Rhetoric.”