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Looking towards the future

Published:  27 August, 2015

As SPE Offshore Europe 2015 prepares to open its doors in Aberdeen from 8-11 September, the oil and gas industry can look forward to debating both the technical and people challenges facing the business today. ODEE reports.

The future of the oil and gas industry depends on both global demand for its products and services and the need to attract and encourage the next generation of talent into the industry. This year’s event will aim to address both of these issues.

In addition the development of technology to access resources from increasingly challenging locations and reservoirs is also fundamental to the future of the industry and forms another strand of the event’s focus on inspiring the next generation.

Despite the current difficult market conditions, oil and gas will remain indispensable to the world for securing heat, light, mobility and prosperity for many decades to come. According to the International Energy Agency’s World Energy Outlook 2014, oil and gas will still supply around half of the world’s energy demand by 2040. Sourcing skilled, innovative and motivated people and developing new technologies are essential for the industry to be successful in meeting this demand.

During the four-day free-to-attend event there will be a series of keynote sessions, technical sessions, topical lunches and breakfast briefings. Alongside the conference, visitors will have the opportunity to view the latest technology, product and service exhibits from the global industry.

Dedicated Deepwater Zone

The dedicated Deepwater Zone, which will take over an entire hall, will comprise its own conference and exhibition programme. The Deepwater Zone will be dedicated to the latest state-of-the-art technologies helping the industry advance into one of the world’s most challenging, harsh – yet potentially commercially rewarding – environments. Despite pressures on operator budgets deferring the sanctioning of certain projects, a Douglas Westwood report of April 2015 still expects deepwater expenditure to increase by 69%, compared to the preceding five-year period, totalling US$210 billion from 2015 to 2019. A dedicated theatre will host sessions programmed by Subsea UK and the Society for Underwater Technology on topics such as deepwater developments; the future of inspection, repair and maintenance; new technologies for efficiency and effectiveness; and subsea challenges for enabling deepwater production. In the event’s largest Deepwater Zone to date, more than 30 companies from this rapidly evolving sector will display their latest products and services. These range from equipment such as valves, imaging systems and underwater vehicles to well control and intervention products, specialist material solutions, and inspection services.

On the opening morning (8 September), Steve Varley, UK Chairman and Managing Partner, EY, and Lars Christian Bachar, Executive Vice President, Development & Production International, Statoil, will speak at the Aberdeen and Grampian Chamber of Commerce business breakfast. Oil & Gas UK is organising a breakfast briefing on its Economic Report 2015 on Wednesday 9 September. Then, on Thursday 10 September, international oil and energy consultant, Manouchehr Takin, will chair the breakfast slot on ‘The price of oil, did market analysts forget about E&P?’ On Friday 11 September the breakfast session will focus on feeding the pipeline of female talent in STEM.

BP’s Bernard Looney, Chief Operating Officer, Production, is the confirmed lunch speaker on Tuesday 8 September. And on Thursday 10 September, the lunch session will be given over to a small operators’ panel chaired by Neil McCulloch, President, North Sea, EnQuest. Speakers will include: Oonagh Werngren, Operations Director, Oil & Gas UK; John Pearson, Group President Northern Europe & CIS, Amec Foster Wheeler; Matt Corbin, Managing Director, Aker Solutions; and Robin Allan, Director of Business Units, Premier Oil.

Inclusive conference

The keynote programme will focus on the basic challenge of meeting energy demand while balancing concerns over climate change, security of supply and consumer affordability.

The 11 sessions will include topics dealing with: health; the safety and security of people and assets; well intervention; financing investments; oil spill response; and inspiring the next generation to join the industry. Speakers will comprise a mix of senior representatives from international operating companies and contractors, as well as trade association representatives, government regulators and academia.

In addition over 75 technical papers will be presented over the four days, including topics such as asset and well integrity, maximising economic recovery, smarter field development, pipelines and risers, subsea processing, talent development, unconventional gas development, process safety, and decommissioning.

Technical Chairman of SPE Offshore Europe and Chief Executive Officer of Expro, Charles Woodburn, epxlained: “Whilst we continue to push the boundaries of technology and innovation, we must find better ways to attract and encourage the next generation of talent into our industry.

“For the first time we are including papers based on both people and technical challenges, to address both aspects in parallel. By embedding this approach within the fabric of SPE Offshore Europe 2015, we will deliver a conference that ensures continued progress within our industry.”

Connecting entrepreneurs and the young

In addition for the first time, the event will include a series of workshops and meetings to connect entrepreneurs and investors, as well as an ‘Inspire’ programme aimed at the younger generation - recognising the long-term need for a secure talent pipeline. Charles Woodburn commented: “The short-term impact of the recent downturn on our industry has undoubtedly cast a shadow over the sector and its attractiveness to new and emerging talent. But, as the past has taught us, we cannot afford to lose our next generation as they play a vital part in advancing safety, innovation and the technology our industry demands. While we must take action to respond to these challenging conditions, we need to maintain our focus on the high quality workforce of the future.”

A wide range of ‘Inspire’ events and workshops throughout the week, organised in advance by SPE and supported by OPITO, will allow students to engage with the industry face-to-face and learn more about this impressive industry.

Global showcase

A wide range of exploration and production companies from around the world will showcase their technologies, services and expertise. An anticipated 1500 organisations are expected at this year’s event, including at least 300 for the first time, representing the complete supply chain of companies including operators, drilling contractors and oilfield service companies, consolidating Aberdeen’s established reputation as a supplier of services and products to global projects.

Reflective of the global nature of the industry as a whole there will be a large overseas exhibitor presence with participating organisations from 44 countries and 33 international pavilions. UK Trade & Investment commercial officers and buyers from key international regions will be running a series of free-to-attend country briefings and opportunities for 1-2-1 networking to discuss the opportunities that exist in each of their respective markets. Regions and countries represented will include East Africa, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Nigeria, Mexico, and Saudi Arabia.

As part of a new initiative for 2015, entrepreneurial visitors will have the chance to meet potential investors on Wednesday 9 September. After a morning of investment workshops presented from the operator, venture capitalist and entrepreneur perspectives, a limited number of companies will be invited to one-to-one meetings to discuss investment projects with some grant, early seed and direct industry funding providers. Pre-booking is essential via the event website.

For free registration and further information please visit: www.offshore-europe.co.uk

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