OTC – A Strong, Beneficial Relationship

Achieving AAPG’s mission to advance the science and technology of petroleum geology often requires setting a broader context.

We don’t practice petroleum geology in a vacuum. Finding oil and natural gas is a multi-disciplinary endeavor that incorporates geology, geophysics, petroleum engineering, mechanical engineering, chemical engineering, and the list goes on and on. As a result, we frequently cooperate with other scientific and professional societies.


One example of this cooperation is the Offshore Technology Conference (OTC) held annually in Houston in the month of May.

I attended my first OTC this past May. Together with 89,000 other attendees, I explored over 640,000 square feet (59,500 square meters) of exhibits from across the globe and attended technical sessions that discussed the science and technology needed to safely explore and produce offshore resources. It was a memorable experience.

In 1969 a group of 12 engineering and scientific organizations, led by the Society of Petroleum Engineers and including AAPG, founded OTC. The objective was to develop an event that responded to the industry’s technological and scientific needs to successfully find and develop offshore petroleum resources, and to do so in an environmentally responsible manner.

It was clearly a success. In 1982, after only 13 years, it reached its all-time high attendance of 108,161 attendees. But OTC attendance followed oil prices downward in the mid-1980s. In 2001 the event had rebounded to 45,000 attendees and continues to grow. This year marked the largest exhibition in the event’s history.

OTC is managed by SPE and governed and led by a board of directors. AAPG’s representative on the board is Cindy Yeilding, who works for BP in Houston. She took over from Susan Cunningham of Noble Energy, who also served as chairman of the OTC board in 2010 and 2011.

OTC’s technical program is designed by a program committee where we are represented by Buford Pollett of Eni US Operating Company. He leads the AAPG technical program subcommittee, which builds technical sessions to incorporate petroleum geoscience in OTC.

The call for papers for OTC 2013 is open through Sept. 10. Please visit the OTC website and review the areas of interest for the various theme sessions.

I’d encourage you to contribute your expertise to advance the entire offshore industry’s knowledge of petroleum geoscience.


OTC continues to grow and expand into new regions.

Last year the first Arctic Technology Conference was held in Houston. It drew more than 1,300 attendees from 23 countries, 52 exhibitors, more than 130 technical talks in four themes, and poster sessions.

This event is focused on the technological and scientific needs of the Arctic environment. Planning is under way for the 2012 event, again in Houston, from Dec. 3-5. It is under the direction of a committee chaired by AAPG member John Hogg of MGM Energy. And the Arctic Technology Conference show management is provided by AAPG on behalf of OTC.

In 2011 OTC also launched OTC Brasil. This successful event had more than 10,000 attendees and 435 exhibitors.

OTC Brasil will be conducted in cooperation with Instituto Brasileiro de Petróleo, Gás e Biocombustíveis from Oct. 8-10, 2013, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Planning already is under way to draw the world’s deepwater experts to Brazil for a premiere event in deepwater exploration technology and science.

And just recently the OTC board announced a first ever OTC Asia in Kuala Lumpur.

Scheduled for March 25-28, 2014, OTC Asia will gather together oil and gas professionals to network, share knowledge and learn about the latest technologies. It will cover exploration, drilling, production and environmental science and technology.

Don’t miss this new event in Asia.

When AAPG members attend and contribute to the technical programs of these OTC events, we share our knowledge and demonstrate the relevance of petroleum geoscience to our colleagues in other disciplines.

They are doing the same thing for us – and the result is each of us having a better understanding of how our expertise contributes to the goal of finding and responsibly developing oil and natural gas.

And that is evidence of AAPG achieving its mission.

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Director's Corner

Director's Corner - David Curtiss

David Curtiss is an AAPG member and was named AAPG Executive Director in August 2011. He was previously Director of the AAPG GEO-DC Office in Washington D.C.

The Director's Corner covers Association news and industry events from the worldview perspective of the AAPG Executive Director.

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