AAPG and OTC: Advancing Offshore Science

These days all the talk about resource plays and the boomtown atmosphere in places like Williston, N.D., and Midland, Texas, has shifted focus away from the offshore.

But worldwide offshore E&P remains a vibrant sector of the petroleum industry – and the upcoming Offshore Technology Conference (OTC) 2013 in Houston May 6-9 provides a great opportunity to see that first hand.

If you’ve never been to OTC, prepare to be amazed. The size of this premier offshore industry event is remarkable. Last year over 89,000 people attended, visiting exhibitors who covered more than 640,000 square feet of exhibit space.

As you walk from pavilion to pavilion at the Reliant Center in Houston you get a sense of the massive scale of this sector of the industry.


OTC was launched in 1969 as a multi-society collaboration. It includes 13 sponsoring organizations and two endorsing and several supporting organizations. AAPG is one of the founding sponsors.

OTC is managed and run by the Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE) and led by a board of directors representing the sponsoring organizations. AAPG is fortunate to have Cindy Yeilding, VP of Gulf of Mexico exploration for BP, serving as our representative on the OTC Board.

In addition to the large number of exhibits at OTC there is a robust technical program that spans all aspects of offshore activity, from naval architecture to geoscience.

The OTC AAPG technical sub-committee is chaired by Buford Pollett of McDermott Middle East Inc., in Dubai. He and his committee members have worked hard to develop a geoscience technical program that advances new scientific understanding and technologies.

These technical sessions also provide a great opportunity for non-geoscientists engaged in the offshore sector to learn more about our part of the industry.

Geoscience sessions at OTC 2013 include:

  • Offshore geotechnical engineering.
  • Advances in submarine slope stability.
  • Emerging trends and technologies in the marine geohazards arena.
  • Ocean mining.
  • Advances in geohazard assessment.
  • Unconventional subsea resources exploration and mining techniques.
  • Geoscience developments.
  • Integrating stakeholder interests in the global offshore industry.
  • Advances in sub-salt geoscience.
  • Near-surface expression of petroleum seepage (two sessions).

In addition, there is a panel discussion on the global energy outlook and several AAPG members presenting as special speakers:

DPA past president Dan Tearpock is one of two speakers at the Monday morning ethics breakfast titled, “Ethics in the Dynamic Offshore Industry.”

Past OTC board chair Susan Cunningham is the featured speaker at the Wednesday luncheon, speaking on “Business Innovation: A New Voyage for Independents.”

My thanks to the many speakers who have agreed to present at OTC this year. And special thanks to the AAPG technical sub-committee for developing and championing such a diverse and interesting set of sessions.


In addition to OTC in Houston, the organization has developed several regional OTC events to showcase offshore science and technology in other parts of the world.

OTC Brasil is scheduled for Oct. 29-31 in Rio de Janeiro. This event is jointly organized by OTC and IBP, the Brazilian Petroleum Gas and Biofuels Institute, and features the many exciting advances that have been made in the Brazilian offshore.

The Arctic Technology Conference, managed by AAPG on behalf of the OTC partnership, has been running for several years. The next meeting is scheduled Feb. 10-12, 2014, in Houston, and is a focused event dealing with the opportunities and challenges of exploration and production in the Arctic.

Finally, OTC is launching a new event in Asia in 2014: The inaugural OTC Asia is scheduled March 25-28, and will be held in Kuala Lumpur. The conference theme is “Meeting the Challenges for Asia’s Growth.”


AAPG is proud to be part of OTC and to contribute to broadly advancing the science and technology of offshore E&P with our partner societies. I plan to be at OTC 2013 in Houston and hope you will plan to join me. Make sure to stop by the AAPG booth to say hi.

Until then, keep exploring.

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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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