I’ve been attending OTC since 1998 and I have worked through the cyclic nature of the oil and gas industry and seen its effect on trade shows.
This year, the show was certainly quieter in terms of numbers than 2015 – but not to the extent predicted. Ahead of the show, there had been an expectation of low attendance comprised mainly of suppliers and people seeking new employment. However, I was delighted to see that this was not the case.
Along with the international operators and a host of oilfield services companies, there was an increased presence in country-sponsored areas where governments are helping small companies that would otherwise find the cost of participating prohibitive - thus enabling them to exhibit niche products and services.
This year, our lead retrieval system on the booth at OTC was syncing with Expro’s CRM software allowing us to clearly see the interest trends in real time. For us, the ‘buzz’ this year was around meters, well intervention, subsea, and production systems with well abandonment being a new hot topic.
Operators remain committed to well intervention and subsea projects due to costs – it’s simply not viable to shut down production as future energy needs must be met.
Well abandonment is a fascinating topic right now. The industry isn’t ‘excited’ about abandonment projects, however, there is an understanding that the issue is unavoidable and needs to be tackled sooner rather than later. At this stage, operators are out there looking at what’s available to support their needs. From the various conversations I had at OTC 2016, it appears that solutions are where operators are focused rather than selective services.
Challenges in the industry at the moment of course relate to the reduction in drilling and exploration activity as a consequence of current market conditions. However, business is still strong in areas including production optimisation and reservoir evaluation.
Being able to monitor the hot topics at the show meant we were able to steer conversations with visitors based on their main interests and help them find the right solutions from our integrated product offering. The system also highlighted that people are still interested in our key technologies and the show has certainly provided us with important leads.
From a geographical point of view, contrary to the general view that OTC can be a North America-focused show, we found that enquiries this year came from a wide range of sources – the Middle East, Asia, Europe and beyond.
As the dust settles, my colleagues and I have returned to our desks and are reviewing the leads and noted interest from the event. What’s initially clear is that OTC continues to be an excellent global platform for generating business and maintaining our vital relationships with customers.