Tuesday, 16 June 2015

New times, new challenges - 16/06/2015

New times, new challenges

The choice of this year’s theme for SPE Offshore Europe 2015, inspiring the next generation, empowers the industry to address both the technical and people challenges facing the oil and gas business today to secure future success. At the heart of this is a need to attract and encourage the next generation of talent into the industry.  

This free-to-attend global biennial event, the world’s largest upstream oil and gas conference and exhibition outside North America, will be held at the Aberdeen Exhibition and Conference Centre from 8-11 September 2015.

Over the four days 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. Taking over an entire hall, the dedicated Deepwater Zone will comprise its own conference and exhibition programme. And, for the first time, the event will include a series of workshops and meetings to connect entrepreneurs and investors. An ambitious ‘Inspire’ programme aimed at the younger generation will feature as well. A key message throughout will be that the industry is far from over and that it has a long and bright future, despite the current difficult market conditions.

The keynote programme, chaired by Michael Engell-Jensen, Executive Director of the International Association of Oil & Gas Producers (IOGP), will feature 11 sessions focusing on the basic challenge of meeting energy demand while balancing concerns over climate change, security of supply and consumer affordability. Topics to be addressed include: 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. 

The technical programme, chaired by Charles Woodburn, Chief Executive Officer, Expro, will present more than 75 papers, demonstrating that the industry’s engineering, manufacturing and technology excellence is set to assure a long-term sustainable future. Speakers drawn from all over the world will discuss 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. 

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.

Planning is also well under way on the Deepwater Zone, where a dedicated theatre will host industry experts presenting topical case studies and participating in panel discussions. This will give attendees the opportunity to learn about some of the very latest developments in the sector, with content programmed by Subsea UK and the Society for Underwater Technology (SUT). Subsea UK’s sessions will address deepwater developments and the future of inspection, repair and maintenance. 

SUT’s programme will focus on 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.

The exciting breakfast briefings and topical lunches are bound to sell out fast. On the opening morning, Tuesday 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?’ And 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.

Meanwhile, on the exhibition floor, around 1500 global organisations will showcase their technologies, services and expertise. At least 280 companies, large and small, will be exhibiting for the first time at the show. Exhibitors will represent 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. 

With its emphasis on recognising the long-term need for a secure talent pipeline, the event will be running ‘Inspire’, its largest ever programme of activities for a younger audience. 
Charles Woodburn adds: “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.
With so many industry leaders and influencers under one roof, there will be ample opportunities to network with new contacts and catch up with colleagues from around the world.

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