Given the all too familiar doom and gloom that emerges on a daily basis about the Oil and Gas industry it was with a little trepidation that I ventured north to Aberdeen last week.
I was visiting the Offshore Europe Exhibition and Conference. The four day, bi-annual, event has always attracted the key industry players and decision makers keen to highlight their achievements and enhance their knowledge base, but would that still be the case in 2015?
In short – Yes! The event was once again staged at the Aberdeen Exhibition and Conference Centre and incredibly this year boasted the second highest attendance in the shows history. Over 1500 exhibitors and almost 56,000 attendees ensured that the mood of the show was dynamic and exciting.
The theme of the event this year was “Inspiring the Next Generation”. This was a great opportunity to explore the technical and business challenges faced currently and address how to ensure the next generation have the same drive to succeed in this industry.
The welcome address given by Michael Engel-Jensen, Executive Director of the International Association of Oil and Gas Producers, highlighted the current mood perfectly – “Despite the current tough market conditions, oil and gas will remain indispensable to the world for securing heat, light, mobility and prosperity for many decades to come”. He then went on to describe the aim of the event – “International business leaders, technical specialists, regulators and academics are coming together this week to share their views, knowledge and expertise, with an aim to inspire the next generation of people who will take this exciting industry forward”.
Throughout the course of the 4 days there were a number of interesting and informative seminars to attend and of course a multitude of exhibitors to visit.
The exhibitors had really pulled out all of the stops this year, there were the obligatory ROV’s and Drilling tools, but also the more unusual “Iron Man” from RIM fabrication specialists which showcased their bullet proof coating:
Interactive experience along with real life simulation was also a very popular addition for the exhibitors and certainly attracted plenty of attention like this one from Liebherr Maritime Cranes:
This year also had its fair share of high profile guests, none more so than celebrity physicist Professor Brian Cox. He was incredibly positive about the industry and optimistic for the future “The idea that energy use is bad is nonsensical,” Cox said. “Your industry is the industry that makes life better.”
His viewpoint was certainly shared by the tens of thousands of visitors and by the host of keynote speakers.
I attended a lunchtime session where Bernard Looney, Chief Operating Officer for BP, outlined his thoughts. He confirmed that there are plenty of reasons to remain optimistic about the UK oil and gas sector, despite recent job losses totalling 5500. “We’re a growth industry,” Looney advised. “Not many industries can say that.” He illustrated his point by noting that recent forecasts suggest that energy demand will rise year on year, being one-third higher in 2035 than it is today and noting that an additional 1.6 billion people will need energy.
Offshore Europe 2015 was a great experience and one which demonstrated that even when times are tough a willingness to share innovations and technology can result in safeguarding an industry for the future generations.