Offshore Technology Conference coincides with Gulf disaster | The American Ceramic Society

Offshore Technology Conference coincides with Gulf disaster

Credit: Coast Guard

Credit: Coast Guard

The Offshore Technology Conference is occurring this week and I expect it isn’t exactly the best of times. I don’t mean this post as an effort to pile on BP. But, hopefully there is a lesson here for all of us in high-risk, high-reward technology pursuits that we need to be constantly asking ourselves whether the hubris needs to be reined in.

This event, originally scheduled for Monday was, not surprisingly, initially canceled:

One of the most highly anticipated topical luncheons for Monday is from Andy Inglis, the chief executive of E&P for BP. Inglis will explore the challenges and rewards in operating in the world’s offshore basins

“In the context of the turbulent economic environment, there are two certainties: the need for energy to support the development of nations and the role that BP and others play as international oil companies,” Inglis said in advance synopsis of his remarks. “Year after year, the operational and technological frontiers change but the IOCs’ role remains the same: converting scarce resources into energy security.”

Inglis believes technology underpins energy security, with IOCs constantly pushing back frontiers and focusing on finding a better, smarter way to do things…

But, it appears that there was a BP presentation after all, and I am frankly surprised that they didn’t play it a little more low key:

What was billed as a BP-led discussion on the lessons learned during the installation and operation of the technically demanding Thunder Horse and Atlantis deepwater developments, quickly turned to the ongoing Deepwater Horizon tragedy in the Gulf of Mexico.

“This incident is a stark reminder of the challenges we face every day in bringing energy to the US,” said Jackie Mutschler, BP vice president of research and technology, during Monday morning’s technical session. “We are facing a highly challenging period, but we want to assure everyone that everything that can be done is being done.”

Mutschler continued as the standing room only crowd listened intently. “Right now, we have more than 150 companies involved in the effort.”

With that, a trio of BP officials proceeded with the advertised topic, in discussing the technical challenges and solutions that eventually resulted in the start of production from the Atlantis and Thunder Horse structures that began deepwater production in late 2007 and late 2008, respectively.