SPE Offshore Europe has been held biennially in Aberdeen since 1973. It is regarded as the largest exploration and production (E&P) conference and exhibition outside North America.
As well as a key production hub, Aberdeen has cemented itself firmly on the map as a leading centre of research and development for subsea technology and expertise, setting the global standards for the industry.
Increasingly, production and operations technologies and techniques developed in Aberdeen are used in oil and gas fields around the world.
Projected lifespans of some mature North Sea fields are also being extended beyond projections due to these technological advancements.
“SPE Offshore Europe is long established as an industry-leading oil and gas conference and exhibition,” says Catherine MacGregor, SPE Offshore Europe 2017 executive committee chair.
“Over the past 40 years this flagship event has built up a proud heritage and unrivalled platform for the industry to meet, discuss and debate the issues of today and tomorrow – within Europe and beyond.”
For some time now, the industry’s technical and financial performance has been challenged. Learning the lessons from the most severe downturn in the industry for the past 30 years, there is no doubt that the industry has to reinvent itself.
The traditional industry response to market downturns, which has included halting exploration investment, decreasing development activity, pressing for pricing reductions throughout the supply chain, and letting talented people go, is no longer viable.
Over the past 40 years this flagship event has built up a proud heritage and unrivalled platform for the industry to meet, discuss and debate the issues of today and tomorrow – within Europe and beyond
Catherine MacGregor, SPE Offshore Europe 2017
“The current situation is an opportunity for the industry to rethink beyond just cost efficiency and embrace new technologies, new types of collaborations and business models, as well as different ways of working that lead to new, sustainable outcomes,” says MacGregor.
With a central theme of ‘Embracing New Realities: Reinventing our Industry’, SPE Offshore Europe’s technical and keynote panel sessions will provide an opportunity to debate the industry’s future and share examples that can shape the future.
Pedro Parente (CEO of Petrobras) and Robin Watson (chief executive of Wood Group) are to speak at the opening plenary session.
They will join Ben van Beurden (CEO of Royal Dutch Shell) and Bob Dudley (group chief executive of BP) to address the exhibition’s central theme in a top line-up on the first day.
BP group chief executive Bob Dudley will underline the value of the North Sea in the oil major’s global portfolio.
Dudley, who calls BP’s UK North Sea business one of its “crown jewels”, will address the hundreds of delegates expected to attend the opening session.
BP expects to bring two of the largest new developments in the North Sea – the Quad 204 redevelopment and the new Clair Ridge project – into production over the next year or so, as well as continuing to invest in other North Sea assets.
Over the same period, BP plans to participate in five exploration wells in the region and in around 50 new development wells over the next three years. BP’s North Sea production output is expected to double from 2015 levels to 200,000 barrels of oil a day by 2020.
Conference chair MacGregor (also president, Reservoir Characterization Group, Schlumberger Limited) comments: “Bob’s insight will kick-start OE2017 as we encourage the industry to think beyond cost efficiency and embrace new technologies, new types of business models and collaborations that will lead to sustainable ways of working.”
In the zone
The Oil & Gas Technology Centre’s Technology Zone at SPE Offshore Europe will present a series of technologies used in alternative sectors to encourage the industry to think differently about the adoption of new products.
The Centre believes technologies such as robots, composite materials, additive manufacturing and augmented reality are all currently under-utilised in offshore oil and gas, despite being part of a general industrial transformation in other industries.
The industry-led research and knowledge organisation, backed by the UK and Scottish governments, aims to inspire, accelerate and fund innovative technologies that will help unlock the potential of the UK North Sea and anchor the UK’s supply chain in north east Scotland.
The Technology Zone will ask questions of the way the industry does things and how new technology can be used to lower costs, increase efficiency and improve recovery in this new reality for the oil and gas sector
Gareth Rapley, SPE Offshore Europe exhibition director
The Technology Zone will bring together start-up companies and small and mediumsized enterprises showcasing their ideas and solutions. There will be a series of short presentations followed by a Q&A session with the Technology Centre’s board and leadership team on its priorities and how to get involved.
Gareth Rapley, SPE Offshore Europe exhibition director, says: “Technology transfer from other industries can offer major benefits to the oil and gas industry but requires encouragement.
“The Technology Zone will ask questions of the way the industry does things and how new technology can be used to lower costs, increase efficiency and improve recovery in this new reality for the oil and gas sector.”
Following the technology theme, another new initiative at the exhibition will be Tech Trek, highlighting exciting new technologies, products and solutions launched within the last 12 months.
Exhibitors at the event are invited to submit up to three products for consideration with the final selection made at the discretion of the organisers.
Rapley says: “One of the recurring comments from visitors has been that they would like a way to easily find new technologies and innovations among all the exhibition stands. We are launching Tech Trek to highlight these features and enable visitors to find what’s new, more easily.”
SPE Offshore Europe 2017 will offer more than 65 technical papers and 11 keynote panel sessions combined with business breakfasts and topical lunches.
Also new in 2017, a brand new Decommissioning Zone will feature a themed exhibition and conference space.
Free-to-attend, the zone will focus on decommissioning technology and service providers in the exhibition, as well as a conference programme organised in association with key industry associations including Decom North Sea, ITF, SUT and IMechE.
SPE Offshore Europe provides a single platform for 1,500-plus companies to showcase solutions across the E&P supply chain to more than 56,000 technical professionals, responsible for offshore projects across the world.
Visitors can join industry leaders in the international subsea centre of excellence to be part of the exhibition and SPE produced conference.
There is also the opportunity for visitors to broaden their geo-political understanding with a series of free-to-attend keynote sessions from industry experts, government officials and thought leaders.
With 100-plus technical presentations, only the most groundbreaking papers will be selected by the Technical Committees, providing attendees with valuable knowledge and practical insight.
Plus the 50,000-plus attendees get the chance to engage with technical experts from more than 1,000 suppliers on the exhibition floor, from international market leaders to new innovative technology companies, to source and compare effective solutions.