My Day at OTC

By Peter Duncan
CEO & Founder, MicroSeismic, Inc.

A few weeks ago I made my way down to Reliant Stadium for the annual Offshore Technology Conference. This event is not one I regularly attend for many reasons, not the least of which is the logistics of getting there. The traffic lived up to my expectations and it took better than an hour to make my way around the loop to the South Main. After queuing up to get off the 610, I then crept along finally to reach the entrance to the Green Parking Lot. There seemed to be a bit of confusion at the gate and cars were not getting in all that fast. It turned out that the attendants had no change. You could enter if you had $10 exactly, but all I had was a Twenty. In a little while someone with a Ten came along and they could make change for me. I was in the lot at least. That left me about a 1 mile walk to the show entrance, but it was a pleasant May morning and I enjoyed the walk.

This year the OTC was attended by close to 110,000 people from all over the world. Fortunately only a small fraction of that number was at the registration desk when I arrived and before long I had my badge. Next up was to find the speaker’s check in room and to upload my slides. I managed to do that asking directions only twice. I needed the help because for some reason room 504 was on a hall between the 100 and 300 series rooms. Go figure.

I was participating in a panel that morning on the subject of “Emerging Marine Geoscience Technologies”.  It was a pretty heady group that I was matched up with. Besides me the panel members were Dr. David Monk of Apache speaking on new streamer technologies, Dr. Rocco Detomo of Shell speaking on permanent reservoir monitoring, Dr. Shuki Ronen of Stanford speaking on ocean bottom sensors and Paolo Johann of PetroBras giving a case history of their deep ocean bottom optical cable deployment at the Jubarte Field. Paolo even had some passive monitoring results supplied by MSI. I spoke on my ideas of how microseismic technology, which has become so important to unconventional development onshore, might have future applications in a marine environment. We each spoke for 10 to 15 minutes, and then the floor was opened for questions and discussion.

One interesting part of the session was the opportunity for the audience to vote on questions through an electronic polling facility. Of particular interest to me was the question:

“Of the areas of technology that the panel has discussed, which do you think will have the most impact on your operations and future production:"

  1. New streamer technologies
  2. Permanent reservoir monitoring
  3. Ocean bottom acquisition
  4. Microseismic technologies

Answer B, Permanent Reservoir Monitoring garnered the most votes and Microseismic Technologies came in second. That certainly bodes well for MSI’s business in the offshore. I believe offshore opportunities for microseismic are on the horizon, and from the survey it is definitely on the minds of many.

After the panel I decided to wander in the exhibit hall for a while. OTC 2014 had over 2600 exhibitors form more than 120 countries. I confess that most of the stuff on display was a mystery to me, all shiny pipes, valve levers and tubing. For about 2 hours I fought through the congested aisles up and down the floor in only one of the several exhibit halls before deciding that I had seen about all I needed to see. The 20 minute walk back to the Green Lot was a fair bit warmer in the afternoon sun, so the frozen margarita being served as part of the Cinco de Micro celebration at MSI was a welcome end to the day.

Peter