By Joseph A. Pratt
The time was ripe for the creation of the Offshore Technology Conference (OTC) in 1969. The offshore industry was nearing the end of a long and productive era from 1946 to 1969, when ambitious and innovative industry pioneers and their companies laid the foundation for the future development of offshore technology. They had developed and refined the basic technologies needed for mobile drilling and the design, construction, and installation of production platforms and offshore pipelines in the 1940s, 1950s, and 1960s. By the mid-1960s some 1,000 platforms in water depths of up to 300 feet produced about one million barrels of oil per day in the Gulf of Mexico. In 1969 the offshore industry stood posed to move off the edge of the continental shelf into deeper waters. There and elsewhere a lengthy list of challenges awaited the offshore industry. Some had already been identified; others were visible on the horizon. To meet these challenges, the industry would have to close ranks and become a fraternity of sorts, with freer exchange of technical research and closer cooperation among individuals and companies.
Many prominent members of the post-World War II generation attended the first OTC; some organized sessions and presented technical papers or abstracts. They had fought the good fight offshore for twenty-five years, gaining insights into issues such as design criteria for production platforms, technical innovations needed to drill in deeper and deeper waters; and the early, but steady, advances being made in subsea work. They had learned hard lessons that could provide much needed context for a younger generation of offshore engineers and other offshore specialists whose careers returned to these issues as the industry moved forward.
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Photo: Darrell Davidson, HC Staff / Houston Chronicle
Click the link above to read a short excerpt on the History of the Offshore Technology Conference.
The video above is a look back at 50 years of technology, innovation, and ideas that have brought waves of change across the offshore industry. Video credit: Offshore Technology Conference
A “floor view” of the 1999 Offshore Technology Conference in Houston, Texas, with special emphasis on the (last) exhibit of Vulcan Iron Works Inc. Video credit: vulcanhammerinfo
Click here for further reading from the Houston Chronicle on the beginnings of the Offshore Technology Conference.