SPE Offshore Europe 2017: Embracing new realities and reinventing the industry

SPE Offshore Europe 2017 is taking place at a time when confidence levels are gradually climbing following the longest and most significant downturn the oil and gas industry has seen in decades. PES reports.

Over four days of SPE Offshore Europe, under the central theme ‘Embracing New Realities: Reinventing our Industry’, 65 free-to-attend technical presentations and a programme of business breakfasts and topical lunches, will provide opportunities to debate, knowledge-share and take new courses of action that will shape the future of the industry.

The 2017 conference chair, Catherine MacGregor, and her executive committee of 17 senior international industry figures, have put together a focused and hard-hitting keynote programme that will tackle the issues the industry is facing as it adjusts to the realities of the ‘new normal’.

“For some time now, the industry’s technical and financial performance has been challenged. Learning the lessons from the most severe downturn 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 price reductions throughout the supply chain, and letting talented people go, is no longer viable,” Ms MacGregor states.


Conference programme

The opening plenary session promises a packed hall with a top-level line-up of industry CEOs. Ben van Beurden, CEO of Royal Dutch Shell; Bob Dudley, group chief executive of BP; and Robin Watson, CEO of Wood Group will address the hundreds of visitors attending the opening plenary.

Eleven keynote panel sessions will cover the gamut of topical issues that are relevant in the current climate: from people safety, big data, cyber and physical security, transformative technologies, sustainability and decommissioning to new business models for mature basins, making capital work, the talent pool, breakthroughs in supply chain effectiveness and learning from other industries.

OE & Me

SPE Offshore Europe 2017 has the strong support of leading industry figure Sir Ian Wood who kicked off a new campaign ahead of the event to encourage visitors, exhibitors and speakers to share their experiences of OE past and present. Mr Wood was the first contributor to the online hub which invites people to share their stories of Offshore Europe – what they are looking forward to at the event, what they will be speaking about or showcasing as an exhibitor.


A new event feature for 2017 is the Decommissioning Zone, which will include a themed exhibition hall for decommissioning technology and service providers and a conference programme that is being organised in association with Decom North Sea, IMechE, ITF and SUT. Independent North Sea operator Fairfield Energy, which is in the process of decommissioning the Greater Dunlin assets, will share details of progress.


More than 1,000 exhibitors from across the globe will take to the exhibition floor showcasing a diverse range of technology and equipment. The event will welcome new companies as well as the return of several of the industry’s major players. A large international exhibitor presence will be present with national and international pavilions including Canada, Italy, Netherlands, Nigeria and USA.

The free-to-attend high-level technical presentations will address topics including improvements in safety and environment, pipelines, drilling, well automation and analytics, and data driven decision support. An interactive ‘special session’ will address subsea standardisation.

Tech Trek

Also new is Tech Trek, designed to make it easier for visitors to find what’s new, more easily. Technologies, products and solutions launched within the last 12 months are eligible. Visitors will follow the Tech Trek logo visible on the website exhibitor list, app and catalogue and can look out for it on the stands.

Technology Zone

The Oil & Gas Technology Centre’s Technology Zone will present a series of technologies used in alternative sectors to encourage the oil and gas 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 underutilised in offshore oil and gas, despite being part of a general industrial transformation in other industries. The Zone will bring together start-up companies and SMEs, showcasing their ideas and solutions. Also, 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.

“More investment is needed in R&D to fast-track the journey from drawing board to deployment,” says Catherine MacGregor, who is also president, Drilling Group, Schlumberger. “Compared to other sectors, the industry has been slow to welcome the digital dawn, however, new technologies and processes developed through digitalisation, automation and big data should be considered as enablers and facilitators: it is the willingness of the industry to embrace the efficiencies they can bring that will sustain and help stabilise the industry in the long term. Bringing the industry into the digital age will also make it more attractive to the younger generation as a career choice.”

Inspire Programme

Continuing on from the success of SPE’s Inspire Programme in 2015, a series of activities, workshops and lectures specifically focused on supporting and informing young people interested in joining the oil and gas industry or just beginning their careers will be held from Monday 4th (the afternoon before the show starts) to Friday 8th.

For younger generations, there will be introductions to the industry and the importance of STEM topics though SPE’s school engagement programme. SPE is also working with local schools to show the opportunities within the industry and meet professionals to talk about what they do.

OPITO will also be working with connecting industry to students with a tour of the exhibitions and discovering what projects the industry is working on. For those already starting their career in engineering there will be a series of lectures, workshops and networking opportunities for University students and young professionals.

They will have a chance to learn some key skills and discuss job options with experienced professionals one-to-one. This year, SPE also hopes to inspire a wider number of people through the SPE Cares Programme by working with the Marine Conservation Society, inviting attendees to help clean the local beaches during the conference.

Investment Workshop

This one-day programme connects Oiltech’s investor members with innovative technology providers, giving entrepreneurs industry-specific advice on partner funding and providing access to funding opportunities. On the morning of 6th September, a series of drop-in sessions will be held where industry experts will give guidance on getting technology to market in the fastest and most effective way, and offer advice and expertise around partner funding.

On the afternoon of Wednesday 6th September, a limited number of companies will be invited to one-to-one meetings to discuss investment projects with various grant, early seed and direct industry funding providers.

SPE Offshore Europe 2017 promises to be an agenda setting conference and exhibition, embracing the topics that will shape the industry for the next ten years and beyond. As leading industry figure Sir Ian Wood says: “If you decide not to go there, you are actually missing on probably the biggest learning opportunity in terms of changing your business.”

SPE Offshore Europe www.offshore-europe.co.uk

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