Positive messages

This year’s SPE Offshore Europe exhibition and conference confirmed a positive outlook for the industry and the next generation

SPE Offshore Europe 2015, held in Aberdeen, Scotland from September 8-11, sent out a very clear message that the oil and gas industry has a future for many years to come.

The theme of the 2015 event, inspiring the next generation, allowed the industry to address the technical, business and people challenges it faces now and into the future. At the heart of this is the need to attract and encourage the next generation of talent into the industry.

“One of the challenges facing the industry is inspiring the next generation,” said Charles Woodburn, CEO of Expro and Technical Chairman of SPE Offshore Europe 2015. “I hope that the honest and open conversation we have had over the last few days will lead to real progress in this area. While we don’t have all the answers yet, it’s important we take this dialogue and turn it into a clear framework that can be delivered by the industry as a whole.”

Attendance figures remained very strong at 55,947 with delegates drawn from 104 countries. Attendance was the second highest in the long history of the show.

A record 1535 global organisations from 44 countries exhibited this year, showcasing their products, services and expertise. This included 336 companies exhibiting at the event for the first time. The sold-out space covered 27,228 square metres, with more inside space than ever before. Re-bookings for 2017 are looking strong already.

Over the four days of the world’s largest upstream oil and gas conference and exhibition outside North America, around 5000 visitors attended the conference plenary session, 11 keynote sessions, 80 SPE technical paper presentations, and daily topical lunches and breakfast briefings.

Stephen Graham, Chief Operations Officer for the SPE, added: “The conference programme successfully addressed a number of relevant industry priorities, incorporating the theme of inspiring the next generation. Combined with a busy show floor where exhibitors met with existing and potential customers, I believe SPE Offshore Europe 2015 has been a great success.”

With its emphasis on recognising the longterm need for a secure talent pipeline, the event ran ‘Inspire’, its largest ever programme of activities for a younger audience. More than 400 school pupils from Aberdeen, Aberdeenshire, Highland and Angus took part in three half-day workshops and site visits, which gave them an insight into the industry and the opportunity to meet young engineering professionals who shared their work experiences. Other Inspire events included a Career Pathways Fair, a Student Development Summit, and Energy4me aimed at school science teachers.

Michael Engell-Jensen, Executive Director, International Association of Oil & Gas Producers (IOGP) and Keynote Chairman, said: “This week’s keynote speakers, as well as the Inspire Programme, provided the next generation with plenty of inspiring reasons to join this industry. But, as Professor Brian Cox mentioned, we also need to provide students with pathways to a career in oil and gas.

“I would like to see industry develop multiyear programmes to encourage schoolchildren to consider a career in this sector. And, for our newly qualified graduates, who have been caught out by the current economic difficulties, I am supportive of industry exploring ways to allow them to get work experience, something many graduates say would help them get their first job in the industry.”

Other new features of the event included an Investment Workshop, which gave entrepreneurial delegates the opportunity to meet potential investors.

The positive sentiment was echoed by exhibitors, many of whom said that not only had the 2015 show been a good one for business, it had been one of the best they’d experienced.

“It has been a very successful show for us with one of the benefits being that it has given people the time to talk,” said Ian Crossland, UK Director for RESMAN. “Very senior management from the operators have been taking time to meet their vendors and contractors to talk business, and there have been indications that things are moving in the right direction. We’ve also had lots of overseas interest, including a visit from the Norwegian ambassador.”

Kris Frampton, CETCO Energy Services, also said 2015 had been a good show for them: “There were more business opportunities for us than there were two years ago. I think the reason for that is that there is a lot more focus on production. Because we have strong environmental credentials and we can optimise operator production capabilities, we have had a lot of people coming to talk to us.”

FMC Technologies, one of the larger stands at the show, also reported they’d had a good show. Tina Kruse, Global Exhibition & Events Manager, said: “We’ve definitely seen steady traffic since Day One, with everyone from customers to university students visiting. Our theatre has been extremely busy which has given us the opportunity to get our message across about cost reduction. It has been a good show for us.”

Visitors to the show also used twitter to give their views. Aberdeenshire Councillor Jill Webster tweeted: At Offshore Europe, quite a buzz about the place & still business to be done.” Other comments included: “Great dayat Offshore Europe today catching up with clients and meeting new folk. Lots of exciting innovation going on!”; “Great day networking at Offshore Europe. Many positive interactions established and huge support received”; “Heading from ABZ to Heathrow after a very successful OE15. There’s some positive vibes in the industry despite the oil price.”

Maria Harper, Marketing Manager for show organisers Reed Exhibitions, said: “The week of the show generated in excess of 6000 interactions by 4500 unique users on twitter alone, and included conference highlights, exhibitors’ news, product launches and invitations to events, all in real-time.

“The website and app were also widely used throughout the event, with 122,000 visits to the website during the week, and more than 13,000 individuals downloading the app to use the exhibitor directory, conference guide, interactive floor plans and visitor information.”

Organisationally, Reed Exhibitions thinks the show was the smoothest running ever. Vasyl Zhygalo, Senior Exhibition Director for Reed Exhibitions, commented: “We learn lessons from every edition of the event and this year we think the logistics flowed very well. The increased number of shuttle buses running to and from the city centre, offices and hotels proved to be very popular as did the park and ride. The weather was also on our side.”

SPE Offshore Europe 2017
The next SPE Offshore Europe will be held in Aberdeen from 5-8 September 2017. One of the new features announced for the next event will be the Decommissioning Zone 2017

Issue 125 October 2015