Registration Totals for SPE ATCE Exceed Expectations

Registration totals exceeded expectations for the Society of Petroleum Engineers’ Annual Technical Conference and Exhibition, with 13,500 exploration and production professionals from around the world in attendance at the event in Houston.

Technologies that can help exploration and production companies enhance operational and production efficiency in a time of low oil prices were the focus, with more than 400 technical presentations and 500 exhibits offering the latest in products and services.

The oil and gas industry will need to drive out inefficiencies from throughout its operations to survive in the lower for longer oil price environment, a panel of industry officials told attendees on the conference’s opening day Sept. 28.

The oil and gas industry has been through downturns before and will adapt and get through this one, but it must take action to reduce costs. This action includes focusing on activities that matter, simplifying and standardizing solutions and designs, and small common sense changes, down to the supply at which supply boats travel to save fuel costs.

Given the global oversupply of oil and weakening demand in China and Europe, Bernard Looney, chief operating office of production at BP plc, said that hope isn’t a strategy that the oil and gas industry should hang its hat on. Instead, the industry should try and manage the things it can manage and plan and operate prudently.

“When the oil price and demand recovers, we will reap the benefits, and if it doesn’t, we’re better prepared” to operate in a lower oil price environment.

The reality is that a number of companies represented in the conference’s audience will lose money this year; this might be okay one year, but not year after year. Looney noted the distinction between activity cutting and driving efficiency; the goal is not the reduce activity, but to get the same activity done for 20 to 50 percent less cost. The current oil price downturn has prompted a number of companies to slash capital expenditures and to lay off employees.  However, Looney said that BP is committed to maintaining its investment in the recruitment of graduate engineers and geoscientists. In the past, the company may have halted this activity, but has learned lessons from the past about losing talent.

ATCE 2016 will held Sept. 26 to 28 in Dubai.

Karen Boman has more than 10 years of experience covering the upstream oil and gas sector. Email Karen at


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