David Eyton, head of group technology, said BP’s Technology Outlook shows that technology can play a key role in the dual challenge of meeting increasing demand for energy while reducing emissions of greenhouse gases. “We all see every day how digitization is transforming our industry. But there is much more to come. Our study suggests that digital technologies are the largest single contributor to cost reduction out to 2050 – projected to underpin one-third of the cost reductions associated with technology improvements.”
Several supplier firms that do business with BP made presentations, heard comments from BP leaders and discussed the latest business trends and developments. “Supplier diversity is important and key to the company’s success because plain and simple, it is good business,” said Aleida Rios, vice president of operations, Gulf of Mexico. ”This forum has been going on at OTC for several years and has helped us grow our supplier diversity spend.” Debra Jennings-Johnson, senior director, supplier diversity, said the supplier session at OTC gives BP the opportunity to meet with vendors who specialize in upstream and offshore services. “This gives us the chance to focus on this core business, these are companies that can bring solid business results and solutions to BP.”
Emeka Emembolu, vice president, reservoir development, Gulf of Mexico and Canada, said, “Things are always changing – that was one of the things I found in my career, change always brings opportunities, but you don’t actually get those opportunities unless you embrace the change.”
Felipe Arbelaez, regional president, Latin America, said BP’s global footprint, operational and technological expertise, and experience operating in oil, gas and renewable markets around the world provide a solid base to support the development of Brazilian energy resources, to provide heat, fuels and power to a growing customer base, and to partner with leading local companies to maximize the value of the resources exported. “Across all these areas, we see Brazil as a place where we can build competitive businesses, along with our partners. The fact that we now have interests in more than 20 blocks in Brazil, many in partnership with Petrobras, reflects our view of the potential that exists.”
The students’ projects covered areas including augmented reality, reducing offshore platform emissions, weather-proofing offshore facilities, designing a floating windfarm, developing a self-diagnosing platform, designing an offshore solar farm, and designing an offshore topside that can be reused for other purposes. The students heard a keynote speech from ABC 13 meteorologist Travis Herzog and listened to closing remarks from Cindy Yeilding, senior vice president of BP America and an OTC board member. “You’re here along with all the engineers, scientists and other members of the offshore technology community because we wanted to hear from you, and we wanted to learn from you,” Yeilding said. “We wanted to see how you address problems and welcome you to the industry.”
Fuzzy Bitar, head of global operations, said it is vital for companies to build a strong safety culture. ““It is intuitive that trust matters - when the front line trust their leadership and can speak-up and raise concerns, we create an environment where safety can flourish” he said. “We want to care for our people, treating them as a solution to be harnessed and to change the conversation from compliance to commitment and from imposing to involving.”
Leigh-Ann Russell, head of function, Upstream Procurement and supply chain management, said that safety should be the first priority whenever companies discuss the economics of a project. “We have proven we can make our projects safe and more economic in a lower cost environment. We have demonstrated that we must continue to do so to enable our industry to thrive and be competitive for decades to come,” she said. “We will achieve this through modernization, transformation, standardization and collaboration. And we will only achieve this by solving these issues together. Then we can truly say we can sustainably make these projects feasible, whatever the price environment.”
James Trussell, associate general counsel, BP America, explained that in a business and technology context, an intellectual property strategy should help the business play both offense and defense. He said technology will be a key component of solving the dual challenge of providing more energy for the world while reducing carbon emissions. “If you don’t protect your technology and intellectual property you will be doing research and development for your competitors.”
Tim Airey, technology principal DIO, said the exciting area for offshore technology development is in the confluence of robotics, sensor capabilities, human interface and artificial intelligence/cognition. “All of these come together to augment and support existing domain experts,” he said. “While these technologies will offer new ways of approaching offshore challenges and will likely change how we do jobs, this is not about replacement of humans in the process but elevating them to focus more on the critical aspects of their roles. The prime governing factor, as we explore these opportunities, is safety.”
Cindy Yeilding, senior vice president, BP America, said the goal of the event was to bring women and men to the same table to talk about what has worked in the industry to make business connections and to learn how to enhance communication skills. The event also focused on different aspects of listening and leadership. “We came up with the concept several years ago to help bring people together in the offshore industry,” Yeilding said. “It has grown from our initial session of just two speakers to a phenomenal session with hundreds of people attending, and it has been received extremely well by the OTC audience.”
Diane Chadwick-Jones, director, leadership and culture, said that a safe business is a good business. “We need to create an environment where people will speak-up and bring us all the information we need – the bad and the good. It is far better to know about issues so we can fix them. Our job as leaders is to help our teams solve problems, and how we respond to our people matters.”
Held annually in Houston, OTC was founded in 1969 by 12 engineering and scientific organizations as a response to the growing technological needs of the global ocean extraction and environmental protection industries.
OTC is the largest event in the world for the oil and gas industry, featuring more than 2,300 exhibitors, and attendees representing 100 countries.T
he conference ranks among the largest 100 tradeshows held annually in the United States, and is among the 10 largest meetings in terms of attendance.