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Paul Jones, chairperson of the Offshore Technology Conferences (OTC) 2022, says offshore activity is key to meeting the world’s energy demands in the near and long term. That requires a focus on what’s important to the future, including new technologies for sustainable operations, an understanding of emerging opportunities such as carbon capture storage (CCS) and hydrogen, and more. 

Jones, principal at Lockbridge Energy, took a moment during a busy ramp-up week to the big event in Houston to talk to Hart Energy about the future of offshore and this year’s conference. 

Hart Energy: What are you expecting from OTC this year now that it's back in-person without the specter of COVID-19 hanging over it?

Paul Jones OTC 2022 headshot
Paul Jones

Paul Jones: I have high expectations this year for OTC. It is going to be a fantastic event. Everyone I have spoken to in the planning of this event—exhibitors, sponsors and attendees—are delighted to be back in person.

There is a palpable excitement. For more than 50 years, OTC has been the central hub for industry professionals to get together, showcase new technologies, share ideas and innovations, and discuss the pressing topics of the day.

“Virtual” is ok, but “in-person” is much more impactful and rewarding.

HE: What are you most excited about concerning this year's conference, and what do think will be most interesting?

PJ: I believe this year’s conference and exhibition has something for everyone. We have a diverse technical conference with global expert participation and world-class exhibition space showcasing new technologies and extraordinary offshore expertise.

Highlights for me include:

  • The Around the World Series—presentations, panel discussions and special sessions focused on international opportunities, challenges and new technologies impacting France, Guyana, Norway, West Africa, Brazil and Argentina.
  • We have the Keynote Speaker Series where industry executives and leaders will cover a wide range of diverse topics including cyber security, diversity, CCUS and hydrogen.
  • We have four full days of technical papers on the entire spectrum of offshore energy topics covering traditional oil and gas, renewables and the energy transition.
  • Our exhibitors have every facet of offshore technology on display and our 14 “Spotlight on New Technology Awards” winners will be announced and celebrated on the exhibition floor.
  • We also have our Emerging Leaders Program where we recognize early career professionals who are passionate about their field of work and dedication to industry service. They will be announced and celebrated on Tuesday afternoon and will be followed by a YP networking event. 

Finally, we have a saying that you can get “a year’s worth of training in a week” at OTC. This year is no exception!

HE: There is an energy transition pavilion this year. How prevalent is energy transition in the offshore sector and how does the show represent that?

PJ: As we race to meet global climate goals, countries around the world are embracing new and sustainable technologies to develop and deliver energy resources and transition to a lower-carbon economy. As home to traditional and renewable resources, the offshore industry has a significant role to play.

At this year’s OTC, we will have more than 20 technical sessions and panel discussions under the energy transition umbrella. Our new Energy Transition Pavilion will feature companies, organizations and institutions making significant strides by advancing low-carbon technologies, driving sustainability and improving energy efficiency. The pavilion will also serve as a meeting space for attendees and exhibitors alike to take part in the energy transition dialogue.

HE: We hear a lot about the return of offshore activity. What do you see as far the near- and long-term futures of offshore activity?

PJ: I see offshore activity being key to meet the world’s energy demands in the near and long term.

A significant portion of the world’s remaining oil and gas reserves are located offshore with several notable discoveries over the past years. Deepwater continues to attract significant interest from international oil and gas companies, which regard it as an important part of future global energy mix.

Of course, countries around the world are opening up frontiers to offshore wind and embracing the potential for floating solar, offshore hydrogen production, as well as tidal and wave energy production. Additionally, offshore carbon capture and storage 

[CCS] is emerging as a key component of the energy transition with several well-known regions, including the U.S. Gulf of Mexico, being prime prospects for CO₂ storage.

HE: How much can we expect to see in terms of renewables, such as offshore wind and floating solar, at this year's conference?

PJ: There is a significant renewables theme running through all four days of OTC 2022. Each day has an Offshore Wind Technical Session, covering all the key aspects of this energy sector. There are also sessions on the challenges and value of offshore hydrogen production, and as I mentioned earlier, our Energy Transition Pavilion will be on the exhibition floor showcasing how renewables can and will contribute to a future low carbon economy.


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