There was a lot of hype surrounding the Offshore Northern Seas conference, held in Stavanger, Norway, August 26-29. As with all major international conferences, ONS was touted as the place to be in August. As it turns out, this year’s conference was a huge event that was attended by record numbers. Though actual figures weren’t yet available at the time of this posting, organizers at the show were calling this year’s conference an unqualified success. There were more 1,197 exhibitors this year, a number that is somewhat lower than that for 2006, but actually is an indication of consolidation, organizers said. Twenty-seven countries were in attendance, occupying 18,829 sq m of stand space. According to ONS organizers, this year’s show exceeded all previous records. The ONS 2008 exhibition was sold out early last year, and the show already has a long list of applicants hoping for space in 2010. “The petroleum industry is enjoying a boom, of course, but we’re also benefiting from purposeful work over many years,” said Kjell Ursin-Smith, chief executive of the ONS Foundation. Part of the reason for the success was that participation of a host of top speakers, including Lord Browne, former head of BP; Nobuo Tanaka, head of the International Energy Agency; Yuri Komarov, CEO of Shtokman Development AG; Helge Lund, chief executive of StatoilHydro; and Norwegian Premier Jens Stoltenberg. The theme of this year’s conference was “energy for one world.” Panel discussions covered subjects including access to energy resources, climate and environmental challenges, corporate strategy – the energy company of the future, the contribution of LNG, and a young people’s energy forum. Also part of the 2008 event were the innovation awards, presented by Lars Talka, chair of the ONS Foundation, on Wednesday, Aug. 27. Welltec won the Innovation Award for the Well Miller reverse circulating bit. Cubility was awarded the SME Innovation Award for the MudCube enhanced fluid cleaning system. According to organizers, the winners were among 10 finalists from 91 approved applications for the prizes. I spent three full days at the show and met with a large number of companies. There were many press events announcing new technologies, and there were a lot of opportunities to see demonstrations and tour facilities in and around Stavanger. I have to agree with the organizers about the success of the ONS event this year. The large number of companies (including a number of operators) participating at this year’s show made attending the show well worthwhile. To read more about the activities, presentations, and awards at ONS 2008, visit the ONS Web site at