The beginning of May brings with it an annual event that draws tens of thousands of people to Houston, Texas. The Offshore Technology Conference (OTC), the largest event of its kind in the oil and gas industry, is an event that many companies and individuals plan for all year.

In 2008, OTC was an enormous event. Organizers announced that attendance at the 2008 OTC reached more than 73,000, a 26-year high, with energy professionals from 110 countries traveling to Houston for the show. This marked an 11% increase over 2007.

Last year, the exhibition area covered more than one-half million square feet, and 2,500 companies from more than 35 countries purchased booth space. Oil was at an all-time high, and companies in the oil and gas industry were raking in the profits.

With the present economic situation, there is speculation that OTC 2009, which will be held in Houston May 4-7, will not be on the same scale as last year’s event in terms of size and attendance.

While companies cut budgets in myriad ways, investment in technology is one of the line items that is not being reduced. And the one thing that remains constant at OTC is the focus on offshore technology. In fact, many would argue that some of the most prestigious awards for technology are the 2009 Spotlight on New Technology Awards that are given out each year at OTC.

On March 2, OTC organizers announced the 14 technologies that will receive this year’s Spotlight awards, which will be conferred on Monday, May 4, at Reliant Park.

To be entered, technologies must meet the following five criteria: 1. They must be less than two years old 2. They must be innovative – original, groundbreaking, and capable of revolutionizing the offshore E&P industry 3. They must be proven through full-scale application or successful prototype testing 4. They must have broad appeal for the industry 5. They must have significant impact, which means that they will provide significant benefits beyond existing technologies

These are the Spotlight recipients and products for 2009:

  • 2H Offshore – INTEGRistick Dynamic Curvature Sensor
  • Baker Hughes Inc. – TORX Expandable Liner Hanger System
  • Baker Hughes Incorporated -- Frac-Hook Multilateral System
  • Cameron-Nautronix – NASMUX
  • ProPure AS – ProSalt
  • Reelwell AS – Reelwell Drilling Method (RDM)
  • Schlumberger Subsea Surveillance – subC-strip and subC-collar
  • Specialized Products – Pulse Technology-Battery Maintenance, Conditioning and Charging
  • Technip France – Amplitude-LNG Loading System (ALLS)
  • US Synthetic Corp., a Dover Company – Diamond Radial Bearings
  • VetcoGray, a GE Oil & Gas Company – SEM5
  • Weatherford International – OneTrip StarBurst Multilateral System
  • Welltec – Well Cleaner PST
  • WesternGeco, a business unit of Schlumberger – Coil Shooting

If you are interested in knowing more about the winning technologies, you can find photos and descriptions here.