Top 5 ways to make the most of OTC 2018

As I prepare to head to the Offshore Technology Conference (OTC) in Houston, one of the largest oil and gas shows in the world, April 30-May 3, the task is daunting, yet very exciting. I’m looking forward to hearing more about the Hebron Project from ExxonMobil, and BP’s outlook on how technology and innovation will shape the future of global energy.

As a civil servant, I prepared cabinet ministers and senior level officials with itineraries, scheduling meetings, speaking notes, and media relations. Since re-joining the private sector, I’ve helped organizations ‘show up’ with marketing materials to support trade shows and stakeholder meetings.

Now, as I get ready to head to OTC for the first time, I thought it would be a good idea to engage expert advice from industry colleagues.

Here’s a list of the top five ways to make the most of OTC Houston:

1 – Pace yourself, prioritize and plan ahead

Nancy Phillips, Vice President, Trade and International Activities, at the Halifax Partnership is no stranger to OTC. As a key organizer of the World Energy Cities Partnership meetings and a speaker for the Cities and Innovation panel, she will be juggling a busy agenda. She recommends being strategic about event attendance and review the schedule of events in advance. There is a lot going on, so it’s important to prioritize and plan ahead.

2 – Be part of a delegation

There are a lot of good reasons to attend OTC as part of a delegation. Organizations like the Maritimes Energy Association and the Newfoundland & Labrador Oil & Gas Industries Association (Noia) support organizations and businesses by coordinating attendance, generating awareness of events, and creating opportunities to make meaningful business connections. They also manage regional trade show booths, so delegates can attend technical sessions and events, while their interests are being represented by their industry association.

3 – Attend receptions and networking events

According to Louise Hawkins, membership coordinator, Maritimes Energy Association, some of the more popular events for the Atlantic Canadian delegation is the Noia Reception on Sunday evening. Other popular events include the Statoil Reception (invitation only) on Tuesday evening, the Hebron Showcase on Tuesday afternoon. The World Energy Cities Partnership also has a series of events that coincide with OTC. Some of these events are by invitation or require an RSVP, so plan ahead. A helpful tip is downloading the OTC App for your smartphone.

4 – Arrive early and leave early

If you don’t plan to rent a vehicle, the wait for transportation from the show can be quite lengthy. A pro tip for show attendees is to get there early and leave by 3 p.m. or so to make it back to the hotel in time to prepare for evening events.

5 – Take time to walk the show floor and attend technical sessions

Now, I may be a little biased, but there are two booths I think everyone should visit. The Offshore NL Booth is #731 and the Offshore Nova Scotia booth is #915. I’m sure our East Coast colleagues would love to share all that Offshore NL and NS has to offer.

If you’re interested in hearing more about all Canadian energy opportunities, the Canadian Consulate will host a press conference and information session on Monday at 2:00 p.m., followed by a panel discussion at 4 p.m.

This list isn’t exhaustive and I’m sure there are lots of other good tips to share. If you have an idea about things to see and do at OTC Houston, I’d love to hear from you. I also plan to capture some insights and thoughts following the conference, so welcome story ideas. Hope to see you there!