HOUSTON – The world’s largest oil and natural gas trade show, the Offshore Technology Conference (OTC), kicked off in the US energy hub of Houston on Monday with a visible presence of emerging Chinese companies.
The annual event, a conference and exhibition, was unveiled Monday morning in the cavernous complex of NRG Park near downtown Houston. Thousands of professionals from around the world braved the Texas heat to attend the industry gala.
The show has apparently felt the pinch from the plunging oil prices as quite a few OTC veterans told Xinhua they saw less visitors and exhibitors coming this year.
OTC Chairman Ed Stokes, however, remained optimistic, saying though he did not have the attendance number right now but this year’s exhibition floors are the largest ever — enough to cover around 12 American football fields.
“The drop in oil price may have some impact (on OTC), but it doesn’t affect the quality of the programs we have,” Stokes said.
Stokes noticed the increasing number of Chinese companies coming to the show. Among some 2,700 exhibitors, about one tenth are from China.
“We have more than 130 countries represented here. China is the second largest economy in the world and also a big player in oil industry,” said Stokes. “So it’s very important for Chinese companies to be here to advertise themselves and network with others.”
Cao Minghui, an operation director with Sinopec Oilfield Services Corporation, admitted to Xinhua that as a latecomer in the industry, China still lags behind in many areas, especially in core technologies, but “we boast some leading stuff too.”
“We are here to show our strength,” Cao said while pointing to several simulated models of rig platforms, “we are eager to expand our overseas market.”
Yang Yun, executive vice-president of China Offshore Oil Engineering Co, was more ambitious. “During previous years, we were here more to learn from others, but this year we are more focused on marketing our own products and landing overseas clients,” he said.
The four-day-long show includes exhibitions, panel discussions by high-profile speakers and technical sessions. Started in 1969, it showcases leading-edge technology for offshore drilling, exploration, production, and environmental protection.