Ocean Business 2009 Review
With 86 registered delegates already signed up before the start of the second bi-annual Offshore Survey Conference, it was clear that there was something for everyone in the extensive Conference programme. OS09 was held on April 1-2, 2009 at the National Oceanographic Centre, Southampton, UK, and once again the weather was perfect for the on- and offshore aspects of the event!
The delegates came from far afield: Europe, Middle East, North and South America and South East Asia. Delegates heard a wide range of papers from a panel of 20 distinguished Speakers who addressed a wide range of technical and business issues in the offshore survey industry.
The Conference started with a hushed audience listening intently to Energy industry expert John Westwood who delivered a very positive Key Note Address, in which he noted that recessions occurred far more frequently than market players would admit to, i.e. nearly every 5 years. However John Westwood was convinced that the present recession was working its way through and that by 2010/2011, work volumes in all sectors of the Energy Industry (oil and gas and renewables) would once again be in urgent need of resources to carry out the projects required to meet global energy demands.
The two-day programme comprised many exciting papers marking step changes in the way offshore operations are now being conducted. These included papers from: Simon Partridge, Engineering Director of market leader Sonardyne International Ltd on the latest technological advances in inertially aided wideband USBL acoustic positioning systems; Jens Steenstrup, President of R2Sonic Inc, California presenting the world launch of their new and game-changing 2024 broadband multibeam echosounder system which was supported by real time demonstrations of the system in Southampton harbour; and Rami Tadros from ETS Inc, Houston launched the new high accuracy I-Compass for maintaining GPS heading even when out of coverage.
There were a number of operational project reports which illustrated well innovative advances in field operations and data management techniques. Jung Daruvala from Metoc Plc showed clearly the cost benefits to be obtained by understanding marine meteorological conditions and forecasting in advance of operations. Paul Evans of VisualSoft Ltd presented the significant benefits which result from integrating digital video with GIS and data visualisation systems.
Dave Whitcombe, Chief Surveyor, Europe for Shell, gave a thought provoking paper on the need to get the balance between H, S & E management and leadership correct. Dr John Goold, Director of Marine for the Joint Nature Conservation Committee delivered a superb paper on activities, needs and future legislation relating to offshore wildlife and habitat surveys and what this meant for offshore energy industry operations. Fergal McGrath presented a fascinating project report on the huge and strategic marine survey conducted by the Marine Institute of Ireland, mapping the country’s marine territory and boundaries. There was much discussion between delegates and Derek Giles of Fugro Survey on how to cope with the effect on GPS by the approaching forecast high levels of sunspot activity.
Once again the presence of live equipment demonstrations offshore within Southampton harbour added great value to the technical papers and all sailings were fully subscribed.
To address the key issue of recruitment, training and retaining of skilled personnel in the offshore marine sector, OS09 and its co-located event Ocean Business initiated the first “Ocean Careers” event. This three-day event was aimed at students wishing to find out more about the Ocean Industry and career prospects. The keynote address on the first day was given to nearly 150 of the 450 registered students by TMS International Managing Director Alastair MacDonald who drew on his forty years in the industry to set out the main reasons to join the ocean industry. Each day of Ocean Careers saw professionals from the industry giving 10 minute presentations on their company’s activities, and all the speakers were available for one-to-one talks by interested students. Everyone recorded that this was a very successful first careers event.
And of course, there was the much-enjoyed social programme for which the Ocean Business and Offshore Survey event is renowned and which rounded off a really successful, enjoyable and worthwhile three-day event. With totally positive feedback, OS09 has already set the scene for the next Offshore Survey Conference in 2011.
The OS09 conference proceedings can be ordered from Intelligent Exhibitions Ltd at www.offshoresurvey.co.uk for the price of £35 plus VAT and postage.