Drilling conference registers significant attendance gain in Amsterdam
BY KURT ABRAHAM
AMSTERDAM -- Attendance at the SPE-IADC Drilling Conference that finished up on Thursday in Amsterdam appears to have returned to pre-recession levels. According to preliminary figures from SPE officials on site, the number of attendees at this year’s drilling conference was estimated to be between 2,000 and 2,100. This compares to the Amsterdam version (which alternates every other year with sites in the U.S.) in 2011, which hosted between 1,600 and 1,700 upstream professionals, and the low point in 2009, when the Netherlands site attracted about 1,500 people.
If these numbers prove to be accurate, then this year’s SPE-IADC event will prove to be the best-attended since the 2007 version, which is said to hold the record at 2,146. An SPE official said that both associations were extremely pleased with the turnout, as well as the “high quality” of the technical paper presentations, and the “quality and seniority level” of attendees. Indeed, there were just over 100 regular paper presentations over three days in two concurrent tracks, plus another 35 “ePoster” sessions. Roughly 30 operators participated in one more technical paper presentations. Another 35 to 40 service-supply companies, drilling contractors, consultancies and universities were involved in those presentations, as well. Paper and poster sessions covered a waterfront of drilling topics, including drilling automation; early detection and well control; managed pressure and underbalanced drilling; bit technology; directional drilling; fluids, cuttings transport and cuttings processing; tubulars; general drilling and well technologies; and management and HSE.
One thing that became obvious as the sessions unfolded, is that operators and their service partners are particularly concerned about several parameters related to long, horizontal well sections, including drilling speed, efficiency and reliability. Case studies relating to the Bakken and other shales, or to international offshore projects, were frequently cited. Meanwhile, in the exhibition hall, officials also expressed satisfaction, not only with the number of exhibitors (in the neighborhood of 120) but also with traffic levels and various types of upstream professionals visiting the booths. A quick check with several exhibiting companies of differing sizes found that most everyone was pleased with both the amounts of people visiting the floor, as well as the job categories that they represented.