Houston: We had no problem

The oil and gas capital of the United States is also home to NASA, the nation’s space agency. For November’s IOGP Extraordinary General Meeting (EGM), the Association drew on both aspects of the city for a two-day event that took place at the NASA Space Center itself. The EGM attracted participants with operations on six continents.

But as Management Committee Chair Monika Hausenblas of Shell pointed out in her words of welcome, planning the EGM had its moments of drama. At the end of August, she reminded attendees, Hurricane Harvey – one of the most powerful storms ever recorded in the Houston area – had hit the city with a vengeance.

“At the time, it seemed impossible to guess how long it would take to get Houston cleaned up and back to business,” she said, adding “But we should have known better.”

“Houston is, after all, the US hub of our industry. And our industry is used to meeting challenges: challenging markets, challenging geology, challenging economic pressures, challenging competition from other energy sources and a challenging criticism – most recently on environmental grounds.

“We’ve risen to those challenges. And continue to do so.

“I’m proud of the Association’s role in making our industry safer, cleaner and more adaptable to external pressures,” Monika said.

She went on to describe how IOGP’s re-focused strategy was succeeding in its aim to make the Association more flexible and effective. “We set out to improve the ways we respond to – and even shape – the events, regulations and laws that will have a bearing on E&P in the years ahead. We’ve also become more relevant to the needs of the Association’s membership. In other
words, to you,” she told those attending.

Other highlights of the meeting included presentations by Craig May of host-company Chevron and Executive Director Gordon Ballard who provided an update of achievements since the previous meeting in May. Gordon went on to give a financial review of 2017, together with a forecast for the balance of the year and a summary of the 2018 Business Plan and Budget. Other presenters were: Director John Campbell and HSS Director Chris Hawkes, who focused on regulatory updates and EU Affairs Manager Bernard Vanheule and Regional Director – Americas Albert Skiba, who outlined developments in IOGP’s Brussels and Houston offices.

Guest presenter George K. Gafka, NASA’s Chief Safety & Mission Assurance Officer

On the subject of space, guest presenters were veteran astronaut Michael Bloomfield, Vice-President and General Manager of Oceaneering Space Systems and NASA’s Chief Safety & Mission Assurance Officer George K. Gafka. Both offered insights with considerable relevance to the safety of upstream oil and gas operations.

Peter Blake of Chevron presents the Subsea Committee poster session

Also on the agenda was a tour of the Space Center and dinner in the Starship Gallery.

It was resolved…

Members attending the Houston EGM – as well as those who voted by postal ballot and proxy – passed resolutions approving:

  • A nominal increase of 5% to the unit of account for 2018
  • Continuation of the EU supplement at the current rate in 2018
  • Endorsement of the Association’s 2018 budget.

At the conclusion of the meeting, the Chair announced the date and venue of the next Annual General Meeting: Abu Dhabi on 19 April, 2018. “This is immediately after the SPE’s HSSE Conference in the same location,” she explained. “Since so many IOGP members will be attending that meeting, having ours to follow, will keep the burden and cost of travel to a minimum,” she said.

All presentations from the Houston EGM are available on the Members’ website. Draft minutes will be there shortly.

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