IOGP Americas Director leads OTC’s golden anniversary celebration

While IOGP held its first world gathering of 2019 in Copenhagen during the second week of May, the Association also featured prominently at another major industry event that coincided with the AGM: the Offshore Technology Conference (OTC) in Houston, organised by 13 international professional associations, including the Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE).

This year’s OTC conference was a milestone, celebrating its 50th anniversary. It spanned more than 52,000 square meters with more than 2,300 exhibitors, and included major equipment installations, holograms and interactive displays – actively engaging 59,200 attendees from over 100 countries (more info on

Wafik Beydoun, IOGP Director – Americas

Wafik Beydoun, IOGP’s America’s Director and also chairman of the OTC Board of Directors, commented on how innovation is changing the upstream oil and gas industry for the better (also IOGP’s theme in Copenhagen). Wafik focused in particular on new digital technologies such as artificial intelligence, machine learning and neural networks “all of which are helping streamline the industry, making it more efficient and safer and helping in decisionmaking. It is impacting the life cycle of oil and gas operations from exploration to production to decommissioning,” he said.

Wafik also spoke about strengthening the links between IOGP and the American Petroleum Institute (API), in the Houston office of which he is co-located. “My role is to secure a stronger partnership with API that helps us work more closely together.”

Also speaking at OTC on behalf of IOGP was the Association’s Environment Director, Wendy Brown. On 8 May she chaired a panel session, part of OTC’s Golden Anniversary ‘Around the World’ series, to debate the oil and gas industry’s role in helping Guyana to achieve its Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in the context of its proven offshore resources. The panellists included Nicholas Chuck-A-Sang (Guyana Department of Energy) from the national government’s perspective; Erik Oswald (ExxonMobil Exploration Company) from the perspective of a major operator with the largest oil discoveries in Guyana in the last decade; Becci Collacott (IPIECA) and Valerie Marcel (Chatham House), who provided an NGO point of view.

In her introduction, Wendy pointed out that new volumes of hydrocarbons will be needed since “Even in the International Energy Agency’s Sustainable Development Scenario for 2040, oil and gas is predicted to meet 48% of the world’s energy demand.”

She went on to applaud Guyana’s approach so far, citing a $20 million credit from the International Development Association to strengthen the country’s institutions, laws and regulations to promote good governance and prudent management of Guyana’s oil and gas sector. “Given the competition for such support, Guyana must have put forward a very strong case indeed.” Wendy went on to quote the World Bank’s Country Director for the Caribbean, Tahseen Sayed, who said: “Well-managed oil revenues can have a transformative and sustainable impact on a country’s development. Guyana today has an extraordinary opportunity to reduce poverty and bring long-term benefits to its people.“

Nicholas Chuck-A-Sang spoke of Guyana’s ambitions for achieving the SDGs and their Greenstate Development Roadmap. Erik Oswald shared the story of ExxonMobil’s world class discoveries in Guyana’s Stabroek block, with gross recoverable resources estimated at more than 5.0 billion barrels of oil equivalent. Becci Collacott explained how the oil and gas industry has the potential to contribute to all 17 SDGs. Valerie Marcel stressed the important policy decisions that Guyana will make and how they will shape its development path for years to come.

“Thanks to effective promotion by OTC, our session was standing room only,” Wendy reports, “and featured a lively and interesting debate”.

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