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President's Message - 2017

Monday, August 28, 2017

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COPRI President, Bill Stewart

Next year will be the 50 th annual Offshore Technology Conference (OTC).  The OTC is sponsored by 13 industry organizations, including ASCE.  More than 65,000 professionals from over 100 countries are expected in Houston for the 2018 four-day event. Those of you who attend for the first time will be impressed by the enormous size of the conference, with over 350 technical papers, and with over 2,500 companies exhibiting.

My first OTC was in 1976. It was an eye-opener with 62,000 attendees and held inside the Astrodome. I could not find the rental car until the parking lot emptied in the evening. I have been to all 42 events since then. I have authored a dozen OTC papers and managed an exhibition booth in 25 of those years.

The picture shows me in 1989 receiving an OTC Award of Merit for placing second in the Petroleum Mechanical Engineering Achievement Competition, for OTC Exhibitors.  My hair was darker back then.

The offshore oil and gas industry has significantly reduced in size and expenditure over the last three years, reflecting the price of oil.  This has been reflected in attendance numbers at the OTC, which peaked at 108,000 in 2014.

COPRI is the ASCE Institute that deals with the OTC and handles administrative and financial issues.  ASCE derives significant revenue from OTC each year.  A portion of this is given directly to COPRI and this accounts for about 1/3 of COPRI net annual revenues from conference and seminar activities.


OTC HOF Award Winners 2017 OTC Hall of Fame 2017 Award Winners

One of the finest of the many evening functions at the conference is the ASCE OTC Hall of Fame Gala.  This dinner event recognizes extraordinary papers submitted to previous OTCs.  These papers form the core of current practice throughout the world, and have had a lasting impact on the profession.  Sponsorship of the Hall of Fame is essential to its continued success.  I encourage you to consider attending the gala and to reserve a table for your company in May next year.  With your contribution, the Hall of Fame Awards Committee can publish the Commemorative Edition of papers, host a wonderful evening for the honorees, and celebrate their lasting impact on the offshore industry.

It is an honor for me to know so many of those who have written classic papers that have been recognized with The OTC Hall of Fame Award.


Every year there have been OTC Technical Sessions sponsored by ASCE advancing our professions knowledge on classic topics including Geotechnical, Metocean, Structures, etc.  For the last few years there have been increasing numbers of papers on "renewables". 

COPRI's Marine Renewable Energy Committee organized a Special Session on MRE at OTC in 2015 and another in 2017, producing over a dozen papers highlighting the Committee's work towards a new ASCE Manual of Practice for Marine Renewable Energy Facilities. 

MRE Committee Members' papers addressed geotechnical and mooring issues specific to MRE structures, as well as the present commercial viability of wave and tidal energy converters.

For 50 years, ASCE members have been advancing their careers and the ocean engineering profession through their participation in OTC on behalf of ASCE. I want to thank all of ASCE and COPRI's volunteers, past and present, who have helped make OTC a success. Please encourage your fellow engineers in the Offshore Oil and Gas Industry to join COPRI and participate in our activities.

- Bil Stewart