Review by Philip Whiteley, BP, DEVEX Chairman & Tracey Dancy, Dancy Dynamics
DEVEX 2015, jointly supported by the PESGB, SPE and AFES, ran from 20th – 21st May at the Aberdeen Exhibition and Conference Centre, and given the current backdrop of a low oil price, was appropriately entitled “Underpinning the Future: Discovery, Development, Recovery”. A revamped programme included two days of talks, a small exhibition, a core display, a large poster display and several Young Professionals’ events.
Following the Chair’s welcome, Claus G Bjerregaard of Maersk gave the first of the new, double length ‘Key Technical Papers’ on the Culzean development. This was followed at intervals during the two day programme by other similar key papers on “Forties hits forty and still going strong” by Jeff Towart of Apache; “An insight into hydrocarbon extraction from Shale: Definitely not a geoscientist’s bore nor an engineer’s dream” by Dr Iain Bartholomew; “Cost pressures in the North Sea” by Erin Moffat of Wood MacKenzie; “Shiehallion EOR: New Boat, New Opportunities” by Jamie Collins of BP; and “Conceptualising a new infrastructure hub West of Shetland” by Neil Platt of Hurricane Energy. These new style papers were well-received and well-attended by delegates throughout the conference.
New to DEVEX this year was the Cores exhibition, supplemented by two papers and associated core walkthroughs of chalk from the Machar Field and the Brent from the Pelican Field, both of which proved exceeding popular and is something to be repeated at future conferences. A small lecture theatre in the main exhibition hall was the venue for a number of Masterclasses, provided exhibitors on everything from “Understanding PVT” to “Uncertainty Analysis” and a whole lot more. These also proved very popular, with a couple of the sessions being standing room only. As in previous years, there were poster sessions running alongside the other streams, in the main exhibition hall.
The Young Professionals were well-served during the event, particularly on day 2, which started with a breakfast interactive careers session provided by Zinc Consulting, and followed later in the day by a very well attended Young Professionals Event on “How Should a YP cope in a Period of Low Oil Price”, hosted by Chris Flavell of Zinc and Deirdre O’Donnell of Working Smart. The results of a recent survey of the YPs was presented, and it was clear that events such as DEVEX should continue to support YPs during this time of uncertainty.
The exhibition area was also the venue for all coffee and lunch breaks, as well as a networking reception at the end of Day 1. There was a good buzz in the exhibition hall at break times, though the strong technical programme was an irresistible draw for delegates and exhibitors alike during the session times.
Following the conference Schlumberger hosted a session at their tool base and Doug Boyd ran a fieldtrip to see the Devonian down at Arbroath.
Despite the backdrop of redundancies and the low oil price, the conference was a great success with a very strong technical programme, and the addition of core samples and masterclasses providing variety and a new focus for delegates. Delegate numbers were on a par with 2014, which was encouraging given the climate, and feedback so far has been very positive. The PESGB, SPE and AFES are very grateful to their sponsors and exhibitors for supporting this important event in the industry calendar.