July 2014

ONS: Changes lie ahead, and below, for the oil and gas industry

In the same way that operators, service companies and manufacturers have switched gears to respond to the changing oil and gas landscape offshore Norway, the UK and mainland Europe, the organizers of this year’s Offshore Northern Seas (ONS) event have also updated their focus.

Melanie Cruthirds / World Oil


One of the most basic of changes associated with ONS 2014 is clear from this year’s program, with the event scheduled to begin on a Monday, instead of a Tuesday. This switch will see an expected 60,000 visitors flock to the Stavanger Forum venue, which this year features a new exhibition hall, as well as a new hotel, said Jon Are Rørtveit, V.P. of marketing and information for ONS. The Stavanger Forum facilities, overall, will offer nearly 25,000 sq m of exhibition stands for 1,250 exhibitors, up from the 21,077 sq m of space in 2012, said Rørtveit.

The new space, Hall E, will have room for 4,000 attendees and can seat 8,000 people in concert hall configuration, said Stavanger Forum Managing Director Cornelius Middlethon. During ONS, Hall E will host about 5,000 sq m of space. He added that a second new exhibition building, Hall V, is under construction across the highway from the main grounds. Known as the Viking Hall (Vikinghallen), Hall V will be sufficiently ready in time to be used for the limited duties of registration and check-in for ONS in August. By the next ONS in 2016, Hall V will be in full use for exhibits.


Nearly 60,000 attendees visited ONS 2012, with at least as many forecast to attend this year’s event. Photo credit: ONS/Kallen.


Visual interest is not limited to the inside of Hall E. According to Middelthon, an architectural contest was held in 2009, resulting in a winning design that features a steep roof on the sides, upon which grass will be laid, like a slanted, rooftop garden. He described the space as a venue for exhibitions, trade fairs, concerts and banquets, with 5,000 sq m of space, plus a reception area, a kitchen and meeting rooms. With all of the venue’s features, including ongoing outdoor upgrades being carried out by the local Stavanger municipality, the point is that now the region has its own built-for-purpose facility for large events, said Middelthon. In fact, Stavanger Forum is working with the city and other authorities, he said, to try to bring the World Gas Conference to the town in 2021.

The new hotel facility, the Clarion Hotel Energy, opens on Aug. 20, at the far western end of Stavanger Forum. It will have 400 guest rooms, plus 14 conference rooms with space for 1,000 people. These capacities will make it the region’s largest conference hotel.


Stavanger Forum Hall E will be able to host about 5,000 sq m of space during ONS 2014. Photo credit: E. Ashley


In yet another first during 2014, ONS will hold its own conference for the first time in the show’s history, with this change in directing coinciding with a change in format. For years, said Rørtveit, the conference focused solely on geopolitical discussions, but ONS will now limit those topics to the morning sessions; this year’s afternoon sessions will cover technical subjects. It makes sense to augment the conference’s coverage as the region struggles with declining production, yet has several promising, challenging targets on the horizon, including the massive Johan Sverdrup and Åsgard subsea compression projects.


On Monday, Aug. 25, ONS will open with a plenary session titled “Why changes are the key,” which will focus on global shifts in energy supply and demand. Moderated by BBC presenter and journalist Nisha Pillai, the session will run from 9:45 a.m. to 12 p.m., with a preliminary welcome from Cato Meling, head of the ONS Conference, and opening remarks from Gro Brækken, chair of the ONS Conference committee. Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg will follow, speaking to the conference theme of “Changes,” with Statoil President and CEO Helge Lund up next to discuss a sustainable energy future. Rounding out the morning presentations will be IEA Executive Director Maria van der Hoeven, who will speak to changing approaches to energy security, followed by keynote speaker Elon Musk, CEO and founder of Tesla Motors.

The plenary session will be followed by a City of Stavanger luncheon, from 12:30 to 2 p.m., with the afternoon’s parallel sessions starting immediately after, and running until 4 p.m. One session, again moderated by Pillai, will focus on “Mega projects—mega opportunities,” and will feature topics including Shell’s Prelude FLNG, unconventional gas, and Exxon Mobil’s Hebron and Sakhalin fields. The second session, moderated by Arne Hjeltnes, will cover “We must work smarter—the need for cultural change,” and includes presentations entitled, “What change is needed?” “Game changing collaboration,” “Working smarter, increased recovery at lower cost,” and “Preparing for the future.”


The second day of ONS 2014 will follow the same new format as the first, with the morning session moderated by Kvaerner Senior V.P. for Strategy and Communication Liv Monica Stubholt, and dedicated to the theme, “The NCS— limitless possibilities, but is the price too high?” Norwegian Minister of Petroleum and Energy Tord Lien will speak to perspectives on the future of the Norwegian Continental Shelf (NCS), while Phillip Lambert, CEO of Lambert Energy, will follow and speak to regional challenges. Later, Statoil Executive V.P. of D&P, Norway, Arne Sigve Nylund will present on future prospects for the NCS, and Tore Halvorsen, senior V.P. of subsea technologies at FMC, will cover opportunities for cost reductions in the area. The morning plenary session will close with a presentation from Trevor Garlick, regional president of BP North Sea, who will discuss “The enhanced oil recovery opportunity is now,” and the announcement of the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate Award winner, presented by NPD Director General Bente Nyland.

An Innovation Luncheon bisects the second day, and Stubholt returns to host one of the afternoon’s sessions, “How to get more out of mature fields.” Technical presentations in this section will include topics, such as “UKCS maximizing recovery review,” “What does it take?” “Imagine seismic 4D,” and “Drilling faster and cheaper.” The alternate session is entitled “The new center of attention: The Middle East,” and will be moderated by Pillai. Presentations from this section include “Business opportunities in the Middle East,” “The Middle East today: What is exceptional and what isn’t?” “The challenge of Middle East oil, an inside view from Norway,” and “Youth energy, the driving force for change in the Middle East.”


On the conference’s last day, Norwegian politician and Litteraturhuset Director Aslak Sira Myhre will moderate a morning plenary session called “Sneak peek into the future: What will happen in the next 40 years?” Covering a variety of topics relating to sustainability and efficiency, the opening block of presenters begins with DNV-GL CEO Henrik O. Madsen, speaking about breaking through toward a sustainable energy future. He will be followed by Dr. Gunhild Stordalen, chairman of the Stordalen Foundation and CEO of GreeNudge, who will discuss “Green opportunities for a better world.” Concluding the day’s first half will be presentations from Martin Bachmann, board member overseeing E&P at Wintershall, discussing “Europe—which way?” and Tim Bertels, manager of CCS for Shell, covering CCS and energy efficiency.

The conference’s final luncheon will cover Safety, and is followed by one technical session entitled, “Wake up call: Renewables—new energy,” which includes discussions like “The big picture,” “Oil and gas into renewables,” “Reality check,” and “Saved by the bell—again?” The afternoon’s other track, “Show me the money!” will delve into “Financing the energy industry,” “Innovation vs. standardization,” “Financing growth” and “Attracting investment.” wo-box_blue.gif

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Melanie Cruthirds
World Oil
Melanie Cruthirds melanie.cruthirds@worldoil.com
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