In the second week of October, some 300 Dynamic Positioning professionals from eighteen countries converged on Houston for the 21st Annual DP Conference. As in the past, over one third of the attendees were from outside the United States, some from as far away as Australia and New Zealand.
The conference once again kicked off with a one-day Workshop at which over 90 attendees spent the morning discussing the DP Committee’s latest guidance document on Position Reference Sensors, and the afternoon reviewing and evaluating two annual trails case histories. Selling out prior to the event, the Workshop has become a popular and well-attended addition to the DP Conference. Its importance is reflected by the many sponsors who support the Workshop, and this year included ABS, Beier Radio, Bureau Veritas, DNV GL, Edison Offshore, GATE, Harvey Gulf International Marine, Hornbeck Offshore, Kongsberg, Lloyds Register, Noble Drilling, Oceaneering and POSH (PAAC Offshore Service Holdings).
The technical Conference, held October 11 and 12, included twenty-four presentations and a cadre of highly distinguished speakers, many recognized pioneers in their fields. Eight Session Chairs from leading operators and government agencies introduced and moderated each session and included representatives from BP, ConocoPhillips, Marathon Oil, GE, Stena Drilling, the US Coast Guard, the FBI and Voith Turbo Marine.
The two-day program was introduced by Rear Admiral Dave Callahan, Commander of the Eighth United State Coast Guard District headquartered in New Orleans whose talk “A Safety Culture Provides Safe DP Operations” set the tone for the following proceedings.
Admiral Callahan’s keynote address was followed by a full day of presentations, as well as a lunch, sponsored by DNV GL, at which Captain Joshua Reynolds with the United States Coast Guard was honored with the Dynamic Positioning Committee’s Distinguished Achievement Award. Captain Reynolds was recognized for his role in promoting the importance of safe DP operations and integrating DP operations into the industry’s safety culture.
The afternoon topics included Sensors and a new session on Cybersecurity, a topic that is of increasing importance and interest to the offshore community. The first day concluded with a Cocktail reception sponsored by Braemar Engineering.
With this year’s technical program slanted towards practical rather than theoretical applications, the second day’s sessions included Operations, Power Testing, Competency and Environmental issues. Nils Albert Jenssen with Kongsberg Maritime made an amusing, but thought-provoking lunch presentation on the Cybernetics of Dynamic Positioning in an Historic Perspective, before announcing his retirement. Dr. Jenssen is one of the leading engineering authorities on DP and vessel automation and has played a key role in the development of DP software and control systems for almost forty years. He was the recipient of the Dynamic Positioning Committee’s Distinguished Achievement Award in 2007.
Representatives from twenty-six Dynamic Positioning software, hardware and service providers took exhibit space at the conference. Many of these exhibitors return year after year, finding the Conference an excellent forum for meeting with highly targeted and focused current and potential clients.
While attendance at this year’s conference was slightly lower than recent years, a reflection on the depressed state of the offshore industry, many attendees see value in the ongoing educational and technical aspects of the event and welcome the opportunities it offers to keep abreast of the latest technology and innovations. The conference’s sponsorship and endorsement by major operators Chevron, ConocoPhillips and Shell bear testament to the importance of this annual MTS sponsored event.
Proceedings from the Conference were provided on memory sticks to all attendees courtesy of Thrustmaster of Texas. Proceedings will also be available online through this website for conference attendees.