Held at the Reliant Center in Houston, Texas, the Offshore Technology Conference (OTC) is one of the largest annual meetings in the United States. It brings together industries, experts, educators, and others interested in the development of offshore resources in the fields of exploration, drilling, and environmental protection. The program is developed and sponsored each year by 13 industry societies and organizations and is endorsed and supported by 12 other organizations. A board of directors consisting of 14 representatives from the sponsoring and endorsing organizations governs the OTC.


Founded in 1969, the OTC was a response to the need for cooperation among ocean extraction and environmental protection industries in the face of new technological challenges. The first conference was held at the Albert Thomas Convention Center in Houston. Its significance was immediately understood, its popularity grew, and for the next 33 years it was held at the Astrodomain Complex in Houston.

What Is The Offshore Technology Conference?

By the early 1980s, annual attendance passed 100,000, and the exhibition showcased more than 2,500 companies. In 2003, the OTC relocated to the Reliant Center, spilling over into Reliant Stadium and an outdoor exhibition area. The OTC is constantly adding new programs. In 2004, the Spotlight on New Technology Program began to highlight innovation in development. In 2006, the New Wave Program drew in young professionals under age 35. In 2007, a full-day workshop on energy topics for local science teachers was added. Every Thursday each year is education day, where the OTC opens the exhibition to select high school students interested in energy technology.

Conference Attendees and Events

The 2013 Offshore Technology Conference drew almost 90,000 attendees from over 2,700 companies and 120 countries. There were 29 executive keynote presentations, nine panel discussions, almost 300 technical papers, and myriad speakers. The governors of Texas, Alabama, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Alaska held a panel discussion on the importance of cooperation between the states and the federal government on offshore energy development. The U.S. Secretary of the Interior spoke at a press conference on her commitment to work with industry leaders on environmental safety. The crown prince of Norway and his wife attended the OTC dinner in honor of Norway’s participation in the conference. More than 300 teachers and students from the Houston area attended the Energy Education Institute to learn about energy technology.


Every year, the conference presents the OTC Distinguished Achievement Awards for technological, humanitarian, environmental, and leadership contributions to the industry. In 2013, Total Pazflor won the corporate award for its deep offshore development in Angola. The individual award went to Kenneth Arnold for outstanding leadership in the industry and development of offshore design and safety management. The Heritage Awards for long-term, continuous, and distinguished service in the industry went to James Brill and Dendy Sloan.

Recently, the Offshore Technology Conference was named the Greatest Show on Earth by Trade Show Executive Magazine. In the awards presentation, the OTC was lauded as one of the most valuable engines of the global economy. In 2011, to address regional and international issues, the Arctic Technology Conference and OTC Brazil were created. In 2014, OTC Asia will be held for the first time in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

This article was written by John Perry. He has been to the OTC several times and really enjoys it.  Click here for some awesome ideas if you are going to be exhibiting at the OTC.