The Offshore Technology Conference was founded in 1969 by 12 engineering and scientific organizations as a response to the growing technological needs of the global ocean extraction and environmental protection industries. Interdisciplinary and cross-sector cooperation was becoming acute as both industries moved into more hostile environments and unknown operating conditions.
The first conference was held in Houston's Albert Thomas Convention Center, and as significance of the conference grew overnight, larger facilities at Houston's NRG Park (formerly named Reliant Park and Astrodomain Complex) were booked annually.
As the offshore industry continued to grow, so too did the stature and size of OTC, reaching a peak attendance in 2014 of 108,300.
OTC ranks among the largest 100 tradeshows held annually in the United States and is among the 10 largest meetings in terms of attendance.
OTC is also significant for the Houston economy. Since 1969, OTC has generated approximately $2.5 billion in income for the city, and is the city’s largest convention.
To extend OTC's reach around the world and to focus on specific technical and regional issues, OTC Brasil and the Arctic Technology Conference were created in 2011. OTC Asia was created in 2012.
Also in 2012, the Brazilian Petroleum, Gas, and Biofuels Institute (IBP) was confirmed as a regional sponsoring organization and co-organizer of OTC Brasil.
In 2013, OTC reached a new record of more than 2,700 exhibiting companies, totaling an exhibit area equivalent to 10 U.S. football fields. In 2014, OTC reached a new record for the size of the exhibit space, totaling 680,025 sq ft.
Through the decades, OTC has maintained its relevance to the offshore energy industry, and has initiated several programs to expand its service to the energy community.