History of OTC

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 Astrodomain Complex were booked annually for the next 33 years. As the offshore industry continued to grow, so too did the stature and size of OTC, reaching peak attendance in 1982 of 108,000 and an exhibition of more than 2,500 companies.

Since the early 1980's, shifting business, political, and economic paradigms have altered the complexion of OTC, but not its status as the one "must-attend" technical conference for engineers and scientists working in the offshore industry.

In 2003, OTC moved into the Reliant Center in Houston, and today occupies the Center, Reliant Stadium, a Pavilion built on-site, and an outdoor exhibits area, totaling an area equivalent to 10 football fields.

Throughout its 44-year history, OTC has maintained its relevance to the offshore industry, and has initiated several programs to expand the scope and prestige of its coverage.

  • In 2004, OTC launched the Spotlight on New Technology program to recognize truly innovative advancements in ocean resources development.
  • The need to transfer knowledge to the next generation brought about The Next Wave program in 2006 for young professionals under age 35.
  • A tradition at OTC is education day on Thursday each year, when OTC invites about 250 high school students to tour the exhibition to learn about technology and career opportunities in the industry.
  • In 2007, the Energy Education Institute began offering a full-day workshop for Houston area science teachers to help them bring energy topics into their classroom.
  • 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.

OTC is also significant for Houston. Since 1969, OTC has generated approximately $2.4 billion in income for Houston, and is the city’s largest convention.

OTC ranks among the largest 200 trade shows held annually in the United States and is among the 10 largest meetings in terms of attendance.


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The Offshore Technology Conference is the world's foremost event for the development of offshore resources in the fields of drilling, exploration, production, and environmental protection.



OTC Papers Online, a collection of more than 10,000 technical papers presented at OTC since 1969, is now available in the multi-society library, OnePetro.




Each year, OTC recognizes individuals and companies that have made outstanding achievements to the offshore E & P industry.