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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 the 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 50 largest meetings in terms of attendance. 

OTC is also significant for the Houston economy. Since 1969, OTC has generated more than $3.2 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. 

OTC Historical Attendance Graph (pdf)

OTC Timeline (pdf)

Commitment to addressing the big crew change

In 2007, OTC began the Energy Education Institute, offering a full-day workshop during OTC for Houston-area science teachers to help them bring energy topics into their classroom. Teachers participate in hands-on energy lessons provided by the US National Energy Education Development (NEED) Project.

Recognizing new technologies for the industry

In 2004, OTC launched the Spotlight on New Technology program to recognize truly innovative advancements in ocean resources development. Up to 15 technologies are recognized each year for their innovation, broad interest, and impact on the industry.

Safety is priority #1

Safety has also been a focus of OTC—not only within the industry but for the conference. 

After the Macondo accident in 2010, OTC took a leadership role to ensure that safety remained at the forefront. Safety messages are communicated throughout the conference, on the exhibit floors and in the technical sessions. 

OTC staff also takes safety very seriously and has training to deal with on-site emergencies. 

Giving Back

For the past nine years, OTC has hosted the Annual OTC Dinner as an industry fundraising event.  

All of the proceeds from each Annual OTC Dinner have been donated to a non-profit organization (Gulf of Mexico Foundation, Engineers Without Borders, Offshore Energy Center, Energy Institute High School, Medical Bridges, Junior Achievement of Southeast Texas, Oilfield Helping Hands, and the Young Women's Preparatory Academy). More than USD 2 million has been donated to these eight organizations.

Become A Member

As a member of one or more societies, you will gain technical knowledge and build relationships that will benefit you throughout your career. Members also receive discounted registrations to OTC.

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