ABS and Seatrium signed a three-year Technology Collaboration Agreement at OTC. Photo courtesy of ABS

Two companies have teamed up on decarbonization efforts and made their relationship official at Houston's Offshore Technology Conference last week.

ABS and Seatrium signed a three-year Technology Collaboration Agreement at OTC, which expands on "their long running partnership on cutting-edge marine and technology projects," per a news release.

The agreement is entitled “Accelerating Decarbonization and Energy Transition,” and covers collaboration on technologies that fall under four broad themes: decarbonization, electrification, new energies and digital transformation.

“Together, ABS and Seatrium have a remarkable history of pioneering the technological frontiers in the marine and offshore industries,” says Christopher J. Wiernicki, ABS chairman and CEO, says in a release. "Our shared vision for the future, combined with our twin cultures of innovation and collaboration mean we are well placed to safely deliver the rapid technological advance our industry needs if we are to meet emissions targets and capitalize on the opportunities offered by decarbonization and digitalization."

The agreement is intended to support commercialization across the four identified themes.

“Seatrium is making significant strides in our visionary approach to engineering a sustainable, low-carbon energy future. This progress is achievable through pivotal industry collaborations with organizations like ABS," Chris Ong, CEO of Seatrium, adds. "We are more than just partners; we are natural allies united by a shared mission and driven by a powerful vision for a sustainable future.

"ABS and Seatrium have achieved great successes through our previous collaborations, and we are committed to harnessing our distinct strengths and capabilities to push the boundaries and transform the way we approach decarbonization, energy transition, and digital transformation,” he continues.

ABS, a 150-year-old marine and offshore energy innovation company, is headquartered in the Houston area. Seatrium, which is headquartered in Singapore, was recognized by ABS as the first shipyard group to deploy smart technologies in its operations.

Here's what you need to know before you go out to the event, which will take place Monday, May 6, to Thursday, May 9. Photo via NRG Park

Know before you go: Offshore Technology Conference 2024

things to know

An annual conference that showcases technology for the offshore energy business is taking over Houston's NRG Park for the majority of the week.

Here's what you need to know before you go out to the event, which will take place Monday, May 6, to Thursday, May 9.

Attend the Distinguished Achievement Awards on Sunday, May 5

OTC's annual awards reception, the Distinguished Achievement Awards, will kick off the week on May 5. The three award honorees for OTC 2024 have been named and will be honored at the event. Click here to learn more about this year's honorees.

Visit the Energy Transition Pavilion 

The Energy Transition Pavilion will feature panels and presentations about the future of sustainability in the energy industry. The programming takes place Monday through Wednesday, and the exhibit is located at NRG Center in Hall C.

Zoom in on offshore wind

This year, OTC is featuring a dedicated thread to offshore wind technology. A mix of panels, keynotes, and technical presentations, the programming will take place over Monday through Wednesday.

Don't miss the exhibition hall

Over a thousand companies will be exhibiting at OTC this year, and the hall can be a bit overwhelming. Check the program or the map online to see who's exhibiting and where to find them.

Catch the three university showcases 

OTC's University R&D Showcase will feature three schools — the University of Houston, Texas A&M International University, and the University of São Paulo. You can find each university's booth open all four days of OTC.

The three award honorees for OTC 2024 have been named and will be honored on May 5. Photo via otcnet.org

Annual offshore conference in Houston names honorees for leadership, sustainable efforts

otc 2024

The 2024 Offshore Technology Conference has revealed the three Distinguished Achievement Award recipients that will be recognized at the conference next month.

OTC, a conference that has served the offshore energy community for over 50 years, will bring 276,000 square feet of exhibit space to NRG Park and welcome over 31,000 attendees for more than 350 sessions. The awards reception will kick off the week on May 5.

One of the awards recipients named is Kerry J. Campbell, who will accept the OTC Distinguished Achievement Award for Individuals. Campbell was selected based on his "work in developing modern deepwater site characterization practice and for teaching and mentoring generations of site characterization professionals," reads the news release.

He's previously co-chaired sessions at OTC and served on a subcommittee for the organization, in addition to co-writing seventeen OTC papers. He retired from Fugro in 2020 after helping integrate 3D marine seismic data for engineering applications.

Petrobras will accept the OTC Distinguished Achievement Award for Companies, Organizations, and Institutions at the May banquet. The company was selected "for the deployment of a wide set of new technologies for the successful revitalization of the Marlim Field and the entire deepwater Campos Basin, unlocking new paths for mature deepwater asset redevelopment, with significant reduction in greenhouse gas emissions," per the release.

For about 50 years, the Campos Basin has been subjected to exploration and is known for various shallow water discoveries. In 1992, Petrobras was recognized for its deepwater development in Marlim, and over 30 years later, the company will be praised for its work redeveloping mature fields and the pioneering subsea, drilling, reservoir and decommissioning technologies.

The third and final award recipient is EnerGeo Alliance, which will receive the OTC Special Citation award for promoting efficiency and environmental sustainability within offshore seismic data collection.

"For more than 50 years, EnerGeo Alliance has been a stalwart in the quest for accessible, affordable energy around the globe, while also being a standard-bearer for safety and the environment," reads the release. "EneGeo Alliance has set the standard in the energy geoscience industry by establishing best practices and recommended guidance in key energy areas, including its Environmental Impact Assessment Handbook and Greenhouse Gas Emissions Guidance, for its members."

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Houston's energy industry deemed both a strength and weakness on global cities report

mixed reviews

A new analysis positions the Energy Capital of the World as an economic dynamo, albeit a flawed one.

The recently released Oxford Economics Global Cities Index, which assesses the strengths and weaknesses of the world’s 1,000 largest cities, puts Houston at No. 25.

Houston ranks well for economics (No. 15) and human capital (No. 18), but ranks poorly for governance (No. 184), environment (No. 271), and quality of life (No. 298).

New York City appears at No. 1 on the index, followed by London; San Jose, California; Tokyo; and Paris. Dallas lands at No. 18 and Austin at No. 39.

In its Global Cities Index report, Oxford Economics says Houston’s status as “an international and vertically integrated hub for the oil and gas sector makes it an economic powerhouse. Most aspects of the industry — downstream, midstream, and upstream — are managed from here, including the major fuel refining and petrochemicals sectors.”

“And although the city has notable aerospace and logistics sectors and has diversified into other areas such as biomedical research and tech, its fortunes remain very much tied to oil and gas,” the report adds. “As such, its economic stability and growth lag other leading cities in the index.”

The report points out that Houston ranks highly in the human capital category thanks to the large number of corporate headquarters in the region. The Houston area is home to the headquarters of 26 Fortune 500 companies, including ExxonMobil, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, and Sysco.

Another contributor to Houston’s human capital ranking, the report says, is the presence of Rice University, the University of Houston and the Texas Medical Center.

“Despite this,” says the report, “it lacks the number of world-leading universities that other cities have, and only performs moderately in terms of the educational attainment of its residents.”

Slower-than-expected population growth and an aging population weaken Houston’s human capital score, the report says.

Meanwhile, Houston’s score for quality is life is hurt by a high level of income inequality, along with a low life expectancy compared with nearly half the 1,000 cities on the list, says the report.

Also in the quality-of-life bucket, the report underscores the region’s variety of arts, cultural, and recreational activities. But that’s offset by urban sprawl, traffic congestion, an underdeveloped public transportation system, decreased air quality, and high carbon emissions.

Furthermore, the report downgrades Houston’s environmental stature due to the risks of hurricanes and flooding.

“Undoubtedly, Houston is a leading business [center] that plays a key role in supporting the U.S. economy,” says the report, “but given its shortcomings in other categories, it will need to follow the path of some of its more well-rounded peers in order to move up in the rankings.”

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This article originally ran on InnovationMap.

New collaboration to build data center microgrid in Houston

coming soon

Two companies are teaming up to build a natural gas microgrid in Houston that will reduce emissions by 98 percent.

Provider of prime and backup power solutions RPower has teamed up with Houston’s ViVaVerse Solutions to build a 17-megawatt (MW) microgrid at the ViVa Center campus in Houston, which is expected to be commissioned by the end of the year.

The microgrid plans to employ ultra-low emissions and natural gas generators to deliver Resiliency-as-a-Service (RaaS), and this will connect to ViVaVerse's colocation data center operations during utility outages.

RPower will also deploy the microgrid across different ERCOT market programs, which will contribute to assist with essential capacity and ancillary services for the local grid. ERCOT has increased its use of renewable energy in recent years, but still has faced criticism for unstable conditions. The microgrids can potentially assist ERCOT, and also help cut back on emissions.

“RPower's pioneering microgrid will not only deliver essential N+1 resiliency to our data center operations but will also contribute to the local community by supplying necessary capacity during peak demand periods when the electric grid is strained,” Eduardo Morales, CEO of ViVaVerse Solutions and Morales Capital Group, says in a news release.

ViVaVerse Solutions will be converting the former Compaq Computer/HPE headquarters Campus into an innovative technology hub called the ViVa Center, which will host the High-Performance Computing Data Center, and spaces dedicated to mission critical infrastructure and technical facilities . The hub will host 200 data labs.

“We are thrilled to partner with ViVaVerse to deploy this `first of its kind' microgrid solution in the data center space,” Jeff Starcher, CEO of RPower, adds. “Our natural gas backup generation system delivers the same reliability and performance as traditional diesel systems, but with a 98 percent reduction in emissions. Further, the RPower system provides critical grid services and will respond to the volatility of renewable generation, further enabling the energy transition to a carbon free future.”