May 2-5, the Processing team enjoyed attending the Offshore Technology Conference (OTC) in Houston, Texas. Even with oil prices’ decline during the last two years, the 2016 event was one of the top 15 for attendance. The exhibition was the third largest in show history. The oil and gas industry descended on Houston, and great conversations were had and many new technologies were shared.

When the decline began during fall 2014, businesses quickly shifted to a mindset of maintain what you have and optimize operations. This same thought process prevailed during this year’s OTC, and I would like to share a few innovative technologies from the show.

EPIX, a collaborative initiative between Weir and MTU, showcased its first purpose-built power system. The engine, transmission, and pump components have been designed to work together and will optimize longevity and performance while lowering total cost ownership for operators during well completion operations. The system features an MTU FracPack, (Series 4000 engine combined with ZF 8 TX gear box) coupled with the SPM® QEM 3000 hydraulic fracturing pump. ZF Friedrichshafen Group, a key supplier to the EPIX solution, developed the ZF 8 TX transmission to work seamlessly with the engine and pump as a true, fully integrated system. Weir’s global service network will manage all aspects of maintenance and service for EPIX.

Emerson Process Management presented its dynamic lift optimization system for automated gas lift. This system optimizes the lift for numerous wellheads and includes the capacity of the gas compressor, the separator facility, and the water handling and disposal when managing the production rates. In one offshore facility, a 10 percent production increase was realized. This optimization will save money in manual labor for in-person process management and increase the amount of hydrocarbons.

Another featured technology was Eaton’s interactive E-house. The solution provides a customized grouping of integrated electrical distribution and control equipment in a modular building that meets specific project needs. Each unit is engineered to ensure that customer specifications and building codes are met, while the integrated design supports low-cost installation and minimized startup time.

As the oil and gas industry moves forward and enjoys a recent increase in the oil price of almost $40 per barrel, the cyclical nature of this industry will not change. Planning for and establishing optimized systems and proactive maintenance will better prepare operators for the inevitable fluctuations in the market. Innovative technology will continue to be at the forefront of these improvements.

The water industry is experiencing growth, change and controversy. The need to meet regulations and keep drinking water safe has become a major mainstream media story. Of course, Processing has always covered this important industry and helped processing engineers and industrial water treatment professionals learn about technology and equipment innovations. We will discuss these topics and many more during the American Water Works Association Annual Conference and Exposition in Chicago, June 19-22. If you will be there, stop by Booth 1054 and visit our team.