Offshore Technology Conference 2013 focuses on safety of workers

OTC kicks off at Reliant Park

HOUSTON - The Offshore Technology Conference 2013 kicked off at Reliant Park on Monday, where new technology is making workers safer.

The conference is like Christmas for petroleum engineers and geo-scientists, who flock to Houston to see the newest drilling technology.

Safety is a prime concern for conference goers.

"It's the number one thing we're interested in here," said OTC Director Edward Stokes. "We want to keep people safe and we want to develop technology so we can develop oil and gas."

After the Deepwater Horizon disaster in 2010 killed 11 workers and caused massive pollution in the Gulf of Mexico, the federal government recommended the creation of the Center for Offshore Safety.

"We're dedicated at the center totally to how you manage safety, so it's imbedding safety in all the decisions a company makes," said Charlie Williams, the former director of the center.

Every company exploring for oil on the Continental Shelf is now required by law to submit a safety audit of their offshore operations. The center trains the auditors.

"It was really part of the presidential commission report," said Williams. "They said the industry really needed an for the industry, by the industry organization totally focused on safety."

The audits must be turned in by November.

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