Offshore Technology Conference returns to Houston

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- After a turbulent year, the future of oil and gas is on display in Houston with the Offshore Technology Conference [OTC], and the energy capital of the world is poised for what's next.

After missing 2020 due to the pandemic, OTC was back inside the NRG Park exhibit hall on Monday, and it was filled with not just oil and gas products.

At the conference, you can find wind, solar, and natural gas products as well. What's exciting about it for industry experts is how new energy sources are adapting to older technology.

"How can you have gas, and wind, and solar, and what sort of project opportunities might that bring?" OTC chair Cindy Yeilding asked.

The conference brings together people from across the globe. But this push forward won't take place too far from NRG Park.

"We're going to see a boom, I believe, in the energy industry in Houston and Texas largely, and it's going to be the benefit for all of us in the United States," University of Houston chief energy officer, Ramanan Krishnamoorti, said.

It's a boom that the local economy is counting on. During the pandemic, state jobs reports show mining and logging lost around 15,000 jobs in the Houston area. As the price of oil climbed, so did the jobs.

Year over year, the Houston area has gained 1,600 mining and logging jobs, according to the June Texas jobs report. Krishnamoorti said the future may not just be wind and solar. He said Houston could develop how energy will be stored and transferred.

"How do we bring in the off-shore wind? Off-shore geothermal? How do we bring tidal energy, wave energy? How do we integrate that with oil and gas?" Krishnamoorti explained.

The technology is being developed. Some of it is on display at the conference.

But there's another problem. Who's going to operate it?

"We've got leadership that is ready, but do we have the technical and the regular workforce that's ready? I don't think so," Krishnamoorti said.

Energy industry leaders said if you're in the oil and gas field, attend seminars, take a course, or watch online videos. If you're looking to break into the business, there are opportunities.

"What I tell people is, 'phone a friend.' Find your friend who started to work in carbon capture," Yeilding explained. "Give [them] a shout and ask what's exciting. 'What do I need to know?' That can open a whole lot of doors."

Growing opportunities are only expected to rise as the world rebounds from the pandemic and searches for a new power source that's expected to come from the energy capital of the world.

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