Oh, my aching feet!

SO, this week has been all about SPE Offshore Europe.

The conference and exhibition is recognised by energy professionals as Europe’s leading E&P event and, as the website says “attending will ensure you are up to date with the most significant technologies and can connect with a global network of 50,000+ attendees.”

It’s the final day of the show and I feel like I’ve met them all.

Day one for me was an early start with the Chamber’s sold out Offshore Europe business breakfast. We had three speakers – Mark Hutchinson from EY, Graham Gillies of Baker Hughes, a GE company, and Remi Eriksen (DNV GL); with our chair being Colette Cohen of the Oil & Gas Technology Centre.

The feedback from the breakfast has been very positive; our delegates learned about the fourth industrial revolution, how industry players are transforming themselves to ensure a suitable future and the independent forecast from DNV GL’s Energy Transition Outlook, leading up to 2050.

After some serious networking, it was a dash down to the main conference area for meetings with Mark and Natalie from Dekra before meeting with Derrick Cobbinah, the Trade Services Manager from the relatively new UK Ghana Chamber of Commerce who had brought a delegation of 15 with him.

No time for lunch before meeting with the team from PD&MS followed by a coffee with a new business in Aberdeen (yet to be announced so it’s still top secret) and afterwards catching up with our premier partners, Wood Group. But on top of the formal meetings, I was amazed to see how many international visitors had flocked to the event as well as hundreds of local businesses.

I managed to catch up with around 20 member organisations and the general consensus was the same. There was a good positive vibe about the event and those coming on their stand were there to do business.

So, after much walking (gutted that I hadn’t worn my Fitbit!), talking and caffeine it was time to head off to the EY event at Musa where I discussed everything from the Six Nations to the first FLNG in Africa to how long it was since I’d had ginger beer.

Back home after day one to a well-earned dinner.

After a great night’s sleep day two dawned along with some magnificent sunshine and an influx of men in navy suits.

The first meeting of the day was with Baker Hughes, a GE company, and was incredibly productive. Shortly followed by a catch-up with my colleagues at Scottish Enterprise and Scottish Development International covering off some partnership working, internationalisation and our involvement at ADIPEC this year.

It was then on to the City & Shire stand for a meeting about some strategic partnership working before heading to Balmoral Group’s stand for some incredibly welcome chicken broth.

The afternoon was spent with Oil & Gas UK, staff from the Department of International Trade (particularly Senegal) then off to a couple of evening receptions before heading back to the office to catch up on emails and wait for the traffic to die down a little.

At this point I seriously regretted not putting on my ‘sensible’ shoes.

Day three passed in a blur – catching up with member companies, covering off business in general and watching people experience life and work offshore through a virtual reality headset. The exhibition was still incredibly busy when I left late in the afternoon before setting up for our drinks reception with the Czech Republic.

The piper piped our international delegates in and a great mix of Scottish and Czech beer was served while we learned about the opportunities available from some Czech companies. Then it was on to connecting businesses and developing some strong international trade relations before heading home.

So, the general consensus for Offshore Europe? Well, there was lots of talk about it on social media …and I mean lots! It appears that the over-riding feeling is that it was a very positive conference with the focus being on real business. Less gifts being handed out; less people handing over CVs and lots of follow-ups to do.

I personally really enjoyed it. It was really beneficial to see so many of our members under one roof (well, five but who’s counting?) and understand more about the future of the industry. Rest assured, Aberdeen is very much alive and kicking and although my feet really have been aching, I can’t wait for 2019 to do it all again!