In her latest blog, Sarah Spivey, the managing director of Modulift, debuts at Offshore Energy, looks forward to LiftEx and finds another reason to go to Aberdeen.
There are many idioms about water. One can be in troubled waters, a fish out of water, in deep water, testing the water or even up a certain creek without a paddle. I've always liked the one about uncharted waters. There's something inherently exploratory about it, as though new lands of opportunity might be discovered.
Of course, these proverbs are rarely applied in the literal sense. But waters, uncharted or otherwise, were very much the theme at the Offshore Energy Exhibition & Conference, which took place last month in Amsterdam, where we joined new Dutch distributor Van Gool on its exhibition stand.
It was the first time we had attended the show and the experience served as a reminder that a business should always retain capacity for reconnaissance missions. Without Van Gool's influence, we might have continued to stay away from the event (you can't do them all, as they say) and we would have certainly missed the boat if that was the case.
The tagline of the co-located conference was 'Entering a new era', which was captured by a mix of renewables themes alongside oil and gas content. It was a concept grasped with similar enthusiasm in the exhibition area where quality and quantity of attendees—organisers said 667 exhibitors and 11,989 visitors participated—were notable.
It was buoyancy in contrast to this year's Offshore Technology Conference (OTC) in Houston which, by all accounts, was quieter even than the year before. This could mean the European sector of the marketplace is rebounding faster or simply that they are being more proactive whilst in a holding pattern so they are ready to consume equipment when the floodgates open. Either way, it bodes well and I have a sense that the timing is right to deliver Van Gool's first shipment of below-the-hook equipment as it prepares to stock our range up to MOD 50s.
Dialogue is ongoing with all existing and many prospective global partners, but Offshore Energy proves that there's always market intelligence to be gathered by events that may not have been on one's radar. If readers of this blog go to the same cycle of shows every year, I wonder how many opportunities they might be missing.
A new environment is invigorating and encourages one to be dynamic in approach. There's something stagnant about attending the same shows at the same time of year where the same organisers address the same audiences and the same cheap booze is downed over the same networking conversations. Ok, we recognised many competitors and familiar faces in Amsterdam but also cultivated a myriad of new contacts. Attend a new show next year and see what happens.
My attention turns to a more familiar event next week as the Lifting Equipment Engineers Association (LEEA) stages its annual LiftEx show on 23-24 November in Aberdeen. As managing director of a member company and board member of the association, it'll be interesting to see what the Energy Capital of Europe has in store. If oil and gas professionals bring some of the optimism from Offshore Energy it'll be a start.
For the second year, LiftEx will incorporate a co-located, one-day conference, where I will moderate the panel discussion that concludes proceedings. Feel free to send me comments or questions—and, if you haven't already, why not register to attend?
It'll be my second trip to Aberdeen in recent weeks, having been a guest of Mike Duncan, managing director at Rigmarine, which has recently opened a new facility in the area. Fellow below-the-hook equipment supplier Straightpoint, a manufacturer of load cells, joined us for the trip and all parties were appreciative of industry's positive reaction to a photo and brief story we posted to LinkedIn. It's interesting to note the sector's increasing uptake of social media.
I wouldn't want the positive tone of this blog to suggest the offshore oil and gas sector is about to sky rocket—the mood at LiftEx next week will be more of cautious optimism, I'm sure—but Rigmarine is keen to take the opportunities on offer and its customers will undoubtedly require access to below-the-hook equipment as they do so.
In other news, we're close to appointing a new senior design engineer, following the announcement that Anthony Culshaw, who is currently in the role, will move onto pastures new. Again, LinkedIn was very useful in researching the marketplace for a replacement as we redevelop and expand the role with new product innovations in mind. We'll be naming Anthony's replacement soon so watch this space.
Finally, I'm thrilled to confirm I've completed the diploma of my Chartered Director Programme at the Institute of Directors (IOD). It was an incredible learning experience, but I'm not in a rush to open another textbook any time soon!
See you in Aberdeen.
Managing Director Modulift