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Record breaking IMCA annual seminar held in London

Precise takes an in-depth look at the IMCA conference which our director, Peter Thompson, had the pleasure of attending earlier this week.

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520 delegates from 30 countries attended the Annual Seminar of the International Marine Contractors Association (IMCA) in London (19 and 20 November). The event, held in a different country each year, proved to be a record breaker in terms of delegate registration, as well as attracting more exhibitors than ever before (34), and more endorsing organisations (14) from around the world.

“Sadly our President, Massimo Fontolan of Saipem was unwell, so it fell to me to speak in his place on the giant strides that IMCA has made over the past year since the 2013 IMCA Annual Seminar was held in Singapore,” explained IMCA’s Chief Executive, Chris Charman. “Then our packed conference hall enjoyed keynote presentations from three scintillating and knowledgeable speakers – Malcolm Webb, Chief Executive of Oil & Gas UK; Judith Hackitt, Chair of HSE and Mr Daiji Zhang, Executive Vice President of CDSA (the China Diving & Salvage Contractors Association).

“In typically forthright style, Malcolm Webb addressed the downturn in oil prices; and gave an overview of the exploration and production prospects for the UKCS, looking at what he described as a ‘pretty precipitous decline’; and explaining that ‘the UK has a very serious cost and efficiency challenge’.

Looking at a barrel price of $78 he asked the question ‘where is it going to stop?’ answering it himself by saying ‘it’s not a blip to me’.

“Although IMCA is very much an international organisations with 1,045 member organisations in more than 60 countries, roughly half our membership belongs to our Europe & Africa Section and many are naturally involved with expro activities on the UKCS so his topical comments were highly relevant.

“Malcolm highlighted the need for fiscal policy to be changed with all attention focussed on the Chancellor of the Exchequer’s Autumn Statement on 3 December, saying: ‘we’re waiting with bated breath’; and spoke of the overwhelming requirement for a predictable fiscal regime. Was he optimistic? ‘Yes, I am, I think the stakes are too high for us to fail’.

“He went on to speak of the need for the entire industry to work in collaboration, stressing the fact that ‘the one thing no-one will do is sacrifice safety’; and of the fact that ‘we have maintained some of the old behaviours – we need a huge change of behaviour’ and looked at the need for a step change under various headings: people, efficiency, logistics and planning, standardisation and simplification; something with which IMCA would wholeheartedly agree.

“He stressed the great value of Sir Ian Wood’s review of the UKCS, the good news of the appointment of Andy Samuel as the new chief executive of the Oil & Gas Authority the reserves of between 12/13 and 24 billion barrels. And, looking at the global situation he believed there will be a turn back ‘the world needs oil and gas’.

“Yes a highly thought provoking presentation; one providing food for thought for delegates and for us as their association.”

Reference: IMCA Website.