The outer continental shelf, indeed the oceans, are the next and last earthbound frontier to sustain economies, societies and governments with the food, water, energy, minerals, natural materials, transportation and recreation that the world's billions of people need and deserve. Yet, developed and produced unwisely or irresponsibly, exploited without reservation and regulation, or arbitrarily declared off limits, such actions will lead to disastrous outcomes and dire consequences for mankind and society. Common rights to develop, honest and transparent operations, protective and enabling regulations, respectful inquiry and advocacy of public interest and universal commitment to sustainability establishes a mutually beneficial framework that creates a sound platform for centuries of value creation. Unfortunately we're not off to a good start.
For centuries the oceans have been taken for granted. Lack of knowledge and limited minds have led people to see the " limitless resources?? of the seas as inexhaustible opportunity, ripe for exploitation, to the regret of contemporary society. The oceans cannot serve as toilet and food source, resource bank and dumping ground, recreation center and burial site. There are too many people, too much opportunity, and too high risk to let anyone exploit any part of the ocean without proper constraints and oversight.
The requirements and demands of the world's people mandate the optimal development of offshore resources. In the first instance there is food, water and energy. Later there will be more. Everyone connected to offshore opportunities needs to appreciate and accept a tri-partite balance of government regulation, company investment and production, and public interest activism. Each responsible set of entities must subscribe to a set of requirements that promote sound value creation, governmental oversight and respectful public engagement. Absent a framework for offshore development the world and its people will suffer the consequences of inadequate resources, economic underdevelopment and fractious interaction among a spectrum of special interests. There are Four Mores that must be promulgated: the world needs more resources, especially energy, to support economic growth, more technology to use resources more efficiently, more environmental protection to support development, and more infrastructure to support sustainable growth. The global offshore will deliver centuries of value provided the construct is viable.
The Offshore Technology Conference is synonymous with responsible, productive, and effective value creation for energy companies. For decades science and technology have met practical solutions to produce techniques, products and services for the development of offshore resources to fuel the world's economies. It is assumed that this will continue into the future as long as the combination of all three are commercially viable and energy demand can be met with affordably produced energy from offshore.
The potential for human capacity to imagine, design, develop, produce and implement offshore energy solutions is beyond description. Extrapolating from the past across the totality of offshore development, it is safely argued that virtually no problem thus far encountered has not been matched by a viable solution. Thus value creation for companies and shareholders has continued to grow over the past four decades. There is every promise of more, as witnessed by the displays and presentations at this 2010 Offshore Technology Conference.
Yet ominous and foreboding to the future of offshore energy development are growing concerns from governments, non-governmental organizations, scientists and naturalists, and, even the public, that the future must provide constraints and restraints to the manner and methods by which the oceans around the world are used, exploited, developed and managed.