Despite the crisis, oil and gas companies come to Houston for OTC

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HOUSTON, Texas - With a pretty good crowd for a Monday, the Offshore Technology Conference opened its doors once again at NRG Center.

"Every year we have a lot of new exhibits and new technologies," explained Joe Fowler, Chairman of OTC's Board of Directors.

With oil prices down the drain, the energy sector has been kind of low energy lately. Jobs are being cut by the thousands, and trying to sell drilling equipment hasn't been as tough in years.

"In today's difficult offshore market, we try to develop new stuff and new ideas," said Edwin Van Leeuwen, a representative from Dutch ship manufacturer Ulstein.

But the show must go on.

"At Offshore Technology Conference we don't try to predict the price of oil," Fowler expressed. "We don't do that: that's not our mission. Our mission is to keep the industry abreast of the latest technology and the latest safety developments."

When it comes to oil and gas, all roads lead to Houston. Visitors and exhibitors came from all over the world. And if you're looking for some cool gadgets for your man cave, there's a special chair that got a lot of attention.

"This is our new operating chair, used for drilling operation and controlling," indicated Hege Kverneland, Chief Technology Officer of National Oilwell Varco. The futuristic chair comes with several folding screens attached. Passers-by gathered around the booth for a demonstration.

"You can actually rise up and work in a standing position" she pointed out. "With this system you don't have to sit down for 12 hours a day."

But again, many people have lost their jobs with this downturn, and families are hurting. Here's a word for them.

"On Thursday of this week, we have free admission for people who are looking for a job," informed Fowler. "We also have sessions to train them on how to write better resumes and how to improve their networking."

Hopefully things get better soon. In the meantime, somebody will have to explore new solutions.

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