OTC 2023: Distinguished Achievement Award recipients selected

Feb. 6, 2023
The Offshore Technology Conference (OTC) has announced the recipients of the 2023 Distinguished Achievement Awards.

Offshore staff

HOUSTON  The Offshore Technology Conference (OTC) named the recipients of the 2023 Distinguished Achievement Awards on Feb. 2. This year the conference recognizes E.G. "Skip" Ward, PhD for Individual Achievement, Exxon Mobil’s Liza Development project in Guyana for Company Achievement, and Guodong (David) Zhan, PhD for Special Citation. 

Ward is being recognizedfor his strategic vision, work and influence on the offshore industry. OTC said Ward’s contributions over the last 50 years have had a tremendous impact on the advancement of offshore and deepwater production and has guided the collaboration and consensus among industry majors. Additionally, Ward led efforts for the development and standardization of ocean environmental criteria and design technology, enabling the industry to consistently and safely move farther from shore into deepwater. Standardized criteria now exist for the Gulf of Mexico, Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, Bering Sea, Beaufort Sea and Chukchi Sea.

In addition, OTC highlighted that Liza Phase 1 was one of the fastest projects of its type in the industry, cycling from discovery to production in less than five years, compared to the historical 10-year timeline for projects of this magnitude. Liza Phase 2 then came online about two years after Liza Phase 1. Within eight years of discovery, total production from the Liza Field is approaching 400,000 bbl/d. 

Prior to the Liza development, Guyana had no active offshore oil industry, and little was known about its metocean and seabed conditions. ExxonMobil Guyana applied technology and novel execution approaches to discover, define and rapidly develop the Liza Field in a frontier oil and gas location, turning it into one of the most successful deepwater developments in the world, OTC stated.
Lastly, Zhan is being recognized for his pioneering spirit as well as his research, innovation and technology leadership. OTC said Zhan is a world-renowned materials scientist and pre-eminent drillbit expert with a track record of developing advanced technologies from invention through to full commercialization. Zhan's impact on the offshore industry spans decades, from his academic accomplishments through his work in industry in R&D management and leadership.

Zhan currently leads the advanced drilling tools team at Saudi Aramco to conduct research on the ultra-HP/HT process for diamond synthesis, and he developed the world’s first ultra-strong and catalyst-free PDC cutter. The new cutters have set industry records in wear, impact and thermal performance to create “One-Run-to-TD” drilling technology. 

"The awards event is significant in that it not only recognizes the award recipients but also raises funds for a worthy cause and provides an excellent opportunity for industry executives and leaders to network with colleagues from around the globe," OTC stated on its website. "The net proceeds from the awards event are donated to a charitable organization that is in some way connected to the offshore energy sector or the communities where we operate. More than $2 million has been donated to worthy organizations over the last decade."

Recipients will be honored during the OTC Distinguished Achievement Awards Event Reception on April 30 at the NRG Center in Houston, ahead of the conference May 1-4.