November 2003

What's new in production

SPE: the show, the presentations, the organization
Vol. 224 No. 11

 SPE big success in October. Denver hosted this year’s 2003 Society of Petroleum Engineers’ (SPE) Annual Technical Conference and Exhibition, October 5 – 8, at the Colorado Convention Center. Themed the “Mile-High Meeting of the Minds,” the event brought together more than 8,000 E&P professionals for four days of intensive technical information and various social events. Attendees discovered new ideas, technologies and innovations from more than 380 technical presentations and 265 exhibiting companies from all over the world. 

 Monday’s schedule included the Annual Reception and Banquet, which recognized distinguished SPE members who made significant contributions to the oil/gas industry and the Society. The American Institute of Mining, Metallurgical and Petroleum Engineers (AIME) also presented awards during the ceremony. 

 On Wednesday, 2003 President Andrew Young, Gaffney, Cline & Associates, passed the gavel to 2004 SPE President Kate Baker, BP Upstream Technology Group, at the President’s Luncheon. 

 A major presentation of the Conference was the General Session, “Myths and Realities about Future Supplies,” featuring very useful data presentations by the Moderator, Peter Davis, BP, and panelists B. Kemble Bennett, Texas A&M; Mark Sikkel, ExxonMobil Production Co.; Nasser Jaidah, Qatar General Petroleum Co.; and John Gibson, Halliburton Energy Services Group. The first two presented very relevant and interesting data. Davis said, about King Hubbert’s curve interpretations, are they applicable internationally? (No) Bennett talked about energy supply; consumption is going up; US imports will increase to 68% from 55% by 2025; and for future technical challenges, average age of SPE members is going up, and school enrollments are way below needs. 

 Sikkel commented on the National Petroleum Council study, particularly gas, where power generation will drive US growth. But established producing areas in the US and Canada are seeing decline rates increasing. New supplies from the Rocky Mountains and deep water must grow, along with nonconventional production, i.e., coalbed methane, tight gas, etc. Eight new LNG terminals are proposed, plus the Arctic pipeline. 

 Jaidah discussed Qatar’s rapid expansion of LNG marketing, from the No. 4 exporter in 2002, with 12% of the world trade. The world LNG market has doubled every 10 years. By 2010, Japan will import 62 million tons annually, Europe, 65 Mta and US/Americas 52 Mta. Qatar expects to export 40 Mta by 2010, to be the No. 1 exporter.

 And Gibson presented data which indicate, if taken literally, that the efficiency of US rigs shows a decline, with the overall trend of well drilled per rig going down. Wells deeper than 10,000 ft are not increasing, particularly for gas. Gibson thinks the “myth” perpetrated here is that the industry hasn’t improved its drilling efficiency. 

 The nearly 400 technical papers and posters covered the gamut of exploration, drilling and production, with SPE’s traditional emphasis on reservoir engineering. I suppose due to the Central US location, deep water and offshore were not key topics. Drilling, in general, was also not strongly covered. There was keen interest in coalbed methane, due the increasing emphasis in the western states. The SPE Foundation announced at the Conference that support for the campaign, “Tomorrow’s SPE: Investing in,” has already surpassed more than $2 million. Led by the SPE Foundation, this campaign launched late last year with the goal to raise $5 million to support SPE Web site enhancements. The funds will enable enhanced access to technical knowledge, improved online collaboration, improved online continuing-education capabilities, and greater efficiencies to members conducting business with SPE using 

 The entire campaign is projected to total $10 million. The Society already has invested $5 million from other sources, and the campaign is slated to raise the balance. ChevronTexaco gave a pacesetting contribution of $1 million, and Encana gifted $250,000. SPE provides formidable resources to continually improve the industry’s ability to provide essential oil and gas resources to the public. ChevronTexaco’s contribution goes to to support the SPE e-Library that currently includes more than 35,000 technical papers and is accessed 12,000 times each month by members from around the world. 

 With more than 55,000 members worldwide, SPE has created an immense virtual connection to share information and knowledge. Being able to share knowledge and learn from others’ experiences and knowledge makes an irreplaceable asset for anyone involved in the E&P industry. For more information related to the SPE Foundation and its programs, visit jsp/basic/0,,1104_1918,00.html. 

 SPE was officially founded in 1957, but its roots date back to the 19th century, when a group of mining engineers in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, formed the American Institute of Mining Engineers. In 1919, AIME combined with the American Institute of Metals to become the American Institute of Mining and Metallurgical Engineers. In 1948, the Petroleum Branch emerged as one of three major units within AIME. With about 12,500 members, in 1957, the Petroleum Branch emerged as the Society of Petroleum Engineers of AIME. SPE incorporated separately from AIME in 1985.

 As oil/gas exploration evolved into a truly global industry, SPE’s members, programs and activities kept pace. SPE commissioned a blue-ribbon panel in the early 1970s to develop the first-ever Long Range Plan. Today, SPE annually organizes more that 50 events around the world devoted to technical information exchange in the upstream industry. Publications, distinguished for their technical reliability, include the monthly Journal of Petroleum Technology; a suite of peer-reviewed, discipline-centered journals; books written by the industrys’ most honored professionals; and the online library.

 SPE’s Board of Directors presently includes four Officers, three At-Large Directors, 14 Regional Directors and four Technical Directors. In March, the SPE Board will increase to 27 members. Board Committees include Audit and Administration; Membership, Education and Professional Activities; Publications; and Technical Programs and Meetings.  WO

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