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Doing More with Less – SPE-ATCE Delivers Innovative Ideas and Aid to the Young Professional

By: , Posted on: October 20, 2015

I traveled to Houston September 28th – 30th for the Society of Petroleum Engineers Annual Technical Conference and Exhibition. SPE-ATCE is one of the premier oil and gas conferences covering exploration and production topics in conventional and unconventional resources from around the globe. Technical topics included new technology for unconventional reservoirs, current solutions in production enhancement, innovative drilling options, and the latest in fracturing fluids. Additional special sessions covered relative topics like how to manage the future impact on cost cutting and a session on how to start your own business so I had many meetings to prepare for, but to be honest – I was actually preparing myself to meet-and-greet quite a few depressed faces – after all, over 175,000 jobs have been lost in the oil and gas industry since late last year (with more cuts to come), the price of oil is still struggling to hit $50, and company press releases are starting to read like the daily newspaper’s obituaries sections with projects put on hold, wells plugged (temporarily), and assets selling. Simply put, times are challenging and the immediate future forecast is not looking that much better.

Despite all the negative, I’ve been around the industry long enough to know that the oil and gas sector literally resembles a roller coaster – you wait in line for 2 hours to ride a ride that is 30 seconds long….but those 30 seconds were so much fun, you are willing to wait another 2 hours just to get back on….so while waiting in line, Elsevier book proposal discussions flourished and crafted their way out of the woodwork (which I find is often the way when more people have time on their hands to finally give that book proposal document a try). I was able to meet with 15 current and prospective Elsevier authors during the 3 day show. These included:

yu shu wu   multiphase flow

Congratulating Elsevier author Yu-Shu Wu for his September 2015 publication, Multiphase Fluid Flow in Porous and Fractured Media and on his SPE award for Distinguished Membership for his achievements and contributions to the society.

Speaking of awards, I attended the SPE Annual Awards Reception where 2 other Elsevier authors received SPE awards:

bernt aadnoy   petroleum rock mechanics

Elsevier author Bernt Aadnoy (center), author of Petroleum Rock Mechanics received Honorary Membership for his dedicated service to SPE

ali ghalambor  offshore pipelines   natural gas engineering

Elsevier author (far left) Ali Ghalambor, author of Offshore Pipelines, 2nd edition and Natural Gas Engineering Handbook, 2nd edition received the DeGolyer Distinguished Service medal for his outstanding service to SPE, to the profession of engineering, and the petroleum industry.

chris clarkson

Lunch with Elsevier author Chris Clarkson discussing his future book Unconventional Gas and Light Oil Reservoir Rate Transient Analysis

Other Elsevier authors/contributors included:

Wilson Chin

managed pressure drilling

Mayank Tyagi

James Sheng

enhanced oil recovery

Arash Haghshenas

underbalanced drilling

Tom Blasingame

handbook of petroleum engineering


Boyun Guo

natural gas engineering     offshore pipelines

Christine Ehlig-Economides

Stephen Holditch

unconvetional oil

Brian Towler

future of energy

Robello Samuel

advanced drilling engineering


Madhusuden Agrawal

I also attended a session during the show titled “Education Training Professional: The Impact of Oil Price in Training and Education”. There were various speakers from different universities discussing the current status of their engineering programs, any effects from the current market conditions on student/graduate levels, and helpful tips to encourage people in the audience who are currently close to graduating or looking for a job.  Alfred Daniel Hill, representing the petroleum engineering department from Texas A&M, made some of the most memorable remarks, “Tip 1: Take a job anywhere. If the job is in Midland, accept it. If the job is in Doha, accept it. Oil and gas is worldwide, and you need worldwide exposure. Tip 2: You’re an engineer first, a petroleum engineer second.” In other words, open up your job bull’s eye and interview for jobs that are related to oil and gas even though it might not be what you thought you would be doing after college. He also told a story of a past student of his that went on to become a senior executive at a major oil and gas operator, but straight out of college in the 80s (the last major downturn for the industry), it took him over 400 interviews to finally get his first job – his persistence and willingness to look outside his comfort zone got him employed.

After that session, I walked around the show floor and noticed all the opportunities for the young professional – SPE offered free professional head shots for people prospecting, soft-skill workshops were sprinkled throughout the course of the conference for help with writing a technical paper and there were more young professional receptions than ever for plenty of networking and business-card swapping chances. I came to the conclusion that the oil and gas industry is not depressed – they are learning to do more with less, technologically and financially speaking, while everybody waits in line for that 30-second thrill ride to begin again.

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Oil & Gas

The discovery and production of fossil fuels is as vital a topic as ever, driven by increasing energy demands and guided by swiftly advancing technology. Exploration continues for new sources of oil and natural gas, as well as unconventional sources such as oil shale and tar sands. Energy industry professionals need fundamental knowledge of topics such as liquefied natural gas (LNG), pipeline engineering, transmission and processing, enhanced oil recovery, reservoir management, and deep water exploration, as well as accurate, up-to-date modeling, data, and analysis. Elsevier provides both foundational and cutting-edge geoscience, engineering, and business information to researchers and professionals in the field in varied ways: in its industry-leading journals, via online tools such as Geofacets, and through books and eBooks published under respected imprints such as Gulf Professional Publishing.