According to a panel of industry experts at the opening session of the Annual Technical Conference, America is entering into an era of energy self-sufficiency due to the growth of our natural gas supply. One would think energy self-sufficiency is a great idea. Perhaps, once the country embraces the idea of the use of natural gas as the transitional or energy source of the future, the United States may enter into a period of renewed growth and strength, but our country’s economy continues to show weakness. The business model of outsourcing lower end jobs and creating high end jobs are being challenged. Some say these high end service and manufacturing support jobs are relocating near the manufacturing centers (seems like a reasonable approach: put your engineers near the operations, where have I heard this before?). The question then becomes: where is the country, its people, and your SPE Gulf Coast section heading?

I had the opportunity to attend the Annual Technical Conference in Florence and I have two observations to share: (1) the Society of Petroleum Engineers is one of the best professional societies in the world, and (2) the Gulf Coast section is a premier section within the society. I was impressed by the depth and breadth of technical talent within our society. The statement “It is an honor to be a part of such an organization” was heard too many times to count. In my discussions with other section officers, it was humbling to be thought of in such high regards for simply being involved in the leadership of the GCS. So where do you want us to go as a section? I personally do not wish to allow the economic decline and global competition to erode the technical ‘competitive’ advantage we, as a section, have enjoyed. I choose to believe that we are held accountable for the section’s blessings, and we should always strive to be good stewards of these resources through the use of sound judgment and discernment. This includes our intellectual property, i.e. your brain power.

So how can we keep our edge? How about by taking an extra hour each day and applying it to technical pursuits? This equates to achieving an extra day of study every two week pay period, or 26 days per year in higher learning. Thus, one receives the benefit once a month every year of technical training/education, by spending one hour more per day in technical pursuits. Question becomes, how to get there, and if you want to? I am going to encourage each of you to reach out and start adjusting your schedules to spend one more hour per day in technical pursuits by reading technical literature, completing formal programming, or informal training.

It’s been said ‘iron sharpens iron”, and I believe in order for us to maintain our technical edge, we must work harder at sharpening the iron, in this case our brain power, which is a call for both the young and the old. Gulf Coast section and SPEI are working hard together to provide our membership with new ways to bring knowledge to your fingertips such as continued study group meetings, more workshops, more 2-5 day formal training opportunities, and upcoming webinars. Please take the ‘one hour’ challenge, if only for a year, and see how it will enrich your life and where it will take you.


- Mark Peavy, KinderMorgan CO2

2010-11 SPE-GCS Chair