The SPE-GCS extends a warm welcome to our new chair, Simeon Eburi. We thought we’d introduce him by sharing part of our conversation.
Connect: Where are you originally from, and how did you wind up in Houston, Texas?
Simeon: I was born in Malabo, the capital city of Equatorial Guinea, which is located on the west coast of Central Africa. Equatorial Guinea is among the top oil producers in Sub-Saharan Africa. Growing up, I saw an influx of offshore oil and gas exploration and production companies, which influenced my decision to study petroleum engineering. I attended Texas Tech University, where I earned both a bachelor's degree and a master of science degree in petroleum engineering. After graduate school, I accepted a job with Chevron in Houston. I have been in Houston for most of my professional career, except for a short assignment with Chevron in Bakersfield, California.
Connect: What is so special about Houston and the Gulf Coast region?
Simeon: I believe Houston is the heart of the energy industry and the energy capital of the world. What makes Houston special is its diversity – the background of the professionals is diverse, the career opportunities are diverse and the cuisine is diverse. Another benefit of living in Houston is that professionals can work on a variety of technically challenging projects – from onshore unconventionals to conventional US offshore to international deepwater major capital projects – without having to relocate. Professionals also benefit from a wealth of professional training and excellent networking through the SPE-GCS.
Connect: How has SPE helped you in your professional life?
Simeon: SPE has provided me with excellent opportunities to volunteer, build relationships and meet professionals outside of work. It has also provided opportunities to sharpen my leadership skills. I have been an active SPE member since college, but I was unfamiliar with the benefits of the SPE professional membership. After working in Houston for three years, I decided to attend an SPE-GCS Young Professionals (YP) committee board meeting. I was impressed by the diverse and inclusive nature of the group and their energy and passion. I became very involved, led the YP committee as chair a few years later, and I have been serving on the section board of directors in different capacities ever since. Sometimes it only takes one SPE meeting.
Connect: What are your plans for the SPE-GCS for 2020-21?
Simeon: My simple plan is to continue to build on the strong foundation that the former section chairs established. My detailed plans had to be adjusted because of the combined impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and the low-price cycle. During these uncertain times, the Gulf Coast Section will continue to focus on its mission of promoting cooperation in furthering the objectives of SPE. To achieve this, the section will need to offer many more virtual events and meetings.
I must give credit to Gabby Morrow, our past chair, for putting the section on a path to more virtual technical content. Who could have anticipated a global pandemic, and that most professionals in our industry would work from home full time for an extended period?
Here are my main focus areas: Organize safe events for our volunteers, members and affiliates by following guidelines from local authorities and global health organizations; for convenience and flexibility, provide more virtual options to complement our in-person events; find creative ways to continue great initiatives halted by the pandemic, like postponed one-day events and the GCS podcast initiative; incorporate other initiatives, like diversity and inclusion as a soft skills topic, and the GCS app proposal; and most importantly, continue to raise money to support our scholarship program and help our MiT members through ongoing career transitions.
If you want to hear more, please join us at the virtual-only SPE-GCS annual kickoff meeting on August 28, 2020!
SIMEON EBURI QUICK TAKE
Technical discipline that has made the most impact on your career: Deepwater exploration
Must-haves for YPs to succeed: Diligence and dedication
Sports you follow: Texas Tech Red Raiders, college basketball and football, professional basketball (NBA)
Last business trip: Mexico City, Mexico
Last book you read: The Servant: A Simple Story About the True Essence of Leadership, by James C. Hunter