Chair's Corner - June 2021

Chair's Corner - June 2021

The SPE-GCS Podcast is Here!

It’s my pleasure to announce that this month, the SPE Gulf Coast Section will launch its first podcast episode. It took a lot of hard work and dedication by the SPE-GCS Communications Committee volunteers, speakers and podcast hosts, but the SPE-GCS podcast is here! This month, I will share thoughts on how the post- COVID world may affect our section programs and give you more details about the podcast launch.

With a larger percentage of people in the US getting vaccinated, there is growing optimism that soon we will return to normal – or the “new normal.” You may have heard about companies in our industry sharing or discussing return-to-the-office plans. Some companies are going back to the office in person; others are still fully or partially working remotely. One word you will hear frequently in the post-COVID world is ‘hybrid.” While some companies are planning to return to pre-COVID work schedules, others are considering alternate or hybrid schedules that include dedicated days of the week to work remotely. How does the post-COVID world look for SPE-GCS programs? The section will offer a lot more ‘hybrid’ events in the future; these will be in-person events with an option to attend virtually. We learned during the pandemic that virtual meetings can be effective if planned and conducted properly, and that SPE members can enjoy great technical content even if events are fully virtual or have a virtual component. Hybrid events allow greater flexibility for event attendees. Members who are not comfortable attending an event in person due to COVID concerns may opt to attend remotely, while members who are comfortable or who enjoy networking, can attend in person. Hybrid events will also address the well-known issue of members being unable to attend events due to distance from the event venue. Members interested in attending an event located far away may opt to attend remotely.

The SPE-GCS podcast initiative started about two years ago under the leadership of my predecessors, Gabby Morrow and Sunil Lakshminarayanan, both past section chairs.

They put the podcast initiative in motion, recognizing it was an increasingly popular communication channel and a different way to disseminate technical content and soft skills topics. The original plan was to conduct interviews in person between the speakers and the podcast host at the local SPE office, but those plans were paused due to the pandemic. In the last 10 months, a dedicated podcast team of volunteers was created and the decision to do all podcast interviews virtually was made to enable the podcast initiative to continue.

The first episode will be available on Wednesday, June 2, 2021. Dr. Tom Blasingame, 2021 SPE president, will talk about “SPE’s Journey in the Pandemic.” The first podcast episode and future episodes will be available at, on Apple Podcasts, Spotify and via our section website, We encourage all our members to subscribe and follow the SPE-GCS podcast to receive notifications when a new episode is released, which will take place every two weeks. In future episodes, you will hear from our own SPE leaders Shauna Noonan, 2020 SPE president; Deb Ryan, SPE North America regional director; and Susan Howes, SPE US Advisory Council. Industry experts will include George King and Ken Arnold; senior corporate executive Hugh Connett, retired president of Chevron Global Gas; and Bob Brackett, senior vice president and senior analyst covering natural resources at Bernstein Research. Diversity and Inclusion committee leaders Maria Angela Capello and Kehinde Ekweribe will also join us, among many others. The podcast episodes will cover a range of topics, including energy transition, unconventionals, reserves, facilities, ESG, leadership, mentoring, networking, diversity and inclusion and many more.

Bloomberg reported that oil posted gains last month on expectations for stronger summer demand based on growing economic activity in nations from the US to Europe.

The article cited increased air travel and driving as some of the indicators that are expected to continue to see an increase. The article also cited strong recovery of demand in the second half, in conjunction with OPEC+ production discipline, as reasons for the optimism. WTI Crude and Brent Crude oil prices are fluctuating between $60 and $70 per barrel. Baker Hughes reports show an increase in rig count in the US compared to previous months.

This month within SPE-GCS, the Young Professionals Committee will hold their annual Roughneck Camp. The Completions and Production Study Group is hosting an event titled “Achieving Perfect Fluid and Proppant Placement in Multi-Stage Fractured Horizontal Wells: A CFD Modeling Approach.” The Continuing Education Committee is hosting a training course titled “Machine Learning and Data Science in the Oil and Gas Industry: Introduction, Case Studies and Best Practices.” Check the events calendar for more information and to register.


Until next month,