Chair's Corner - March 2021

Chair's Corner - March 2021

What’s Happening in the Section?

This month marks almost a year since the world changed due to the pandemic. I want to encourage all our members to hang in there, because with each passing day, we are closer to the end than we are to the beginning. Our section members are ready to return to normal, even if it’s just a “new normal.” I would normally write about our upcoming flagship one-day conferences and events scheduled for the spring, but nothing is normal. I will share how our study group and committee leaders have been managing events and venue contracts for the larger conferences with all the uncertainty, and highlight recent and upcoming events.

Most of our major in-person one-day conferences in 2020 were postponed as much as one year later, and the venues were very accommodating and understanding. Now, a year later, many of the postponed dates on the contracts are up. We are currently renegotiating and postponing again because we do not believe we can hold large in-person events safely in this environment, nor will we get the attendance required to have financially successful events.

To what new date should we postpose the events? Nobody knows, and the study groups and committee leaders have done an excellent job evaluating pros and cons and making the best decision for their conferences. Some events have been postponed to 2022 while others have been rescheduled to the summer or fall 2021. Our smaller events, like webinars and half-day events, have gone virtual with success, but we know that there’s no replacement for the social networking that in-person events provide. This is one of the many reasons, other than the cost/benefit, that the larger conferences have not gone fully virtual.

A little over a month ago, the section successfully launched the inaugural event for the new SPE-GCS Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) Committee. The event started with a committee overview, followed by a panel session in which I gladly participated. I, along with other standing committee members, helped answer questions from our members about the new committee, why it was formed, and how to volunteer. I was very pleased with the attendance of about 50+ people, and I was even more pleased with the level of engagement of the event attendees during the question and answer session. 

It was also obvious that some of the questions our members had are better answered and explained by D&I experts in the field. One of the many benefits this new committee can bring to the section is reaching out to D&I experts and Chief Diversity Officers (CDO) in our industry and bringing them to our events to help increase awareness and share best practices. We are hoping that our section can lead in this space and support other sections or regions in the U.S. and internationally that are interested in starting their own D&I journey.

In the U.S., Bloomberg reported that the new administration pulled drilling permits and placed a government pause on new oil and gas leases on federal land. World Oil reported that OPEC+ members focused on reducing the pandemic's crude oil surplus. WTI Crude and Brent Crude oil prices continue to fluctuate inside the $40-$60 range. Baker Hughes reports continue to show an increase in rig count in the US compared to previous months.

Within SPE-GCS, here are a few highlights this month: The Reservoir Study Group is hosting Dr. Tom Blasingame, 2021 SPE President, for a webinar titled “Survive, Revive & Thrive - Comments on the future of SPE”. The Research and Development (R&D) Study Group is hosting an event titled: “ExxonMobil Outlook for Energy: The Dual Energy Challenge”, the General Meeting Study Group is hosting an event titled: “Toolkit for Making Better Decisions when Faced with Ethical Dilemmas” by Susan Howes. The Young Professionals (YP) Committee is hosting an event titled: Got an Offer, Now What?” Check the events calendar for more information and to register.

Until next month,