Chair's Corner - September 2020

Chair's Corner - September 2020


Last month, we held the SPE-GCS annual kickoff meeting virtually, where we formally thanked the outgoing board and welcomed new board members. Special thanks go to Gabby Morrow, past chair, for an excellent job during her term. I know I have big shoes to fill, and she has done a great job transitioning the chair role. During the kickoff, I also shared more details on the section goals. Here is a summary:

  • Deliver more virtual and hybrid (virtual and in-person) events for greater flexibility.
  • Enhance the online “On-Demand Content Library” and add more content with event recordings.
  • Advance digital efforts by evaluating and proposing an SPE-GCS mobile app and deliver a podcast initiative.
  • Look for opportunities to collaborate with other SPE sections and external organizations.
  • Deliver diversity and inclusion (D&I) soft skills sessions to our members.

The kickoff was a great way to start the fiscal year and welcome new members and volunteers. While it was great to see many of our members virtually, I look forward to meeting everyone in person soon.

We are still in the middle of the pandemic and an industry downturn. Baker Hughes reports 247 rigs in the US, a leading indicator of production activity. Brent crude and WTI crude are in the 40s, largely because of COVID-19 and OPEC+ negotiations and agreements. Because there is much we cannot control in the world, I want to highlight a few examples of SPE members’ creativity and resilience.

The SPE-GCS Annual Awards and Scholarship Banquet is typically held in May and was postponed to August due to COVID-19. When it became obvious that Houston would not be back to normal by August, the committee planned a hybrid virtual and in-person banquet, which was well received by attendees. During the event, we recognized and congratulated our hard-working volunteers, regional and section award-winners, our bright student scholarship recipients and the SPE Legion of Honor (those with 50 years of SPE membership). I would like to recognize the Awards Banquet Committee for an outstanding job.

The SPE Latin America Petroleum Engineering Conference (LACPEC) was originally planned for March 2020 in Bogota, Colombia. As a co-author, I had been planning to travel to Bogota to present a paper. The event registration, plane ticket and hotel reservations were purchased and ready when the event was postponed to July due to COVID-19.

When it became obvious that worldwide travel would not be back to normal by that time, the event committee planned a fully virtual event, which I attended and found impressive. The conference’s opening ceremony was moderated by Dr. Tom Blasingame, 2021 SPE president from the Gulf Coast Section, and attendees were located all over the world. The technical program spanned from traditional petroleum engineering topics and sustainability, to COVID-19 global response and blockchain for oil and gas. It was a great example of how humans can achieve great things when facing adversity.

For your awareness, the 2020 SPE Annual Technical Conference and Exhibition planned for October 2020 was moved to Houston, TX, back in July; the final event format will be announced by the committee.

Here in the Gulf Coast Section, our volunteers have been creative in providing technical content and training to our members. This month, in collaboration with the Young Professionals EES Committee, I will highlight the second annual Energy Dot: Leadership Summit 2020, which will offer a series of weekly panel sessions throughout the month of September.

I will also highlight the Members in Transition Committee’s Upstream Oil and Gas Professionals Hiring Event and the Reservoir Study Group’s Reservoir Technology Symposium 2020 this month. I encourage you to look at the events calendar and register.  

Until next month,