LaTeX is a system for typesetting documents that has been widely available
since 1985. It is based on the TeX text-processing language created by D.E.
Knuth. LaTeX has been extremely popular in parts of the scientific and
academic community, with many journals setting their papers directly from
files generated by authors. For instance, the Society of Exploration
Geophysicists has a LaTeX package for paper submissions that can be downloaded
from their web site. The SEG macros (called SEGTeX) are based on the REVTeX
package, developed by the American Physical Society (APS) in conjunction with
other societies. Many university departments use LaTeX for the production of
postgraduate theses, including petroleum engineering departments.
Implementations of LaTeX have been built for practically every type of
computer and operating system, and there are copious resources freely
available over the World Wide Web. One of the attractions of LaTeX is that the
typesetting of mathematical equations gives a particularly attractive result,
even though writing instructions may seem cryptic at first. Here is a short
example of an equation containing a fraction, Greek letters, and a subscript:
LaTeX also has a tool called BibTeX for managing bibliographies. It is not
uncommon for researchers to share and build bibliographic databases, in turn
reducing the work and risk of introducing errors in compiling reference lists.
One of the great advantages of BibTeX is that it becomes trivial to reformat
references from one journal’s style to another.
Until now, LaTeX has been problematic for SPE, in large part due to LaTeX not
being embraced fully across the spectrum of engineers that make up the
society. Hence, the authors’ template is currently supplied in Microsoft Word.
LaTeX has been a particular issue for the SPE Journal in relation to the other
SPE periodicals because the charter to publish fundamental work strongly
overlaps with the interest of the academic community where LaTeX is used. This
is most apparent in manuscripts that contain an appreciable number of
I am pleased to write, however, with changes to the way the journal is
produced, that it has will soon become technically possible to produce papers
directly from LaTeX. If all goes well, the December 2005 issue should contain
a paper formatted in this manner. Just as the SPE journals rely on volunteer
work from the reviewers and editorial board (listed in the front matter of
this journal), the creation of LaTeX template for the SPE Journal has been a
voluntary contribution. For this I express my gratitude to Dr. Christoph Arns
at the Australian Natl. U.
At the present time the files are only available through Dr. Christoph Arns at
<email@example.com> or myself at <firstname.lastname@example.org> as the
files are still undergoing bug fixes and improvements, but at some stage in
the future we anticipate an official release. If you use the files at this
time, some tweaking by hand is still required, and it is necessary to liaise
Chris Carpenter in the SPE editorial office to make sure the final product
meets SPE’s style requirements. There will still be the chance that for now, a
fair amount of revisions will be necessary to meet these standards. But I am
sure that some authors will view this as a positive development that will make
SPE Journal even more attractive as a top-quality destination for fundamental
contributions to petroleum engineering.
On other matters, for this issue I warmly welcome Padmakar Ayyalasomayajula to
the editorial board. This issue contains another broad spread of topics within
petroleum engineering, with peer-reviewed papers on gravel packs, clean up of
water blocks, barite scale, applications for citric acid, chemical
stimulation, well placement, higher-order upwind schemes, history matching,
and two papers on underground storage of carbon dioxide. I hope you can find
at least one of these papers in your area of interest.