SPE Journal publishes the results of fundamental research, R&D,
and novel solutions that span all technical disciplines in the upstream oil and
gas industry. Hence, the papers appearing in SPE Journal reflect
emerging technology trends and engineering science. While reservoir simulation
and its associated topics of upscaling and history matching are consistently
reflected in SPE Journal manuscripts, an interesting perturbation is
underway in the topics of manuscripts received for review.
This issue presents a number of papers with focus in the areas of
geomechanics as well as naturally and hydraulically fractured systems.
Reflecting, perhaps, the evolution of the resource base toward tight reservoir
systems that are more difficult to engineer, predict, and produce. Note the
manuscripts appearing on the topics of coupled simulation of fluid flow and
geomechanics, the producibility of horizontal wells that penetrate multiple
fractures carrying high velocity gas, interactions between hydraulic fracture
proppant and formation, the relative permeability of propped fractures, and the
role of strain on the permeability of coalbed methane. These themes will
continue in future issues.
Another perturbation is an uptick in submissions within the area of enhanced
recovery of oil or gas. Nearly one half of the articles here have some basis in
enhanced recovery. This emphasis, perhaps, indicates efforts to produce the
remaining known and well-characterized resource base. Investigations span from
the pore to the reservoir scale including pore-scale simulation of
water-alternating gas (WAG) floods to the composition routes followed during
miscible injection to fighting gravity segregation during WAG. Among other
manuscripts, we have one on modifying in-situ combustion performance using
metallic salt additives. Although rarely acknowledged, air is the ultimate
injectant for enhanced recovery as it is readily available anywhere on the
planet at low cost. Clearly, more papers on enhanced recovery will be featured
in upcoming issues as well.
In addition to the breadth of topics, another barometer for the health of
SPE Journal is the pipeline of manuscripts submitted for consideration. As many
of you know, the submission of manuscripts to be considered for peer review was
decoupled last year from the papers written for the proceedings of SPE
technical meetings. A second submission is needed to enter manuscripts into the
peer review system. This was intended as a bit of a reality check for authors
to consider whether their work might meet the rigors of peer review.
We had some concerns that the number of submissions to SPE Journal
might decline as a result of the decoupling. Fortunately, there has been no
precipitous drop in the number of articles moving onto peer review. Roughly 220
papers moved through peer review in both 2008 and 2009. During January we
received 21 papers for review. Although it is early in the year, we are on
track for another 200 plus manuscript year. The success rate for submissions
varies from year to year, but typically 30 to 40% of submissions are ultimately
Finally, we welcome Henri Bertin from the Laboratoire TREFLE at the
University of Bordeaux and Mohammad Piri from the Department of Chemical and
Petroleum Engineering at the University of Wyoming who join SPE Journal
as associate editors.