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President’s Column

Funding SPE Programs and Services

pic of SPE presidentIn the next two months, I am going to deviate from the theme of my previous columns on innovation. As indicated above, this month I will share with you how SPE funds its programs and services and next month I will write about the work on strategy that your board has been working on.

I am happy to report that our membership continues to grow. Total SPE membership (professional and student) exceeded 110,000 at the end of 2012. These members continually look to SPE for good programs and services, and our mission to disseminate technical information to all of them and to do so quickly, affordably, and in new ways, is increasingly challenged. SPE accomplishes this primarily through meetings, lectures, training courses, and publications. So, how does SPE fund all of these things?

All of SPE’s major business segments (meetings, publications, membership, retail sales, SPE.org) contribute to the overall success of SPE, but as Fig. 1 illustrates, meetings are SPE’s largest source of revenue. Although SPE now conducts around 140 events worldwide each year, most of the revenues from meetings come from the financial success of a small number of conferences with large exhibitions, like the Offshore Technology Conference and Offshore Europe. Most other events are budgeted to break even or generate a small surplus.

Your board recently considered and approved SPE’s budget for Fiscal Year 2014 (1 April 2013 through 31 March 2014). It has total operating revenues of USD 92.4 million and expenses of USD 84.4 million, resulting in a net income of USD 8 million. Here is the important thing to remember when you are considering these numbers. Unlike commercial organizations, our income goes back into benefits for our members. This helps us keep dues, meetings registrations, and publications prices reasonable, and helps us support programs that produce little or no revenue on their own, like scholarships, the very popular Distinguished Lecturer visits, and our peer-reviewed journals.

Here are a few highlights from our Fiscal Year 2014 budget:

  • Member registration fees for workshops have been reduced in several areas of the world including a reduction of USD 250 in the Middle East and USD 100 in Canada.
  • Member registration for the next Annual Technical Conference and Exhibition, 30 September through 2 October in New Orleans, has been reduced by USD 150.
  • Oil and Gas Facilities magazine will now be a member benefit for those who select Projects, Facilities, and Construction as their primary or secondary discipline.
  • 12 new Distinguished Lecturer webinars will be produced, free to members.
  • The full Petroleum Engineering Handbook will be available in PetroWiki.
  • OnePetro has been improved with increased functionality and more content.
  • 177 training courses will be conducted in FY14, a 35% increase over FY13.

SPE’s programs also provide for the future by contributing to our Reserve Fund. In addition to ensuring we will be able to keep SPE viable for many years, up to 4% of the Reserve Fund is available annually to support special initiatives. In Fiscal Year 2014, Member Advantage initiatives will grow to USD 1.7 million. The programs include the following:

  • Energy education
  • Regional scholarships
  • Support for petroleum engineering faculty travel to SPE events
  • Establishment of a petroleum-technology history archive
  • Grants to provide OnePetro subscriptions to universities that can’t afford them
  • Technical Director web events

As we continue to face the growing challenges of serving our members in the most relevant ways, we have to expand our activities, maintain or improve the integrity and quality of our products and services, and add new ones. Every time you pay your dues, attend an SPE meeting, or buy an SPE publication, you are helping us do that and your board is continuously seeking ways to contain costs and serve you better.