For the past 17-plus years, it has been my privilege to serve as your JPT Technology Editor. After growing up in the oil patch as the son of a sales engineer for a major service company, I have spent all but a couple of years of my adult life as an oily.
When I came aboard JPT, there was this idea of publishing condensed versions of SPE technical papers rather than the traditional full-length, peer-reviewed papers. The plan was to get more important technical information in front of more SPE members more quickly. That was a new type of job for me. I had spent 20 years as a petroleum engineer in reservoir and production engineering with Mesa Petroleum and Maxus Exploration (actually nearly 30 if you count my time as a well tester for Diamond Shamrock—thank you, Bud Reitman, for encouraging me to go back to school to get my PE degree).
The first full year of publishing these synopses (1997), we covered 22 separate topics (coiled tubing, cementing, production operations, etc.) This year, JPT will publish synopses under 46 topics. With the help of Karen Bybee, who retired 2 years ago, and now Adam Wilson, almost 2,500 papers have been presented to you in the pages of JPT. As an SPE member before I began working at JPT, I remember how difficult it was to find and read papers of interest—most of all, there was the lack of time to read full-length papers trying to find information that I could use in my job.
Now, these shortened papers present enough material for busy engineers to determine if the technologies and case studies described are of value. I especially hope that engineers read papers from disciplines other than their primary ones. I am not an educator (I tried it) but my goal at JPT always has been to spread knowledge among SPE members. And it was always my hope that these synopses would pique the interest of readers, allowing them to see the range of possibilities a technology presents and imagine new applications to challenges they were facing.
When taking junior- and senior-level courses in college, we used SPE papers as much as, if not more than, textbooks to learn engineering technology and applications. Since going to work for you here at SPE, I have learned that you can use SPE papers to expand your knowledge exponentially. A great advantage of SPE is access to the breadth of technology available in the papers, from the simplest applications to the most highly technical. Almost every engineering discipline is represented here. Besides petroleum technology, information in the construction, marine, civil, structural, safety, mechanical, electrical, and other sectors is represented.
The rewards that I have received from SPE are many. I have had the privilege of meeting and working with the smartest and greatest people in the oil and gas industry. Working directly with the JPT Special Series Committee and the JPT Editorial Committee, I got to meet professionals who had written papers that had helped me in my engineering days. I have enjoyed working with scientists, educators, company CEOs, and many others who took the time to share their knowledge with fellow engineers. I became friends with some and have shared stories with many.
SPE is an association full of wonderful people who are willing to share and help each other. If you are not active in a local SPE section, you should be; there is no better place to meet people who will help you at a moment’s notice. My biggest reward has been the opportunity to help SPE members share their knowledge with you so that you can be better engineers and make the world a better place to live.
Many of you have seen the work of Adam Wilson and Chris Carpenter in JPT and SPE’s technical journals over the years, and I am pleased that my former job will be in their capable hands.
I leave you with an old Scottish blessing:
May there always be work for your hands to do.
May your purse always hold a coin or two.
May the sun always shine on your window pane.
May a rainbow be certain to follow each rain.
May the hand of a friend always be near you.
May God fill your heart with gladness to cheer you.
And in the words of Roy Rogers and Dale Evans: “Happy trails to you, till we meet again.”