First SPE Board Director for Academia Nominated

By Robin Beckwith 9 Apr 2014

The SPE Board of Directors approved the nomination of A. Daniel Hill, head of the Department of Petroleum Engineering at Texas A&M University, as its first SPE Director for Academia. The creation of this position brings the total number of Board members to 29. Hill joins the 10 other Board nominees for 2015 slated for ratification at the June SPE Board meeting.

New Position Addresses SPE Strategic Plan Priority

“Capability development—to support industry in dealing with the big crew change” is one of the four priorities identified in SPE’s 2013–2017 Strategic Plan. Fulfilling this priority has a three-pronged focus—on universities, on accelerated and lifelong professional competency development, and on lifelong professional competency assessment.

With universities also facing a “crew change,” SPE’s plan addresses the need to help foster efforts to recruit, develop, and retain faculty. Ways to help achieve this could be through creating opportunities for, identifying, and attracting qualified industry professionals—including those transitioning to retirement. The plan also addresses the need for helping accelerate technical and soft-skill competence of those new to the industry and for ongoing competency assessment tools that companies and individuals can use to measure how successfully specific skills have been acquired. The Board, which has been eager to ensure it has a member with the right expertise to appropriately address these aspects of the strategic plan, approved a recommendation to add the new Director of Academia position at its March meeting.

Hill holds the Noble Endowed Chair and is head of the Department of Petroleum Engineering at Texas A&M. Previously, he taught for 22 years at The University of Texas at Austin after spending 5 years in industry. Hill earned a BS degree from Texas A&M University and MS and PhD degrees from The University of Texas at Austin—all in chemical engineering. He is the author of the SPE monograph Production Logging: Theoretical and Interpretive Elements; coauthor of the textbook Petroleum Production Systems (1st and 2nd editions); coauthor of an SPE book,Multilateral Wells; and author of 5 patents and more than 170 technical papers.

The recipient of several academic awards and honors, Hill served during 1988–89 as an SPE Distinguished Lecturer, lecturing on “Production Logging in Deviated Wells.” He has served on numerous SPE committees and was founding chair of the Austin SPE Section. In 1999, Hill was named an SPE Distinguished Member, and in 2008 he received the SPE Production and Operations Award. In 2012, he was one of two winners of the inaugural SPE PhD Pipeline Award, which recognizes faculty who have a proven track record in, or unique methods of, encouraging petroleum engineering students to enter academia.

Hill currently serves on the SPE Editorial Review Committee, the SPE Global Training Committee, and the SPE Hydraulic Fracturing Technology Conference Program Committee. He is an expert in the areas of production engineering, well completions, well stimulation, production logging, and complex well performance (horizontal and multilateral wells), and he has presented lectures and courses and consulted on these topics around the world.

Robin Beckwith is the Senior Features Editor for the Journal of Petroleum Technology.