R&D Technical Section to hold dinner meeting at ATCE 2008

The Research & Development (R&D) Technical Section will hold a dinner meeting during ATCE 2008 in Denver’s Colorado Convention Center on Wednesday, 24 September. Section Chairperson J. Chris Buckingham of the Southwest Research Institute thinks the meeting will offer members a fresh perspective on the section’s progress over the past year and new opportunities for involvement.

“At the request of the attendees from last year’s meeting, the meeting this year will be like a regional section meeting with dinner, a little bit of business, and then a speaker,” Buckingham said. He will open the meeting, which takes place from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. in Rooms 301 and 302 on the Street Level, by reiterating the section’s objective: to expedite, facilitate, and provide a forum for discussion and cooperation on petroleum R&D.

In keeping with this goal, Buckingham and the other section directors will review the progress the section has made in the past year in terms of adding members and developing new means of facilitating R&D efforts from industry, government institutions, academia, and private research institutes.

The R&D Technical Section is made up of SPE members with an interest in research and technology initiatives tied to the upstream oil and gas industry. Membership has steadily grown in the two years that the section has been in existence, starting at 46 members in September 2006 and reaching over 270 members by May 2008. This growth can be partly attributed to the section’s website, which was developed to make people aware of the activities going on in the section, but also to facilitate communication among the various industry, government, and academic research groups involved in petroleum R&D.

The website discussion will highlight a series of articles posted to the site and written by subject matter experts on topics such as drilling challenges for the next trillion bbl of production, crude-oil emulsions, and opportunities in gas hydrates. “These articles are meant to spark discussion,” said Buckingham, “and get threaded discussions started that members can participate in. We currently have nine different topics in the discussion forum, but participation has been low. However, it appears that people have used this forum to answer questions.”

The section meeting will also include open discussion from members on current and future section activities. “We really want to hear what people think thus far about the section, as well as their suggestions for future initiatives,” Buckingham said. “We are still in the forming stage of this technical section and trying to find out what the members want it to be.”

The dinner speaker will be Vikram Rao, retired Chief Technology Officer of Halliburton, who will present a talk titled “Technology Challenges for the Petroleum Industry.” Rao’s discussion will frame the future technical challenges the upstream sector faces against a backdrop of increased demand, harder-to-find conventional oil and gas resources, and increased scrutiny with regards to the environment. He will also briefly highlight the likely role of alternative fuels in helping to fulfill demand.

Any SPE member or student member who is interested in learning more about the R&D Technical Section and volunteering is encouraged to attend Wednesday’s dinner meeting. Admission is free, but you must RSVP to Shasta Stephenson (sstephenson@spe.org) by Wednesday, 10 September if you wish to attend this limited-seating event.