Category Archives: Director’s Notes

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Director’s Note: Management & Information

Dear Members,

It is my plan to keep you posted on all current developments and initiatives regarding M&I within SPE, but this time, I would like to comment on Management & Information and its associated disciplines.

First, a clarification for those not versed on the composition of the SPE Board of Directors. The SPE board has 6 technical directors, an Academia director, 2 at-large directors, and 18 regional directors representing global geographical regions with SPE local sections. The 6 technical directors lead the 6 main technical discipline areas in which SPE is involved, namely: (1) Drilling and Completions, (2) Production and Operations, (3) Health, Safety, Security, Environment and Social Responsibility, (4) Projects, Facilities and Construction, (5) Reservoir Description and Dynamics, and (6) Management and Information (M&I).

I am sure that most of our members do not have any doubts regarding the disciplines represented in five of the six areas above mentioned. No doubts about the meaning of Drilling & Completion or Production & Operations for example. However, regarding M&I, I was surprised to notice, since my nomination last year, how little our members know about it.

Since last year, when I was elected to the board, several times in informal conversation with members, colleagues from industry and even SPE staff, I was asked about the meaning of M&I. Also, I had several colleagues that assumed that M&I was an area of SPE dealing with Information Technology (IT) only.

Far from that—SPE M&I covers a range of subjects that are fundamental to our daily professional life, independently of one’s technical background in the oil industry. From Risk Management and Decision Making to Strategic Planning, from Asset and Portfolio Management to Energy Economics, from Information Management to Research & Development, M&I covers a variety of disciplines that are important and present in all areas of our industry. One area that I am particularly fond of is Professionalism, Training and Education. This important topic looks into aspects of Ethics, Personnel Competence, Professional Registration / Certification and University Curricula.

So, as you can see, our M&I technical area covers a variety of subjects that permeates through the entire industry and is relevant to most professionals. When you join SPE or when you update your profile in the SPE membership area you are required to choose a Primary Discipline. As an option, you may also choose a Secondary Discipline. I always tell my colleagues that if M&I is not your primary discipline, at least it should be your secondary since it covers an array of topics that are important to all others disciplines.

Our peer reviewed journal, SPE Economics & Management covers resource and reserve evaluation, portfolio / asset management, project valuation, uncertainty / risk assessment, benchmarking and performance indicators, information management, digital energy and petroleum economics. Active Technical Sections that cover subjects of M&I interest are Digital Energy, Petroleum Data-Driven Analytics (PD2A), and Research & Development.

Now that you have a good idea about M&I, I invite you to get more involved. Join our M&I technical discussion at SPE Connect. Join or get more involved with our technical sections. Submit a paper to our journal. Your participation is important and always welcomed.

I will “talk” to you again next month. Meanwhile feel free to write me anytime at jc-cunha@spemail.org.

JC Cunha
SPE Director for Management and Information

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Welcome New Technical Director: Health, Safety, Security, Environment & Social Responsibility

Trey Shaffer is a Senior Partner for Environmental Resources Management (ERM), based in Houston, Texas. He plays a leadership role in helping ERM’s multinational clients solve a broad range of sustainability, environmental, and safety challenges.  Before joining ERM in 2003, he was a director for Boots & Coots International Well Control, where he led the Downstream Services Division. Shaffer has held senior positions in both operations and commercial development. He supports clients with a variety of challenges, including sustainability, strategy, management systems, impact assessment, and permitting for upstream capital projects, as well as broad environmental, safety, and regulatory compliance throughout the world.

In 2010, Shaffer received the SPE North America Region Award for Distinguished Contribution to Petroleum Engineering in the Area of Health, Safety, Security, Environment, and Social Responsibility. He joined the SPE Gulf Coast Section board of directors in 2013 and also serves as the Gulf Coast Section HSSE-SR Study Group Chair. In addition, Shaffer serves on the board of directors of Volunteer Houston. He earned a Bachelor of Environmental Design degree from Texas A&M University.

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Director’s Note: Lessons Learned from Bhopal

DIRECTOR’S NOTE:  In the early morning hours of 3 December 1984, a large amount of toxic methyl isocyanate (MIC) gas was released from a Union Carbide India Limited (UCIL) pesticide plant, which swept over a large, densely populated area south of the plant.  Thousands of people were killed including some at the railway station 2 km away. 

I was an employee of Union Carbide Corp. (UCC), the US parent company of UCIL at the time of the accident.  There is a great deal that we will never know about the accident.  It is difficult to investigate a catastrophe of this magnitude.  Most investigations focused on the technical story.  We know that, although significant safeguards were designed into the plant to prevent an MIC release, or at least to minimize its impact, all of the safeguards were bypassed, out-of-service, or otherwise rendered ineffective. 

But there is a social story that is just as important.  Four social drivers form the backdrop to the tragedy:  (1) the appeal of socialism in India, (2) an extreme anti-expatriate legal system, (3) general national poverty with abject localized poverty near the plant, and (4) the lack of a safety culture.  All of these made it difficult to operate a plant of this sort in India at that time.

Financial factors were important as well; the plant was not making money.  UCIL had decided to permanently shut it down, thereby significantly affecting operator morale and exacerbating maintenance deficiencies.  The plant was in its last production run at the time of the accident, working off the last batch of MIC.

Much has changed in the process industries as a result of Bhopal including many things that we take for granted, such as hazard and operability analysis, management of change, permit to work, and dispersion modeling.  There is an important lesson that we have not learned – effective use of SOPs.  The oil and gas industry needs to catch up with the airline and space exploration industries to instill an effective safety culture and to make following SOPs an absolute priority. 

I am frequently struck by how little people know about this accident.   I think it is important to not only remember those killed and injured in the accident but also to resolve that nothing like it will ever happen again. 

Curry-sm

Welcome to New Technical Director: Drilling and Completions

Welcome to the SPE’s Drilling and Completions discipline page.  This is intended to be a portal to all SPE activities and events of interest to the drilling and completions community.

Technology transfer is at the core of SPE activities.  The SPE Drilling and Completion journal, now published online, provides access to quality assured technology through peer-reviewed technical papers.  The SPE publishes a wide range of drilling and completion related textbooks, monographs, primers, and reprints.  Each year there are many regional and global conferences, forums and workshops covering topics of relevance to drilling and completions.  Three technical sections—Drilling Systems Automation, Wellbore Integrity and Wellbore Positioning—exist to support members’ interests in those specific aspects of oilfield technology.  SPE Connect, its professional networks and drilling and completion online communities together allow SPE members to meet and to collaborate on technical matters and challenges.

Two recent innovations expanding the range of technology transfer activities are the webinar series and Petrowiki.  The webinars are a great way to hear industry experts talking about topics of current importance.  I’m proud that drilling and completions was the first discipline to be represented in Petrowiki.  Please use and contribute it to help it become the best possible resource for all drilling and completion related information and knowledge.

It’s my honour and privilege to serve as Technical Director for Drilling and Completions.  I believe it’s important that the SPE should provide the support practising drilling and completions professionals need to drill and to complete every well safely, efficiently, and with minimized environmental impact.  Through my career in the development and application of drilling technology I’ve benefitted greatly from many of things the SPE does for its members.  I’ve become increasingly aware of how much of that depends on its members volunteering their time and talents.  I encourage you to visit the Get Involved pages of SPE.org to learn more about how you can help your fellow members by contributing to SPE activities.

I’ve outlined here some of the SPE’s various drilling and completions related activities.  With the Drilling and Completions Advisory Committee, I’ll be working to expand these and to make them more relevant to today’s challenges.  Please don’t hesitate to contact me if you think there are additional activities SPE could be pursuing which would be of value to you in your professional life.

David Curry
Baker Hughes

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Welcome to New Technical Director: Projects, Facilities, and Construction

Howard DuhonI am very honored to serve as your new Projects, Facilities, and Construction (PF&C) Technical Director. There has never been a more exciting time to be a facilities engineer. Our projects are technically and socially complex and this complexity makes them the most interesting projects on the planet.

When I first joined SPE about 15 years ago, SPE was mainly focused on the reservoir, but that has changed dramatically. Thanks to the efforts of directors who proceeded me in this role (Ken Arnold, Paul Jones, and John Walsh) and those of many other volunteers, SPE now offers a host of services to the men and women who design, construct, and operate facilities.

I have spent the past 23 years in the oil industry (with 15 years in chemical plants before that). Much of my experience is in topsides process design. In recent years I’ve worked mainly in commissioning and initial startup planning. It will be my mission as the PF&C Director to use that background to guide SPE in the development of more services to facilities engineers. I will highlight some of those initiatives in future notes here. But for now, just a few words about what SPE already does for the PF&C community:

  1. Oil and Gas Facilities Magazine. This bi-monthly periodical, started two years ago, includes peer-reviewed articles, feature articles on a variety of topics, regular columns on water management and engineering culture. Expect much more in the way of how-to articles beginning early to mid-2014.
  2. Three Technical Sections on Separations Technology, Water Management, and Flow assurance (effective Jan 2014).
  3. A variety of workshops on topics such as Final Commissioning and Initial Startup, Water Management, Chemical Systems, and Flow Assurance.
  4. SPE recently rolled out Petrowiki. It contains the entire seven-volume Petroleum Engineering Handbook series including Volume III: Facilities and Construction Engineering.
  5. Social media tools to connect with other professions including the SPE LinkedIn site and SPE Connect.

We have come a long way and there is still a long way to travel.

  • Our projects are complex and we sometimes fail (on cost, schedule, and performance). We must do better.
  • I don’t think that we are training the next generation as well as my generation was trained. We must do better.
  • We have made great strides in personnel safety; perhaps less so in process safety. We must do better.
  • The local communities in which we install facilities frequently resist these developments. We must do a better job of engaging with local communities.

I look forward to serving as PF&C Director for the next three years and look forward to hearing your ideas on how SPE can better serve our community.

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Technical Director’s Notes: Productions and Operations

Shauna Noonan

Welcome to Production and Operations (P&O).  I am honored to serve as your SPE 2013–2015 Technical Director for the P&O discipline.  I have spent 20 years of my career doing all aspects of production engineering around the globe and as Technical Director have the responsibility for ensuring that P&O has quality coverage across SPE meetings, publications, and member services programs.  I am also looking for new events, programs, and training that will meet the needs of SPE members with interest in the P&O topics. To see the latest discussions and to converse with other  P&O peers, check out SPE Connect and join the Production Technical Community.

Below are the four primary topics covered under the P&O technical discipline within SPE, with exception to that used for the SPE P&O International award*. Please note that most of the surface (or seafloor) equipment and facilities used for production is now covered under the Projects, Facilities, and Construction technical discipline.

Enhanced Operations—Artificial Lift
This includes:

  • beam and related pumping techniques
  • electric submersible pumps
  • hydraulic and jet pumps
  • plunger lift
  • gas lift
  • progressing cavity pumps
  • hybrid lift technologies
  • gas well deliquification methods

Well Operations, Optimization, and Stimulation
This includes:

  • well candidate recognition
  • downhole intervention and remediation including wireline and coiled tubing
  • hydraulic fracturing (design, implementation and optimization)
  • acidizing
  • downhole produced sand/solids management and control
  • downhole produced water management and control
  • downhole fluids separation and disposal
  • well performance modeling and tubular optimization
  • well lifecycle management and planning

Well/Reservoir Surveillance and Monitoring
This includes:

  • production logging
  • borehole imaging and wellbore seismic
  • downhole and wellsite flow metering
  • downhole monitoring and control
  • production data management
  • integrated modeling

Production Chemistry and Metallurgy
This includes:

  • downhole inhibition and remediation of hydrates, scale, paraffin/wax and asphaltene
  • well fluid analysis
  • downhole corrosion inhibition and management (including H2S and CO2)
  • downhole chemical treatments and fluid compatibility

*The SPE International Production and Operations Award does not include the topics of hydraulic fracturing, acidizing, and downhole sand control. These are covered under the SPE International Completions Optimization and Technology Award, which was first awarded in 2009.

Shauna Noonan
Completion Technology Manager, Global Wells; ConocoPhillips

 

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RDD Director’s Blog—Speaking About Unconventional Reserves

The January issue of JPT integrates the Technical Directors outlook, where I referred to issues related to the production analysis and reserves booking of unconventional plays. I have already received quite a few feedbacks, most of them (not all of them!) positive, and I would like to develop a little bit more on this issue.

Read the Technical Directors outlook in January 2013 issue of JPT here »

Read the full, extended article here »

Welcome to New Technical Director: Reservoir Descriptions and Dynamics

Olivier Houze

Olivier Houzé is the managing director of KAPPA Engineering. He joined Flopetrol-Johnston in 1983, and served as a well test field engineer in the Middle East and a software project leader in France. He cofounded KAPPA in 1987 and has been its managing director since 1991.

Houzé has been involved in numerous SPE forums and workshops on well test interpretation and related topics. He was a coauthor of the last SPE Monograph on Pressure Transient Testing (2009). He also serves as an SPE Distinguished Lecturer for 2012–13. Houzé earned an engineer degree from École Polytechnique in France and an MS in petroleum engineering from Stanford University.

 

Welcome to New Technical Director: Productions and Operations

Shauna Noonan

I am excited and honored to be serving as SPE’s Technical Director for Production and Operations (P&O). My entire 20-year career has covered all aspects of P&O, ranging from supervising fracturing treatments in Northern Canada to completing failure analysis investigations on electric submersible pumping systems in South America. Call me biased, but I cannot imagine a better discipline to specialize in than P&O because it covers a wide range of exciting topics such as production logging, well interventions, artificial lift, wellbore multiphase flow behavior and stimulation.

In order to get some better clarity on what topics are actually covered within the P&O Discipline and our ability to address technical issues more effectively, we are implementing a new structure that introduces four new sub-disciplines: 1) Enhanced Productivity; 2) Enhanced Operation; 3) Asset Surveillance and Optimization; and 4) Production Chemistry and Metallurgy. Currently, my Advisory Committee is working on defining the topics that will reside under each of the new sub-disciplines and this will be published on the P&O discipline page in January 2013.  The goal is to disseminate this information across SPE, ranging from publications to conferences, to ensure global conformity. The P&O Technical Section is also going through some significant changes, so stay tuned for announcements regarding these in early 2013 as well.

Shauna Noonan
Wells Supervisor, Completions and Production Technology Group
ConocoPhillips, Houston

 

RDD Director’s Blog – September 2012

With high oil prices, the field application of EOR has been on the rise.  Please join me at ATCE in San Antonio where I will be moderating a special session titled “EOR – Out of the Lab and Into the Field.”

This session will cover some innovative applications of EOR; innovative in not just what was applied, but also how and where.

View more information on the ATCE schedule of events and find out what is really needed to deploy EOR in the field.

Special Session
EOR—Out of the Lab and into the Field
Tuesday, 9 October | 0830–1155