The Society of Petroleum Engineers is occasionally asked to weigh in on issues related to oil and gas policy, regulation, and current events. SPE serves as an objective technical authority for the industry and encourages members to participate in community outreach and education programs that enhance public understanding of the energy industry, and explain technical and economic issues involved in oil and gas exploration and production.
SPE provides educational materials through the Energy4me program and PetroWiki that are available to the public, and occasionally provides advice to regulatory agencies, when requested, on technical matters. SPE invites speakers to address government policy issues at conferences, workshops and other meetings, and may discuss policy during SPE Forums and Summits. Technical issues that impact government policy may be addressed by SPE Technical reports.
To safeguard SPE’s mission and adhere to its nonprofit 501c3 status in the US, SPE may not support political candidates. It is legally acceptable for SPE to adopt a position and conduct advocacy to influence legislation or government policies. However, such action is generally outside of the scope of SPE’s mission, except in rare instances, and may only be conducted with approval of the SPE Board.
Additionally, SPE’s public education activities should always be limited to fulfilling SPE’s mission, specifically, “To collect, disseminate, and exchange technical knowledge concerning the exploration, development and production of oil and gas resources, and related technologies for the public benefit.”
This global policy applies to all locations and situations where SPE conducts business, including all SPE-sponsored activities and events, and covers all officers, directors, members and staff. This applies to SPE materials and resources including websites, printed material and presentations, including materials developed by Sections and Student Chapters.
SPE should be objective and impartial when it comes to political matters and government policy. Under this policy, there are activities that should not be conducted by SPE, either because they are prohibited by the regulations governing SPE’s nonprofit status or because they are outside of the scope of SPE’s mission.
- Promoting a position (either for or against) proposed legislation or regulations without authorization by the Board of Directors
- Directly or indirectly participating in, or intervening in, any political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for elective public office
- Contributions to political campaign funds or public statements of position (verbal or written) made on behalf of SPE in favor of or in opposition to any candidate for public office
Certain activities or expenditures may be allowed depending on the facts and circumstances.
- Public education activities (including presenting at public forums and publishing public education guides) within the scope of SPE’s mission and conducted in a non-partisan manner
- Promoting a position (either for or against) proposed legislation or regulations which has been approved by the Board of Directors
Although public education activities are allowed, they must not favor one candidate for public office over another, either explicitly or implicitly.