Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center
San Antonio, Texas, USA
On 9–11 October, the Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE) hosted global exploration and production professionals for the 2017 Annual Technical Conference and Exhibition (ATCE) at the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center in San Antonio, Texas, USA. During the 93rd annual event, 2018 SPE President Darcy Spady received the presidential gavel and officially commenced his presidency of the not-for-profit professional association.
SPE’s premier technical conference, ATCE presented best practices and emerging technologies to attending engineers, scientists, academia, managers and executives. The conference’s international exhibiting companies featured a broad range of technological innovations, new products and valuable industry services.
ATCE 2017 featured nearly 400 technical papers in 46 technical sessions, plus panels and ePoster sessions.
“It was wonderful seeing SPE members from around the world this week, particularly our Gulf Coast members following the recent devastation of Hurricane Harvey,” said 2017 SPE President Janeen Judah. “From our session focused on learnings following the recent natural disaster to sessions on digital energy, ATCE once again delivered subject matter important to our members, industry professionals, the public, and the environment.”
Five panelists discussed “Sustainable Oil and Gas: Improving People's Lives” in front of a packed ballroom at the Opening General Session. The panel was moderated by Eithne Treanor, ETreanor Media, and comprised Lorenzo Simonelli, chairman and CEO of Baker Hughes, a GE company; David Hager, president and CEO of Devon Energy; Khaled Al-Buraik, vice president for Saudi Aramco; Deborah Wince-Smith, president and CEO of the Council on Competitiveness; and Franklin Orr from Stanford University.
Tackling the challenges of sustainability, Hager said, requires creativity. “Creativity is at the heart of everything we do,” he said. He added later, “To do things tomorrow the way we do things currently is not going to provide the sustainability we need.”
Simonelli built on the idea of creativity by including the concept of disruption. “I think, as an industry, we’ve got to embrace disruption,” he said, adding, “How do we embrace that disruption and change much faster?”
Overall, more than 8,300 professionals from 60 countries attended this year’s event. Sessions focused on subjects such as creating databases of multiple data streams for analyzing how to improve performance and how R&D may be the key to companies’ survival. Speakers, including representatives from operating companies, governmental agencies and global leaders addressed commercializing digital controls and automation.
Also on Monday, Vicki Hollub, president and CEO of Occidental Petroleum Corporation, spoke at the Chairperson’s Luncheon. She cited three technologies that, although not new, have played a significant role in upstream development. Seismic imaging, horizontal drilling, and hydraulic fracturing all have succeeded in revolutionizing upstream practices. “The point is, you don’t to have to go too far for new ideas,” she said. “We are seeing the benefits of all three of these technologies at Occidental, most recently in our Permian Basin position.”
SPE’s Annual Reception and Banquet recognized individuals for their significant contributions to the oil and gas industry and SPE, while the President’s Luncheon offered the “State of the Society” address from Judah, who also passed the presidential gavel to Spady during the event. An active SPE member since graduating from university, Spady most recently served on the SPE International Board as regional director for Canada and is the first Canadian elected as SPE president.
“While we’re confronted with a constantly changing industry landscape, SPE continues to fulfill its mission of collecting, disseminating, and exchanging technical knowledge as exhibited by ATCE 2017. It delivered one of the most innovative, forwarding thinking conferences in its nearly century long history,” said Spady.
“Though innovation and technology remain a core focus of this organization, the environment and community are also an essential part of our DNA for SPE members young and old -- it is not a simple matter of choosing economy or environment, instead we choose both. As SPE’s new president, one of my main objectives will be to continue pushing these dialogues and actions across our society for the betterment of our industry and world.”
The Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE) is a not-for-profit organization. Income from this event will be invested back into SPE to support many other Society programs. When you attend an SPE event, you help provide even more opportunities for industry professionals to enhance their technical and professional competence. Scholarships, certification, the Distinguished Lecturer program, and SPE's energy education program Energy4me are just a few examples of programs that are supported by SPE.
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