In Memoriam: James Lee Rike

James Lee Rike, SPE, of Tickfaw, Louisiana, died on 3 August 2014. He was 87. An SPE member since 1949, Rike played a key role in the development of new completion concepts, directional perforators, sand control using plastics, coiled tubing rigs, concentric tubing workover/completion operations, and advanced offshore completion practices. He authored patents and papers on these developments, as well as on cementing, perforating, wireline operations, workover economics, and worldwide industry practices.

As chairman and chief operating officer of Rike Service, he consulted and delivered training sessions for major and independent producing companies, national oil companies, drilling contractors, workover contractors, service companies, universities, and professional organizations. He previously worked at Exxon for 22 years. As a result of detached retinas and cataracts, Rike was legally blind. A registered engineer in Louisiana and Texas, he held a BS degree in electrical engineering from Texas A&M University.

Rike received many honors, including the SPE International Production and Operations Award (1990), SPE Distinguished Membership (1991), the SPE Delta Section Service Award (2004), and SPE Honorary Membership (2007). An active member of the New Orleans-based SPE Delta Section, he was a voting officer of its board until the time of his death. For 18 years he served either as a member or as chairman of the SPE Well Completions Committee. During 1973–1974, Rike served as an SPE Distinguished Lecturer (DL), speaking on the topic “How Well Do We Know What’s Happening in the Well or How Dumb Can We Get (About Completions and Workovers)?”

A wide mix of managers, engineers, researchers, young engineers, and field supervisors from all over the world gained insight and understanding through Rike’s ability to tie many ideas together—clearly and logically—and approach subjects from a practical, straightforward viewpoint.

“Jim happened to be one of those excellent industry instructors who provided me with inspiration to think outside the box—but ensure the approach is technically sound,” said Dennis Hahn, SPE, manager–completions and well performance at Talisman Energy and a region member of SPE’s DL Committee.

“I looked up to Jim and admired his industry commitment,” added Rick Stanley, SPE, region technical manager at Baker Hughes and chair of SPE’s DL Committee. “I told myself that giving back to the industry through involvement in associations like SPE was what I wanted to do.”


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