In Memoriam: Arlie Skov

Arlie Skov, 1991 SPE president, died 23 December 2015. He was 87.

Skov’s presidential year was marked by the international expansion of SPE during that decade and witnessed the launch of several new initiatives. During his term as president, the first SPE section in China was started in Beijing and the first section in Russia was started the following year. In 1991, SPE became a cosponsor of the International Meeting on Petroleum Engineering, which was held in Beijing in March 1992. SPE also opened its London office in 1991. The first edition of the SPE Health, Safety, Security, Environment, and Social Responsibility biennial conference was held in 1991 in The Hague, The Netherlands.

Skov emphasized SPE’s role in energy education and the importance of sharing technical knowledge with governments to aid them in making informed energy policy decisions. As president, he visited numerous SPE sections. In the October 2007 issue of JPT, he recalled going to countries in the Middle East, Africa, China, Australia, and South America. “I visited a total of 33 sections outside the US as well as 22 within it, and I was perhaps the first SPE president to visit that high a proportion of non-US sections. … I am delighted that SPE continues its international growth.”

Before becoming president, Skov chaired the SPE ­Annual Meeting Technical Program Committee in 1967 and 1971, and was the chairman of both the Reprint Series and Lucas Gold Medal committees. Skov held offices on the boards of SPE and the American Institute of Mining, Metallurgical, and Petroleum Engineers (AIME) and was the vice president of AIME. He was a Distinguished Member of SPE, and in 1998 was named Honorary Member by both SPE and AIME, the highest honor these organizations bestow. He was also a recipient of the SPE Distinguished Service Award.

After his graduation from the University of Oklahoma in petroleum engineering, Skov began his 36-year career with Sohio Petroleum Company in Oklahoma City, and later worked for subsidiaries of BP. A main part of his career was focused on the development of the North Slope of Alaska and the Prudhoe Bay oil and gas fields. He was manager of production planning for the development of Prudhoe Bay, technical adviser to the Alaska Natural Gas Transportation System for the proposed Alaska Natural Gas Pipeline, and in 1981, became the manager of new technology development responsible for developing cost-effective drilling, production, and transportation capabilities in arctic pack ice and other environmentally hostile areas of operation. He then became director of production technology for BP’s research and development and technical services in the US. For his work on improved oil recovery, Skov was named an “Enhanced Oil Recovery Pioneer” at the SPE/US Department of Energy Enhanced Oil Recovery Symposium in Tulsa in 1992.

After retirement from BP in 1992, Skov formed Arlie M. Skov Petroleum Consulting, which remained active through December 2000. He was a registered professional engineer in Oklahoma and Texas and lived in Santa Barbara where he and his wife moved in 1995.


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