Director's Blog

November 2020

Dear colleagues,

Qasem ImageAs we approach the end of 2020, it seems appropriate to reflect on the extraordinary nature and impact this year’s events have had on the global economy. The COVID-19 pandemic has literally made us stop and rethink about many aspect of our day-to-day activities we used to take for granted. With only few exceptions, most sectors of our economy were badly impacted, with oil and gas sector being one of the worst.

We had to reschedule many programmes and change some to virtual events, and with your support we managed to maintain many of our programmes and made significant progress in digitising our processes.

SPE has various resources digitally available for its members. These include the event calendar, PetroWiki, OnePetro, Energy4Me, webinars, training courses, publications (like JPT, Data Science and Digital Engineering, and Drilling, to name a few) and many other useful resources. Please download the mobile App (SPE International) and visit website for more information.

The start of 2020 was a busy one with the largest edition of the International Petroleum Technology Conference (IPTC) to date held for the first time in Dhahran, KSA. Under the Patronage of HRH Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud, Crown Prince, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defense, KSA, IPTC attracted record numbers of attendees and participants for the first international oil and gas event to be held in the Kingdom.

The first SPE virtual event to be run from the Middle East was held in September: The Lebanon Offshore Oil and Gas Exploration and Development Symposium, under the patronage of HE the President of the Lebanese Republic, Michel Aoun. Participation was more than double the previous edition with participants from 101 companies and 36 countries.

SPE’s largest technical programme went virtual this month with ADIPEC 2020. More than 800 speakers presented papers during 115 technical sessions and 250 knowledge sharing e-posters.

Local Sections and Chapters also remained active by conducting numerous virtual events, and the Middle East and North Africa PetroBowl Regional Qualifiers were also successfully hosted virtually this year.

Next year will see MEOS in March, the SPE/IADC Middle East Drilling Technology Conference in May and the SPE International Hydraulic Fracturing Technology Conference in June. SPE’s international flagship event, SPE Annual Technical Conference and Exhibition (ATCE), will also return to the Middle East in September 2021.

Your support to submit papers, attend, and/or contribute in the organizing committees will ensure success of these important events.

SPE is a non-profit organisation and its mission is to collect, decimate, and exchange information relating to exploration, development, and production of oil and gas resources. We can only fulfil this mission through our dedicated members and staff. Difficult times like these have impacted our membership and SPE is trying its best to help professional members and students as much as possible. Despite this year’s challenges, the region is showing a fairly positive trend regarding membership. For those who didn’t renew, I kindly urge you to do so and please encourage your colleagues and friends who are not SPE members to enrol and enjoy various resources available.

I am also happy to share with you that this year so far, we have established five new student Chapters and one new local Section. This is a recognition of the importance of SPE’s role in developing knowledge and skills of our students and oil and gas professionals.

Even though COVID-19 cases are on the rise in USA and Europe, there are many signs that indicate that the worst is behind us. The best news is the recent announcement of availability of Pfizer Vaccine with 90% effectiveness, the world reacted positively on this news with oil prices showing upward trends. I feel more confident that next year we will see gradual transitioning to normal life. We have learned many useful lessons from this pandemic, the value of rapid transition to digital solution and more focus on clean, efficient, and affordable energy.

We thank you for your continuous interest and support to SPE mission and wish you a better and more positive outlook for next year. Stay safe and healthy.

Best Regards,

Qasem Al-Kayoumi
SPE Regional Director
Middle East and North Africa