As chairman of the Editorial Board for this new Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE) publication, it gives me great pleasure to welcome you to the readership of the landmark Oil and Gas Facilities magazine. I have been active in the offshore facilities sector of the oil and gas industry for the past 40 years. However, I had no idea on graduating in 1968 that in 2012, I would still be finding the pull of the technology and the camaraderie too strong to resist.
Equally, I had no idea that by 2012, university graduates would in general be finding it so tough to find a rewarding job. How fortunate then are those who opted for an engineering degree in one of its many flavors, as society increasingly comes to terms with its insatiable appetite for the fruits of technology.
One of the key attractions holding me from succumbing to the great crew change has been the nature of the growing technical challenges facing the upstream industry. Specifically, it is the conundrum of how to break out of our traditional siloed discipline culture to embrace a holistic, integrated view across a wider range of disciplines.
One of the strongest dividing lines among disciplines in the upstream business is between subsurface and surface interest areas. Traditionally SPE has been the natural home for the subsurface community; however, it has recognized the need for broader integration.
There has been a dramatic increase in complexity and technical challenge facing both the surface and subsurface disciplines. Some years ago, it was large and deepwater offshore projects, often with subsea tiebacks, that provided the justification for establishing the Projects, Facilities, and Construction (PFC) technical discipline within SPE.
Today, new developments continue to increase the demands—intense improved oil recovery/enhanced oil recovery activity, ultradeepwater, subsea processing, unconventional gas (fracturing), stranded gas (gas to liquids, floating liquefied natural gas), sour hydrocarbons, remote locations, harsh environments, and water handling issues. With guidance from industry leaders, SPE is responding to this clear need for greater integration and sharing of technical information and knowledge across all artificial discipline divides.
SPE’s PFC Advisory Committee has worked hard in recent years to establish many excellent programs embracing the facilities sector—workshops, Distinguished Lecturers, conference sessions, study groups, and so on. However, many in this community still have not viewed SPE as their professional home. This magazine is intended to help encourage the breakdown of perceived barriers and foster a greater mutual understanding among all upstream professionals.
The idea for this magazine was conceived last May during a PFC Advisory Committee meeting. Oil and Gas Facilities will focus on the projects, systems, and technologies of facilities engineering. Featured articles will give timely reports on PFC-related news, technical advances, and people. Oil and Gas Facilities will replace the peer-reviewed journal SPE Production, Facilities, & Construction, with each issue highlighting peer-reviewed technical papers in a special section.
I am delighted to be serving alongside some of the most distinguished professionals in our discipline on the Oil and Gas Facilities Editorial Board: John Walsh, Chemical Process Engineer, Shell Exploration and Production; Paul Jones, Technology Center Manager, Chevron; Kenneth E. Arnold, Senior Technical Advisor, WorleyParsons; Joseph Lee, Director, Process Solutions Group, Process System Division, Cameron; Howard Duhon, Systems Engineering Manager, GATE; Simon Richards, Senior Facilities Consultant, Procyon Oil and Gas; and Jim Collins, Principal Development Engineer, ConocoPhillips (Peer-Review Editor).
We very much hope you will enjoy the magazine, and please be sure to provide your feedback at www.spe.org/go/ogfsurvey.
SPE members can subscribe to this new bimonthly magazine at a special introductory price of USD 39. If you have not already subscribed, you can order a subscription at www.spe.org/go/ogf.
Oil and Gas Facilities promises to be the industry’s most important periodical serving production, facilities, and construction professionals. Subscribe now so that you do not miss a single issue.
Ian G. Ball, SPE, is a technology director at INTECSEA (UK). Previously he worked for Reliance Industries Bombay as a senior advisor for deepwater challenges in opening the KG Basin offshore India. He spent most of his career at Shell, where he specialized in deepwater subsea and floater-based field development with assignments in Norway, the United Kingdom, and US Gulf of Mexico.
Ball co-chaired the 2008 and 2009 SPE Annual Technical Conference and Exhibition Program Committees, and serves on the JPT Editorial Committee. He earned a BSc degree in electrical engineering from the University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology.