SPE 101

SPE 101: Technical Interest Groups (TIGs)

Christopher Jenkins, Production Engineer, Saudi Aramco, Max Medina, Well and Completions Engineer, Statoil

SPE 101 is intended for young professionals who aim to maximize the value of their SPE membership. This section will showcase programs that make SPE an indispensable tool for technical growth and career development. We invite you to take full advantage of what SPE has to offer and to participate in SPE’s continuing evolution.

Most of us sooner or later will encounter a work-related challenge our immediate network of colleagues and contacts cannot help with. You may be considering a difficult operation, with no consensus on how to proceed. Perhaps you are planning to attempt something that has never been done—at least that you are aware of. Sometimes a search through SPE papers at www.onepetro.org may not provide as precise or quick a solution as hoped, leaving you in need of expert advice. For such times, SPE has a powerful tool that can help—Technical Interest Groups (TIGs)—forums on SPE’s website (go to www.spe.org/groups/tigs). [Editor's note: the TIGs are now the SPE Connect communities by discipline.]

After logging in to www.SPE.org, members can visit any TIG that interests them. The archives are fully searchable, and TIG members can post new questions (SPE members can belong to an unlimited number of TIGs). When you post a new question, it will be emailed to forum members who have joined the TIG community where you posted your query. Those who wish to may respond to the query—this sparks a global knowledge exchange at your fingertips.

While some say there are no “dumb” questions, some questions are better thought out than others. So, what makes a good question? Here are a few tips that will help you get the most from TIGs:

Be a participant. While forum members do not have to read or reply to queries, those who do can learn from the experiences of others. Not only that, but you will get a better feel for the kinds of questions being asked and the kinds of answers you can expect.

Do not ask a question that has already been answered. Take time to research the history of topics discussed in the forum, and review published papers to learn what you can about the area in question. If you feel the issue has not been resolved, ask away.

Provide an appropriate amount of background information. While you should never disclose confidential information in a query (ask your boss for guidance), you need to give potential responders enough background so they can make a high-quality recommendation. What data do you think is germane? Share background information while keeping in mind the forum does not require you to disclose the specific project you are working on.

Not every response will apply to your situation. Depending on the type and quantity of background information you provide, those responding to your question may or may not have a full understanding of your plight. Bear in mind that respondents come from a wide variety of operating environments, and factors such as risk tolerance, financial hurdles, safety requirements, local regulations, and so forth will influence their philosophies regarding the best way forward. While it is a safe bet all responders will reply in good faith, not every response will apply to your situation.

Share the love. Once you have gotten the help you needed from the forum, let others know about your success. Help make them aware of the resource and continue to participate by responding to new questions posted to the forum.

With these tips in mind, you’re well prepared to take advantage of what SPE TIGs have to offer. Happy querying!

TIGs in numbers

TIGs @ work

Below are excerpts from a query about performing stimulation in a well with a 10,000-ft horizontal section, taken from the Completions and Workovers TIG forum. Sometimes responses reach consensus, and other times there’s a variety of opinions.

Technical Exchange

“Would you consider drilling a few more wells into the reservoir instead of trying to get all the reserves in a single well?”

“I don’t think bull heading with acid diversion will work…”

“I would try to get back to field-proven procedures…”

Share Experience

“My experience is that you are better off running and cementing the casing rather than running isolation packers in carbonate reservoirs.”

“We do this…every day in the Bakken. Should be plenty of info out there.”

“It sounds like you are pretty close to describing the solutions we came up with earlier this year. See [link below for more details]”

Debate What Is Possible

“[This idea] is a must that will change the NPV of the entire project…”

“In my experience what is proposed is at [the] limit of our technologies.”


Christopher Jenkins graduated from the Colorado School of Mines in 2001 with a BS degree in petroleum engineering. He is currently employed by Saudi Aramco, where he works as a stimulation engineer based in Udhailiyah, Saudi Arabia. Prior to living in the Middle East, Jenkins held a variety of roles while working for BP in Anchorage, Alaska. He served as a completions engineer for the ultra-ERD Liberty project, senior production forecaster for Greater Prudhoe Bay, and as a production engineer for Prudhoe Bay. He has served the Saudi Arabia and Alaska SPE sections in a variety of roles, including two terms as chairman of the Alaska section. During his second term as chairman, Jenkins was awarded the 2008 SPE Outstanding Young Member Award for the Western North America Region, while the Alaska section won its first SPE President’s Award for Section Excellence. At the 2010 SPE Annual Technical Conference and Exhibition in Florence, Italy, Jenkins was presented with the international 2010 SPE Young Member Outstanding Service Award.