Noel D. Rietman, SPE, died 4 March. He was 83. Rietman was the SPE President in 1987 and the president of the American Institute of Mining, Metallurgical, and Petroleum Engineers in 1994. Much like the current year, Rietman’s year of SPE presidency saw the industry go through a downturn, with oil prices dropping steeply in 1986. In the May 2016 JPT issue, 2016 SPE President Nathan Meehan said, “Taking a trip down memory lane, I reviewed copies of JPT from the downturn in the late 1980s. Noel Rietman, 1987 SPE president, focused on how SPE was responding, member benefits, company support, and the relevance of SPE to members who had been laid off—all very familiar topics from the past year of SPE Board of Directors discussions.” Under Rietman’s leadership, SPE formed an ad hoc committee that provided SPE with guidelines to cut costs while minimizing the reduction of member services and the impact on the reserve fund. Over the years, leadership such as his has helped SPE sustain and thrive through the decades, both in good times and in downturns, and continue to serve its members.
Rietman had a long career with Maxus Energy Corp., formerly known as Diamond Shamrock Corp. He joined the company in 1957 and advanced to supervisory positions within the company, being named chief production engineer, manager of production operations, general manager of production, vice president and general manager of the company’s northern region, and staff vice president of property acquisitions. He was elected senior vice president, North American exploration and production in 1987 and retired from Maxus in 1991 as senior vice president production and continued to work as a consultant.
A recipient of the SPE Distinguished Service Award, Rietman was involved with SPE committee activities throughout his career and held section officer positions in Denver and Amarillo sections early on. He authored and presented technical papers at conferences and wrote articles in industry publications. One of his legacies was being a mentor to young professionals both from his company and other organizations, with many of his mentees reaching senior management positions later. Rietman held BA and BS degrees in petroleum engineering and geology, respectively, from Texas Tech University, and an MS in mathematics from West Texas State University. He was also a member of American Association of Petroleum Geologists.