Regional Director's Brief — United States and Mexico

January 2024


Image of Simeon Eburi

Dear SPE Members:

I hope you enjoyed the holidays, and you are having a great beginning of the year. As we start a new year, I would like to remind you to renew your SPE membership and learn about all the benefits you have as an SPE member to maximize the value of your SPE membership. In this brief, I will describe the theme of our 2024 SPE President, Terry Palisch, and share updates on the SPE US Advisory Council, the 2024 SPE North America Student Symposium, the 2024 SPE Energy Transition Symposium, and the 2024 SPE Annual Technical Conference and Exhibition (ATCE). 

The theme of the 2024 SPE President, Terry Palisch, is “Creating Our Energy Future.” In his opening message to the members at the 2023 ATCE, Terry reminded us that energy demand will continue to grow, that our industry will continue to play a key role for many decades, and that we should be proud of the industry’s heritage and profession. We humans have a great opportunity to create our own energy future by taking advantage of all the resources available to address the “energy quadrilemma.” A very wise man, Mr. Kamel Bennaceur 2022 SPE President, suggested we add “energy efficiency” to the often mentioned “energy trilemma” of Accessible & Affordable, Reliable & Secure and Green & Decarbonized Energy. For SPE members, we encourage you to take advantage of your SPE membership to “Learn, Participate, Volunteer and Lead” our industry forward. If you have not listened to Terry’s monthly column on the Journal of Petroleum Technology (JPT is celebrating 75 years!) and podcast about Creating Our Energy Future, you should. Here’s the episode where I had the pleasure to join Terry’s podcast as host, and he talked about the importance of SPE Sections: President’s Column With Terry Palisch—Creating Our Energy Future-November 2023

The SPE US Advisory Council (USAC) serves to provide critical strategic guidance and advice to the SPE Board of Directors in matters that relate to SPE operations in the US while supporting related initiatives to aid SPE’s mission. The US Advisory Council is comprised of a geographically and technically diverse group of senior industry and academic leaders. This year, the US Advisory Council is led by Dr. Ivor Ellul, Managing Director, CISK Ventures. He is poised to take the US Advisory Council to new heights. I am sure we will hear more from Ivor in due course about the focus areas or initiatives the council members plan to undertake in 2024.

On February 8-9, 2024, SPE Students across North America with the support from SPE Staff and the North America Regional Directors will be holding the 2024 North America Student Symposium (NASS) in The Woodlands, TX. This event is organized by students for students, and the theme for this year’s event is “Shaping the Energy Industry of Tomorrow: The Workforce of the Future.” This two-day event will feature technical sessions and panels with industry leaders and an exhibition on day 1 and a field trip on day 2. If you are a SPE student or you know SPE students who would benefit from attending this event, please visit the event website to register.

On August 2023, SPE held a successful inaugural SPE Energy Transition Symposium (ETS) in Houston, TX that I had the pleasure to co-chair with my colleague and former SPE Board Member, Silviu Livescu. We had outstanding advisory and technical program committee members who put together excellent panel sessions and technical program and with the help of SPE staff, the event was executed successfully with amazing support from sponsors and exhibitors. Here are a few highlights of the event: 

  • The event featured a CEO showcase where senior industry leaders shared their perspectives on the importance of collaboration, partnership, and sense of urgency during the energy transition via video messages. The senior leaders who participated include Vicki Hollub – CEO Oxy, Lorenzo Simonelli – CEO Baker Hughes, Clay Williams – CEO NOV, Tom Reichert – CEO ERM, Daniel Yergin – Vice Chairman S&P Global and Mike Wirth – Chevron CEO who also opened the event with his video remarks. 
  • The event also featured keynote speakers, strategic discussions on panel sessions with industry executives and leaders in academia as well as technical paper and poster presentations. The technical topics of discussion spanned the following four categories: (1) decarbonization of oil and gas and other industries; (2) ESG, policy, politics, financial, regulatory, risk management and strategy; (3) role of all energy forms and technology innovation for a net-zero future; (4) transferrable skills, training, and education during energy transition. 
  • The event attendees were from 17 international countries, 21 different US States and DC, 22 different national and international universities and the professional attendees represented Majors/International Oil Companies (IOCs), National Oil Companies (NOCs), service companies, consulting companies, US Department of Energy (DOE) and US National Labs, energy transition companies, startups, training, and research companies. A few proud moments as event co-chair during the event include: meeting several event attendees on breaks and hearing direct feedback about how they were very satisfied with the diversity of topics and speakers, meeting Carolina Dias and Patricia Marques from Petrobras who traveled all the way from Brazil to attend the event and specifically to listen to industry experts talk about “Just Transition” because it was relevant to their companies and their jobs. As soon as I met Carolina and Patricia, the next panel session on the agenda organized in collaboration with our GAIA Sustainability Program was titled “Meeting the challenge and achieving our ambition,” and the panelists addressed and discussed “Just Transition.” I remember looking at the direction of Carolina and Patricia and seeing the smiles and utter satisfaction on their faces and a validation that the trip from Brazil to Houston, Texas to attend the event was well worth it. If you want to review the 2023 event program, schedule and speakers/panelists, please visit the website. For an event recap, see my LinkedIn Post: ETS23 Day 1 and ETS23 Day 2

Overall, it was clear that energy transition was a timely topic with a lot of interest globally. It was clear that SPE is in a great position to lead the energy transition through its mission “to connect a global community of engineers, scientists, and related energy professionals…” At least two JPT articles were written about or related to inaugural SPE Energy Transition Symposium: Perspectives on a Lower-Carbon Future Kick Off Inaugural SPE Energy Transition Symposium by Jennifer Presley and Shale Boom Foretells Energy Transition by Dwayne Purvis. We are currently planning the 2024 edition of the SPE Energy Transition Symposium for August 2024 again in Houston, TX. It’s my pleasure to announce that I am teaming with new co-chairs Dr. Tom Blasingame – professor at Texas A&M University, and George Koperna – Vice President of Advanced Resources International, Inc. to lead the program committee to another exciting event that builds on the success of the inaugural Energy Transition Symposium. We have a very strong and expanded program committee that now includes leaders of the various relevant SPE Technical Sections. More details about the symposium theme and call for papers will be announced soon. We hope to see you at the ETS in Houston in August 2024!

The Annual Technical Conference and Exhibition (ATCE) has been held in North America the past two years – the 2022 edition was held in the SPE Gulf Coast North America Region in Houston, TX and the 2023 edition was held in the SPE Southwestern North America Region in San Antonio, TX. The most recent ATCE event in San Antonio was a great event that provided ample opportunities to reconnect with other SPE professional members, student members and industry colleagues, expand your network and listen to the latest technical papers and strategic topics in the industry. ATCE 2023 in San Antonio marked the 99th ATCE. ATCE 2024 will mark the 100-year anniversary of ATCE, and it will be held in North America, specifically in the Eastern North America Region in New Orleans, LA on September 23-25, 2024. You would not want to miss this century celebration. Visit the ATCE website to find out more information or to submit a paper proposal. We hope to see you in New Orleans!


Until next time,

Simeon Eburi signature

Simeon Eburi
SPE Regional Director - North America (GC/SWNA/WNA)