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Technical Section Operations Manual


A Technical Section represents a grouping of global members who share an interest in a specific technical topic. These communities of SPE members share ideas, promote competence, and develop projects related to their technical interest. Technical Sections tend to be more task-oriented than discussion-oriented. They meet virtually for the most part, but are encouraged to hold a face-to-face meeting at least once a year. 

The Technical Sections Operations Manual (TSOM) is your go-to source for information about how to conduct your technical section activities. You can learn about your individual role and find the forms and deadlines associated with your duties.

Questions may be directed to your staff liaison, or to

Guidelines and Policies

Event Policies

Special care should be taken when holding joint events in order not to jeopardize SPE’s brand or not-for profit status. It is important that these partnership events are in compliance with SPE’s Events Policy and Procedures Manual. When entering into a partnership with another organization on an event, it is important to alert your staff liaison of this activity. In some cases, Board approval may be required to hold such an event, such as:

  • Partnering with a commercial organization
  • Allowing another organization use of SPE's logo
  • Including technical section content into another organization's program
  • Marketing the event beyond the membership of the technical section
  • Non-compliance of any part of the Event Naming Policy  

For events that are managed by SPE staff, direct and staff charges must be recovered. The recovery of these expenses as well as a portion of the profits is absolutely essential to enable the Society to deliver consistent, high-quality products and services to all members in all locations. Allocation of the net revenue will be negotiated on a case-by-case basis.

When planning an event, it is important to confirm that the event topic does not overlap with another SPE International or local section event in a similar timeframe. Your staff liaison will assist you in confirming this.

Technical Section Officers

All technical section officers must be SPE members in good standing.

Social Media

Brand Standards

As we increasingly use social media, we must keep in mind that SPE brand standards still apply.

Social Media Guidelines

Choose the platform that works best for your audience. Do they primarily use Facebook? Twitter? LinkedIn? Determine the channel that works best for your members and update frequently.

Social media is 24/7, all year long. As such, it is critical to update your content regularly. At a minimum, post at least once a week. Three times a week is ideal.

Post original, engaging content regularly. Some ideas include:

  • Specific call-to-action (register for an event, renew membership, etc.)
  • Statistics/Fun Facts about your section/chapter
  • Photos/Videos/Presentations/Slideshows
  • Member Quotes/Testimonials/Positive Feedback
  • Announcements/Milestones
  • Questions/Quizzes you would like to ask your members

In all cases, Technical Sections must also adhere to the SPE Logo Policy.  To generate more conversation and interest in your posts, consider these tips and tricks:


  • Tag Society of Petroleum of Engineers in your posts when relevant. This makes your shared content searchable and visible to the entire SPE Facebook community.
  • Write on the SPE Facebook wall to share updates, photos, ask questions, etc. This makes your content visible to SPE followers.


  • Mention and retweet @SPEtweets on Twitter. Engaging with us makes your profile more credible and legitimate.
  • Use hashtags. They make your content more searchable, categorized, and part of the SPE conversation. Some key hashtags to include are #SPEevents, #SPETRAINING, and #SPEWEBEVENTS

All LinkedIn groups need to be a “subgroup” of the official SPE group. This gives the subgroup credibility and makes it a part of the SPE LinkedIn community. 

In the event of negative or disparaging comments or content not in line with SPE’s mission, protocol is to remove the post and block the user. This is not to be confused with criticism of SPE, SPE affiliates or SPE members. The protocol in this instance is to not delete the criticism, but address the criticism with facts.


  • Be concise. Generally, readers are more prone to skip your post entirely if it is too drawn out. Post in the clearest, shortest form possible.
  • Consider your audience.  Remember that your readers are comprised of diverse backgrounds. Also consider the platforms. People on Facebook, may not want the same type of information as on Twitter or LinkedIn.
  • Bring value.  Everything posted reflects SPE’s reputation and influence. Be sure that your posts are of a topic of interest.
  • Be responsible for what you write. Exercise good judgment and common sense when developing posts. If you think it is inappropriate or may not be received as your intended purpose, it’s probably best to refrain from it.
  • Avoid copyright infringement.  As SPE holds the right to all developed content (including photos, video, technical papers, etc.), SPE reserves the right of approval regarding use of content and the right to remove content used without approval from SPE.


The Chairperson promotes the well-being of the section, the society, and the profession. He/she performs all duties that pertain to the direction of the technical section including, but not limited to:

  • Understanding the global mission of SPE.
  • Possessing good leadership, motivation, and communication skills and the ability to work with various personalities.
  • Understanding the technical section’s role in relation to the SPE International Board.


  • Preside over all meetings of the technical section and its board of directors.
  • Oversee the election of officers (outlined in the Sample Governance Model) and the appointment of workgroup and subcommittee member positions.
  • Understands the principle behind the technical sections and contributes to technical section’s ideas.
  • Ensure the technical section is global in applicability and participation. 
  • Inform the nominating committee that the technical section board should maintain regionally geographic diversity and cross-company representation.
  • Keep the staff liaison informed regarding plans, needs or challenges.
  • Ensure that an officer communicates with technical section members at least 4 times per year via Informz email broadcast platform or SPEConnect.
  • Ensure the technical section complies with all SPE Guidelines and Policies, including that all officers be members of the technical section in good standing. 
  • Submit an Annual Report (hyperlink to forms) by 1 June.
  • Hold a minimum of six (6) board meetings/conference calls per year, and at least (1) face-to-face meeting of the membership to be held in conjunction with ATCE, OTC or other SPE event.

Administrative Chairperson

The Administrative Chairperson will record, store, and distribute minutes from technical section board meetings.


  • Record meeting minutes.
  • Distribute Board meeting announcements.
  • Maintain technical section Governance Model.
  • Maintain list of technical section officers.

Record Minutes

Record the official business of the technical section meetings through the writing, retention, and distribution of minutes. Minutes should be taken for all boardmeetings and should only include key points and actions taken but not verbatim discussion. Minutes often resolve misunderstandings, so they should be accurate, objective, complete, and clear. At each meeting, the minutes of the previous meeting should be reviewed and approved by the group.

Minutes of meetings should contain the following:

•   Name of organization or committee
•   Place and date of meeting
•   Names of officers and members present
•   A statement previous meeting minutes were amended or approved
•   A list of reports presented and accepted


Technical sections are required to maintain a Governance Model which addresses the mission statement, governance structure, officers’ roles and responsibilities, how and when officers are elected. It serves as an important operating document.  It is important to keep an up-to-date copy on file with your staff liaison, as well as posted to the technical section’s SPEConnect site. 


You are responsible for ensuring SPE has accurate record of technical section officers and their contact details. Changes should be sent to, as they occur, to ensure no lapse in service. All officers must be SPE members in good standing. You may review the officer roster SPE has on file for your technical section through Membership Builder.

Membership Chairperson

The Membership Chairperson is responsible for all membership activities.


  • Review data and lists provided via Membership Builder, and report membership statistics to the technical section board.
  • Maintain a comprehensive list of members.
  • Organize and implement methods to increase technical section membership.
  • Encourage members to volunteerand engage in technical section activities.
  • Ensure the technical section is global in participation. 

Membership Roster

Officers in good standing are able to download officer and membership rosters through Membership Builder at any time. The information on the rosters may be used only for programs endorsed by SPE.  Use or reproduction of the information for commercial purposes or for programs not endorsed by SPE is strictly prohibited and subject to legal action. All data contained within the reports is updated daily. 

Program Chairperson

The Program Chairperson is responsible for the arrangement and promotion of programs, entertainment, and incidental details related to meetings, events, and webinars (if applicable).


  • Establish goals for programming based on technical needs of technical section members.
  • Set and execute objectives, including budget and attendance targets and track revenue and expense.
  • Contact and secure speakers.
  • Ensure appropriate marketing.
  • Ensure adherence to all SPE Policies.

Sponsorship Policy

Technical section events should be self-sufficient and budgeted to break even.  Identification of potential sponsors and collection of funds is the responsibility of the technical section’s board.

Each technical section will receive an allowance of up to $5,000 per fiscal year, for all expenses related to audio-visual requirements. The allowance will apply to any technical section board meeting and / or special event held in conjunction with an SPE conference [e.g. Annual Technical Conference and Exhibition (ATCE), Drilling Conference, etc.] If these costs exceed the $5,000 allotment, additional sponsorship may need to be obtained.

Sponsors are required to sign a Sponsorship Agreement which lists the benefits offered to the sponsoring company.  If funds are not received within six (6) weeks of the event date, the event will be cancelled. For additional guidance, contact your staff liaison.

Online Community Webmaster

The online community webmaster will administer and maintain the technical section’s online community site on  This worksite is the primary information source for the technical section.


  • Promote collaboration, post announcements, and initiate discussions on
  • Periodically update the site to ensure it remains relevant to technical section members.
  • Maintain officer listing on the site.

SPE Connect

SPE Connect is not intended to mimic how other social media platforms function or how we use them. Other social media channels provide information that can be consumed quickly. SPE Connect is intended for members to collectively invest, contribute, and build on a body of knowledge for the benefit of the industry as a whole. Following are some suggestions for how to get the most out of the technical section community:

  • Document important information by mining discussion posts and posting them in the Library.
  • Continue the conversation from an SPE event or an article you’ve read by posting a discussion about it.
  • Crowdsource ideas to solve a problem.

Social Media

  • Brand Standards

As we increasing use social media, we must keep in mind that SPE brand standards still apply.

Treasurer (Optional)

The overall goal of the Society is the dissemination of technical information, rather than generating surplus funds. In most cases, technical sections should avoid opening bank accounts. The technical section board should first consult with the staff liaison to determine if an alternative solution is available. The staff liaison can provide guidance on opening a bank account if the need arises.

Each technical section will receive up to $5,000 allowance (per fiscal year) for audio visual requirements for special events held in conjunction with an SPE conference, e.g., Annual Technical Conference and Exhibition (ATCE), Drilling Conference, etc. If these costs exceed the $5,000 allotment, additional sponsorship may need to be obtained.

Technical section programs should be self-sufficient and budgeted to break even. Collection of funds from sponsors for special technical section programs or events is encouraged. 


  • Ensure that all direct costs for the event are covered by sponsorships or ticket sales, in cooperation with the Program Chairperson.
  • Set budget and attendance targets and track revenue and expense, in cooperation with the Program Chairperson.

Bank Account Responsibilities (if applicable)

  • Collect and disburse section funds as approved.
  • Submit financial statement to the staff liaison or to with a copy to the Chairperson by 1 June.  
  • Provide financial reports to the technical section board and make recommendations on the management of the technical section’s finances.
  • Establish, balance and maintain all accounting records for the technical section’s bank account, including deposits, income from events and payments.
  • Reconcile the bank account to the monthly bank statement.
  • Audit Financial Records.
  • Process Charitable Contributions (If Applicable).

Audit Financial Records

Your audit should take place before each new Treasurer assumes office. For most technical sections, an informal audit conducted by designated members of the technical section is appropriate. The audit provides protection for the technical section officers and helps to ensure an orderly transfer of financial records.

Charitable Contributions

SPE encourages its members and sections to be socially responsible. As such, a technical section may choose to make charitable contributions. Donations must be consistent with SPE’s mission and vision, with the only exception being for donations for emergency relief funds. Charitable contributions should be discussed and approved by the technical section board, ensuring that members of the technical section support the donation.

To receive tax benefit for the charitable contribution, a written acknowledgment may be needed, especially to substantiate amounts of more than USD 250. The acknowledgement should include:

  • Name of the recipient organization
  • Amount of monetary contribution
  • Description (but not value) of non-monetary contribution
  • Statement that no goods or services were provided in return or a description and estimate of the value of goods or services provided in return for the contribution

Tools and Resources

1. Membership Rosters – Membership Builder

Review your section roster, and obtain charts of your section membership through Membership Builder.

  • Note you will need your login and password. 
  • Membership Builder is available only to technical section officers in good standing with SPE.

2. Speaker Source      

This online directory provides section officers a searchable database of professionals willing to travel and share their knowledge through in-person presentations to SPE sections.

3. SPEConnect Online Communities Portal

Collaborate in technical discussions, view upcoming events, access and contribute to a technical library.

4. Technical Section Programming Ideas

As global professional technical groups, SPE technical section members benefit from a number of programs available to participate in.

View examples of available activities.

5. Technical Sections Broadcast Email - Informz

SPE provides a broadcast email tool for technical section officers.  This robust system includes reporting on the success of your email to technical section members and ensures compliance with all privacy laws. Informz is available only to technical section officers in good standing with SPE.