Canada Regional Awards Recipients

Canada Regional Awards Recipients

SPE’s regional awards are designed to recognize members who’ve contributed exceptional service and leadership to the society, as well as those who’ve made major professional contributions to their technical disciplines at the regional level. These awards are handed out at region and section meetings. Congratulations to the Canada Region Awards recipients below.


Regional Service Award

The SPE Regional Service Awards acknowledges exceptional contributions to the Society of Petroleum Engineers at the section or regional level and recognizes singular devotion of time and effort to the programs and development of the member’s section.

Ramez Hanna Alla
Production Engineer
Chevron Canada

Ramez Hanna Alla is a production engineer with Chevron working on the Liard basin appraisal team tied to the Kitimat LNG project. He has five years of unconventional/tight rock experience in the WCSB through various roles. He is actively involved with the SPE at both the section and regional level; serving recently as Chairman of the section and as vice chair for the joint URC/HOC conference starting in February 2017. Outside of industry affairs, he is a board member with Big Brothers & Big Sisters, president of his condo board, an avid motorcycle rider, traveler, wannabe fitness nut, and an extreme activity enthusiast. He enjoys meeting people of all walks of life, as they each have unique lessons to share.

Patrice Vallee
Pre-Development Manager
Husky Energy, Canada

Patrice Vallee has been working in the upstream oil and gas industry for the last 25 years. He is currently the pre-development manager at Husky Energy and is involved in the research & development community in Newfoundland and Labrador.

He has held various management, leadership, and technical engineering roles within the industry having worked in France, the United Kingdom, Australia, and Canada.

Patrice earned his MS in petroleum engineering from the Institut du petrole in Paris, France.  He also holds a BS (Honours) and MS in mechanical aeronautics & space engineering from SUPAERO, Toulouse, France. He received a Certificate in Project Management from the University of Aberdeen, Scotland.

Patrice is a member of ENSPM and ENSAE (France) and became a member of SPE Canada in 2014. In 2015, he chaired the first SPE workshop held in St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador.

Outstanding Young professional Award

The Regional Young Member Outstanding Service Award recognizes contributions and leadership to the public, the community, the Society of Petroleum Engineers, and the petroleum engineering profession within the region.

Michael Hauer
Field Production Engineer
Sunshine Oilsands Ltd.

Michael Hauer is currently the Student Support team lead for SPE Calgary and serves on the boards of both the SPE Calgary Section and the SPE Canada Education Foundation. He has been involved with SPE for five years, starting out as a student chapter officer. Over his two years as Calgary Section Young Professionals Chair, he oversaw the execution of more than 25 section events per year with a budget over $90k. He also spearheaded a number of new initiatives, including the inaugural YP golf tournament in 2014 and the YP energy literacy program. Michael holds a chemical engineering degree from the University of Calgary and has worked more than four years in production and operations for SAGD projects in the Canadian oil sands.


Hamza Shaikh
Principle Consultant
E-Tech Consulting Services

Hamza Shaikh is a highly qualified dual MSc Petroleum Engineering and MEng Mechanical Engineering graduate from Imperial College London, as well as a certified Project Management Professional (PMP) with a diverse range of technical and operational experience in Well Stimulation, Geomechanics, Fracture/Reservoir Modelling and production enhancement with economic evaluations. He currently works as an independent consultant under the trade name E-Tech Consulting Services. He devised advanced workflows for fracture modelling and field development by integrating multiple domains, including Geoscience, Petrophysics, Geomechanics, Fracture Modelling and Reservoir Engineering, helping oil companies save millions of dollars in field development projects in the Appalachian, Permian, Powder River, Western Gulf, Williston and Western Canada Sedimentary Basins.  Hamza began his career through internships in the UK at Tercel Oilfield Services, Schlumberger Information’s Solutions and BP, and afterwards joined Sanjel full-time in Canada working as a Hydraulic Fracturing Field Engineer, and a Completions Engineer in the company’s Reservoir Solutions Group prior to founding E-Tech Consulting Services. He has published six SPE and EAGE technical papers in the US, Canada and UAE, and is currently publishing two more, including one in the Netherlands. Hamza is also a recipient of the 2016 SPE Calgary Section Award for Technical Excellence and Achievement. While at Imperial College, Hamza served as the President of the SPE Student Chapter where he also organised a field trip to Trinidad and Tobago for over 40 students from the MSc course. Currently, Hamza is in his second year of service as the SPE YP Treasurer in Calgary.

Regional Technical Awards

The SPE Regional Technical Awards acknowledge exceptional contributions to the Society of Petroleum Engineers at the section or regional level and recognize singular devotion of time and effort to the programs and development of technical expertise in eight disciplines. These are your technical award winners for 2016:


Completions Optimization and Technology Award

Robert V. Hawkes
C.E.T., Manager, Reservoir Solutions

Robert graduated from the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology (SAIT) with a diploma in Petroleum Engineering Technology in 1979. Robert is Corporate Technical Director, Reservoir Solutions for Trican Well Service Ltd. in Calgary. Considered a leader in his field, Robert has been published in JPT and JCPT and was co-Author, Chapter 3 “Gas Well Testing and Evaluation” of the 2007 Modern Fracturing – Enhancing Natural Gas Production, engineering text book. Robert is credited with several design innovations in pre-frac testing and has been the recipient of numerous awards including the 2006 President’s Award from the Canadian Well Logging Society (CWLS), awarded the 2008 Outstanding Service Award from the Petroleum Society Canadian Institute of Mining (CIM) and was a 2008 Distinguished Lecture with the Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE). Robert was also recognized as the 2009 ASET Technologist of the Year and in 2011 was the recipient of the SPE Canadian “Reservoir Description and Dynamics” award. Robert continues to serve on numerous Technical Program committees for the SPE.

Drilling Engineering Award

Stephen Butt, Memorial University of Newfoundland


Formation Evaluation Award

Uliana Romanova
PhD, Business Development
Canada Region
Delta Screens

Dr. Uliana Romanova has over 20 years of experience in the area of technology research and development, both in academia and industry. She holds a Master of Science degree in Physics and a Ph. D. degree in Chemistry from Kazan State University, Russia. She is currently employed with Delta Screens. Prior to joining Delta Screens, she worked at Institut Francais du Petrole, the University of Calgary, RPS Energy and Weatherford Canada.

The area of Dr. Romanova’s expertise is heavy oil and oil sands and formation damage, in particular sand control for thermal production operations. She is an author and co-author of over 40 technical publications. She made numerous presentations at industry technical conferences and workshops in Canada, USA, Europe, Asia and the Middle East.. She serves on a variety of SPE technical committees, including SPE Canada Heavy Oil Technical Conference and SPE Thermal Well Design and Integrity Symposium, and the Board of SPE Canada Educational Foundation.


Health, Safety, Security, Environment and Social Responsibility Award

Faisal Khan
Memorial University of Newfoundland

Dr. Faisal Khan is Professor and Vale Research Chair of Safety and Risk Management. He has established a new research center- Centre for risk integrity and Safety and Engineering (C-RISE), which has over research 40 research members. His areas of research interest include: offshore safety and risk engineering, inherent safety, risk management, and risk-based integrity assessment and management.

He is actively involved with multinational oil and gas industries on the issue of safety and asset integrity. In 2006, he has spent eight months as risk and integrity expert with Lloyd’s Register (UK) a risk management organization. He also served as Safety and Risk Advisor to Government of Newfoundland, Canada. He continue to serve subject matter expert to many organizations that include Llyod’s Register EMEA, SBM Modco, Intecsea, Technip, and Qatargas. From 2008 to 2010, he visited Qatar University and Qatargas LNG Company as Process Safety and Risk Management Research Chair. In 2012-14 he served as Visiting Professor of Offshore and Marine Engineering at Australian Maritime College (AMC), University of Tasmania, Australia. Where he lead development of offshore safety and risk engineering group and an initiative of global engagement with many international institutions.

He is recipient of President Outstanding Research Award of 2012-2013, CSChE National Award on Process Safety Management of 2014, President Outstanding Research Supervision Award of 2013-14, and recently Society of Petroleum Engineer award for his contribution in Health, Safety and Risk Engineering. He has authored over 300 research articles in peer reviewed journals and conferences on safety, risk and reliability engineering. He has authored five books on the subject area. He is Editor to Journal of Process Safety and Environmental Protection, and Journal of Process Engineering. He regularly offers training program/workshop on safety and risk engineering in different places including St John’s, Chennai, Dubai, Beijing, Aberdeen, Doha and Kuala Lumpur.


Production and Operations Award

Bertrand Groulx
Verdazo Analytics

Bertrand is co-founder and President of Verdazo Analytics (formerly known as VISAGE) and has championed the company’s analytic pursuits over the last decade. Over a 17 year career in the upstream energy sector, Bertrand has worked in over 11 countries assisting more than 100 companies to develop workflows, analysis methodologies and software solutions focused on the delivery of consistent, reliable information for decision makers. Prior to Verdazo Analytics, Bertrand was part of Merak/Schlumberger for 7 years. Bertrand constantly strives to ensure VERDAZO continues to distinguish itself as a leader in visual analytics for the Oil and Gas industry, and enjoys collaborating with, and developing partnerships with companies and individuals that share his passion.


Projects, Facilities and Construction Award

Bent Nielsen, P.Eng
Process Engineer

Bent has been living in Calgary since 1957 and has watched the oil patch expand and contract many times over the years. Nevertheless, he decided to become a Chemical Engineer followed by a Masters of Chemical Engineering.  After graduating Bent did research at the U of C for two years with an Ultrapyrolysis reactor that converted heavy oil to gases plus coke. Since then he has been working as a Process Engineer with various contracting engineering firms.  Currently he is a Senior Process Engineer at WSP.

Over the years Bent has belonged to the Toastmasters club if the company had a club and where they didn’t he would try to start one. This fired up his enthusiasm about volunteering.  Two years ago bent used his contacts to start the SPE Calgary Section Toastmasters Club.

About seven years ago he met Ken Arnold when he was in Calgary doing a presentation and was asked if he would help start a PF&C SIG in Calgary.

Bent enjoys cycling around town for exercise and enjoyment.  To keep in shape he also runs 3km three times a week with a couple 10km races a year.


Reservoir Description and Dynamics Award

Christopher Clarkson
University of Calgary

Christopher R. Clarkson is a professor and the AITF Shell/Encana Chair in Unconventional Gas and Light Oil research in the Department of Geoscience and an adjunct professor with the Department of Chemical and Petroleum Engineering at the University of Calgary. His work focus in industry was on exploration for and development of unconventional gas (UG) and light oil (ULO) reservoirs. His research focus since coming to U of Calgary in 2009 has been on advanced reservoir characterization methods for UG-ULO, such as rate- and pressure-transient analysis, flowback analysis, and core analysis.  He is also interested in simulation of enhanced recovery processes in UG-ULO, and how these processes can be used to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.  Clarkson leads an industry-sponsored consortium called “Tight Oil Consortium”, focused on these research topics for unconventional light oil reservoirs in Western Canada.

Clarkson holds a Ph.D. degree in geological engineering from the U. of British Columbia, Canada, and is the author of numerous articles in peer-reviewed scientific and engineering journals.  Clarkson was an SPE Distinguished Lecturer for the 2009/2010 lecture season.


Distinguished Achievement Award for Petroleum Engineering Faculty

Dr. Lesley James
Chevron Chair in Petroleum Engineering
Memorial University of Newfoundland

Dr. Lesley James is an Associate professor and Chevron Chair in Petroleum Engineering in the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science at Memorial University. Dr. James’ research interests focus on sustainable oil production by increasing oil recovery rates through enhanced and improved oil recovery (EOR & IOR). Currently, her focus is on maximizing recovery from offshore Newfoundland and Labrador oil and gas fields through understanding the fluid-fluid and rock-fluid interactions and particularly examining miscible/near-miscible fluid injection and optimal EOR strategies for offshore production.  Working closely with industry, Dr. James has recently commissioned a world class enhanced oil recovery laboratory at Memorial, which allows for fundamental and applied research and development in the area of enhanced and improved oil recovery. Dr. James is a Professional Engineer of Newfoundland and Labrador (PEGNL), and is a member of Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE), the American Chemical Society (ACS), the Society of Core Analysts (SCA) and the Canadian Society of Chemical Engineers (CSChE).


Distinguished Corporate Support Award


Cenovus Energy Inc. has historically and continues to support the Society of Petroleum Engineers in Canada by several means. Cenovus acts as a leader in the industry by supporting its staff in volunteer roles across SPE Canada conferences and workshops, SPE Calgary section level activities, student led initiatives and SPE publications. Cenovus provides innumerable contributions to the knowledge base surrounding oil and gas exploration and production, most specifically in the field of heavy oil and bitumen recovery. Many technical papers have been authored and co-authored by several Cenovus staff over the 7- year’s history of the company, and going back further through its various predecessors.  Specifically, contributions in the fields of steam-solvent recovery methods, slotted liner and sand control design and evaluation; sharing operational learnings; and novel recovery techniques or technologies. In 2015. Cenovus contributed to 11 technical publications with the SPE, including results of the AIDROH Pilot Project, Solvent Aided Process, Hot-Water Circulation Pilot at Pelican Lake, and Tight Oil Wettability in the Montney. Cenovus also contributed to two business articles on Reserves Estimation and Oil Price Volatility through The Way Ahead magazine. In 2016 Cenovus continued the trend by contributing to 8 technical publications and 3 industry centric articles on The Way Ahead magazine. This knowledge sharing has been instrumental in the advancement of heavy oil and bitumen recovery.

Cenovus continues to provide support to the SPE Canada Heavy Oil Conference and SPE Distinguished Lecturer series through the efforts of Subodh Gupta and other key initiatives such as the SPE Canadian Educational Foundation and The Way Magazine through the efforts of Jarrett Dragani. Aside from technical contributions, Cenovus holds the largest number of SPE memberships among any member company in Canada, and actively participates in funding conferences through attendees and sponsorships.