Canada Region Welcomes New Sections

The Canadian region of SPE is growing with the addition of two new sections to its membership.

Grande Prairie and Vancouver members have petitioned for their own self-governed unit, allowing individuals in those areas to organize regional activities and better benefit from SPE programs.

“It provides a framework for holding local events to benefit people in the industry,” said Melissa Schultea, former Senior Manager, Canadian Activities at SPE in Calgary. “It brings in tangible resources to the people in those areas. It’s what sets us apart from lots of other associations.”

Industry in the area and the number of people who would benefit from having more direct access to SPE are what determines the need for a section in a particular location. From there, a minimum of 25 individuals sign a petition for the cause.

The two new sections have been in the works for some time. Although the planning behind Grande Prairie forming was spurred on only about a year ago, Vancouver members have been attempting to have a section defined since 2009.

The Vancouver section was formally launched on November 24 in Victoria, B.C. The initial meeting was attended by SPE representatives and new section officers, consisting of 11 section leaders, including five members from Vancouver.

“We are still setting up the ground rules, team dynamics, and logistics,” said Marcel Guevara, EP Management Systems and Project Delivery Group Lead Environment, BC/Yukon District at AECOM and secretary of the Vancouver section.

The section consists of the lower mainland of B.C. and Vancouver Island.  It was driven by the interest in liquefied natural gas and the movement of several operators (e.g., Chevron and Petronas) to open offices in Vancouver.

“With the critical mass of government and regulatory agencies in Victoria, long-time SPE members, retirees, or part-time consultants in Victoria and Vancouver, small and large operating companies in Vancouver, and engineering firms in the PF&C discipline, a section was easily established,” Darcy Spady, Regional Director—SPE International Board said. “We have a strong and varied membership that will definitely have the strongest proportional PF&C focus in Canada.”

The section is currently planning its first social gathering to present the unit to local members later this month. The section is also initiating contacts with the University of British Columbia chapter to join efforts and identify activities that can be conducted together.

“As a very diverse group, we are still trying to identify and validate with our members the areas where the section will be focusing,” Guevara added.

The Grande Prairie section consists of 47 members and according to its chair, the section is growing strong.

“We are still a young section and slowly getting things moving forward, getting our name out there,” said Blair Fisher, section chair and Group Leader Field Engineering at Sanjel Corporation. “Grande Prairie is a unique area of the oil patch and we need to figure out what is going to work here, and what style of events/courses appeal to our membership.”

Although called the Grande Prairie section, it encompasses the entire Peace Region, including Fort St. John, B.C., and all the way to Grimshaw, Alberta.

“This section was formed on the request of some young professionals that were transferred to the GP region by their companies,” said Spady. “The section was started largely by young members who wanted technical meetings and training, as well as a vehicle to get professional development hours without going to Edmonton or Calgary.”

The section has held a few events thus far, and hope more will attend its Distinguished Lecturer Program (DLP) and a training course in March.

One of the main perks of having a section in your area is the access to SPE’s renowned DLP.

Fulfilling SPE’s mission statement to dispense technical information to members, lecturers and their topics are highly sought after by sections hosting the speakers. There are approximately 28 to 34 lecturers every year that travel to 190 sections, giving each section three lectures a tour season for a total of 570 lecture visits. The lecturers travel approximately 1.4 million miles a lecture season. SPE covers all the expenses for the lecturer’s travel. This key program has been offered internationally since 1961.

Also provided are presentations via the DLOnline webevent program. Live presentations are made every month and then archived. SPE is currently accepting nominations for the 2016-17 lecture season

As the Vancouver section was created after the 2014-2015 DLP tours were organized, the section is coordinating efforts with SPE and other nearby sections to accommodate at least one lecture in Vancouver and a potential training session in Victoria, both in the second quarter of 2015.

Other new sections currently in development are Estevan/Weyburn, Saskatchewan, and Winnipeg, Manitoba.

Distinguished lecturer Michael Byrne of Senergy speaks at the first ever Grande Prairie meeting in October.