Who Runs SPE in Canada, Anyway?

Darcy Spady, Regional Director—SPE International Board

Sometimes I get questions regarding the SPE structure in Canada. People ask; “What is the difference between the Calgary Section and the Trust Fund?”, or “Who directs scholarships given to the University of Regina?”, or “Why is JCPT so heavily heavy-oil focussed and not representative of Calgary’s unconventional community?”

I’ll make an attempt to clarify the structure and give an update on what we do at each level: As SPE in Canada is a minimodel of SPE international, there is a group called the SPE Canada Board that is legally bound to the oversee the activities in Canada, with the support and cooperation of the Senior Manager and staff in the Calgary office. This board is a representative of all sections and is currently chaired by Mike Gatens of Unconventional Gas Resources.  It has representation from SPE Staff, and four of the sections across Canada, including Maritimes and Vancouver. This group is responsible for the strategic direction of staff-managed functions, including conferences, workshops, training, and JCPT.

A second group is responsible for the historic funds in the SPE Canadian Educational Trust. This group of trustees is led by Helen Chang of Nexen. It also is representative of sections across Canada. Other than trustee nominations, it is mostly arm’s length from the Canada Board.

The third group, and the most visible, is your local section, such as the Calgary Section, currently led by Jeff Duer of Shell. For people in the Calgary area, this group is the most active, and often works outside the boundaries of Calgary, especially with scholarships. Sections provide members with products and services more specific to the local needs and go beyond the scope of SPE Canada. Some examples are technical luncheons and young professional activities.

JCPT is guided by our Canadian Board, however, since submissions come from all areas of the world via conferences or directly to our peer review system, content is largely dependent on what is deemed relevant to our authors. The journal’s Editorial Review Board encourages writers to submit to JCPT with papers discussing technology we use in Canada that isn’t often seen in the journal.

Without getting into too much detail, that is how the SPE is structured in Canada. I’m pleased to report that all these groups are active and healthy. In mid-January, the Canada Board met and reviewed finances and plans for 2015, including the activities of the 14 staff in the Calgary office. Although the oil price is dictating a tough year for the local industry, we are planning to move ahead with all services, doubling the conferences this year with the addition of the SPE Progressing Cavity Pumps and Thermal Well Integrity conferences. The Scholarship Trustees have also met and are readying to deploy their funds again this year, similar to the significant distribution that was made to 10 post-secondary schools across the country in 2014. And your local section, whether Edmonton or South Saskatchewan or Calgary, has a full slate of activities planned for the year.

As SPEers, our belts may be a little tighter, but there is no better time than now to take the time and do a little professional development on the technical side of our industry.

Darcy Spady, P.Eng.
Your Regional Director, SPE International Board
Director – Client Solutions, Sanjel Corporation