President's interview

Nathan Meehan is senior executive adviser at Baker Hughes, where he advises executive management on reservoir and geoscience issues. Previously, he served as the president of CMG Petroleum Consulting, an independent consultancy; vice president of engineering at Occidental Petroleum; and general manager of exploration and production at Union Pacific Resources. Meehan earned a BSc in physics from the Georgia Institute of Technology, an MSc in petroleum engineering from the University of Oklahoma, and a PhD in petroleum engineering from Stanford University.

What goals would you like to accomplish during your term?

I would like to focus during the next year on helping SPE accomplish five interrelated goals.

Making sure that SPE stays relevant and useful to our members and the industry we serve

Encouraging more interdisciplinary and inter-industry collaboration

Focusing on the “public benefit” aspect of SPE’s mission

Recruiting and mentoring the next generation of oil and gas professionals

Expanding and improving the way we communicate

These accomplishments will support SPE’s mission: To collect, disseminate, and exchange technical knowledge concerning the exploration, development and production of oil and gas resources, and related technologies for the public benefit, and to provide opportunities for professionals to enhance their technical and professional competence.

On top of the ongoing challenges we face as an industry, we now have to contend with low prices. Yet, we still have to deliver the huge volumes of oil and gas that are needed each day by the 7.2 billion people who inhabit our planet. And, we have to do it more safely, more economically, more quickly, and more sustainably. We cannot compete—or in some cases, even survive— doing business as usual. We need disruptive technologies and processes. But change is difficult to accept. This is where SPE can play a pivotal role.

Innovation comes about by thinking differently and creatively, by connecting seemingly unrelated ideas, and putting them together in unrelated ways to produce something novel or original. This requires collaboration among diverse and disparate groups of people. One of my colleagues likes to describe SPE as a network of bridges that connects people, companies, and ideas to enable the collaboration that fuels innovation. That network of bridges is never more important than during difficult periods such as the one we are currently experiencing. By reaching out to other disciplines and other industries, SPE not only helps fuel collaboration and innovation, but also fulfills its mission of staying relevant.

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