Your SPE: SPE Has Strong Links in New Zealand and Australia E&P Industry
- Leo Roodhart (2009 SPE President)
- Document ID
- Society of Petroleum Engineers
- Journal of Petroleum Technology
- Publication Date
- January 2009
- Document Type
- Journal Paper
- 12 - 12
- 2009. Copyright is retained by the author. This document is distributed by SPE with the permission of the author. Contact the author for permission to use material from this document.
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As I move further into my year as president, I have been refining my key message as follows: inherent in, and fundamental to, SPE’s mission is the notion of and adherence to a number of values and principles. These include that SPE is a member organization, as opposed to a corporate organization, and individuals are members of SPE. These individuals belong to SPE to develop and broaden their skills as oil and gas professionals in a worldwide industry as well as to network with other individuals (technical specialists). Inevitably, each individual member brings to SPE a measure of his/her company self-interest and culture, and this adds to the diversity of SPE’s international membership. Corporate culture benefits SPE directly: companies sponsor SPE initiatives and exhibit at SPE events, and they allow their employees time and funds to participate in SPE committees and activities. Thus, SPE benefits not only from an altruistic desire on the part of individuals to further technology dissemination, but also from companies wishing to be seen to engage in the Society’s activities and to support its mission.
Early October saw me in New Zealand and Australia. I was delighted to find that these SPE values and principles are very well understood here. Volunteerism is perceived by both individuals and companies to offer great value, and all sections have very active board members.
I began this trip with a visit to New Plymouth in New Zealand. This section is small, with 82 members, including 16 young professionals. Typically, between 15 and 30 members regularly attend lunch meetings, which are organized jointly with the New Zealand Institute of Professional Engineers. No university in New Zealand offers a petroleum engineering course, so there are no student members. However, the section sponsors scholarship programs for engineering students at three New Zealand universities.
I then flew to Australia, where I visited the Queensland Section in Brisbane, the South Australian Section in Adelaide, and the Western Australian Section in Perth. Membership in all six Australian sections, including New South Wales/Australian Capital Territory, Victoria and Tasmania, and Northern Territory, totals some 1,500.
Australia is Huge (with a capital H indeed) and each section has a different focus. For example, 75% of the Queensland Section members work in the booming coalbed methane (CBM) business. There are plans to build four liquefaction plants to start CBM exports to Japan and China. However, the business is dominated by small and medium-sized independent companies, and they are currently finding it difficult to raise funds for further developments due to the credit crunch.
Another interesting development in that region is underground coal gasification (UCG). Linc Energy, which is seeking to utilize UCG and gas-to-liquid technologies as a means of converting coal deposits into liquid fuel, is at the forefront of Australian UCG development.
My next stop was Adelaide, home to the South Australian Section, founded in 1982 and thus the oldest of the Australian sections. The other five Australian sections were set up between 1983 and 1990. In addition to its monthly meetings, the South Australian Section organizes such activities as Education Day, where 70 high school students are exposed to our industry, and an annual math competition with the Math Association.
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