SPE Technical Directors’ Outlook: An Obsession With Value and Cost
- Stephen Rassenfoss (JPT Emerging Technology Senior Editor)
- Document ID
- Society of Petroleum Engineers
- Journal of Petroleum Technology
- Publication Date
- January 2018
- Document Type
- Journal Paper
- 31 - 35
- 2018. Copyright is held partially by SPE. Contact SPE for permission to use material from this document.
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After years of low oil prices, the focus is on adding a lot of value for a little cost. SPE’s technical directors are talking about adding value to everything from a petroleum engineering degree to a wellbore.
A failure to do so can mean a degree that does not prepare a student to con-tribute after graduation, or a well whose production fades early.
Those working as petroleum engineers have a generation’s worth of challenges to address due to the push into unconventional development. Those results will determine how much value can be coaxed from these ultra-tight rocks.
For those designing projects that will get built, it pays to think small. A standardized, modular design can deliver value at a cost that is lower, and more likely to come in within the budget.
Doing more with less in drilling means there are fewer drilling rigs in the world, and the job of many engineers still working will be to identify the best available technology to continue to reduce the number of rigs required.
Leaders need to be aware of the value that can be destroyed by mistakes made by humans interacting with complex systems.
And SPE needs to identify and support successful efforts to address health, safety, and environmental challenges, to help spread good ideas and show the difficult challenges the industry can and does address. The value of those efforts is often hard to measure, but it can be big.
Ramona Graves, Academia
The value of a petroleum engineering degree varies widely, depending on where it was earned. In many universities in the developing world, where hiring local workers is essential, the petroleum engineering graduates are far from ready to begin contributing, said Ramona Graves, the director representing academia.
Jeff Moss, Drilling
Drilling engineers are looking ahead to more years of managing jarring change. Jeff Moss, technical director for drilling, said the rapid increase in drilling productivity in recent years is a prelude to more of the same as drilling engineers sift through a flood of digitally controlled offerings promising even greater efficiency.
Hisham Saadawi, Production and Facilities
It is not the time to be thinking big in oil and gas facilities. Hisham Saadawi, technical director for production and facilities, said the focus has shifted from megaprojects to smaller projects where the investment management challenges and risks are all lower. Often companies are “looking at existing facilities to maximize return on the investment made,” he said.
Tom Blasingame, Reservoir
Reservoir engineers have a lot of promises to fulfill. “We were promised big data would save us. That more simulation would save us. And we were promised that we could understand flow regimes at scales we have not been using for the past 100 years,” said Tom Blasingame, technical director for reservoir.
Jennifer Miskimins, Completions
A keyword for completion engineers is interactions. For Jennifer Miskimins, technical director for completions, those range from production-altering pressure surges from well to well during fracturing to collaborations with drillers and reservoir engineers to build more productive wells.
Johana Dunlop, Health, Safety, and Environment
Recognition of industry success is on the growing list of things to do for the new technical director for health, safety, and environment (HSE), Johana Dunlop.
J.C. Cunha, Management and Information
Offshore drilling involves “an amazing set of equipment and high technology … run by human beings.” That sort of human interaction with complex systems has been on the mind of J.C. Cunha, whose term as technical director for management and information ended this fall. He is thinking more needs to be done to “reduce human error in complex systems.”
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