Your SPE: SPE Managing Costs and Maintaining Quality
- Leo Roodhart (2009 SPE President)
- Document ID
- Society of Petroleum Engineers
- Journal of Petroleum Technology
- Publication Date
- April 2009
- Document Type
- Journal Paper
- 12 - 14
- 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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We are a bit further into the year since I wrote my last column, and unfortunately the global economic crisis deepens. Companies have already tightened such things as travel budgets and will certainly be watching cash flow very carefully. I maintain, however, that this is the time we should focus on preparing for the next upturn by retaining capacity and developing or improving the relevant technology. In an ideal world, R&D and training would be anti-cyclic to the economic cycle: use a lower demand on staff in a downturn to train them for the next phase and allow this human capital to develop new ideas/R&D when there is time for it. Now, more than ever, companies should be seeking innovative ideas and technology to reduce their operating costs and produce better results.
Crisis or no crisis, SPE presidents have to travel. So, I am writing this column on a low-cost airliner visiting sections in India. I am over 6 ft tall, so I am particularly averse to cramped budget seating! However, if our members have to tighten their belts, so does SPE.
The Fiscal Year 2010 budget, which begins 1 April, reflects significant economies in both operating (which includes staff travel) and program expenses. Through the year, we will exercise additional cost-cutting measures to achieve even more savings in program expenses. We’ll use technologies like Skype or WebEx for committee meetings, renegotiate contracts with hotels and conference venues wherever possible, and hold both committee meetings and events in more cost-effective locations. For instance, why do we need to hold a workshop committee meeting in a hotel for USD 1,000 if one of the committee members has an office with meeting rooms to do the same! At the same time, both volunteers and staff will do everything possible to increase the quality of SPE programs. We might have fewer papers at a conference, but we (the program committee) will ensure that the quality of the papers will be higher. We can do that, as most conferences now get more abstracts than previously (in earlier downturns, the saying in my company was “He who publishes, stays.”), which allows us to choose the very best and focus presentations in fewer but better sessions. So please come, as SPE conferences will be better than ever!For many of you, though, travel constraints are a bottleneck. Our response is to place SPE’s technical conferences and workshops close to major petroleum operations to help reduce or eliminate travel costs. We are even examining whether we can relocate some currently scheduled events to be more conveniently placed. We also plan to make greater use of technology in the development of event programs to make members’ participation easier and to reduce the number of committee meetings that volunteer organizers will be asked to attend.
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