Opportunities Abound for Young Professional Members of SPE

Michael Hauer, Chairman of Calgary Section YP, and Ramez Hanna Alla, Chair of Calgary Section

Being an SPE member means much more than having access to papers or receiving invites to conferences. It is an opportunity to be part of the largest community of upstream energy professionals that spans 143,000 members in more than 147 countries… but who’s counting? While the technical contributions that SPE enables in the industry are well recognized, the society also offers a tremendous variety of professional development opportunities and networks to skyrocket one’s career to new bounds. This is what ambitious young professionals crave as they enter the industry and are eager to propel their careers forward.

The SPE Young Professionals (YP) is a global initiative which aims to serve the needs of those who are less than 36 years of age or who have less than 10 years of industry experience. In Calgary, the YPs are one of the most active groups in the community and are the proud recipients of the 2014 SPE Section Award for Outstanding Young Professional Activity. With more than 30 volunteers, the YP committee works tirelessly to provide platforms to develop personal and professional skills. Through these efforts, the YP community has grown to encompass 1,900 of the 5,400 members in the Calgary Section. So why get involved? What can you stand to gain? How will this add value to your career? Is it worth your time? The following paragraphs will aim to answer these questions and explore the value of participating with your local YP group.

On the technical side, the SPE Calgary Section YPs hold a monthly luncheon and monthly technical seminar which operate in parallel to the Calgary Section technical program. The luncheons allow participants to engage with highly relevant topics that affect their day-to-day lives on a micro- and macrolevel, while the seminar series provides an opportunity to get into the details and develop profound technical competence on the subject matter. Similar to any technical course, the seminar engages participants with class exercises, course notes and group work to ensure the concepts are well understood, while the luncheon creates a comfortable platform for open discussion between the participants and the speaker, which often results in very engaging dialogue. Although these sessions won’t make you an expert overnight, they provide you with the information and resources required to find what you need to address the challenges that you face at work, or simply help grow your knowledge base and develop your technical competence early in your career.

Soft skills are now more desired than ever; employers are constantly looking for the best candidate that fits with the company. This is why the YPs focus heavily on supporting soft skill development through workshops and social networking opportunities. The workshops focus on equipping YPs with the tools needed to support career development. To enable this, the YP committee engages keynote speakers from all aspects of the energy sector (i.e., management, finance, technical, operations, service providers, academia, etc.) to ensure various perspectives are captured. Recent topics have included: managing change, charting your career path, and leadership development, all featuring industry-leading experts and mentors. These workshops have proven very popular with the YP community (i.e., Calgary Section YPs have hosted the world’s largest YP workshops with 150+ registrants), and feedback has suggested that program offerings in the soft skills are highly beneficial for our members, particularly in the early stages of their careers.

Another essential facet of developing soft skills is building a strong base of industry networks and mentors. The YPs provide unparalleled platforms to meet like-minded YPs while having a great deal of fun along the way. The YP events team hosts networking events on a monthly basis, including the very popular (and free) “Thirsty Third Thursday,” which is held after work on the third Thursday of every month, and brings together over 120 professionals. Every other month, a larger social event is executed as the interest from our YP community continues to grow. The annual Kimberley ski trip has been running in January for the past 6 years and currently attracts more than 110 YP attendees. Over the past year, we also hosted the First Annual Young Professionals Golf Tournament with 120 players, and a second YP ski trip to Revelstoke Mountain Resort. These offerings have been very successful in building a strong YP community within the industry.

If you’re still not convinced that the YPs are worth checking out, consider this: most of your company’s top executives are likely SPE members and can testify to the value that the organization has brought to their careers. Take advantage of the SPE member directory search on www.spe.org and see if you can find a member at your company worth talking to. SPE has been responsible for opening doors to business deals because of the numerous platforms that are designed to bring energy professionals together. At these gatherings, senior industry leaders share strategies and knowledge with their counterparts to help grow their business. As a YP looking to get the most out of your career, there is nothing that beats the opportunity to be surrounded by these leaders and engage in the challenges.

So, why get involved with your local YP group? The answer is, why not? If you don’t end up advancing your technical competence (which you will), or if you don’t end up engaging with key industry leaders (which you will), or even if you don’t end up learning something new about where you want your career to go (which you definitely will), at least you’ll have fun along the way by being part of a community of like-minded individuals who want to work together in moving the industry forward. As a personal recommendation from Michael and Ramez—start small, grab a beer at the next YP social, and say hi to someone you don’t know—the rest will develop on its own.


15CHOC Attendees Take Advantage of Downturn to Learn

The SPE Canada Heavy Oil Technical Conference’s theme this year was “Barrels of Knowledge,” and for approximately 600 attendees, the conference brought technical knowledge to the forefront.

Conference chair Cal Coulter says organizers developed this year’s conference with the working petroleum engineer in mind. “It’s about collaboration,” said Coulter of the conference’s sessions. “It’s timely in terms of an industry that is turned down and looking for alternate solutions. It offers, as always and maybe more than always, networking opportunities and a chance to meet people and share ideas that can help those who are unemployed.”

During the economic downturn the industry is currently experiencing, the conference ensured attendees gathered knowledge to continue the development of new technology.  The SPE Canada Heavy Oil Technical Conference encourages collaboration amongst presenters and attendees to encourage progress within the industry.

The final day of the conference began with a networking breakfast that allowed attendees the opportunity to collaborate and discuss what they have learned over the past two days. Day three started with an in-depth look at Reservoir Characterization, Thermal Well Integrity and Production Optimization (SAGD). 

SPE Thermal Well Integrity & Design Symposium was one of SPE’s most popular events and a hot topic over the past few years. This year’s SPE Canada Heavy Oil Technical Conference added a session dedicated to highlight this growing area of expertise. The integrity of thermal wells over their life cycle relies on sound components, design, and well construction. The session presented an array of technical papers on the latest in design practices and well integrity solutions.

The conference finished off with a stimulating session on thermal SAGD. In this session, special methods in calibrating simulation files and improved history matching and forecasting techniques were discussed. In addition to this session, non-SAGD production optimization ran congruently next door. The session speakers discussed innovative and novel approaches for optimizing recovery from heavy oil reservoirs by recovery methods other than SAGD.

Papers and case studies for optimization through sand control methods, channeled well remediation in unconsolidated reservoirs, polymer flood technology in heavy-oil reservoirs, flu gas assisted hybrid SAGD in offshore reservoirs, and improved field surveillance techniques were presented and discussed. Other presentations included the successful post-completion sand-control method used in thermal enhanced oil recovery operations at the Kern River Field in Bakersfield, CA, and a case study of flue gas-assisted SAGD in offshore heavy-oil reservoirs.

The conference program committee and SPE Canada would like to thank everyone for attending this year's conference. They are already looking forward to seeing attendees again in 2016 at the SPE Canada Heavy Oil Technical Conference, which will be held June 2016. Details of the event will be posted soon at www.spe.org/canada.


Calgary Section Recognizes Volunteers

Exemplary volunteerism by SPE Calgary Section members were acknowledged at the SPE Calgary Section Service Awards and Volunteer Appreciation Reception.

At a gathering at the Calgary Petroleum Club on 20 May, the SPE Calgary Section awarded. The award winners were selected from a pool of nominations submitted by the Calgary Section and were then decided upon by an awards nomination committee. The call was sent out to only the Calgary Section membership for nomination. The time periods was the technical program year from September 2014 to May 2015.

The section is the third largest section in the world with more than 5,400 members participating in more than 100 activities each year organized by a large amount of dedicated volunteers. To acknowledge outstanding contribution and show appreciation for the hard work and dedication that has continued to make the SPE Community in Calgary one of the most active in the world, the SPE Calgary Section Board of Directors selected the following recipients for this year’s recognition.

·            Outstanding Young Professional—Laura Weeden

·            Invaluable Volunteer—Karl Miller

·            Technical Excellence and Achievement—Robert    Bachman

·            Innovative Section Growth—Claudio Virues

·            Outstanding SPE Student Chapter Activity SPE Student Chapter—University of Calgary

·            Outstanding SPE Student Chapter Activity SPE Student Chapter—University of Waterloo 

·            Innovative Project Excellence  —STEP Energy Services       

·            Community Engagement—Chevron Canada          

·            SPE Partner Award—ConocoPhillips Canada       



SPE/CSGM Joins Forces to Explore Gas Migration Challenges

After a first time partnership between SPE and the Canada Society For Gas Migration (CSGM), organizers now reflect on the success of its Gas Migration Challenges – Identification and Treatment Workshop held in May in Banff.

The workshop offered 18 presentations, one keynote, and two panel sessions. Planning for the workshop started in February of 2014, some 15 months prior to the event.

Workshop Chairperson Ian Cameron of Quantum Petrophysics Incorporated, said his previous work with the SPE for Thermal Integrity workshops sparked the need for the CSGM to align themselves with SPE’s infrastructure. 

“The CSGM already had a strong membership base and conducted monthly meetings over the last several years,” said Cameron. These members included a very even mix of industry operators, service companies, and also regulators including the Alberta Energy Regulators (AER) and Orphan Well Association (OWA)—all with the goal of sharing technology and solutions to help the industry as a whole. “SPE provided a much needed existing network, resources, organization and talented event coordinators that allowed the CSGM to initiate their first large workshop with huge success—even in a downturn market.”

The 15 industry professionals from the CSGM who volunteered on the committee to help organize the event, dig up presenters, and provide much needed input to the overall success of the event are also to be commended.

Another reason for the workshop’s popularity was the topic’s topic growing interest by the industry.

“The industry is definitely seeing more and more of these gas migration issues as time goes on,” said Cameron. “This is partially due to the breakdown of cement over time.  More awareness and testing has also helped seed this growth.  The financial burden by operating companies to do their due diligence and take care of these ‘noncontributing’ wells with gas migrations is also a challenge for the industry.”

The next workshop has been set for early May 2017.  The thought behind this was to skip a year to get more case studies presented in the next one, as well as a hope that the oil industry economy will have improved by that time to increase the number of attendees.

“For a first-time event, I can confidently say it was a huge success,” Cameron said. “We did slightly better than breaking even—and for this current economic time, that is very positive.”

Feedback gathered from attendees mentioned that the workshop exceeded expectations and there was an appreciation for the workshop’s unique setting that encouraged an openness to share and discuss issues and solutions.