September 26, 2022
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SPE’s Technology Focus and a Look Ahead

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The SPE governance model is based on the concept of “think global, act local.” The model connects local sections and student chapters and consolidates to the regional directors. On the technical side, technical sections report to the technical directors. It is a model that is recognized among professional societies as providing the combined benefits of proximity to members along with technology-focused networking capacity.

Technical sections/communities of SPE members share ideas, promote competence, and develop projects related to their technical interest. Technical Sections tend to be more task-oriented than discussion-oriented. They meet virtually for the most part but are encouraged to hold a face‑to‑face meeting at least once a year.

At the 2022 Offshore Technology Conference, Kamel is shown during a presentation.

At the 2022 Offshore Technology Conference, Kamel is shown during a presentation.

Technical sections (TS) evolve with the industry’s current and foreseeable trends. There are nearly 20 technical sections, and over my tenure as president two new sections were approved.

  • The Geothermal Technical Section (GTTS) builds on the synergies between the geothermal industry and the knowledge from the oil and gas industry, especially for enhanced and advanced geothermal systems. GTTS has been off to a great start with the organization of several virtual events, and recently, its participation in physical events such as the SPE EuropEC held last month.
  • The Management Technical Section. As the previous Management & Information technical discipline was split with the creation of the Data Science and Engineering Analytics discipline, the emergence of a standalone TS provides continued focus on the Management side. The latter covers several major topics, including energy economics, strategic planning, etc.

Two other sections are being created on hydrogen and on management of greenhouse-gas emissions, in particular methane.

Technical sections may also be recombined, when needed, to provide maximum efficiency to our members. The consolidation of the Digital Energy TS and the Petroleum Data-Driven Analytics TS has been proposed. A committee has been tasked to evaluate the options moving forward, including the potential creation of new focused sections that would cover emerging areas such as quantum computing.

In last month’s column, I mentioned that the SPE Board of Directors and leadership is undertaking reviewing and updating the SPE Strategic Plan. It is a regular, periodical positioning guide for the Society within a context that has evolved significantly over the past 4 years due to the pandemic crisis, the industry cycle, and the perspectives of the energy transition. With the help of consultants, we have undertaken a number of member interviews that reflect different geographical and business perspectives. These are conducted either through one-on-one discussions, town halls with targeted groups, or smaller focus groups. Regular updates on the strategic plan are provided at SPE Strategic Planning.

We have also created a special discussion channel through SPE Connect, named General Discussion, to facilitate open and relevant dialogue on matters such as the Strategic Plan. This will help avoid discussions on the technical SPE Connect channels. Bimonthly there will be questions posted in the discussion board to solicit input from members on what the future of SPE should look like. Please take this opportunity to engage and have your voice heard.

Following the strategic visioning session conducted in July, the SPE leadership plans to develop the strategy in September–October and to complete the implementation/action planning in October–November.

Since this is my last column, I want to say it has been an honor to serve as your 2022 SPE President. Although it has been a challenging time for our society, I feel we have a strong community that is passionate about what we do and which will be a driving force in the future of our industry for many years to come. We may not be fully aligned on the different issues facing the energy sector, but it is the diversity of the opinions that contribute to a thriving professional society—one that I am proud to belong to.

Kamel is pictured with (left to right) his son Khalil, wife Najoua, and son Anis.

In this photo taken at the 2019 Annual Technical Conference and Exhibition awards banquet in Calgary, Kamel is pictured with (left to right) his son Khalil, wife Najoua, and son Anis. Another son, Walid, was unable to travel at the time.

Working closely with the SPE staff under the leadership of SPE CEO and Executive Vice President Mark Rubin has been a great pleasure. They are all contributing greatly to a smooth navigation across what were rough waters. I have been privileged to work closely with 2021 SPE President Tom Blasingame, who has provided essential guidance alongside the 2023 SPE President Med Kamal.

I look forward to a great 2023 presidency by Med Kamal, with the support of the SPE Board of Directors, the SPE staff, and all the SPE volunteers around the world. I wish I could have visited in person many sections, student chapters, and meetings of technical sections. Hopefully, the travel situation will get back to some normality, and I could enjoy the pleasure of positive response to such invitations. Stay safe and healthy!

As always, I welcome your feedback at president@spe.org.



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