Q&A with Sadad Al-Husseini
- Sadad Al-Husseini (Saudi Aramco (retired)) | _ JPT staff (_)
- Document ID
- Society of Petroleum Engineers
- Journal of Petroleum Technology
- Publication Date
- January 2007
- Document Type
- Journal Paper
- 20 - 22
- 2007. 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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Editor’s Note: In recognition of SPE’s 50th anniversary in 2007, JPT is conducting interviews with several Society luminaries about their careers, their relationship with SPE, and the changes they have seen in the oil and gas industry and the Society over the past several decades.
What do you think are the most important changes or advancements SPE has made during your 25-year tenure with the Society? The most important developments the oil and gas industry has made?
SPE and the oil industry have always been two sides of the same coin. As the industry grew in technology, complexity, and geography, so did SPE match it with its own growth and development. In many ways, the incredible complexity of challenges that we have faced over the last 3 decades drove us to integrating complex technologies from across a whole spectrum of disciplines. This went way beyond geology and geophysics to include breaking advances in information technology, oceanography, robotics, communication, chemistry, and the full range of environmental sciences. This compressed process of knowledge, technology transfer, and integration is probably the most important development that I have seen in the industry in recent years.
How critical a role do professional societies, such as SPE, play in promoting professionalism and high ethical standards in the global oil and gas industry?
The vital role of energy in driving the global economy is something we are all pretty well aware of. Not surprisingly, this means that professionals are always under pressure to deliver new projects or production capacity under harsher and harsher conditions. More often than not, this is exacerbated by massive financial exposure and little or no margin for error.
This situation creates pressures to look for compromises in those areas that may have little immediate impact but may or may not be appropriate. That is true whether you are working with unproven reserves and resource estimates, anticipated production rates, reservoir depletion strategies, the management of hazardous byproducts, or the conservation of natural resources. These are universal issues that can surface in Alberta’s tar sands, the Niger River delta, the Arabian Gulf, or the Sakhalin peninsula.
When you have that kind of pressure, professional peer support along with well-established professional standards and a tradition of operational transparency are the best insurance for sustaining excellence and integrity in our industry.
What role can SPE play in helping to ensure that the industry has the technology and the technical talent it needs for the future?
The oil and gas industry today provides some of the most exciting and rewarding employment opportunities that any young person could ask for. Unfortunately, we have suffered in the past from too much volatility and too many mergers and acquisitions. Management has had to focus more on budgets and Wall Street than on oil and gas fields.
At Saudi Aramco, we sponsored hundreds of Saudi Arabian high school graduates with full scholarships to the best technical universities in the U.S. just to deal with this problem.
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