1990-2007: Toward the Future
- John Donnelly (JPT Editor)
- Document ID
- Society of Petroleum Engineers
- Journal of Petroleum Technology
- Publication Date
- October 2007
- Document Type
- Journal Paper
- 128 - 138
- 2007. Copyright is held partially by SPE. Contact SPE for permission to use material from this document.
- 1 in the last 30 days
- 45 since 2007
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During the 1990s, SPE took significant steps to ensure that it remained valuable to the practicing petroleum professional. It became truly international, continuing the mission that had begun more than 2 decades earlier; it opened offices outside the US and broadened board representation to enhance global member needs and services; it expanded programming to keep up with demographic and technological changes sweeping the industry; and it entered the electronic age, streamlining internal processes and giving the industry a powerful and effective Web tool.
The next decade and a half would see SPE broadening its presence on the ground throughout the world. In 1990, the SPE Board voted to open an office in London to coordinate activities in Europe, Africa, the Middle East, and India. At the end of 1981, SPE had 3,837 members, excluding students, in these regions—just under 10% of total membership. But by year-end 1990, membership in those regions had almost tripled and now represented 21.5% of total membership. During the same period, membership in the US had declined more than 5%. An office in Kuala Lumpur would open in 1995 to improve member services in the growing Asia region, and an office in Dubai to bolster Middle East activities would follow in 2003. This year, SPE will open an office in Russia.
That international trend was borne out in total membership growth as well. Overall membership grew by a third in the 1980s, despite the severe industry contraction, thanks to non-US growth. Total membership rose from 38,799 in 1980 to 51,586 at the end of 1990. Non-US membership more than doubled, from 7,876 in 1980 to 17,127 at the end of 1990. Members residing in countries other than the US now represented a third of total membership, and international growth would continue in the new decade. Eight new sections from seven countries and five new student chapters received charters in 1990, for example, putting the total number of countries with SPE sections or student chapters at 41. Among the new sections formed were ones in Mexico, Germany, Nigeria, Congo, and Bombay, India. New student chapters were formed in the United Arab Emirates and Yugoslavia. International growth was increasingly reflected in the makeup of SPE programs and services.
But perhaps the most symbolic event representing this trend came in 1991, when the society’s Nominating Committee selected Jacques Bosio to become 1993 SPE President. Bosio, an executive with Elf Aquitaine Production in Paris, would become SPE’s first non-US president.
“SPE was perceived as 100% US at one time, but it was opening new sections every year outside the US and appeared to be going in that direction,” recalls Bosio, who had helped establish the SPE France Section in the early 1980s. “Fortunately, some presidents before me, such as Orville Gaither and Kenneth Robbins, had vision and realized that the center of gravity of the oil business was moving east.
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