Your SPE: Enhancing the SPE Value Proposition in China
- Leo Roodhart (2009 SPE President)
- Document ID
- Society of Petroleum Engineers
- Journal of Petroleum Technology
- Publication Date
- November 2008
- Document Type
- Journal Paper
- 12 - 14
- 2008. 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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One of my last trips as President-Elect was to China. My visit was marked by two key events: the recent tragic earthquake in Sichuan and the excitement leading up to the Olympics. These topics were on every agenda, together with SPE and the oil industry, of course.
I went to China to talk to company leaders and representatives of four of the five active sections about how the industry might develop over the next 20 years and how SPE can help it to respond to a rapidly changing world. There must be millions of engineers in this country with a population of over 1.3 billion people. But total SPE membership is just 1,740, with most members belonging to the Beijing, Daqing, Northern China International, and Southern China sections. My challenge in China was to communicate SPE’s value proposition: SPE is not just about conferences and workshops but has a role as a relationship broker between engineers and the providers of knowledge. It provides a vehicle for individuals and companies to maximize business and networking opportunities through events, publications, and electronic media—a concept that the senior management of the Chinese NOCs finds difficult to understand. They view SPE membership as valuable at a corporate level, offering “a window on the external world.” The senior company executives have calculated exactly how many members they need to ensure an effective distribution across their organizations of JPT magazines, access to the eLibrary, and notice of upcoming workshops and conferences. They are very supportive of SPE’s sister organization in China, the Chinese Petroleum Society, which publishes many Chinese technical papers and hosts events around the country.
Dues of members in the Beijng, Daqing and Southern China sections are paid by their companies. Membership numbers will increase only as a result of further added value rather than from lower dues. So, how do we boost membership in China?
Discussions during my meetings offered a few solutions. All sections requested that we set up a program of regional (meaning Chinese) Distinguished Lecturers and a Chinese-language professional network targeting those nationals who work outside China. However, Chinese translations of SPE papers was not seen as adding value, particularly in the China National Offshore Oil Corporation, where the objective is to encourage engineers to learn English.
I am one of SPE’s main advocates of further globalization of the Society, so how do I match that objective with listening to local needs that call for a more insular approach, which is totally in keeping with the Chinese culture and which we must respect?
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