Regional News


An Important Announcement About JCPT’s Future

Darcy Spady, Regional Director—SPE International Board

This is not a happy column for me to write, but in spite of my disappointment, I believe that we can still be thankful and remember a host of incredible work and volunteers that have brought a lot of technical knowledge to our members over the last 54 years.

My unhappiness stems from the fact that this is the last issue of JCPT in its current form.  This publication has been the longest-running journal in all of SPE and has fostered an entire generation of revolutionary new ideas, especially in the field of heavy oil in Canada. Due to the condition of the industry and our funding sources within the Society, we on the SPE Board of Directors started more than a year ago the very painful process of evaluating our programs and shortlisting what we had no choice but to cut. JCPT in its present published form was on that shortlist, and as the Regional Director for Canada, it is my responsibility. Contributions to the journal have become more scarce, printed journals have become a thing of the past (JCPT was not the only print journal to be affected by this evaluation process), advertising revenue was difficult to find, and last but not least, fewer than 10% of Canadian members subscribe to the printed journal. I could not in good conscience advocate for the continual losses of JCPT when viewed against other vital SPE programs. I am sad, and some are angry, but most agree that, as members, we cannot keep funding a money-losing publication. My hope is that a phoenix of the JCPT concept—perhaps in conjunction with another publisher, or perhaps as a precursor to a worldwide SPE Heavy Oil Journal (if peer-reviewed print journals ever rebound)—will return to showcase Canadian and heavy-oil technology.

Enough of the negative! What made JCPT so successful for so many years, and has continued to be its strength, is the AMAZING group of volunteers, authors, reviewers, and editors that we have had and continue to have. Many come to mind. Go back a couple of pages and look at the editorial board members list; seek them out, thank them profusely—and maybe even buy them lunch. A finer group would be hard to find. Two people in particular come to mind, and they have both led the charge over the years. Gokhan Coskuner and Jian-Yang Yuan are those two people. They are amongst the hardest-working volunteers, and it has been very difficult to face these members and discuss the reasoning behind this decision. To Gokhan and JY, I can simply say, THANK YOU. To the other members of the editorial board, and others not listed in the current journal, such as Roberto Aguilera and Robert Taylor, many thanks from me, and also from the thousands of young members and academics who have benefited from JCPT and its influence over the years.

Being your Regional Director for the past 2 years has been primarily a positive experience. This particular piece of business has not been easy, but we must take the good with the bad. As our 2015 SPE President Helge Hove Haldorsen has said a number of times; “To choose is to lead.” This has been a tough choice. By making this choice, we have preserved other things, such as SPE’s continued belief in the value of peer review through the publication of its remaining journals. It’s also important to note that the complete JCPT archive will continue to be offered through OnePetro.

Another thing we are preserving and fostering at SPE through the careful stewardship of funds is the growth across Canada of sections and services, especially for young members. In October, I was in St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador to witness a very oversubscribed training course and a very successful workshop, both on offshore and deepwater technologies and both a first in St. John’s for SPE. From Vancouver to Grande Prairie to McGill University to the Maritimes, we are circulating Distinguished Lecturers, adding members, motivating students, holding gatherings of all shapes and sizes, and disseminating our technical learnings. In spite of some painful cuts and changes, I am proud to be part of an organization that endures, sometimes in new forms, as our mission states: To collect, disseminate, and exchange technical knowledge.........


Darcy Spady

Regional Director, Canada


The Journal of Canadian Petroleum Technology (JCPT) was founded more than half a century ago, in the spring of 1962. Quickly, JCPT became a Canadian platform for exchanging technical information and debating thoughts within the technical ring of the petroleum upstream business. Over the past few decades, JCPT earned its reputation as the indicator of Canadian innovations in the petroleum industry, especially in the heavy-oil and oil-sands areas, where Canada leads the world. Generations of Canadian petroleum engineers and researchers have grown up with the nurture and the inspiration of JCPT. Canadian and international authors consider JCPT as one of the most prestigious journals in the petroleum industry for their manuscripts for publication. Having survived a number of hardships, JCPT is truly the pride and identity for many Canadians. My heart hurt when I obtained the news that SPE will be suspending publication of JCPT. I am sure many of you feel the same. As a reader, an author, and an editor, I have been involved with JCPT for more than 20 years. It is impossible for me to detach JCPT from my career in this industry. Emotions aside, however, we must face the reality—the entire petroleum industry is now suffering its down time.

Many young, talented individuals fresh out of school are forced to face a gloomy job market. I am often asked, what should I do under today’s circumstances? My answer is always simple; while trying to understand the big picture, do your best with what you can control. The petroleum industry is driven by technologies and innovations. However, the competitive advantages are not necessarily measured by the ownership of intellectual properties, but more practically by one’s better understanding of assets and capabilities in applying technologies to the assets. Over several decades, we have witnessed numerous successes and failures. There seems to be a strong correlation between the success of a project and the degree of respect for the laws of Mother Nature. When we are busy, we tend to follow a cookie-cutter formula without truly understanding why. Our common excuses are that we are too busy. If it works there, it must work here. Sometimes, a false “innovation” can also trigger disasters. As the industry slows down, we as a community should make more time for fundamentals. We should also spend more time and energy learning and sharing knowledge. When the busy times return, we will be smarter, more innovative, and more prepared.

It pains me to say this is the last issue of JCPT. I would like to take this opportunity to express my sincere gratitude to all the technical editors, associate editors and past executive editors. All of us came together to work for JCPT voluntarily with a common goal—to make JCPT a journal of high standards. Tremendous appreciations are due to the authors and readers of JCPT. Your support has been the backbone of JCPT, the peer-reviewed SPE journal with the longest history to date. My gratitude also goes to the JCPT staff editors. Without their tireless work, none of this would have been possible. Lately, I have been getting emails and phone calls showing the support of the community, and I am very thankful. We are strong and smart. Our Canadian leadership in the petroleum technology community will prevail. We will be back!

JCPT Executive Editor

Jian-Yang Yuan, Osum Oil Sands



University of Calgary Students Participate in 2015 PetroBowl Competition


From left to right: Aaron Shukin, Keith Letendre, Ryan Taylor, Jennifer Gee represented the University of Calgary in the PetroBowl Competition at ATCE.

Congratulations to the University of Calgary for their strong showing in the PetroBowlSM Competition! The annual competition matches SPE student chapter teams against one another in a fast-paced quiz competition covering technical and nontechnical aspects of the oil and gas industry.

In 2015, 103 teams from 28 countries competed against each other in six regional qualifier competitions. The University of Calgary team earned its spot in the international PetroBowl competition by winning the 20-team North American Regional Qualifier Competition in Norman, Oklahoma, USA in February 2015; they defeated teams from Texas A&M University, Pennsylvania State University, and Louisiana State University on their way to the championship.

Jennifer Gee, Julian Nunez, Jordan Bowie, and Keith Letendre, all petroleum or chemical engineering students from the Schulich School of Engineering, enjoyed competing as a team and demonstrating their technical and historical industry knowledge. “Winning the qualifiers, where we competed against universities that have historically been the top seeds or past competition winners, was a huge accomplishment for our team, especially considering the limited amount of time that we were given to prepare,” said Gee. Team members used their previous work experience in combination with university academics and other technical insight to gain a competitive edge.

The team then moved on to compete in the international PetroBowl Championship, which included 36 teams and was held in September at the SPE Annual Technical Conference and Exhibition in Houston. Team members Gee, Letendre, Aaron Shukin, and Ryan Taylor had been studying throughout the summer by reading SPE’s PetroWiki, The Prize by Daniel Yergin, and BP’s 2014 Statistical Review of World Energy, as well as brushing up on petroleum engineering and geology courses. “PetroBowl tests your ability to remember what you’ve learnt in school, apply what you’ve gained through work experience, and be able to think quickly on the spot,” Taylor said.

While the Calgary team lost a tough first-round match to the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, they enjoyed their time at ATCE, noting that a particular highlight was being able to represent Canada as the only Canadian team in the competition. (For the first time in PetroBowl history, an international team took home the championship title, with the team from the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México claiming top honors.) They also valued the opportunity to meet and interact with members of other SPE student chapters around the world and share experiences regarding academics and work while making connections worldwide. “Attending ATCE is an incredible opportunity for students who are interested in joining the industry, and being able to compete in PetroBowl only magnifies the experience,” Gee noted. “Competing in both the Regional Qualifiers and the PetroBowl Championship were definite highlights to my final year in engineering,” Letendre added.

From left to right: Jennifer Gee, Julian Nunez, Jordan Bowie, and Keith Letendre contributed to a University of Calgary win at the North American Regional Qualifier Competition in February 2015. (Nunez and Bowie graduated in May 2015, so two new team members were added for the international PetroBowl Competition at ATCE.)


Women of SPE Event

In June 2015, more than 100 members of the Calgary Section gathered at the Calgary Petroleum Club to kick off the section’s new Women of SPE program. The focus of the meeting was to introduce the Women of SPE concept and allow attendees to provide feedback to help develop further programming. The evening, sponsored by CAPP and the Raise Your Hand campaign, attracted women of all ages, including university students.

The Women of SPE group was formed earlier this year by Calgary Section Chair Ramez Hanna Alla and section member Melanie Popp. The purpose was to increase the engagement of women within SPE by providing programs on career progression and navigation, network mentoring, and managing work/life balance. As the group notes in its mission statement, “We will empower women to take a positive step in their career by embracing senior positions inside their organizations, and engage in the sharing of technical knowledge concerning the exploration, development and production of oil and gas resources.”

Christine Bovaird, Senior Researcher – Strategic Energy Themes with IHS, said she enjoyed meeting other women who are industry leaders and mentors. “The event and initiative reinforced my belief that industry and sciences are strengthened through diversity,” she stated. “I appreciate SPE recognizing this and developing programming to welcome and engage this group.”

All SPE members are eligible to participate; the group plans to meet quarterly, with meeting topics varying from technical to soft-skill and networking-focused initiatives. While Calgary is currently the only section offering this program, it may be rolled out to other SPE sections in the future.



SPE Canada Celebrates the Success of Several Regionally Focused Industry Events

Canadian members have recently benefited from a number of regionally focused events addressing current industry challenges.
On 6–7 October, SPE Canada held the Deepwater and Harsh Environment Development Strategies Workshop in St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador. This was the first SPE event to be held in St. John’s, and it was a success, with attendance from local SPE members, Gulf Coast members, and a significant number of members from Norway.
Workshop themes included drilling, well design, facility design, health and safety, and subsurface. Of particular note was the input from the local university, Memorial University of Newfoundland (MUN), and some of the groundbreaking research being performed there. MUN is also home to a thriving SPE Student Chapter, which is hosting the Canadian Region Student Paper Contest in 2016.

A 1-day training course on Deepwater Drilling and Production Technology was offered before the workshop and was also well-attended. “In the current economic conditions, local participants were thrilled to have SPE come to them with the course, rather than send people elsewhere at a much greater cost,” noted Darcy Spady, Regional Director–SPE International Board.

Following the workshop and training course in St. John’s, more than 500 members had the opportunity to attend the 2015 SPE/CSUR Unconventional Resources Conference in Calgary. This event was also a success, with 86 papers presented, a well-attended opening keynote session, five panel sessions, an exhibition, and a technology spotlight (new this year).

The mix of SPE technical sessions and CSUR panels offered a well-balanced and interesting perspective on what’s happening in the industry right now. “Although attendance was down due to economic constraints in the industry, there were great technical papers presented and some good networking opportunities provided. Of particular note was the strength of the panel sessions, at which the current industry situation and some economic outlook scenarios were presented and discussed,” noted Darcy Spady.