Creating a network and serving the market:The Society of Petroleum Engineers

By Melissa Schultea, SPE Senior Manager Canadian Activities

Many people don’t realize that, despite its name, the Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE) is not just for petroleum engineers.  SPE welcomes a broad array of individuals working in the upstream oil and gas industry and related fields.  About one-third of SPE’s more than 75,000 professional members have a degree in petroleum engineering, but just as many members hold some other type of engineering degree.  A significant portion of SPE members hold non-engineering degrees, like geology, geophysics, chemistry, and business.

SPE’s members face a grand challenge — meeting the world’s energy needs in a sustainable and environmentally friendly way.  To help them do that, SPE provide trusted technical knowledge through such resources as periodicals and books; conferences, workshops, and technical exhibitions; training courses; and local section meetings.

With a year-end 2011 membership of 104,762, SPE is the largest individual-member organization serving managers, engineers, scientists, and other professionals worldwide in the upstream segment of the oil and gas industry.

The SPE Canada office in Calgary is home to one of SPE’s two training centres. SPE knows the importance of continuing education for keeping skills up to date, improving expertise, and learning new technologies, so a series of programs and courses are held to cover a wide range of topics and new technologies. Courses on the Evaluation of Canadian Oil and Gas Properties and In-Situ Recovery Methods and SAGD are just a snapshot of the many training courses that are scheduled for 2012. A complete list of training courses is available at

SPE is always looking for ways to expand and improve its training offerings, particularly in identifying new training course ideas and instructors. If you have expertise in an area not already covered, or know someone who does, contact me at

In addition to the training courses, SPE holds conferences and workshops each year in Canada. The inaugural SPE Heavy Oil Conference-Canada will take place this June in Calgary. The conference will provide international perspectives on best practices and technological advances in the exploration and production of heavy oil, as well as the opportunities and challenges faced in the process.

In September, the SPE Hydrocarbon Economics and Evaluation Symposium will be held, also in Calgary.  The event is expected to attract some of the world’s leading financial analysts and management professionals to discuss the economics of oil and gas exploration and production.

Finally, in November, SPE will host the Canadian Unconventional Resources Conference. The program will offer E&P professionals the latest techniques and best practices for discovering, developing, and producing unconventional resources in North America.

Upcoming workshops include Thermal Sand Control in May, Thermal Well Integrity in November, and Carbonate Reservoirs in February 2013.  For a listing of workshops and conferences as their details are finalized, visit the SPE event calendar at

Among its suite of periodicals, SPE publishes the Journal of Canadian Petroleum Technology. This bi-monthly peer-reviewed journal focuses on heavy oil and oil sands technology, thermal recovery techniques, unconventional gas supplies, optimization techniques, increasing recovery from older basins, and other technologies designed for the production challenges of Canada and similar producing regions.

SPE has six local sections in Canada, in Calgary, Edmonton, Halifax, Lloydminster, Saskatchewan, and St. John’s.  Sections provide an important way for members to learn about technical matters through distinguished lecturer visits and locally organized events, as well as to network socially with colleagues.

For more information about SPE’s Canadian activities, visit


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