2015 ATCE: Meeting Tomorrow’s Energy Demand

The 2015 SPE Annual Technical Conference and Exhibition (ATCE) will be held at the George R. Brown Convention Center in Houston on 28–30 September. Featuring workshops, training courses, 46 technical sessions, and more than 300 exhibitors, ATCE gives industry professionals the opportunity to learn about the latest trends, share technical knowledge, and network.

Opening General Session

The topic of Monday’s opening general session will be “2040: The Journey and the Destination—Diverse Perspectives.” Panelists will discuss challenges that the industry faces in meeting the expected 32% growth in world oil demand by 2040, as projected by the US Energy Information Administration. As companies cut capital spending and delay projects because of the drop in oil prices, fewer new fields are being discovered and produced, starting a trend that could affect future crude supply.

Special Sessions

On Monday afternoon, attendees will have a choice of two special sessions. “Value Preservation: Sustainability and Management of Aboveground Risk” will highlight how sustainability and the management of aboveground risk add value to projects, discuss the key issues encountered across the project life cycle, and show some of the tools that can be used to address them. The session titled “Gas Scrubber Design and Validation for Robust Separation Duty” will feature the use of gas scrubbers in upstream processes and how to evaluate their performance.

The special sessions on “Error Analysis and Uncertainty in Flow Assurance and Facility Design” and “Managing the Future Impact of Current Cost Cutting” will be held concurrently on Tuesday morning. The former will focus on the role of error analysis in flow assurance processes, production engineering, and facilities design. The latter will feature a discussion by SPE’s technical directors on how the industry should respond to low oil prices to avoid negative effects on future operations.

On Tuesday afternoon, a special session titled “Process Safety and Culture in Wells” will look at the progress that the industry has made in improving the safety records of operating companies and contractors.

Also, on Tuesday, the Research and Development (R&D) and Wellbore Positioning technical sections will each host a topical luncheon. The Projects, Facilities, and Construction, and Health, Safety, Security, Environment and Social Responsibility technical sections will cohost a luncheon titled “Understanding Communities: A Key to Project Success.”

On Wednesday morning, a special session titled “Learn to Start Your Own Business and Grow Your Networking Skills,” will be an opportunity to learn from the experts about how to frame a plan to start a business and how to leverage networking skills to influence change and build business relationships.

SPE To Collect Stories From Industry Veterans at ATCE

SPE members who have worked in the exploration and production sector for 25 years or more will have an opportunity to talk about their experiences at the Share Your Story History Booth during the 2015 Annual Technical Conference and Exhibition.

Interviews will be recorded and preserved in the Engineering and Technology History Wiki (, a multisociety, collaborative website about the history of the engineering profession. Participants will receive a copy of the interview to share with their family and friends.

Sample questions, a sample recording, and tips on how to prepare for the interview are available on the website. To sign up for a 30-minute audio interview, visit

Annual Events

Each year, ATCE holds the following luncheons, presentations, and events:

On Monday, Gustavo Hernández-García, general chair of 2015 ATCE and director general and chief executive officer of Pemex Exploration and Production, will share his insights on the oil and gas industry at the annual chairman’s luncheon. On Tuesday evening, the Annual Awards Banquet, which recognizes outstanding SPE members who have made significant contributions to the industry, will be held. Banquet attendees are invited to gather for a reception at the Hilton Americas Hotel preceding the event.


On Wednesday, 2015 SPE President Helge Hove Haldorsen will host the annual president’s luncheon. He will speak about SPE’s achievements and upcoming initiatives. Notable volunteers and award-winning SPE sections will be recognized, and attendees will have the opportunity to meet SPE Board members and 2016 SPE President Nathan Meehan.



Popular PetroBowl Quiz Game Expands

For the first time, SPE is expanding its popular, fast-paced PetroBowl Championship into a global program. Held at the SPE Annual Technical Conference and Exhibition (ATCE), the final competition will include seeded teams from six regional qualifying rounds held across the globe.

The top two teams of each regional qualifying round will earn a seeded placement in the championship and a fully sponsored trip to ATCE, which will be held in Houston this year. Additional partial sponsorships are available based on the teams’ performances in their regional qualifying rounds.

The competition for university students covers technical and nontechnical aspects of the oil and gas industry. Last year, the contest marked a transition period in which there were only regional qualifiers for Africa and Asia Pacific, along with some teams that qualified through an online application process. This year’s final will present winning teams from around the world, ensuring a geographically varied contest.

The top two teams in the regional qualifiers are:

  • North America: University of Calgary and Colorado School of Mines.
  • Middle East: King Abdullah University of Science and Technology and Texas A&M University at Qatar
  • Africa: Federal University of Petroleum Resources Effurun and Federal University of Technology, Owerri
  • Europe: Delft University of Technology and Khazar University
  • Asia Pacific: China University of Petroleum Beijing and China University of Petroleum Huadong
  • South America and Caribbean: National Autonomous University of Mexico and Federal University of Campina Grande.

A total of 103 teams representing 28 countries are competing this year. For more information, visit

Training Courses and Technical Section Meetings

Over Saturday, Sunday, and Thursday, 34 professional training courses covering a variety of technical disciplines will be held.

On Sunday morning, attendees can learn to improve their future paper submissions in a session titled “How To Write a Good Technical Paper.” During the free 3–hour session, participants will learn about tips for making a good presentation and how to prepare technical papers for the peer-review process. Additional sessions will be offered on Monday afternoon and Tuesday morning.

On Sunday afternoon, the SPE Drilling Systems Automation technical section will hold its annual symposium. Student teams who participated in the section’s first annual Drillbotics competition will present papers about their projects. The first-place team will present a paper during the conference.

The International Faculty session will also be held on Sunday afternoon. A panel made up of industry professionals and members of academia will investigate trends in faculty recruitment, retention, and development. The program will also feature a presentation of the SPE Innovative Faculty Award and presentations by winners of the SPE Young Faculty Research Grant.

On Sunday evening, the Digital Energy and R&D technical sections will each host a dinner. Sha-Chelle Manning of Pioneer Resources will speak at the R&D dinner on modern material and manufacturing technologies, and rapid prototyping and their implications for the oil and gas industry.

Other Events

  • On Monday evening, there will be a Projects, Facilities, and Construction (PFC) dinner. The role of complexity in project failures will be discussed by a group of experts. The panel will be moderated by PFC technical director Howard Duhon.
  • On Tuesday morning, a team of decision-making professionals will present a technical report on ways to achieve quicker and more profitable results for multicompany upstream projects. The panel will consist of a wide variety of experts such as project managers, facility engineers, reservoir engineers, and commercial managers.
  • A series of four soft skills workshops will be held on Tuesday morning and afternoon. The topics will cover ethics, diversity, communication, and critical thinking skills. All workshops include lunch at noon.
  • On Monday and Tuesday, attendees can visit ENGenious, a young technology showcase sponsored by the Journal of Petroleum Technology.

Students and Young Professionals

On Monday morning, the 14th annual Student PetroBowl will begin. Teams from around the world will compete in a tournament-style contest that tests their knowledge of the exploration and production (E&P) sector and SPE.

On Tuesday morning, the International Student Paper Contest will be held for undergraduate and graduate divisions. The PhD level of the contest will begin in the afternoon.

At the Student General Session on Tuesday afternoon, students will learn about future careers. SPE will also honor outstanding student chapters, winners of the International Student Paper Contest and PetroBowl, and scholarship and fellowship recipients.

On Wednesday morning, SPE’s energy4me educational outreach program will offer a daylong workshop called “Energize Your Classroom” for 200 Houston-area teachers. Educators will receive hands-on training, listen to a presentation from a keynote speaker, tour the exhibition halls, and receive free learning materials for their classrooms.

Energy4me will also host a group of 200 high school students who will participate in a scavenger hunt in the exhibit areas and in hands-on lessons on energy. They will have the opportunity to talk to industry professionals about potential careers in E&P.

SPE Pavilion

At the SPE Pavilion, staff members are available to answer questions about membership, continuing education programs, publications, sections, and student activities.

For more information about the conference and to see the full program, visit

2015 ATCE: Meeting Tomorrow’s Energy Demand

Jack Betz, JPT Staff Writer

01 August 2015

Volume: 67 | Issue: 8

No editorial available



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