SPE’s Response to COVID-19
Note: The situation with the spread of the virus and government and company responses to it is very fluid. To meet press deadlines for JPT, this piece was written in mid-March. As the situation evolves, SPE will update this note at www.spe.org and individual event or other activity websites with the latest information.
Networking is core to SPE activities, whether through an event, a local section meeting, service on a committee or other activity. The rapid spread of the COVID-19 virus globally is having far-reaching impacts across SPE activities. SPE has acted quickly, first in Asia Pacific, then elsewhere, to avoid increasing potential member and staff exposure. To date, SPE has postponed a number of conferences and most workshops including the following (see event websites for more details).
- OTC Asia, Kuala Lumpur
- Oman Petroleum & Energy Show, Muscat
- International HSE Conference, Bogota
- Latin America and Caribbean Petroleum Engineering Conference, Bogota
- Canada Heavy Oil Conference, Calgary
- Canada Unconventional Resources Conference, Calgary
- Norway Subsurface Conference, Bergen
- Offshore Technology Conference, Houston
By the time you are reading this, it is very likely that more events will have been postponed. By postponing, rather than canceling these events, we ensure that the significant work of program committees and authors to prepare for these events covering important technical topics will not have been wasted.
In a few cases, it may be necessary to cancel an event. Thus far, this includes only the SPE/ICoTA Well Intervention Conference and Exhibition, The Woodlands, Texas. Canceled events are most likely annual events and postponing by a few months would harm the next edition of the event. We are actively investigating options to allow those presenting papers at these events to do so in a digital format to share the content.
In determining whether to postpone an event, SPE is taking into consideration the following factors:
- Conditions in the location where the event is to be held
- Mix of local and international participation expected at the event
- Guidance from key companies for the event about employee travel and participation
Most of the Distinguished Lecturer (DL) tours for March and April have been canceled either due to the situation in the region to be visited or company travel restrictions. We are exploring virtual and digital options for the DL program. SPE has provided some guidance to sections on their decision-making regarding local events, recognizing these are decisions best made at the local level. SPE will use criteria similar to those above in determining how to proceed with activities such as Regional Officers Meetings, Student Paper Contests, and PetroBowl Regional Qualifiers.
We are seeking ways to enable remote participation in as many activities as feasible. Our emphasis in all cases is on local conditions and the health and safety of participants. SPE will continue actively monitoring the situation and potential impacts on future activities. The health and safety of our members, attendees, and staff is our highest priority, and that will guide any decisions that we make.
SPE’s Response to COVID-19
Mark Rubin, CEO and Executive Vice President
01 April 2020
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