Mid-Continent Section Celebrates Major Milestone

On 26 October, members of the SPE Mid-Continent Section will gather at the Gilcrease Museum in Tulsa to celebrate 100 years of technology and innovation. The Mid-Continent Section was formed 28 December 1917 in Tulsa as the 15th local section of the American Institute of Mining Engineers (AIME) and was until 1935 the only section with a predominantly petroleum membership.

At that time, Tulsa was “The Oil Capital of the World” primarily due to the discovery of the Glenpool field but there were also numerous discoveries in the Red Fork and Bartlesville formations in the surrounding area. Tulsa has always been a leader in innovation and SPE has been a constant force fostering collaboration within petroleum ­technology. From 1951 to 1999, Tulsa was home to the Amoco Research Center where pioneers such as R. Floyd Farris, J.B. Clark, C. Robert Fast, and George C. ­Howard worked to develop and understand the techniques of hydraulic fracturing. The research and development of the “Amerada Bomb” for the measurement of downhole pressure occurred in Tulsa at the Geophysical Research Corporation under the direction of Charles V. Miliken and his team. Other notable members of the section included Michael B. Smith, Kenneth G. Nolte, Ram G. Agarwal, and Robert D. Carter, all known for their work on hydraulic fracturing and pressure transient analysis.

Mid-Continent members gather at a recent section event.


The Mid-Continent Section could not have thrived as it has without the benefit of great leadership. Notable past chairman of the section include Charles Henry Keplinger, Ralph Veatch Jr., and Forrest (F.F.) Craig Jr. Keplinger was a petroleum engineer and reserves consultant. Keplinger Hall at the University of Tulsa now houses the departments of chemistry, biochemistry, geosciences, mathematics, physics, and the Russell School of Chemical Engineering. Veatch is a former supervisor of the Hydraulic Fracturing and Well Completion group at the Amoco Research Center in Tulsa. He is also the author or coauthor of 21 technical papers and six books of petroleum technology. Craig is the author of the SPE Monograph The Reservoir Engineering Aspects of Waterflooding.

Likely the most recognized contribution of the Mid-Continent Section is the hosting of the SPE Improved Oil Recovery Conference. The conference started in 1969 as the Enhanced Oil Recovery Symposium, and in 1994 it became known as the Improved Oil Recovery Symposium. From 1980 through 2010, the meeting was jointly sponsored with the US Department of Energy. Visit for more details on the upcoming conference.

The 26th of October will truly be a time of celebration to remember 100 years of technology and innovation. However, the true goal of the event is to honor the 82 Legion of Honor section members and the legacy they have built in the Mid-Continent. We invite all SPE members to join us for this celebration, especially any former Mid-Continent section members. For more information, visit our section website at

Sponsors of the event are WPX Energy, Cimarex Energy, PetroSkills, Halliburton Energy Services, Rockwater Energy Solutions, Cudd Energy Services, ­Kaiser-Francis Oil Company, Universal Pressure Pumping, Anchor Drilling Fluids, Sooner Pipe, and Baker Hughes, a GE Company.




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