President's Column

A Message from 2010 SPE President Behrooz Fattahi

As you read my words in the next few minutes, our planet will be traveling roughly 32 000 km (20,000 miles) in space around the sun, more than 3,000 babies will be born on this planet, and our industry will supply a million barrels of oil in response to the increasing demand for energy.  Our world is going through profound changes, and our lives are being altered in ways that we never could have imagined only a few short years ago.

The important question for us today is how our industry can keep up with the many new and unique challenges posed by this fast-paced change. Some of the most critical ones to the future supply of oil are already affecting us today, including: 

  • The management of human assets, and its associated issues of an aging workforce, recruiting young talent, and developing their skills
  • Intensifying the effort for technology development and accelerating application in the field
  • Incorporating process optimization
  • Promoting collaborative efforts to reduce needless duplication and cost 
  • Managing risk and uncertainties

I would like to focus here on the management of human assets. Training and mentoring young professionals is a valuable investment in future prosperity of the industry. The companies of the future must have a clear strategy to attract talent and engage and retain their talented human assets across the workforce generations.

SPE has played a very active role in skill development for young members. We have formed the Engineering Professionalism Committee, which is acting as a vehicle to establish global standards for industry professionals’ competencies in various disciplines. SPE’s increasing number of conferences and papers and the Continuing Education program are designed to provide lifelong learning opportunities for all industry professionals. The eMentoring programs are designed to provide university students and young professional members the opportunity to learn from and be guided by experienced professionals, wherever they are located.

“Vision without action is a daydream. Action without vision is a nightmare.”

—Japanese proverb

The SPE Talent Council provides a forum where the oil and gas industry collaborates on initiatives related to talent issues, with the central objective of improving the quantity and quality of talent available to the industry. Our Energy4me global outreach provides preuniversity students, their teachers, and the public with easy-to-use, factual information about energy and career options.

To be successful, SPE needs your talent and skills. My goals for my year as president center around organizing the volunteer part of our Society into an organization that can do its work well. At the top of my list is ensuring that we recruit the right volunteers with the right skill sets for the right positions, and that we inspire them to work for our members everywhere in the world and do it very efficiently.

Although SPE offers many programs that are designed for young professionals, some of the best opportunities for growth can occur when you step out of the young professional arena where you are receiving information and training and into a volunteer role. Our young members can play an important role as volunteers. SPE needs your enthusiasm and passion, as well as your active participation and true commitment. A Japanese proverb states: “Vision without action is a daydream. Action without vision is a nightmare.” Without your involvement, none of the worthwhile goals of SPE will be achieved.

I want to invite you to become involved. As a volunteer, you will gain from your involvement with SPE—develop valuable contacts within the industry, add your expertise to planning of technical programs and activities, introduce SPE’s benefits to others, help identify emerging technologies/topics, and enhance your presentation and leadership skills, just to name a few things.

I especially invite your participation in the Energy4me program as a classroom speaker because young professionals make terrific ambassadors to younger students.

You and the next generation of children who are just beginning to study math and science are going to be solving the critical challenges of the future, unlocking the potential energy in deepwater, inhospitable arctic areas, and unconventional oil and gas deposits. You can inspire younger students to take up the challenge by telling what you love about your job, what motivated you to this career path, and how you are making a difference.

Where to start as a volunteer? Choose an area that excites you, even if you have not done it before. Sometimes the best way to learn is to dive in and start swimming. You may swallow a few drops of water but you come back to the surface, take a breath, and dive and swim again. You learn by mistakes, but you will remember your lessons forever.


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