SPE News

2021 ‘A Peer Apart’ Honorees Announced

This year, six individuals join this elite group, bringing the total membership of A Peer Apart honorees to 192 dedicated members.


With the A Peer Apart award, SPE recognizes the dedicated individuals who have reviewed 100 or more papers for SPE’s peer-reviewed journals.

The peer-review process is an essential part of scientific publishing in that it ensures a journal’s content is well supported and clearly articulated. Volunteers who commit their time to review papers make substantial contributions to the technical excellence of our industry’s literature. The committed reviewers come from a variety of backgrounds, including academia, service and operator companies, and consultancies from around the world.

The peer-review process is a demanding undertaking. In a typical year, more than 1,400 volunteers submit more than 3,500 reviews to SPE’s various journals, with the goal of advancing the technical excellence of our industry’s literature. Over time, the individuals receiving this honor volunteer hundreds of hours to the society, making SPE journals a valuable resource to authors and the industry.

Those who reach the milestone of reviewing 100 papers have accomplished an arduous but important task.

This year, six individuals join this elite group, bringing the total membership of A Peer Apart honorees to 192 dedicated members.

Please join us in congratulating the 2021 honorees.

Yiyan Chen has worked as a principal chemical engineer at Schlumberger for 20 years, mainly in new product development. He started in well stimulation where he developed gravel packing fluid for sand control and fracturing and matrix acidizing fluid for reservoir stimulation. He then spent 4 years in drilling solutions developing water- and oil-based drilling fluid. For the past 4 years, he developed desalter demulsifiers, corrosion inhibitors, and antifoulants for refinery applications, pigging gels, and cleaning products for pipeline services, and organic flow-assurance products for upstream and midstream oil and gas operations. Prior to working in the oil and gas industry, Chen developed specialty concrete and polymeric materials for use in dam, bridge, and hydroelectric power plant construction. An associate editor for SPE Production & Operations, Chen has received more than 50 granted US patents and published dozens of peer-reviewed papers. He holds a BS degree in polymer chemistry from the University of Science and Technology of China and a PhD in organic chemistry from Michigan State University.

Barkim Demirdal is a well integrity engineer for Canadian Natural Resources Ltd., responsible for understanding and managing risks associated with thermal wells operating at western Canadian assets via cyclic steam stimulation, steamflood, and steam-assisted gravity drainage. Previously, he worked for Devon, CNOOC, Husky Energy, and C-FER Technologies Inc. in Canada, focusing on well health, optimization, and risk management of thermal wells. An SPE member for 25 years, Demirdal has served as a technical reviewer and associate editor for SPE Drilling & Completion, as a technical committee member for the SPE Thermal Well Integrity Symposium, and a volunteer with the SPE e-mentoring program. A professional engineer with APEGA, Demirdal holds a BSc degree from Middle East Technical University and an MSc degree from The University of Tulsa, both in petroleum engineering.

Yaqing Fan is a senior reservoir engineer working for Shell International E&P, specializing in numerical modeling of complex subsurface processes such as reservoir engineering in upstream projects and carbon capture, storage, and utilization. He also worked as a subsurface subject-matter expert in multiple digitalization projects, where he developed and deployed machine-learning-based apps for upstream projects. He has been an associate editor for SPE Journal since 2012. Fan was honored with Shell’s Upstream Impact award 2 years in a row; in 2018, he was a lead reservoir engineer on a deepwater project that S&P Global selected as Engineering Project of the Year. Fan holds an MS degree in petroleum engineering and a PhD in energy resources engineering, both from Stanford University.

Jincong He is a staff research scientist and optimization product owner at Chevron Technology Center, where his research focuses on the application of reservoir simulation, history matching, uncertainty assessment, and optimization. He has served as an associate editor for SPE Journal since 2014. He holds a BS degree in theoretical and applied mechanics from Peking University and a PhD in petroleum engineering from Stanford University.

Sezai Ucan specializes in well productivity improvement in conventional and unconventional horizontal wells and reservoir management in mature fields. He is also an instructor for reservoir engineering and well productivity improvement. An active SPE member since 1993, Ucan has worked as associate editor for both SPE Reservoir Evaluation & Engineering and SPE Production & Operations, and was selected twice as Outstanding Technical Editor for SPE Reservoir Evaluation & Engineering. As a research associate at The University of Oklahoma, he developed the first hands-on integrated reservoir characterization and simulation course. Ucan has worked in all giant gas condensate and volatile oil fields (Anaco, Camisea, Margarita, Ramos, San Alberto, Cantrell, Loma La Lata, and Vaca Muerta) of South America, and for the past 20 years has worked in South America (PDVSA, Tecpetrol, and YPF) as a senior reservoir engineering adviser. He holds a BSc degree from Istanbul Technical University, an MS degree from The University of Texas at Austin, and a PhD from The University of Oklahoma.

“Joe” Yunxu Zhou is a senior petroleum engineer at National Oilwell Varco (NOV) CTES. His areas of expertise include hydraulics and rheology in drilling, completion, production, and coiled-tubing applications. He conducted extensive experimental and theoretical research in the area of coiled-tubing hydraulics and fluid rheology with the Coiled Tubing Consortium at The University of Oklahoma. He also has 8 years of teaching and research experience at Yangtze University (former Jianghan Petroleum Institute). He has been a technical reviewer for SPE Drilling & Completion, SPE Production & Operations, and SPE Journal, and was the recipient of the Outstanding Technical Reviewer Award. Other roles at SPE include associate editor for SPE Drilling & Completion and membership on the program committee for two SPE technical conferences and one Applied Technology Workshop. He holds BS and MS degrees from China University of Petroleum and a PhD from The University of Oklahoma, all in petroleum engineering.