SPE News

SPE Is Evolving and We Need Your Input

To help us identify future directions, the Board of Directors is currently undertaking a strategic planning process. We want to hear from you what's important for us to consider.

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Our industry is changing and SPE and its members are evolving with it. Our industry has always been cyclical, and many of our members know too well the cycles of rapid layoffs and rehiring as oil prices fluctuate and investment activity changes. The last downturn in 2015-2016, followed very soon by the pandemic, has driven a lot of young people out of our industry, affecting membership levels. The pandemic hit SPE hard, since in-person events are our largest source of revenue. Traditionally, SPE’s membership and business health have lagged industry downturns by 12-18 months, as companies are quick to cut and slower to invest. SPE membership correlates strongly with E&P industry investment, again with a 12- to 18-month lag. Membership had decreased following the 2015 cycle, then flattened, but was increasing before the pandemic resulted in more layoffs. It is anticipated that for 2023, there should be an increase in membership, because of the near 20% increase in E&P spending in 2022.

As companies shift their focus to other energy sources, technologies to enable the energy transition, and to meeting their long-term carbon reduction pledges, all in addition to their traditional petroleum activities, our members are looking for SPE to shift with them. Not to abandon petroleum but to cover petroleum and these other areas. Young members have made clear that this is a priority for them as well. To retain member support for our activities and to ensure that young members and students will find value in SPE in the future, we must evolve with the industry we serve. Several employers in the oil and gas sector have indicated their need for professionals with a background that goes beyond the traditional petroleum sciences.

To help us identify future directions, the Board is currently undertaking a strategic planning process. We are using a range of channels to solicit member feedback. Strategic planning in SPE is not new, as it is typically undertaken every 3-5 years, and the previous plan was developed in 2018. From the preliminary work completed to date, we are seeing divergent viewpoints between those who believe we are changing too quickly (or shouldn’t change at all) and those who believe we are moving far too slowly, and risk being left behind. Resolving these differences will be a major challenge and we need broad membership feedback to help the Board address this.

We are providing several channels where members can contribute their opinions regarding the future of SPE including questions posted on the new SPE Connect Strategic Plan discussion community and a survey with mostly open-ended questions where you can provide your ideas. We are also using direct interviews and focus groups, but these necessarily touch only a small portion of the membership. Other processes for collecting input include the use of virtual townhalls, and dedicated sessions in conferences (such as the 2022 ATCE). We value your opinions and want to hear from a broad cross-section of our members, including YP’s, mid-career, experienced professionals, and retirees.

Please share your thoughts with us through our online survey.