Successful PFC Initiatives Lead to Further Growth Planned for 2014

The 2013 SPE Annual Technical Conference and Exhibition (ATCE) in October was a good meeting for facilities engineers: It offered good technical papers, an entertaining dinner panel session, and excellent networking opportunities.

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The 2013 SPE Annual Technical Conference and Exhibition (ATCE) in October was a good meeting for facilities engineers: It offered good technical papers, an entertaining dinner panel session, and excellent networking opportunities.

The panel session topic of “Why Facilities Engineers Need to Think” generated some lively dialogue on how facilities engineers need to be aware of and understand the role of subsurface uncertainty in facilities design. The panelists provided points of view from the reservoir, consulting, engineering, and operating perspectives (see page 58).

The consensus is that there is a real opportunity to deliver enhanced value. The concept of full life cycle design is tantalizingly close, but as an industry, we have yet to make the breakthrough and achieve perfect harmony among the subsurface and surface elements. Each panelist talked about how we are nearly there, but obstacles and paradigms remain that must be overcome.

The question is: How do we take the final steps? The projects, facilities, and construction (PFC) advisory committee will explore this question during its planning for the next ATCE in Amsterdam. In the interim, why not post a question on the PFC discussion forum if you are interested in continuing the dialogue?

The Oil and Gas Facilities editorial board also met at ATCE and had a productive session on the magazine’s direction, structure, new opportunities, and how it fits with other SPE offerings in the publication, meetings, and online spaces.

During our discussion, one word particularly caught my attention: PetroWiki. We all know about Wikipedia, but what is PetroWiki and, perhaps more importantly, what will it become?

PetroWiki ( is a simple concept: a concise single source of definitive technical information for the petroleum engineer. PetroWiki was created from the seven-volume Petroleum Engineering Handbook (PEH) published by SPE. PetroWiki preserves the PEH content in unaltered form while allowing SPE’s membership to update and expand content from the published version. To ensure that the information is technically accurate, the content is moderated by at least two members with subject matter expertise.

PEH Volume III, Facilities and Construction Engineering, is the PFC’s contribution to the PetroWiki starter set. It is up to our community to take this baseline of knowledge and expand it with new technologies and techniques that will enable all visitors to get a standardized, technically correct, and up-to-date review of a subject, concept, or technology. PetroWiki has the potential to be a powerful tool and a key repository of knowledge. It also has the potential to develop into the “first responder” for PFC technical advice. “Go check PetroWiki” could become a key part of the dialogue in engineering problem solving.

Of course, the goal for a single source of trusted information that is available for all engineers will not be realized accidentally. We need contributions from subject matter experts, journeyman engineers, and novices alike. An active community is needed to launch a subject and add results, observations, and improvements to engineering practices. Moderators and individuals with key insights are needed to guide the building of a list of engineering terms into a useful “personal assistant.” It will take a little of everyone’s time, but I encourage all of you to check out the PetroWiki site and stay tuned for more information.

Moving from PetroWiki, the repository for expert information, to the experts themselves, I would like to bring the topic of SPE Distinguished Lecturers to the forefront.

I have mentioned the value of this program to lecturer and lecture attendee alike. Despite the diversity of our work and global reach of our capabilities, we in the PFC constituency have struggled to find enough candidates to be lecturers. SPE is now looking for 2015 Distinguished Lecturers and the deadline for nominees is fast approaching. The nomination process opens 1 February and closes 15 March. Nominees have until 31 March to submit their requests. For more information, visit and see page 8 to read about the experiences of two previous Distinguished Lecturers.

If you have or someone you know has an interesting experience to share that would bring value to the PFC community, contact your local SPE section and submit your nomination. It is an excellent way to recognize an individual for her or his meaningful contributions to PFC and further the goal of the transfer of expert knowledge.

Lastly, we are approaching the end of another year. It is perhaps too early to look back and provide a review, but my initial take is that it has been a successful one. SPE continues to grow and flourish, and our PFC constituency gets stronger and more connected. I hope that each of you has a safe and enjoyable holiday season and I wish you all the best for a successful 2014.