SPE News

Updating the SPE Business Model

The SPE Strategic Plan to be developed needs to take into consideration the hardships and changes that have affected the industry and SPE members. It must provide a solid foundation to best serve our members’ needs into the future using a financially sustainable model.

Strategy is highlighted in yellow on a printed page
Getty Images

As I mentioned in a previous column, the SPE Board of Directors and leadership are reviewing and updating the SPE Strategic Plan. This is a periodic exercise to define the strategic goals that will allow us to better meet member expectations and industry needs in the next 3 to 5 years. The current strategic plan was developed in 2017/2018 on the heels of three very difficult years for the industry, our members, academia, and SPE. Since that time, the industry has experienced even more hardship and changes like never before. The world we live in is not the same. The SPE Strategic Plan to be developed needs to take these issues into consideration and give SPE a solid foundation to best serve our members’ needs into the future using a financially sustainable model.

For more than 30 years, SPE’s main source of revenue has been events. Although SPE quickly ramped up virtual programming in 2020, it did not make up for in-person events such as the Offshore Technology Conference, Offshore Europe, and the International Petroleum Technology Conference.

This graph (developed from SPE financial data) illustrates that from FY2010 (April 2009 to March 2010) SPE had relied on events for at least 70% of its revenue. It also shows how revenue from events is used not only to pay for events but also publications (advertising has fallen dramatically) and for member programs and services. The graphic for Revenue Categories splits event revenues into corporate exhibit/sponsorship (the majority) and registration for comparison with dues and all other revenue sources.

SPE Sources and Uses of Funds graph
Revenue Categories

Dues only amount to approximately 15% of SPE’s revenue, except during the pandemic in FY2021. FY2022 was closer to the typical pre-COVID percentage, and the forecasts for FY2023 and FY2024 are projected to be the same.

As a result, we need to review and diversify SPE revenue streams. This may mean new programs and services, markets, membership categories, etc. As our traditional sources of revenue evolve, they must be supplemented if we are to maintain or even add new services.

Over the period of July to August, we have set up a plan for the development of the updated strategic plan which involves interviews of different SPE stakeholders, including leaders of industry companies and a cross section of members, students and academia, regional and technical sections, as well as near-members (who participate in the Society’s events without being members). A channel is being established on SPE Connect for individual members to give their feedback on topics related to the strategic plan. We will post thoughtful discussion topics to gain insight from members. If you are not familiar with SPE Connect, please log on and join the discussion. We look forward to hearing our members’ perspective on the future of our Society.

As always, I welcome your feedback at president@spe.org.