Throughout the world's oil and gas provinces, especially in the mature areas, the lives of engineering and scientific professionals -- the members of our organizations -- have been impacted by recent events in the oil and gas community.
The picture is both disheartening and discouraging.
Many have the impression that we have not seen such difficult times in the past. That is understandable. But the reality is that we have seen this cycle before. Time has faded some of the scars from the late 1950s, the late 1960s, the mid-1980s and the early 1990s.
But there is a significant difference this time.
Technological developments and specialization have resulted in the need for a professional with both a depth of specialized knowledge and a breadth of general knowledge of his/her profession. These enable today's professional to integrate with the other disciplines effectively -- and to add value in the multidisciplinary teams that the current "asset management" philosophy requires to compete in today's globalized economies.
Many of our worlds changed when we tore down the traditional departmental walls and replaced them with an effective use of expertise in multidisciplinary teams suited for the task at hand. However, our industry's push for greater productivity and profitability did not stop there; rather, it opened the way for a "mega merger-mania," where rationalization and integration are the words of the day.
Now, it is not only contractors, service companies and multinationals integrating to optimize the use of the latest technology and the resultant productivity/profitability. It is also service companies integrating with service companies and multinationals integrating with multinationals to survive and compete effectively in the lower oil price scenarios that will probably affect our industry much longer than most of us were prepared for -- certainly for a much longer period than we would like.
We recognize there will be fewer personnel doing more; the more technically competent are the most likely to survive.
Under this scenario, one would expect companies to increase their employees' participation in professional societies' activities to enhance their technical and professional competence. However, the drive to cut not only costs but also expenses ultimately results in reduced participation in all the activities that associations like our sponsor, such as technical conferences and exhibitions, continuing education and workshops. This is certainly true for the short term, at least.
So what does all this mean for technical/professional societies like SPE, AAPG and SEG?
It means we must respond to such changes.
Companies are integrating their functions, cultures and operations more effectively than ever. It is only natural to suggest that there is value in integrating the efforts of the technical/professional societies that serve the energy industry.
We need to ensure we can expand our members' knowledge base and be flexible enough to rationalize and integrate our activities.
We, as professional societies, must move in that direction if we are to continue to be relevant to our industry and our members.
The leadership of SPE International, SEG and AAPG recognized this, and we intend to respond.
We start with a shared vision for our members:
Be relevant to the needs of our members.
Improve the cooperation among our societies.
Develop mutually beneficial activities and products that reduce costs and enhance products and services.
- Build a world without walls and without technological boundaries.
We are committed to proactively seek common ground and efficiencies among our societies. Jointly we will seek:
To provide new products/services and to revolutionize existing initiatives, thus creating unique products/services that could not otherwise be produced.
To improve our members' activities and those of our staffs by the sharing of best practices.
To improve the way we operate, so that we reduce costs of existing programs and services and redirect resources to fund new issues that our members want and need.
To develop a collective vision that will move our societies into the new millennium rather than extrapolating from our individual pasts.
We have already begun efforts to identify and evaluate areas of potential cooperation. To integrate our societies' efforts will require intellectual growth on all our parts, organizational skills that eliminate duplication of efforts and interests and, most of all, patience to learn from our past failures and persistence to make the changes that are required.
We are sure the rewards are great and worth the effort.
Your leadership is committed to this effort and to the vision that extraordinary success is possible if all stakeholders seek a world without technological boundaries. Our organizations will, if endorsed by our respective governing bodies, actively seek to cooperate rather than compete. We will look for ways to maximize the value of programs to members of the three organizations.
No idea is off limits. There are already some joint efforts under examination -- looking at combining group insurance programs and possible joint publications, for example.
But such efforts are only the beginning.
To be successful in serving you, our members, we must seek a common vision and goal to build a shared model for the future. It must be a proactive process. We believe the end result of such efforts will mean that our organizations will be more relevant than ever to our members, and that our programs will meet member needs regardless of location and circumstance.
This initiative has no "hidden" agenda. We are not talking about blurring the lines between geophysicists, geologists and engineers in the upstream sector of the oil and gas business worldwide.
We are seeking ways to enhance our primary mission -- to collect, store and disseminate the best technology and practices of our collective professions for those who want and need the information.
We welcome your comments. Please write, call or e-mail us: