Unconventional resources have transformed the global energy landscape. And as this issue hits your mailbox, geoscientists and engineers from around the world are in San Antonio, Texas for the fourth edition of URTeC, the Unconventional Resources Technology Conference from August 1-3.
Conceived and developed by AAPG, the Society of Exploration Geophysicists (SEG), and the Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE), URTeC is “the integrated event for unconventional resource teams.” Its design reflects that unconventional resources require an integrated approach across disciplines for successful development, and that it is the multidisciplinary team that will drive success.
And this year the team has been expanded beyond geology, geophysics and petroleum engineering with the addition of eight supporting organizations:
- American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE).
- Association for Iron and Steel Technology (AIST).
- American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE).
- American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME).
- Society for Mining, Metallurgy and Exploration (SME).
- Society of Petroleum Evaluation Engineers (SPEE).
- Society of Petrophysicists and Well Log Analysts (SPWLA).
- The Minerals, Metals and Materials Society (TMS).
Fully recognizing the pressures the current downturn in oil and natural gas commodity prices are putting on unconventional resource development, the technical program committee led by Tom Blasingame of Texas A&M University (SPE), Skip Rhodes of Pioneer Natural Resources (AAPG) and Gene Sparkman of Lumina Technologies (SEG) has created a stellar program. It includes more than 300 technical presentations and ePosters including the geology of mudrocks, unconventional petroleum systems, attribute analysis, well log analysis, rock mechanics, reservoir modeling, production strategies and case-studies.
In fact, some of the presentations, such as the Operator’s Forum series, include team presentations in which the talks are presented by individuals representing different disciplines further reinforcing the integrated nature of the conference.
The conference launches with two plenary sessions: The opening plenary is entitled “The U.S. Returns to Pre-OPEC Dominance” and features Scott Sheffield, chairman and CEO of Pioneer Natural Resources; Dan Dinges, chairman, president and CEO of Cabot Oil and Gas Corp.; and Gary Ross, executive chairman and head of global oil for PIRA Energy Group, Inc.
The second plenary will feature Roger Aines of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Michelle Foss of the Texas Bureau of Economic Geology’s Center for Energy Economics, and Mike Lynch of Strategic Energy and Economic Research, discussing “Technology, Regulation, and the Future of Oil and Gas and Alternatives.”
In addition to the technical program and plenary sessions, the committee has organized seven short courses, two field trips, breakfasts and luncheons featuring topical guest speakers, and an exhibition where you can learn about new and emerging technologies, inspect core from resource plays and network with other science and engineering professionals.
Unconventional resources have transformed the global energy landscape. And as I’ve written repeatedly in this space, it’s the ingenuity and innovation that brought these resources to market that will position the industry for the eventual recovery.
Or as Blasingame, Rhodes and Sparkman put it, “… the upstream industry has been given another opportunity to reinvent itself.”
That’s what URTeC 2016 is all about: Finding better and cheaper ways to bring unconventional resources to market. The oil and natural gas is there and the demand will be eventually. It’s time to get ready.