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Record-breaking introduction! By Maya Hussain, SPE London Continuing Education Committee

A record-breaking 176 delegates attended SPE London’s 8th Annual Introduction to Exploration and Production Seminar (Geological Society, 22 November), the event’s increasing popularity reflecting the general growth in the Upstream sector.

Organised by the Section’s Continuing Education Committee, the full-day seminar is aimed at people working in an E&P environment, who are new to the industry and would benefit from a basic understanding of exploration and production processes. This year’s event sold out a month in advance and, with 15 delegates on the waiting list, has prompted the search for a new, larger venue for next year.

What makes this seminar popular is the unique mix of volunteer speakers sourced from both academic and industry backgrounds, who impart their specialist knowledge across all Upstream disciplines. Topics ranged from Introduction to Geology, to Reservoir Engineering and Petroleum Economics. Speakers hailed from Tullow Oil, Schlumberger, Imperial College London, Oilfield Production Consultants (OPC), Antium Frontfield, Dong Energy, Petroceltic and Fugro. In keeping with tradition, Piers Johnson, Managing Director of OPC, kicked things off with his welcome speech and industry overview, and the successful day ended with sponsored networking drinks.

Aberdeen conference drives forward global unconventional gas debate

Energy industry leaders, politicians and technology developers gathered at Aberdeen Exhibition and Conference Centre (AECC) on November 27-28 to explore the successes and challenges of the unconventional gas industry.

With growing interest and scrutiny surrounding shale and coalbed methane developments, the 2012 Unconventional Gas Conference attracted an international audience of more than 275 delegates. The event featured an exhibition and series of presentations from leading experts covering the political arena, global operations, technology development, economic implications and public consultation.

Conference Chairman Tom Pickering said there had been a shift in public interest over the past year: “The conference, building on last year’s success, has moved the debate to cover wider issues and concerns, not only from within the industry but also from local communities. There is also a greater level of interest and involvement from around the globe, where exploration work is under way in many regions, and where the US in particular is reaping the benefits from an indigenous supply of natural gas.”

The event was organised by an industry-led committee with support from Aberdeen City Council, ITF and SPE Aberdeen. Delegates heard first-hand from major operators and service companies, including Dart Energy, Cuadrilla, Halliburton, Chevron and Weatherford. Other organisations providing a perspective included Coffey Environments, Urenco, AMEC, Simmons & Co International and Buccleuch Estates.

With significant concerns around the impact of shale gas, particularly on the environment, the need for transparency and management of risks has been a prominent theme of the Unconventional Gas Conference. Robert O’Keeffe, Associate Director of DNV, said that building trust and


confidence through independent verification will be crucial to gaining public acceptance of unconventional gas: “By using a risk management framework to demonstrate the management of shale gas operations in a comprehensive, balanced and transparent way, operators will be able to earn the necessary ‘social licence to operate’ .”

Quentin Fisher, Professor of Petroleum Geoengineering at the University of Leeds, explained that academia had an integral role to play in making unconventional gas economically viable: “The development of improved reservoir characterisation techniques is key to allowing operators to construct effective development plans. Using our analysis and research, we can give approximate reservoir properties within a day, which could take a year using conventional core analysis techniques. This clearly has an impact on the rate at which unconventional gas can be developed.”

ITF, the global technology facilitator, urged more collaboration between oil and gas operators and technology developers. Technology Director Keith Mackie described a growing appetite among ITF members to advance in this field: “The UK energy industry boasts a long history of pioneering projects and innovators; however, commercialising technology in this market can be costly and time-consuming. Therefore, successes as well as failures must be shared to ensure that the bridge between political, economic and public concerns are addressed and rectified. The Unconventional Gas Conference is a huge step forward in that journey.”

Feedback from attendees included comments such as “Quite informative for the ones relatively new in the oil and gas industry,” and “Very useful and interesting. Gives a good overview of oil and gas. It is also adapted to all types of people (engineers and non- engineers).”

Maya (fourth from left) with Piers Johnson and fellow OPC colleagues

Rob Leveridge, the Logging and Petrophysics speaker from Schlumberger, said: “I enjoyed the day and look forward to supporting next year.”

SPE London would like to thank OPC and Schlumberger for generously sponsoring the event and evening drinks. Please book early for next year’s event to avoid disappointment.

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