I must write my final column, before next month’s recap, on the most fundamental mission of SPE, our core purpose, our raison d’etre: the dissemination of technology. More precisely, I am talking about the part SPE plays in the dissemination of independent, unbiased, trusted, and reliable technical information and knowledge. SPE is recognized worldwide for its role in this area and it is the topic that makes up the heart of our mission statement, which incidentally has not changed in 35 years.
The rationale for quality technical information dissemination and knowledge sharing is at least twofold. Firstly, for individual members to progress in their career and take on more challenging roles of increasing responsibility, they must develop, maintain, and improve their skills and expertise through knowledge sharing and by having access to quality, reliable technical information. Secondly, the value proposition of most companies in our industry hinges on the technical expertise of its people, so it is necessary to continually develop employee expertise as a competitive advantage. A large part of this development comes from SPE-provided literature, training, and knowledge gained from conferences, workshops, and forums.
Many of our knowledge domains are undergoing rapid change, which elevates the importance of SPE’s ability to share technical information and knowledge in a timely manner. Deepwater exploration, shale gas and shale oil production, subsea development, and heavy oil recovery are a few examples of subjects for which yesterday’s technical information is inadequate. The globalization and remoteness of our industry’s workforce is another reason we must continually advance the ways in which we distribute technical information. Finally, the retirement of many of our longest-tenured experts requires that we accelerate the learning of the younger professionals and the efficient dissemination of quality technical information is the key.
If your mission and livelihood is to disseminate technical information, the quality of the information is paramount and must override any measure of timeliness, affordability, accessibility, or availability. If you do not have the utmost confidence in the quality of the technical information or the knowledge being shared, it does not matter the user-friendliness of getting the information. There is no doubt that the number of technical presentations and papers being written has grown rapidly over the last decade, tied to the significant growth in the number of conferences and workshops.