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Engineers Specialized In The Oil Sector Attend Conference On Fracking In The Woodlands

While analyzing the industry’s downturn, the organizers said they hope innovation will help lower costs and slow down layoffs.

 

Almost 2,000 engineers who are experts in the oil and gas sector attended the conference, which took place in The Woodlands.
Almost 2,000 engineers who are experts in the oil and gas sector attended the conference, which took place in The Woodlands. (Photo: Al Ortiz)

The Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE) held a conference on hydraulic fracturing –commonly known as fracking– this week in The Woodlands.

Almost 2,000 professionals attended the conference and the organizers addressed the downturn of the oil industry, which has hit hard in our state.

Data from the Texas Alliance of Energy Producers indicate that more than 70,000 jobs were lost in the oil exploration and production sector from December of 2014 until December of 2015.

Karen Olson, an engineer and executive with Southwestern Energy, chaired the conference.

For Olson, the efficiency of fracking has somewhat made the oil industry a victim of its own success.

“We’ve created an oversupply and product price has dropped, inventories are high and when product price drops it becomes uneconomic for us,” said Olson.

Nathan Meehan, president of the SPE, acknowledged these are hard times.

But he added that the oil industry learns from such hard times, like during the 1980s crisis, which had a big impact in Houston.

“We were able to do some substantial innovation. We were able to commercialize horizontal drilling, geo-steering, logging while drilling, SAGD — dozens of technologies that we really developed because we had to,” Meehan noted.

Meehan is hopeful innovation will help the industry lower costs and, therefore, slow down layoffs.

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Alvaro ‘Al’ Ortiz

Digital News Producer

Alvaro ‘Al’ Ortiz is originally from Madrid (Spain). He worked for several years in his home country and gained experience in all platforms of journalism, from wire services to print, as well as broadcast and digital reporting. In 2001, Al came to the United States to pursue a Master’s degree...

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