A Travellerspoint blog

November 2014

Round tripping Dallas

SPE Awards and an Ethics class for SPEE

sunny 20 °F
View Dallas November on fracmeister's travel map.

The Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE) is a very large organization and this blog primarily documents my travel with respect to the three-year long commitment as 2016 President. I am also a member of the much smaller Society of Petroleum Evaluation Engineers (SPEE). I teach the annual ethics class at their convention and write a twice yearly ethics article for their online publications. This trip has activities for both SPE and SPEE.

Some of the SPE international Award recipients from Texas were unable to attend the ATCE in Amsterdam. I presented their awards on 18 November at the Brookhaven College Geotechnology Institute. the next day I presented a one-hour ethics class at the same location.

Award recipients included two Honorary Memberships. This is the highest award of the Society. The awards were given to Ted Bourgoyne and om Perkins. Marvin Gearhart also received the Anthony F. Lucas Gold Medal and Tom Sifferman was recognized as a Distinguished Member.

On Wednesday we had an excellent turnout as I taught the ethics class for a combined SPE/SPEE meeting. It was great to see many of my old friends there.

My wife Jan (who I typically refer to online as my gf) joined me for this trip as we drove up Tuesday AM and drove back Wednesday PM.

501 miles

SPE Travel to date 59,280 miles

At the hotel where we stayed, ice carvers from Harbin China created a lot of ice sculptures. The highpoint for me was when we saw one of them carving. I asked to speak to him but the employee said "he doesn't speak English." We started speaking Chinese and got along famously! I hope you enjoy these.


The hotel from our room.


Posted by fracmeister 20:58 Archived in USA Comments (0)

Oct-Nov 2014 Abu Dhabi in the RTW++ trip Part V

I always love coming back to the Emirates

View March 2015 & October 2014 on fracmeister's travel map.

It was a bit of an ordeal to get to Abu Dhabi with a few extra stops in Kazakhstan including an overnight stay in an airport. You can only imagine my relief as we approached Dubai. The city is amazing and l often land at night. But this time we landed in daylight and it was neat to see the massive skyscrapers including the tallest one in the world. The approach was so nice that we got to do it twice with the pilot "going around" after we were only a few hundred feet off the ground. The second time was a charm however and I was soon on my way to Abu Dhabi in a cab. The variety of architecture is amazing. SPE had arranged a room for me at the Hyatt Capital Gate adjacent to where ADIPEC is held. The Abu Dhabi exhibition and conference is one of the major global oil shows. My first one was in 1990 and it has grown dramatically.

The map for this trip is interactive.

I spoke to a group of about 100 students along with volunteer mentors. they came from dozens of universities in fourteen countries in the region. This is proving to be one of the most enjoyable parts of my SPE role!

One of the booths at ADIPEC had this guy making Japanese candy "art" --- he made a Pikachu (ピカチュウ) for my grandsons. This is a Pokemon character in case you have been living on a planet without children for the past 15 years.



The students


A view of the excellent Hyatt hotel. It was great to meet so many of my good friends in the Middle East again.

At the ATCE I received the Public Service Award. Here are a few photos and the press release. I am glad to be home.


Nathan Meehan Receives Public Service Award from Society of Petroleum Engineers

Richardson, TX (11 November 2014) – The Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE) recently honored Dr. D. Nathan Meehan with the SPE Public Service Award at SPE’s Annual Technical Conference and Exhibition held 27 through 29 October in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. Meehan is Sr. Executive Advisor at Baker Hughes Inc.

Smooth flights all the way home and an on-time arrival. This has been a very long trip and I am glad to be home.

Dr. Nathan Meehan is a well-known and highly regarded member of the Society of Petroleum Engineers as well as many other energy industry organizations. However, what is not known, is his voluntary humanitarian activity and selfless efforts for those less fortunate. Meehan took a sabbatical, between August 2011 and February 2013, in order to coordinate his Church’s humanitarian activities in Asia. Throughout this time he trained volunteers and administered millions of dollars worth of humanitarian projects, including the provision of wheelchairs, clean water and sanitation, neonatal resuscitation, asthma care, vision care, immunizations, emergency relief and self-reliance projects.

SPE serves more than 124,000 members worldwide, sharing technical knowledge for the benefit of our industry. Each year, SPE presents awards that recognize members whose efforts have advanced petroleum technology, as well as their professional achievements and contributions to the industry and the society.

“It is an honor to recognize Nathan for his commitment and dedication to the oil and gas industry with the Public Service Award. SPE international award winners were nominated by their colleagues and selected by their peers for their achievement and contributions and it’s my pleasure to congratulate them on receiving this prestigious international award from SPE,” said Jeff Spath, 2014 SPE President.

I was also honored to join the "Century Club" for having recruited more than 100 new members to the Society. Here I am with the other inductees, all from Saudi Arabia.


train to FRA
car to Abu Dhabi

Miles this trip: 35,613,
Cumulative miles 58,679 to date in SPE activities.

It is good to be home.

Meehan social media contacts

Posted by fracmeister 16:00 Archived in United Arab Emirates Comments (0)

Oct-Nov 2014 Kazakhstan in the RTW++ trip Part IV

Frankfurt Germany and Kazakhstan

View March 2015 & October 2014 on fracmeister's travel map.


After the ATCE it was off to Kazakhstan. But flying to Kazakhstan meant a trip to Frankfurt and it was just as convenient to take a train there and spend the night as fly all night and spend an extra day (and an extra flight) in Kazakhstan. So off to Frankfurt on the train. Who would guess that the cheapest hotel on the trip would be the Intercontinental in Frankfurt? Here I saw the only opera of the trip, DIE ENTFÜHRUNG AUS DEM SERAIL
(THE ABDUCTION FROM THE SERAGLIO) by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. It was a great production and the most widely performed of his operas during his lifetime. This opera isn't performed much these days for reasons we could discuss elsewhere. A nice nights sleep and an early flight to Aktau.

The view from my window at the Intercontinental Hotel. This hotel turns out to cost less than half of any other hotel on the trip and is perfectly nice. Because of my travel I wind up getting multiple upgrades so I usually just book the cheapest room! It worked well this time.


A few shots from around town including the old and new opera houses.

Lively street markets offer a variety of goods and food. The city is alive and energetic.


Kazakhstan is huge. Baker Hughes held a Techno-day in Atyrau and there are great SPE members and activities in Aktau and Astana where I visited. It was a little disappointing to not be able to go and spend time in Almaty and the area. One more reason to return to Kazakhstan! It is striking how large Kazakhstan is. It is the largest landlocked country in the world.

This is a "to scale" outline of Kazakhstan.

Some of you think I am just having fun. Well, I certainly post more about the weekends and the fun stuff. But here is my schedule in Kazakhstan.
Astana (3-4 November)
Monday 11.00 Agip
Monday 12.00 Shell
Monday 15.00 KMG, KMG research Institute,
Monday 16.00 Nazarbayev University student chapter
Monday evening dinner with the Astana SPE Section

Tuesday 10.00 Exxonmobil
Tuesday 12.00 Kazakhstan Ministry of Energy
Tuesday 15.00 KAZENERGY
Tuesday 16.00 Total
Tuesday 18.30 Speaking at the Atyrau SPE Section meeting

Atyrau (5-7 November--- fly to Atyrau in the AM)
Wednesday 13.00 TCO
Wednesday 14.30 Schlumberger
Wednesday evening speak at SPE section event

Thursday – 08.00-14.00 Baker Hughes Incorporated TechnoDay
Thurday -14.00-17.00 KMG R&D facilities visit
Thursday Dinner - multiple service companies and SPE leaders hosted by Weatherford

Friday AM –
10.00 APEC Petrotechnical Institute
11.30 Atyrau Oil & Gas Institute
15.00 flight to Astana and then to Abu Dhabi

I arrived very early Sunday morning and was able to attend a local Church service. Kazakhstan is noticeably cooler than the previous cities I have visited on this trip which started quite some time ago.

Students from the petrobowl team and the SPE student chapter


Nazarbayev University is quite new. So is all of Astana.


The Opera House


Directly across from the hotel. There are new and interesting buildings everywhere. At Tim Miller's excellent presentation on Tuesday night the large crowd of students peppered him with questions. The most amusing one had to do with whether or not they might have to move to Atyrau. The students more or less view Atyrau as the wild, wild, west but Tim was insistent that it was a perfectly good place to live.

Astana is all new. Architects have been given pretty free reign there and many buildings show that creativity. My only negative observation is that those architects seem to be (as a group) completely unfamiliar with the need for parking, perhaps placing their creations in a future state with widespread teleportation... certainly not one with the number of cars they now have.

Driving into Atyrau one can see a pretty significant amount of construction as well. Unlike the trendy graceful skyrise apartments being completed in Astana, the style here seems to be more "rectangular box." It certainly doesn't have as modern a feel but it is the center of the oilfield in Kazakhstan!



SPE Meeting pictures


The local Russian Orthodox church
The local Mosque

A national monument

Some pictures from Friday's meetings at two local colleges

So, you think it is all fun and games? My plan Friday afternoon was to fly from Atyrau to Astana and then fly to Abu Dhabi, arriving that same night.

Instead, as we approached Astana we circles and then they advised us that Astana airport was closed "for technical reasons" (no further information and this technical closure did not seem to impact any other flights as none were delayed. We landed in Karaganda and were advised that the airport was now open. Unfortunately it took us almost an hour to refuel so the Abu Dhabi flight was gone.

They rerouted us to Almaty with a promised hotel and a morning flight to Dubai. I tried to find out what hotel we were going to be sent to but no one knew. When we landed I found out why. They really never planned to have us go to a hotel but put us all up in a really horrible lounge. Not a real lounge but an overpriced cafe with some beat up furniture. While it didn't have many nice things it did have a super loud set of speakers for all the airport announcements and an even louder television.

In the last blog entry I waxed poetic n my praise of Singapore airlines. Air Astana is sort of the opposite, particularly as it comes to customer service. But on arriving Dubai there was some good news. If you have to wait in a really long line to go through immigration then you do not have to wait for your bags!

I am in Abu Dhabi in the beautiful Hyatt Capitol Gate in anticipation of ADIPEC. A different world from Kazakhstan!

train to FRA

car to Abu Dhabi

Operas this entry = 1, to date = 6

Posted by fracmeister 18:19 Archived in Kazakhstan Comments (0)

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