A Travellerspoint blog

May Indonesia, China, Malaysia, Singapore and Aggieland!

From Aggieland to Asia. OTC, Indonesia, Malaysia, China, SIngapore!

View Big Asia run May 2015 on fracmeister's travel map.

May started off simply enough. I drove to College Station and addressed a large group of students. I stayed over on Saturday AM and met with Professors Dan Hill and Ding Zhu. Naturally we needed a few spelfies. In Chinese, selfie is 自拍 and is more of a verb since 拍 is to take a picture. Just so you know.

The next week I was "home" in Houston and spent the week at OTC. It is one of my favorite times of the year. Since photography is not allowed at OTC I just have a few shots with friends like these at the awards banquet and in our booth. Check out those pictures at the end of the post.

I spoke at a STEM (Science, Engineering, Mathematics and Technology) event with a large group of students and teachers.

But by the end of the week I was on a flight to Tokyo and then to Singapore. Although there is a great nonstop to Singapore the long way was cheaper so I took off Friday before noon and landed in Singapore Sunday just after noon. A weekend in the air. I met with local SPE leaders and spoke to the section for the first time since I was an SPE Distinguished lecturer in 1991.


The first part of this trip was pretty hectic followed up by longer stays in Hong Kong and Beijing where my wife joined me. Unfortunately my SPE schedule was so hectic she and I were lucky to meet for dinner.

The first 10 days

Then off to to Pekanbaru via Jakarta where I drove to the Chevron Camp Hotel at Wisma Bukit in Rumbai. I had a great meeting with Chevron managers and addressed the SPE Sumatra Section Dinner Meeting .

Another highlight was a visit to University of Islamic Riau (UIR) Student Chapter and presentation to students there. This was a large group and one quite fond of selfies!


Then back to Jakarta and a presentation at the SPE Java Section Dinner Meeting. Then I had a great meeting with the Trisakti University and and University of Indonesia (UI) Student Chapters. It was amazing that they all turned up on a public holiday. Some of the students traveled 2-3 hours each way. Many selfies again!
As I drove up I knew they had gone a little over the top.

It was a great and enthusiastic group! I was amazed to see a large group of petroleum engineering students doing native dances.

Then off to Yogyakarta. I made presentations to the combined University Pembangunan Nasional (UPN) Veteran Yogyakarta and Gadjah Mada University (UGM) Student Chapters. Two of the engineering students also entertained with cultural dances. I stayed Saturday to do a little touring in this historic city. Some of those pictures are at the end.

Next stop Kuala Lumpur and the SPE Forum on "Drilling Window Prediction and Real-Time Management: Getting It Right the First Time” where I gave a keynote address. I also attended the Asia Oil and Gas Conference sponsored by Petronas.

I was able to spend some time at the Forum and then stayed a few days in Hong Kong because the mainland PRC appointments were scheduled the following week. This seemed a good enough reason to have the gf join me so she flew to Hong Kong and stayed with me through the following week. I did take the ferry to Shekou and participate in the the SPE Deep Water Workshop organized by SPE South China Sea Section, themed “Seeking Innovative External Solutions to Address Local Deep Water Challenges.” I had a dinner meeting with with SPE volunteers and local executives from CNOOC and IOCs.

In Beijing, I met with Dr. Wang Zhigang, Senior VP of Sinopec and other Sinopec leaders. There have been recent management changes in all of the national oil companies in China.large_IMG_4761.jpglarge_IMG_4767.jpg

I met with Dr. Wang Dongjin, Vice Chairman, President of the company and Deputy General Manager of CNPC and other CNPC leaders.

This is me in front of the "Iron Man of Daqing" statue.


I had a VERY large group of students attend a lecture at the China University of Petroleum in Beijing. It is the largest student chapter in the world.

I also met with local section leaders, students from Peking University, Aramco's research center, and RIPED.

At Aramco:

RIPED lecture

I met with an old friend at Beijing University (BeiDa) and gave a lecture there.

Had dinner with an old friend from Hong Kong and my wife had cooking lessons at the Hutong as well as a private 1.5 hour class from the Ritz-Carlton chef.


Other Blogs

You can of course read about my barbecue at This site
My Baker Hughes reservoir blogis here.
My (old) blog detailing my 18 months in Hong Kong is here,

Travel this trip (basically includes airport to airport) 23,429 SPE travel to date 164,064 miles.

Countries to date (my counting rule is basically that I spent the night there with some sort of SPE content...not just went through the airport like New Zealand or Panama): 21
Czech Republic
Saudi Arabia
United Arab Emirates
United Kingdom (Scotland, England)

Operas this month = 0 Operas to date = 14

Offshore Technology Conference

Baker Hughes had an artist do a very large painting outdoors (#Artof Innovation).
My old classmate and former SPE President Jitendra Kikani with our friend Moussa.
Stanford classmates Caesar Palagi and Jitendra Kikani
Old friend and SPE Board member Analise Lara with Petrobras' OTC award.

No, not in KL. Promoting OTC Asia.


large_tpic.jpg They took some liberties with my photo!


In front of Mao's mausoleum

Hong Kong misc

Spicy food at Hutong and a Sichuan private kitchen
Getting a suit made
My wife at her favorite jewelry store in Hong Kong (where I get my cufflinks made)


One of my former Boy Scouts works in Hong Kong helping domestic workers from the Phillipines and other countries to ensure fair treatment while working there.


Yogyakarta (tourist Saturday)

This reminded me of a giant drill bit!


Posted by fracmeister 12:26 Archived in China Comments (0)

April in America (and Saudia Arabia)

Penn State, Saudi Arabia, CSM, New York and more!

View Crazy April 2015 & Penn State and SPE HQ on fracmeister's travel map.

Only one overseas trip for SPE business this month, several in the US and a little vacation meant I was still traveling most of the month. I was glad to be home for Easter following last month's craziness. BONUS: Some pictures from a couple of my hobbies at the end.

OK, this isn't really SPE President travels but I did cash in some of those airline and hotel miles to make it happen! My gf and I took a week of vacation and went to New York for the first full week of April. We saw operas every night including Don Carlo, Lucia de Lamermoor, Ernani and Aida. Placido Domingo sung in Ernani and directed Aida. We saw Helen Mirren on Broadway in The Audience. We were tourists. We tried our first Michelin three-star restaurant Jean Georges and visited the Frick and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the 9/11 Memorial and Museum, the Tenement museum on the Lower East Side (one of my perennial favorites) and road the tram to Roosevelt Island. We saw my daughter from Connecticut in the Berkshires over the long weekend and had a great time. OK, this was vacation but I decided to add some pictures at the very end of this post. Some people have asked me why I would need a vacation since it seems my whole life is a vacation. Those people have not spent as much time on the road as I have.

Golden, CO
The Colorado School of Mines in Golden is one of my favorite schools to visit because of their beautiful location and the super enthusiastic students. Naturally we had to have a #SPELFIE with the Mines SPE Chapter leadership. I also got to visit with Hassim Abbas, Hossein Kazemi, Erdal Ozkan and Ramona Graves---faculty members I count as dear friends as well as meet many new faculty members.

Here are some of the Denver SPE Section leaders. No, they aren't ALL women in their Section leadership but you can see that the women were the ones who showed up early for the reception with the Chapter leaders.

The monthly Denver SPE section met in Golden this month so we had a very large crowd. There were a lot of my colleagues from around the world there. I met with several local operators.

The CSM campus has expanded significantly and when I arrived the flowers were in bloom and it felt like Spring. Of course it was snowing when I left!

Saudi Arabia I participated in the excellent Saudi Arabia Annual Technical Symposium and Exhibition in Al-Khobar and spoke to students at KFUPM. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is a vitally important oil producer and the national oil company Saudi Aramco is committed to advancing technology.

We met with Saudi Aramco management and toured their state-of-the-art facilities. This was particularly interesting as they have massive computational facilities, great training facilities and a command center for tracking and managing crude oil loadings on various ships as well as natural gas and other products. large_IMG_4233.jpg

Local SPE leaders hosted us for lunch. They are very active and have a wide variety of activities going on.
I presented on a panel discussion and we had a very interesting "cultural night" where naturally I got talked into participating (pictures at the end). The attendance at KFUPM was impressive so here is my SPElfie.

The flight home wasn't as fun as you might guess given the tornado warnings.

Penn State
I serve on the advisory board at PSU and love going to the occasional football game. A couple of the professors there are very good friends and I had the opportunity to speak to another large group of students.


SPE HQ, Richardson
On the way back (more or less) from Penn State I went to the SPE headquarters to approve a large batch of recommendations for committee members. Finally it feels like my responsibilities for SPE are more than going to meetings, giving speeches and handing out awards!

One more opera back in Houston (Die Walkur) made five for the month!

Other Blogs

You can of course read about my barbecue at This site
My Baker Hughes reservoir blog is here.
My (old) blog detailing my 18 months in Hong Kong is here,

Travel this trip (basically includes airport to airport) 25,318 SPE travel to date 140,635 miles.

Countries to date (my counting rule is basically that I spent the night there with some sort of SPE content...not just went through the airport like New Zealand or Panama): 17
Czech Republic
Saudi Arabia
United Arab Emirates
United Kingdom (Scotland, England)

Operas this month = 5 Operas to date = 14

NYC and Berkshires Pictures

First, we had a really great meal at a Michelin three-star restaurant, Jean Georges.

We spent a long time in the 9/11 Memorial Museum. It was our first time there and I can highly recommend it.

We spent a lot of time at museums. The amazing Frick museum and massive Metropolitan Museum of Art, both in Manhattan near Central Park and the Norma Rockwell museum in the Berkshires.


More random photographs including a fun day at the Hancock Shaker Village where we took the "Baby Animal" tour. Along with a lot of other grownups taking their very small children. Oh well. We also visited Williams College, Bard College at Simon's Rock (where my college roommate taught in 1979) and toured a LOT of places.


Saudi Arabia

We had a great time at the cultural event and 2015 SPE President Helge Haldorsen became the "groom" for a Saudi wedding dance. Videos exist of me dancing with swords, sticks, etc but you will have to look pretty hard to find them.

My hobbies

I have multiple hobbies. I collect custom knives. I enjoy long range target shooting. I raise bees and I have a small tomato and pepper garden.
The jalapenos are my best crop.

I have a couple top bar hives.

Posted by fracmeister 09:20 Archived in Saudi Arabia Comments (0)

Calgary. It feels like coming home.

Great to be back in one of my favorite cities.

View Calgary March 2015 on fracmeister's travel map.


I left home on March 1 and we returned home on March 26 as described in my previous post. Of course then I just took off again on March 30 to Calgary where I had dinner with SPE section officers and several other breakfasts and dinners with local volunteers and leaders, spoke at the SPE breakfast before a large crowd, spoke at the Canadian Society of Petroleum Geologists' "Playmaker Forum" and addressed a large group of students from the University of Calgary and SAIT Polytechnique Petroleum Engineering departments. I was even able to work in some Baker Hughes business.

Calgary feels like home because of my great memories there. Everything about this vibrant city is great with a "can do" attitude, gorgeous scenery, diverse culture and great restaurants. I am a little disappointed I scheduled my trip for a time when there is no opera in town!

Here is the map for Calgary

SPElfie with the students from SAIT and U of Calgary! I previously visited the SAIT campus in Kazakhstan.
My lecture.

At the SAITcampus in Calgary.

SPElfie with a Georgia Tech alum in Calgary.

A sculpture in front of the Encana building.

Last week in Copenhagen I had a selfie with the original of this statue!

Dinner with old friends from Hong Kong who live in Calgary.

On my one free evening I went to see the Calgary LDS temple.

Other Blogs

You can of course read about my barbecue at This site
My Baker Hughes reservoir blogis here.
My (old) blog detailing my 18 months in Hong Kong is here,
You can see me on linkedin here
Follow me on twitter where I am @fracmeister of facebook here

Travel this trip (basically includes airport to airport) 22,687 SPE travel to date 115,327 miles.
Countries to date (my counting rule is basically that I spent the night there with some sort of SPE content...not just went through the airport like New Zealand or Panama): 16
Czech Republic
United Arab Emirates
United Kingdom (Scotland, England)

Posted by fracmeister 18:20 Archived in Canada Comments (0)

Oman, Bahrain, London, Copenhagen, Norway -and then Calgary!

One crazy March SPE trip but at least my gf joins me for most of it

View March 2015 & Calgary March 2015 on fracmeister's travel map.

Yes, my gf joined me for this trip or at least most of it. gf is of course an abbreviation for girlfriend and I often refer to my wife as my gf on facebook postings. When I first did this one of my children posted "Does Mom know about your gf?" as a sort of joke. We will celebrate our 39th anniversary this year. This blog entry is very PICTURE HEAVY and most of them are posted at the bottom. Please keep in mind that a lot of the nice "tourist" photos are from the gf's traveling while I am in various meetings.

Maps for this trip:

The first part of the trip is to Oman for an SPE Board of Directors meeting. This lasted several days and was quite busy. We also met with the local section and I addressed a large group of students at Sultan Qaboos University. More pictures at the bottom of the post.


The hotel was on the beach. Sunrise.

Great trip to speak with a large group at Sultan Qaboos University

I flew off to Bahrain to attend MEOS and the Middle East Oil Show. My first stop was the University of Bahrain where I gave the welcome address at 2015 SPE Middle East Regional Student Paper Contest. I gave one of the opening remarks speeches at MEOS and participated in a panel discussion on innovation. I then had the chance to participate in the Petrobowl contest with many students from across the region. It was awesome.

Amazing how many old friends and new ones I met here. It was awesome.

I made a return trip to the University of Bahrain on Wednesday after my panel discussion.

Many more pictures at the end. I had many opportunities to meet with local and area engineers and executives. This included a dinner with local leaders at a surprisingly good sushi restaurant.

My gf didn't go to Bahrain; she headed off to Stavanger, Norway to visit our four grandchildren. My second daughter married a young man who is an ExxonMobil drilling engineer in Stavanger.

After MEOS I flew to London and the gf flew in from Norway. I had the chance to address a group of students from Imperial College in London, one of the very best petroleum engineering schools in the world. That night the gf and I went to the English National Opera to see La Traviata.

We had a weekend in London and went to Preston, England on Saturday. Among the highlights for me was dinner at Barbecoa.

Of course the real reason to come to London was the very successful SPE/IADC conference where I gave one of the opening remarks and learned a lot more about the most recent advances in drilling and completion technologies. I was also able to kickoff the PetroBowl European Qualifier --- the students were enthusiastic and quite brilliant! I also met with local section leaders, students from London South Bank University and made a trip to BP's research facilities.

Among the tourist things I joined my wife for included a trip to the Greenwich Observatory where we stood on opposite halves of the earth and showed that even in different hemispheres you can get close enough for all practical purposes.


  1. SPelfie

After London we flew to Copenhagen, Denmark. I spoke at the Arctic Technology Conference and attended a performance of The Magic Flute at their beautiful opera house. The Queen of Denmark joined us in attending this performance. We were really glad to have a weekend in this beautiful city and my wife enjoyed being a tourist. I also had the chance to be a tourist and saw the great works of some of my favorite artists including Thorvaldsen and Carl Bloch. We ate at the world famous Noma restaurant and I addressed a large and enthusiastic group of students at the Danish Technical University. There were some great meetings with Maersk engineers and management. By the time this was all done we were more than ready to get home!

Denmark Opera House. MANY more pictures below!

  1. SPelfie

Other Blogs

You can of course read about my barbecue at This site
My Baker Hughes reservoir blogis here.
My (old) blog detailing my 18 months in Hong Kong is here,

Travel this trip (basically includes airport to airport) 22,687 SPE travel to date 115,327 miles.
Countries to date (my counting rule is basically that I spent the night there with some sort of SPE content...not just went through the airport like New Zealand or Panama): 16
Czech Republic
United Arab Emirates
United Kingdom (Scotland, England)

Operas this month = 2 To date= 9

OMAN Pictures

The Oman Board meeting was held in the Shangri La hotel on the beautiful Omani coast

The new Opera House in Muscat
Interesting sign at Sultan Qaboos.
A dress at the Opera House... shhh, don't tell my gf but this is her Christmas present!


Students at Petrobowl.



Jan went to Windsor Castle, Stonehenge and Oxford University on her own.
We enjoyed some museums together and some of course she saw on her own. Here is a massive and famous rug from the Victoria and Albert museum.

On Saturday we went to Preston to visit the Preston England temple. We also had the chance to visit the London temple.

At one museum I took a selfie with Charles Darwin. And, according to him, one of my distant relatives.


More from museums.

The trip to the Greenwich Observatory and the surrounding area was far more interesting than I had imagined. Much to see and do there.


When I met with the London South Bank and other area students we took a lot of selfies. Here are a few.


From my visit to Imperial College.




Our hotel


The opera house and some views from it. We enjoyed the opera along with a special guest, the Queen! Fund to see the performers take their bows first to her and then to the audience.



More sights around Copenhagen



At the Danish Technical University
At the Lego store
The Little Mermaid statue

The Marble church is directly across the harbor from the Opera house

The Nyhavn area


Some random Danish kids and I take a selfie in the park.

A central statue

At the Thorvaldsen museum

The Kiss




A few more Carl Bloch paintings

Changing of the guard

Near the harbor I spotted this Greenpeace ship. large_c_v9c.jpglarge_c_v9d.jpg

Posted by fracmeister 22:10 Archived in Denmark Comments (0)

February in the US? Hooray

Palo Alto and LSU.

sunny 18 °F
View OKC Jan 2015 on fracmeister's travel map.

February starts with the Hydraulic Fracturing Conference in the Woodlands. One of my good friends and heroes Professor Heber Cinco-Ley was honored as one of the Legends of Hydraulic Fracturing.


The meeting had nearly 2,000 participants and was very successful. While there I was interviewed by the local paper and quoted several times.


Then off to the Bay areas and back to Stanford University. I participated in a Natural Gas conference featuring a dinner with George Schultz and speakers including former Secretary of State Condie Rice.

I joined in with SPE President Helge Haldorsen and former President Ganesh Thakur for a Gulf Coast breakfast meeting with multiple SPE Presidents from the Gulf Coast section. Of course Helge now lives in Mexico but is here often.

I also gave an address during NAPE to the Association of International Petroleum Negotiators. Another highlight was the trip to Baton Rouge to visit with faculty, tour the campus and speak to an enthusiastic crowd of LSU petroleum engineering students. I toured many of their labs including the very impressive drilling lab.

We had a good turnout and Baker Hughes paid for some pizza.

The next SPE meeting was the Reservoir Simulation conference where I gave a brief set of remarks. It was great to see many old friends there. Reservoir simulation was a big part of my professional career.

The San Francisco trip is not really SPE miles so I am not adding miles during this entry. Baton Rouge trip 580 miles. SPE travel to date 92,640 miles.

Since I was home I had a chance to barbecue a lot. You can of course read about my barbecue at This site Here is apicture of me caramelizing the glaze on some ribs.

My Baker Hughes reservoir blogis here.

Countries to date (my counting rule is basically that I spent the night there with some sort of SPE content...not just went through the airport like New Zealand or Panama): 14
Czech Republic
United Arab Emirates
United Kingdom (Scotland)

Operas this month = 1 (The Magic Flute in Houston). Operas to date = 7

Posted by fracmeister 12:52 Archived in USA Tagged bbq alto palo spe stanford lsu Comments (0)

Oman by way of Chicago

SPE Unconventional meeting and a little culture thrown in.

View Turkey and Kuwait & OKC Jan 2015 & Chicago and Oman on fracmeister's travel map.

This trip starts out with a flight to Richardson, TX. Over the years I have worked in Fort Worth for a number of years and as a result I spent a lot of time flying in and out of D/FW airport. It is rare for me to go there now but I made the quick hop from IAH and went to a meeting at the headquarters of the Society of Petroleum Engineers. These meetings are important but I also am headed to Oman.

Perhaps you would like to see my reservoir blog


But before I fly to Muscat, I have a stop in Chicago. Sure, I have some work/SPE meetings in the day but that isn't all that interesting. My college roommate lives in Oak Park; he and his wife remain (our) good friends. They recently came to visit us just to go to a baseball game and have some barbecue; they came to visit us in Hong Kong and toured China with us. If you want to see what a BBQ looks like at my house (with them)take a look here. One of their daughters helped me in a little parody of Sting on a bbq theme. They are both very musical and sing in the chorus with the Chicago Symphony. We went to see Riccardo Muti conduct Prokofiev and Scriabin. It was great and of course the Chicago Symphony Orchestra is one of the very finest in the world. Seeing Riccardo Muti in the same 12 months that we saw Sir Simon Rattle (Berlin) and Daniel Barenboim (Buenos Aires) has been a treat. Because I think most blog readers will be more interested in Oman, I will put the Chicago pictures at the end.

Here is the map for this trip.


I have always enjoyed Oman. I first traveled there when I was the VP of Engineering for Occidental Petroleum and then returned as a consultant several times working for Shell or PDO. It still feels more like the historical town. Its location meant that many different cultures influenced it and I count many Omanis as dear friends. The old souq remains a favorite place and the hospitality in Oman is legendary.


Location of Oman

In Oman the agenda was full.

  • Opening remarks at the SPE Unconventional resources conference
  • The great opportunity to spend more than an hour with His Excellency Mohammed bin Hamad Al Rumhy, Minister of Oil and Gas, Sultanate of Oman. I had been looking forward to this since I read the excellent Way Ahead interview but of course he has been in the news a lot lately. I found him to be very interesting. He is a PhD petroleum engineer and a very engaging individual. This was one of the best privileges of being SPE President-elect!
  • meetings at Sultan Qaboos University with student leaders
  • Evening presentation to the SPE section and dinner with the Section leaders
  • Meetings with management and presentation to a large group of employees with OXY of Oman, my former employer
  • Presentations to a large group of high school students and teachers
  • Meetings with the Undersecretary in the MOG, His Excellency Salem Al Aufi. I had met him the day before but this was a great chance to speak with him at length. These two leaders really understand the issues in the industry and are committed to serving Oman.
  • Lunch with an old friend, closing photos. Spending a lot of time catching up with many old friends from the region.

Of course I went to some papers and panel discussions. It was great.


Naturally at the University I took a #SPElfie with the students.

The hotel was by the beach and surrounded by craggy hills.
SPE Section leaders

This trip 16,890 miles. SPE travel to date 92,060 miles.

Countries to date (my counting rule is basically that I spent the night there with some sort of SPE content...not just went through the airport like New Zealand or Panama: 14
Czech Republic
United Arab Emirates
United Kingdom (Scotland)

Chicago Pictures as promised.
The Bulls won big.

My friends are from Oak Park....ground zero for Frank Lloyd Wright. I particularly enjoyed the Robie House.

We toured the University of Chicago, some downtown sculptures, the lakeside parks.


The silvery sculpture Cloud Gate is often called the bean and is a magnificent place that captivates you as you examine all the reflections of the city, the park, strangers around you and yourselves.



Posted by fracmeister 15:52 Archived in Oman Comments (0)


2015 begins like it was 1975 as I go to OU

sunny 18 °F
View OKC Jan 2015 on fracmeister's travel map.

I graduated from Georgia Tech in 1975 and started at the University of Oklahoma as a graduate student in petroleum engineering that year. It is the year I joined SPE. So it seems appropriate that the first trip of my 40th year as an SPE member should be back to Oklahoma. I presented an Ethics class at the Oklahoma City Section, made a longer presentation to a large group of engineers from Devon Energy and met with students at the University of Oklahoma. I also had the chance to go to an Oklahoma City Thunder basketball game with old friends.

1975 was a long time ago. The movie "Jaws" came out and Microsoft was founded. Saturday Night Live started. Oklahoma City has changed and many of the obvious changes are associated with the growth of oil and gas activity headquartered in OKC.

The ethics class was attended by a very large group.

The internal course at Devon Energy had more than even more engineers present and included some lively discussions.

As per usual I really enjoyed going to see the students, this time at my alma mater, the University of Oklahoma. We of course offer the now mandatory selfie. #SPElfie

The SPE leadership team at OU.

A large group of attendees!


Friday was full of additional meetings with local industry leaders and the chance to go to an Oklahoma City Thunder game with some of the Devon Energy leadership.

833 miles this trip. 76,003 SPE to date.

Posted by fracmeister 09:50 Archived in USA Tagged oklahoma sooners spe Comments (0)

Turkey and Kuwait-December 2014

Early December and the last (!) big trip of 2014. Unconventionals in Europe, heavy oil fields and universities.

View Turkey and Kuwait on fracmeister's travel map.

Kuwait is the home of the 2014 SPE Heavy Oil Conference and Exhibition. It is a great conference but overlaps the 8th International Petroleum Technology Conference (IPTC) held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Although I wrote an SPE paper for IPTC; my assignment is to go to Kuwait. Thanks go to my friend Usman Ahmed for presenting my paper! SPE members in Ankara, Turkey are sponsoring an unconventional reservoirs workshop just before the IPTC and so, looking at the map it appears that it would be simple to go to Ankara "on the way" to Kuwait.

I was at least home for Thanksgiving. You can see my "other" blog with pictures of me smoking a turkey (and brisket/ribs/etc) here.

This looks like my last trip of the year! Here is the location of both Turkey and Kuwait. Due to Lufthansa strikes I overnighted in Frankfurt. Not too bad and I always enjoy Frankfurt.


It wasn't quite that straightforward, but it worked. Here is what the travel looked like.


Ankara is the capital of Turkey and is a large city of over 5 million (but much smaller than Istanbul with over 14 million). Its history dates to antiquity but of course today it has a very modern look and feel. In addition to speaking at the unconventionals conference I have the opportunity to speak to petroleum engineering students at the Middle East Technical University. We took a few selfies but with a hundred people it was a little tough to get everyone.


Students from the Middle East technical University provided musical entertainment at lunch.

I flew back through Istanbul and stayed for about an hour in the Turkish airlines business lounge there. It is the largest business class lounge I can recall. They have a movie theater, dozens of food and drink stations on multiple levels, pool room, slot car racing, video games, etc. Pro tip: go to the lower level which is less crowded.
Here is one of the many live cooking spots.


Kuwait is bordered by Saudi Arabia, Iraq and Iran. Its strategic location has contributed to a complex and often tumultuous history. Kuwait is a significant oil producer and has very substantial heavy oil potential. A few years ago I participated in a "peer review" of some development plans for the massive heavy oil opportunities (for KOC) and as a consultant I advised KUFPEC. I have always enjoyed going to Kuwait and was particularly looking forward to speaking with students at Kuwait University.

(image from WIkipedia)

The conference started with training courses on heavy oil recovery and heavy oil upgrading. One of the instructors was former SPE President and friend Behrooz Fattahi. I saw a lot of old friends at this conference. S. M. Farouq Ali was there and as one of the great authorities on thermal recovery he had been in Kuwait many times. The conference was held at the Hilton resort which is a great venue.

I spoke at the opening ceremony and my speech is attached at the end of this blog post. There were a lot of excellent talks and I met with many SPE members. I handed out PLENTY of awards (always fun) and really enjoyed the students. We took SPE selfies (#SPElfie) as follows.



I had a little time to do some tourist stuff and have a few pictures to show for it.
These are an icon in Kuwait but are not currently open to the public.
The Grand mosque is one of the world's largest --- the dome is shown here.
The main prayer hall.

Here I am standing where the Imam normally stands at Friday prayer.

The palace is across from the Grand Mosque and not open to the public.

Ornate ceiling detail.

Outside the mosque
Pictures from the old souq


No opera on this trip.

This trip 15,890 miles. SPE travel to date 75,170 miles or just over three times around the earth.

D. Nathan Meehan
2016 SPE President
Kuwait Heavy Oil Conference
Opening remarks

Al Salamu alaikom
Ahlan wa marhaba bekom

Your Excellency Dr. Ali Saleh Al-Omair, Minister of Oil , Mr. Nizar Al Adsani , CEO KPC; Mr. Hashim Hashim , CEO KOC, Mr. Emad Sultan, D-CEO KOC and Conference Chairman , Distinguished Guests , Ladies and Gentlemen

Good morning and welcome to the SPE International Heavy Oil Conference and Exhibition.

I am very pleased to be back in Kuwait. This is a fascinating country with a long history. My experiences in Kuwait have always been very enjoyable and the hospitality of the Kuwaiti people is widely known.

When I was a graduate student in the mid-1970s I met an engineer from the Gulf who was conducting research on heavy oil. I found this fascinating as he described the vast resources of heavy oil in the Middle East. He was conducting thermal research alongside engineers from Venezuela, Canada and Indonesia. As they compared notes on their respective reservoirs it was clear that they were very different and that the same solutions would not be applicable around the world.

This reminds me of a young engineer that I have mentored for a number of years. He is very intelligent, ambitious and hard working. I once asked him “what do you really want to do in your life?”

Jokingly he said “I want to be as rich as Bill Gates”

So, I told him….Why don’t you do what he did?

You know, start programming in machine code at age 13. Get nearly perfect scores on your college entrance exams and go to Harvard. Then drop out and form a company that develops the software used on the majority of the world’s computer systems.

He responded to me…”I can’t do it like he did.”

My thoughts about heavy oil in the Middle East echo that sentiment with respect to the other great heavy oil producing regions of the world. “We can’t do it like they did.”

Indeed, the Eocene carbonates to our south are very different from thin clastics in the Lower Fars of Northern Kuwait---yet both are very different from thick, shallow sandstones in California or Venezuelan of Canadian heavy oilfields….. The technologies required to develop these resources are also very different.

This is what reminded me of the young engineer. Just as he can’t get rich the way Bill gates did it, We can’t develop our heavy oil resources just like others have done.

There are of course many things that we can learn from other heavy oil projects around the world. The SPE’s mission of collecting and disseminating technical information plays a key role in helping find what knowledge from other areas is most relevant to us. Over the next few days we will be adding to that body of knowledge.

SPE members working in heavy oil need very broad skills. Heavy oil challenges extend beyond drilling and completion challenges and conventional production issues. Surface handling, chemical treatments, transportation and processing issues are all relatively more critical in heavy oil projects. Because most heavy oil projects are relatively shallow, we have the opportunity to drill more wells and do a very good job with our geological and geophysical models. Unfortunately we often have to make decisions early in the field life without the benefit of detailed earth models. It is important that we gather as much information as early as possible and make plans that are flexible in order to maximize oil rates and recoveries and minimize costs.

Before I came here I looked at the scheduled panelists, technical programs, e-poster sessions, training courses, and the project session. We have an impressive list of participants from all around the world. I am looking forward to learning from these experts and I am also looking forward to the opportunity that I have as President-elect of SPE to address students at Kuwait University. Since September of this year I have been traveling around the world and have attended a lot of meetings, given a lot of speeches and handed out plenty of awards. I love seeing old friends like I have already done here this morning and making new ones. But the thing I have enjoyed most is meeting with students and young professionals. They are literally the future of our industry and I am convinced that this future is in good hands.

Lately students have asked me about the recent drop in product prices. These impact different parts of the oil industry in different ways. Every project is sensitive to product prices; however, ACTIVITY levels are affected in different ways.

North American unconventional activity is highly sensitive to oil and gas prices because so much of the production occurs within the first two or three years of drilling the wells. Operating costs and facilities’ costs for such wells are a small fraction of total capital. If product prices spike up, operators can easily justify a short-term and rapid bump in activity. It is also relatively easy to cut back on activity when prices drop.

Deepwater project activity, on the other hand is less sensitive to product price variations because of the long timeline of the projects and the relatively large fraction of capital costs associated with pipelines and facilities. Don’t get me wrong….deepwater project economics are highly sensitive to product prices--- but activity is not as sensitive. Operators don’t see an increase in oil prices and say “$100/barrel, let’s go build that deepwater platform!” Deepwater activity has to be approved with a long-term view in mind which incorporates the possibility of varying product prices.

Heavy oil projects must be designed with a long-term view for several reasons. Operating costs are a larger fraction of total costs than in deepwater or unconventionals due to the energy input into the system. For example, a steam injection project using natural gas invests a great deal of time and energy to heat the reservoir. A drop in oil prices or an increase in natural gas prices makes the project less profitable; however, shutting in injection is rarely an option as the subsequent cooling of the reservoir wastes the energy already invested in the recovery project.

The total time to process heavy oil reservoirs is relatively long and we target high recovery factors. Thermal projects usually focus on relatively high porosity rocks so that injected heat can target the oil rather than just heating the rock. To realize these high recovery factors requiring a long-term commitment. Ultimately the balance of recoveries, costs and prices will determine our success; however, the heavy oil expert is running a marathon, not a sprint.

An example of that long term approach is Kuwait Oil Company’s 2030 strategy. To achieve the stated goals it will be vital to develop all of the identified significant heavy oil resources in a very efficient and effective manner. I hope that the things we learn and share here in the next few days will contribute significantly to accomplishing these objectives.

I want to thank the Conference and Program committees and all of the volunteers who have worked so hard to make this conference and exhibition a success. Thank you very much.

Meehan social media contacts

Posted by fracmeister 13:21 Archived in Kuwait Comments (0)

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)

October 2014 Around the world and then some, Part III

Amsterdam! The ATCE and more

View October 2014 on fracmeister's travel map.

The following blog entry describes a long trip. "Around the World" tickets are cost effective but a little complicated. This trip is both an around the world trip combined with a massive "around the Caspian" trip thrown in. Once again it combines some work for my employer along with a lot of travel with the Society of Petroleum Engineers. Buckle up!


Then off to Amsterdam for the SPE Board of Director's meeting and the Annual Technical Conference and Exhibition. Not becoming the President Elect until the end of this meeting means I did not have an intense schedule as the President (Jeff Spath) or even President Elect (Helge Haldorsen). My wife joined me for the Amsterdam portion of the trip. I was fortunate to be able to speak to the R&D committee Sunday night after the Awards recipient reception and before the Owl's club dinner.

The "Owl's Club" comprises the former SPE Presidents after they have finished as Past President. The name does not come from their inherent wisdom, rather it (allegedly) originates with my mentor, M. Scott Kraemer. He would say "I used so be 'Scott Kraemer, VP of Amoco or Scott Kraemer, VP of Champlin, or Scott Kraemer, President-Elect of SPE, Scott Kraemer, President of SPE or Scott Kraemer, Past-President of SPE ....but now it is just Scott Kraemer...WHO?"

As the names of former SPE Presidents are mentioned, occasional "Who!s" come from the audience. Each year the Owls sponsor a dinner for current SPE Board members and Omega Association members.

I also was deeply honored to be the recipient of the SPE's Public Service Award. The past recipients include some very distinguished individuals.

My wife came to Amsterdam and managed to do a lot of sightseeing. The Anne Frank House, the Rijksmuseum, the Van Gogh museum, Vondelpark, Rembrandt House museum, etc. I had a chance to participate in the new SPE board member orientation, audit committee meeting, board officers dinner, finance & strategy meeting, various luncheons and dinners, board committee meetings all day Saturday, board meetings all day Sunday, the board leadership reception, speak at the R&D committee dinner, more luncheons, banquets, presentations. The Owl's club dinner was excellent. There was still plenty of time to participate in the great ATCE events. Our attendance was lower than many prior years in the US but well above our first overseas ATCE.

I did manage to squeeze in a little sightseeing on Thursday after the conference. My daughter and her husband flew down from Norway to see me receive the Public Service Award and brought my awesome youngest grandson. Jan and I managed to get reservations at Amsterdam's only Michelin two-star restaurant. It was awe inspiring food. We went to the Hague on Thursday.

Since we were staying at the Amsterdam Hilton we decided to revisit a March, 1969 event. The actual room was unavailable---we had no guitar so I borrowed a balalaika--- and we only spent about 10 minutes on it.


Some pictures from the award ceremony
My daughter Sarah came down from Stavanger to see me (and Grammy). She brought my youngest grandson.

Next stop, Frankfurt Germany. This is mainly a travel weekend but not much in the way of Halloween fun for me! Overnight in Frankfurt and a long day flying to Kazakhstan.

Thirty five days, twelve flights, 36,000 miles, six currencies, eight beds, 1 opera.


train to FRA
car to Abu Dhabi

Posted by fracmeister 07:34 Archived in Netherlands Comments (0)

October 2014 Around the world and then some, Part II


View October 2014 on fracmeister's travel map.

As this trip started I was going to go to China in between Australia and Amsterdam. This trip was postponed so I had a weekend in Singapore plus a couple days. It was good to be back in such a great city and I managed to visit our Gaffney-Cline office there and meet some old friends.


From Adelaide to Singapore to met with a Baker Hughes consulting firm (Gaffney-Cline & Associates) in Singapore. Singapore is wonderful. Plenty to see and do. Wonderful history and culture. Also my favorite food---chili crab, black pepper crab and lakhsa. Singapore also is celebrating Deepavali with a Festival of Lights and it was really fascinating.

For 20 years, Singapore was (to me) just an airport and a place with hotels and meeting rooms. Sure I would go by Jumbo Seafood to have Chili crab and black pepper crab with steam buns. But I never saw the town. When my wife and I traveled there it was much better and documented in our blog entry. We saw almost all the tourist stuff and love Singapore. This was more of a working weekend as I am behind on articles and presentations.

Little India was packed for the festivities and local temples had more than the usual number of worshippers.


The streets were crowded with hawkers and shops---and one man providing a service I didn't take advantage of.



Some Malaysian food from a hawker stand. 3.50 Singapore dollars, or $2.80 USD. It was excellent.

There were scores of butchers doing on the spot work with huge crowds buying every conceivable animal.


Seafood and fish were also in abundance and obviously very fresh.large_2016-10-16_23_02_42.jpglarge_2016-10-17_00_15_33.jpg

There was a display of Japanese design. This picture is not a computer simulation but an actual photo.


This is atop the taipei Buddhist center


There is a large "Arab" town in Singapore with many mosques. This is the same one where my wife and I witnessed a wedding on a previous visit so it holds a special memory for me.


An old Moslem cemetery


Some typical shops in the area


My wife and I went to all the tourist stuff before but here are a few pictures from my walking around. This really is a great city.

Finally, a note about Singapore airlines --- I really like this airline. Almost everyone does and Singapore Airlines perennially winds up on the top of the list of "Best Airlines." They deserve it. The service and food were excellent and they do a wonderful job.

If you have a chance in Singapore spend some time in Fort Canning. Splendid views and a great insight into the history of Singapore.

Thirty five days, twelve flights, 36,000 miles, six currencies, eight beds, 1 opera.

train to FRA
car to Abu Dhabi

Posted by fracmeister 03:07 Archived in Singapore Comments (0)

October 2014 Around the world and then some, Part I

A very long trip, becoming President-Elect of SPE, first stop Adelaide

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

The following blog entry describes a long trip. "Around the World" tickets are cost effective but a little complicated. This trip is both an around the world trip combined with a massive "around the Caspian" trip thrown in. Once again it combines some work for my employer along with a lot of travel with the Society of Petroleum Engineers. Buckle up!


Do you normally know where you will be going and when before you take off on your trips? As this one begins, it is certain I will go to several cities in Kazakhstan mid-way through the trip but details are not yet arranged.

The trip begins October 8 from IAH to SFO and then off on a very long flight--- from SFO to Auckland, New Zealand. After the four hour trip to SFO it is more than 13 hours to Auckland. Then another 5 hours to Adelaide. More than 10,000 miles and the flights which began October 8 at 4:12 PM end up, on time in Adelaide at 10:20 AM on October 10. Where did October 9 go?


Adelaide hosts the 2014 Asia Pacific Oil and Gas Conference and Exhibition (APOGCE). The current SPE President, past-President and President-elect are committed so the opportunity falls to me as 2016 SPE President (not yet President-elect) to give the welcome remarks to the YP workshop, a presentation at a Young Professionals (YP) workshop, remarks at the opening session of the conference, speaking in the executive plenary session, making regional awards presentations and many other awards, welcome remarks at the "Education and teacher's Day" meeting and a talk with other teachers, presenting awards at the SPE Regional Student Paper Contest and meeting with regional SPE leaders to review the SPE Strategic plan. Some more talksThe amazing help from SPE staff that make it possible to arrange this and keep everything straight. More about that later.

Adelaide is a vibrant and dynamic city. The University of Adelaide is very open with varies architecture. The parks and walkways along the river are colorful. There is a great "buzz" around the city.

The Art Museum doesn't make a point of putting all the art of one particular style, time or place in specific areas. These three are all right by each other.

Kangaroo Island

Arriving early provides the opportunity to have a "day off" and one of the best day trips from Adelaide is to Australia's third largest island, Kangaroo Island.

The Heath Goanna --- he is a local hero. When people tried to introduce rabbits to the island, the goanna dispatched them all before they could make too large an impact.

Sea lions at Seal Bay. These are amazing animals.
The koalas were just hanging around in the trees. Way up in the trees.
"Remarkable rocks" --- these rocks are perched atop a large granitic weathered sculptures. Sure, they look cool but they also have some large inclusions.

Not far from the Remarkable Rocks is Admirals Arch and a lot of seals.

The Cape du Couedic lighthouse.


OK, this isn't my picture. We also saw kangaroos but none of my pictures turned out.

No operas in Adelaide these days. The flight to New Zealand takes a long time and those movies on the little screen aren't that interesting. What do you do on long flights? On this one I listened to the James Levine, Metropolitan Opera performance of Mozart's Le Nozze di Figaro while reading the libretto--listening in French and reading the French and English together is quite engaging compared to just listening.

The current plan:
train to FRA
car to Abu Dhabi

Posted by fracmeister 23:26 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

September 2014 in Europe

A busy SPE and Baker Hughes month with some tourism thrown in

View September 2014 on fracmeister's travel map.

Let's begin this month with a trip to St. Louis and Rolla, MO (in a prior blog post) but September only begins in earnest with a trip to Vienna. Then through Amsterdam on KLM and participating in the SPE Exploration and Development of Shale and Shale-Associated Reservoirs (http://spe.org/events/14arom/) which highlighted both the progress and (substantial) remaining challenges for exporting the US shale revolution. It was a highly interdisciplinary conference and well organized and managed.


I have the chance to meet with Vienna Section members including Gerhard Thonhauser from the Mining University of Leoben (who I had just met in Santa Fe) and Reinhard Pongratz (OMV) the current Section Chair along with several other section leaders. I was able to help present a regional service award to former Section Chair Ms. Viktoria Wager. She was really instrumental in the support and survival of the Section. I also met a series of OMV leaders at lunch on Wednesday. Jan toured a lot and we saw Die Zauberflote at the Volksoper. It was great! We also toured the Schönbrunn Palace including a dinner and concert. Vienna is a wonderful city.


Most of the driving portion of the trip was through the Czech Republic and it rained a fair amount. Exiting Vienna turned out to be the most complex driving though. We visited the Technisches Universität Bergakademie Freiberg, an excellent petroleum engineering school. Professor Mohammed M. Amro (Director of the reservoir and production engineering institute) and Matthias Steiner (Director of the drilling engineering institute) and I had planning sessions and I plan on returning to do some lectures and visit other sections in the area including Dresden.


During the weekend, my wife and I visited friends in the small town of Uherske Hradiste in the eastern Czech Republic. Two couples we know from home were traveling in Europe and had come here for a festival so we joined them. People from all around had dressed in native costumes and there was plenty of music, parades, food and drink.

On Sunday we drove back to Vienna, returned the rental car and flew to Hannover, Germany.

On Monday we drove to Celle, Germany to speak at the Celle Drilling Conference sponsored by GeoEnergy. SPE routinely collaborates with other organizations and we had an opportunity to participate in their conference. On Tuesday I met with German Section members and leaders. On Wednesday I spoke at a Baker Hughes event called “Techno-Day.” I had previously spoken at one in Aberdeen.

Some of you may think SPE activities involve a lot of fun. Please note that I am documenting some vacation on this trip along with weekends. It isn't ALL fun and games. But this trip had a little more than normal since my wife was with me.

Then it was off to Berlin and a tour of the Reichstag Museum. We loved Berlin and went to an opera (La Traviata---staged in a very minimalist way that didn't work all that well for me--- the music and singing was good but the acting wasn't Verdi worthy), Berlin Philharmonic performance, toured the Pergamon Museum,


We then took a train to Prague for the weekend. The opera there was "Le Nozze di Figaro" or the Marriage of Figaro. Based roughly on how Jan and I met, it is the perfect comic opera. There may never be anything written this cleverly again. Its turns makes "The importance of Being Earnest" or the Mousetrap look straightforward, all set to some of Mozart's most clever music. It also features my favorite line from an opera, "Come la notte i furti miei seconde "The night favors my secret plan" --- our family motto. You sort of half to know the story which I jokingly claim is based on how I met my wife. Carmen is my favorite opera though. Definitely NOT how I met my wife.

By Monday we fly to Oslo, meet some Statoil folks there and catch yet another Opera, Lady Macbeth (Shostakovich, not Verdi and very weird).


We took the train to Bergen (including a fjord cruise) and flew to Stavanger to speak at another TechnoDay event for Baker Hughes and shared some ideas for YP activities with local SPE members.

Speaking at Techno-Day

We stayed the weekend with my second oldest daughter, her husband (an ExxonMobil drilling engineer) and our four grandsons. Among the weekend activities was a tour of the Norsk Petroleum Museum--- it is extremely well done and I highly recommend it to Stavanger visitors. Then off for a quick flight to Amsterdam followed by a long flight to Houston.

Ten beds, four currencies, seven flights, five operas, two concerts, four trains, several buses, trams, subways, one boat and a rental car and seven countries in 24 days. Zoom in on the map to see the amusing route we took.

13,389 miles
23,066 cumulative

Operas this month= 4 (Prague, Berlin, Oslo, VIenna) To date = 5

Posted by fracmeister 00:57 Archived in Germany Comments (0)

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