On October 26, 2017 the members of the Mid-Continent Section of the Society of Petroleum Engineers will gather at the Gilcrease Museum to celebrate 100 years of technology and innovation. The Mid-Continent Section was formed December 28, 1917 in Tulsa, Oklahoma as the15th local section of the AIME (American Institute of Mining Engineers) and was until 1935 the only section with a predominantly petroleum membership. At that time, Tulsa was “The Oil Capital of the World” primarily due to the discovery of the Glenpool field but there were also numerous discoveries in the Red Fork and Bartlesville formations in the surrounding area. Tulsa has always been a leader in innovation and SPE has been a constant force fostering collaboration within petroleum technology. From 1951-1999, Tulsa was home to the Amoco Research Center where pioneers such as R. Floyd Farris, J. B. Clark, C. Robert Fast and George C. Howard worked to develop and understand the techniques of hydraulic fracturing. The research and development of the “Amerada® Bomb” for the measurement of downhole pressure occurred in Tulsa at the Geophysical Research Corporation under the direction of Charles V. Miliken and his team. Other notable members of the section included Michael B. Smith, Kenneth G. Nolte, Ram G. Agarwal and Robert D. Carter who need no introduction due to their well-known work on hydraulic fracturing and pressure transient analysis.
The Mid-Continent Section could not have thrived as it has without the benefit of great leadership. Notable past chairman of the section include Charles Henry Keplinger, Dr. Ralph Veatch, Jr, Dr. Forrest (F. F.) Craig, Jr., and Joe Wanenmacher, Jr. Mr. Keplinger was a world renowned petroleum engineer and reserves consultant. Keplinger Hall at the University of Tulsa now houses the departments of chemistry and biochemistry, geosciences, mathematics, physics and engineering physics, and the Russell School of Chemical Engineering. Dr. Veatch is the President of Software Enterprises, Inc and former supervisor of the Hydraulic Fracturing and Well Completion group at the Amoco Research Center in Tulsa, OK. He is also the author or coauthor of 21 technical papers and 6 books of petroleum technology. Dr. Craig is the author of the SPE Mongraph “The Reservoir Engineering Aspects of Waterflooding”. Joe Wanenmacher, Jr is a widely recognized petroleum engineering consultant likely more recognized now for the Wanenmacher Gun Show held biannually in Tulsa.
Likely the most recognized contribution of the Mid-Continent section is the hosting of the SPE Improved Oil Recovery (IOR) Conference. The SPE Improved Oil Recovery Conference started in April 1969 as the Enhanced Oil Recovery Symposium, in 1994 it became known as the Improved Oil Recovery (IOR) Symposium. From 1980 through 2010, the meeting was jointly sponsored with the US Department of Energy. The conference attracts hundreds of SPE members and exhibitors from across the globe. Visit www.speior.org for more details on the upcoming conference.
Today the Mid-Continent Section is thriving with over 800 active members. It hosts 9 monthly luncheons featuring topics of local importance and numerous distinguished lecturers. Last year the section awarded 31 scholarships, including the Gus Archie Memorial Scholarship. In 2017 the Section has partnered with NSI Technologies to administer the Ken Nolte Memorial Scholarship. 12 Mid-Continent section members have been awarded the John Franklin Carll award, 9 members have received the Lester C. Uren Award, and 5 the Anthony F Lucas Gold Medal. The section is also proud to list 82 Legion of Honor (50 years) members on the roster.
The 26th of October will truly be a time of celebration to remember 100 years of technology and innovation. However, the true goal of event is to honor the 82 Legion of Honor section members and the legacy they have built in the Mid-Continent. We invite all SPE members to join us for this celebration especially any former Mid-Continent section members.