The North America Student Symposium will feature leaders and experts within the oil and gas industry.  Some of these experts will include:

Fersheed Mody, Manager Global R&D, Apache Corporation

Fersheed Mody

Manager, Global R&D, Apache Corporation

Fersheed Mody, Ph.D., P.E.

Manager, Global R&D

Apache Corporation

Houston, TX, USA


A seasoned professional with 32+ years of diversified research, applied technology and project management experience in the areas of drilling and production with technology organizations of an independent oil company (Apache Corporation), a major international oil company (Shell International E & P) and a major integrated service company (Halliburton).

Ph.D. in M.E. University of Oklahoma, 1985

Have published over 60 technical papers, have 28 Patents.

Member of the Board of Directors - RPSEA (Research Partnership to Secure Energy for America)

Member of Industry Advisory Board – Mewbourne School of Petroleum & Geological Engineering, University of Oklahoma and Bob L. Herd Dept. of Petroleum Engineering, Texas Tech. University

In the past, less sophisticated data science and software has resulted in analytics that aimed to answer very large questions with small data samples. Recent advances in “Data Analytics” and “Data Mining” inverses the out dated ways of predictive analysis. Advanced data analytics tools inverses the paradigm and gathers the richest, largest, and most complete data set possible and then aims to answer questions and makes prediction on a more granular level. This is a sea change in the way modern, cutting-edge data platforms are really attacking the challenges in the E&P industry related to drilling, completions and production to name a few. A high level discussion as to how we can apply these analytics tools and insights to bring real value to the bottom-line.

2017 SPE President

Janeen Judah

2017 SPE President & Chevron

Janeen Judah is the 2017 President of the Society of Petroleum Engineers, seconded from Chevron.

Her past Chevron leadership positions include General Manager for Chevron’s Southern Africa Business Unit, based in Houston, Texas, President of Chevron Environmental Management Company and General Manager of Reservoir and Production Engineering for Chevron Energy Technology Company. Before joining Chevron, she worked for Texaco and ARCO in various upstream petroleum engineering positions, starting in Midland in 1981.

Judah has held many SPE leadership positions, including SPE International Vice President Finance, on the Board as Director for the Gulf Coast North America Region and chairing both the Gulf Coast and Permian Basin sections. She was named a Distinguished Member of SPE in 2003 and received the Distinguished Service award in 2010. She started her SPE leadership as a student section officer at Texas A&M University.

Judah holds BS and MS degrees in petroleum engineering from Texas A&M University, an MBA from The University of Texas of the Permian Basin and a JD from the University of Houston Law Center.

“How SPE can Help Your Career”

Join 2017 SPE President Janeen Judah as she shares her stories and experience as how lifetime involvement in SPE has shaped her career and life, as an engineer, manager and friend. Janeen has been an SPE member for 40 years, starting as a first year engineering student and she began her leadership journey as a student section officer at Texas A&M University. SPE is for a lifetime; Janeen will share how SPE has impacted her life and how it can impact yours with leadership development through volunteering.

JML Head SHot

Joe Leimkuhler

Vice President, Drilling, LLOG Exploration

Joe Leimkuhler is the Vice President of Drilling for LLOG Exploration based in Covington, Louisiana.  Joe is responsible for all Drilling and Completion Operations and Well Engineering for LLOG.  Prior to joining LLOG in early 2012 Joe was the Offshore Well Delivery Manager for Shell International E&P Co, (SIEP) covering all Gulf of Mexico well operations for all Semi-Submersible and Drillships.  Prior to the SIEP role, Joe served in a similar role as the Offshore Well Delivery Manager for Shell E&P – Americas, covering all TLP, Platform and Jack-Up based offshore well operations in the Americas.

Over the last 30 years he has worked Well Engineering and Drilling Operations in a variety of capacities.  Joe's prior assignments with Shell have included Subsea Development Manager for the Gulf of Mexico, and Deepwater Drilling Superintendent assignments on TLP, Drillship and Semi-Submersible well operations.

Prior to taking on a management role, Joe served as the Project Drilling Engineer for the Mars development, and as an instructor at Shell’s Bellaire Research Center in Houston, where he taught Shell’s Drilling Engineering classes.

Before working for Shell Joe worked for M-I Drilling Fluids in the Wyoming Overthrust belt and for ARCO in Drilling and Reservoir engineering in Bakersfield California.

Joe graduated from the University of Montana in 1981 with BS degrees in Geology and Forestry; in 1987 he graduated from the University of Wyoming with a MS in Petroleum Engineering.

Joe serves on the Helix Well Containment Group – Board of Directors, the National Board of Directors for the American Association of Drilling Engineers (ADDE), and served as the National President of AADE from 2007 to 2009.  Joe is a 30 year member of the Society of Petroleum Engineers, and also serves on various University Engineering Advisory boards focused on Petroleum Engineering.  Joe and his wife Stephanie live in Mandeville, La, they have two grown children and 6 grand children.

Presentation Title : “Safety in Petroleum Engineering Operations…… lessons learned the hard way over a 35 yr career”.


After working in Drilling Operations, onshore as well as offshore since 1981 one of the most difficult areas to “get a grip” on and manage well is Safety. Industry has made great strides reducing injuries and injury rates over the past 30 years. However, we still experience far too many fatalities in our business. In fact, when calibrated for rig activity a case can be made that improvements in fatality rates offshore have been and remain stagnant for a considerable period of time. This is despite the tremendous improvement in overall injury rates. Is there a different approach that can be applied and are there indicators that if we were to use such a protocol we can expect a different result? I believe the answer is yes, and part of change lies in how the next generation of engineers and managers approach and implement reporting and follow up to unsafe conditions and incidents. We will look at how the aviation industry has virtually double passenger miles over the past 10 yrs while maintaining zero fatalities in commercial aviation in the US, an incredible record. Can such a system be applied to the oil and gas industry offshore and even perhaps onshore? Insights into the power and influence of those in higher technical as well as supervisory positions will also be covered.


Mark A. Rubin

SPE CEO and Executive Vice President

Mark Rubin is responsible for the overall management of SPE. He works with the Board of Directors and senior staff to develop strategic and business plans and formulate the organization’s goals, objectives, policies, and programs. He also organizes and directs the global staff organization, which includes offices in Dallas, Houston, Kuala Lumpur, Dubai, London, and Moscow, to ensure the accomplishment of SPE’s mission.

He was appointed executive director of SPE in August 2001. Prior to this appointment, he served as upstream general manager for the American Petroleum Institute (API) in Washington, D.C. He joined API in 1988 and held a series of positions working on federal regulatory and legislative matters as well as technical standards development.

A member of SPE since 1979, Rubin held petroleum engineering positions for Unocal in Houston and East Texas from 1981 to 1987 and for Buttes Resources in Dallas 1987–88. Rubin serves on the Board of the American Society of Association Executives and is a member of the Council of Engineering and Scientific Society Executives. He has been a member of the National Petroleum Council and Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission. He earned a BS degree in petroleum engineering from Texas A&M University and an MBA from Southern Methodist University.

Sharon Hewitt Head Shot

Senator Sharon Hewitt

Louisiana State Senate

District 1 Senator Sharon Hewitt came to the Louisiana State Senate as a recognized civic and community leader with decades of volunteer service to area children and families. The Lake Charles native and long-time resident of Slidell is a graduate of Barbe High School and holds a bachelor of science in mechanical engineering from LSU. As an engineering executive, Senator Hewitt managed major deepwater assets in the Gulf of Mexico for Shell and earned a reputation as a passionate, committed problem solver.

As a state senator, Hewitt serves as vice-chair of the Senate Transportation Committee, and is a member of the Senate Environmental Committee, the Joint Budget Committee, and the Senate Finance Committee, which oversees the state budgeting process. In addition, the Senator represents the state of Louisiana on two important national energy panels and serves on several statewide coastal restoration committees and councils focused on women and children's issues.

Since beginning her first term in 2017, the Senator has focused on fiscal reforms through legislation to shrink the size of government and limit spending, measuring results, and streamlining higher education, while creating jobs with legislation to invest in workforce development in STEM and critical infrastructure.

Senator Hewitt married her husband, Stan, over 35 years ago and they have proudly raised two sons, Chris and Brad. They are longtime members of Aldersgate United Methodist Church in Slidell.

Senate District 1 includes portions of St. Tammany, St. Bernard, Plaquemines, and Orleans parishes.

Joe Frantz Picture

Joseph H. Frantz, Jr.

VP Engineering Technology - Range Resources Corporation


Joe is responsible for evaluating and applying technology to enhance economics through a combination of improving production and/or reducing costs, supporting the company recruiting, retention, training and career development of the engineering staff, and ensuring consistent communication and transparency across the company in technology areas. Prior to this position at Range, he was responsible for the Production Operations and Facilities Construction Groups, the Production, Facilities, and Reservoir Engineering Departments, and the Completions and Water Management Groups. Joe Chairs the Drilling, Completion, Facility, and Production Committee within the Marcellus Shale Coalition. He serves on the Board of the United Way of Washington County and recently joined the Board of the Society of Petroleum Engineers as a Regional Director. Joe graduated in 1981 with a B.S. in Petroleum and Natural Gas Engineering from the Pennsylvania State University and is a Registered Professional Engineer. He has authored and co-authored many industry papers.


Amy E. Zeringue

Manager, Information Technology Gulf of Mexico Business Unit, Chevron

Amy is a 1997 graduate of Louisiana State University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Petroleum Engineering. After graduation, she started her career as a Drilling and Completions Applications Support Engineer with Landmark Graphics Drilling and Well Services group in Houston, Texas.

After a brief role during the 1999 dot-com era as an Account Manager for a small start-up called Wellogix, Amy joined Accenture’s Oil and Gas Energy Practice where she worked as a consultant on digital oilfield projects for Marathon, Anadarko, Shell, and Chevron. During this time, Amy traveled throughout various oil-producing regions of the world, designing, developing, and implementing digital oilfield and workflow solutions in support of well planning, surface facilities asset integrity and production optimization.

Amy joined Chevron in 2009 as an i-field Solution Engineer within Chevron’s Upstream Capability Base Business organization. From there, she assumed the role of Central Solution Development Manager for Chevron ETC’s Upstream Workflow Transformation organization and, in late 2013, became the first Drilling and Completion Information Technology Manager within Upstream Capability Drilling and Completions organization. In this role, she was responsible for short- and long-term information technology strategies to enable Chevron’s drilling and completions engineering and operations organizations globally. In 2017, Amy assumed the role of IT Manager for the recently merged Gulf of Mexico Business Unit, taking over responsibilities for business unit information technology teams.

Amy is actively involved in Chevron’s Executive Women’s Network as well as the SPE’s bi-annual Intelligent Energy (IE) Conference, where she has served as a paper contributor, panelist, and program committee member for past conferences. She served as co-chair and Executive Committee member for the 2016 IE conference in Aberdeen.

Amy is the mother of 2 elementary school-aged daughters and enjoys interior design, traveling, and arts and crafts.

“The Evolving Role of the Digital Engineer”

The energy industry has always relied on information and information technology to enable its work processes. With the emergence of concepts like “the integrated field” or “digital oilfield of the future” in the 2000s, and the introduction of advanced data analytics and machine learning in more recent years, workflows have the potential to become even more digital and complex. The concept of “digital engineers” is not new, but the ability to understand when and how to apply and leverage existing and emerging technology is becoming an important skill for today’s engineering workforce. Roles that span both engineering and IT disciplines are becoming more commonplace, and several traits are emerging that define a successful “digital engineer”. This talk will focus on these topics, as well as highlight some case studies of successful digital technology implementation at Chevron, including the roles of the engineers and IT professionals who were involved in their development and use.

Shauna Noonan

Shauna Noonan

Chief of Artificial Lift Engineering, Occidental Petroleum Corporation

Shauna Noonan is the Chief of Artificial Lift Engineering for Occidental Petroleum Corporation based in Houston.   Prior to her joining Oxy in late 2015, she worked on artificial lift projects and technology development worldwide at ConocoPhillips and Chevron for over 22 years.   She has authored / co-authored more than 25 technical publications on the subject of artificial lift.  She also served on the SPE International Board of Directors from 2012-2015 as the Technical Director for Production and Operations.

Artificial Lift Performance Improvement through Data Analytics and Machine Based Learning

The majority of oil wells in the world are produced via artificial lift.   The reliability of these systems can greatly impact field economics, both in intervention costs and lost oil due to downtime.  Technological advancements have allowed us to instrument these systems sending reams of data to perform diagnostics.  The number of parameters are beyond human capability to detect trends and relative patterns that could lead to predicting both artificial lift shutdowns and failures.   This presentation will provide examples of how data analytics and machine based learning is being used by production engineers to increase artificial lift performance and reliability.


Tom Bergeon

Senior Geologist, Upstream Exploration

Tom Bergeon is a geologist at Upstream Exploration in New Orleans. Tom has spent 31 years in the Gulf of Mexico oil industry. 11 years at Upstream, 9 years at Shell, and 11 years at Chevron. Tom received his Master's degree from Colorado School of Mines and his Bachelors degree from Michigan State University.

“Geologic Risk Factors In Oil Exploration”

The formation of an oil field involves 4 key elements - reservoir/trap/charge/seal. This talk will focus on the risk elements of oil exploration and advancements in technology to aid in risk reduction. The synergy between geology and petroleum engineering is key to address risk and determine pre-drill prospect economics.


Dr. Vera Verdree

Sr. Global Competence Manager, Baker Hughes (BHGE)

Dr. Vera Verdree is a talented and influential leader with 10 years of experience at BHGE. Currently as the Sr. Global Competence Manager for Oilfield Services, Vera is responsible for the success of the Competence Management Program. Since joining BHGE in 2007, she rose through positions including Research Scientist, Field Support Engineer, and Plant Operations Manager. Prior to her current role, Vera was the Sr. Procurement Manager overseeing global annual expenditures for the Hughes Christensen division. With a strong technical background complimented by the combination of all her roles, Vera brings a wealth of knowledge and experience allowing her to have a broad enterprise view, identify business drivers, and deliver results.

She serves on several leadership committees including Energy Industries Connect (EIC), The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, and The Junior League of Houston, Inc. Vera holds a B.S. Degree in Chemistry from Columbus State University and a PhD in Analytical Chemistry from Louisiana State University. She enjoys spending time with family, traveling, and reading.

"A New Era for the Oil and Gas Industry: Inspiring our Next Generation of Leaders."

The Oil and Gas industry is not a stranger to big data and digital technology, but with the shift in economic and industry trends, being early adopters of digital innovation is critical now more than ever to gain a significant competitive edge. New digital technologies combined with data analytics can deliver a step change to O&G companies in productivity and connectivity, enabling significant growth and operational excellence to complex systems. Understand the growing role digital technology plays in this industry and the evolving skillset that will be in high demand as digitization continues to challenge the status quo.


Amy Craig

Experienced Engineer and Project Manager

Amy Wormsley Craig is a former engineer with Chevron Corporation (2006-2017). She has a B.S. in Petroleum Engineering from LSU and a M.S. in Civil Engineering from Clarkson University. She resides in Baton Rouge, LA.

Interdisciplinary Projects in Integrated Petroleum Engineering Companies

Life Cycle Analysis, Regulatory Approvals, and Business Planning are three examples of interdisciplinary projects. These types of projects use skills beyond traditional petroleum engineering to improve decision-making and communication.


Karthik Srinivasan

Stimulation Domain and Technology Manager - Rockies, Schlumberger

Karthik Srinivasan is currently Schlumberger’s Stimulation Domain and Technology Manager for the Rockies responsible for addressing completion/reservoir engineering challenges and evaluation/implementation of new technologies. He started his career as a fracturing field engineer in Oklahoma before progressing to technical roles across various domains. In his 10 years’ experience with Schlumberger, he has worked on most of the unconventional plays in North America and has held multiple positions including Production Technologist, Reservoir/Stimulation Engineering lead and project manager for integrated services. Srinivasan holds a Master’s in Petroleum Engineering from Penn State University and a Bachelor’s in Chemical Engineering from National Institute of Technology, India.

By end of 2005, there were only around 32,000 horizontal producing oil and gas wells in all of US. Over the past decade this number has increased by almost eight times with over 250,000 horizontal wells drilled and completed across multiple basins till date. As operators continue to explore new plays and formations, this number is expected to increase at a much faster pace over the next two decades. Historically, newly exploited formations require a science based approach, where a combination of seismic data, high-tier logs, reservoir models and field measurements are used to evaluate the impact of several drilling and completion parameters on long term EUR. But as more and more data sets become available, analytics can help understand trends in reservoir variability, completion effectiveness and production potential in a given area of interest. This talk focuses on application of data analytics in unconventional oil and gas reservoirs in relatively mature basins illustrating how a rich set of drilling, completion and production data can help optimize field development planning in the long run.


Neil DiLorenzo

Completion Engineer, Gulf of Mexico Business Unit, Chevron

Neil DiLorenzo began his career with Chevron in 2008, and has held positions as a Drill Site Manager on the Gulf of Mexico Shelf, a Completion Engineer in Chevron’s Energy Technology Company, and a Field Engineer in Deepwater Gulf of Mexico Drilling and Completions. He is Currently a Completion Engineer in the Gulf of Mexico Business Unit.

A native of Louisiana, Neil holds a B.S. in Petroleum Engineering from LSU, a M.S. in Petroleum Economics and Management from L’Institut Français du Pétrole (IFP) and a M. Eng. in Petroleum Engineering from Texas A&M University. He is currently a resident of Houston, Texas and enjoys recreational sports including Basketball, Volleyball, and Golf.


Reliability Analysis for Well Completions


Reliability Engineering tools, including Life Data Analysis are used in many industries, including oil and gas. These concepts have been applied to completions since the 1990’s. This presentation will provide an introduction the concepts of Reliability Engineering and Life Data Analysis, provide examples of its application including SPE 159541 (Capderou and DiLorenzo, 2012) and SPE 166425 (Ismail and Geddes 2013), and discuss the challenges of gathering reliability data.

Josie Schultz – Headshot

Josie Schultz

External Communications Manager, EQT Corporation

Josie Schultz is the External Communications Manager for EQT Corporation. Josie joined EQT in 2012 as part of the community relations team and since that time has held a variety of roles in the communications department – and in her most current position, she is responsible for the external communications of EQT and its subsidiaries. Prior to joining EQT, she held a constituent outreach role for the Pennsylvania House of Representatives. Josie holds a Bachelor and a Master of Science degree in Mass Media Arts, Journalism, and Communications Studies from Clarion University of Pennsylvania.

Public perception is vital for success at both the individual and corporate levels. Social media influences how we perceive the world around us and it is essential that as professionals we understand the magnitude of this impact. Join us to learn how data and analytics can help companies assess and maintain their social media presence to enhance their public perception.

Mallory Toulouse – Headshot

Mallory Toulouse

Digital Communications Specialist, EQT Corporation

Mallory Toulouse is a Digital Communications Specialist with EQT Corporation. Mallory got her start in the oil and gas industry in 2015 as a Marketing Assistant for a pipeline development company. She now manages the social media and external web development for EQT Corporation. Mallory received her Bachelor’s degree in Strategic Communications from Calvin College.

Public perception is vital for success at both the individual and corporate levels. Social media influences how we perceive the world around us and it is essential that as professionals we understand the magnitude of this impact. Join us to learn how data and analytics can help companies assess and maintain their social media presence to enhance their public perception.


Wadhah Al-Tailji

Technical Manager, CARBO

Wadhah Al-Tailji is a technical manager at CARBO, where he provides technical advice on stimulation and completion practices in unconventional plays (such as the Eagle Ford Shale) based on data analysis and computer modeling to optimize well productivity for clients.  Prior to joining CARBO in 2010, he spent 5 years working for BJ Services Company in field and region engineering roles, primarily in the East Texas Basin.  He has authored three SPE papers on the topics of stimulation optimization and has coauthored numerous others, and is currently the SPE Distinguished Lecturer for the 2017-2018 season.  He holds B.S. and M.S. degrees in petroleum engineering from New Mexico Tech.

The easiest way to justify completion and stimulation design decisions is by utilizing hard facts to support the design.  However, many of the decisions made in completing and stimulating wells in unconventional plays are made using incomplete or imperfect information, which require the use of analytical and numerical techniques using data and assumptions with varying degrees of certainty to arrive at one or more possible solutions.  Besides using results from an independent analysis, trends in the industry can influence design decisions whether they are or are not appropriate for a particular completion plan.  This presentation provides case studies evaluating different design aspects in an unconventional shale play, supported by datasets both large and small.  It also provides an example on how design experiments can be performed to evaluate a hypothesis where data is lacking, so that decision-making can be improved in future field development.


Greg Southworth

Associate Director, Offshore Operators Committee (OOC)

Greg Southworth is the Associate Director of the Offshore Operators Committee (OOC). The OOC was formed in 1948 and has evolved into the oil and gas industry’s principal representative regarding regulation of offshore exploration, development, and producing operations in the Gulf of Mexico. Mr. Southworth has over 25 years experience in environmental and emergency management in the energy industry. He has implemented environmental management systems in the US, Western Canada and Brazil. His experience includes building relationships with regulatory agencies and stakeholders, and developing corporate environmental strategies. Greg holds a BS in engineering from LSU and an MBA from Loyola University New Orleans.

Title: The Importance of Perspective

Abstract: The presentation will provide a brief introduction to the Offshore Operators Committee (OOC). Founded in 1948, the OOC is a trade organization serving as a technical advocate for the offshore oil and gas industry in the Gulf of Mexico. Following the introduction to the OOC, the presentation will focus on the importance of perspective – the relative importance of things – to engineers in the oil and gas industry. It will discuss the critical importance of the industry to modern society and provide examples of how engineers can begin to think about other important aspects beyond technology to ensure project success. In addition, some suggestions for new professionals will be discussed to aid in gaining a broader perspective of the industry.


Koray Kinik

Drilling Analytics Engineer, Apache Corporation

Koray Kinik is a Drilling Analytics Engineer at Apache Corporation, where he applies data analytics techniques to improve drilling efficiency. Prior to joining Apache, he was at Weatherford (2012-2017) responsible for developing Managed Pressure Drilling control system software. Koray holds a B.S. from Middle East Technical University and M.S. from Louisiana State University in in Petroleum Engineering, and currently pursuing Data Science Certificate program at Harvard. He is SPE member since 2009, P.E. registered at Engineers Australia, and has 2 patents and several publications on control systems automation and real time data processing.

“Oil and Gas Industry in the Age of Data Analytics”

Reducing cost of data aggregation and exponentially improving computational power fueled a wave of creative destruction through big data analytics and IoT revolutions in the last decade. The trends show no sign of slowing; however, its full impact is still yet to be seen in many industries including oil & gas since only a fraction of the operational data is currently being analyzed to harvest its potential value. We will discuss the two biggest barriers companies face in their digital transformation efforts today: incorporating data-driven solutions to their current business processes and the scarcity of the right data-savvy talent from STEM domains, and we will concentrate on how emerging real time monitoring and data analytics solutions are enhancing the upstream operations.


Aron Deen

Director of Marketing and Business Development, ULTERRA

Aron Deen has worked in oil & gas drilling for 11 years with diverse responsibilities in Engineering, Product Development and Management, Sales, and Marketing. He has worked in plays across the US, Middle East & North Africa, Canada, and on drilling projects around the world. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Chemical Engineering from the University of Oklahoma and MBA at the University of Texas. He has a host of patents, patent applications, published works, and has been a guest speaker at universities and professional venues around the world.

Title: You Can't Drill It Alone: How to build and lead a team to help you win.

Abstract: Oilfield product and service providers and E&P operators have a symbiotic relationship. Neither could exist without the other. Yet they share a broken model of communication that limits success on both sides. In this talk Aron Deen, Director of Marketing and Technology at Ulterra, will discuss why it is this way, and more importantly what you can do as a young professional to help lead the industry, your company, and yourself to a higher level of success.

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Karen Hellinger

SPE Roswell Section

Karen received her Masters in Scientific and Professional Communication Certification (MSPCC) from New Mexico Tech, and has an MA in English and Creative Writing from Southern New Hampshire University. She is the co-author of a Technical Communication paper involving cross-discipline visual communication.

For the SPE Roswell Section, Karen has presented numerous resume, cover letter and soft skills workshops. She also serves on the Distinguished Lecture Committee, is Chair of the DL Nominee Webinar Committee, and is on the SPE International Scholarship Committee. She previously served on the Management & Information Technical Advisory Committee. She was the Greeting Team Leader for ATCE 2017 and 2012 San Antonio. In 2013, she won the SPE SWNA Regional Service Award. Karen is also a member of the National Society for Leadership and Success (NSLS), and a recipient of the National Engaged Leader Award.


Som Chakraborti

Director of Digital Solutions, Completion & Production, Halliburton

Som Chakraborti is Director of Digital Solutions at Halliburton, Completion & Production Division.  In this role, Som is responsible for the overall digital strategy execution, including development of digital products, software & services and commercialization.

Som joined Halliburton from Rexnord Industries, LLC, where he served as VP & GM of Material Handling Business and Digital Leader for all product & service lines.  Before Rexnord, Som was the President of Dover Corporation’s Energy Automation Group, where he led the 'Connected Wellsite' strategy by bringing together five product lines for upstream: drilling tools, artificial lift automation, chemical injection, valves, and equipment condition monitoring.

Som previously spent 18 years with Rockwell Automation and ABB in operations, product management and P&L roles, including VP & GM of Rockwell Automation’s Process Control & Information Software business and Director of Systems & Solutions for ABB North America.

Som has an MBA from The Ohio State University, an MS in Electrical Engineering from West Virginia University and a BS in Electrical Engineering from Birla Institute of Technology, India.


Sebastien Matringe

Manager of Reservoir Optimization and Analytics, Newfield Exploration

Sebastien Matringe is the Manager of the Reservoir Optimization and Analytics group at Newfield Exploration. As such, his team uses Reservoir Simulation and Data Analytics to model and optimize the development strategy of Newfield’s oil and gas assets.

Before joining Newfield, Sebastien took on various roles as an engineer, manager and executive in Research & Development, Field Development and Reservoir Management functions. He was previously the Vice-President of Technology at Quantum Reservoir Impact where he led the development of new reservoir diagnostics technologies based on physics-based and data-driven models. At QRI, he also held different engineering and management functions for projects in Latin America, the Middle East and Asia working with large National Oil Companies. Sebastien started working on field development projects at Chevron, as a Reservoir Simulation Engineer working on assets in Africa and the Middle-East. Prior to this, he worked as a researcher in Reservoir Simulation technologies specialized in Applied Mathematics. His research work was performed in the R&D teams of Chevron, ExxonMobil and ConocoPhillips, as well as Stanford University, MIT and UC Berkeley. Dr. Matringe holds a BSc and MSc in Mechanical Engineering from ENSEEIHT, France and a MSc and PhD in Petroleum Engineering from Stanford University.

Title: Augmented Intelligence: Using Machine-Learning in Reservoir Management

During this session, Sebastien Matringe will look back at the key advances in data science that led to the transformation of multiple industries over the past two decades and will offer his share his views and experience on how to apply these new techniques to Reservoir Management issues in the Oil & Gas industry. New data sources, database systems, hardware architectures, software solutions and machine learning models have evolved over the past two decades to form a new technology environment commonly referred to as Big Data. This new environment drove deep innovations in many industries and is a current focus of many operating and service companies. Having been involved in dozens of analytics studies over the past 8 years, Sebastien Matringe will share the lessons he learned on how to build successful data-driven models, what pitfalls to avoid and what best practices to


Austin Groover

Drilling Performance Manager, Nabors

Drilling Performance Manager at Nabors, leads team that provides software and automation solutions to improve drilling efficiency and reduce drilling time.  Prior positions include optimization engineer at Nabors and Canrig. Before joining Canrig, he worked in Casing Drilling technology for Schlumberger and Tesco. He holds a BS degree in petroleum engineering from Texas A&M class of 2010.

Title: How Analyzing KPIs Can Help Us Move Towards Directional Drilling Automation


Understanding how to analyze key performance indicators (KPIs) is an important part of a drilling engineer’s job. In this presentation, Austin Groover, drilling performance manager for Nabors Drilling Solutions, will provide a high-level overview of the advantages and pitfalls of KPIs, and how they can help us move towards directional drilling automation and improve drilling performance.

W Aaron Burton

W. Aaron Burton

Founder, Unconventional Oil and Gas Training

Aaron Burton’s career has been focused on the completion of shales and similar unconventional plays that require multistage hydraulic fracturing. In 2015, Burton started Unconventional Oil and Gas Training, a company specializing in training and consulting for unconventional multistage completions. Prior to starting the company, he was with Baker Hughes for nearly 8 years. During his tenure in operations he held the roles of field engineer, operations coordinator, and application engineer. Outside of operations he has been product line strategist, completions manager for the Unconventional Resource Team, and product line manager for unconventional multistage completions. He has completed wells, conducted training, and consulted on a variety of projects worldwide. Through his experience, he has developed a solid understanding of reservoir properties and stimulation design that are used in a data-driven approach to more effectively design completions in unconventional wells. He is active in the industry authoring and instructing on the subject of unconventional completions. He has authored and coauthored three SPE papers, and continues to teach two SPE continuing education courses. He has written a variety of other documents including magazine articles and newsletters, and taught numerous classes in many different venues to operators, service companies, and other companies involved in the industry. Also, he has been a discussion leader, presenter, panelist, and participated in many other roles in industry events. Burton holds a BS in mechanical engineering from Mississippi State University.

Shales and other low-permeability formations require multistage completions, hydraulic fracturing, and horizontal wells to produce at economic rates. This course focuses on the multistage completion systems that are used in these applications, including plug-and-perf, ball-activated systems (frac sleeves), and coiled tubing-activated systems (annular fracturing). Participants will learn the different types of multistage completion options and how they compare in different applications. They will also get an overview of low-permeability plays and learn the basics of hydraulic fracturing and refracturing.

Topics include:

  • An overview of applications that require multistage hydraulic fracturing
  • The basics of hydraulic fracturing and refracturing theory and design
  • Evolution of multistage completions
  • Wellbore completion options for multistage hydraulic fracturing
    • Plug-and-perf completions
    • Ball-activated completion systems (frac sleeves)
    • Coiled-tubing-activated completions systems (annular fracturing)
  • New multistage completion technologies
  • Benefits and considerations for each completion system
  • Application specific solutions for wellbore completion design
  • Refracturing options for existing wells

At the end of this course, participants will be able to:

  • Identify the different types of multistage completions
  • Recognize the benefits and considerations for each type of completion system
  • Use knowledge gained to select completion based on their specific application
  • Understand basic theory and design of fracturing and refracturing wells

Why Attend?

In the last decade new production from shales and other low-permeability reservoirs that require multistage hydraulic fracturing has significantly influenced the price and supply of hydrocarbons. The success of these plays in North America has operators around the globe trying to identify similar reservoirs. In order to replicate these results in new plays and implement a more sustainable and improved approach to unconventional resource development in existing plays, it is important to understand and recognize the multiple options and challenges of multistage completion systems in these types of wells.


Erin McEvers

Rocky Mountain Regional Director, SPE International

Erin McEvers is an independent consultant with Clearbrook Consulting Corporation based in Evergreen, Colorado.  She has held reservoir engineering positions with Tom Brown, Inc., Encana, Cimarex and Antero Resources.  Currently she is a reservoir engineering consultant focusing on reserve evaluations, economic analyses, field development planning and unconventional reservoir assessment.

McEvers earned a BS in Petroleum Engineering from the Colorado School of Mines.

She has served on the Denver SPE Section board of directors and the SPE Distinguished Lecturer committee.


John Whitehead

Reservoir Engineer Workflow Advisor, Shell

My title: Reservoir Engineer Workflow Advisor

John Whitehead joined Shell in June of 2016 as a Reservoir Engineering Workflow advisor supporting Upstream Americas delivering innovative and cost-effective workflows for reservoir engineers in surveillance and simulation, after completing a Master’s degree in Petroleum engineering from LSU. John realizes the importance of having a hybrid skillset and actively seeks to broaden technical skills in the realm of IT and computer science for the future of the digital oilfield. In his spare time, he enjoys playing racquetball and travel.

Title: Job Seeking in the Oil Industry as a Recent Graduate

A cyclical industry, like oil and gas, poses specific challenges for new professionals seeking employment. In the most recent downturn, some of us learned about what works and what doesn’t. I’ve designed this session around my job search experiences, both positive and negative, in a tumultuous time. My hope is this talk will stimulate a group discussion and sharing of best practices.


Dr. F. King Alexander

President, Louisiana State University

Dr. F. King Alexander is the President of Louisiana State University, which enrolls more than 44,000 students and includes institutions across Louisiana. He began at LSU on June 24, 2013.

Prior to this appointment, Dr. Alexander was president of California State University, Long Beach (2005-2013) one of the nation’s largest public universities. During his more than seven-year tenure at California State University, Long Beach, Dr. Alexander was twice named the California State University Student Association (CSSA) “President of the Year,” which represents all 23 California State Universities and its more than 440,000 students.

Prior to becoming president of California State University, Long Beach, Dr. Alexander was president of Murray State University in Kentucky (2001-2005) and was a faculty member at the University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana, where he was the director of the graduate higher education program.

A Kentucky native who grew up in north Florida, Dr. Alexander received his Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in higher education administration with a focus on finance and educational policy analysis, and a Master of Science degree in comparative educational studies from the University of Oxford in Oxford, England.

As a teacher and administrator, Dr. Alexander has received many honors, including the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Education Alumni Achievement Award (2002) and has research university faculty affiliations at the University of Wisconsin-Madison Center for the Study of Postsecondary Education (WISCAPE) and Cornell University Higher Education Research Institute (CHERI).

Dr. Alexander also has been asked to represent public higher education colleges and universities on numerous occasions to the United State Congress on issues of college affordability, student indebtedness, and institutional efficiency and effectiveness in efforts to address many of the growing challenges facing American higher education. Due to his national recognition and involvement in higher education issues, Dr. Alexander has served on numerous U.S. higher education and statewide organizational leadership boards, and remains very active in policy and planning discussions.

Dr. Alexander and his wife, Shenette, have three children: Kylie, Savannah and Madison.


Derrick W. Turk

Independent Data Science Consultant, Terminus Data Science, LLC

Derrick W. Turk is an independent data science and technical computing consultant supporting the E&P industry via his firm terminus data science, LLC. Prior to his consulting career, he worked as a reservoir engineer assisting exploration and A&D efforts with numerical and statistical modeling. His consulting work frequently incorporates completion optimization, reservoir characterization, machine learning, and custom software development.

“Data Science: Opportunities & Pitfalls”

There's a lot of hype going around the E&P industry about “big data”, “analytics”, and “data science”. We'll take a critical look at the phenomenon, and its applications to our industry, and attempt to establish some working definitions.

Machine learning is a powerful technology; it is also easy to misuse. We'll discuss several important caveats and pitfalls using case studies and examples from oil and gas projects.

We'll also highlight several common tools and techniques, and offer practical advice for petroleum engineers beginning in data science, as well as for evaluating and selecting commercial and open-source tools and offerings.


Jon Benesch

Retired Global Drilling Engineer, ExxonMobil

Jon graduated with a BS Degree in Petroleum and Natural Gas Engineering from The Pennsylvania State University in 1980 (with honors). Since that time he has accrued over 37 years of global experience in drilling, completions and well testing with ExxonMobil, working on projects spanning six continents and over 32 countries, before retiring in 2017. His experience includes efforts with every manner of drill well and rig type including onshore, offshore, platform, barge, arctic, heli-rig, floating and jack-up rig efforts. This includes working in diverse environments such as ultra-deep water, high sea currents, deserts, rainforests, overthrust mountains and in the high arctic on and offshore. It also includes work in unique areas such as in the Caspian Sea, Black Sea, Africa, Australia, The Middle East, Asia, Europe, South America, throughout China and Russia and across the USA. Several of these endeavors resulted in Industry World Records.  He currently consults on various Industry efforts around the world.

His overall background is considered one of the strongest in the Industry including strengths in the areas of deepwater drilling, frontier operations in remote areas, arctic activities, Big-Bore, extreme sour gas, ERD, horizontal and complex HPHT wells with equipment rated up to 30 ksi. He has authored numerous technical and industry papers, taught in many events and at Penn State and is recognized as a well-received presenter. Jon also is a licensed professional engineer in the USA and been an SPE member for 42 years.

“Worldwide Operations with a Global Impact”

By: Jon Benesch


Since the 1970s and as the appetite for oil and gas production increased, exploration drilling and other well related operations grew at a significant rate around the world, turning many operations and even entire countries into global players in these commodities. Countries such as Malaysia, Australia, Indonesia, Nigeria, Norway, the UK, Brazil and others experienced dramatic yet positive changes in their economies and opportunities for their peoples. New frontiers such as operations in deepwater and arctic regions opened up due to the growing demand for hydrocarbons. These efforts have led to some of the largest industrial developments in the history of the world, such as ongoing now in the development of the North Gas Field in Qatar.

This presentation focuses on current worldwide operations in various diverse locations such as Papau New Guinea, Guyana, Russia, Qatar, Alaska, etc. while outlining the enablers that allowed these well operations to be executed. It will also cover the key technologies implemented and which have capabilities of being extended to other operations around the globe. It will also discuss endeavors which could afford interesting opportunities for personnel in or entering the Industry to work on in coming years.

cam matthews

Cam Matthews

C-FER Technologies Fellow and SPEI Regional Director, Canada

Cam Matthews is a C-FER Technologies Fellow, with over 35 years of experience as an engineering consultant and researcher. He is responsible for conducting advanced engineering investigations and organizing research and development programs related to technical challenges and failures faced by operators in drilling and completions and production operations both onshore and offshore. Matthews holds BS and MSc degrees in civil engineering. He has written many technical papers, coauthored a chapter on PCP systems in the SPE Petroleum Engineering Handbook, and taught related short courses. He holds five patents on novel drilling and production processes. Matthews currently serves as the SPEI Regional Director for Canada and on the SPE Canada Board of Directors.

Key Considerations and Examples of Using Data Driven Analytics in Oil and Gas Applications

The practical importance of big data and data driven analytics is not tied to how much or what type of data you may have available, but rather the improvement that can be achieved in the effectiveness/correctness of the actions or decisions that are taken based on the results or outcomes of the process. For many potential oil and gas applications of these emerging technologies, a proper engineering framework should be established at the outset to guide the entire planning and execution process and to help ensure that program expectations are reasonable. Considerations should include: what data should ideally be collected vs. what realistically will be collected?; how will gaps and uncertainties be dealt with?; against what criteria will the data be interpreted?; what analysis tools and techniques are required?; and what decisions will be made/influenced by the results and how will they be implemented?

The presentation will examine these considerations and show some examples of how data driven analytics has been applied to specific technology developments and operational challenges in the oil and gas industry.


Yogashri Pradhan

Senior Production Engineer, The Texas Oil and Gas Institute

Yogashri Pradhan is a senior production engineer for The Texas Oil and Gas Institute. At the institute, she oversees various production optimization studies in Permian Basin and mentors graduate students from UT and Texas A&M on industry projects. Texas Prior to TOGI, she was a production engineer for Devon Energy overseeing workovers, lease operations, and frac operations.
While at university, she was involved in the SPE student chapter, was a member of UT's Petrobowl team, and won the Bachelor's Division of the 2015 International SPE Student Paper Contest. Yogashri is an active member of the Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE) at the local and international levels through technical conference committee memberships (Unconventional Resources Technology Conference & Midland Liquids Rich Conference), study groups (Permian Basin, Data Analytics), young professionals board, and actively participates in the Gulf-Coast Section’s community service initiatives. She is the co-founder of SPE Cares, a global community service initiative aimed to unite SPE members from all regions through volunteering.  She is also is the leadership chair for SPE International’s Women in Energy Committee.
Yogashri actively publishes within SPE as an editor of The Way Ahead, SPE’s Young Professionals magazine, and through technical publications from her work experience, authoring/co-authoring 10 publications. She also has an interest in professional development through her web development/data science certification, peer mentoring in programming, and as an EIT in petroleum engineering.
Yogashri graduated from the University of Texas with a Bachelor's in Petroleum Engineering in May 2015 and is currently pursuing her Masters in Petroleum Engineering at Texas A&M University.
M Redburn Photo IV (1)

Mike Redburn

Engineering Manager Technology, Newpark Drilling Fluids

Mike Redburn serves as the Engineering Manager for New Technology for Newpark Drilling Fluids. In this role, Mr. Redburn is committed to the growth of Newpark as the Technology leader in the drilling fluids space through the accelerated adoption of our Evolution technologies and the advancement of Newpark’s technology strategy.

Mr. Redburn served as a Mechanical Design Engineer within the automotive and medical industry where a major focus was in process improvement and machine design. Overseeing multiple significant product lines improving operations by implementing his focus on statistical improvements.

Michael Redburn earned a B.S. Degree in Mechanical Engineering and a MBA degree.  Mr. Redburn also has certificates in Six Sigma and project management.

Presentation Title: “Data Driven Drilling Fluids Simulation”

Newpark Drilling Fluids provides drilling fluid products and technical services globally. Drilling projects involving complex subsurface conditions, such as horizontal, directional, or deepwater drilling require constant monitoring and critical engineering support.

The Newpark Technology Center is home to the industry’s one-of-a-kind Downhole Simulation Cell (DSC). The DSC is a device that returns preserved core samples to in situ temperatures and pressures, and circulates a potential drilling fluid while drilling with a microbit.

The DSC allows its users to observe drilling fluid system performance in simulated real-world conditions. This unique technology used in the development of proprietary products and systems allow for application-specific drilling fluids designed to optimize drilling performance through enhanced wellbore stability in specific geologies. By allowing researchers to observe, measure, and evaluate formations under actual downhole conditions, test results from the DSC provide guidance for fluid optimization.


Joseph Savoy

Director, Asset Management and Regulatory, Wild Well Control

Joseph L Savoy


1974 – BS Petroleum Engineering – USL

1974-1977 – Military Service

1977- 1978 – Entry level Engineering Amoco Onshore

1978-1979 – Reservoir Engineering Amoco Onshore

1979-1980 – Production Engineering – Amoco Tuscaloosa play

1980 -1983 – Engineering Supervisor – Amoco Offshore District

1983-1989 – Chief Engineer – Production Management Corp

1989- 1993 – Chief Engineer – Operators and Consulting Services

1993- 2002 – VP Operations – Offshore Energy Development Corporation

2002- 2006 – Operations Manager – Maritech Corporation

2006-2007 – Operations Manager – Fairways Offshore

2007- 2009 – Operations and Regulatory Engineer – Wild Well Control

2009- 2013 – Engineering Supervisor – Wild Well Control

2013 – Present – Director – Asset Management and Regulatory – Wild Well Control

Hobbies include: Hunting, Fishing, flying

Joe Savoy is Director, Asset Management and Regulatory for Wild Well Control, Inc., a Houston, Texas based company specializing in worldwide firefighting, well control, engineering and training services. Joe has over 37 years in the oilfield serving in various positions with Operators and with service companies. His experience encompasses Drilling, Completions, Production, Construction, Facilities

Presentation Title: “Big Data – Efficient Analysis, once Acquired”

Regulatory and Pipelines during time as Operator. He has worked on land, on water and in the water from the Rocky Mountains to the West Coast of Africa. During his time with the Service sector of the Oil and Gas industry he is focused on providing support in those areas.

Joe’s experience as an operator in the Oil and Gas Industry was focused on timely completions of projects within prescribed budgets in each of the areas for which he was responsible. In working on the Service side of the industry his focus is to provide direct support in all of these areas to the Company and to the clients for which the company performs services with current emphasis on Regulatory issues for both State and Federal agencies.

Joe received his BS in Petroleum Engineering from The University of Louisiana at Lafayette. He has an honorable discharge from the USAF. Joe is a member of the SPE, AADE and API. He is active on the API RP 17 G committee for subsea light well intervention.