TOPCORP Symposium at Colorado School of Mines

As part of TOPCORP’s ongoing sponsored training for the regulatory community, an in-person workshop is held annually at Colorado School of Mines. These workshops help the regulatory community stay up-to-date with the latest technology in the oil and gas industry. This year, due to COVID-19 travel restrictions, MINES hosted a virtual symposium and welcomed 49 participants from 24 different U.S. state, Canadian provincial and U.S. federal regulatory agencies. The in-person workshop is tentatively slated for 2021.

What Is the TOPCORP Symposium?

Every year inspectors selected for the TOPCORP program complete the Petroleum Geology and Petroleum Engineering & Technology online training courses offered through TOP Energy Training. Following completion, inspectors attend an in-person workshop at Colorado School of Mines. This three-day training enhances their learning through lectures, hands-on activities, and field trips. Subject matter experts highlight the advances in the ever-changing technology within the oil and gas industry.

Because of COVID-19 travel restrictions, a virtual symposium held on May 28, 2020 served as a bridge to a future in-person workshop for inspectors. This one-day “Hot Topics” symposium assembled subject matter experts on hydraulic fracturing, digital oilfield, and energy transition.

What Role Did TOPCORP Play in the Symposium?

TOPCORP designed, hosted, and organized the virtual symposium at no cost to the attendees. A diverse group of 49 oil and gas inspectors attended from 24 different U.S. state, Canadian provincial and U.S. federal regulatory agencies

Who Were the Guest Speakers?

Three subject matter experts presented their work and participated in a Q&A discussion with the inspectors. Dr. Jennifer Miskimins, Professor and Department Head of the Petroleum Engineering Department at Colorado School of Mines, discussed Hydraulic Fracturing: Fact vs. Fiction. She holds a BS from Montana College of Mineral Science and Technology, and MS and PhD degrees from Colorado School of Mines, all in petroleum engineering. Dr. Miskimins has 30 years of experience in the petroleum industry and began teaching at Mines in 2002. Her specializations include well completions, stimulation, hydraulic fracturing, and associated production issues. Her research focuses on the optimization of stimulation treatments and related importance on associated recovery efficiencies.

Dr. Morgan Bazilian, Director of the Payne Institute and Professor of Public Policy at Colorado School of Mines, presented his work on Geopolitics of the Energy Transition. He has served as the Lead Energy Specialist at the World Bank and has over 20 years of experience in the energy sector. He is regarded as a leading expert in international affairs, policy, and investment. Dr. Bazilian holds two Master’s degrees and a PhD in areas related to energy systems and markets, has been a Fulbright Fellow, and holds (or has held) several affiliations including Columbia University, Cambridge University, The Royal Institute of Technology of Sweden, the Center for Strategic and International Studies, and the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis. He has published over 140 articles in learned journals, and his book Analytical Methods for Energy Diversity and Security is considered a seminal piece in the area of energy finance and security.

James S. Crompton provided inspectors with the current state of digital transformation of the upstream oil and gas industry with his talk on Introduction to the Digital Oilfield. James has 37 years of experience with Chevron and was named the PNEC Cornerstone award winner for accomplishments in data management in 2017. Jim was also selected to serve on the board of the Society of Petroleum Engineers Digital Energy Technology Section and is chair of the Digital Transformation committee under that section. After retiring, he created Reflections Data Consulting LLC to continue his work in data management and analytics for the exploration and production industry.

Benefits to the Attendees

The oil and gas inspectors in attendance took advantage of this special opportunity to network, learn, and consult with subject matter experts. Presentations and discussions allowed inspectors to enhance their understanding of the pre-requisite online course material. By the end of the symposium, inspectors were more knowledgeable about the ever-changing technology in the industry. This virtual symposium afforded inspectors and experts the occasion to exchange ideas and engage with each other during a time when many of these opportunities have been limited by the pandemic.

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