Dubai will host the Society of Petroleum Engineers’ Annual Technical Conference and Exhibition this month, highlighting its role as a regional hub for oil and gas resources and knowledge.

It is the first time SPE’s flagship event has been held in the Middle East in its 92-year history, and will follow the theme: ‘E&P 2.0—Transforming and Shaping the Future.’ The conference will take place at the Dubai World Trade Centre from 26–28 September, and is expected to attract more than 10,000 leading international oil and gas professionals. Over 2,000 papers were submitted for this year’s event, of which 540 will be presented in 58 technical sessions, covering all phases of oil and gas exploration and production.

The event is being held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, VP and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, highlighting Dubai’s pivotal role as a hub for the Middle East’s oil and gas industries. Oil and gas plays a long-term strategic, economic and cultural role in the region, while innovation and investment in diversifying the energy mix is another key driver.

Khalid Zainalabedin, Manager of Saudi Aramco and ATCE 2016 Programme Committee Chair, told Exploration & Production magazine that SPE has a very strong regional presence: “It is significant to the Middle East for the association to hold its flagship event in the region due to the fact that it is the centre of world energy, with dominating positions in conventional reserves and also promising unconventional resources.”

Zainalabedin said while other nations could benefit from the Middle East’s best-in-class technologies and practices already applied in its giant reservoirs, unconventional resources in the Middle East region offered promising opportunities. “Unconventional E&P is still in its infant stage because of the abundant availability of conventional production. Unconventional technologies developed elsewhere can be readily customised and adapted in the Middle East.”

Additionally, he told E&P: “The majority of Middle East reservoirs are not at the enhanced oil recovery/ improved oil recovery (EOR/IOR) stage yet. Eventually EOR/IOR solutions will need to be implemented, and the potential is huge.”

He applauded the growing number of industry-supported technology partnerships, alliances and joint ventures with Middle East operators, which aim to develop region-specific technologies while sharing R&D costs.

The conference will also bring wider benefits for Dubai’s local knowledge economy in the energy sector. Energy4me, SPE’s energy education outreach programme, will see 50 UAE science teachers (grades 9–12) attend a free, one-day energy education workshop. Likewise, the Energy4me High School Student STEM Event aims to educate the next generation of aspiring engineers, scientists and managers in the E&P industry. Around 150 local high school students will see firsthand the opportunities the industry has to offer, including a scavenger hunt of the technology exhibits and hands-on energy lessons led by qualified SPE facilitators.

Developing and preparing young talent for the 21st century’s economy is at the heart of businesses in the Middle East,” Zainalabedin said.

(via AMI and E&P magazine)