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URTeC 2019: Advancing Methods for the Exploration and Production of Unconventional Resources

URTeC 2019 brought together thousands of industry professionals to discuss and showcase technologies for improving the state of play in unconventional reservoirs and the quest for value in unconventional resource production. This conference round-up is brought to you in association with Indalo International Ltd.
This article appeared in August, 2019

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URTeC 2019: Advancing Methods for the Exploration and Production of Unconventional Resources

The queues at registration for URTeC 2019, waiting for the main event to open on Monday morning! © AAPG. The Unconventional Resource Technology Conference (URTeC) was held in Denver, 5 years on from when the event was last held in the ‘Mile High City’. 

Now, in its seventh active year, URTeC 2019 attracted over 5,200 petroleum engineers, geoscientists, financiers, researchers and other energy professionals, who came together under one roof to collaborate on unconventional resource exploration and production.

URTeC is comprised of three sponsoring organizations: Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE), American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG) and Society of Exploration Geophysicists (SEG).

State of Play in Unconventional Oil and Gas Resources: The Quest for Value

The opening plenary session was kicked off by co-chair of URTeC, Doug Valleau of Strategia Innovation, who welcomed the delegates in an auditorium in which every seat was filled. Doug highlighted that technical talks were on offer throughout the entire conference; in dedicated presentation rooms and in the main exhibit hall. This approach allowed delivery of the maximum amount of equal, high-calibre technical content. After introducing the plenary session speakers, Doug thanked the organising committee for making the event possible – to which the entire audience responded with a round-of-applause. Thank you AAPG, SEG and SPE!

  • Co-chair of URTeC, Doug Valleau of Strategia Innovation, giving his keynote speech at the Opening Plenary Session of URTeC 2019. © AAPG.

  • Filled seats at the Opening Plenary Session of URTeC 2019. © AAPG.

Plenary session speakers included;

  • Mike Henderson, VP Marathon Oil; 
  • Clay Gasper, President & COO of WPX Energy; 
  • Jeremy Sweek, Founding Partner at Darcy Partners; 
  • Pete Hagist, Senior VP at Whiting Petroleum Company; 
  • Shawn Bennet, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Oil and Natural Gas – US Department of Energy.


While each representative discussed their own individual topic, the basic takeaway points were around using innovative technology and workflows to improve how we collaborate as an industry in the hunt for unconventional resources. In particular, Shawn Bennet highlighted the fact that technology must be tested in the field in order to gain an accurate representation of how to take the next steps in improving exploration and production. He stressed that this is the only way to produce results from the research invested in subsurface resource recovery.

The URTeC App

The popular app, made available for download prior to the event, enabled easy navigation and organisation of the technical program and on-booth events. It allowed the user to bookmark presentations of interest and created a marketing platform for exhibitors to include in-app announcements of upcoming events taking place on their booths. The app also allowed presentation attendees to vote for their favourite talk; the Top 16 Papers of URTeC 2019 were announced at the end of the event.

URTeC 2019: An All-Round Successful Event

The presentation zones in the exhibit hall offered high calibre technical talks focused on optimising unconventional exploration and production. Including these in the exhibition enabled great exposure to a wider audience and offered exhibitors the chance to sit in on technical talks. © AAPG. This was a well organised and executed event aimed at bettering all things unconventional and raising awareness of new technologies for unconventional methods of extracting oil and gas from the subsurface. Plenty of networking opportunities were provided and with the inclusion of presentation theatres in the main exhibit hall resulted in a very promising volume of traffic down the aisles, providing a great balance between technical/corporate exhibiting and high-calibre technical presentations.

With four zones hosting technical presentations, on-booth activities and presentations and busy aisles – the exhibit floor was awash with demonstrations showcasing innovative products and technologies from companies exhibiting their approach to unconventional resource exploration and production.

Nathan Young-Ziolkowski and Kirsti Karlsson representing GEO ExPro at URTeC 2019. A great show for raising awareness of the magazine to the unconventional oil and gas audience! © GEO ExPro. In conversation with other exhibitors and delegates it was quite clear there was an overall ‘uplift’ in industry spirits with an optimistic outlook on the future of unconventionals in oil and gas.

As for GEO ExPro, we had fun and an interesting time looking for topics for the magazine and enjoyed hearing feedback on our publication from a different sector within the industry. It was a great event for us to raise awareness of the magazine to a newer audience, and we were delighted with how quickly copies of the latest issue flew off the shelf!

We certainly look forward to attending URTeC 2020 in Austin next year!

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