Passing the SPE Petroleum
Professional Certification Exam
The comments apply only to the exam administered by the Society of Petroleum Engineers.
Why you should take this
It demonstrates that you
are a highly versatile engineer.
It demonstrates that the
study guide didn't frighten you off, but challenged you to excel.
You are one of the fearless
individuals who can size a separator in the morning, converse with geologists
on unconformities and reverse faulting before lunch, and while eating
lunch, calculate reserves and run economics and and still have time
in the afternoon to review the optimal weight on bit and the benefits
of Hagedorn-Brown method before going home. And tomorrow? You will evaluate
opportunities for CO2 flooding, present a horizontal well casing program,
and do risk analysis of a fishing operation.
Maybe you are a glutton for
punishment. Who knows?
I pretty much assume that
you've already decided to do it, and at this point it's all a matter
Keep it Simple Stupid
The study guide lists 67
primary references including coalbed methane. Yikes!
I think all these reference
books are a formula for disaster.
I separate all areas into
four general groups as shown below.
I suggest four sets of refresher
a) Formation Evaluation
(FE)- well testing, DST's, open and cased hole logging, coring,
PVT fluid analysis, special core analyses, mechanical rock properties,
operational issues with logging/ testing and a bit of geology. It is
noted that 20% of the sample questions are in the formation evaluation
b) Reservoir Engineering
(RE) - volumetrics, depletion analysis, material balance simulation
theory, nodal analyses, secondary recovery, patterns, risk analysis
c) Well design and drilling
(WD)- Drilling mechanics, rig equipment capability, completion practices,
tubulars strength, cementing, drilling fluids, trajectory analysis,
factors affecting bit penetration rates, horizontal well basics.
d) Production operations
and surface facilities (PO) - Lift method selection, sucker rod,
gas lift, hydraulic fracturing, acid treatments, downhole pump, P+A
procedures, remedial workovers, coil tubing, surface facility design.
Just FE, RE, WD, PO. Divide
and conquer. Keep the momentum going forward. Don't be distracted. Keep
organized and make a schedule. Don't linger too long on any one topic-
nobody knows everything.
What you really need:
About five books and four
sets of notes. If you've never taken a course in reservoir engineering
or production operations, you probably have a tremendous amount of work
How is this website going
I hope to write and sell
on-line these refresher guides. But in the meantime, I will post to
this website, helpful notes and practice exams for free. For now, you
get everything for free. Ok, it is still incomplete but the material
on this website should help you pass the test.
Are your notes and test
exams questions reliable?
I carefully check all notes.
I try to use the most up-to-date terminology and notation.
I'm not claiming to be an
expert in all of these areas. I have worked almost exclusively in reservoir
analysis. I have taken some courses in production operations, facility
design, and remedial workovers. My email address is listed at the bottom,
should you find some error in my notes or practice tests.
One last caveat- I have not
taken the exam- but I have a good excuse. If I were to take the exam,
I would have to shut down this web site, as anyone who takes the exam
is prohibited for two years from assisting anyone else.
I can not pass on any information
from anyone who has taken the exam in the last two years. So I know
as much as you as what to expect on the exam. I don't know what they
consider a passing score.
Good luck to all test takers.