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 exam?

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.

Yeah, right!

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 of passing.

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 notes

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 area.

b) Reservoir Engineering (RE) - volumetrics, depletion analysis, material balance simulation theory, nodal analyses, secondary recovery, patterns, risk analysis and economics.

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 to do.

How is this website going to help?

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.

David Lord

28-July- 2008