The Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE) recently honored Eric Vosburgh, exploration manager, North American Unconventional Resources, with a 2017 Outstanding Technical Editor Award for his work with the SPE Reservoir Evaluation & Engineering journal.

This is the second time Vosburgh has received the honor since he began the volunteer technical editor role for SPE journals, including Reservoir Evaluation & EngineeringDrilling & Completions and the former Journal of Canadian Petroleum Technology. He was honored with the same award in 2010.

According to the SPE, contributions by technical editors like Vosburgh further the organization’s mission to collect, disseminate and exchange technical knowledge. The peer-reviewed journals feature fundamental research papers on all aspects of engineering for oil and gas exploration and production.

Vosburgh reviews an average of four to six articles each year, spending anywhere from 20 to 40 hours per article.

He studies technical content to determine if the author’s data and interpretation support the article’s premise. Each article submission is reviewed by three independent editors prior to publication.

As he reviews each article, Vosburgh considers some basic tenants that must be satisfied in order to approve the article for publication:

  1. Does the article present a new method that will allow others to perform their jobs better or more efficiently?
  2. Does it provide a case study of proven technology that will allow the reader to apply methodologies to their work? or
  3. Is this a novel new technology that can be applied?

“We have to make sure it is original work and that it contributes to the science,” he notes.

Vosburgh reviews well locations with geologist Sarah Sager.

Over the past five years that he has served as an SPE technical editor, several articles have stood out as most interesting to review. One was an article attempting to create a new way to compute a reservoir property. “While I did not pass this article for publication, I did provide my insight to the authors regarding their methodologies and why they should continue researching their topic, as I believe it could be a valuable addition to our community.”

With 19 years in the industry as a geologist and petrophysicist – including the past five years with Apache – Vosburgh says his volunteer work as a technical editor is his way of giving back to the profession. “As experienced technical professionals, we need to give back to our respective technical communities,” says Vosburgh, who today leads a multidisciplinary team to assess exploration projects in North America. “Due to my work history, and specifically working predominately on confidential projects, it has been difficult for me to find opportunities to publish. I feel that assisting others is an important role I can fill.

“I also like mentoring younger staff and helping our discipline. We all learn from journal articles,” he says.