Requirements for Substantiation
Many years ago, most authors recognized and
complied with substantiation requirements for all claims and conclusions,
but that has changed. Frequent omissions or inadequate practices
Incomplete data for examples
No absolute performance figures (timings)
Concluding that some method is superior, based on
relative performance or accuracy of particular implementations -
implementation issues can easily dominate those of methodology.
Improper use of a method (implementation) over which
superiority is claimed
Publications making claims in
recent years often fail to give complete results for reproducible examples
or tests. These are absolutely necessary requirements, since they
allow others to compare results with their
methods/techniques/implementations that may not have been available to the
authors. It is otherwise impossible for others, including our editors,
to verify any claim.
Suggestions to SPE and
discussion of these issues over the years on SPE's Technical Interest Group
forums have had no positive effect. Some documentation of it is on our
FD vs FE page. Some recent discussions on the
SPE Reservoir group forum also clearly demonstrate the problem with
substantiation and rational debate and the common use of obsolete and
invalid methods (SPE login and group membership are required):
GALE - new algorith for integrated asset modeling, and
Exponential Decline of Waterflood Production Forecast - Myth or Reality
The reliability of our literature and of our methods
is falling due to the lack of any imposed requirement and failure by most
for substantiation of claims made in publications, which eliminates the
ability of our editors and our industry to distinguish fact from fiction.
Our competence as engineers and scientists is in decline because of
inability to use and follow the scientific method (and the simple rules of
rational scientific debate), which requires use of the simplest possible
logic and reproducible examples, tests, or experiments in the analysis of
problems and in the substantiation of claims, methods, and solutions.
Those examples or tests are most easily defined by adding whatever
complexity is needed to a previously known example or test.
The Conference of Engineering Societies of Western
Europe and the United States of America defined "professional engineer" in
1960 as follows [Engineering
Identities, Epistemologies and Values: Engineering Education and Practice in
Context, Volume 2, p. 170, at
"A professional engineer is competent by virtue of his/her fundamental
education and training to apply the scientific method and outlook to the
analysis and solution of engineering problems..."
Problems obviously must first be analyzed before they
can be solved. Professional engineers do not try to solve problems
that cannot be proven to exist. And they do not prevent rational
scientific debate regarding any problem or solution.
We are having increasing problems producing reliable
industry reference works or reports, workshops, journals, and courses (it's
a problem for all technical publishers and organizations). We publish
conference papers making any desired claims without making any stated
requirement for substantiation, and allow their use as factual references.
Our most important real mission right now should be "unpublishing and
unteaching" all of the unsubstantiated or obsolete work that has been
published and created and taught. An example is given at
Novel Techniques for Reservoir
Management. Unlimited numbers of examples appear
in journal and conference papers. Searches of One-Petro for terms such
as flow regime (15804 hits), type curve (42677 hits), drainage radius (7296
hits), drainage area (18125 hits), drainage volume (16927 hits), CO2 storage
(14899 hits), effective permeability (40819 hits), capacitance-resistance
model (872 hits) and shape factor (28036 hits). These terms usually
indicate misperceptions. Much of it results from misapplication of
single component or fixed-composition, single phase or 2 phase immiscible, single cell or 1D homogeneous flow theory to
3d multi-component multiphase flow in real reservoirs with arbitrary
boundaries and heterogeneities (see What is
Drainage Radius and The Failure of
Decline Curve Analysis for Real 3D Multiphase Systems, and the Petroleum
"Fluid Flow Through Permeable Media" - we corrected the section to
indicate it addresses only generally inapplicable single component or
fixed-composition single phase flow in homogeneous systems, but our edits
were removed by incompetent and fraudulent editors, in flagrant violation of
our ethical codes. Some is
regarding the unsubstantiated claims that man is causing global warming and
that CO2 storage is needed or can be beneficial (see CO2
Capture, Usage and Storage (CCUS) Techical Section). About 10% of
available SPE courses are based on obsolete or inapplicable or invalid technology due to invalid assumptions. These are some
of the them:
Basic Pressure-Transient Analysis
Diagnosis and Analysis of Waterfloods
Forecasting Well Production Data in Unconventional
Sequestration of CO2
Geomechanical Aspects in CO2 Storage
Geomechanics for Effective Shale Gas Exploitation
History Matching and Conditioning Reservoir Models to
Managing your Business Using PRMS and SEC Standards
Oil and Gas Reserves: The SEC Reporting Rules
Optimizing Existing Waterfloods
Practical Application of PRMS (there is no such thing)
Practical Aspects of CO2 Flooding and CO2
Geosequestration (there are no practical aspects of the latter)
have tried to fix the problem many times over the last 15 years, but our
efforts have been ignored and even persecuted. A few years ago, Brian
Coats started the SPE group LinkedIn discussion "Let's fix the peer review
process", giving a very simple solution of simply adding a question to the
paper application process verifying that any claims of improvement are
substantiated by the simplest possible reproducible examples or tests that
demonstrate it. Moderators banned Brian Coats from the SPE Linkedin
group as a result, to this day, for suggesting a solution to a problem that
many strongly opposed or didn't believe was needed, after Brian responded by
substantiating the problem with examples.
The proposed solution is (was):
Factual references to (unreviewed)
conference papers are not allowed in any papers or publications.
Add a question to the paper
submission form: If your paper claims any improvements in method
or technology, does it include the simplest possible reproducible
examples or tests to substantiate them? Claims of improvement must
be supported by at least one reproducible example or test (the problem
or test must be defined and reproducible, not the improved solution or
Another problem is that such constructive
criticism and statements including proposed solutions are censored and not
allowed in SPE discussion forums (see Carbon
Dioxide Capture, Utilization and Storage (CCUS) Technical Section).
When something is demonstrated or proven that is
contrary to accepted practice or thought, it may be considered to be
offensive (like when the earth was discovered to be round), but that
actually represents scientific progress that is most often gained by
identifying and eliminating invalid assumptions, such as all those
eliminated by multi-component, multiphase 3d numerical simulation of
heterogeneous reservoirs, starting over 50 years ago.*
SPE Code of Conduct
8. Accept responsibility for their actions; seek
and acknowledge criticism of their work; offer honest and constructive
criticism of the work of others; properly credit the contributions of
others; and do not accept credit for work that is not their own work.
NSPE Code of Ethics for
Engineers, in the fulfillment of their
professional duties, shall:
1. Hold paramount the safety, health,
and welfare of the public.
2. Perform services only in areas of
3. Issue public statements only in an
objective and truthful manner.
4. Act for each employer or client as
faithful agents or trustees.
5. Avoid deceptive
6. Conduct themselves
honorably, responsibly, ethically, and lawfully so as to enhance the
honor, reputation, and usefulness of the profession.
II. Rules of Practice
1. Engineers shall hold
paramount the safety, health, and welfare of the public.
3. Engineers shall issue
public statements only in an objective and truthful manner.
a. Engineers shall be
objective and truthful in professional reports, statements, or
testimony. They shall include all relevant and pertinent information
in such reports, statements, or testimony, which should bear the
date indicating when it was current.
b. Engineers may express
publicly technical opinions that are founded upon knowledge of the
facts and competence in the subject matter.
III. Professional Obligations
1. Engineers shall be guided in all their
relations by the highest standards of honesty and integrity.
2. Engineers shall at all times strive to
serve the public interest.
3. Engineers shall avoid all conduct or
practice that deceives the public.
a. Engineers shall avoid the use of
statements containing a material misrepresentation of fact or
omitting a material fact.
5. Engineers shall avoid deceptive acts.
9. Engineers shall give credit
for engineering work to those to whom credit is due, and will recognize
the proprietary interests of others.
* Coats, K.H., Tek, M.R., and Katz, D.L., "Unsteady-State
Liquid Flow through Porous Media Having Elliptical Boundaries", Petroleum
Transactions, AIME, Vol 216, 1959, p. 460-464.
Coats, K.H., Nielsen, R.L., Terhune, M.H., and Weber,
A.G., "Simulation of Three-Dimensional, Two-Phase Flow in Oil and Gas
Reservoirs", SPE Journal, December, 1967.