Playing Tennis and Drilling Well

Houston Oilman’s Tennis Tournament (HOTT) is one of the largest oil and gas industry sporting events in Texas. This year, my friend and I played Men’s double (Group A) and eventually won the 1st place in consolation. Our photographer friend took this snapshot at the end of one match. We won this match. More importantly, we won their smile. It is easy for winning team to smile or cry, but it is difficult for losing side to do so. We did have some fun.

2013 Houston Oilman's Tennis Tournament (HOTT)

2013 Houston Oilman's Tennis Tournament (HOTT), Giammalva Racquet Club, Mar. 22 - 23

The competitive nature of tennis makes it tough to be a social sport like golf for recreational players like us. Upbeat spirit and sportsmanship create pleasant chemicals among competing teams.

Worldwide figures for the number of tennis players are next to impossible to come by, but tennis is widely acknowledged as one of the most popular and cosmopolitan of all sports. In U.S., a 2005 study commissioned by the USTA and the Tennis Industry Association estimated that nearly 25 million people in this country play tennis.

In the world of professional tennis, there are 4 Grand Slam tennis tournaments. 4 times each year, 128 of the world’s best players fight in those 2 weeks, 127 matches, 7 rounds, with 1 champion and 1 large sum of prize money. Wimbledon (one of the Grand Slams) just announced that this year’s singles will each receive $2.4 million. The road to championship is sweaty.

In petroleum industry, there have been 4.3 million wells drilled in the U.S. and Canada over 150 years. There are about 1,000,000 wells drilled in Texas. But not every well drilled delivers desired results, all easy oil and gas is gone.

According to George E. King of Apache Corp., in a recent SPE lunch-n-learn presentation, a typical risk and reward analysis starts with 100 ideas, then 50 leads (leases with potential for oil and gas), then 25 prospects, then 11 drillable wells, finally 1 discovery.

Playing professional tennis and drilling oil and gas wells are both risky and rewarding. Both industries have developed technologies to improve their odd of success. The materials of tennis racket changed from wood, to metals, to ceramics graphite and composites. Manufacturers are creating strings that are designed to produce more spin, power, and durability.

Technology development plays a more conspicuous role in oil industry than in tennis. Before 1995 (when the dot.com ever began), the oil companies earned a higher rate of return on invested capital than any other industry. When trying to diversify, they realized that everything else was less profitable than oil. Their exclusive investment option was R & D to make exploration and production operations more profitable. Billions of dollars went into petroleum technology. Today, drilling technologies including drilling software enable us to drill deeper and drill in various geographical areas like jungle, desert and the Arctic slope.

I will not be involved in on-site drilling operation, but we will provide drilling engineers with drilling engineering software.

I will not be able to play competitive tennis, but I will definitely try to participate in the upcoming SPE Tennis Tournament in autumn.

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