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Project Decision-Making

Society of Petroleum Engineers Denver Section

Tuesday, February 26, 2013 at 8:00 AM - Wednesday, February 27, 2013 at 5:00 PM (MST)

Denver, CO

Ticket Information

Ticket Type Sales End Price Fee Quantity
Member Ended $1,400.00 $0.00
Non-Members Ended $1,600.00 $0.00

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Event Details

Denver Section

Society of Petroleum Engineers

Continuing Education Short Course Offering

Project Decision-Making

Instructor:                Howard Duhon, P.E., GATE, Inc.

Dates:                        Tuesday - Wednesday, February 26-27, 2013, 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM

Location:                   Brown Palace Hotel and Spa, 321 Seventeenth Street, Denver, CO 80202, (303) 297-3111

1.6 CEUs (Continuing Education Units) will be awarded by SPE-Americas Office for this 2-day course.

Course Description

It takes millions of decisions by thousands of people to execute a major oil and gas project. A few of these decisions are made by analytical methods, but the vast majority are made via less structured methods including intuition. Project success depends on the effectiveness of all project decisions, not just the few made formally via structured methods. This course applies a variety of insights from diverse fields including psychology, cognitive science, naturalistic decision-making, action science, sensemaking, mathematics and communication theory to improve engineering decision-making. Learnings and insights from the course are used to develop a strategy for improving decision-making and to develop answers to four questions of key importance in project design:

  • Why do so many changes occur late in projects?
  • Why do we have so many problems at interfaces?
  • Why do we repeat mistakes from project to project?
  • Why do projects usually finish late?

Course Content

Millions of decisions are used to execute a complex project. Success depends on the effectiveness of all project decisions not just the few made formally via structured method. This course is about improving the effectiveness of all project decisions, not just the big ones.

Topics include:

  • Collecting and evaluating data to generate conclusions/beliefs
  • How we use preconceived notions to make sense of new data
  • A structured focus on our values to improve our skill at setting objectives and identifying alternatives
  • The cause of defensiveness
  • Individual and organizational learning—why the most important lessons are often the most difficult to learn
  • Naturalistic decision-making; the study of the impacts of stress and expertise
  • Decision theory insights to improve the performance of teams and minimize problems at interfaces between teams

The book, Making Sense and Making Decisions, an engineer’s guide to project decision making, authored by the instructor is the handout used for this course.

 Who Should Attend

Engineers, operations staff and other technical professionals involved in project design, execution or operation.

About the Instructor

Howard Duhon, P.E. is a process engineer with over 30 years experience in process design and project management roles. He is a systems engineering manager for GATE LLC in Houston. He is also chairman of an SPE workshop series on Final Commissioning and Initial Startup, a member of the SPE Projects, Facilities, and Construction Technical Advisory Board, and a member of the editorial board of the new SPE magazine, Oil and Gas Facilities. This course is the result of a career-long obsession with the theory and practice of decision-making. Duhon earned a BS in chemical engineering for the University of Louisiana at Lafayette in 1974.


The registration deadline is February 8, 2013.  The registration fee is $1,400 for members and $1,600 for nonmembers and is fully refundable until that time.  For more details, contact Darien O’Brien, P.E. at  or (303) 934-5979.  Make your check payable to SPE Denver Section and mail to: Darien O’Brien, 1632 South Lamar Street, Lakewood, Colorado 80232-7038.  Please include the course name, your FULL name (as you would like it to appear on the course completion certificate), SPE member number (if applicable), Title, Company, e-mail address, postal address, phone and fax number.  You may also register and pay on-line at





Have questions about Project Decision-Making? Contact Society of Petroleum Engineers Denver Section

When & Where

321 17th St
Denver, CO 80202

Tuesday, February 26, 2013 at 8:00 AM - Wednesday, February 27, 2013 at 5:00 PM (MST)

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