RWTH Aachen University Student Chapter

Society of Petroleum Engineers

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Annual ordinary meeting of the German Section SPE

Report written by Piotr Wilczek (Secretary German Section SPE), Julia Schmitz (Secretary SPE Student Chapter, RWTH Aachen University), Joschka Röth (Research Associate / PhD Candidate / Basin Modeling at RWTH Aachen University)

This year, the GSSPE annual general meeting (ordentliche Mitgliederversammlung) was held at the RWTH Aachen University on June 20th. The hosts of the local student chapter essentially supported the GSSPE while organizing this joint event. Student volunteers even organized a geological excursion through the city and an extensive barbeque on the day before the actual meeting. During this pre-program our professional members and our student members had plenty opportunities to exchange their knowledge, their recent experiences and new ideas in a less formal atmosphere.

The general meeting itself is open to all GSSPE members and it is an opportunity for current board members and student chapters to present developments and achievements of the past year and it is a place where future plans and directions are agreed upon. Also, the regular board elections are part of the meeting schedule. The board of the GSSPE has been very busy last year: despite the industry still recovering from a long downturn the output remains as strong as it was in the past years with modifications and developments.

One example, the Student Technical Conference (STC): since last year the location of the STC is being selected among the cities with a student chapter. In 2017 the STC was hosted by the SPE student chapter Clausthal. The change in location didn’t change the usual strong attendance and participation of students. It helped however shifting the financial balance to a slight surplus. The excess funds will be used by GSSPE on students support and on the next STC that will take place in Freiberg November 8th and 9th 2018.

Another example was the change of the @SPEgermany newsletter format from analog to digital: Radu Coman, the public relations officer behind the newsletter, set a new standard by creating a completely new layout and  a new channel of public communications for GSSPE. This change allowed for a significant overall cost decrease and an increase in reach and effectiveness.

The Young Professionals (YPs) also reflected on the continuation of good work with Lunch and Learn sessions and Meet & Greet events throughout Germany and Austria. This is where they engaged with students but also with high ranked members of the German petroleum engineering community like Thomas Rappuhn (former CEO of DEA Deutsche Erdoel AG).

Another innovation of this year was the newly established student group of Karlsruhe. Settled within the KIT (Karlsruhe Institute of Technology) with students from a sedimentology and petroleum geology background. Further, the student chapter Freiberg received the Gold Standard Award from SPE International. All Student Chapters presented their activities and shared their planned activities for the upcoming months.

Although the performance of the German student chapters generally remains on a very high level, we recognized a decrease in full SPE memberships. 13% within GSSPE and up to 20% in other sections. The conversion of students to full members is also decreasing and currently at about a rather disappointing 18%. It was agreed that this development is a consequence of the downturn but also a topic that GSSPE needs to address this year.

During the meeting the former board memberss were exonerated, and subsequently the new members were elected.

The new Board members are as follows:

  • Tobias Backers as Section Chair, replacing Dr. Oksana Zhebel
  • Stefan Wessling as Program Chair, replacing Dr. Tobias Backers
  • Matthias Heil as Membership Chair, re-elected
  • Christian Kiesl as Treasurer, re-elected
  • Piotr Wilczek as Secretary, re-elected.

The new Board members elected the extended board members in upcoming meetings. All Members are volunteers and GSSPE is completely reliant on their contributions.

The meeting was closed with awards for outstanding contributions: Ulrike Peikert, the person behind each STC, was honored for her continued effort with a Public Service Award by SPE. Outstanding Young Member Awards have been awarded to Caroline Kannwischer and Rafael Hincapie. The recipients of this year’s Professional Awards are Hernan Buijs and John Macpherson. The GSSPE Student Awards were handed over to Alexander Rock (TU Clausthal), Philip Gotzen (RWTH Aachen University) and Valentin Goldberg (KIT) to honor their academic achievements and their continued engagement in the GSSPE. All three presented their respective research topics to the audience.

We are looking forward to a successful year 2018/2019 and wish all of our members only the best for their events and projects in and outside SPE.