RWTH Aachen University Student Chapter

Society of Petroleum Engineers

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STC 2018 – Student Technical Conference at TU Bergakademie Freiberg

Report written by Julia Schmitz (MSc student Applied Geosciences at RWTH Aachen University)

From November 7th to 9th, the Student Technical Conference (STC 2018) was hosted by the TU Bergakademie Freiberg. Like last year, the program was organized by the GSSPE in close cooperation with students from the SPE student chapters RWTH Aachen University, TU Clausthal and TU Bergakademie Freiberg as well as the KIT SPE student group. After the success of last year’s STC in Clausthal, the idea to rotate hosting responsibilities brought it to the second oldest SPE student chapter in Germany: Freiberg.

Around 100 students and industry representatives gathered in the “Alte Mensa” to attend the STC 2018 in Freiberg (photo courtesy by TU Bergakademie Freiberg).

The conference started on Wednesday with a pre-program including a tour at the “terra mineralia”, the “Reiche Zeche” tour, an extensive dinner and the icebreaker party.

Attendees participating in the terra mineralia pre-program event were taken on a history-charged tour through the geological collection. The students got the great opportunity to admire the beautiful exhibits from all over the world and learn more about the origin of the minerals.

The tour through the Freiberg visitor mine Reiche Zeche started with the ride down to the old galleries with provided safety equipment. The participants learned a lot about the mining history of Freiberg and could actually feel the spirit of the mountain by walking and climbing through the old tunnels.

The dinner was held at the traditional “Schankhaus 1863,” and was followed by the icebreaker party at the underground pub “Abgang,” conveniently located in the basement of the conference building. For musical entertainment we had a special live act: the “Cramer Band” of Prof. Matthias Reich.

STC participants visiting the Reiche Zeche mine.

The STC captivated participants, with 12 student talks and 25 poster presentations about academic research in petroleum-related geosciences, reservoir engineering, drilling and production technology, geothermal exploration and environmental sustainability. The student presenters originated from SPE chapters across Europe, Russia, Kazakhstan, Pakistan and Kansas. In addition, there were many opportunities for students to get in contact with company representatives during lunch and the coffee breaks. Industry representatives keen on scouting new talent could watch out for presenters with a strong aptitude for public speaking and effective scientific communication. Of course, students also got a chance to mingle amongst themselves for networking and exchanging of ideas and knowledge – especially during the poster session.

The Keynote Speech titled, “The Energy Industry: A Career” was given by John D. Macpherson (Baker Hughes, a GE Company). He humbly introduced his own career and his professional development and shared valuable insights for the next generation of young professionals preparing for their careers in the industry.

Matthias Reich and his “Cramer Band” at the Icebreaker Party.

Furthermore, the Young Professionals panel discussion was hosted by Jasna Sager (TU Bergakademie Freiberg) and Joschka Röth M.Sc. (RWTH Aachen University) with the topic: “Transitioning into the workforce – pitfalls, strategies, experiences”. Rafael Hincapie (OMV Exploration and Production GmbH), Annett Hufe (Wintershall Nordzee), Hagen Paul Niemann (Wintershall Barnstorf) and Natalie Zamora Anders (Halliburton) answered challenging questions from the hosts and shared insights from their early careers.

The STC was finished with small orchestra playing the traditional mining song “Steiger”. Most of the German students began to sing along and it was a heart-warming atmosphere.

Last but not least, the student presenters and volunteers received certificates and small gifts for their great contributions to the conference, thus creating a great atmosphere for a successful event. The SPE family has grown much stronger together with this STC 2018. It was a place for reunions, new and old friendships as well as catch up on news. This outstanding event wouldn’t have been such a success without the great participation of students, sponsors and volunteers, and for this we are very grateful. Special acknowledgements go to lead organizers Ulrike Peikert and Ingo Forstner for their engagement in organizing the conference.

Finally, we are extraordinary thankful for the great support of our sponsors and all participating universities and institutions: