The VIII International Youth Scientific and Practical Congress “Oil and Gas Horizons” took place during 23–25 November 2016 at the Gubkin University, Moscow. The congress was organized by the SPE student chapter of the university. More than 150 graduate and post graduate students from 37 universities and 18 countries participated in the congress.
The congress is increasing in scale each year, with the geography of participants widening, the number of scientific papers presented increasing, and the support of sponsors and the university growing. This year Gubkin University was visited by graduate and postgraduate students from Austria, Australia, Azerbaijan, Brazil, China, Croatia, Egypt, Germany, India, Iran, Kazakhstan, Nigeria, Poland, Romania, South African Republic, Ukraine, US, and Russia. The event was supported by leading international and national oil and gas companies. During the 3 days of the congress, 80 volunteers who are students from Gubkin University worked on various objectives of the congress.
The congress opened with the Opening Ceremony. This was headed by the vice-rector for international affairs of Gubkin University, Alexander Maximenko; 2018 SPE president, Darcy Spady; the director general for business development at Halliburton, Dmitry Chasovskih; the human resources vice-president at Schlumberger, Sergey Pershin; the manager for business development at Rock Flow Dynamics, Ivan Rogachev; the SPE Russia and Caspian regional director, Anton Ablaev; and the executive assistant of rector and student projects coordinator of SPE Moscow Section, Vlada Streletskaya.
Following the opening ceremony a panel session was held on the topic “The Arctic—Words to Actions,” which was also the main theme of the congress. The presenters revealed the current condition of the arctic zones of Canada, Russia, and other countries, which have access to the Arctic Shelf. The session included presentations by Spady; Dmitry Zavornov, Schlumberger; Anton Sungurov, Rystad Energy; and Anatoly Zolotukhin, Gubkin University.
The main goal of the students, who arrived from all over the world, was to present their scientific papers and exchange knowledge and experience with each other at the student paper contests. Papers on the following topics were included:
Paper contests for PhD students and young professionals and poster sessions were are also held. The participants shared their technical findings and ideas in the papers and a team of experts, including teachers from Gubkin University, a lecturer from the La Sapienza University, Rome, Italy, and also representatives from several oil and gas companies, evaluated their work. Three best papers were chosen for each category.
Another memorable event of the congress was the Soft Skills Training headed by Spady, where he shared his career pathway with the future professionals and also met the vice rector for international affairs at the university. During his meeting with Maximenko, Spady pointed out the high level of equipment and laboratories at the university.
The second day of the congress began with the SPE International event “Career Pathways Fair,” which was organized at the Gubkin University for the first time. The goal of this fair is enabling the students to find out more about all aspects of the petroleum industry. Specialists, representing different companies, told the participants about the specific nature of their work, innovations in their field, and answered many questions. The following companies were represented at the fair: Halliburton, Schlumberger, Salym Petroleum Development, Repsol, General Electric, Lukoil-Engineering, Katod, Gazprom, Gazprom avtomatizatsiya, and Gazprombank. A stand for Gubkin University was also presented at the fair, where representatives from other universities found out about the educational process and potential educational opportunities at the university.
The PetroOlympic Games, sponsored by Halliburton, followed the Career Fair. In order to participate in the game, interested students had to undergo an online qualification round, and also film a motivational video. Five teams comprising participants from different professional areas and countries were formed. After three rounds of the games, experts from Halliburton chose “InterOil” as the winning team. “For me participation in this event is a priceless experience and a great achievement. It was a great opportunity for all participants to demonstrate their knowledge about the petroleum industry, and I am very glad I met such amazing people from different cities and countries,” noted Aygul Murtazina, one of the members of the winning team.
In the second half of the day, the participants took part in an International Round Table discussion on the subject “Perspectives of Establishment, Support, and Development of International Relations Between SPE Student Chapters Worldwide.” The event was attended by representatives from nine SPE student chapters from around the world. A presentation about the importance of international friendship and partnership for the young generation—who will determine the direction of development of the industry and the world in the future—was introduced to all participants. Representatives of each chapter presented their chapter and suggested the most efficient way, in their opinion, for developing international relations within the global SPE community. The Resolution of the International Round Table, reflecting key results of the discussion, was written. Spady, who was a special guest at the event, made priceless contributions to the dialogue with his advice and comments to each of the presenters.
The second day of the congress ended with the Closing Ceremony and Gala Dinner. Winners of technical sessions, PetroOlympic Games, and “The Golden Legacy” stipend, which was granted by the World Petroleum Council, were recognized during the dinner. A video greeting by the Deputy Minister of Education of the Russian Federation, Veniamin Kaganov, and the Minister of Natural Recourses and Ecology of the Russian Federation, Sergey Donskoy, was presented at the ceremony. The evening also included artistic performances, which were prepared by the Association of Creative Students of Gubkin University and guests and volunteers of the congress.
Energy education events by the Energy4me program were included in the congress activities where school students learned about the basics of the petroleum industry. The classification and basic principles of increased oil recovery methods and offshore and onshore oil spill elimination were some of the topics discussed. Apart from the theoretical part, experiments on peak of oil production and oil filtration examination were demonstrated. The professors from the faculty of chemical and environmental engineering held a master-class on oil fractional distillation, which was very interesting for all attendees. After this the students visited the university’s drilling department, where the well operation training simulator was shown to them.
The final day of the congress was dedicated to visiting companies: Halliburton, Salym Petroleum Development, Deloitte, Lukoil, MZTA Engineering, and also the departments of Gubkin University. The visits included presentations about the companies’ activities, meetings with the managers of those companies, demonstrations of the latest achievements, and question and answer sessions.
Another important goal of the congress was the introduction of the main sights and traditions of the Russian capital to the visitors. In the afternoon of 25 November a cultural program was organized and tours to the Red Square, Moscow city business center, and the Patriarshy Pond were organized.
The Oil and Gas Horizons Congress became a unique platform bringing together representatives from some of the best universities and companies in the world. Participants and guests spent three very fruitful days, discussing current issues in the petroleum industry, exchanging ideas and experience, and networking.
“I always offer your congress as an example for other SPE student chapters. It definitely is the best student petroleum conference, organized by SPE student members and university activists in Russia, in the region, and perhaps in the whole world,” mentioned Anton Ablaev, the SPE Russia and Caspian regional director, in an interview for the Kerosin magazine.