STC 2016

On the 3rd and 4th November 2016 the Student Technical Conference – the STC – took place in Wietze. The outstanding program of this two-day event was organized by the German Section of the Society of Petroleum Engineers (GSSPE) and its associated SPE student chapters. Again, the unique and historic setting of the German Oil Museum in Wietze served as the traditional venue for this event.

 The participants of the STC 2016 gathered at the German Oil Museum in Wietze – the birthplace of the German petroleum industry. Photo courtesy of Daniel Bücken.

In the last several years the conference has established itself as a prime event to learn about the latest research projects in academia and covers disciplines like petroleum-related geosciences and geothermal energy, reservoir engineering, drilling and production. The event was opened with welcoming words of Dr. Oksana Zhebel, the first female chairperson of the German Section SPE.

The STC traditionally serves as a platform for students to present their research projects, to learn about trends in the petroleum industry and it offers many networking opportunities. Photo courtesy of Daniel Bücken. 


During 13 technical presentations and an extended poster session numerous talented students presented their fresh ideas and innovative concepts in front of a broad professional audience of about 100 people. The students from the associated SPE student chapters in Aachen, Bochum, Freiberg, and Clausthal as well as student presenters from other universities in Germany, Austria, India, Portugal, Russia and Ukraine started professional as well as informal discussions with each other and with representatives of the petroleum industry – their potential employers. Many opportunities for networking were given during coffee breaks in the exhibition area and during the conference dinner.

Selected volunteers and student chapters were awarded by Matthias Meister Meister (SPE regional director for South, Central and East Europe) during the award ceremony to express their contributions to the community: Regional Service Awards were handed over to Hernan Buijs and Rainer Wilhelm. Oksana Zhebel received the Regional Young Member Outstanding Service Award and members of the Montan University Leoben and TU Bergakademie Freiberg celebrated the win of the Gold Standard Student Chapter Awards.

The German Oil Museum in Wietze populated by a crowd of students and professionals, carefully listening to the interesting lectures of the student presenters from petroleum-related sciences. Photo courtesy of Daniel Bücken.


During the Young Professionals panel “Transitioning into the workforce – pitfalls, strategies, experiences”, Caroline Kannwischer (engie E&P), Samir Alakbarov (Wintershall), Max Arndt (Baker Hughes) and Sebastian Thronberens (Weatherford) shared their first individual experiences as Young Professionals in the petroleum industry. It became clear that networking skills, integrity and flexibility are some of the most important prerequisites for a successful early career.  

Matthias Meister Meister (SPE Regional Director for South, Central and East Europe) discussed recent developments in the petroleum industry and explained the advantages of an SPE membership. Photo courtesy of Daniel Bücken.


In a powerful speech Matthias explained the current market situation and presented the advantages of a membership in the Society of Petroleum Engineers. Particularly, he emphasized the SPE vision, which more than ever demonstrates the necessity of a strong community behind an affordable energy supply for the global population in a safe and environmentally responsible manner.

The key note lecture “The future of the German E&P industry and the role of the business organization” by Dr. Christoph Löwer, managing director of the Bundesverband Erdgas, Erdöl und Geoenergie e.V. (BVEG) triggered a vital discussion about political and economic limitations inside and outside Germany, the large advantages, responsibilities and opportunities of the domestic petroleum industry as well as possible ways to use social media as a method for communication between the industry and the public. He finally pointed out the importance of interdisciplinary cooperation of all industry sectors (both renewables and petroleum) in the scope of the growing demand for safe and affordable energy, the persistent public “technophobia” and the social changes related to the German energy transition.

Christian Kiesl (Treasurer German Section SPE), Dr. Oksana Zhebel (Section Chair German Section SPE), Dr. Christoph Löwer (Managing Director BVEG) and Matthias Meister (SPE Regional Director for South, Central and East Europe). Photo courtesy of Daniel Bücken.


The STC has evolved to a conference with outstanding professional presentations and posters, setting a mark in science. However, it is also a place to gather with a personal note – to meet old friends and make new ones.

After all, the Student Technical Conference 2016 was a bright ray of hope for our community during these troubled times: the professional organizers and the student chapters stacked their heads together and reduced the costs, while many generous sponsors were acquired and made the final realization possible despite the current market situation.

Happy and proud after organizing a successful conference: Ingo Forstner (Officer Student Liaison German Section SPE) and Ulrike Peikert (Officer STC German Section SPE). Photo courtesy of Daniel Bücken.


On behalf of all students who participated on the STC 2016 we want to thank all sponsors, helpers and participants for their contribution to this successful event. Further, we are extraordinary grateful for the commitment of the lead organizers Ulrike Peikert and Ingo Forstner.

It was a great event and we are looking forward to next year’s STC.

Thanks to Joschka Röth, who worte the article.

The STC 2016 has been realized due to the generous support of the following sponsors: