Career development

The Experience of a Petroleum Engineer Student Attending the IPTC Education Week

Petroleum engineering student, Nayana Campos, shares her experience at IPTC Education Week.

Participants gather at IPTC 2024 helping expand students' knowledge and preparing them for the workforce.
All images provided by the author.

Aligned with the industry's commitment to engage young minds in the energy sector, the International Petroleum Technology Conference (IPTC) Education Week emerges as an event that surpasses conventional expectations, leaving its mark on expanding knowledge and preparing university students for the workforce.

The IPTC Education Week is a collaborative effort between four international societies—the American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG), the European Association of Geoscientists and Engineers (EAGE), the Society of Exploration Geophysicists (SEG), and the Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE)—stands out as a unique opportunity. Each year, the multidisciplinary committee of these societies selects up to 100 students in sciences, geosciences, and engineering from institutions worldwide.

This year’s event took place in Dharan, Saudi Arabia, and over several days, selected students immersed themselves in an enriching and distinctive experience, extending beyond the horizons of the academic environment. This program prepares future professionals and leaders for the numerous challenges and opportunities related to the future of energy.

The program offers planned activities by the committee, aiming not only to expand knowledge but also offer practical development of participants' skills. From absorbing knowledge alongside experienced professionals to actively participating in team projects that foster interaction among colleagues, volunteers, and industry leaders, the program creates an immersive networking experience, strengthening connections beyond the event days.

Students take part in educational opportunities presented at IPTC.

Active participation in technical sessions and panels organized by the program provides a comprehensive insight into the latest trends, innovations, and challenges that the industry faces. Students explore current topics, debate critical issues, and absorb valuable insights from renowned professionals, thus enriching their understanding of various subjects.

The program extends to a field trip during which students meet professionals and closely observe operations of companies in the energy sector, gaining practical insights into technical aspects and understanding the organizational culture of these companies. Simultaneously, students have the privilege of exploring the local culture and discovering artifacts that narrate the history and traditions of the locale, making the experience comprehensive and enriching.

The program reimburses all visa-related expenditures removing any financial barriers that could deprive students of experiencing this opportunity. The sponsors cover travel and accommodation expenses, guaranteeing that students can enjoy the event without financial concerns.

The Experience

For me, a petroleum engineering student, being among the top 100 students globally was the starting point for an experience that exceeded all expectations. This achievement is a valuable validation of my academic performance and dedication to the field I aspire to pursue.

From the beginning of the nomination and application process, I believed that I had a significant chance of being chosen. I was confident that I had built, up to that point, an exemplary academic trajectory, going beyond a mere academic record. I faced and overcame numerous challenges, and recognition at the IPTC Education Week proves that my dedication and efforts were rewarded, opening doors to great future opportunities.

The decision to participate in the IPTC 2024 Education Week was motivated by my relentless pursuit of knowledge about aspects of the global energy sector, with a particular interest in energy transition. Being present at one of the most influential events in the energy sector, IPTC, represented a unique chance to experience beyond the boundaries set by the university.

My fascination with this country's oil history infused a unique quality into my participation in this event. The opportunity to be present in a region of vital importance in the oil industry's development, where the country first discovered traces of oil reserves, added an extra dimension to my experience.

On the first day, a warm welcome awaited everyone with a reception and welcome dinner, representing the first opportunity for everyone to meet and interact with industry executives and committee members in a fun and dynamic way.

Students gathering at Air Products during the second day of the event where we learned research technologies and about the work environment of several companies.

On the second day, we explored research technologies and the work environment of organizations such as Air Products, Baker Hughes, National Energy Services Reunited, and the King Fahd University of Petroleum & Minerals (KFUPM). Throughout this tour of Techno Valley, we interacted with researchers and professionals, exploring their laboratories and gaining valuable insights into ongoing research activities and development projects, providing a deeper understanding of innovations.

Later, we headed to the Heritage Village in Dammam. In this location, I immersed myself in an environment that preserves and celebrates the traditions and historical heritage of the region. The hands-on experience with demonstrations and traditional architectural elements, combined with a memorable gastronomic experience, enhanced my understanding of Saudi Arabia's rich heritage.

On the third day, we participated in roundtable discussions with industry professionals, networking sessions, and career guidance with prominent figures in the sector. Additionally, there was a session on the role of CCS in addressing energy challenges and a panel on preparing students for the future market.

Wrapping up the day's events, we engaged in the "Unlock Reserves" challenge. A two-day group project for the oil field development, employing SLB software such as PETREL, PIPESIM, IAM, and INTERSECT, and manuals to create a robust plan using students' knowledge for field development, with the support of professionals to clarify doubts.

The project required a quick adaptation to the use of specific software, many of which were unfamiliar to some members of my team. This immersion in unknown technologies was a stimulating challenge, evaluating our ability to learn quickly and adapt by going through different phases of the challenge in minutes. Integrating diverse knowledge and skills from students of various nationalities and backgrounds, encompassing geology, geophysics, and engineering, contributed to a diversified perspective and approach that led to a satisfactory solution, rendering this collaborative experience highly enriching.

On the fourth day, the schedule was open for students to visit IPTC exhibitions and sessions of their choice.

The last activity of the day of IPTC 2024 Educational Week concluded with an exciting oil field development challenge. The subsequent ceremony recognized and rewarded exemplary professionals, the three teams that stood out most in the Unlock Reserves challenge, and prize drawings.

Winning the "Punctuality Pro Award" for exceptional time management, organization, adaptability, and leadership, sharing this honor with two other colleagues.

The week culminated in a gala dinner which also served as an opportunity to recognize the individual achievements of some students in five categories: Best Presenter, Best Team-Player Award, Technology Whiz Award, Rising Star, and Punctuality Pro Award. With pride, I received the "Punctuality Pro Award" for exceptional time management, organization, adaptability, and leadership, sharing this honor with two other colleagues. It was a memorable celebration, concluding the week with a festive and rewarding touch.

This was an unparalleled educational, professional, and cultural experience, filled with learning, connections, and celebration. I am immensely grateful to everyone who made this week possible. Nothing I’ve experienced during my years of study equals this program. After this experience, I look forward to applying and sharing all the insights gained during the event and contributing to the academic community and society. I hope to have the opportunity to reconnect with everyone in the future, solidifying the meaningful connections established throughout this incredible program.

This article was sourced by TWA Editorial Board member Natan Battisti.