2018 SPE North American Student Symposium and PetroBowl Qualifier

Written by Sarah Zink, OU SPE President

The 2018 SPE North American Student Symposium was held at Louisiana State University’s campus this year, and was hosted by representatives of LSU, Penn State and the Colorado School of Mines. This conference is a four-day event held annually that brings together roughly 400 Society of Petroleum Engineer’s students from all over the nation. Here, students are able to network with dozens of companies, meet students from other universities, and learn about groundbreaking technology and practices being used in our industry.


This year the conference started off with the PetroBowl North American Qualifier competition. The PetroBowl is a quiz bowl-style competition with questions based on anything from the Schlumberger Glossary and The Prize novel to oilfield equipment and classroom equations. This year our team won first place among the roughly 20 North American teams where the top five advance to the international competition at the SPE Annual Technical Conference and Exhibition held in Dallas, TX this fall.

The second day of the conference was filled with field trips to local oil and gas companies including Baker Hughes, Shell Oil Robert Training Facility, Core Laboratories, and Workstrings International. On campus, the Student Paper Contest was held in which undergraduate, graduate and Ph.D students were able to submit papers that were then judged by volunteer professors and industry professionals. The contest winners were then announced that night at a social event hosted by Occidental Petroleum Corporation (OXY) at Barcadia.

Days three and four of the conference consisted of some incredible speakers! This year’s topic was Big Data – LeveragingData in Oil and Gas, so all the presentations centered around this key idea. Friday kicked off with an opening ceremony from Mark Rubin, CEO of SPE; Sharon Hewitt, Louisiana Senator; and Abdul Homran, LSU SPE President. We then had three blocks of speakers, lunch and closed out the day with a career fair. At this career fair, a dozen companies from the hosting companies and the surrounding area came to recruit and meet some of the most involved students from North America. Attending this event at NASS is a phenomenal way to stand out to companies and recruiters which gives you an extra leg up in the job hunt. Saturday then consisted of more very accomplished speakers and a keynote address from the 2017 SPE International President, Janeen Judah.

Overall, this conference is a terrific way for our students to network with a variety of individuals and hear from speakers on topics that they otherwise would not be exposed to. I highly recommend this conference to anyone that wants to learn more about oil and gas and hear from VP’s and CEO’s of some of the largest and most influential companies in our industry. This year we even evaded Oklahoma’s ice storm by spending a few days in the beautifully sunny Baton Rouge!

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