PetroBowl 2017 in San Antonio

After a successful participation in the regional qualification tournament of SPE’s PetroBowl competition in April 2017 in Cracow, Poland, the student team of the University of Leoben was able to qualify for the international finals as one of the top five European universities. Generally speaking, the PetroBowl championship pitches SPE student chapter teams against each other in a series of quick-fire rounds, answering technical and nontechnical industry related questions. As SPE’s most competitive event, it gathers engineering students from all over the world in a fast-paced quiz competition.

Several months of intense preparation, hours of organizational work and dozens of skype conferences later, finally the time had come for our 2017 PetroBowl team to head towards Texas and represent our Alma mater at one of the most prestigious conferences of the petroleum industry, the SPE Annual Technical Conference and Exhibition (ATCE) in San Antonio. Owing to the kindness of our sponsors, the Schoeller-Bleckmann Oilfield Equipment AG, the Department of Petroleum Engineering (DPE), the SPE Vienna Basin Section, and the city council of Leoben, we were able to avoid any doubts about the feasibility of our “Project PetroBowl”. The massive Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center as the venue of the conference, which is located next to the famous San Antonio River Walk emphasized the marvelous ambience of the competition.

After we finally arrived in San Antonio, we used the last hours before the competition to finalize our preparation by studying potential questions such as the technical details of drilling equipment, statistics about world oil consumption or the history of the petroleum industry. The main competition started with a brief introduction of the general rules of the game early in the morning. The first game our team from the University of Leoben was scheduled against the University of Kansas from the United States. With an impressive performance we managed to win our first match with an ultimate score of 89 to 5, which allowed our team to advance to the top-16 round. The next opponent was the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM), which was the winner of the 2015 competition in Houston, Texas. In a tight game, in which we were able show our knowledge about technical details about the petroleum industry, eventually the Mexican team was able to secure a narrow victory against our student chapter. The first disappointment disappeared soon, as we realized that we lost against the later winner of the 2017 PetroBowl competition and the best team of the tournament.

The entire PetroBowl competition as well as the conference itself was a great experience for all of us. We would like to express again our deep gratitude to our sponsors, the Schoeller-Bleckmann Oilfield Equipment AG, the DPE, our SPE student chapter, the SPE Vienna Basin Section, and the city council of Leoben. Without their financial support, this project would not have been possible.

PetroBowl Team 2017
PetroBowl Team 2017

Catch a Glimpse of Two Conferences in Norway

Let me start this story from very far and very abstraction! People often think that petroleum engineering and especially drilling is a field where everything goes just so smooth and easy and it is an easy engineering field compared to i.e. computer engineering or even to reservoir engineering where most of the things are abstract, therefore every term or idea feels highly technical. I think it is totally wrong because of the following: the involved risks and other unknown and uncontrollable factors create an environment where there is no room for failure.

I’ve always been obsessed with blowouts. Not because of their catastrophic consequences (that is kind of sad actually) but a blowout really shows to us what powers, risks and consequences we are possibly and directly dealing with in petroleum engineering. These consequences are highly undervalued (or at least were back in the days before Macondo) and the vast majority of the industry is “only” focusing on the prevention of these possible risks and realization of consequences. I believe that it is not the right way to deal with it and avoid future events like the first and (so far) last. This is the reason why I spent my entire summer sitting in my room and trying to understand how that particular blowout was stopped, what options we would have today, and how it would be possible to get better.

And now comes the understandable part!

I have attended two major conferences in the last 10 days in Stavanger and Bergen in Norway helped by the department.

In the first couple of days I have been participating in the second industry wide HSSE Challenge in Stavanger during the 16th SPE International Conference and Exhibition on Health, Safety, Security, Environment and Social Responsibility. It was a particularly good conference and event since many of the young professionals can come together, meet each other and see what knowledge level we have. Seven teams were participating in the HSSE challenge which had 3 sections: Health, Safety and Security, and Social Responsibility. During each sections 2 or 3 teams were facing each other by getting numerous “fast questions” regarding the given section’s most important abbreviations, terms, regulations, general concepts.

Awarding Ceremony
Awarding Ceremony

After the challenge, every team has been awarded by ExxonMobil with valuable gifts and a confirmation of participation sheet signed by Nathan Meehan and the CEO of SPE. Ah, and of course, Nathan Meehan has also made a selfie with some of us!

On the next day, I could also take a day visit at Statoil’s Business center where I could introduce my Subsea Petroleum Containment System concept (which I has been working on in the last couple of months next to the paper) and participate in numerous speed datings and presentations. It was also a great venue. The meeting at Statoil is maybe projecting a viable way forward for us to be more innovative: come up with startup ideas, concepts, share openly with others, learn from each other, get more entrepreneurial spirit, make a company and change PE for the better.

Next to the whole day programs of course there was a bit of time for fun. The Stavanger Oil Museum is a great place to understand offshore and petroleum engineering.

After leaving Stavanger, the more interesting part of the journey came for me since I have been invited to present my second OnePetro registered publication on the SPE One Day Seminar in Bergen. As I mentioned in the second block, I have been working on this paper for a quite a lot of time, here is the story why and how: we had Offshore Technology lecture last year, and in the last section of it we had a lecture with John Turley who walked us through how the Macondo blowout has occurred. It was an amazing presentation. Then, before the lunch break during Q&A, I asked that what happened after the blowout has started: “how did they solve it? Are we going to cover it too?”

He replied something like this:

No, we are not going to talk about it since there are a load of sources available about it and focus should go on prevention, to prevent events in the future by learning and identifying the reasons of failure.

So, I walked into this after I got back home. I went looking at OnePetro but could not find anything, anything at all. I was particularly interested in how and what the industry learned. I could not accept that we should focus on “only” prevention since I believe the biggest tragedy of Macondo is that it still affects the everyday life of nature and millions of humans by the contaminated areas in the Gulf of Mexico. Then, I kept looking and the capping stacks came into the picture and then after a couple of weeks I found not much, but a bit of sources on how the problem was solved, what technologies, what culture represented the approach and then more and more things came into the picture… I came to the conclusion that this field is highly under-researched and the actual technology (namely the capping stack as the centerpiece of response capabilities) nowadays may not be the ideal solution. Then, I came up with a technical concept, which I was then able to present in Aberdeen and recently in Stavanger, and I also carried out a research focusing on what and how the stop of the outflow has happened, and what are the possible ways forward.

So, the paper was born, and the first conference I found was in Bergen. Then, I submitted an abstract, and I got in! It was a great feeling and a great payback for the interest of mine.

During the Presentation
During the Presentation

The EPoster presentation went well, attendees appreciated the work. The seminar has also held good other presentations on i.e. heavy kill muds and oil based mud kick recognition.

As a learning I can only encourage you to do what you love, where you think you have no limits, where you are unstoppable. Just do it, and it will turn out to be good, if you really like what you do. Do not afraid of failures, have courage to write, this paper has its very own failures too, but hopefully I will have a chance to make it better, or continue on this field. Regarding a specific conference paper. Work on those nasty sentences, make your thoughts the world and SPE is interested in your view. When you have something meaningful it is easier to share than you think.

The paper is available here to download (download it from school, it is free there) from
Subsea Blowout Source Control Technologies Utilized at the Macondo Accident and Developments in the Post-Macondo Era
Document ID: SPE-180018-MS
Written by David Thomas Kutas, BSc; Philip Bailey, MSc and Michael Prohaska, PhD.

OMV Excellence Master Scholarship

Get ready for one of the greatest challenges of our time: the future of energy provision. Receive full funding and support to undertake the Petroleum Engineering Master Degree at Leoben via the OMV excellence Scholarship program.

Apply for the OMV Excellence Master Scholarship today and take your first step towards the perfect career!

10 reasons to apply for the OMV Excellence Master Scholarship:

  1. No obligation to pay back
  2. Allowance for living costs and meals for the entire year (€ 490,- per month)
  3. Allowance for accommodation expenses (€ 340,- per month)
  4. University tuition fees paid in full (€ 363,36,- + € 18,70,-per semester)
  5. Funding for additional educational expenses (€ 150,- for books, etc.) / once a semester
  6. Laptop (approximately € 800,-)
  7. Support from your OMV mentor
  8. Guaranteed exclusive internship place
  9. Guaranteed master’s thesis with OMV
  10. Close industry contact throughout your studies


  • Studying bachelor’s degree course petroleum engineering or an equivalent engineering bachelor’s degree course (technical engineering, mechanical engineering, technical chemistry, process engineering, electrical engineering, building and construction engineering) and planned start for the master’s degree program course petroleum engineering in the winter semester 2016/17 at Montanuniversität in Leoben
  • Good academic achievements in the chosen course of study to date
  • Excellent English skills


  • Comprehensive scholarship package
  • Preparatory Intensive Petroleum Engineering Short Course at Montanuniversität Leoben for graduates with an equivalent qualification in Engineering for entry to the Petroleum Engineering Master’s program
  • First-class internship in one of OMV’s operational E&P business units
  • Mentoring by OMV experts
  • Career opportunity in OMV E&P world with early international assignments
  • Guaranteed master’s thesis with OMV

Apply now:

Annual Student Energy Conference 2016

The Conference brings together some of the best students and young professionals from all over the world to discuss the latest developments in the energy world, with a strong emphasis on the oil  and gas industry.

The Conference lasts four exciting days and is packed with educational and social activities, including:

  • compelling keynote addresses from industry experts;
  • educational sessions with student and expert presenters;
  • panel discussions;
  • workshops;
  • conference coffee-breaks featuring traditional local desserts;
  • topical lunches and dinners with delicious local food;
  • field trip;
  • a student party to top it all off!

Participant registration is now open — deadline is February 15th.

The Call for Abstracts is now open — abstract submission deadline is February 1st.

All in all — this event is guaranteed to be highly educational, fun and unforgettable! Places are limited so secure your place now!

More Information

When: 9-12th March, 2016
Where: University of Zagreb, Zagreb, Croatia
Facebook Event:

Please share this event with your colleagues and friends who might be interested with our sharing tools below. Summary about last year’s ASEC is available here by David Kutas.

Student Technical Conference – Wietze, Germany for the 10th Time

The Student Technical Conference held by the SPE German Section was scheduled for November, 2015. Many industry professionals, internationally recognized companies were represented. Despite of the quite harsh environment in the petroleum industry right now, STC was held for the 10th time in 2015.

The two days long conference had provided excellent opportunities for students and industry professionals for networking, getting more information on internships and job possibilities and for many students the first real opportunity to share their interest, work with others.

STC 2015 had been a major success for Leobner students too, because compared to the last couple of years when only 1-2 students had the chance to represent MUL, this year 8 students had been able to show what they were working on during their studies and free time.


Follow our website to get more information about the upcoming SPE provided possibilites.

Offshore Europe 2015

Aberdeen, Scotland is located on the coast of the North Sea – the city is the third most populous city in Scotland, and the biggest rival in the run for the oil capital of Europe name against Stavanger, Norway.

Offshore Europe is the PE industry’s largest offshore related exhibition and conference. The world most important service companies, other entities come together there to show the world the newest technologies and impress each other. This year, stress was laid on how the petroleum industry can inspire young generation to help sustain and develop the industry to meet new challenges.

From the perspective of a graduate student, the 4-day-long event can also contain many interesting impressions because with even a short visit in the exhibition you can feel and understand how different industry entities are working, or how new players would like to enter the industry. Understanding different technologies, techniques explained by industry experts, or introduced by field-working technicians through real-life or real-size prototypes and models are also providing a particular experience.

Moreover, the conference part of venue is also very relevant and interesting. Since Macondo, more and more stress is laid on HSE, this is a field which is evolving, developing more quickly than anything else despite of the petroleum price downfall.

More information:

SPE OE 2015 Conference Papers –
Offshore Europe 2015 – Official Website

Annual Student Energy Conference 2015

ASEC was initiated last year by the University of Zagreb SPE Student Chapter, with the mission statement to bring together the best students and young professionals from all over the world to present the latest developments in the world of energy, with a strong focus on oil and gas since the mother organization is the Faculty of Mining, Geology and Petroleum Engineering at the University of Zagreb.

The conference took place in the wonderful capital city of Croatia, Zagreb, right in the city center – so fun was obviously guaranteed for the participants. Moreover, the staff also provided extra programs for the attendants above the compelling keynotes and presentations. Participants could take an excursion to INA’s Oil Refinery to Rijeka and also to the local historical gold and silver mine called “Zrinski”. Between the presentations topical lunches and dinners were served.

Two Leobner students were in the group of attendees. Haiwad Ahmad participated from the first until the last day:

It was a nice and well coordinated event. Everything went well as per schedule as the organizing committee was efficient. The excursion to the refinery was quite interesting.

David Kutas (he held a presentation with the title of “Operation Analysis of the Big Wind”) could only join for the last two days of the conference:

I was blown away by the so well prepared organizers, and interesting program. Parties after the official program also made the event even more cool.

SPE SC MUL encourages students to take part of this movement and submit abstracts for the next year conference. It is really worth to go: fun, science and last but not least, networking with other students, industry professionals comes together there.

Hello World: We Have a New Website

It was a long road, but we just arrived. We have worked hard for months and months to be able to present a website to you and to the world which we can be proud of and which can help us spread the world about the news around our chapter and Montanuniversität Leoben.

The idea…

We hope, the new website will enable our readers to get know more, about our news, events right in front of the computer, or even on the go. Moreover, we would like to take this experience and value to a whole new level by collecting, and sharing stories, information, photos, knowledge about our industry and from our former students and industry professionals. With the new website we would like to create a long-life platform which can connect our past and present and through this: lead us to the future.

Some words about the structure

On the front page you can see the latest news, and some of our most important content like Students4Students. You can also start searching for content right in the header by clicking on the Search symbol in the top-right corner. In the Archives menu point you can filter what you are looking for by categories, tags and also by date. We have a separated section for the past and upcoming events in the Events menu point.

So, buckle up and start browsing, we have a lot to check!

If you like us, join us, and help us. Reaching more goals is only possible with your contribution.

Build the Future of Our University with Us

There are several ways in which you can benefit from a membership in our Student Chapter:

  • get access to company presentations where companies such as Wintershall, BP, OMV, Baker Hughes and many more present themselves to the students
  • benefit from special discounts exclusively for SPE SC Leoben members at the annual book order campain
  • take your chance to participate in the SPE SC Leoben Fieldtrip
  • be part of a great community and start building your own network in the oil and gas industry now: globally with a membership at SPE International and locally with the SPE SC Leoben

Learn more about us:

We hope that we can welcome you in our idea factory soon!