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UH students see O&G from a global perspective at the World Petroleum Conference

08/16/2017 | By Claire Andersen

Two students from the University of Houston were selected to represent the United States at the 2017 World Petroleum Congress (WPC) in Istanbul, Turkey in July. Recent graduate David Lankford-Bravo and senior Euler Reyes joined nearly 70 other young professionals from around the world as volunteers for the 22nd WPC. 

The WPC is a premier conference hosted by the World Petroleum Council every three years. Representatives from governments and oil and gas companies around the world attend to discuss the current state and future of the industry. As young professional representatives, Lankford-Bravo and Reyes were able to attend a handful of exhibitions and panels in exchange for their volunteer work at the congress. 

“It was really inspiring because I already knew that I want to be in a management position in the future. This made it seem more attainable because I was in this room with all these people and had good conversations where I felt competent,” Reyes said. 

In preparation for the congress, Lankford-Bravo and Reyes spent nearly a month studying all aspects of the industry, from history and public policy to sociological effect and future development. Lankford-Bravo, a geologist, and Reyes, a petroleum engineering student, combined expertise and filled in the gaps with textbooks and mentor counsel. 

“We did our own research. We talked about it and I had a clicking moment when I realized that this was a lot bigger than I thought it was,” Lankford-Bravo said. “Through all kinds of resources Euler and I put together a curriculum for ourselves where we kind of balanced each other out. Ultimately all those things were used in discussion at one point or another.” 

Both Lankford-Bravo and Reyes were able to attend exhibitions and presentations from premier companies and leading countries during the four-day conference. Volunteers were encouraged to network with those from different cultural and professional backgrounds to expand their understanding of the industry. 

“I wouldn't’t say one thing in particular was really educational from the sessions I went to because everything was mind-blowingly educational,” Lankford-Bravo said. “The biggest thing was getting to talk to people from different countries with different cultural and professional backgrounds and getting to see their take on how our industry is changing.”

The diversity and intelligence of the conference attendees and speakers pushed both to see and understand industry topics from different perspectives. The complex topics discussed, such as gender equality, social responsibility and cultural integrity, left both inspired to continue learning. 

“I became more familiar with policies and how they change over time and how world events changes and impact those policies,” Reyes said. “When I went to the conference I was looking at the information presented to us in that frame; what things are going on in the world right now and what the impacts of those things are going to be.” 

Moving forward, Lankford-Bravo will continue his studies in geology at UT El Paso this fall and Reyes will graduate from UH this December. Both plan on participating in future WPC events and forums and will play a role in preparing for the 2020 congress, which will be in Houston.