Texas A&M at Qatar SPE chapter named Outstanding Student Chapter for second year in a row

Photo of Texas A&M at Qatar regional Petrobowl team

The Texas A&M University at Qatar chapter of the Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE) has been named Outstanding Student Chapter in the Middle East-North Africa region for the second year in a row.

In addition, a team of SPE members (pictured above) won first place in the regional Petrobowl qualifier and will advance to the international contest.

All 2016 Outstanding Student Chapter recipients from around the world will be recognized, and the international Petrobowl finals held, during SPE’s Annual Technical Conference and Exhibition (ATCE) in Dubai 26-28 Sept.

The prestigious Outstanding Student Chapter award recognizes SPE student chapters with exceptional programs in industry engagement, operations and planning, community involvement, professional development and innovation.

Elsiddig Elhafyan, a Class of 2016 petroleum engineering graduate of Texas A&M at Qatar, served as president of the SPE student chapter during academic year 2015-2016. He said winning the award in 2015 was a surprise that raised expectations for his own term as president. But with about 80 members last year, Elhafyan said he believes a large part of the chapter’s success is being part of such a close-knit community, especially with an active student body and outstanding support from the petroleum engineering faculty.

“I honestly believe the fact that we have a smaller university helps our chapter be as successful as it is,” he said. “We try to be as involved as we can with the university and with students. SPE is an organization not only for petroleum engineers; anyone who wants to work in the oil and gas industry can be in SPE. And with a small campus, we have a smaller community, therefore connections really matter. We can reach out quicker for events, we can reach out quicker to our members. It’s easy to promote our events to the campus community so we have big turnouts for our events.”

In 2015-2016, those events included the networking-oriented SPE Week, which allowed SPE student members from Texas A&M at Qatar to interact with young professionals in the Qatar SPE section. The students also hosted a lecture series featuring professionals working in industry, as well as a Saturday workshop on Intelligent Fields, organized by the Dutch oil and gas company TNO. All the organizations activities last year were sponsored by Oxy.

Texas A&M at Qatar places great emphasis on involvement in student organizations such as SPE, which gives students experience in leadership, management and planning, essential skills needed for success in the workplace. The branch campus also encourages students to participate in international competitions and conferences, such as Petrobowl.

Elhafyan, who has also participated on Texas A&M at Qatar’s Petrobowl team, said the international experience of competing has allowed them to represent the branch campus and its values on the world stage.

“We really do wear the Aggie name with pride and we really do try to represent the university as best we can. The international experience of Petrobowl is a challenge because we are competing with universities that are more established than us, because Texas A&M at Qatar is quite a new institution. But so far we have been doing well so we’re pretty happy about that.”