Master's student from Moscow State University, Yury Alkhimenkov, won the Master's Division of the Russian and Caspian Regional SPE Student Paper Contest in 2014. This gave him the opportunity to represent the Russian and Caspian Regions at the 2015 SPE International Student paper contest in Houston, Texas, USA, at the SPE Annual Technical Conference and Exhibition (ATCE-2015). His topic was “Practical Applications of the T-Matrix Approach to Fractured Porous Rocks”. The paper has also been published in OnePetro. There were ten winners in each regional paper contest in the world. And, there were three divisions: Bachelor’s, Master’s and PhD. All participants showed off their high qualifications, brilliant mind, strong motivation and solid research. The conference covered the upstream aspects of conventional and unconventional resources from across the globe. ATCE is also SPE’s annual meeting of members and featured groundbreaking papers from recognized scientists from the oil and gas industry, and special technical events designed to accelerate the application of innovations in every technical discipline. Peoplefrom different countries came to Houston to share and find out about the new technologies at the conference.

Many things in Houston surprised Yury. There are skyscrapers and big cars. It is also very hot in Houston at that time! For him, it was like four additional summer daysat the end of September. You can find a lot of people with cowboy hats and they look very normal in Texas! Yury's personal opinion is that Houston is a very diverse, really modern city. It is the fourth largest city in the US. The city is recognized worldwide for its energy industry—particularly for oil and natural gas—as well as for biomedical research and aeronautics. The department of geophysics at the University of Houston is one of the largest in the USA.

The city is famous for many things. The Houston area is a leading center for manufacturing oilfield equipment. Houston has a diverse population. Over 25% are immigrants from another country. It was also the first time Yury ate Mexican food. It was tasty. He met many fellow Russians who are working in the oil and gas industry and research. They all were very friendly, clever and open-minded. Houston is the place where the most motivated and clever people around the world come to work, do research, earn money and live in a modern city.

It is amazing that everything is on a grid. If you live in Houston you must have a car. Almost everybody has one. People in Houston use a navigator all the time and this is due to a large grid system of streets. Also, your navigator knows much more about traffic jams than you and can choose the best route. It's very difficult to navigate without the GPS. And without a car it is almost impossible.

If you have a chance to visit Houston - do it and see everything with your own eyes.