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School students from Kassel spend a school week in Novy UrengoyFirst time in Europe: Joint research projects with German and Russian school students

© Wintershall/Boris Velicov

Novy Urengoy/Russia. In Novy Urengoy, the exchange program between North Hesse Student Research Center and School No. 17 in Novy Urengoy has begun. Together with Russian school students, 12 pupils from Kassel are working in five mini-labs on their own projects in the field of climate research and will take part in an excursion to the gas processing facility belonging to the Achimgaz joint venture. The exchange program has been sponsored by Wintershall for the last 13 years.

Youth exchange programs contribute to the positive development of society and the economy in the long term

The one-week exchange program began on 3 October 2018 in Novy Urengoy. The school students had previously defined five areas for their research activities:

  • The influence of polar lights on cosmic radiation
  • Photosynthesis
  • The behavior of plants under different lighting and climatic conditions in greenhouses
  • Prototyping devices for monitoring and controlling the microclimate
  • Improving microclimate data in the classroom

This week, the students are working in teams and are setting the exact goals for their research, presenting their approach at the beginning and their projects at the end of the week.

This special joint research week was announced as part of the Summer School for administrative staff from both cities, which took place in June 2017 in Novy Urengoy. "For over a year, the school students and teachers have been preparing intensively for the joint research days in Siberia, and we are very pleased that they were able to realize this project. The exchange of young researchers between Kassel and Novy Urengoy is not only of great importance for the development of both cities in which Wintershall operates. The fact that the students can get to know each other, talk about their lives and share experiences makes an important contribution to the dialogue between Germany and Russia," emphasizes Thilo Wieland, member of the Wintershall Executive Board.

The tour of the gas processing facility belonging to the German-Russian joint venture, Achimgaz, is undoubtedly one of the highlights of the week. The school students will also see the "heart" of the plant – the control center – where experts monitor the technological processes involved in gas and gas condensate extraction.

"It's important for our company to be in touch with the rising young generation and to promote their interest in science and technology. We already arouse their spirit of inquiry during their school years and help the young people work in close cooperation with one another," underlines Ingo Neubert, Deputy General Director of AO Achimgaz.

After a two-day stay in Moscow, the pupils from Kassel arrived in Novy Urengoy on 3 October and visited School No. 17 on the first day. They were shown the plans for further developing the school and, among other things, toured the specialist rooms for robotics and experimental biology as well as the music studio and augmented reality space. In order to introduce their guests to life in the city on the Arctic Circle, as well as its inhabitants and culture, the pupils from School No. 17 have prepared a wide-ranging recreational program for the students from Kassel, including culinary team-building events, museum visits and much more.

"We're confident that working on the joint research projects will help to improve the vocational and social mobility and skills of the school students. Although the program has only just begun, the participants have already made friends, gained many positive experiences and successfully worked together," notes Viktor Kustov, Director of No. 17 School in Novy Urengoy. Klaus-Peter Haupt, head of the North Hesse Student Research Center (SFN), can only confirm the impression of his colleague from Novy Urengoy. "We, the staff and students at the Student Research Center are looking forward to starting a unique project in Europe with the young people from School No. 17 in Novy Urengoy: joint, cultural research that crosses political borders and is entirely in the hands of the young people. I also see this project as an important contribution to international understanding and stabilizing our future," he emphasizes.

Climate change is one of the most pressing issues for future generations

The issue of climate change and its challenges form the basis for the scientific student program. The topic already formed the focus of the student congress held in Kassel in June 2018. The student congress on mathematics, computer science, natural sciences and technology, which was organized by North Hesse Student Research Center with the support of Wintershall, was held under the motto "Climate – Our Future!". The students in Novy Urengoy and Kassel prepared for their joint research week in a series of regular video conferences and intercultural training seminars.

The cooperation between Novy Urengoy and Kassel is very important for Wintershall

Wintershall has been supporting the city partnership between Kassel and Novy Urengoy for over 10 years. The exchange between experts from the city administrations as well as representatives from business, education and culture takes place under the aegis of Kassel University.

In September 2018, the city partnership between Novy Urengoy and Kassel was honored for its exemplary character by the German and Russian foreign ministers, Heiko Maas and Sergey Lavrov, at the closing ceremony marking the end of the German-Russian Year of Local and Regional Partnerships.

Wintershall Holding GmbH, based in Kassel, Germany, is a wholly-owned subsidiary of BASF in Ludwigshafen. The company has been active in the extraction of natural resources for 120 years, and in the exploration and production of crude oil and natural gas for over 85 years. Wintershall focuses on selected core regions where the company has built up a high level of regional and technological expertise. These are Europe, Russia, North Africa, South America, and increasingly the Middle East region. The company wants to expand its business further with exploration and production, selected partnerships, innovation and technological competence. Wintershall employs about 2.000 staff worldwide from 50 nations and is now Germany’s largest, internationally active crude oil and natural gas producer.

At the end of September 2018, BASF and LetterOne signed a binding agreement to merge their respective oil and gas companies, Wintershall and DEA (Deutsche Erdöl AG). Subject to regulatory approvals, the transaction is expected to close in the first half of 2019. Wintershall DEA would become the leading independent oil and gas producer in Europe. BASF and LetterOne are planning an initial public offering (IPO) for Wintershall DEA in the medium term.

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