No. 3, 2012

Maria Kukhtar


Geneva students are involved in new oil trading education programs

The University of Geneva (UNIGE) is the second-largest university in Switzerland. It has programs in various fields but is particularly acknowledged for its academic and research programs in international relations (with Geneva hosting a dense agglomeration of international organizations), economics, law, astrophysics, astronomy and genetics. Many graduates from UNIGE successfully work in the world leading companies including oil trading majors represented in the city of Calvin.

The glorious history of the University of Geneva  started in 1559, when John Calvin, an influential French theologian and pastor during the Protestant Reformation, founded a theological seminary and law school.

These days the UNIGE has a student body of 14 500 students. More than one-third of all students come from abroad, attracted by the University's location in the heart of an international city which is home to many international organizations. Renowned for its high level of excellence, the University offers a wide spectrum of academic courses in various fields of study such as the exact and natural sciences, medicine, economics, social sciences and arts.

Teaching and research at the UNIGE benefit from the university's large network of institutional partnerships, both within Switzerland and internationally.

Numerous partnerships with other institutions around the world and membership in academic networks like the League of European Research Universities (LERU), the International Forum of Public Universities (IFUP), the Coimbra Group and the University Agency of la Francophonie (AUF) give UNIGE researchers ample opportunity to meet their counterparts at partner universities in the course of joint projects.

Being the world financial and diplomatic center, Geneva is as well a hub for oil trading.

One of the new waves in the educational programs of the University became the joint project with LITASCO SA. As Sergey Chaplygin, General Director of LITASCO, says: "Investment in the general growth and development of our staff is a key priority for our senior management. In Geneva office, 30 nationalities are represented and Swiss nationals stand for around 35% of LITASCO staff. This is why it is crucial to have appropriate training in the region, the University of Geneva Master of Arts in International Trading, Commodity Finance and Shipping is a unique and very high level academic platform supporting our industry to identify human resources locally and future talents in a very competitive environment."

In the beginning of June this year, LITASCO organized the educational trip which was an operational visit of LUKOIL assets in the Netherlands and Geneva students specialized in trading went to the Netherlands, to better understand their industry. Initially they should have been between five and ten, but finally 43 students of the Master of Arts in International Trading, Commodity Finance & Shipping program as well as the Diploma of Advanced Studies in Commodity Trading program, of the University of Geneva visited the Netherlands.

The students who are future stakeholders are all working in major industry players: oil trading, banking, shipping, auditors or inspection.

Education in trading has become "professional", and this journey was an opportunity for students to strengthen their skills in their field of activity. On Friday June 8th, 2012, they visited the Zeeland in Vlissingen refinery - a 55/45 joint venture between Total and LUKOIL companies they then visited the LUKOIL Benelux office, a Company of the LITASCO Group located on the 36th floor of the Maasstoren building, the tallest skyscraper of the Netherlands in the heart of Rotterdam harbor.

On Saturday July 9th, the Authorities of the Port of Rotterdam invited on an exclusive harbor cruise on board of the VIP vessel Nieuwe Maase.

This gave opportunity to see all aspects of the huge operations happening there: oil storage, commodities storage, container shipping, shipbuilding and other activities.

The student ended their 2 days visit at Service Terminal Rotterdam which is a joint venture (50/50) with LITASCO and a Dutch partner, operating together and enabling storage and fuel oils blending to necessary specifications.

"This trip is a unique experience for students who, for the most part, have not yet seen a drop of oil or visited a large commercial port in activity, even if they will make a career in this industry", Sergey Chaplygin confirmed.

The program of the next year is not yet set, but LITASCO is already on the ranks, proposing to visit its newly opened oil terminal in Barcelona.

And the cooperation between the UNIGE and LITASCO that has recently begun but has already become so strong is an obvious confirmation to that statement.

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