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The History of the DGMK

German Society for Mineral Oil Research (DGM)

The history of the DGMK begins with the DGM. The DGM was founded on 9 May 1933 in Berlin. In its founding year it had 385 personal members. The scientific activities of the society were divided into the following 12 departments:

  • Geophysics
  • Geology
  • Deep Drilling, Extraction, Production
  • Processing
  • Usage
  • Transport, Storage, Distribution
  • Lignite and Derivatives
  • Hard Coal and Derivatives
  • Mechanical and Apparatus Engineering
  • Testing, Research, Nomenclature
  • Import, Customs, Taxes
  • Legal Issues

Until 1940, a large conference was held annually with 800 to 1,000 participants. These conferences were held jointly with the Brennstofftechnische Gesellschaft. In addition, there were specialist conferences of some departments, which allowed a lively scientific exchange.

The DGM held an annual general assembly in Berlin.

For the most part, purely scientific and technical problems were dealt with in the departments, but war preparation issues were also taken up. The Transport, Storage, Distribution Department, for example, dealt with questions of air protection for tank farms as early as 1935. Due to the regime's efforts to achieve self-sufficiency, technical issues were raised in all areas, which were dealt with in the departments of the DGM. The aim was to increase domestic oil production and to produce fuel from coal.

From the very beginning, the DGM has included functionaries of the National Socialist Party of Germany (NSDAP) in its board work. Gottfried Feder was elected honorary chairman. The articles in the journal Oel und Kohle (Oil and Coal), published by the DGM, were accompanied by forewords from the board, in which National Socialist ideas were disseminated and thus demonstrated loyalty to the regime.

From 1934 onwards, "territorial groups" were gradually formed, which organised lecture events. In 1942, there were 9 regional groups, including one in Vienna. The activities of the DGM were severely affected by the Second World War from 1943 onwards and were completely discontinued in 1945.

Unfortunately there are no documents about the DGM available at the DGMK office. We only have the journal Oel und Kohle at our disposal.

From the very beginning, the German Society for Petroleum Research was geared to supporting National Socialist economic policy. By including party functionaries, it supported the dictatorship's policy of equalisation. Leo Ubbelohde, however, failed with his plan for the development of a German mineral oil industry. It is not apparent that the DGM would have had any significant influence.

What's left? What has remained is a comprehensive presentation of the state of the art of the 1930s in all fields of work of DGM. It was published in the journal Oel und Kohle. Numerous renowned scientists have contributed to it.

What has remained is the idea of a scientific cross-divisional service society that promotes interdisciplinary cooperation among its members. What remains is the idea of having a scientific society in Germany that is a contact for corresponding societies abroad and that is involved in international cooperation. And what has remained is the idea of giving young scientists the opportunity to obtain information and further training at the Society's events.

The tradition of the DGMK is based on these ideas.

German Society for Mineral Oil Science and Coal Chemistry

At the suggestion of the re-emerging German mineral oil industry and on the initiative of Alfred Bentz, it was decided in 1947 to revive the DGM, which had been dissolved in 1945, in a suitable form. Because of the strong involvement of the coal and lignite tar industry in fuel production during the war and the exploitation of suitable parts of the coal hydrogenation plants for mineral oil refining after the war, it was decided to incorporate the chemical sector of the coal industry into the society as well and to express this in its name "Deutsche Gesellschaft für Mineralölwissenschaft und Kohlechemie". The new foundation took place at the first general meeting on 15 January 1948. At the end of 1948 the DGMK had 420 members.

The initiators of the merger of the two major research areas of petroleum and coal chemistry were above all Ernst Terres (TH Karlsruhe) and Günther Schlicht (DEA).

At the annual meeting in 1948, Ernst Terres expressed the view that the refoundation of the Society was a necessity of the time, since it must be the task of science to contribute to the reconstruction of the economy through intensive work. The exchange of experience with specialist colleagues from abroad should be restored.

In 1958 the Coordinating Committee for Research Work was founded. In the Coordinating Committee, the various national and international scientific and technical issues of the mineral oil and coal industry were dealt with objectively by experts, and the solutions found were represented externally. The research activities of the committees were generally financed by the relevant industry through the DGMK. When the committee was dissolved at the end of 1969, it had 20 working committees in which about 200 experts worked together.

The cooperation with other professional societies was intensified. From 1961 on, joint meetings with the Gesellschaft für Schmierungstechnik, the VDI, the VDEh and the Steinkohlenbergbauverein took place every two years, alternating with the annual meeting.

In 1963, the DGMK hosted the 6th World Oil Congress, which took place in Frankfurt a.M.
In 1963 the DGMK had 1,028 members.

In 1963, the DGMK organised the World Petroleum Congress in Frankfurt am Main, to which the then US President John F. Kennedy travelled especially for the occasion.

DGMK logo until 1963

DGMK logo from 1963 (stylised benzene ring)

DGMK logo since 1996

The 1970s

Intensification of Joint Research

In 1969, the "Research Committee" was established as the central supervisory and decision-making body for the entire DGMK. The increasing tasks in research within the DGMK required an efficient steering committee and full-time support. After K.E. Klinksiek had set up the "Science and Technology" department, B.-R. Altmann for the coordination of downstream projects and R.B. Behrmann for the coordination of upstream projects were hired as additional full-time employees in 1973.

Conferences of the Specialist Groups

In addition to the annual conference, the concept of the specialist group conference was developed, which was soon very successful. Therefore, instead of the annual conferences from 1970 onwards, the "main conferences" of the Gesamt-DGMK were held every two years, and in the odd years the specialist group conferences were organised. Today there are only the departmental conferences.

Every four years there was a joint meeting (from 1966 to 2000) with the Austrian Society for Petroleum Sciences (ÖGEW).

Merging the Upstream Area with the VTT

The Exploration and Extraction Division was merged with the Verein für Tiefbohrtechnik (VTT) to form the DVGI (German Association of Geologists and Petroleum Engineers). Based on a DGMK-VTT joint conference held in 1971, the "Spring Conference" was developed.

Member Development

The number of members of the DGMK was stable in the 1970s. It fluctuated between 1,041 in 1970 and 1,117 in 1979.

The Reorientation of the DGMK in the 1980s

In 1984 the reorientation of the DGMK was decided. Instead of the research committee and the specialist groups, three largely independent departments were founded:

  • Department of Exploration and Production,
  • Department of Refining and Product Application,
  • Department of Chemical Coal Refining.

At the general meeting in Innsbruck on 23 October 1984, the board of directors also proposed to change the name of the society to Deutsche Gesellschaft für Erdöl- und Kohlenwissenschaften e.V. (DGEK). 

A request by student Stefan E. for a secret ballot upset the planning of the board. The proposal was rejected in a secret ballot. The general meeting was interrupted and continued the next day. At the request of the later honorary chairman, Dr. von Ilsemann, a vote on the change of the statutes was carried out without changing the name. In a secret ballot, the amendment of the statutes was then decided by a large majority. The change of name was postponed because no agreement could be reached.

Since 1985 the official organ of the DGMK: the journal ERDÖL ERDGAS KOHLE.

In 1985, the "partnership union" of DGMK and DVGI was first implemented. The journal Erdöl-Erdgas (yellow journal) was chosen as the organ. It was also given the "Kohle" (coal) in the title: Oil Natural Gas Coal

In 1986 the time had come. After two years of emotional discussion, a consensus was reached on the name. At the general meeting on 9 October 1986 in Hamburg the name of the society was changed to

DGMK German Scientific Society
for Oil, Natural Gas and Coal e.V.

Now the three important fossil raw materials were included in the name of the company and it was also expressed that science and technology are in the foreground. All the departments could identify themselves with this name - including the petrochemical department, which was added in 1991.

On the occasion of the 75th anniversary of the DGMK a detailed article on the history of the DGMK was published in ERDÖL ERDGAS KOHLE. The article is available for free download.

Chairperson of the DGM/DGMK

Prof. Dr. Leo Ubbelohde

Technical University Berlin-Charlottenburg

Prof. Dr. Alfred Bentz

Federal Institute for Soil Research, Lower Saxony, State Office for Soil Research, Hanover

Prof. Dr.-Ing. Dr. tech. h.c. Ernst Terres

Engler-Bunte Institute, Karlsruhe

Bergass. A.D. Dr.-Ing. E.h. Günther Schlicht, Hamburg

German Oil Stock Corporation (DEA)

Prof. Dr. phil. Dres. h.c. Karl Ziegler

Max Planck Institute for Coal Research, Mülheim a. d. R.

Prof. Dr. Alfred Bentz

Federal Institute for Soil Research, Lower Saxony, State Office for Soil Research, Hanover

Bergass. A.D. Dr.-Ing. E.h. Günther Schlicht, Hamburg

German Oil Stock Corporation (DEA)

Prof. Dr. phil. habil. Dr.-Ing. E.h. Carl Zerbe

German Shell AG, Hamburg

Dr.-Ing. Heinz Nedelmann

BP Benzin und Petroleum AG, Hamburg

Prof. Dr. phil. Hans Joachim Martini

Federal Institute for Soil Research, Lower Saxony, State Office for Soil Research, Hanover

Dipl.-Ing. Dipl.-Chem. Friedrich-Karl Scheibitz

Esso AG, Hamburg

Dr.-Ing. E.h. Günther Saßmannshausen

Preussag AG, Hanover

Dipl.-Berging. Hans-Georg Goethe

German Texaco AG, Hamburg

Dr. rer. nat. Wilhelm von Ilsemann

German Shell AG, Hamburg

Prof. Dr. rer. nat. Werner Peters

Mining research, Essen

Dr.-Ing. Eckart Edye

Esso AG, Hamburg

Dr.-Ing. Gerd Escher

Veba Oel AG, Gelsenkirchen

Prof. Dr. rer. nat. Dr. h. c. Wilhelm Keim

Institute for Technical Chemistry and Petrochemistry of the RWTH Aachen University

Dr.-Ing. Georg von Hantelmann

Preussag Energie AG, Gaz de France Produktion Exploration Deutschland GmbH, Lingen

Kurt Döhmel

Deutsche Shell Holding GmbH, Hamburg

Lutz-Michael Liebau

RWE Dea AG, Hamburg

Thomas Rappuhn

DEA Deutsche Erdoel AG, Hamburg

Dirk Warzecha

Wintershall Dea Deutschland GmbH, Hamburg