The 15th World Petroleum Congress in Beijing adopted the issue of young people as a key aspect of its theme "Technology and Globalization – Leading the Petroleum Industry into the 21st Century". The Congress acknowledged that young people will be the main force to drive future technological development and globalization. To support their education and future involvement in the petroleum industry, the Chinese National Committee donated all the computer and video equipment worth US$215,700 used for the Congress, to its Petroleum University after the close of the15th WPC.
The Chinese organizers then took the issue of young people one step further and launched the 1st WPC Youth Forum in Beijing in 2004. The Youth Forum attracted 541 young delegates from 19 countries around the world with its focus on "Youth and Innovation – the Future of Petroleum Industry". The Forum played an active role in implementing the WPC development strategy to attract more young people to the WPC activities and the petroleum industry. The forum was fully financed by China's state-owned companies – CNPC, SINOPEC, CNOOC and SINOCHEM, who were sponsoring many of the local and foreign students in order to enable them to attend the meeting and present papers on a wide variety of industry subjects. The presenters of the best papers at China's WPC Youth Forum were honoured with a special session at the 18th WPC in South Africa.