UH Team Places Third in AAPG Gulf Coast Imperial Barrel Award Regional Competition

UH Team Places Third in AAPG Gulf Coast Imperial Barrel Award Regional Competition
Teams Analyze a Dataset in Eight Weeks and Present Results

The University of Houston 2013 Imperial Barrel Award (IBA) TeamThe University of Houston 2013 Imperial Barrel Award (IBA) team placed third in a field of 9 universities at the American Association of Petroleum Geologists’ (AAPG) Gulf Coast IBA Regional Competition held in Houston on April 12.

The team, Kyle Reuber (captain), Altay Sansal, Patrick Loureiro, Lindsay Aldrich, and Dutch Crews, took home the third place trophy and $1,000 prize for the UH Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences AAPG Wildcatters student group of petroleum geology and geophysics students. The faculty co-advisors of the 2013 team were Dr. John Castagna, professor of geophysics, and Dr. Paul Mann, professor of geology.

The 2013 regional winner, Texas A&M University, will compete at the international competition at the AAPG meeting in Pittsburgh.

The AAPG’s IBA program is a rapidly growing, annual prospective basin evaluation competition for geoscience graduate students from universities around the world. University teams compete to win scholarship funds for their department and the international recognition that comes from competing or winning.

In this global competition, university teams analyze a dataset (geology, geophysics, land, production infrastructure, and other relevant materials) in the eight weeks prior to their local competition. Each five-person team delivers their results in a 25-minute, carefully crafted, rehearsed, and polished presentation to a panel of industry experts. This year's dataset included wells and three-dimensional seismic data from the Cooper basin, a gas and oil producing basin in central Australia.

Students have the chance to use state-of-the-art technology on a real dataset, receive feedback from an industry panel, impress potential employers in the audience, and win cash awards for their school. The judges select the winning team on the basis of the technical quality, clarity and originality of presentation. Five minutes of intense questioning by the panel of five judges selected from the petroleum industry test the students’ understanding of their data and their depth of knowledge.

The IBA is a hands-on opportunity for students to experience the creative process and the high-tech science that is the foundation of the energy industry today. IBA competition veterans are increasingly recruited upon graduation by oil companies given their immersion and hands-on foray into the world of the oil finder. Two experienced explorationists from Houston-based oil companies advise the team and help to critique their presentation through the lens of their many years of exploration experience.

In 2012, the UH IBA team also placed third behind University of Louisiana/Lafayette (first) and the University of Texas at Austin (second).