The UTEP Department of Geological Sciences IBA Team took first place in the American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG) Worldwide Imperial Barrel Competition in Calgary, Canada.
“This win is a testament to the wonderful UTEP students who year after year put in the long hours and frustrations of putting together a major research project and presentation in eight weeks,” said Rip Langford, Ph.D., professor in UTEP’s Department of Geological Sciences.
“This activity is student driven; they decide to compete and it’s up to them to do the creative and scientific work,” Langford said. “We in the department only provide advice and technical support. It’s a testament to the quality of our students that they place so highly every year.”
In the annual 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 team delivers their results in a 25-minute presentation to a panel of industry experts. 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.
“Being part of The University of Texas at El Paso team competing for the Imperial Barrel Award is one of the most exciting experiences in my academic career,” said Eric Bergersen, a master’s students in geological sciences and the team leader. “The thrill of working hands-on with a real data set, of rapidly learning new concepts, developing and testing new ideas, and the exhilarating feeling of having conquered obstacles that appeared to be insurmountable is something I will never forget. “
Teams from UTEP have been competing since 2007; the first place win is a first for the University and is accompanied by a $20,000 prize.
Team members Andy Anderson, Andre Llanos, Alan Vennemann, and Langford will return to UTEP after the AAPG Annual Convention at the end of this week and team members Bergersen and Patrick Rea will return to their internships with the Apache Corporation and NASA, respectively.