Imperial Barrel Program On a Roll

American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG)

As we enter the third season of global Imperial Barrel Award competitions, I first would like to thank the Imperial Barrel Award Committee members and local IBA competition coordinators, AAPG’s amazing staff, committed industry sponsors and judges, supportive academic advisers and directors and last – but certainly not least – the participating students who made the 2008 Imperial Barrel Award program so successful and enjoyable!

I hear many others involved with the program echo my sentiments of appreciation:

  • Sponsoring companies tell us they were so impressed with the caliber of students they met through the local and final competitions that they want to incorporate the IBA into their recruiting programs.
  • Recruiters discovered new schools with great programs – because by participating in the IBA, schools showcased some of their best student talent.
  • Schools are gaining recognition, and the opportunity to learn using real industry datasets is attracting new students.
  • Students are getting excited about geology and the energy industry because they can “taste and feel” the experience of hunting hydrocarbons in a supportive educational framework.

Our goal for the Imperial Barrel Award program is this: Enhance AAPG’s reputation and connect industry with academia by running a world class educational program involving students and professionals.

Students, former participants, members of academia and other industry professionals are eager to become part of the Imperial Barrel Award program, because IBA is good for AAPG, good for industry participants, good for geoscience academia and good for geoscience students.

When you find a win-win-win-win opportunity, the best thing to do is “get on board.”

Start Work Now!

Now is the time for Regions and Sections to select their IBA coordinator for 2009.

Last year many Region or Section presidents served to organize the local IBA competition, often working as a one-person committee. This year, Regions and Sections are encouraged to build on the lessons learned from the 2008 competition – including the lesson to share the work and the fun with a larger committee.

IBA committees also may include former students. For example, the AAPG IBA Program Committee includes former 2007 IBA participant Helen Cromie, a graduate of Imperial College London.

University Team Requirements

With the beginning of the 2008-09 academic year, universities can get a head start on the competition by identifying their IBA faculty sponsor, who serves as team coach, and selecting a team of five students.

Local AAPG members may also be called upon to help coach an IBA team.

Teams must comprise geoscience graduate students and may include one geophysics student.

Effective January 1 of the IBA competition year, two team members may be in their third academic year of graduate training, while the other team members must be in their first or second year of graduate training.

Participants must be full-time students with no more than six months of industry internship experience or no more than six months of full-time employment as a professional geoscientist.

Students who have worked as geologic technicians, data analysts, etc., will not have that work experience count toward the allowed six-month parameter.

To prevent overloading students’ schedules, the IBA learning experience is best when incorporated into an existing academic course or used as an end-of-term capstone project.

Get Involved

Want to be involved?

Contact AAPG headquarters if you are interested in:

  • Sponsoring the competition at the 2009 AAPG Annual Convention and/or at the local Region/Section level.
  • Entering a student team in the competition.
  • Volunteering to help with committee activities.

Interested universities are invited to go to to view video clips of the 2008 competition. Click on “Request to Participate” and submit an interest form, or contact

Watch for more IBA 2009 competition details in future editions of the EXPLORER.

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Regions and Sections

Connie Mongold is the IBA Committee Chair

Regions and Sections Column

Regions and Sections is a regular column in the EXPLORER offering news for and about AAPG's six international Regions and six U.S. Sections. News items, press releases and other information should be submitted via email or to: EXPLORER - Regions and Sections, P.O. Box 979, Tulsa, OK 74101. 

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