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Curtin University Perth wins third place at IBA2017 international Finals

Published
American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG)

AAPG Asia Pacific Region is very proud that one of our teams scored third placing at the 2017 AAPG International Barrel Award international finals held in Houston at the AAPG Annual Convention.  They topped the region semifinals held online, with two schools garnering Honorable Mention: Institute of Technology Bandung (Indonesia) and the University of Indonesia from Jakarta. We congratulate all three teams.

At the international finals, the University of Houston took first place, while Eotvos Loran University, Hungary came in second.

In 2011, our team from Khon Kaen University, Thailand came in second place. This is the second time we have made top 3, and we hope that all our region universities will continue to strive to keep us there.

Below is a write-up of the team's experience offered by Kirk Gilleran of Curtin University:

A team of postgraduate geology students from Curtin University travelled to Houston, Texas to compete in the AAPG 2017 Imperial Barrel Award (IBA) International Final Competition. The IBA is an annual competition for geoscience graduate students simulating the exploration work undertaken by geologists and geophysicists in the oil and gas industry. University teams compete to win scholarship funds for their geoscience department and the international recognition that comes from competing or winning in the competition. Teams analyze a real dataset in the eight weeks prior to their regional semi-final and deliver their results in a presentation to a panel of industry experts. The program is rigorous and contributes to AAPG's mission of promoting petroleum geoscience training and advancing the careers of geoscience students.

This year 140 universities took part globally, with the wining teams from each of the 12 regional semi-final competitions travelling to Houston to compete in the Global Final. Curtin University represented the Asia Pacific Region after placing 1st overall in the semi-final. The team, comprising of Kirk Gilleran, Mike Maher, Jerome Paz, Jiaojing Bi and Elena Alganaeva arrived jet lagged in Houston late on a Thursday night after a 30-hour journey. After one day of rest at the elegant Hilton Hotel and some last minute run throughs, the team presented their evaluation of the hydrocarbon prospectivity of the Taranaki Basin to a team of judges from Chevron, Shell, Saudi Aramco, Anadarko, ExxonMobil and Schlumberger. After all of the presentations, the teams, judges and sponsors bonded at an IBA dinner where everyone could relax and share their experiences.

After some tough decision making, the judges selected the winning teams on the basis of the technical quality, clarity and originality of presentation. The following day at the spectacular award ceremony, the Curtin team was awarded the Stonely Medal and US $5,000 for finishing in third place. This is the first time an Australian team has ever placed at the international final. This achievement is a great credit to the team and Curtin’s reputation for petroleum geoscience.

The students then attended the AAPG Convention and Exhibition throughout week that offerered various networking opportunities, insights to state of the art industry technology, as well as numerous interesting talks by industry speakers and leaders.

Overall it was an incredible, exciting, intense and extremely valuable learning experience. It emphasised the importance of working in a team with different backgrounds under the pressure of a deadline. The students were exposed to industry experts and recruiters helping build connections for future employment. A massive thank you to the sponsors, judges, supervisors, volunteers and AAPG staff whose support made this leading petroleum geoscience program possible.

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