The Imperial Barrel Awards, or the IBA as they are more commonly known, are a great opportunity to gather budding earth scientists about to embark on their professional career in the oil and gas industry.
The competition provides a unique opportunity for masters’ students in a petroleum discipline to evaluate a real-time dataset from a prospective basin in a given region, and present their results at the annual competition held in Prague.
And this year was no different. Twenty two teams of nervous students and their accompanying faculty advisors came from far and wide to compete in the awards, despite the Lufthansa airline strikes! The first day of the competition began bright and early, the air full of tension, and teams of students anxiously waiting for a panel of 4 judges to decide their fate. Presentations from LaSalle Beauvais and Utrecht University kicked-off the competition, closely followed by Gubkin Russian State and Stavanger University. As each team made their presentation the anxiety lifted, until finally 16 teams had presented. It seemed that many of the judges had already decided firm favourites for the finals, but day 2 was looming.
Day 2 brought 6 final presentations and a chance to throw the cat amongst the pigeons. The atmosphere seemed somewhat more relaxed, but the chance to reach the finals seemed to loom over everyone.
The day began once more with presentations from Aberdeen University and Montpellier II, followed by Moscow State and VU Amsterdam University with presentations from Delft and Nancy closing the first round of the competition. After the judges had completed their gruelling decision making, everyone gathered together to hear the announcement of the final 4. Royal Holloway, Aberdeen, VU Amsterdam and University of Manchester had a final opportunity to prove themselves once more. Each team made their presentation for the last time, and after another tense discussion from the judges, the decision had been made. Royal Holloway had been crowned the winners, chosen represent the Europe Region in the IBA finals in Denver.