Aggie Geoscientists place second in Gulf Coast AAPG IBA Competition

Mar 19, 2014

A team from Texas A&M won second place in the Gulf Coast Section of the Imperial Barrel Award (IBA) competition, held March 19-20 at BP Headquarters in Houston. 

Team members were graduate students Akhil Amara, Daniel Elizondo, David Lewis, Ivan Maulana, and John Reed from the Department of Geology and Geophysics. Texas A&M competed against 12 other schools in the Gulf Coast region for the award. The team previously won first place in 2009 and 2013.

During the event, the team presented a detailed petroleum systems analysis of the Taranaki Basin, New Zealand to the judges before being selected as one of four finalists for Friday morning’s round, along with University of Houston, University of New Orleans, and University of Louisiana-Lafayette. For the second round, each team presented to a different panel of judges, and the team earned second place, behind University of Louisiana-Lafayette.

Sponsored by the American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG), the annual IBA competition is for geoscience students from around the world. Teams from six U.S. and six international regions, comprising a total of 35 countries represented, compete for the award.

According to the IBA program , student teams prepare for the contest by studying a dataset of geological and geophysical information, land, production infrastructure, and other relevant materials to solve a problem they would face in the energy industry. Each team delivers their results to a panel of industry experts. The judges select the winning team on the basis of the technical quality, clarity and originality of presentation.

"We would like to thank Kellam Colquitt for presenting two short courses at Texas A&M on using Rose and Associate software to risk plays," said Mike Pope, professor of Geology and this year’s advisor and coach. "It was very informative and used a great deal in their analysis.”

"The competition also requires a dedicated coaching team of a faculty member and industry partners, who provide the direction and guidance to mold the students into a polished team," said Dr. Rick Giardino, professor and head of Geology and Geophysics. The team was ably assisted by industry representatives William (Dusty) Marshall and Matt Hammer.

Giardino says that the competition is not about winning. "The important lesson is the educational opportunity these students have to use their education, intellect and skills operating in a team problem-solving environment." Students winning Imperial Barrel Award competitions are considered highly employable in the energy industry when they graduate.