A team of University of New Orleans graduate students won the 2016 Gulf Coast Regional Imperial Barrel Award in Houston, Texas for the second straight year and will advance to the international finals in June. It’s the first time that a team has claimed back-to-back Gulf Coast titles in the nine-year history of the event. The Imperial Barrel program, which is organized by the American Association of Petroleum Geologists, pits geosciences teams from universities around the world against each other in a competition to analyze an oil and gas reservoir.
UNO’s team beat out 11 regional competitors during the April 15 event from universities including Texas A&M, Rice, the University of Houston, Tulane, the University of Alabama and the University of Louisiana at Lafayette.
The team members are Ryan Jones, Zexuan Wang, Will Morrison, team leader Josiah Hulsey and Celeste Woock. The faculty adviser is Royhan Gani, associate professor of earth and environmental sciences, and the team is assisted by industry mentors Toby Roesler of Stone Energy and Benjamin Kirkland of Nexen Petroleum. The $3,000 prize will go toward scholarships in the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences.
“We continue to prove that our geosciences students are among the finest in the region,” Gani said. “We are excited to make history by winning the regional title in back-to-back years, which is a testament to the hard work of our students and the outstanding support they receive from their industry mentors. It’s exciting that UNO’s team will once again be representing the Gulf Coast on an international stage.”
In the regional, teams analyze a dataset in the eight weeks prior to the competition and deliver their results in a 25-minute presentation to a panel of industry experts. The judges select a winner based on technical quality, clarity and originality of presentation as well as team’s ability to answer questions.
UNO is one of 12 regional winners that will participate in the international competition held in Calgary, Alberta on June 17-18.