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Mar 31, 2014 6:21 PM by Dave Fields

UL Petroleum Geologists win American competition, seek international prize

After winning the American Association of Petroleum Geologists' competition, a team of University of Louisiana (UL) graduate students now prepares to reclaim an international title awarded for the ability to determine the best place to drill for oil.

The team of UL masters students placed first in a field of 13 universities in a regional contest earlier this month, which enabled it to move up to the international level of competition in April.

Team members are Jordy Babineaux, Sam Ely, Nicholas Geyer, Jolie Helm and Daniel Sutton. They took home the first-place trophy and $3,000 for UL Lafayette's School of Geosciences. The team participated in the American Association of Petroleum Geologists' Gulf Coast International Barrel Award Regional Competition held in Houston on March 20-21.

UL's team competed against students from Louisiana State University, Tulane University, University of New Orleans, Auburn University, University of Alabama, and Mississippi State University, University of Houston, University of Texas at Austin, Stephen F. Austin State University, University of Texas at San Antonio, Rice University, Texas A&M University.

The Cajun team heads to Houston to vie for the international Imperial Barrel Award April 4-6 during the annual meeting of the AAPG. The award takes its name from Imperial College London, where the competition originated. UL has participated in the contest every year since its inception in 2008 and was chosen best in the world in 2012. This is the fourth time it has won at the U.S. Gulf Coast regional level.

"The 2012 win, coupled with previous Gulf Coast wins, establishes our master's degree program in geology as a top-flight program for any prospective student planning a career in the petroleum industry. Our program has become well known and highly regarded by recruiters hiring geology graduates," said Dr. Brian Lock, a professor of geology who is the team's faculty advisor.

"Participation is a strong statement on a student's résumé, but all our students get better recognition by recruiters simply as a result of the University's name," he added.

Mary Broussard, an alumna, and her colleague, Mike Quinn, are industry mentors for the team. Broussard and Quinn are geologists employed at Freeport McMoRan Oil and Gas in Lafayette who are also adjunct faculty members.

The AAPG's IBA program is annual prospective basin evaluation competition for geoscience graduate students from universities around the world. The contest features a top prize of $20,000 in cash and scholarships.

In this global competition, university teams analyze a dataset (geology, geophysics, land, production infrastructure, and other relevant materials) in the eight weeks prior to competition. Each five-person team delivers its results in a 25-minute presentation to a panel of industry experts, receiving feedback on technical quality, clarity and originality of presentation.

Dr. David Borrok, director of UL Lafayette's School of Geosciences, said the University is a premier institution for students interested in petroleum geology. "Our sustained excellence in this competition reflects this strength and further highlights the quality of our students and faculty," he said.



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