Geosciences students excel during GEO2016 in Bahrain

A group of ambitious students from the Department of Applied Geosciences at GUtech along with their professors, recently excelled other teams winning three different prizes in international competitions held in Manama, Bahrain. GUtech participated for the first time in the prestigious Imperial Barrel Award (IBA), and the 5-member strong student team secured a 3rd prize. A three-member team won the 1st prize in the EAGE geo-scientific quiz, and one GUtech student won the 3rd prize in the student poster competition.

“For me Geosciences is like being a doctor for rocks” said Atiya, who initially wanted to study Medicine, but then received a PDO scholarship for studies at GUtech. “From the rocks we can see the history, which is very fascinating for me,” said Ahlam, another GUtech student team member.

Thanks to six weeks of extremely intensive work, the GUtech student team won the bronze medal in the IBA competition. “We had to analyze a big data set from seismic and wells, to study the chance of finding oil and gas in a vast area offshore New Zealand. At GUtech we analyzed the data in the Schlumberger Laboratory, using sophisticated software packages. During the conference we had to give a presentation to a panel of three experts from Aramco, Schlumberger and the regional AAPG president.” said the IBA team members. “What is most fascinating about studying petroleum geosciences is that we can send seismic waves into the subsurface and that from the reflected waves we can predict the chance of finding oil” said Haifa Al Salmi, Lecturer at the Department of Applied Geosciences at GUtech. She coached the GUtech IBA team together with Prof. Dr. Wiekert Visser.

GUtech student Ahlam also received the third prize for her scientific poster entitled “Variations of Oil API Gravity across the Sultanate of Oman”, the result of her internship project at Petroleum Development Oman (PDO). Her poster was co-authored by Prof. Dr. Wiekert Visser, Head of the Department of Petroleum Geosciences and Mohammed al Ghammari (PDO). Ahlam had gathered oil quality data from 1361 wells in Oman. “Lighter oil is found in the North of Oman and heavier oil in the South” she explained. Out of one hundred posters that were submitted, only 10 were chosen for presentation to a panel of experts.

Finally, the student team Sabra, Ahlam and Al Muhanna won the 1st prize in the Geosciences Quiz of the European Association of Geoscientists and Engineers, out of 20 teams. As a price they received a travel grant to attend the EAGE convention in Vienna in May/June 2016. “I think the conference was a great experience for us. There were many activities like the quiz, workshops on soft-skills and technical workshops. In the evening we also had the chance to speak to many professionals from the Middle East who encouraged us to work in the oil and gas sector” said Sabra. Reflecting on their team spirit, Sabra said: it was the first time for us to work together in a team. “In my view the key aspect of the IBA competition is that students learned a lot” said Prof. Dr. Wiekert Visser.

All students of the team will graduate this year and then wish to continue working in the oil and gas sector in Oman or pursue their MSc studies in Germany, at GUtech’s partner university, RWTH Aachen University or elsewhere.

Watch an interview with two AGEO students on Oman TV, 30 March 2016:

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