2010 GCAGS Imperial Barrel Award Competition

The GCAGS region held its Imperial Barrel Award (IBA) Competition on Friday, March 26rd.   Six teams competed:

                • Louisiana State University
                • Stephen F. Austin State University
                • Texas A&M University
                • University of Houston
                • University of Louisiana at Lafayette
                • University of Texas at Austin

All six university teams did an excellent job evaluating the data, presenting their interpretation and presenting their recommendations for developing their acreage.   The GCAGS IBA was judged by the following industry professionals:

Ron Harris, Anadarko
Ian Gordon, Noble Energy
Thorbjorn Pedersen, Oxy
Jon Blickwede, Statoil

They did a very effective job critiquing the teams and providing insights on how the teams could improve their work in the future.  Following the competition, the judges met with each team individually to provide feedback to them on their analysis and presentation.  The following teams placed:

1st Place

1st place:  University of Louisiana at Lafayette ($3000) – from left, Dr. Brian Lock (faculty advisor), Ling Jing, Ryan Armbruster, Javier de Palacios, Lauren Salathe, and Josh Reamer (team leader).  Ms. Cathy Bishop was also a faculty advisor (not pictured).

2nd Place

2nd place:  University of Texas at Austin ($2000) – team consisted of Vishal Maharaj, Nabiel Eldam, David Hull, and Sarika Ramnarine.  Faculty advisors were Dr. Chris Zahm and Dr. Scott Tinker (not pictured).

3rd Place

3rd place:  Louisiana State University ($1000) – team consisted of Hongjiao Yu, Adam D’Aquin, David Smolkin, Andrew Sampson, and Matthew Clark.  Faculty advisor was Dr. Jeff Nunn.

The university departments received prize money as indicated.  Each graduate student participant received a Dictionary of Petroleum Exploration, Drilling & Production and an AAPG GCAGS medal.

ULL moved on to represent the GCAGS region in the competition at the AAPG National Convention in New Orleans.  All expenses were paid by sponsorship through AAPG at the global level.   

Although ULL did an excellent job representing GCAGS at the AAPG global competition, they did not place.  First place went to IFP, France; second place to University of Calgary; and third to King Fahd University, Saudi Arabia.

The other teams that participated were:

  • University of Houston:  Jarrett Kelso, Jennifer Barth, Sumiyyah Ahmed, and Yangyang Li.  Faculty advisors:  Dr. Janok Bhattacharya and Dr. Chris Liner.
  • Stephen F. Austin State University:  Sarah Power, John Thompson, John LeBus, Brant Logan, and David Rich.  Faculty advisors:  Dr. LaRell Nielson and Dr. Wesley Brown.
  • Texas A&M University: Travis Johnston, Leslie Nemazi, Chris Piela, Sean Steen, and  Yuhe Wang.  Faculty advisors:  Dr. Mike Pop, and Dr. Wayne Ahr.

Icebreaker:  We held an icebreaker on Thursday evening, March 25th, at the Schlumberger SIS Breakthrough Performance Center.  We had good attendance from the industry, sponsors, volunteers, GCAGS, Houston Geological Society, and competing teams.  The students had a chance to interact with BP, ExxonMobil, Marathon, Noble Energy, Oxy, Plains, Schlumberger, Shell, and others.

2010 IBA Budget:  The costs for this year’s event for 6 university teams are summarized below.  These costs reflect a one day event.  In 2011, we hope to increase the number of universities involved, which may make it a two day event with increased costs.

  • 2010 IBA Expenditures:  Hotel rooms for participants, icebreaker, and other catering, travel costs, trophies, and prize money ($3,000, $2,000, and $1,000 for first three teams) to winning departments – total $23,000.
  • 2010 Sponsorship Funds:  Contributions from (in no particular order):  Suemar, Plains Exploration, Petroquest Energy, Badger, Encana, McMoran, Diversified Mud Logging, Noble, Houston Geological Society, New Orleans Geological Society, GCAGS, for a Gulf Coast IBA total of $22,000.  Late sponsorships from 2009 provided an additional $8,000 so the competition is still in the black.  Clearly, increased sponsorship support will be critical for continuation in future years of this valuable activity.

2010 GCAGS IBA Committee:

Janice Gregory-Sloan, Houston
Mary Broussard, Lafayette
Arthur Johnson, New Orleans.

The committee members did an outstanding job and are owed thanks for the time and effort that they put into the competition!  They will continue for one final year in 2011 and pass on lessons learned to the next yet-to-be-identified committee members.  Any volunteers?


The judges (from left) were Ian Gordon (Noble Energy), Jon Blickwede (Statoil), Thorbjorn Pedersen (Oxy USA Inc.), and Ron Harris (Anadarko Petroleum Corp.).  GCAGS IBA Committee members (continuing from left) are Janice Gregory-Sloan (Schlumberger/Houston Geological Society), Mary Broussard (Plains Exploration & Production / Lafayette Geological Society), and Art Johnson (Hydrate Energy International / New Orleans Geological Society).

Ron Harris

Ron Harris (Anadarko) speaks to the students.

Competition Participants

The competition participants, faculty advisors, and organizers listen to Mr. Harris’s comments.

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