Students who competed in this years geology competition

Five BYU-Idaho students in the Department of Geology recently placed second in the regional yearly Imperial Barrel Award competition-a competition where they were the only undergraduate team competing.

The American Association of Petroleum Geologists invited BYU-Idaho students to compete in their annual competition six years ago. Although they were the only undergraduates, our students have been invited back each year because they compete well. This year's students included: Alex George, Corey Brazell, Chris Baker, Brad Crandall, and Chelsea Jolley.

For the competition, students were given seismic and well data of an area in Australia. The students then had to learn the regional geology of the basin to allow them to correctly interpret the data as to the oil and gas potential. With the interpretation complete the students then generated a professional proposal detailing the oil and gas potential of the region and the mostly likely locations for potential drilling locations.

Two industry professionals help guide them through the research: former BYU-Idaho students Mark Millard of SM Energy (Billings, MT) and Robert Holman of Chesapeake Energy (Oklahoma City, OK). These geoscientists questioned the team members on their interpretations and taught them industry methods to present their conclusions.

"It gives the students who compete a flavor of the petroleum industry," said Department Chair Julie Willis. "It helps them see what it would be like to be a petroleum scientist. It also sets them apart as someone who is able to take a project from start to finish, and pull all their understanding of the science of geology together."

At the competition held in Denver, CO the students presented their results to a group of judges who are petroleum industry professionals. The students were judged on their professionalism, calculations, applications of scientific principles and ability to display their findings. BYU-Idaho scored very well in all categories.

"This year the judges were very impressed with how the BYU-Idaho team had done," Willis said. "A statement from the judges summarized the BYU-Idaho effort: 'Really well done. Effortless teamwork and smooth presentation.'"