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Students to Explore for Oil, Make Deals During PetroChallenge

HOUSTON – More than 200 high school students from the Petroleum Academies, supported by the Independent Petroleum Association of America/Petroleum Equipment & Services Association (IPAA/PESA) Energy Education Center, will study seismic surveys, compete for production rigs, and negotiate deals during a two-day competition called PetroChallenge held February 1-2 at Houston Community College.

PetroChallenge is a series of educational and competitive events held at schools and universities to develop students’ knowledge of the oil and gas industry and their interest in pursuing educational and professional careers in the industry. PetroChallenge is an interactive, fun exercise that mimics the challenges of life in the oil patch and it is intended to give students a taste of working for an energy company.

During the competition, the students use the Schlumberger OilSim upstream learning simulator, which enables teams to collaborate and compete to discover and develop hydrocarbons. Competing schools include Energy Institute High School, Charles H. Milby High School, Westside High School and the Young Women’s College Preparatory Academy in the Houston Independent School District, and Southwest High School in Fort Worth.

The event, managed by NExT, a Schlumberger company, is sponsored by the IPAA/PESA Energy Education Center, Occidental Petroleum, and Schlumberger.

“This innovative and educational competition offers high school students the unique opportunity to experience a day in the life of a U.S. oil and gas company by applying the real-world skills and career knowledge they have learned through the IPAA/PESA Petroleum Academies,” said Barry Russell, president and CEO of IPAA. “Through experiences like PetroChallenge, we have the ability to inspire the next generation of talented energy professionals who will drive this industry forward.”

“The PetroChallenge competition is an opportunity to help introduce the ‘Next Generation of Oil and Gas Professionals’ to an exceptional team working experience, developing collaborative skills and understanding competition in a simulated ‘real-life setting.’ We are proud to be a part of this,” said PESA President Leslie Beyer.

PetroChallenge provides all the challenges, opportunities, and dilemmas that a real exploration team would face. It is during this process that the students gain an effective insight into the risks and challenges of oil and gas exploration, as well as exposure to real oil and gas technical processes and terminology, such as magnetic, gravimetric, and seismic surveys, service providers, the environment, and net present value calculations.

Each student team starts out with a fantasy $200 million budget as it enters a new oil and gas field, competing against other teams to discover viable volumes of oil and gas while minimizing costs and acting in a socially and environmentally responsible way.

“At Occidental Petroleum we strive to be a ‘Partner of Choice’ and we are proud to sponsor PetroChallenge, which provides students who aspire to careers in energy a unique opportunity to experience the challenges of running an oil and gas company,” said Glenn Vangolen, Occidental Petroleum Senior Vice President, Business Support. “The competition is a great program that encourages students to make socially and environmentally responsible business decisions as they apply their academic and technical knowledge to economically produce energy.”

“It is a privilege for Schlumberger to continue our involvement and support of the PetroChallenge program organized by NExT. The oil and gas industry is in ever greater need of bright, enthusiastic minds, and this annual competition is an ideal incubator for such talent,” said Jeff Boettiger, Schlumberger Vice President, Sales & Commercial, Dallas/Fort Worth.



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