The American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG), along with the Society for Sedimentary Geology (SEPM), the Austin Geological Society, and the South Texas Geological Society hosted the AAPG 2019 Annual Convention and Exhibition (ACE) in San Antonio, Texas on May 19-22. The event gathered around 7,500 professionals from more than 72 countries and witnessed the celebration of the Imperial Barrel Awards (IBA), an international annual prospective basin evaluation competition for geoscience graduate students.

Egypt Oil & Gas interviewed the team representing Ain Shams University that returned from the US with the Technical Innovation Excellence Award, and the President of the Suez University team, which won the award for Outstanding AAPG Student Chapter for the second year in a row.

Ain Shams Brings Home the Innovation Award

Ain Shams University (ASU) was representing Egypt and Africa, as they won the Technical Innovation Excellence Award. The ASU team members, namely Ahmed Ibrahim, David Boles, Mohammed Ramadan, and Omar Hossam, are a group of graduated geoscientists specialized in the field of petroleum geophysics that was chosen by a university competition and then won the continental semi-finals to represent Africa in the global finals. In the continental competition, the University of Lagos came in second place, and Alexandria University won third place.

Competing in the 2019 IBA, the ASU team was challenged with limited seismic data and well logs obtained from the Alaska North Slope in the United States. They successfully carried out the needed basin evaluation and presented their recommendations by identifying the drilling prospects in the area. Their work was based on the petrophysical analysis of well logs, as well as their exceptional work in preparing relevant rock physics analysis, seismic data processing (post-stack data enhancement) and interpretation, and structural modeling.

Pride and Motivation

“We always heard about the IBA competition. We knew that Cairo University reached the finals in 2011 and the members of that team got great career paths,” said David Boles, explaining the team motives to apply for the award.

Last year, Ain Shams reached second place in the Africa Region semi-finals. “We accepted that challenge and worked from day one to be winners in 2019. We wanted to reach a more advanced level of knowledge, gain experience and prove our abilities,” said Mohammed Ramadan.

“It was an awesome feeling to hear the name of our university up on the stage, and it felt like that more than eight weeks of hard work finally paid off. I could not even catch my breath, and everyone was happy and grateful,” Boles added.

Unique Experience

The event was a great opportunity for the team to explore career opportunities in the oil and gas sector. “We were also motivated by the award itself. Winners always get the chance to receive a scholarship or a job opportunity. Being a finalist also means that you will have an opportunity to deliver a presentation in front of a panel of experts and specialists from all over the world,” explained Ahmed Ibrahim.

Omar Hossam then explained that they were happy to witness presentations by other teams from around the globe. “Everyone deserved a trophy for their efforts and creativity. The evaluation must have been tough, but technically, we were the best in assessing the very limited dataset that we were given compared to other teams.”

Mentors

The team also wanted to acknowledge the efforts of their mentors. “Our academic supervisors were Dr. Ali Halim, Geologist Team Lead at Apex International Energy, and Ali Mahmoud Mahdi, Teaching Assistant in Ain Shams University,” Boles added. “We also had a great industry advisor, Mohamed Hussein Saleh, Geologist at BP. We would like to thank him a lot for his continuous support and great advice,” said Hossam.

Best Student Chapter: Suez University

The AAPG Suez University Student Chapter (SUSC) did not attend the event, and the Africa region representatives received it on their behalf. Nevertheless, it remains a remarkable achievement that they won the award for the second consecutive year.

“We were very happy for Suez University and proud that an Egyptian student chapter is on top. Our congratulations to them” Hossam stated.

Mohamed Zaki, AAPG SUSC President, said that their vision is to be a role model for all the student chapters in Egypt and all over the world through dedication and hard work.

“Now, our target is to develop and expand our vision to be a technical portal for university students. We are willing to achieve this by increasing our knowledge, sharing our experience, and developing the members’ professional and innovative skills,” Zaki added.

The SUSC activities are not limited to the university, as the student chapter has extended its activities to include high school students, charity organizations, as well as initiatives and regular events to develop the undergraduates’ soft skills and professional capacities.