Benefits for Students

The AAPG’s IBA program is a rapidly growing, annual prospective basin evaluation competition for geoscience graduate students from universities around the world. University teams compete to win scholarship funds for their department and the international recognition that comes from competing or winning.

In this global competition, university teams analyze a dataset (geology, geophysics, land, production infrastructure, and other relevant materials) in the eight weeks prior to their local competition. Each five-person team delivers their results in a 25-minute, carefully crafted, rehearsed, and polished presentation to a panel of industry experts. This year's dataset included wells, a three-dimensional seismic data set, and a gravity data set from the Dutch North Sea.

Students have the chance to use state-of-the-art technology on a real dataset, receive feedback from an industry panel, impress potential employers in the audience, and win cash awards for their school. The judges select the winning team on the basis of the technical quality, clarity and originality of presentation. Five minutes of intense questioning by the panel of five judges selected from the petroleum industry test the students’ understanding of their data and their depth of knowledge.

The IBA is a hands-on opportunity for students to experience the creative process and the high-tech science that is the foundation of the energy industry today. IBA competition veterans are increasingly recruited upon graduation by oil companies given their immersion and hands-on foray into the world of the oil finder. Two experienced explorationists from Houston-based oil companies advise the team and help to critique their presentation through the lens of their many years of exploration experience.