How It Works

Universities with enough qualified students and a willing faculty advisor apply to participate in the program. Universities compete at the Regional or Sectional semi-final competitions. The top team from each Region and Section competes at the Imperial Barrel Award competition at the AAPG Annual Convention and Exhibition (ACE).

AAPG and corporate sponsors provide funds for the Section/Region representative university teams’ (five students and one faculty advisor) transportation, housing, and convention registration at the Annual Convention and Exhibition (ACE). Note that meals outside of those provided during the contest and other expenses (taxis, toothbrushes, etc.) are NOT covered by the AAPG or corporate sponsors.

Competition Logistics for the Final:

  • Up to six Section Teams and up to six Region Teams will assemble on the Friday prior to the ACE before a panel of judges. Each team will be allowed 25 minutes for their presentations.
  • Winners will be announced Sunday in the Opening Session Room, one hour before the Opening Session.


The following awards are given to the winning teams during the Student Reception:

  • First: The Imperial Barrel Award (plus $20,000)
  • Second: The Selley Cup (plus $10,000)
  • Third: The Stoneley Medal (plus $5,000)
  • Honorable Mention: All remaining teams (plus $1,000 each)

Each school will be provided:

  • IBA Welcome Letter from IBA Student Support Committee
  • IBA Rules and Operating Procedures
  • Scoring Guidelines
  • IBA competition dataset and project instruction
  • The opportunity to request software that has been made available by several sponsors for teams to use in making their analysis
  • Materials specific to the local competition and Annual Convention and Exhibit