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The IBA experience was so rewarding. It made me learn how to work well in a team under high pressure conditions. My team and I were able to do the hard work and put in the long hours that are required for IBA, and we came out with such a deep bond. It gave me such a unique and worthwhile opportunity to put the entirety of my geologic knowledge to the test. I gained a vast amount of knowledge during the relatively short course of the competition. I now have a much better understanding of every facet of petroleum geology and am even more fascinated with the industry than I was before entering the competition. This competition is a great opportunity for anyone who wants to gain a better understanding of the petroleum industry and the geologic processes and principles that are needed to be successful in it. I will always value the time I spent on IBA, the new connections I made through it, and the astronomical amount of geology I learned during the competition.

Madison Burvant 2018 San Diego State University

On behalf of the Conoco Phillips School of Geology & Geophysics of the University of Oklahoma, we wish to express our gratitude to AAPG, Chesapeake, Devon Energy, the judges, and all those responsible for hosting the IBA competition last week in Oklahoma City. We must admit that our anxiety stemming from the intensity of our work, deadline which seemed so short, and the many sleep deprived nights  was greatly lessened by the hospitality provided in the evening before at the ice-breaker,  and then the helpfulness of everyone the next day. As Devon’s presentation environment was very professional, this comfort also helped lessen our fears of presentation. We must say however, that though we did win first place, it was by no means not a humbling experience, and our hearts go out to the other Universities who also valiantly did their best. But, know also that we shall do our best to take home 1st place in Denver! Thank you again.

Katie Garrett, Cecilia Lopez-Gamundi, Katherine Lindzey, Abidin Caf, and Lennon Infante 2015 University of Oklahoma IBA Team

My decision to participate in the IBA program was one of the best choices I made during my graduate career! For several reasons it has both given me a competitive edge in the job market as well as an extremely fun, intense and valuable learning experience. To begin, the scale of the project really necessitates teamwork, and this aspect makes you realize and appreciate the skill-sets of your co-workers in the industry before ever working within it. Secondly, the technical knowledge of working with large datasets from an initial, raw state to a cohesive and simplified final presentation and having an efficient timeline and workflow to do so prepares you beyond what school settings can. This was my first industry experience and my understanding of it has drastically increased during the 2 months of IBA. Lastly, IBA is most students' first experience in dealing with play/prospect risk analysis, and introduces them to the practical aspects of the science which they've been learning for the past 4+ years. In closing, I recommend anyone with a chance and being on an IBA team to do so, commit themselves to the 8 weeks and take away as much as possible!

Tony Sortore 2014 University of Texas - Arlington

Participating in the IBA competition was such a uniquely challenging and exciting experience and I would encourage anyone who is considering a career in the energy industry to pursue this opportunity. The first step of organizing and assembling UK's first IBA team was a challenge in itself. We started as relatively inexperienced team with minimal petroleum-specific training and education. Fortunately, we were surrounded by academic and industry mentors who supported and encouraged us through the entire process. By the end of the competition, the five of us were comfortable and confident in our new skills and abilities as petroleum geoscientists. Through the support of AAPG and its sponsors, we were provided access to industry-leading software and data that we would otherwise not have access too. Having such an extensive dataset and a limited amount of time required us to not only fully understand the components of petroleum systems, but also be able to interpret them and collaborate as a team, creating goals and assigning tasks based on the assessed strengths of each individual. The competition is an intensive exercise that allows students to experience the processes involved in petroleum exploration in a more tangible way than the classroom can facilitate. This program has provided an excellent jump-start to my career in the industry and I am proud to say that I played a role in initiating participation in the program at the University of Kentucky.

Phil Wolfe 2014 University of Kentucky

IBA was the best academic experience I had in graduate school for several reasons. Firstly, it helped me see the value of teamwork in a challenging situation. Everyone has to work in a team at some point in their academic career but never to this level. Working on the IBA project made me realize that an individual could not complete the work required to excel at the task at hand but rather a team could succeed by cooperating and contributing to a common goal while focusing on individual pieces of the project. This has led me to be open about the advice and guidance that I’ve been given since then, which I believe has made me more successful. Secondly, IBA looks great on a resume, the experience you get in IBA is hard to replicate in a classroom. Companies know that and having IBA on your resume makes you stand out among a crowd of other applicants. It is hard work and long hours, but at the end of the day it is well worth it if you put forth a product that makes your team proud. Finally, the absolute number one reason you should do IBA is because it is the best way to experience a career in energy. Since doing IBA I’ve had the pleasure of interning in Houston, an internship that I most likely got because of my IBA experience. I can honestly say I would have been half as prepared for my internship had I not done IBA. Examples are from small things such as being able to use industry terminology correctly and fluidly in a conversation to overall arching principles such as how to begin evaluating prospects and the work flow that goes into a prospect from beginning until end. I learned more about the petroleum industry in one semester of competing in IBA than my entire undergraduate/graduate education combined. That’s why everyone interested in a job in the petroleum industry should be fighting for a spot on an IBA team. It’s the most real and rewarding experience you will have before you graduate.

Sarah Allen 2014 Texas Christian University

IBA was a great and tremendous experience. We were offered the opportunity to encounter this fabulous and well-armed with great desire from the AAPG to help young professionals to reach a level of craftsmanship worthy of the professional world. I strongly believe that after the participation you must have acquired a lot of technical and presentation skills though this program. I can really recommend anyone considering a career in the upstream oil and gas business to participate. I would like to express my sincere gratitude to the mentors, the IBA program coordinators and those in charge of running the AAPG.

Mohamed Nejmauoi 2014 Faculty of Sciences of Tunis, Tunisia

This competition was a great experience for me. I feel very good about having had the pleasure of representing my university, in so named and important event. Really thank you very much for giving us the opportunity to put into practice our knowledge.

Andry Martinez 2013 University Central of Venezuela

It was the first time in University of Karachi that we were participating in IBA. In the start, we were very conscious about it. But in the end, it was very joyful. I wish I would participate in it again. It is very great for the students to participate in it because it gives the whole overview of Exploration cycle.

Abdul Mannan Chhipa 2012 University of Karachi

A very enriching experience at both personal and professional level, the support and the training from our team leader was key throughout the competition. The possibility to work as a team member of a multidisciplinary team, plus a tight deadline, allowed me to have a real flavour of the daily work in the Oil Industry, and in specific the Exploration Area.

Roberto Ruiz 2012 Universidad Central de Venezuela

The IBA experience has been the culmination of my coursework at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. By using the knowledge we attained from previous courses we as a team were able to put together a prospect evaluation starting at the Basin analysis level with the understanding of regional geology, paleogeography, maturation of the source rocks, trapping mechanisms, reservoirs and seals in our area. This past three months we have grown as individuals and gained insight into how real world petroleum prospects are put together. Through our interaction with Industry professionals and advice given to us through our Advisor we have a better understanding of how Industry operates. Also the presentation skills along with the networking that we have been able to do through this process have added up to be the best experience of my academic career. I hope to be a part of the IBA experience for years to come.

Joey Grimball 2012 University of Louisiana at Lafayette

I was the faculty mentor for this year's winning team. Just over two months ago I started with a group of five bright but inexperienced freshmen M.S. students, gave them a room to work in and dropped in to watch from time to time. I was amazed by the long hours they worked and even more amazed at the transformation over the time of the competition. They finished confident, mature and knowledgeable, ready to start work tomorrow as petroleum geologists (well, almost tomorrow). There are no other courses or experiences with such an immediate impact on a young geologist.

Brian Lock 2012 University of Louisiana

This was an incredible experience. Our team learned first hand the importance of industry mentors and seismic software. I can't emphasize how key it is to attend a major university with AAPG member faculty! Great experience overall!

Richard Thomas 2012 Indiana University-Purdue University at Indianapolis

The AAPG Imperial Barrel Award competition was a tremendous experience that allowed me to broaden my industry network, develop my geological evaluation skills, and enhance my analysis of oil & gas economics. I encourage every ambitious young geoscientist to participate in this wonderful program.

Hunter Lockhart 2012 Rice University

IBA was a very wonderful experience for me and i know is the same for my other team members too. It requires commitment almost 'zero' social life and many sleepless nights for the eight weeks with the dataset. But the experience and learning gained through it was immeasurable. We are happy to be the first place team for the second time in the Middle East Region.

Afeez Popoola 2012 King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals, KSA

As I conclude my graduate degree, participating in the IBA stands out as the pivotal and defining moment of my entire college experience. It was a phenomenal opportunity to integrate the conceptual classwork lessons into a true to life scenario. One of my specific tasks was to reconstruct the depositional systems of reservoir and seal facies from well logs. I first devoted my energy to learning how to use various log suites. Then, based on recognizable log signatures, I could constrain reservoir intervals with varying degrees of certainty. Since participating in the IBA, I continue to benefit from the experience. During the subsequent summer, I was jumpstarted into my internship within an exploration group. I felt comfortable and confident in my abilities, interpretations, and presentation skills. My project had direct impact on the company, and I can trace much of my success during the internship to the technical, teamwork, and networking skills that I developed during the IBA. I believe in this program because I know what it has done for me, and I encourage everyone to participate in it.

Michael Fairbanks 2011 University of Texas at Austin

It was a great experience for me to join IBA competition 2011. We have tried very hard working on seismic interpretation, stratigraphic correlation and other fields of study involved according to the petroleum play concepts of Cooper-Eromanga Basin, Australia. After online presentation and judgement, we have won the second place of Asia-Pacific region which was a fantastic impression for us. We would like to thank AAPG for creating such a challenging IBA program. We will fight our best again next time.

Pasawee Mungkang 2011 Department of Geotechnology, Khon Kaen University, Thailand

I participated on the IBA committee since the start. The students are amazing! I appreciate the opportunity to meet them, watch them compete and network with each other, judges and sponsors.

Kay Pitts 2011 Aera Energy LLC

It was an honor to be the winners of Latin American Region with so many teams (7) this year (2011). IBA was for me and my team such an amazing experience, it's a challenge that pushes you to your own limits as a future geoscientist, looking for efficiency and perfection. But also you'll be able to put your University's name on world top ranks, to meet and chat with geoscientists and recruiters from top O&G companies and also have a lot of fun, what else could you ask for?

Ignacio Iregui 2011 Universidad Nacional de Colombia, Sede Bogota

Participation in the Imperial Barrel Award competition was an invaluable experience. Not only did it help to develop marketable exploration skills, but it also supplied wonderful opportunities for networking with senior geologists and recruiters within the petroleum industry. While IBA is a serious time commitment, it provides experience and training that you can't get from coursework. The skills gained through participation in this competition will be greatly beneficial as I begin my career upon graduation. Aside from the academic and career benefits, the competition was a lot of fun. I especially enjoyed meeting and interacting with members of other IBA teams from around the world. It made for a fantastic AAPG Convention! I would strongly encourage anyone with an interest in entering the petroleum industry to participate in IBA. Thanks to the coordinators and judges for all of the time they put into making this event so beneficial!

Justin Fitch 2011 University of Texas - Austin

The Imperial Barrel Award is by far the best program AAPG offers to help students not only understand the oil and gas exploration industry but also to help them get the careers started in the industry. My top 2 learning experiences was the basin analysis class at ExxonMobil and the mentorship. Our SFA team got the best mentors in the world (I'm not exaggerating). Jim Ferry (Anadarko) and Tom Bulling (BP) did an extraordinary job helping our team understand how to use the data sets we were given to understand our area and come up with good prospects while staying within the guidelines of the competition. The 2011 AAPG IBA is over and the team still keeps in close contact with our mentors. I personally am getting good information on job opportunities and good advise on my graduate thesis. I conclusion, I would like to express my sincere gratitude to the mentors, the IBA program coordinators and those in charge of running the AAPG. I would also like to encourage more schools to take part in the program... you would be surprised at how much you would get from it.

Kelechi Okoronkwo 2011 Stephen F. Austin State University

I just came back from Houston after attending the Annual Meeting and Exhibition for AAPG. For me It was great pleasure and joy when Qaboos University was announced as third place in the IBA competition. This is the second time in row the Middle East Region participated and in both times we received the third place, last year was KFUPM from Saudi Arabia. The achievements are great and they are many; the participation, the experience, the networking, the dataset gains and others. Above all, when the Middle East Region won such a prestigious international competition among close to 100 reputable universities form around the world, that is truly a great success for the whole region. Congratulations for Sultan Qaboos University, Faculty members, Team Members and to all Omanis. Please allow me also to congratulate myself and all the Council Members of Middle East Region with special thanks to Anwar Beaiji. Ladies and gentlemen, we are proud of you, you raised the bar, now the expectations are very high, please keep it up and congratulations for a well done job.

Hussain Al-Otaibi 2011 Saudi Aramco

Absolutely nothing but good came out of me participating in this extraordinary event. The IBA is gaining much attention (rightfully so) from major oil companies. Not only does it prepare you for an exciting career in the geosciences, it fine tunes your ability to work in a team with various backgrounds, under a deadline. Which is very important in the recruitment process. As well as exposing you to major role players in the industry via conventions and networking. I highly recommend students to participate in this event, I guarantee by the end of the competition, you will want more!

Marck Maroun 2010 San Diego State University

We have participated in the competition two times and are strongly determined to do it again. This is the best experience of the kind we've ever had. The informal and friendly atmosphere, presence of important people from big companies and feeling of being part of a big same-interest community make the competition fascinating and useful. Free communication of young people, possibility to share their opinions and entering into friendly relations add to the value of the competition. It's a great idea of AAPG's which should be sustained in a most comprehensive way.

Natalia Zykova 2010 Tyumen State Oil and Gas University

I was a member of SQU team. It was an honour for me being the second winner in the Middle East. Really it was great and very well organized competition. It added a lot for me and I hope I continue in a same way and better. [sic]

Qais Al-Bahri 2010 Sultan Qaboos University

The IBA competition was a great learning experience and I would recommend this activity to anyone interested in the oil and gas industry. Our team learned how to work together, delegate our time, and use the valuable resources of knowledge, experience, and hard work from each other. We all brought new ideas to the table each day which made the competition fun and exciting.

Josh Reamer 2010 University of Louisiana at Lafayette

I was a judge for the 2010 Rocky Mountain Section. When the judges were discussing the presentations in follow-up, I commented that 'In the 29 years I have worked in the industry I've never seen a presentation to management with the effectiveness shown by this team's work.'

Dean DuBois 2010 EnCana

My IBA experience was tremendous. During the 6 weeks, and as a team leader, we learned how to manage, carry out, and produce good quality work in such efficient time and manner. Our adviser D. Kelly Liu, did marvelous job mentoring our progress during the 6 weeks. IBA experience will be always remembered as a my first step into the industry. I thank you so much for the effort, participation, and paving the path for new young geosceintists all over the world.

Hesham Refayee 2009 Missouri University of Science and Technology, and NOW Geoscientist at dGB Earth Sciences

This competition is a unique opportunity to learn applied petroleum geology and to compete against your most talented peers from around the world. Since working in the industry I've realized my IBA experience was the best preparation for the time, focus, and energy necessary to be successful in this business. If you are considering a career in upstream energy exploration the chance to participate in this event should not be passed up. The event's impact on its participants is evidenced by alumni participation in continuing to follow the program and volunteering to help set it up every year.

Bryant Fulk 2009 San Diego State University

As a participant on the University of Aberdeen team I got a chance go to San Antonio for the pre-finals in 2008. The competition gives you a good overview of the entire exploration process, allowing you to work through it with real data. You also develop some great soft skills as it is all about team work when you are working with a tight deadline. And of course there is the opportunity of presenting to the panel of industry judges. Working as an exploration geoscientist now, I can say it gave me an advantage when starting my job and it also sets you apart in recruitment process. I have seen the competition grow in subsequent years and it is a real pleasure to see what enthusiasm drives the teams. I can really recommend anyone considering a career in the upstream oil and gas business to participate. It is well worth the effort!

Nick Lagrilliere 2008 University of Aberdeen

I was very impressed by the caliber of students participating in the IBA completion. The scientific methods were sound and presentations very high caliber. I could sense the effort and seriousness the students approached the projects and the time and care putting together the work for presentation. An additional benefit was learning the caliber of students at schools not regarded as having an oil background. In particular, Univ. of LA Lafayette, TCU and West Virginia all advance to the finals. I will be looking at students from these schools at the upcoming Student Expos. The competition was well organized and kept focus on the students, making sure their experience was positive. I recommend that we continue supporting the IBA. Furthermore, I recommend involvement and sponsoring the regional competitions.

Adam Seitchik 2008 Devon

After working for a whole... [t]hree days, I see the importance of how the IBA project allowed me to get the experience needed. I couldn't realize it at the time, but the Imperial Barrel has just translated into a 'real' life experience here at ExxonMobil, as they have literally handed me a data set, and said... 'here you go.' Apart from the mentoring and training, competing in the Barrel, has given me the right tools and the required steps needed to make things happen, and in return I know I can contribute from Day 3!

Cameron D. Campbell Geoscientist, ExxonMobil Exploration, 2008 San Diego State University IBA team