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The Imperial Barrel Award was founded in 1976 by the Imperial College in the UK. The first "Barrel Award" was held as an MSc Petroleum Geoscience course in 1976, where students interpreted seismic from the North Sea using color pencils.

This program continued at Imperial College until 2007 when AAPG adopted the program concept. The AAPG program took the Imperial Concept and expanded it to incorporate new technology, new datasets, and include students from every section and region of AAPG. Almost every country in the world has been represented in the IBA.

"Barrel Award" competitions have provided students with a unique learning experience with real datasets from around the globe.

This program has evolved with technology, yet the key learning elements of the program remain true to the original concepts pioneered by Imperial College. IBA Teams must demonstrate:

  • Evidence of rigorous and creative technical evaluations.
  • The ability to work to a strict deadline.
  • The ability to work effectively within a team.
  • The ability to make decisions based on incomplete or inadequate data.
  • The ability to give lucid oral presentations to a panel of senior industry experts.