Omani students shine at international conference

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Oman – A group of mainly female, ambitious students from the Department of Applied Geosciences at German University of Technology in Oman (GUtech) along with their professors, won three different prizes in international competitions held in Manama, Bahrain last March.

“For me geoscience is like being a doctor for rocks,” said Atiya, who initially wanted to study medicine, but then received a PDO scholarship for studies at GUtech. “From the rocks we can see the history, which is very fascinating for me,” said Ahlam, another GUtech student team member.

GUtech participated for the first time in the prestigious Imperial Barrel Award (IBA), where the five-member strong student team secured a 3rd prize. “We had to analyse a big data set from seismic and wells, to study the chance of finding oil and gas in a vast area offshore New Zealand. At GUtech we analysed the data in the Schlumberger Laboratory, using sophisticated software packages. During the conference we had to give a presentation to a panel of three experts from Aramco, Schlumberger and the regional AAPG president,” said the IBA team members.

Out of 20 teams, the GUtech team also won the 1st prize in the Geosciences Quiz of the European Association of Geoscientists and Engineers, and one GUtech student won the 3rd prize in the student poster competition. As a price they received a travel grant to attend the EAGE convention in Vienna.

“What is most fascinating about studying petroleum geosciences is that we can send seismic waves into the subsurface and that from the reflected waves we can predict the chance of finding oil,” said Haifa Al Salmi, lecturer at the Department of Applied Geosciences at GUtech. She coached the GUtech IBA team together with Prof Dr Wiekert Visser, head of the MSc programme Petroleum Geosciences at GUtech.

GUtech student Ahlam received the third prize for her poster entitled “Variations of Oil API Gravity across the Sultanate of Oman”, the result of her internship project at Petroleum Development Oman. Ahlam had gathered oil quality data from 1,361 wells in Oman. “Lighter oil is found in the North of Oman and heavier oil in the South,” she explained. Out of one hundred posters that were submitted, only 10 were chosen for presentation to a panel of experts.