Petrochallenge student competition drills down to the top three teams

The sounds of students hard at work — plotting, drilling, and making deals — filled the room at Houston Community College-Southwest during the Independent Petroleum Association of America/Petroleum Equipment Suppliers Association (IPAA/PESA) Petrochallenge. Nearly 400 students participated in the annual four-day competition, which challenges young people to become leaders in the oil and gas industries through a simulation-based training tool called OilSim.

Students from different schools in Houston and Fort Worth not only predicted and acquired valuable blocks for oil and gas production, they were tasked with making deals among the different teams to test their business acumen. In the process, students learn about the methods used in the real world of oil and gas, the terminology used, and maybe even a new career option.

“I’ve learned about water depth and geometrics and all this stuff I didn’t know about going in,” said Westside High School student Jason Levine.

When all was said and done, three teams of students from Milby and Westside high schools, as well as the Young Women’s College Preparatory Academy (YWCPA), took home the top prizes. Each winning team received a monetary prize, but students say they gained so much more.

“I knew I wanted to be a petroleum engineer,” said YWCPA student and second-place team member Alyssa Dorelus. But coming here just reaffirmed what I already knew.”

The Petrochallenge is sponsored by Schlumberger, NExT, Occidental Petroleum Corporation, and IPAA/PESA.

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