Aberdeen Grammar School wins top prize at final of Techfest's STEM in the pipeline oil and gas challenge

Pupils from North-east schools have triumphed in this year’s STEM in the Pipeline competition, which tasked them with finding a solution to an oil and gas challenge.

Reservoir Dogs from Aberdeen Grammar School took first prize and Poseidon Tech from Robert Gordon’s College was awarded second prize at Tuesday's final at BP’s North Sea headquarters in Dyce.

Robert Gordon’s College secured an additional prize for project management, with the judges stating their team stood out in the category.

SWIFT Incorporated from Fraserburgh Academy picked up two further prizes with pupil Georgia Morrison presented with the project manager award, along with a second prize for health and safety.

Team NESO from Westhill Academy won the Maximising Economic Recovery accolade, with judges commenting their economic analysis was extremely robust and demonstrated considerations for the future.

Zenet from St Margaret’s School for Girls scooped the innovation award for presenting a wide range of options.

Run by TechFest, STEM in the Pipeline began in September, when groups of senior pupils from schools across the North-east were set an oil field challenge designed to test their skills in physics, maths, chemistry and geology.

STEM in the Pipeline is sponsored by BP, Chevron, ConocoPhillips and the Oil and Gas Authority (OGA), as well as receiving kind support from the Energy Institute and the University of Aberdeen.

Each organisation provided volunteer mentors who gave up their time to offer guidance and support to the pupils throughout the project.

The teams took part in a series of challenging tasks to produce a Field Development Plan for the fictional STEM oil field.

The tasks covered subsurface work, production profiling, separator design, safety and the calculation of CO2 emissions.

Andrew Barlow (17) from the winning Aberdeen Grammar School team, said: “It was really surprising to win and it’s great to have our efforts rewarded. There was a lot of hard work involved, a lot of problem solving, and everyone used their own interests and skills to contribute.

“The overall process has given me an insight into how STEM skills are applied in the oil and gas industry. I’m really interested in maths and it’s been great to see how the skills we use in the classroom can be used in the real world. I’ve made up my mind now that I definitely want to study maths and hopefully pursue a career where I can use those skills."
Alies Bartelds, operations manager at TechFest, told pupils they should all be very proud of themselves.

“The challenge these pupils had to solve this year was absolutely huge,” she said. “We asked them to produce a field development plan, which happens all the time in the oil and gas industry. They have tackled that in three months and the solutions we’ve been presented were extremely strong.

“I'd like to thank each of the mentors involved in this year's programme, they have provided a window into what it's like to work in the industry and have inspired many of these young people's future career choices. I'd also like to thank each of the pupils who took part in this year's challenge and think they should all be extremely pleased with their efforts.”

For the energy companies which support the initiative, STEM in the Pipeline plays a key role in inspiring young people’s interest in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

Ariel Flores, BP North Sea Regional President, added his congratulations to the pupils who took part.

He said: “The future for companies like BP is highly dependent on young talent who have a strong foundation in science, technology, engineering and maths. That’s why BP consistently supports STEM-related educational activities like the STEM in the Pipeline competition.

“As always, the standard of entries has been extremely high with many of the projects as close to real life as you can get. Many congratulations to all the young people involved for showing such great creativity and ingenuity.”

All the pupils who took part in STEM in the Pipeline will also be eligible for the Silver CREST Award, Britain’s national award scheme for work in the STEM subjects.

The schools which took part in this year’s STEM in the Pipeline challenge were Harlaw Academy; Robert Gordon's College; Westhill Academy; Fraserburgh Academy; The Gordon Schools, St Margaret’s School for Girls; Meldrum Academy; Aberdeen Grammar School; Cults Academy; and Banchory Academy.

Each year, TechFest runs Aberdeen and North-east Scotland’s annual festival of STEM which attracts tens of thousands of children and adults to a series of presentations, workshops and events in and around Aberdeen City and Aberdeenshire. TechFest 2017 attracted thousands of visitors from across Aberdeen City and Shire from September 11 to September 25. For more information please visit www.techfest.org.uk

Reservoir Dogs, the winning team from Aberdeen Grammar School, are pictured at BP’s North Sea headquarters with their STEM in the Pipeline 2018 award: L-R: Matthew Oxley, Andrew Barlow, Job Derkson and Martin Aasterud.

Reservoir Dogs, the winning team from Aberdeen Grammar School, are pictured at BP’s North Sea headquarters with their STEM in the Pipeline 2018 award: L-R: Matthew Oxley, Andrew Barlow, Job Derkson and Martin Aasterud.

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