The University of Houston is hosting a unique, four-day competition for high school students interested in a career in the oil and gas industry. The competition is designed to simulate situations that an energy industry worker would typically encounter while on the job.
The competition is another way to build student interest in an oil and gas career, while helping the industry to build a pipeline of qualified workers to one day step into the positions vacated by the retiring workers.
During the PetroChallenge competition, which is “a series of educational and competitive events held at schools and universities to develop students’ knowledge of the oil and gas industry and their interest in pursuing educational and professional careers in the industry,” the students will have an opportunity to study seismic surveys, compete for rigs and do some wheeling and dealing, UH said.
In addition to the University of Houston, which is hosting the event, the sponsors of the completion include the Independent Petroleum Association of America/Petroleum Equipment & Services Association (IPAA/PESA) Energy Education Center, Occidental Petroleum Corporation and Schlumberger Ltd.
“Our students are the only high-school students in the United States who have been doing this, and I think this is year six for us. It gives our students a wonderful insight into the oil and gas industry. It’s designed not only to make students thinking about energy careers, but also to see the range of careers, and the application of math and science, the teamwork and negotiation skills, and to make it relevant for them,” Anne Ford, executive director, IPAA/PESA Energy Education Center, told Rigzone.
The competition will be between nearly 400 students from Energy Institute High School, Milby High School, Westside High School and the Young Women’s College Preparatory Academy in the Houston Independent School District, as well as Southwest High School in Fort Worth, Texas.
“The students have had to have good grades and to have participated in other activities to even qualify to go to the competition,” Ford said, adding that prize money will be awarded. “We mix the teams up wherever possible, so they’re forced to work with people they don’t know, which is what it’s like in the real world.”
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