Banchory Academy triumphs at final of TechFest’s STEM in the pipeline oil and gas challenge

Date: 7 December 2017

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

The reservoir dogs from Banchory Academy took first prize, team wanderer from St Margaret’s school for girls in Aberdeen was awarded second prize and rigged for success from the Gordon schools in Huntly took third at today’s final at BP’s North Sea headquarters in Dyce.

  • An additional prize for project management was awarded to team wanderer, the smallest team with just four participants, while cheeriosity from Aboyne Academy was given the innovation prize.
  • Oil be there for you from Kemnay Academy picked up two further prizes with pupil Luke Johnston presented with the project manager award, as voted for by the pupils, along with a second prize for health and safety.
  • Team Elais from Robert Gordon’s college won the maximising economic recovery accolade.

Run by TechFest, STEM in the Pipeline began in August, when 15 teams of senior pupils 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 and ConocoPhillips, and supported by the University of Aberdeen, the Energy Institute, the Petroleum Exploration Society of Great Britain, the Project Management Institute and the Oil and Gas Authority (OGA).

Each organisation provided volunteer mentors who gave up their time to offer guidance and support to the pupils throughout the project. This year BP were delighted to be able to mentor five of the teams.

"It was a great experience to work on a big project without having deadlines so we had to project manage our time, preparing us for university."
Kazio Wilowski, Banchory Academy

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.

Kazio Wilowski (16), from the winning Banchory Academy team, said: “It was a great experience to work on a big project without having deadlines so we had to project manage our time, preparing us for university.

Alies Bartelds, acting managing director of TechFest, told pupils they should all be very proud of themselves.

“Every year at STEM in the Pipeline the pupils completely trump our expectations. It was extremely difficult for the judges to pick a winner this year because the pupils were so thorough and innovative with their solutions.

“A few of the energy professionals remarked that they would be pleased to offer the students a job based on their entries, so I think that demonstrates just how strong this year’s competition was.”

"Developing future capability and talent in STEM subjects is key for the success of our industry. STEM in the Pipeline has played a significant role in stimulating an interest in these vital subjects, allowing young people to bring the skills they’ve developed in the classroom to the workplace."
Mark Thomas, BP North Sea regional president,

Mark Thomas, BP North Sea regional president, congratulated all of the pupils who took part, saying: “Developing future capability and talent in STEM subjects is key for the success of our industry. STEM in the Pipeline has played a significant role in stimulating an interest in these vital subjects, allowing young people to bring the skills they’ve developed in the classroom to the workplace.

“I would like to congratulate all the participating schools, mentors and TechFest organisers for yet another hugely successful event. The calibre of entries was outstanding and the pupils did an excellent job representing their schools and showcasing the wealth of skills and talent we have here on our doorstep.”

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. 

All the pupils who take 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.

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

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