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OPITO: Scottish School Pupils to Take on the Role of Oil Barons

17 July 2009

A record number of school pupils are expected to compete to become successful oil and gas operators in the UK heat of a major international competition.

All 33 secondary schools across Aberdeen City and Shire have been invited to take part in The Oil & Gas Academy PetroChallenge, a dynamic online educational event which sees pupils around the world battle it out as oil barons.

Around 500 S5 and S6 students are expected to compete in the two day challenge which will be hosted by Robert Gordon University, Aberdeen, from September 1-2.

Formally known as OilSim, the 2009 challenge has been re-launched with help from OPITO – The Oil & Gas Academy and educational specialist Simprentis.

Each team plays an energy company entering a new oil and gas province. Starting with $200 million in funds, their challenge is to maximise the return on investment by finding oil or gas and investing in other team's opportunities.

The competing teams study seismic surveys, bid for licenses, farm out shares of licenses to other teams, compete to get rigs, contract service providers, and choose where to drill wells.

The winning team will go on to represent the UK in the international final in London where they will face fierce competition from other finalists from schools around the globe including the Faroe Islands, Norway, Greenland, Denmark, the US and Canada

Academy chief executive David Doig, said: “In order to succeed pupils need to acquire an understanding of the dynamics of the oil and gas industry, have an ability to solve complex challenges, work together as a team and be able to collaborate with others.

“This innovative educational event provides a unique platform for demonstrating not only how exciting the oil and gas industry is but also how the skills young people learn in the classroom can open up a huge range of career opportunities for them. As the industry's focal point for skills, learning and workforce development this is a key means of stimulating the next generation of talented individuals that will drive the industry forward.”

Paula Sturdy of Simprentis in Aberdeen, said: “The competition provides a unique insight into the oil and gas industry and requires the pupils to build on a wide range of skills. The unique technology has had great success so far and is an exciting learning environment promoting interest in the sector.”

Last year's Scottish heat, in which 130 pupils took part, was won by Meldrum Academy however they lost out on lifting the top title at the international final after narrowly being beaten by a team of pupils from Iceland.