Shire secondary pupils to embark on energy challenge

Reservoir Dogs, the winning team from Aberdeen Grammar School, are pictured at BPs North Sea headquarters with their STEM in the Pipeline 2018 award (left to right) Matthew Oxley, Andrew Barlow, Job Derkson, Martin Aasterud and teacher Jennifer Smith.
Reservoir Dogs, the winning team from Aberdeen Grammar School, are pictured at BPs North Sea headquarters with their STEM in the Pipeline 2018 award (left to right) Matthew Oxley, Andrew Barlow, Job Derkson, Martin Aasterud and teacher Jennifer Smith.

Secondary pupils across Aberdeen City and Shire are preparing to put their physics, maths, chemistry and geology skills to the test to solve an energy industry challenge.

TechFest’s STEM in the Pipeline programme challenges teams to work together and take part in a series of tasks to produce a Field Development Plan for the fictional STEM oil field.

The tasks cover subsurface work, production profiling, process engineering and the calculation of CO2 emissions.

Sponsored by BP, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, OPITO and the Oil and Gas Authority (OGA), the programme will see teams of senior pupils from 13 schools working with industry mentors over the next few months.

This year’s challenge launched on Wednesday at the University of Aberdeen’s Fraser Noble Building, where pupils will attend an introduction day and meet their mentors.

The students attended workshops in geology, reservoir engineering, process engineering, finance, processing and project management and started working together in their newly created teams.

Over the coming months, the secondary school pupils will gain valuable insight into careers in engineering and the oil and gas industry before presenting their solution to TechFest’s challenge at the final event on December 11.

TechFest is an Aberdeen-based charity which aims to engage young people in the four main STEM subjects (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) and encourage them to go on to follow a career which utilises these skills by demonstrating that they are both fun and relevant in day to day life.

Sarah Chew, managing director of TechFest, said: “We are excited to introduce a new group of secondary pupils to this year’s STEM in the Pipeline and give them the opportunity to experience what it’s like to work in the oil and gas industry.

“The pupils will also be tasked with investigating the engineering concept of how crude oil is separated and cleaned before it is exported off the platform to the refineries. This gives the teams a realistic project to put their knowledge and skills into practice.

“We would like to thank each of our sponsors and the industry professionals who volunteer their time to mentor the students, as their continued support means that we are able to offer this unique programme to young people who are passionate about pursuing a career using STEM skills.”

She added: “Every year we are amazed by the dedication and hard work shown by the pupils and we are already looking forward to seeing their ideas when they present their solutions to the judges in December.”

After submitting a report to TechFest, each team will give a presentation to a panel of assessors at the final, which will be held at BP North Sea Headquarters. They will then be awarded prizes and given certificates in recognition of their efforts.

To mark the OGA’s involvement, a special Maximising Economic Recovery (MER UK) Award will be presented to commended teams which recognise the importance of industry’s collective responsibility to ensure the UK secures the maximum value of recoverable oil and gas from its waters.

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 STEM subjects.

The schools taking part this year are Fraserburgh Academy, Westhill Academy, Robert Gordon's College, Portlethen Academy, Banchory Academy, Turiff Academy, St Margaret’s School for Girls, Aberdeen Grammar School, Bridge of Don Academy, Cults Academy, The Gordon Schools, Oldmachar Academy and Kemnay Academy.

For more information on TechFest, including its annual festival of STEM, which runs until September 28, visit www.techfest.org.uk