Behind the scenes at the World Petroleum Championships

Tecpetrol sponsored the Argentine ITBA team which took part in PetroBowl, the worldwide knowledge quiz for petroleum engineering students organized by the SPE. We spoke to team member Lucas Miranda about his experience.

Despite the pandemic context, 2021 has offered us a full range of sporting thrills. We were able to enjoy the Tokyo Olympic Games and an unforgettable Copa America for the Argentines. And this year, there was another type of competition: a worldwide knowledge quiz organized by the Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE) for the universe of petroleum engineering: the latest edition of the PetroBowl competition bringing together students of this discipline from universities around the world. For more information, click here.

We spoke to Lucas Miranda, who is doing an educational internship in the Reserves area in Buenos Aires and is a member of the ITBA oil studies team sponsored by Tecpetrol.

Lucas is 23, and in December he’ll be graduating as a Petroleum Engineer; however, he’s already a veteran of this contest, with an impressive track record. In 2019, he competed for the first time at the national level, together with his teammates and fellow ITBA students Candelaria Diaz, Sebastián Zabala, Santiago Lencinas, and Santiago Chen. They went up against six other universities in Argentina, and did very well, going through to the regional round hosted in Colombia, scheduled for March 2020. But the pandemic changed everyone’s plans and they ended up having to compete online.

"Obviously, being there able to be there in person was a fantastic excuse to travel, you can go to all these conferences, network with professionals, you meet lots of people and that’s all really good," says Lucas.

PetroBowl is an international competitionIt pits teams of petroleum engineering students from different universities around the world against each other.

How does the competition work? SPE student chapter teams are pitched against each other in a series of quick-fire rounds, answering technical and nontechnical industry-related questions. Each round lasts just ten minutes and the teams compete in twos. The team hitting the button faster with the right answer scores ten points. Just like high-performance athletes, the ITBA team trains rigorously: "We practice amongst ourselves, someone reads out the questions and we go one-to-one, to improve the response speed. We also study alone and as a team,” explains Lucas.

However, the massive shift online resulting from the pandemic had an impact on their performance and they failed to qualify at the heats hosted by Colombia. But they didn’t give up and had another go at the National rounds held this year. This time, with more training, they came first, and in the Regional heats placed within the Top 5, alongside teams from Brazil, Venezuela, Colombia, and Mexico. "The guys from Brazil were already doing their PhDs and they only beat us by a hair," he says with pride.

On September 4, they made it to the World Championships for the first time, now competing in English against some of the top students in the sector. "Things got a bit tougher for us there, we went in the ring with the University of Louisiana but lost 45-50."

After this great experience, the team is retiring from the competition but will become the Technical Directors of five new ITBA groups of young competitors. Their intention is to formalize the contest more for the Argentines and continue training the next generations to compete. "My hopes for 2022 are for PetroBowl to be an in-person event. My team is absolutely solid. They can get through the National rounds, they're ready; and as regards the Regional heats, I have faith in them,” says Lucas, now in his new role as coach.

Lucas MirandaJoined the Tecpetrol summer program.

Find out more about Lucas

Lucas’s first work experience was at Tecpetrol. He joined the Summer Program (PEV, in Spanish) in January 2021: "This was quite a weird moment, and actually, the first time I met someone in the flesh was last Wednesday." However, despite the context, the work exceeded his expectations.

After his first few months, he moved to become an intern in the Reserves area and started working with the team to consolidate reserve reports and audits. He’s currently managing the Power BI dashboards to compare field indicators and review information. And his dream is to work in the field and continue applying his knowledge.

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