In with a chance to win!
In October, Nicolás Pastore and Juan Ignacio Darcy, Reservoir Trainees, are travelling to Texas with their team to compete in the PetroBowl® final, a tournament to find the most knowledgeable students in the industry.
The Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE) explains that the PetroBowl® contest “pits petroleum engineering students against each other in a fast-paced quiz competition covering technical and non-technical aspects of the oil and gas industry.” First held in 2002, the contest has evolved over time, growing in popularity and size, although it wasn’t until 2015 when it became a truly global contest with regional heats taking place around the world.
The final heats of this year’s PetroBowl® competition are scheduled to take place as always in October, part of the SPE Annual Technical Conference and Exhibition, the leading technical energy conference and exhibition for global E&P professionals held in San Antonio, Texas. One of the teams that has made it through to the finals of the classic quiz competition this year is from the ITBA (Instituto Tecnológico de Buenos Aires) and features its fourth and fifth-year Petroleum Engineering students. And on this team are two Tecpetrol employees, Nicolás Pastore and Juan Ignacio Darcy, who are joined by Milagros Jaureguiberry, Justo Lizondo and Rocío Onsari, under the technical guidance of Gustavo Sebastián Zabala, a former member of the ITBA team, with support from the director of the Petroleum Engineering degree course, Alvaro Bugari.
"You have to press buttons really quickly, just like in the movies, and the answers have to be in English, even in the national heats," explain Nicolás and Juan Ignacio, sharing the mechanics of this demanding competition. They’ve already managed to pass two rounds with great success: “They ask the question and you have up to seven seconds for someone on the team to press the button and answer. It’s really dynamic, you’re competing with everything you know against your rivals and against the clock.”
The Argentine team started training to compete last year, in the first stage of a long road, beginning with the national qualifying rounds. “These were held in Neuquén, and the final round was against the team from the Universidad de Buenos Aires (UBA): we were neck to neck, right up until question 20 approximately, then we gained a small advantage and finally forged ahead to win,” recalls Nicolás.
After the National heats, it was time to step up their game for the Regional round. Then, after a well-deserved break, it was back to the grind to prepare for an even tougher challenge, facing teams from all over Latin America with one goal in mind: to qualify for the final round in San Antonio, Texas. The heats were held on June 13 in Port Spain, Trinidad and Tobago. They made it to the podium, classifying third, the way now open to the world event. “We’d studied so hard, two whole years of preparation. We had set our hopes on winning, but we didn't quite make it”, says Juan Ignacio. "At all events, we placed third, beating LUZ (Universidad del Zulia de Venezuela), the reigning champions."
The recipe for success? Sheer effort and dedication. These students have been meeting online twice a week since 2020, coming up with testing questions and researching all the information available. All five have a good standard of English, which they have been working on consistently for the last few years.
Now, their sights are set on the big event in October. The other thirty-one top teams in the world are honing their skills. “Since we returned from the Regional heats, we haven’t stopped studying—between midterms, finals and our jobs. We’re really pumped and can’t wait to be on our way, we’re preparing as hard as we can!” enthuses Nicolás.
“Our first objective was to qualify. Now we want to win! We know it's incredibly hard, but we're going to take it step by step and do our best. Obviously, we don't know whether we’re going to make it through to the finals, but we’re determined to get past the first couple of rounds at least. We’ll see what happens!" Their faces are glowing with excitement. The clock is ticking, and they have to keep on studying. They have a goal, and their mission is to win.