Maths in the Pipeline

The Aberdeen based Charity TechFest-SetPoint kicked off its 2012 Maths in the Pipeline programme with seven secondary schools from across Edinburgh and the Lothians battling it out to prove their mathematical skills. The challenge, hosted by Heriot-Watt and sponsored by Cairn Energy, took place on 20th 21st, 28th and 29th November.

Maths in the Pipeline is a one-day event for mathematically able and keen pupils. Usually S4 pupils are invited, so the pupils are 15 to16 years old. This event consists of hands on workshops which show real-life practical applications of the Mathematics that is learned in the classroom. The day has been designed to demonstrate the application of maths in the oil and gas sector.

We are pleased to return again this year with four Maths in the Pipeline days for local secondary school pupils. The events give students the opportunity to work with industry professionals, and really see how the mathematical tools they learn in the classroom translate into a working environment.

Julia Chew, TechFest-SetPoint

Throughout each day, academic staff and PhD students from the  Institute of Petroleum Engineering  joined Cairn Energy staff to present workshops and practical exercises to pupils based on real data, giving a genuine insight into the industry. The workshops concluded with teams of pupils working together to solve a business challenge. Field development plans were presented to a panel of industry professionals who decided which team was named the winner. Cairn Energy not only sponsored the event, but also provided senior engineers to mentor the pupils and take part in the judging panel for the business challenge. This part of the day was introduced by Julian Fennema, Director of Learning and Teaching at IPE.  He commented, "The exciting part of this opportunity for me as a lecturer is to help these pupils address the same question, albeit on a smaller scale, that our Masters students broach; how to use mathematics to determine the optimal development plan for a reservoir. Through this they can see that the core skills that they acquire through secondary school continue to deliver through university and into the workplace, where this workplace might be the oil and gas sector".  

Simeon Agada volunteered to take time out of his work on Carbonate Reservoir Modelling Simulation at IPE to present and mentor two separate workshops. He said "The young people were all fresh to the subject, but were really enthusiastic. It was a brilliant way to give them maths problems which they already understood, and link these to analytical problems in the oil industry. It helps to give them an early interest in the career opportunities that exist for them. It could contribute to getting more young people to aspire to a career in the oil industry, helping create the bridge for the Big Crew Change that is coming".

Mohamed Ahmed, a PhD student studying Increasing the reliability of fractured reservoirs simulation models through single and multiphase fluid flow upscaling, also gave up time to work with the young people. He presented three workshops, including an Introduction to the Captain's Field, which helped the pupils get an understanding of real issues on real oil fields. His response to the day, "It was really interesting to see the young people working together. At the start of the day, I wasn't sure that they would be able to do it, but they did an exciting job and proved they could work together just like grown up people". He felt that it gave the young people the experience of being a Reservoir Engineer for a day.