Heriot-Watt Dubai Campus students attend GEO 2014

From L-R: Rachit Kedia, Daniel C. Iyio and Albert Aboagye-Forson outside the Bahrain International Exhibition and Convention Centre.

Three Heriot-Watt students from the Dubai Campus attended GEO 2014, the largest geosciences technical programme in the Middle East. 

Rachit Kedia, Daniel C. Iyio and Albert Aboagye-Forson were among 60 students who were awarded travel grants to attend the event held in Manama, Bahrain from 9 to 12 March 2014.

This year, the theme of the conference focused on 'Taking Geoscience beyond the Conventional'. The event was held under the patronage of His Royal Highness Prince Khalifa bin Salman Al Khalifa, Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Bahrain.

The three winners were selected at the Student Lecture Tour organized by the European Association of Geoscientists and Engineers (EAGE) at the Dubai Campus earlier in January. On the day, EAGE conducted a short cross-word quiz based on general Petroleum Geoscience with the winners to be awarded a fully sponsored trip to one of EAGE's regional conferences. As the winners of the short quiz, they were presented with the opportunity of representing Heriot-Watt University at the GEO 2014 conference.

The GEO 2014 conference

The event kicked off with the Imperial Barrel Award (IBA) for the Middle Eastern Region. The IBA is an annual prospective basin evaluation competition conducted by the AAPG for Geoscience graduates across the world. The winning team from the Middle East then competes with the other regional winners to win scholarship funds for their Geosciences Department along with International recognition. Sultan Qaboos University from Oman was the Middle Eastern region winner this year.

To enhance student experience, two short courses, one on CV Writing and Interview Skills, and the other one on Fundamentals of Oil and Gas, were also planned.

The short courses were followed up by the official inauguration of the conference and exhibition by His Excellency Shaikh Ahmed bin Mohammed Al Khalifa, Minister in-Charge of Oil & Gas Affairs, Kingdom of Bahrain; and a panel discussion on the topical issues relevant to the conference theme by distinguished personalities from the oil and gas industry:

  • Mr. Amin Nasser, Senior Vice President, Upstream Operations, Saudi Aramco
  • Mr. Matthias Bichsel, Executive Director, Projects and Technology, Shell
  • Mr. Paal Klibsgaard, CEO, Schlumberger

The event also included a series of technical panel sessions and oral presentations on a variety of industry topics and trends. These sessions and presentations allowed students to understand the key challenges being faced by the industry today and their impact on the future oil and gas developments across the globe. Some of the most critical challenges include:

  • Emerging exploration plays
  • Future of unconventional resources
  • Keeping up with the rising gas demand
  • People development from pre-hire to post-retirement
  • Next generation of upstream technologies

One of the striking features of this year's conference was the Meet 'n' Greet session organized by the Young Professionals and Student Activities Support Team. The session was an opportunity for students to meet, interact and seek career development guidance from leaders in the oil and gas industry.

The GEO 2014 was a premier forum for students to learn about best practices, new developments and applications in the industry and seek valuable guidance and advice in planning their careers in this challenging domain.