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REF NO.: 179

SUBJECT: Earth Sciences team places third in international competition

DATE: June 9

Memorial University’s Imperial Barrel Award Team, has placed third in an international competition in Denver.

Rock Enerji competed against 10 regional teams, which had been whittled down from 88 original entrants worldwide. For their win, the team of Burcu Gacal-Isler, Jennifer Cranshaw, Tiffany Piercey, Adam Gogacz and team coach, Dr. Elliott Burden, a professor of Earth Sciences, will take home the Stoneley Medal and $5,000.

Moscow State University and the University of Nebraska placed first and second in the competition respectively. Of the other teams, six came from the United States and one each from Nigeria and Thailand.

The American Association of Petroleum Geologists’ Imperial Barrel Award (IBA) Program is an annual prospect/exploration evaluation competition between university student teams who use real data, with the top team winning $20,000 for their petroleum geoscience departments.  

“For Memorial University Earth Sciences, a new competitor in this style of case study competition, I believe this is a significant achievement – third in the world!” said an excited Dr. Burden shortly after the win. “As coach, I am extremely pleased to have been a small part of this team. Burcu Gacal-Isler, Jennifer Cranshaw, Tiffany Piercey, and Adam Gogacz worked extremely hard to be here on behalf of Memorial University and Canada. Tonight, they are all smiles.”

The IBA program is designed to allow teams of students the chance to evaluate the petroleum potential of a sedimentary basin and to test their creative geological interpretations. This is all done within strict time limits of five-to-six weeks, with the results presented to – and judged by – an independent panel of petroleum industry experts.

Dr. Burden said Canadian oil industry representatives attending the event in Denver were also thrilled with Memorial's performance.

The Canadian competition, which took place in April, saw Memorial University go head-to-head with students from Dalhousie University, the University of Calgary and the University of Alberta.                                                                                                   

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For more information contact Kelly Foss, Communications Coordinator, Faculty of Science, Memorial University of Newfoundland, at 737-2019 or


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