OU PetroBowl Team Takes North American Prize


A team of petroleum engineering students from the Mewbourne School of Petroleum and Geological Engineering at the University of Oklahoma won first prize at the Society of Petroleum Engineers’ annual PetroBowl® North American regional qualifier competition, hosted at the University of Southern California.

PetroBowl® is a technical quiz competition for universities with petroleum engineering programs. Student teams compete in regional qualifier competitions around the world. The top five or six teams from each regional qualifier will meet this October in Denver for the PetroBowl® Championship.

OU is one of just three universities to have won the PetroBowl® Championship three times since the competition began in 2002. The other two schools are the National Autonomous University of Mexico and the Colorado School of Mines.

“I am thrilled that our petroleum engineering team won the North American qualifier competition,” said Mewbourne College of Earth and Energy Dean Mike Stice. “This PetroBowl® team has distinguished themselves and our university in one of the most sought-after competitions in their field. It is my hope that 2020 is the year we become the first university to bring home the championship for a fourth time!”

The OU PetroBowl® Team credits much of their success to their coach, recent OU doctoral graduate Son Dang. After completing his doctorate, Dang was offered a job in Houston but still traveled biweekly to Norman to help students prepare.

“We read everything we could find,” said team captain Ashutosh Sharma, a graduate petroleum engineering student. “We studied about the history of the oil and gas industry, stayed up on current events, and read and re-read books like The Prize by Daniel Yergin.”

The competition is not just about knowing the right answers, but strategy. “You win points for correct answers, but lose points for wrong ones, so we had to continually evaluate the risk involved if we thought we knew the answer, but were not sure,” said Sharma.

Over the years Sharma has encountered some unexpected questions in PetroBowl® competitions. In 2018, the team was asked for the number of the Society of Petroleum Engineers’ Twitter followers.

Team member Felipe Adriao Cruz, a petroleum engineering Ph.D. student, said two past questions still stand out:

  • In English or French, what was the name of the historical paper published by Henry Darcy in 1856?
  • Draw the relative permeability curves for two miscible fluids in a formation.

The team will start preparing for the PetroBowl® Championship soon, but for now members are refocusing their efforts on their research and coursework.

The OU team. (L – R): Aly Osman, undergraduate student); Ammar Chaudhry, undergraduate student; Cesar Vivas Munar, master’s student; Anthony Ndunda, undergraduate student; Jinyoung Park, undergraduate student; Elton Correia, Ph.D. student; Anne Luthfiyah, undergraduate student; Ashutosh Sharma, Ph.D. student; Ana Jerdy, Ph.D. student; Maxim Kasumov, undergraduate student; Ducha Hapsari, undergraduate student; Rahmat Ashari, undergraduate student; Bruna Almeida, undergraduate student; Felipe Adriao Cruz, Ph.D. student; and coach Son Dang, Ph.D. alumnus.


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