1st position worldwide in the Imperial Barrel Award (IBA)

King Fahd University of Petroleum & Minerals – KFUPM Team represented by students from the Geosciences Department at CPG-KFUPM | College of Petroleum Engineering & Geosciences earned the first position worldwide in the Imperial Barrel Award (IBA) competition that was held virtually on Friday, May 19, 2023. This participation comes after the team won first place in the IBA Middle East competition that took place in person last March in Bahrain.

The IBA is organized by the American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG) and the AAPG Foundation, the competition gives students eight weeks to analyze seismic and geological data of a potential exploration area to determine which — if any — location should be drilled and further evaluated for oil and gas reserves potential. Each team delivers their results in a 25 minutes presentation to a panel of industry experts. Students have the chance to use state-of-the-art technology to analyze provided datasets. The judges representing experts from several major oil companies select the winning team on the basis of technical quality, clarity, and originality of the presentation.


In the final round, the KFUPM team competed against 6 other regional-winning teams representing 60 participating universities from around the world. Over two months the KFUPM team has worked diligently to evaluate the potential of the petroleum system of an offshore basin in Canada.

KFUPM Team includes Talal Aluthman, Sara Kellal, Osama Aziz, and Anas Salisu Muhammad. They were mentored by Prof. Khalid Al-Ramadan and advised by Dr. Mahdi Mutlaq from Saudi Aramco.

Previously, and since 2010, KFUPM teams have participated five times in the final international round of the IBA Award where they earned third place in 2010 and 2015, and second place in 2020. This year represents the first time a Middle East university wins this award since its inception in 2007.