Oldmachar Academy team wins STEM Pipeline challenge as OGA extends competition to now include schools in Shetland isles and Central Belt

The winning STEM team from Oldmachar Academy, from left, are Kieran Mann, Likhit Macharla, Chloe Gibb, James Low and Joseph Brown.
The winning STEM team from Oldmachar Academy, from left, are Kieran Mann, Likhit Macharla, Chloe Gibb, James Low and Joseph Brown.

It’s Sedimentary, My Dear Watson’ – the team of school pupils from Oldmachar Academy – have scooped first prize in this year’s STEM in the Pipeline challenge.

The team triumphed in a series of challenges to produce a Field Development Plan for the fictional STEM oil field.

The tasks included subsurface work, production profiling, separator design, safety and the calculation of CO2 emissions, with the aim of engaging the young people in science, technology, engineering and maths work.

The teams were asked to submit a report to TechFest and each group gave a presentation to a panel of assessors, who also provided written feedback on the individual projects.

The ‘Sedimentary’ team was praised by the judges for a “very well written report, great presentation and fabulous stand”. 

This was the first time Oldmachar Academy had entered STEM in the Pipeline and project manager Likhit said the team had all hugely benefited from taking part.

He added: “Taking part in STEM in the Pipeline has improved our communication skills, although we were friends before we started the project, and although we had a good idea of what working in the oil and gas industry involved, we were surprised by the level of technology that exists in the sector.”

Team ‘6-ess’ from St Margaret’s School for Girls won second prize and Wildcat Explorations from Robert Gordon’s College took third at the competition finals held in BP’s North Sea head office in Dyce.

An additional prize for innovation was awarded to Elite Solutions from Aboyne Academy for the use of 3D printing.

RGB, one of two teams from Robert Gordon’s College, was awarded the MER UK accolade for Maximising Economy Recovery.

Organised by TechFest, STEM in the Pipeline began in August, when 12 teams of senior pupils from Grampian schools were set an oil field challenge designed to test their skills in physics, maths, chemistry and geology.

Now in its 10th year, STEM in the Pipeline has been extended to include schools in the Central Belt and Shetland isles for the first time this year, thanks to funding from OGA – the oil and gas industry regulator.

Consequently, schools in West Lothian, North Lanarkshire and Shetland are presently taking part in a separate challenge, with the teams due to present their findings early next year.

STEM in the Pipeline is supported by BP, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, Oil and Gas Authority (OGA), Petroleum Exploration Society of Great Britain, Energy Institute and Aberdeen University.

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