• PetroChallenge1

    An innovative learning approach

    PetroChallenge is a series of hands-on educational events held at participating universities over two days with the purpose of developing the participating students’ knowledge of the upstream oil and gas industry using a serious online business simulation, OilSim; and to enable participants to actively experience the exploration, field development and production stage gates . It is the combination of the simulation’s core features, and facilitator led learning approaches that create the events uniqueness and long lasting knowledge and skill transfer.

    Team based event

    Foster creativity and learning

    Team participation is key in this learning approach. The team selection process is specific to each university but works to promote a diversity of gender, nationality and age, whilst bringing together students of cross-curricular or multi-discipline backgrounds. The makeup of the teams considers each team member’s education background, year of study, gender and country of origin to create integrated multi-disciplinary teams, so that each team is exposed to a variety of knowledge and cultural perspectives, which impact their communication styles, team behaviors and strategy viewpoints.


    Upstream learning simulator

    The OilSim upstream learning simulator facilitates interactive training and was designed as a web-based platform to make it highly portable. It can be accessed through special event usernames and passwords without any need for software downloads. Whilst stable internet is required, it is possible to use the simulation in areas with minimum technological capabilities by bringing an actual server to a site and creating a local network for the event. The use of the simulator does not have any specific pre-requisites for knowledge which makes PetroChallenge events an inclusive learning experience and the team selection process can balance knowledge specialties.
    OilSim takes users through the entire oil and gas exploration and production business process, from acquiring a block to its development and production, - The simulator can create both offshore and onshore scenarios most suited to a particular PetroChallenge event.

    What makes PetroChallenge unique?

    • The simulator can take users through the entire exploration and production business process—from acquiring a block to its development, production, and abandonment unlike other competitions which only focus on a particular discipline.
    • This event bridges the industry with academia and offers hands-on engagement with potential employees.
    • It involves educational institutions and helps them to demonstrate their continued commitment to embrace new learning technologies that help prepare students for industry.
    • PetroChallenge offers sponsors the opportunity to use the event publicity to help deliver a broader appreciation of the industry to the participants, wider communities, and wider society.
    • It offers a platform for an excellent team working experience, developing collaborative skills and understanding competition in a simulated
      ‘real-life setting’.
    • Participating in this event encourages students to demonstrate the need for both specialized technical and team based skills in an environment that requires thinking across different knowledge domains.
    • Students’ teams are created by organizers, encouraging networking and communication skills.
    • Each event is led by trained PetroChallenge instructors, there to encourage peer-to-peer knowledge and skill transfers amongst the teams.
    • Even though it uses an online simulator, no downloads are required.
    • More than 50,000 participants have been instructed in disciplines covering exploration, development, and production activities using OilSim.

    Opinion Matters

    A survey conducted at three Universities after PetroChallenge sessions, revealed following statistics.

    To what extent did PetroChallenge improve your overall understanding of the upstream oil and gas industry value chain? (%)

    Percentage of students at each event

    • cf
    • crf
    • zdd

    Participant survey results from the PetroChallenge 2015 event

    How well would you rate the PetroChallenge event overall?

    Percentage of students at each event


    Participant survey results from the PetroChallenge 2015 event


    Case study

    Rice University bridges the gap between academia and
    oil and gas industry with PetroChallenge.


    PetroChallenge is sponsored by the oil and gas industry, educational institutions and energy authorities.
    There are three sponsorship levels :

    • Gold
    • Silver
    • Bronze
    Why is PetroChallenge an asset for your organization?

    For universities:

    • Acting with confidence – investing in future of the industry
    • See possible recruits in action
    • Sustain relationships with universities
    • Engage with next generation
    • Theoretical studies brought to life

    For schools:

    • A united industry front – looking confidently to the future in difficult times
    • School students today are potential recruits in 5-8 years
    • Sustaining commitment to communities they operate in
    • Encouraging degrees in suitable subjects
    • Transferable skills within Energy industry

      Executive and senior management

      • Local capability development

      Human resource

      • Strengthen links between the industry, educational establishments and the future workforce
      • Bridge the gap between theoretical studies and the industry
      • Hands on Technical engagement with potential recruits
      • Promotes company as a potential employer

      Corporate social responsibility

      • Developing people by promoting education
      • Encourage excellence in the industry’s future workforce


      • Raises company’s profile
      • Promote new and existing products and service offerings
      • Promote brand awareness with future customers
      Competition rules
      Competition rules

      Competition rules

      The rules stated below are intended to offer the best experience for all stakeholders involved in a PetroChallenge competition (the “Event”) and provide fairness to all competitors. Any violation of these rules may result in the disqualification of the student(s) involved, at the sole discretion of the NExT PetroChallenge organizers. 

      • Student and team rules
      • OilSim access rules


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