UT engineering students to compete in BP national competition

Katie Keenan

Team Roden Analytics, a group of engineering students interested in entrepreneurship, is a competing finalist in the global British Petroleum Ultimate Field Trip competition in Houston in April. 

BP hosts the competition each year to engage with college students who may be interested in the oil and gas industry. UT students have reached the UFT national level the last two years, but none have yet to win the grand prize, an exclusive trip to Trinidad and Tobago.

Malvika Gupta, biomedical engineering junior and Roden Analytics team member, said she has already learned a lot from the competition, and she is glad her team has been exposed to the oil and gas industry.

“There will be teams from six other universities, including MIT, Penn State, Rice, A&M, University of Illinois Urbana–Champaign and the University of Oklahoma,” Gupta said. “Every team had to have a pretty great idea for them to have gotten this far, so it’s really hard to tell who our biggest competitor will be.”  

The competition began with a quiz designed to test the students’ knowledge of oil and gas. Students were then tasked with creating a workable solution for a realistic problem confronting those working in the oil and gas industry.

This year’s challenge involved creating a solution that would reduce surplus water produced from routine operations in an oil or gas plant and find an efficient use for that water. Teams then present their plans to three BP judges. The winning teams continued as finalists to the national competition in Houston.

The competition gives students an opportunity to gain real-world experience, according to Jason Terrell, a talent acquisition manager at BP.

“[The goal is] to provide students an opportunity to explore the industry, while, at the same time, enabling students to embrace new and exciting ideas head-on,” Terrell said.

College students from the U.S., the U.K., Canada and Angola participate in UFT, and winners from each country are selected to go on the two-week grand prize trip, where they are exposed to the mechanics of a BP operation.

Julia Harvie-Liddel, head of resourcing at BP, said she hopes UFT helps students start learning about the oil and gas industry and get a head start on their careers. 

“We hope that this will give students a real insight into our industry and show them a career in oil in gas is a platform from which they can make a real difference,” Harvie-Liddel said.