Department of Geology receives $1 million Kingdom Geoscience software package; plans to participate in international geoscience competition

Marshall University has received a $1,040,850 Kingdom Geoscience software package from IHS Markit (www.ihsmarkit.com), an international company that provides information, analytics and solutions to clients in a variety of sectors. The Kingdom Geoscience Bundle and LoadPAK are industry-standard tools and technology that are used by geoscientists and engineers to explore for and develop petroleum resources. Now Marshall students will have access to these tools as part of their hands-on education and faculty will be able to conduct and present research at a more advanced and technical level.

These software applications are designed to integrate geophysical and seismic data into 2D and 3D models that are used to discover and develop new oil and gas reserves. West Virginia ranks seventh nationally in natural gas production and 14th for oil production . With these industries providing critical severance taxes to the state economy, it’s crucial that Marshall produce graduates who are experienced with industry software and have the knowledge move the economy forward.

"The Kingdom software is far more advanced than anything we have used before and allows students to work with the same kind of real-world data that are used in industry," said Dr. Ronald Martino, professor and chair of geology at Marshall. "It will allow them to conduct a vastly more comprehensive analysis of petroleum prospects using a workflow that mirrors that used by major oil and gas companies. Our B.S. geology graduates will have training and experience that is rarely encountered in other undergraduate programs. In addition, their participation in the IBA competition will allow then to network with, and be mentored by, industry professionals which will further enhance their employment opportunities."

Martino fielded a team of four senior geology majors who have been granted a waiver to participate in the 2020 Imperial Barrel Award (IBA) Competition, sponsored by the American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG). The Kingdom software donation was necessary in order for them to be able to process and interpret the competition data set provided by AAPG.

It’s a competition usually restricted to graduate students, but the Marshall team has experience in basin analysis and prospect generation through previous course study. They will participate in the competition under the leadership of Martino and two petroleum industry mentors, Marshall alum Joe Lemon and Ed Rothman, who both worked for Columbia Natural Gas and Chesapeake Energy in Charleston.

The Imperial Barrel Award program is an annual prospective basin evaluation competition for geoscience students from universities around the world. The rigorous program gives students an opportunity to experience the creative process and high-tech science that are the foundation of today’s energy industry. University teams compete for scholarship funds for their geoscience departments and international recognition.

Participants analyze a dataset of geology, geophysics, land, production infrastructure and other relevant materials over the course of eight weeks prior to their local competition. Each team delivers their results in a 25-minute presentation to a panel of industry experts.

Judges select the winning team on the basis of the technical quality, clarity and originality of presentation. The team from Marshall will compete with eight other universities in the regional semifinals April 4.