Universiti Teknologi PETRONAS (UTP) Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE) made history when they became the first team ever from Malaysia and the Asia Pacific region to clinch the first runner up in the World PetroBowl Championship 2020.
Representing UTP on the five-member team were Abdul Haziq Abdul Yazid, Low Han Lun, Felicia Lam Gui Fang, Cheah Jason and Lim Yi Jie.
Petrobowl is an annual competition that has been around for over 18 years. Held by the SPE, PetroBowl competition matches SPE student chapter teams against one another in a fast-paced quiz competition covering technical and nontechnical aspects of the oil and gas industry. In previous competitions, questions have included history, trivia, current events, technical questions, calculations and problem-solving. This year the competition was conducted fully virtual because of the pandemic.
To participate in the World PetroBowl Championship, each team was required to participate in the PetroBowl Regional Qualifier organised by each region. Only the top five teams at the regional level as well as the first and second winners’ finalists from the previous year were eligible to be participants at the international level. UTP was the first runner up for the PetroBowl Asia Pacific Regional Qualifier 2020 or PetroBowl APRQ for short.
“We are thrilled and proud of this achievement. We certainly have distinguished ourselves from the rest of the teams and proven that we are a force to be reckoned with by defeating world powerhouse teams en route to the finals,” said Abdul Haziq, the team captain.
In the first round, the draw was not in favour of UTP as they had to battle it out with Colorado School of Mines USA, a triple PetroBowl World Champion. However, UTP team earned victory albeit a narrow margin of 30-20.
Their next opponent came in the form of King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) Saudi Arabia, another tough competitor. However, UTP quickly rebounded from the first round, dispatching KAUST with a resounding score of 70-50, and for the first time in history moved into the Top 8 of the competition.
And from then on until the semi-finals, UTP prevailed and came out on top by defeating other formidable teams from University of Uyo Nigeria and Venezuelan Petroleum Engineering School, University of Zulia.
After a gruelling battle in the final two-round quiz, UTP was eventually bested by Oklahama University (OU) USA, the three-times PetroBowl World Championship title holder.
“The time difference certainly took a toll on us. The quarterfinals, semi-finals and finals were held on the same day. The quarterfinals began at 8 pm Malaysian time while the finals was held at 5 am the next day. We were sleep deprived as we had to stay up all night for the preparation prior to the finals. To top it all, OU had an advantage over us, as one of their team members was a PhD candidate and former captain who led the team to victory in 2016. Even though the overall score didn’t favour us, we managed to defeat OU in the second round,” said Abdul Haziq.
“Carrying UTP’s banner - and even Malaysia’s banner - at the competition is about a sense of duty. It is our way of contributing back to the institution that has trained us to become the people and engineers we are today”, he added.
“The team put in countless hours year-round in preparation for the competition, and I’m glad their hard work paid off,” said Juhairi Aris Muhamad Shuhili, the team’s advisor.
Since making its debut in PetroBowl in 2017, UTP has established itself as a formidable force in the world of student-level competition in petroleum engineering. This can be attributed in part to the strength of UTP’s petroleum engineering programme (currently ranked 21st in the world by Quacquarelli Symonds).