Northeast pupils challenged to reduce emissions in oil field challenge

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STEM in the Pipeline competition returns with energy transition upgrade

A POPULAR North-east industry competition for schools has returned this week, with a new challenge to reflect changes in the energy sector.

Now known as STEM in the Pipeline – Energising the Transition, the project, delivered by TechFest and sponsored by OGA, Harbour Energy and bp, has been rolled out to six schools.

Pupils in S5 and S6 at Aberdeen Grammar School and Banchory, Cults, Fraserburgh, Portlethen and Westhill academies are all taking part over the next four months.

Teams will be tasked to work together to decide how to extract oil and gas from the freshly discovered STEM Oil Field, considering how to reduce GHG emissions from their facility, make a profit and bear the environment in mind while they develop their solution.

Groups will be asked to deliver two outcomes as part of the project, a written report detailing research, plans and a solution, followed by a verbal presentation where pupils can also use visual aids to demonstrate their work.

The challenge has been designed in collaboration with industry professionals to replicate a real-life scenario.

As the energy industry transitions more into renewable energy, the competition aims to raise awareness of future careers in the sector, bridging the knowledge gap between education and the world of work and inspiring the next generation to lead the energy industry and pave the way to Net Zero.

Dr Martha Gavan, education manager at TechFest, said: “STEM in the Pipeline has been a popular competition for many years, and past participants have gone on to work for the organisations who mentored them, so it’s a valuable project for budding STEM enthusiasts to take part in.

“One thing we pride ourselves in at TechFest is bridging the gap between education and industry, and that means continuing to adapt our materials to suit current real-life activity. As there is such a strong focus on Net Zero, we wanted to showcase just how much scope there is for a career in this sector.

“STEM in the Pipeline – Energising Transition isn’t just a credible extracurricular activity for UCAS applications, it genuinely inspires pupils and helps shape their future. Mentors can be a huge role model to pupils, so we encourage the students to ask as many questions as they can so it really benefits them in the future.”

Having found new ways to use digital resources to help educate during the pandemic, TechFest has uploaded a series of STEM in the Pipeline – Energising the Transition content videos to its YouTube channel, offering a more visual method for pupils to refer back to, as they work through their entry.

Videos range from a competition briefing, to various topical videos educating students on industry techniques such as geoscience, process engineering, reservoir engineering and finance. Each video features a different presenter, offering individuals exposure to specialists in each field.

Participating schools must submit their written report by Friday 26 November and will then present their entry to a panel of assessors at the competition final.

The STEM in the Pipeline – Energising the Transition final will take place on Wednesday 8 December at bp’s North Sea Headquarters in Dyce, where the winners will be announced.

TechFest is an Aberdeen-based charity which aims to engage young people in the four main STEM subjects (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) and encourage them to go on to follow a career which utilises these skills by demonstrating that they are both fun and relevant in day to day life.

For more information on TechFest, visit


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