A group of students of the Department of Applied Geosciences at the German University of Technology in Oman (GUtech) attended recently an international workshop on the classification and interpretation of carbonate rocks that was held at the Geo Center of the University of Erlangen (Germany). The course and the rock sample collection of the University of Erlangen are of worldwide renown among geoscientists and professionals in the oil and gas sector.
“Along with 32 other Geosciences students and professionals from all over the world a group of seven GUtech students got the opportunity to take part in this famous course. I was glad to make the participation of our GUtech students possible and to receive financial aid for the course at the University of Erlangen," said Professor Dr Michaela Bernecker, Associate Professor at the Department of Applied Geosciences at GUtech.
"Meeting and working together with Geosciences students from all over the world was very inspiring for us," said Shamsa al Batrani, 6th semester Applied Geosciences student at GUtech.
"We had the chance to combine theory with practice. We analysed many rock thin sections under the microscope. Among other samples, we analysed sand from Japan, that can be found in Oman as well," said Khalda al Barwani, 6th semester Applied Geosciences student at GUtech. During the microscopy sessions the students discovered different structures and fossils.
"I find it very fascinating to identify the components of a thin section. Some microfossils can tell us the relative age and in which environment the organisms lived several million years ago. Rocks can be classified according to the porosity, which is important to identify oil reservoir rocks," said Khalda.
About 80 per cent of the oil reservoirs are in such carbonate rocks. In Oman carbonate rocks can be found in the Hajar Mountains, for example at the Saiq Plateau. "Some participants of the workshop knew about Oman. The Chinese students were very fascinated and would like to visit us," said Khalda, who enjoys studying Geosciences, the sciences of our planet. "We live in an oil and gas rich nation. These studies are a great opportunity to know more about our country," said Khalda.
The students who participated in the international course were selected carefully by their professors and according to their grades in course related subjects and their overall motivation. "We had to apply with a motivation letter. I was very happy to be selected among our Geosciences students and to participate along with Master's of Science and other Bachelor of Science students from all over the world," said Shamsa.
Before attending the course Shamsa said that she was not sure about her specialisation, but the course helped her to find out about her interests. "Now I am sure that I want to become a sedimentologist," said Shamsa. Being a sedimentologist includes fieldwork, handling core analysis, studying thin sections in the lab to understand and interpret the carbonate platforms of Arabia, which are essential for the oil and gas industry. "After graduation I would like to work in the oil industry, maybe for an international company," said Shamsa about her job aspirations.
On the sidelines of the laboratory course, the students visited different cities close to Erlangen, such as Nurnberg, and participated in an excursion to the Franconian limestone mountains, where the students saw snow for the first time in their lives. "It was amazing to see the ice-crystals," said Shamsa.
GUtech is planning to apply for another course next year. "There is already a long waiting list, but we are planning to participate again with a number of GUtech Applied Geosciences students" said Professor Michaela. In addition, several students wish to apply for an internship at the Geo Center of the University Erlangen or in the laboratories of other universities and companies in Germany. Shamsa and Khalda are looking forward to the next study trip of the Department of Applied Geosciences to be conducted in the mountains in Spain and France in May.