ABERDEEN’S Robert Gordon University today announced ambitious plans to establish an International Institute for Oil and Gas on its campus.
The university is planning to invest £8 million over the next five years on the new institute as part of the university’s strategy to develop its reputation as a global leader in oil and gas-related training and high value research.
And the funding drive has been kick-started with a donation of £500,000 from oil tycoon Sir Ian Wood’s family trust. Sir Ian has been Chancellor of the university since 2004.
Professor Ferdinand von Prondzynski, Principal of Robert Gordon University (RGU), said: “The university has an international reputation for focused and relevant engagement with industry. This investment, which reflects RGU’s priority commitment to oil and gas, will secure for the North east of Scotland high value expertise that will support the industry in exploiting the oil reserves in the UK Continental Shelf (UKCS) and in building up innovation and enterprise in the supply chain.
“We are keen that Aberdeen’s oil and gas community supports us in this important new initiative, and I am delighted to announce the first significant donation - £500,000 from the Wood Family Trust to our foundation for the new Institute.”
Sir Ian, the former head of Aberdeen-based Wood Group and chairman of the Wood Family Trust, said: “It is essential for both the UK and Aberdeen’s future growth and prosperity that we maximise recovery of our offshore oil and gas resource.”
He continued: “The creation of RGU’s new Oil and Gas Institute will provide an important focus for the sector as a whole – it will attract and develop expertise in key areas such as exploration, infrastructure, regional hub development, production efficiency, improved and enhanced oil recovery and decommissioning at a critical time in the development of the North Sea. Wood Family Trust hopes that this donation will give a good start towards the £8 million investment needed to deliver the institute.”
The new institute will be focussed on aiding developments in a number of key areas including brownfield developments through enhanced oil recovery, unconventional oil and gas, industry collaboration, and oil and gas finance and economics.
The institute’s strategy document states: “Current projections of a further 30 to 40 years of activity in the UKCS suggest that the industry will be a significant economic driver for the region and nation for some time to come.
“However, the rapidly developing ‘unconventional reserves’ sector, not least in the UK, is changing the strategic context and signalling hydrocarbon as a truly viable long-term energy source. Skills and techniques pioneered in UK conventional fields will be transferred to the new, unconventional arena.
To ensure that a sustainable pool of talent and expertise is maintained - one that will support these strategic developments and encourage companies to continue to service the global oil and gas industry from the North east of Scotland - RGU will remain committed to satisfying the educational, training and research needs of the oil and gas industry for the foreseeable future.”