Petrol research labs to ignite learning

Dh330m centre will allow the Petroleum Institute to offer doctorate degrees.
Dr Marc Durandeau, right, head of research and development, at the Petroleum Institute in Abu Dhabi. Ravindranath K / The National
Dr Marc Durandeau, right, head of research and development, at the Petroleum Institute in Abu Dhabi. Ravindranath K / The National

ABU DHABI // One of the country’s leading oil and gas research institutions will open a Dh330 million centre in November.

The Petroleum Institute, a partner of the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company, will begin full operations in the next few weeks, as it finishes stocking the laboratories with research equipment worth Dh239m.

Dr Thomas Hochstettler, president of the institute, said the centre would feature 35 laboratories to enhance the work of academics and students.

“To get access to this kind of equipment and expertise gives the student up-to-date education, which gives them a huge advantage when they go to the market place to work,” said Dr Hochstettler.

“For faculty, everybody likes new toys and the faculty is designing these labs themselves, so they’re designing the best kind of treehouse they ever went to play in.”

The university has just been accredited to offer doctorate degrees. The first intake of students will start in January, when the labs are in full swing.

Dr Hochstettler said the new centre was a key factor in the approval to offer the programmes.

Dr Marc Durandeau, head of research and development at the institute, said the hands-on experience at the centre’s labs would greatly help the students when they go on to work with Adnoc.

“They will gain a lot using these types of equipment and will see the operation differently when they join their next career in the oil and gas industry,” Dr Durandeau said.

Dr Hochstettler said: “We have a huge advantage as we can send these PhD students into the field where elsewhere they have to use simulation or simply read about it, so this is a huge step forward for us all.”

Dr Aisha Al Suwaidi is one of the academics who hope to benefit from the centre.

“This research centre is really the first of its kind in the region,” Dr Al Suwaidi said. “We can now do novel research, which previously we would have had to do in Europe or the US, because we didn’t have any of these capabilities.

“Vast sums of money are spent on contracting out sample analysis, as well as sending people somewhere else to do research. Now for the first time we will be able to bring this research and knowledge home to the UAE.

“Advancement of academics, and especially research, is essential for the advancement of a society in emerging economies like the UAE,” she said.

“Students will have more opportunities to engage in research which ultimately means they will be better researchers.”

“Research exposure in students encourages creativity, critical thinking and enhanced problem-solving skills, which ultimately helps improve society.”

mswan@thenational.ae

Published: September 26, 2016 04:00 AM

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