{President's Report 2003}
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    ...a new future for Newfoundland and Labrador by ensuring we have a place in the international oil and gas sector. Recognizing the potential benefits of the oil and gas industry, the university embarked on the Oil and Gas Development Partnership in 2000. Since then, we have taken major initiatives to become a leader in petroleum-related education and research.

    New training facility

    In June 2003, Memorial University's Marine Institute (MI) signed a $2.5 million agreement with Maersk Contractors Newfoundland Limited (MCNL) to train White Rose personnel for the floating, production, storage and offloading (FPSO) vessel. A milestone for the institute, the contract makes MI responsible for managing MCNL's training program and leading the administration and logistical co-ordination of subcontracted training partners, facilities, equipment and other resources that will be used during the program. MI's experience, world-class facilities and instructional expertise are the reasons MCNL cited for choosing to entrust it with this training. The 78 crew members who will work onboard the FPSO will begin their training in the fall of 2003.

    New program in Oil and Gas Studies launched

    Last year Memorial University began offering a master's degree in oil and gas studies, a non-thesis post-graduate program designed to develop executives for the industry. The program will provide a thorough understanding of the critical issues of the entire industry, including technical, economic, regulatory, environmental and socio-economic aspects. Instructors are drawn from both the academy and industry for this unique new program.

    Memorial gets its first fully endowed research chair

    On June 3, 2003, John C.S. Lau, president and chief executive officer of Husky Energy, announced a $2-million endowment for the establishment of the Husky Energy Chair in Oil and Gas Research. It is the first fully endowed research chair to be established at Memorial. The new chair is a significant resource for the developing regional oil and gas sector and will be a cornerstone in the university's reservoir characterization and management research programs. These programs will allow companies to manage their reservoirs better, increase total production, shorten cycle times, and permit development of smaller fields. To see and hear more about this initiative please see the video section.

    Memorial provides leadership in the oil and gas industry

    Memorial's Oil and Gas Development Program (OGDP) will co-ordinate and manage the PanAtlantic Petroleum Systems Consortium, a consortium of oil and gas researchers at Dalhousie University, the University of New Brunswick and Memorial University. In 2002 the PPSC proposal was successful in obtaining five-year funding of $35 million - $20 million from industry and the universities and $15 million from the Atlantic Innovation Fund. The funding supports 12 research projects covering a wide spectrum. Six of the projects are led by Memorial faculty members;

    • There are three exploration projects. The first will develop new "petroleum play" concepts in the underexplored basins in the Newfoundland and Labrador offshore. The second will support the research of the Geomechanics Project, a research project led by Dr. Michael Slawinski, Petro-Canada Chair in Applied Seismology. Dr. Slawinski's research is directed at innovative and advanced seismic methods for exploration and development of petroleum prospects. The third project is research into advanced petroleum reservoir characterization and engineering.
    • There are two PPSC projects in engineering. One in the area of autonomous underwater vehicles (AUV) and automatic control systems. The AUV research team is led by Dr. Neil Bose, Canada Research Chair in offshore and underwater vehicle design. The second project in control systems is led by Dr. Siu O'Young, Engineering, and will focus on the simulation of control systems for offshore production.
    • The final PPSC project at Memorial is at the Marine Institute in the area of safety operations. The PPSC funding will support a number of research initiatives with the private sector that are focused on improving marine operations in the harsh North Atlantic (see above).

    In addition to the Oil and Gas Development Partnership, Memorial University will co-ordinate oil and gas related research activities among the academic institutions of Atlantic Canada through Petroleum Research Atlantic Canada (PRAC). This body will ensure there is no duplication of research programs. It will also act as a communications link between the industry, government and academia and will ensure "usability" of the product and that any research conducted meets funding criteria.

    Funding for research at MI continues to grow

    External funding for MI's work grew again this year. The Marine Institute's Offshore Safety and Survival Centre established a new Applied Research and Development Unit with funding from ACOA's Atlantic Innovation Fund. It will perform applied research in offshore and marine safety with an emphasis on training, evacuation and rescue systems and equipment and operational procedures. Ongoing applied research projects include participation in a three-year multinational research project aimed at improvements to the evacuation of large passenger vessels. The centre is also collaborating on projects involving offshore petroleum installation evacuation, cold water survival and fisher safety with partners such as the National Research Council's Institute of Marine Dynamics and Memorial's Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science, School of Human Kinetics and Recreation and the Faculty of Medicine. The MI's Centre for Marine Simulation also secured funding from Petroleum Research Atlantic Canada (PRAC) to develop a prototype survival craft simulator, marking the centre's first foray into the development of simulation technology.