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Gift will Revolutionize Oil and Gas Exploration

{Annika Haywood (L) Dr. Brian Staveley}
On hand for the Landmark announcement were (L-R) Dr. Axel Meisen, president of Memorial University of Newfoundland; Dr. Edward Roberts, Lieutenant Governor of Newfoundland and Labrador; Douglas Meikle, executive vice-president of operations, Landmark Graphics Corporation; and Danny Williams, premier of Newfoundland and Labrador.

Landmark Graphics Corporation has donated $13.9 million (US) in specialized software to Memorial University. The donation will greatly improve how offshore oil and gas reservoirs are viewed and developed by creating a specialized facility that is unique in North America, enhancing Memorial's ability to provide education, research and training in oil and gas.

This gift is the second major contribution to Memorial by the software company, based in Houston, Texas. Landmark's first software grant in 2000 resulted in Memorial leveraging $2 million from the Canada Foundation for Innovation and the Atlantic Innovation Fund. That investment will be used to create a three-dimensional visualization centre known as the Decision Centre, an immersive, active-stereo simulation environment which uses Landmark software to look at seismic, geological and drilling data.

With this most recent grant, Memorial will equip the facility with software that will act as an ultrasound for oil and gas reservoirs, allowing researchers to view three-dimensional imagery generated from data collected on Newfoundland's offshore. It is a tool that creates a virtual reality based on data while allowing manipulation of the images to reflect various production factors.

The three-dimensional visuals will help researchers get a better understanding of the nature of offshore reservoirs and more accurately predict ways to improve drilling programs and reservoir management.

Memorial will be one of the few universities worldwide to have this ability and the only university in Canada to offer this training environment for students.

Doug Meikle, executive vice-president of operations for Canada with Landmark Graphics, expressed his company's satisfaction with developments at Memorial.

"Landmark looks forward to many outstanding accomplishments at Memorial," he said. "Memorial has a considerable pool of oil and gas expertise and this will ensure that the software is used to its greatest advantage for students, researchers and companies working in the oil and gas sector in Newfoundland and Labrador."

Dr. Axel Meisen, president and vice-chancellor of Memorial, welcomed the Landmark investment. He said the benefits of such a donation are innumerable.

"This grant will enable our students, faculty and staff to use the latest in reservoir management technology," he said. "Exposure to this kind of leading edge technology will result in highly-qualified graduates who will have experience using the Landmark suites in studies of the reservoirs in the east coast petroleum systems. They will join the workforce with a valuable set of skills and experience."

Under Landmark Graphics' Strategic University Grant program, students and researchers in the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science and the Department of Earth Sciences will benefit most from the software. "It's similar to a movie theatre that's interactive, so instead of just watching a movie, you're watching the data and you can change the data as you're watching, determining what would happen if different drilling techniques were used. That's the power of the software," said Dr. Jim Wright, head of the Department of Earth Sciences. "We are especially excited about the potential of using Landmark's new productivity tools for studying the Hibernia and White Rose fields."

"This contribution from Landmark provides significant support to our undergraduate oil and gas engineering program options and adds tremendously to the simulation-based research that's already happening here," said Dr. Ray Gosine, dean of the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science. "This partnership allows us to provide our students with technology that is among the best in the world."


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