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New infrastructure at MI strengthens local capabilities

DP simulator open for business

(November 18, 1999, Gazette)

By Diana Quinton

A new Dynamic Positioning Simulator at the Marine Institute was launched Oct. 20 by representatives from Memorial University, Terra Nova Alliance, and the federal and provincial governments, who are working together to increase local resources for facilities, equipment and expertise within the oil industry.

The acquisition of the DP simulator is possible through a contribution of $300,000 from the Canada-Newfoundland Comprehensive Economic Development Agreement. As well, Terra Nova Alliance is contributing $150,000 to the project through Memorial University’s Opportunity Fund. The Marine Institute is providing the site and human resources to conduct research and training.

The Canada-Newfoundland Comprehensive Economic Development Agreement is administered by ACOA and the Department of Industry, Trade and Technology. One aspect of the agreement supports research infrastructure at Memorial University in areas of high growth and emerging market opportunities.

“The Government of Canada, through ACOA and federal-provincial agreements delivered by the agency, recognizes the value of post-secondary institutions to enhancing the long-term development of our economy,” said Karen Skinner, manager, federal-provincial agreements, ACOA. “Through continued investments in innovation and technology – and in this case key infrastructure for the Marine Institute’s training and research capabilities – we are capitalizing on the high rates of growth in the East Coast oil and gas industry.”

Dynamic positioning systems help personnel aboard modern floating and sub-sea offshore installations maintain their vessels’ precise locations on the ocean. With the growth of the offshore oil industry, the demand for trained personnel to operate DP systems, and opportunities to conduct research in this technology, are rapidly increasing. Floating offshore installations require extensive research on operation design, risk evaluation, human factors and training.

Dr. Axel Meisen, president of Memorial, emphasized the university’s role in the economic development of the province.

“This initiative builds on the university’s association with the petroleum exploration and development industry thus far,” Dr. Meisen noted. “I am pleased that Memorial will be providing the oil industry with research and training support, and I am looking forward to creating additional partnerships with this promising sector of the provincial economy.”
One of the primary users of the new DP simulator is Terra Nova Alliance.

“Once we had identified our needs to the Marine Institute, they responded vigorously and proactively to meet them,” said Gregory Lever, manager of operations for Terra Nova. “The result is the cooperative venture being announced today, and we are pleased to be part of it.”

Additional training and research within the province will likely be required as offshore exploration and development expands. The dynamic positioning training and research capability at the Marine Institute will also attract clients from Canada and the United States.
Other training capabilities were showcased at the Oct. 20 announcement. A technology transfer agreement has been reached between the Marine Institute and Stord/Haugesund College in Norway, to provide Emergency Command Control Training specifically for the Terra Nova project.

Under the terms of the agreement, the Marine Institute will be the lead institution and will have overall responsibility for liaison with Terra Nova. The institute will be involved in co-delivery of training and, where appropriate, will provide training facilities and certification services. Stord/Haugesund College will provide the initial expertise and course materials, certified to industry standards, and will co-deliver the training. The eventual goal is to have the majority of training delivered by the Marine Institute.