30, 2000, Gazette)
What does a US vice-presidential hopeful have to do with Memorial's
new oil and gas development initiative?
Last October, Dick Cheney, former U.S. secretary of state and
then CEO of the Halliburton Group of Companies, announced Memorial
University would receive a $13.5 million Landmark Graphics 3-D
Landmark Graphics Corporation of Dallas, Texas recently presented
a complete integrated software package and support services to
Memorial's Earth Science department and the faculty of Engineering
and Applied Science during an event in the Earth Sciences boardroom.
The specialized petroleum exploration and geosciences computer
software will enable researchers to create virtual reality images
of the extensive amounts of seismic and geological data which
characterize oil and gas reservoirs. Together with additional
support from the Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI), MUN
will build an advanced visualization center, or Decisionarium,
to host the software and facilitate more accurate interpretation
than the 2-D projection on paper or computer screens currently
in use. The software is expected to augment student and professional
training in the area, and lead to improvements in the region's
drilling programs, reservoir management, and offshore safety.
Mastery of advanced visualization techniques is expected to place
Memorial graduates among the best-educated specialists in the
At the press conference announcing the gift, provincial Industry,
Trade and Technology Minister Sandra Kelly drew on her own experience
visiting a similar facility in Norway to help explain her excitement
of seeing one in Newfoundland and Labrador and expressed sincere
appreciation for the donation.
Boon for teaching
Similarly, MUN President Axel Meisen said the award marks another
significant step for the university for teaching and research
related to oil and gas. "Now we are in a position to start
implementing our recently announced oil and gas development partnership
initiative," he said. "We are delighted that Landmark's
global university grant program was able to provide us with this
excellent computing resource which will benefit our students,
researchers and the entire petroleum industry in Newfoundland."
Brad Bechtold, Landmark Canada's east coast account manager,
said Landmark is also pleased by the connection with a university
on Canada's east coast. As the industry continues to grow
in eastern Canada, Landmark is dedicated to a growing presence
in the region as well, he said. We at Landmark Canada
are very excited that this commitment has been made to a university
that is so closely aligned with the community and industry in
The leading supplier of integrated technical and economic software
and services in support of decision making about finding, drilling,
and producing oil and gas, Landmark is a subsidiary of Halliburton
Company, the world's largest energy service and equipment, engineering,
construction and maintenance company.
Dr. James Wright, head of Earth Sciences at Memorial, also expressed
enthusiasm for the new software. This will provide both
our established and new programs in earth sciences and engineering
with comprehensive, state-of-the-art software for petroleum studies,
providing an excellent base on which to build the technological
aspects of the new oil and gas strategy, he explained.
We plan to use the Landmark software extensively in teaching
and research programs, and particularly with the established
research and training partnerships between the petroleum industry,
our own Centre for Earth Resources Research, and our affiliate
Memorial University Seismic Imaging Consortium (MUSIC).
The dean of Engineering and Applied Science at Memorial, Dr.
Rangaswamy Seshadri, explained the importance of the new funding
to his faculty. Our focus right now is on implementing
our newly-developed oil and gas engineering options and the Landmark
donation is an important element of this new curriculum. The
creation of an immersive virtual reality room using the Landmark
software will provide Memorial University students with state-of-the-art
facilities amongst the best in the world.