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   A Memorial University of Newfoundland Publication

July 24, 2003

Husky chair will focus on reservoir characterization
Team building

The Husky Energy Chair in Oil and Gas Research, the first endowed Chair at Memorial, will focus on reservoir characterization, especially the utilization of seismic imaging techniques for reservoir management. Bringing a person with this expertise to Memorial will greatly enhance the petroleum reservoir team being built by the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science and the Department of Earth Sciences, explained Dr. James Wright, head of Earth Sciences.

This team already includes Canada Research Chair Dr. Thormod Johansen and two new faculty members being recruited through the PanAtlantic Petroleum Systems Consortium.

“[The Husky Chair] will bring a person with different expertise to complement those activities,” said Dr. Wright. “It was a natural choice that Engineering and Earth Sciences would be the joint academic units for the appointment.”

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 at a ceremony held June 3, 2003, on the St. John’s campus. It is the first endowed research chair at Memorial University.

Specialists in seismic reservoir characterization are in high demand, Dr. Wright said. However, Memorial has a number of assets that will aid its recruitment effort. Aside from the current activity offshore Newfoundland, the university’s Visualization Centre will be completed this fall and the new person will be surrounded by an excellent team.

The search for the individual to hold the chair will follow the provisions of the collective agreement for a joint appointment and Husky Energy will be invited to name one member to the search committee.

Dr. Wright said Memorial is building an interdisciplinary approach to studying energy resources. That approach includes the work of Dr. Michael Slawinski, Petro-Canada Chair in Applied Seismology in the Department of Earth Sciences; Dr. Neil Bose, Canada Research Chair in Offshore and Underwater Vehicles Design; and Dr. R. Seshadri, Canada Research Chair in Asset Integrity Engineering in Engineering and Applied Science.

“There’s a totality to our thinking,” he said. “There are different ways of connecting these seemingly independent initiatives.

“In 10 years, you’ll see integrated programs with the use of full seismic data for characterization of both the rock and fluid properties of the reservoir, and the use of underwater vehicle technology to do seismic experiments on the seabed. These are areas where Memorial is very much on the forefront.”

Teamwork brought chair to Memorial
“The Husky Energy Chair in Oil and Gas Research gives Memorial a genuine opportunity to be a recognized world leader in these areas,” said Dr. Axel Meisen, Memorial’s president.

Dr. Meisen commended Will Roach, Husky’s general manager of east coast operations, and Lt.-Gov. and former Board of Regents Chair Dr. Edward Roberts for playing vital roles in bringing the Husky Energy chair to Memorial University.

The president added that the provincial government, notably Energy Minister Walter Noel, and the Canada-Newfoundland Offshore Petroleum Board (C-NOPB) and its chair Hal Stanley, also offered critical support. Dr. Meisen said the Husky Energy Chair should reward their efforts by yielding many benefits to the oil and gas sector and the people of the province.

At the announcement event, Husky Energy CEO John Lau said the company is pleased to provide this endowment under the mentorship of Memorial University.

“The creation of this senior research chair demonstrates our confidence in exploration and development here on the east coast of Canada, and in the university's ability to conduct research to meet the ever-changing needs of the petroleum industry,” he said. “It is our corporate strategy for investment in people that will serve both the industry and the province for generations to come.”





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