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Statoil Canada and RDC invest $2 million to grow R&D and petroleum education

A $2-million investment by Statoil Canada and the Research & Development Corporation (RDC) will boost Memorial University's research expertise in reservoir engineering.

The funding will create the Statoil Chair and Statoil Associate Chair in Reservoir Engineering at Memorial University and foster the development of a new Petroleum Engineering Research Program in the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science. Statoil Canada and RDC will each contribute a total of $1 million over the next five years.

"Today's announcement is an excellent example of the opportunities that are created when industry, academia and government partner," said Keith Hutchings, minister responsible for the Research & Development Corporation at an event on Monday, Nov. 21, in the Engineering building on the St. John's campus. "This partnership will result in positive outcomes as it will further develop Newfoundland and Labrador's research expertise in reservoir and arctic operations. It also represents some of the innovative work of RDC and its contribution to enhancing exploration and development opportunities for this province."

"Statoil is a technology-based upstream energy company, so investments in R&D and education and training are important for us," said Hege Rognø, vice-president, offshore upstream, Statoil Canada. "We have a long track record of collaboration, technology sharing and knowledge transfer, which sets us apart. With the goal to strengthen the areas of petroleum technology, reservoir engineering and R&D in the province, we are very pleased to enter into a partnership with Memorial University and the Research & Development Corporation."

Recently, Statoil signed a similar agreement, focused on R&D collaboration, with the University of Texas.

"Universities and academic institutions in North America represent important arenas for Statoil in research and competence development," said Ms. Rognø. "With plans to significantly develop our operations in Canada and the U.S., we want to further develop our position in the market for talented and skilled individuals."

"Research and development investments in petroleum reservoir engineering align with Newfoundland and Labrador becoming a world-class leader in new technologies for exploration and development in harsh environments," said Glenn Janes, chief executive officer, RDC. "Today's announcement will also foster new generations of researchers critical to the future growth of this province's offshore petroleum industry."

The Statoil Chairs in Reservoir Engineering will become an integral part of the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science. The chairs will establish, promote and focus their teaching and research programs on reservoir engineering. The chairs will also develop the reservoir engineering capability within current programs.

"The new Statoil Chairs in Reservoir Engineering will significantly strengthen Memorial's research capacity in this strategic area and we are committed to pursuing other opportunities, such as a Canada Research Chair or NSERC Industrial Chair, to further build our expertise in this area," said Dr. Gary Kachanoski, president and vice-chancellor, Memorial University. "I have every confidence that the Statoil chairs will lead to innovative new research that will benefit both engineering students and the wider community."

The recruitment process for the new chair positions will start immediately with the goal to have a chair in place by April 1, 2012.