As only the second executive director of the Oil and Gas Development Partnership (OGDP) of Memorial University, Dr. Randolf Cooper has a big objective: to transform Newfoundland and Labrador into an internationally recognized leader in research, development, training and education related to all facets of the oil and gas industry.
Dr. Cooper said he will work to provide leadership for the development of partnerships in the oil and gas sector and act as ambassador for the OGDP, both inside the university and around the world.
“I’ll work with both the petroleum industry and the academic community to help them achieve those synergistic strengths that can be generated by a well managed strategic interdependence,” said Dr. Cooper. “This position was a great fit as it appeals to the part of me that has always performed a bridging role. It’s also a great way to serve the university community, the province and make good use of both sides of my career.”
Dr. Cooper comes to Memorial University from Austin, Texas, where he served as director of research (non-geological) for the Lucas Petroleum Group (LPG). He has a PhD in history from the University of Cambridge and has worked as an international business consultant from South America to South Asia.
Having written business risk analysis for Jane’s Sentinel publications including on the Persian Gulf, Southeast Asia as well as Russia and the Commonwealth of Independent States, Dr. Cooper has analyzed the profitability of petroleum plays in far-flung locations such as Kazakhstan and Siberia. Dr. Cooper is hoping to use that background in planning the focus of the OGDP’s future work.
“I’ve only been here a month, so it’s too early to talk about strategic planning I’m still very much in the look, listen and learn phase,” he said. “But I’m looking forward to opportunities to partner with players that have similar climactic challenges, like Norway. At some point, I’d also like to see if we could develop a relationship with Russia. The Barents Sea is a challenging environment and I think we could both benefit from that kind of relationship.”
However, his initial mandate will involve improving communications regarding the OGDP and its work.
“I think one of the greatest challenges at the moment is trying to clarify in the minds of some people how the OGDP fits in the university since it’s not a faculty and not a department it’s very much a secretariat,” said Dr. Cooper. “Then we’ll have to look at new opportunities and also the partnership’s legacy with regard to programs like the master’s of oil and gas studies.”
In addition to his executive role with LPG, Dr. Cooper served as chief academic officer of the Lucas-sponsored Educational Advancement Foundation of Austin, Texas an educational non-profit entity dedicated to Inquiry Based Learning in science and mathematics. Among his academic distinctions, he retains a Visiting Fellowship in Cambridge and is a Fellow of the Royal Asiatic Society where he is known for his theories on South Asian military economics.
For more on the OGDP, see www.mun.ca/OGDP.