Petroleum Development Oman (PDO) has signed research and development agreements with Sohar and Al Sharqiyah Universities to help resolve some of its complex technical challenges. It is hoped the memorandums of understanding (MoUs) will help PDO further develop its competitive delivery by reducing costs, increasing production and reserves while operating in a safer and greener environment.
At the same time, the collaboration deals will support PDO’s effort to boost In-Country Value by advancing academic and vocational development and increasing the share of the oil and gas industry’s wealth retained in Oman. PDO will fund the universities to assist it in three key areas: enhanced oil recovery, water management and energy efficiency and security, the latter by encouraging renewable energy and energy-efficient technologies.
They will also work together to encourage Omani small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and entrepreneurs to carry out their basic technological research, test-proof their conceptual thoughts and innovative ideas and develop early-stage technology in the universities’ laboratories prior to any potential future commercial agreements.
PDO will assist with the establishment of technology centres at both universities. Its own experts will be given access to these research hubs and run and develop teaching programmes. The agreements will run for three years and also pave the way for PDO staff to enrol on BSc, MSc and PhD degrees and other courses at the universities.
Additionally, PDO and the academic institutions will exchange best practices on health, safety and environment (HSE), lean efficiency programmes and governance frameworks. The company will also become a member of the universities’ advisory boards.
The MoUs were signed by Prof. Barry Winn, Sohar University Vice Chancellor, Prof. Fouad Chedid, deputy vice chancellor for academic affairs at Al Sharqiyah University and PDO External Affairs and Value Creation Director Abdul-Amir Al Ajmi.
“PDO is working hard to establish technology clusters across Oman with key research partners who can help us to address some of our key challenges,” Al Ajmi.
“These collaborations not only give us access to innovative solutions and the best technology and tools but also enable students to learn more about the needs of the Sultanate’s economy and their potential employers.”
“This partnership is a win-win for the national oil and gas sector and Omani academia.”
“Modern progressive universities need to work closely with the industry to support economic development and social wellbeing. Sohar University is delighted to work in partnership with PDO to support many Omanis in reaching their potential,” said Prof. Winn.
“We are honoured to sign the MoU with PDO. At Al Sharqiyah University (ASU), we believe in delivering authentic education in the sense that everything we do in class must be related to real-world applications. We believe that this is the best way to get our students’ interest in learning the subject matters,” noted Prof. Chedid.
As part of its endeavour to broaden collaboration and facilitate more joint research and development projects, PDO also signed similar agreements with the German University of Technology in Oman (GUtech) and Innovation Park Muscat last year.
Furthermore, it recently ratified a joint research and development protocol with the Ministry of Oil and Gas and The Research Council. This will also aim to bridge the gap between Oman’s energy industry and academia and is regarded as an important step towards building a vibrant research ecosystem within the country that can help PDO sustain output through to 2040 and beyond.