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Dearth of geoscientists worries VC

By George Onah
Port Harcourt— The Vice Chancellor of the University of Port Harcourt, Prof. Don Baridam, has raised alarm over the gradual dearth of world-class petroleum geoscientists in Africa.

He also noted that globalisation has enthroned the need for internationally trained graduates, who are in high demand to work in multi-disciplinary oil and gas field development and studies.

Prof. Baridam, who spoke at the 2009 Shell Petroleum Engineering Summer School in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, yesterday, said  “as the frontier of oil and gas exploration expands into deeper depths in the Gulf of Guinea and the need to manage matured field increases, so will the need for competent reservoir geoscientists expand.”

According to him, “the field of geosciences is increasingly becoming sophisticated in technology and software applications and Nigerian universities are ill-equipped and underfunded to cope with these challenges”.

At the school, which featured 60 best students of engineering from Uniport, FUTO, UNIBEN and RUST, Prof. Baridam called on SPDC to establish a centre for petroleum geosciences at Uniport to produce high quality graduates in the field and effectively contribute to ameliorate the dearth of world-class petroleum geoscientists in Africa.

Baridam praised Shell for the various contributions it had made in promoting education in the institution, such as the Shell/Aret Adams chair in petroleum engineering, donation of modern textbooks, the $750,000 US spent on ICTC in 2000/2003 and the establishment of geophysics computing centre, amongst others.

On his part, the Managing Director of Shell, Mr. Mutiu Sumonu, said the summer school was another signpost of Shell’s commitment to educational advancement in Nigeria as well as a contribution towards producing graduates of outstanding quality.

Specifically, he said the summer school initiative was a subset of Shell’s guest lecturer’s program, which aims at a direct transfer by Shell staff with flair for educational development and knowledge impartation, of practical and current industry knowledge and experience to Nigerian university students.

Represented by General Manager, Geosciences, Mr. Nedo Osayande, Sunmonu said in all, “60 candidates have been invited from each of the schools.

“The Petroleum Engineering School has candidates with discipline background of mathematics, physics, mechanical, electrical, chemical and petroleum engineering”.


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