Islamabad: Aligned with its efforts to develop technically qualified human resource and lead innovative initiatives in the Exploration and Production (E&P) sector, Pakistan Petroleum Limited (PPL) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for industry-academia collaboration with NED University of Engineering and Technology (NED) and Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) on January 16, 2014 at Serena Hotel, Islamabad.
The MoU extends PPL’s role in facilitating industry-academia linkages in the field of Petroleum Engineering besides training E&P professionals and enhancing research and development projects. The initial duration of the MoU is five years but may be extended further.
MD and CEO, PPL Asim Murtaza Khan, Vice Chancellor, NED Professor Muhammad Afzal Haque and Head, Department of Petroleum Engineering and Applied Geophysics, NTNU Professor Egil Tjåland signed the MoU on behalf of their respective institutions.
The highlight of the event was to mark the establishment of the Norwegian Centre of Excellence for Petroleum Studies at NED in collaboration with NTNU under the Pak3004, Pak-Norway Institutional Cooperation Programme.
Federal Minister for Petroleum and Natural Resources Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, who was chief guest on the occasion, unveiled the plaque for the centre and congratulated those involved in the effort. Minister of State for Petroleum and Natural Resources Jam Kamal Khan was also present.
In his address, Abbasi underscored the need for academic and technical competence to service the E&P industry and step up exploration activities to meet the country’s rising energy demand. He also reiterated the government’s support for such initiatives.
Speaking about the project, Head, Petroleum Engineering Department, NED Professor Abid Murtaza Khan, highlighted its significance, a sentiment echoed by Professor Emeritus, Stanford University, USA Dr. Khalid Aziz.
For his part, Asim Mustafa Khan gave an overview of the E&P industry as well as initiatives taken by the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Resources to incentivize E&P business and draw local and foreign investment. He also stated that the tripartite MoU, the first-ever instance of international collaboration between Pakistan’s E&P industry and academia, will go a long way in training qualified professionals and applying innovative technology in line with industry imperatives, especially as technology takes centrestage in E&P business.
Attendance at the event was diverse, including representatives of local universities, government, industry, media and the Norwegian diplomatic corps.