9th Anniversary/Induction Ceremony, Institute of Petroleum Studies (IPS)


…As NNPC GMD Calls For Resource Diversification.

In pursuance of its mandate to meet the needs of the petroleum industry through commitment to excellence in training, applied research, continuing education and capacity building, as well as becoming the foremost international centre of excellence in Petroleum Geosciences and other related fields, the Institute of Petroleum Studies (IPS), has produced another 21 Master of Science graduates of Petroleum Engineering and Project Development and 20 Postgraduate Diploma recipients in its symbiotic partnership with Industry and IFP School, Paris, France, bringing the total haul in nine years to 259 beneficiaries, reports Otikor Samuel.

Declaring the 9th Anniversary/Induction Ceremony of the Institute open at the Ebitimi Banigo Auditorium last Wednesday, Vice-Chancellor, Professor Joseph Ajienka, who described IPS as a model in Nigeria's educational system, commended the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, TOTAL,  E&P Nigeria Ltd Joint Venture and IFP School, France for sustaining a rewarding partnership that has produced world-class Petroleum Engineers for the oil and gas industry, thereby, contributing to Nigerian content development through quality human capacity building.

“We are not only celebrating internationalization of higher education at home, but also a celebration of sustainability of academic excellence over the years. Indeed, IPS has become not only a pride to University of Port Harcourt, but also a model in the Nigerian educational system”, the Vice-Chancellor noted, expressing hope that the Institute would continue to turn out quality products to meet emerging industry needs. Professor Ajienka, who called on other industry experts to join the IPS model, disclosed that the benefactor of Egbogah Chair in Petroleum Engineering, Dr Emmanuel Egbogah, has offered to visit the Institute as an Expert-in-Residence as from January next year, challenging others to join the trend to close the industry-academia gap.

“Another achievement of immense pride to us is that most of the graduating students have been interviewed for job placements and some have secured employment. I congratulate them very warmly for doing the University proud and demonstrating that they are appropriately and adequately trained for the complex and intricate demands of the oil industry,” the Vice-Chancellor remarked.

Delivering the Keynote Address titled: “The Prospects of Resource Diversification in the Petroleum Industry”, Group Managing Director of NNPC, Engineer Andrew Yakubu, charged researchers in the field of Engineering to devise effective means of diversifying the energy needs of the country through utilizing by-products in the oil and gas sector to add value to local content, which would in turn create more jobs.

The GMD, who was represented by the Coordinator, Corporate Planning and Strategy Directorate of NNPC, Dr Timothy Okon, called for internal diversification from oil and gas production to manufacturing of non-fuel and bio-fuel products to boost local content and provide job opportunities for the teeming population of youths in the country.

He described diversification as critical to national survival as it would result in a paradigm shift from the hydrocarbon economy, when alternative measures are designed to feed the domestic economy to change the country's economic fortunes. “The fastest growing sector is the telecommunication. Agriculture contributes 40 per cent to the gross domestic product of the country, so diversifying the oil sector would produce additional wealth for the country,” he said.

Earlier, Director of the Institute, Professor Mike Onyekonwu, revealed that 21 students obtained Master of Science degree after an intensive 12-month programme in Petroleum Engineering and Project Development, while 20 others got the Postgraduate Diploma in Petroleum Technology.

Goodwill messages were presented by the Chairman, Governing Board of IPS, Mrs Edith Ofili-Okonkwo, Dean, IFP School, France, Mr. Philippe Pinchon and Engineer Abiye Membere, who was inducted as the Professional Mentor.  Mrs Ofili-Okonkwo disclosed that the Institute has commenced construction work on Phase II of the IPS Permanent site project, disclosing that the project designed to provide a 357-seat auditorium; applied research laboratories, lecture rooms and offices would facilitate learning in a very conducive environment when completed.

Highpoints of the event included the Induction of Engineer Yakubu, Mrs Ofili-Okonkwo and Mr Bruno Darde as Fellows of the Institute of Petroleum Studies, presentation of prizes to deserving grandaunts and induction of the new Engineers as Members of IPS, presentation of Outstanding Teacher Award to Professor John Etu-Efeotor, who has won the prize for the 8th consecutive time. Mr Ewelike Alaekwe emerged as the 2012 Valedictorian, while the UNIIPORT Concert Chorus was on hand to enliven the atmosphere with very entertaining numbers.

The 9th Induction and Anniversary of IPS commenced with a month-long Art Exhibition titled “Pertart” and mounted by the University Curator, Dr Bridget Nwanze. There were also a Career Fair, Interactions between the new Engineers and Industry experts and Job Interviews, as well as a novelty football match between the M. Sc. and PGDPT grandaunts. The Induction was rounded up with a Dinner at TOTAL Village, Rumuogba. At the pre-event cocktail held at the old IPS site, Delta Park, two staff, Mr Clement Eluozo and Miss Grace Monday where conferred with awards for rendering quality services to the Institute.

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