NNPC, IPS, Collaborate On Petroleum Research

In view of the pivotal role research plays in not only the development of the oil and gas industry, but also in driving the economy, the Research and Development division of Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) and Institute of Petroleum Studies (IPS), University of Port Harcourt,  held a Research Fair last Tuesday to sensitize stakeholders on possible areas of University-Industry collaboration.

NNPC, IPS, Collaborate on Petroleum Research
Declaring the one-day event open at IPS Park, Vice-Chancellor, Professor Joseph Ajienka, stressed the importance of University-Industry relationship to national development. Speaking through the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and Development), Professor Bene Willie-Abbey, the Vice-Chancellor restated the Administration’s commitment to a mutually-beneficial collaboration between tertiary institutions and industry players.
He observed that such collaborations would lead to the integration of industry personnel into teaching and supervision of research candidates, as well as enable universities to use industry laboratories for research, adding that it would also afford suitably qualified industry personnel an opportunity to aspire to higher academic positions through closer collaboration with Scholars.
Director of IPS, Professor Mike Onyekonwu, who identified funding, weak national manpower development, poor research and development technology applications, amongst others, as problems plaguing the oil industry, said that in reaction to these challenges, a strategic partnership between an international institution and a Nigerian University, funded by NNPC/TOTAL JV, resulted in the  birth of IPS, which he hailed as a role-model effort that is worthy of support by all stakeholders. 
This, according to him, has been of tripartite benefit to the Industry, University and Government by guaranteeing competent and operations-ready workforce, stemming brain drain, saving cost of retraining, boosting in-country applied research and continuing education, amongst others.
In his contribution, the Group General Manager, (R&D) in NNPC, Engineer N. A. Oyudo recalled that the “The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation ACT Chapter 320 [Decree 33 of 1977], made provision in its duties Section 5(1) (f) for the Corporation to carry out research in petroleum and its derivatives and promote activities aimed at utilizing the results of such research.
“NNPC’s objective regarding R&D is to establish and operate a Research and Development facility capable of assimilating, utilizing and advancing all relevant forms of Petroleum Science and Technology for the enhancement of the Nigerian Oil industry in general and NNPC in particular”, he disclosed.
Oyudo, who expressed NNPC R&D’s readiness to partner IPS on human capacity building, industry growth, and national development, listed bioremediation of oil polluted ecosystems, non-conventional upgrade of whole crude oil, non-conventional refining and improvement of refined products, processing of alternative crude oils in the refineries, crude oil fingerprinting as ongoing research studies.
Also speaking, Engineer Basil Ezeaniekwe of NNPC (R&D), who presented a paper entitled: “Areas of Possible Collaboration with IPS-UNIPORT”, pointed out that “The Universities are set up as repository of knowledge to acquire, disseminate and deploy information”, adding that NNPC (R&D) was institutionalized to domesticate petroleum science & technology and add value chain to the nation’s hydrocarbon resources. 
He disclosed that R&D’s strategic focus is centred on establishing competitive advantage, listing capacity building, joint industry research, collaboration with local and foreign universities and research agencies, acceleration of development of petroleum research centres and strong alliances with multinationals, amongst others, as major areas of focus.  
The Fair which drew participants from industry and the academia featured presentation of papers  such  as  “Utilization of Local Cement and Bentonite as Alternative Sources in  the Nigerian Oil Industry” by Dr Joel Ogbonna, “Gas Hydrate Prediction and Management in Offshore Operation” by Toyin Iyowu, “Technology Focus & Management Of NNPC R&D” by Obiora Okeke, “Renewable and Unconventional Resources Development of Bio-fuels” by Professor Bosa Okoli  and a PhD Research Project on “Control Of Fines Migration In  Reservoirs, Using Nanoparticles” by Naomi Ogolo.


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