Industry partners University in unique new training centre for ‘explorationists’

Industry partners University in unique new training centre for ‘explorationists’

A new training facility for petroleum explorers has been officially opened at the University of Aberdeen. exploHUB is a partnership between industry and academia to create a unique training programme dedicated to preparing exploration geoscientists for the challenge of unlocking the Earth’s remaining oil and gas reservoirs.

exploHUB was formally opened on 14 October by Dr Steve Garrett, manager of Chevron’s Global Technology Centre in Aberdeen and President of PESGB, which is now a strategic partner with exploHUB, funding IT infrastructure and sponsoring a traineeship for 2012. 

Steve told guests at the event: “The objective of the PESGB is to promote, for the public benefit, education in the scientific and technical aspects of petroleum exploration.  PESGB is delighted to support exploHUB’s start-up in 2011, and looks forward to selecting and welcoming our PESGB exploHUB trainee in 2012. PESGB also values the continuing partnership with exploHUB’s Director and Board in helping to steer this exciting new venture.”

Joining Steve to perform the opening was University Principal Professor Ian Diamond who described exploHUB as a wonderful example of the University’s strategic priority to partner industry in delivering the excellence in teaching and professional development designed to create the outstanding explorers that the sector now needs.

exploHUB’s director is Dr Stuart Archer, an exploration and production geologist with many years experience in the Atlantic Margin and Gulf of Mexico and in challenging reservoirs in the North Sea. Stuart said:  “The University of Aberdeen aims to remain at the centre of geoscience training and research long after the last drop of oil has been produced from the North Sea. We know that most of the planet’s ‘easy’ hydrocarbons have been found. As a community we need to do something different to access the more complex reservoirs.  We need a new generation of ‘explorationists’, equipped with the inquisitiveness, skills and creativity required to successfully discover what Earth may still be hiding from us. This is exactly what exploHUB is all about.”

“The industry is a vital partner in this,” continued Stuart, “and I want to thank all of exploHUB’s supporters. The strategic partnership between exploHUB and the PESGB is particularly important. PESGB has been a critical partner in the exploHUB start-up process and instrumental in the delivery of this unique training centre.” 

The launch event demonstrated the strength of the collaboration between industry and academia with academics from the University’s School of Geosciences being joined by senior industry representatives including those from leading service companies who are supporting exploHUB with industry-standard software and data.  Also in attendance were members of the exploHUB Advisory Board, numerous tutors on the programme including several from industry, and the six exploHUB 2011 trainees.

The exploHUB experience is designed to produce self-starting, free-thinking explorationists, able to question and test exploration paradigms, who recognise the value of integrating at play scale and the need for a big picture regional view. Trainees gain a generic exploration skills set that is internationally transferable, together with the ‘soft’ skills necessary to create a world-class exploration team from a multicultural workforce.

The first cohort of trainees now completing the nine-month, immersive exploHUB programme told guests how much they had learnt from, and enjoyed, the hands-on approach in the newly-equipped exploHUB training facility.  The six trainees paid testament to the how valuable it had been to work with experienced tutors and mentors, work with modern data and software, and benefit from the team-building fostered during their active exploration experiences and on the field trips.

The event also provided an opportunity to celebrate the technical and personal growth that the trainees had achieved, and Phil Horsfall (traineeship sponsored by Premier Oil) and Iulia Zaharia (traineeship sponsored by Sterling Resources) were presented with prizes for their individual achievements.

Employers can interact with exploHUB in three ways: through offering early and mid-career employees the professional development opportunity offered by exploHUB, sponsoring a traineeship with the option to hire the trainee at the end of the nine-month Post Graduate Diploma, or giving this opportunity to a foreign national from a country where training obligations exist as part of licence awards or PSAs.exploHUB is also keen to recruit experienced ‘old hands’ as tutors and mentors who can pass on their experience and expertise, providing the perfect environment for them to interact, inspire and enthuse a new generation of explorers. 

exploHUB will hold an Open Day on  28 October from 10am-3pm at exploHUB, Meston Building (South Entrance), King’s College, University of Aberdeen. All are invited to drop in, have a look around, meet the current trainees, and talk with exploHUB advisors.