Opportunities for links between the University and Colombia's state oil company Ecopetrol have been discussed as part of a two-day fact-finding visit to Aberdeen organised by Aberdeen & Grampian Chamber of Commerce (AGCC).
Part of the aim of the visit, which took place on 25 and 26 July was to highlight the experience and expertise available in delivering training and postgraduate education in oil and gas. The delegation enjoyed lunch in the Sir Duncan Rice Library with senior energy-related academic staff, and a tour of University facilities.
Professor Albert Rodger, Vice-Principal for External Affairs at the University, said: “We are delighted to have this opportunity to welcome colleagues from Ecopetrol to the University of Aberdeen.
“The University has rapidly expanding partnerships in Central and South America, and closer links with Colombia are central to our strategy to grow our collaboration with the Latin American countries which are emerging as major energy-producing regions.
“We are keen to use our long experience in education and professional training for the energy sector - plus the benefits of our location and close integration with the North Sea industry since the earliest days - to help grow the workforce of the quality and skills required to maximise the huge opportunities ahead.
“We are also keen to discuss how our internationally recognised research strength in interdisciplinary energy-related research can work with the Colombian industry to maximise economic growth and benefit.”
Tony Regan, deputy UK ambassador in Colombia and director of trade + investment, headed the delegation's visit to the UK.
“We are here to re-establish the UK oil and gas supply chain in Colombia," said Tony. “During the early years of BP in Colombia, the UK was a key player, but we have lost ground.
"Colombia is a country with strong economic fundamentals, it is enjoying 4-5 per cent annual economic growth which, coupled with its OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) membership, provides a great export opportunity across all sectors.
“Ecopetrol alone intends to invest $10billion per year, with space for Aberdeen and UK supply chain to play a big role in the next phase of the industry in Colombia.”
The company’s ambitious growth strategy involves an estimated $80billion investment between now and 2020, almost exclusively in upstream, so the visit to the North-east made valuable links with the UK oil and gas supply chain.
The visit and support offered to the delegation is part of the Chamber’s activity to connect local businesses with international economic opportunities. In the past year, AGCC has welcomed inbound missions from India, Malaysia and Nigeria, as well as hosting trade missions to Tanzania, Uganda and Mozambique as part of their aim to promote a strong and sustainable economy in the City and Shire.