New Australian School of Petroleum opens

The Santos Petroleum Engineering Building, home of the new Australian School of Petroleum.

The Santos Petroleum Engineering Building, home of the new Australian School of Petroleum.
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Tuesday, 10 June 2003

The University of Adelaide has created a new, world-class institute for petroleum studies.

The Australian School of Petroleum has been formed by the merger of the university's School of Petroleum Engineering & Management and the National Centre for Petroleum Geology & Geophysics.

"The newly amalgamated school is a major step forward for teaching and research in petroleum engineering and geoscience," says the University's Vice-Chancellor, Professor James McWha.

"It is one of the very few schools of its kind in the world - and the first of its kind in the southern hemisphere - to combine the engineering and geoscience disciplines into the one school."

He says the closer integration of these education and research programs will produce unique benefits for students and industry.

"The combination of geosciences and engineering disciplines will mean our education and research programs will be even more closely tailored to international oil and gas industry needs," Professor McWha says.

"This will produce a world-class educational environment for students that is supported by cutting-edge research across the two key petroleum-related fields, and it will firmly stamp Adelaide as a centre for petroleum research and consultancy."

The School of Petroleum Engineering and Management (SPEM) has grown quickly since opening last year. More than 70 full-time undergraduate and postgraduate students are now enrolled, including 24 from overseas.

The National Centre for Petroleum Geology & Geophysics (NCPGG), with more than 17 years history, has been Australia's pre-eminent centre of excellence for petroleum geoscience research, education and training.

Both are already co-located in the new Santos Petroleum Engineering Building at the University of Adelaide.

"When it provided generous funding to assist in the establishment of the SPEM, Santos emphasised the need for engineers to have strong geosciences and management training. This creation of a new, all- encompassing school confirms that vision even further," Professor McWha says.

Santos Limited's Managing Director, Mr John Ellice-Flint, says he is delighted with the announcement and fully supports the merger.

"As separate entities, the engineering school and the national centre are playing pivotal roles in Australia's oil and gas industry. As a combined school of petroleum engineering and geoscience, the value to the industry will be that much greater," Mr Ellice-Flint says.

Within the University's formal structure, SPEM is part of the Faculty of Engineering, Computer and Mathematical Sciences, while the NCPGG is in the Faculty of Sciences.

"The faculties have already cooperated well in joint teaching programs, but we asked ourselves whether a closer link might work even better," Professor McWha says.

"The new school will allow each specialisation to continue to report to their respective faculties, but operating with a single management structure for program cohesion and efficiency in the use of University resources."

Teaching, research and industry services can then draw easily on the complementary skills already existing within the two faculties. Students from both can undertake courses that recognise their potential employers' needs for broadly trained professional and management staff.

"We believe such a structure will better reflect the University's role in providing research as well as education and support services aligned to its market and community needs," Professor McWha says.

The Head of the Australian School of Petroleum is Professor John Kaldi, formerly Director of the NCPGG.

The school comprises a widely respected team of academic staff renowned for their expertise, including Professor Peter Behrenbruch, who holds the Santos Chair in Petroleum Engineering, Professor Richard Hillis, the South Australian State Chair in Petrophysics and Reservoir Properties and Professor Hemanta Sarma, holder of the Regg Sprigg Chair in Petroleum Engineering.

In addition, Associate Professor Simon Lang, and Professors Reidar Bratvold, Steve Begg and Ashok Khurana will help provide educational and research leadership in the new school.

"The new school is built on our strong belief in combining technical excellence and educational integrity in an environment that is stimulating, inspiring and fun," Professor Kaldi says.

"The integration of geosciences and engineering is something that is happening in the petroleum industry today, and we are one of the first universities in the world to reflect that.

"Students who come to our school should know that we are global in scope. An education from Adelaide will give graduates the background and tools for direct entry to the petroleum industry anywhere in the world."


Contact Details

Professor John Kaldi
Chair of Sequestration
Australian School of Petroleum
University of Adelaide
Business: +61 8 8313 4291
Mobile: 0418 801 896