Uni links into world oil and gas industry

Thursday, 23 October 2003

The University of Adelaide and the world's largest oil and gas company, ExxonMobil, have established a new joint program for collaboration in educational and scientific research projects.

Senior executives from ExxonMobil's US headquarters and its Australian subsidiary, Esso Australia, are in Adelaide today to sign a formal agreement. South Australia's Minister for Mineral Resources Development, the Hon. Mr Paul Holloway, and senior representatives of Primary Industries and Resources SA will attend the ceremony.

The agreement will provide a general framework that endorses the University as a potential participant in collaborative research and educational projects with ExxonMobil and its affiliates.

ExxonMobil will provide in-kind support including software and equipment from its global information network, to assist transfer of data and technical information. The funding arrangements will also support postgraduate research scholarships.

"By association, this link provides an even stronger connection between University of Adelaide students studying petroleum engineering and geoscience with an outstanding industry leader," says Professor John Kaldi, Head of the Australian School of Petroleum.

Professor Kaldi says the University's initiative in establishing the School in July this year had encouraged the new arrangement.

"The new School was formed by merging the School of Petroleum Engineering and Management and the National Centre for Petroleum Geology and Geophysics (NCPGG) to provide a rare blending of geoscience and engineering teaching and research," he says.

"Esso Australia, which had been involved with NCPGG for some years, welcomed the merger as an indication of the University's intention to build a broadly based petroleum centre in Adelaide. The School of Petroleum Engineering and Management was originally established with a generous gift from Santos, and the new School has taken that collaboration with Australian and global companies an important step further.

"While South Australia is not the largest petroleum producing state, the excellence of its education and research in oil and gas has obviously been recognised. This agreement with ExxonMobil reinforces Adelaide's vision to build a world-class petroleum school."

Esso has committed initial funding of nearly $500,000 over the next three years towards the first projects to be supported under the scheme.


The comprehensive integration of geoscience, engineering and petroleum business management within the Australian School of Petroleum has created the first institution of its kind in the southern hemisphere, and one of only a few anywhere.

Teaching and research staff already recruited from many countries include experienced professionals with extensive technical experience in science and engineering, as well as in business practice and management.

Projects already begun and supported through the arrangement with ExxonMobil will cover many aspects of petroleum geoscience and engineering:

  • The Australian School of Petroleum has substantial expertise in reservoir characterisation, applying both geoscientific and engineering analyses of potential oil and gas reservoirs to guide exploration, drilling and recovery programs;
  • Analogue studies will examine present-day rocks, geological structures and physical environments comparable to those in which oil and gas deposits were formed in earlier periods, seeking clues to guide exploration and better recovery from currently producing fields and future discoveries;
  • The School will continue extensive work to improve understanding of "seal" rocks and structures that form underground traps, which collect and hold oil and gas flowing through porous rock layers;
  • Responding to industry requests, the School has begun postgraduate teaching and research programs that include project risk assessment and management for improved business performance.

Australian School of Petroleum sabbatical programs will also provide opportunities for industry managers to participate in specialist courses, work on specific projects in its laboratories and gain access highly qualified computer modelling teams and facilities. In turn, teaching and research staff will be able gain further practical industry experience to stay in touch with new production needs and techniques.

The ExxonMobil release can be found in pdf format here.


Contact Details

Professor John Kaldi
Email: john.kaldi@adelaide.edu.au
Chair of Sequestration
Australian School of Petroleum
University of Adelaide
Business: +61 8 8313 4291
Mobile: 0418 801 896

Anna Schulze
Manager Media Relations
Esso Australia / Mobil Oil
Business: +61 3 9270 3182
Mobile: 0408 532 589