The North-east of Scotland is set for an international boost, as its universities have been named as two of only four European institutions to be chosen by the Mexican Government to work in collaboration with Mexican universities to address the future needs of the country's energy sector.
SENER (Mexico's Secretary of Energy) this week announced that Robert Gordon University (RGU) and the University of Aberdeen will join Imperial College London and the IFP School in France as the selected universities.
Mexico has a longstanding track-record as one of the world's leading hydrocarbon producing countries and its government is looking to make strides towards closing a skills gap over the next 30 years, with many of the challenges being highlighted in a skills development framework developed by RGU.
RGU will now work with Instituto Mexicano del Petróleo (IMP), Instituto Politécnico Nacional (IPN), and Instituto Tecnológico y de Estudios Superiores de Monterrey, for Masters in Drilling & Well Engineering, Masters in Offshore Oil & Gas Engineering, and MBA Oil & Gas respectively.
The university, which is recognised as a global leader in meeting the needs of the oil and gas sector in terms of education, training and research, has also been awarded a contract to lead on the development of a Mexico:UK Smart Data for energy Research Centre.
Professor John Harper, Principal and Vice Chancellor of Robert Gordon University who was in Mexico to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), said: “I am truly delighted that RGU has been chosen by SENER as one of only four European partner institutions to help transform training and research in Mexico's hydrocarbon sector.
“RGU has built an established relationship with Mexico over the last three years after signing the Memorandum of Understanding with SENER, and has since worked with both governments to understand and recommend the skills and capabilities required to develop an international oil and gas industry.
“We are honoured to be able to continue to draw on our internationally recognised expertise in Mexico by working closely with our partner institutions to support the development of the country's hydrocarbon sector.”
It is anticipated that the collaboration will extend to assisting in the development of longer term relationships between governments, trade bodies, industry associations and educational institutions in Mexico and the UK and to use lessons learned from the North Sea to support capacity building and operational excellence in both countries.
Aberdeen University's involvement in the collaboration will see Scotland's University of the Year* deliver a mixture of research and teaching, across engineering and law.
In engineering, the University will deliver two research projects – one on a thermally-assisted enhanced oil recovery (EOR) method with Instituto Potosino de Investigación Científica y Tecnológica (IPICYT), and the other on developing methods to assess and monitor the integrity of subsea infrastructure in partnership with Instituto Mexicano del Petróleo (IMP). Meanwhile, the University will also deliver a collaborative MSc in Subsea Engineering with IMP.
In law, the University will work with the Universidad de las Americas Puebla (UDLAP) to deliver a joint LLM programme on Oil & Gas Law, and will collaborate with Instituto de Investigaciones Juiridicas (UNAM) and Institutio Teconologico Autonomo de Mexico (ITAM) in a major research project on Hydrocarbon Law, combining socio-legal and economics research in the areas of international arbitration, social licensing and innovation.
Professor George Boyne, University of Aberdeen Principal, commented: “This Memorandum of Understanding with SENER is testament to the University's status as a world leader in energy research and teaching across multiple disciplines, from subsea engineering to energy law.
“Our well-established links with Mexico stretch back several years, and our close relationship with CONACYT, the Mexican Councilfor Science & Technology, has seen hundreds of Mexican students come to Aberdeen to benefit from our renowned energy programmes.
“We are once again delighted to harness our expertise to help support the development of Mexico's energy sector, and I welcome this MoU as another important step in this ongoing and mutually beneficial relationship.”