Collaboration heralds new era in SE Asia oil and gas exploration expertise
A signing ceremony Wednesday, 3 May 2006, ushered in an unprecedented era of collaboration between academia, government and the petroleum industry that will expand the expertise and number of qualified personnel in the oil and gas industry in Southeast Asia .
The Asian Institute of Technology is partnering with Thailand 's Department of Mineral Fuels, the Petroleum Institute of Thailand, PTT Exploration and Production Public Co., Ltd., Chevron Thailand Exploration and Production Ltd., CUEL Ltd., Thai Nippon Steel Engineering and Construction Corporation Ltd., Worley Parsons ( Thailand ) Ltd., Technip Engineering ( Thailand ) Ltd., Foster Wheeler International Corp. and other joint project members.
Through this collaboration, AIT will offer a one-year Professional Master of Engineering degree in Offshore Technology & Management and short-term professional training courses to staff with on-the-job experience from the oil and gas industry.
“Manpower is tight and will be tighter, which may affect sustainable development of the (exploration and production) industry in the future,” said Mr. Pipop Pruecksamars, executive director of the Petroleum Institute of Thailand, at the signing ceremony. “The objective of this program is to develop our people in this area to make sure we have enough people and competency in the E&P industry.”
Thailand currently has almost 200 offshore oil and gas platforms; the next 10 years will see a demand for 200 more, industry officials predict. That will require a larger, more educated workforce.
“As we are an operator and service provider in this industry, we recognize a need for qualified people,” said Mr. Maroot Mrigadat, president of PTT Exploration and Production Public Co., Ltd. “We must encourage students to pursue science and technology careers. One way we can do this is to partner with institutions like AIT.”
The courses begin in the August 2006 semester through AIT's School of Engineering and Technology. Specialization in Geoexploration and Petroleum Geoengineering, Offshore Structural Design and Construction, and Offshore Operation and Management will be offered through curricula derived from current courses, through courses taught by those experts working in the industry and through courses taught by academic partners.
AIT President Said Irandoust sees the program as fulfilling both the needs of an industry and the mission of the institute. The collaborative program will serve as a model for programs with other industries, he said.