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Oil Minister Leads Industry-Academia Initiative to Build Cooperation on Research, Innovation.

Muscat, June 5 (ONA) --- The Ministry of Oil and Gas, Petroleum

Development Oman (PDO) and the Research Council have ratified the

2017 Oman Energy Industry-Academia Research and Development

(R&D) Protocol in an effort to build a vibrant research ecosystem within

the country that can deliver the solutions that the energy industry

requires to sustain output through to 2040 and beyond.

Over the last decade, Oman has demonstrated a commitment to

innovative research, which has successfully stemmed, and reversed, a

decline in domestic oil production. More of that pioneering spirit and

partnership, combined with new technologies, will be needed going

forward as the country prepares to tap more of its heavy and complex

crude oil reservoirs, and hard to access gas reserves, to sustain and

further advance production levels.

"Embedding academia into industry and vice-versa is a great idea.

When I was teaching at Sultan Qaboos University, the most useful part

of my experience were the days that I spent in PDO as they taught me

how to teach and learn the real-world application of petroleum

engineering," said Dr. Mohammed bin Hamad al-Rumhy, Minister of Oil

and Gas. "We need to find areas for collaboration, and we can start

now by identifying professors throughout Academia who can spend

time in industry," Dr. Al-Rumhy added at the signing of the Protocol in

his office today.

The R&D Protocol, which was harvested from a series of

industry-academia workshops facilitated by Gulf Intelligence through

2015-16, calls upon companies and universities that ratify the

agreement to adhere to a series of recommendations, which are

designed to develop a mission critical research ecosystem working on

behalf of Oman's energy industry. Much of the country's oil reserves

are classed as 'heavy oil' and require specialist technology to maximize

production, such as enhanced oil recovery (EOR) technologies.

Bridging the gap between Oman's energy Industry and

Academia to develop a vibrant research and development culture of

collaboration could take three to five years to embed, according to

almost two thirds of the 150 stakeholders polled in a GIQ Survey

conducted late last year.

"The alignment between Oman's Industry and Academia must be

improved in order for Oman to deliver an enhanced R&D ecosystem

that fosters efficient public-private partnerships," said Raoul Restucci,

Managing Director of PDO. "It is important to better integrate and lever

Academia and to ensure a full and seamless understanding of the

challenges industry faces in technology, innovation, and even

legislative or economic hurdles-- and work with private and public

companies to find solutions".

"For many years, PDO has embraced innovation and worked diligently

with our partners and stakeholders to develop talented Omani

students, professionals and businesses in areas of operational,

technical and commercial delivery and value creation and this

agreement will give this work added impetus".

While Oman has been improving its R&D infrastructure, many

observe that most new innovative technologies are still imported

through international partnerships and not developed locally in the

Sultanate. In order for this trend to change, it is necessary to bolster

the national capacity for R&D by developing and deepening

collaboration between industry, academia, and government throughout


"Academia cannot do research for research sake; efforts have to be

focused in order to deliver applied results that are useful to the

profitability of Industry and to Oman as a whole," said Dr. Hilal al-Hinai,

Secretary General of the Research Council. "Leveraging the

considerable opportunity in Oman is a journey that must be equally

shared by Industry and Academia. The success of these partnerships

is integral to Oman's economic health, as oil and gas production

accounted for the vast majority of government revenues in 2015," Dr.

al-Hinai said after signing the Protocol document with Restucci.

The R&D Protocol will be implemented through a digital platform

where industry, academia, and government can connect around

research and innovation activities, based on an uber like virtual market

place model. The platform will be managed by the Institute of

Advanced Technology Integration (IATI) formed by the Research

Council and PDO.

The platform will provide numerous resources for both industry

and academia, such as access to a researchers' directory, which will

contain searchable profiles of researchers and institutions in Oman. It

will also provide access to a 'staff mobility' scheme that facilitates

secondment from academia to industry and vice versa, and access to

an application process to utilize industrial facilities for the purpose of

research and innovation.

--- Ends/KH

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Publication:Oman News Agency
Geographic Code:7OMAN
Date:Jun 5, 2017
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