Nigeria’s first Marine Engineering takes off at Rivers State University

The Centre of Excellence (CoE) in Marine Engineering and Offshore Technology established by the Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Ltd (SPDC)-operated joint venture at the Rivers State University (RSU) is set to open its doors to the pioneer students who are currently being screened in an elaborate admission process.

More than 100 candidates had applied in response to newspaper advertisements, and the shortlisted ones are being screened and interviewed preparatory to commencement of studies in April.

“We continue to thank NNPC and SPDC for being part of our success story at the university,” RSU Vice Chancellor, Professor Blessing Didia, said at the start of the admission interviews. “We are very happy that the centre has taken off, and we congratulate NNPC, SPDC and the other joint venture partners for what they have done for the university.”

Also speaking, the Head of University Relations, SPDC, Professor Edmond Allison-Oguru, expressed the hope that the Centre of Excellence would bring the much-needed improvement in marine engineering and offshore technology in the Niger Delta.

The CoE in Marine Engineering and Offshore Technology, the first in Nigeria, will run 18-month Master’s and Diploma programmes, covering classroom lectures, practical sessions, term project modules and a six-month internship in the oil and gas industry. The multi-million-naira facility was inaugurated in June 2017, during which SPDC Managing Director and Country Chair, Shell Companies in Nigeria, Osagie Okunbor, pledged that it would produce industry-ready Master’s degree graduates to further advancements in Nigeria’s offshore technology sector.

The SPDC JV had earlier established a CoE in Petroleum Engineering and Geosciences at the University of Benin, and endowed six professorial chairs in Nigerian universities as part of the support for the academia. In 2016, a Chair in Light Weight Automobile Engine Development was established at the Federal University of Petroleum Resources in Effurun, Delta State, which is expected to contribute to the growth of local content in Nigeria’s automobile industry. Also, research at the Shell Professional Chair in Petroleum Engineering at the University of Port Harcourt in 2012 produced the Optiwell well-bore stability software. Use of the software has significantly reduced drilling time as well as costs associated with mud loss and other drilling challenges.

The support for universities is implemented along with other social investment schemes of the SPDC JV, which include the Shell Eco Marathon, the Sabbatical and Research Interns Scheme, Research and Development Grant for competitive proposals and Data support for academic activities from undergraduate to doctoral levels.