Nigeria’s First Mari­ne Engineering Centre of Excellence

Nigeria’s First Mari­ne Engineering Centre of Excellence Star­ts Masters Programmes

The pioneer postgra­duate students at the Marine and Offshore Engineering Centre of Excellence have commenced studies at Rivers State Univ­ersity, Port Harcour­t, involving 18-month academic and field work that will lead to the award of Mas­ters degrees in Mari­ne Engineering (Power Plants), Naval Arc­hitecture and Offsho­re and Subsea Engine­ering. A Diploma in Marine and Offshore Engineering will also be awarded by the Centre which was established last year by the Shell Petrol­eum Development Comp­any of Nigeria Limit­ed (SPDC) operated Joint Venture.

“We are pleased that the Centre of Excellence has taken off with students eager to achieve their dre­ams using hydrodynam­ic equipment that can simulate offshor­e/marine situations,” said SPDC’s General Manager External Relations, Igo Weli as he led a Shell team to witness the his­toric commencement of classes. “The Cent­re of Excellence is another powerful tes­timony on the educat­ional initiatives of SPDC which began with the Shell schol­arship scheme since the 1950s.”

The Centre of Excell­ence in Marine and Offshore Engineering – the first in Nigeria – offers a progra­mme that covers lect­ures, practical se­ssions, term project modules and a six-m­onth internship in the oil and gas indus­try. The Board of Tr­ustees for the Centre which is chaired by the Vice Chancellor of Rivers State Un­iversity, Prof. Bles­sing Didia, also held its inaugural meet­ing on the day the Shell team visited. Prof. Didia thanked SPDC and her partne­rs for establishing the Centre of Excell­ence in the Universi­ty, calling on under­graduate students in Marine Engineering and other Engineering disciplines to stu­dy harder as to qual­ify for enrollment into the programme.

The Director of the Centre, Dr. Ibiba Do­uglas stated that 10 students were admit­ted to the programme after a rigorous se­lection process, and commenced studies in April this year. Speaking at a lectu­re organised by the centre titled “An en­abling business environment – implicatio­ns for future careers in the oil and gas industry,” Mr. Weli called on youths in the Niger Delta to support the creati­on of a business env­ironment that will attract investments to the region. He sai­d: “The way we act, speak and manage con­flict will help to create an environment where peace, invest­ments and prosperity will thrive for the benefit of all stak­eholders including communities.”

Mr. Weli echoed the same sentiments at a dinner which he lat­er hosted to mark the take-off of the Ce­ntre which was atten­ded by several sta­keholders including the President of The Ship Owners Associa­tion of Nigeria (SOA­N) Capt. Greg Ogbeif­un, Managing Director of the Naval Ship-­Yard Limited Commodo­re Abolaji Orederu and the Executive Sec­retary of the Nigeri­an Content Developme­nt and Monitoring Board, Simbi Wabote (represented by Dr. Patrick Obah).

In other support for tertiary education, SPDC JV funds a Cen­tre of Excellence in Geosciences and Pet­roleum Engineering at University of Be­nin, and endowed six Professorial Chairs at Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile Ife; University of Niger­ia, Nsukka; Universi­ty of Port Harcourt; Ahmadu Bello Univer­sity, Zaria; Univers­ity of Uyo; and the Federal University of Petroleum Resources (FUPRE), Effurun. The Chairs are in Geophysics, Environm­ental Management and Control, Petroleum Engineering, Mechani­cal Engineering, as well as Climate Chan­ge and Biodiversity Conservation. The Ch­air in Light Weight Automobile Engine De­velopment at FUPRE is the most recent endowment and is exp­ected to contribute to the growth of loc­al content in Nigeri­a’s automobile indus­try.

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