The first intake of students at exploHUB, a new Aberdeen University venture focused on the full-time training of geoscientists in the fundamentals of hydrocarbon exploration, start nine months of study in September.
Their mission – to gain sufficient knowledge for them to play a credible role in the hunt for Earth’s remaining hydrocarbon resources. This is about creating “rethinking, explorationists” who are au fait with current industry methods, tools, trends and activity.
They will work in the type of environment that one would encounter in a typical small exploration company rather than a classroom environment. They are promised state-of-the-art industry-standard technology and guidance from experienced mentors drawn from the offshore industry itself.
The trainees, industry secondees, will be expected to generate a play and prospect portfolio as a byproduct of the training. exploHUB will deliver the results of training back to sponsor companies.
exploHUB is aimed at:
New hires or early career staff at majors who are about to join an exploration team.
High-potential national oil company or foreign national staff from majors who would benefit from an immersive exploration experience. Licence terms or production-sharing agreements often involve training commitments to local national staff.
Service company staff involved with geoscience application workflows, but who require training in North Sea plays and the fundamentals of exploration to better understand their clients’ needs.
Mid-career staff of majors who have worked in development and production and require some retraining prior to perhaps plugging into an exploration team.
Project leader is petroleum geologist Stuart Archer. He was with ConocoPhillips for 12 years, working as a exploration and a production geologist. An alumnus of Aberdeen, he joined the university specifically to take on the exploHUB challenge, becoming director of the initiative in January 2009.
The unit sits within the Department of Geology and Petroleum Geology, and Archer has sought to create a working environment that hands-on industry geologists would find familiar. The accent will be on the practicalities of geoscience life in the commercial petroleum world, and Archer hopes that intakes at exploHUB will grow rapidly from the initial intake.
While exploHUB starts out with a global outreach and is presently discussing training opportunities for the staff of oil companies, from major to minnow, and within the supply chain, trainees will be “immersed in an active exploration environment” with a strong north-west Europe slant.
There is the opportunity to convert the nine-month programme to a Master’s by undertaking an individual research project for a further three months.
Three or six-month modular options are also possible, and Archer and his team are considering developing a one-week play-based exploration short course.