A total of 19 academics from Nigerian universities have begun research attachments in the sabbatical and internship programmes of Shell Petroleum Development Company Nigeria Limited (SPDC) Joint Venture.
The programme, which has eight professors and 11 research interns, aims to build industry knowledge in such fields as biodiversity, petroleum engineering, geophysics, impact assessment, community health and oil and gas exploration.
Recipients of the awards are from the University of Benin, University of Ibadan, Niger Delta University and the University of Ilorin.
Others are the University of Lagos, Ladoke Akintola University of Technology, Ahmadu Bello University, Michael Okpara University of Agriculture, University of Calabar and University of Nigeria, Nsukka.
“Our research and internship programmes is a key aspect of our effort to contribute to the development of higher education in Nigeria,” said Igo Weli, SPDC’s general manager external relations.
“It is a mutually beneficial relationship. SPDC obtains specialised and cost-effective services from the professors and senior lecturers, while they, in turn, acquire industry experience and exposure to new technologies that can be ploughed back to the university community. ”
For a year, the professors will conduct research in identified areas and share their findings with SPDC.
Part of the internship programme involves Master’s degree students, who have been offered one-year placements to acquire work experience in SPDC.
The other sets of interns are from the Shell Centre of Excellence at the University of Benin, who will spend six months, to gain critical working experience and acquire SPDC’s work culture and ethics.
Opportunities for the sabbatical and research internship scheme are advertised in national and local newspapers from March with interviews held in July each year.
Shell companies have a long history of supporting education and other initiatives, while also helping to build capacity in key technical skills.
Such efforts include the donation of equipment to universities to develop capacity in the production of drilling mud.
Ten graduate scholarships are also awarded annually to students from Rivers, Bayelsa and Delta states, to study engineering and geosciences at top universities in the United Kingdom, building a talent pipeline within host communities.
Additionally, 40 engineering and geosciences graduates receive hands-on training through a one-year internship with SPDC JV and the Petroleum Technology Association of Nigeria, a group of indigenous oilfield service companies.