Increasing Demand for Petroleum Geoscientists

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The University of London offers new online programme in Petroleum Geoscience

These new postgraduates will be well-placed to fill the shortage gap of mid-career professionals that would normally replace those taking retirement.

A global demand for newly qualified professionals for the oil industry is being addressed by a new online distance learning Masters programme in Petroleum Geoscience. This is the first time a Masters in this subject is being offered online by one of the worldwide training leaders in this field.

The programme, developed by Royal Holloway, University of London, is one of 100+ study programmes on offer through the University of London External System, which has 45,000 students in more than 180 countries.

Dr Gary Nichols, Dean of the Graduate School at Royal Holloway, has been instrumental in developing this innovative online study programme. Dr Nichols said: "There is a worldwide shortage of well-qualified geoscientists in the petroleum industry, which has to continue its exploration activity to meet the steadily increasing demand for oil. For the industry to maintain its current level of activity, it also needs to expand its workforce to include well-trained graduates with the capability to find the remaining resources in what are now geologically more complex and less obvious situations."

He added: "Masters programmes providing integrated training in the range of skills and the knowledge of geology and geophysics that is required by the oil industry are only available at a handful of institutions worldwide. The Department of Earth Sciences at Royal Holloway has an excellent 25-year track record of equipping postgraduate students for employment within the oil industry. This new venture of delivering the same programme by distance learning builds on our success and is responsive to the needs of this industry."

Dr Nichols says he believes that newly qualified petroleum geoscientists can also be used to retain the accumulative industry experience that is in danger of being lost through retirement. He explains: "These new postgraduates will be well-placed to fill the shortage gap of mid-career professionals that would normally replace those taking retirement."

One such graduate from Royal Holloway is Stewart Easton, who having completed the Masters in Petroleum Geoscience, is employed by Gaz de France. He said: "The curriculum is tailored to the important aspects of hydrocarbon exploration and production, both from a theoretical and practical standpoint. The new distance learning version will provide an excellent development opportunity for people who are currently in, or looking to get into, the industry. The standard of teaching and course graduates is second to none, which is why an MSc in Petroleum Geoscience from Royal Holloway continues to have a highly respected reputation in our business."

Offered at both MSc and Postgraduate Diploma level, the new study programme is available from autumn 2009.

Notes for Editors:

About Royal Holloway, University of London:

  • Royal Holloway is a constituent College of the University of London.
  • Royal Holloway already provides a campus-based study programme in Petroleum Geoscience, with an international reputation for excellence in the petroleum industry.
  • The MSc in Petroleum Geoscience programme has been educating geoscientists for the oil and gas industry since 1985, and nearly 500 students have graduated, almost all of whom continue to work in the industry.
  • Since 2008 Royal Holloway has been delivering the MSc in Petroleum Geoscience in Russia in collaboration with Tyumen State Oil and Gas University in Western Siberia.

About the University of London External System:

  • The University of London was established in 1836 and is one of the oldest, largest and most diverse universities in the United Kingdom.
  • The University's founding principle is to provide education for all, irrespective of race, creed or political belief.
  • In 1858, the University of London was granted its fourth Charter, which paved the way for the establishment of the University of London External System.
  • The University of London External System is a unique global network of 45,000 students in 180 countries, on more than 100 study programmes.
  • The External System has been instrumental in the formation of British higher education - all English and Welsh universities founded between 1849 and 1949 offered University of London degrees before obtaining Royal Charters to award their own degrees.
  • Between 1946-1970, the External System played a significant role in establishing many Commonwealth universities under a unique scheme of 'special relations'.
  • Through the External System higher education was made available to a much wider range of social classes; it pre-empted 20th Century developments in open, flexible and distance learning by more than 100 years.
  • Famous former students and alumni of the External System include six Nobel Prize Winners: Sir Frederick Gowland Hopkins, Professor Ronald Coase, Wole Soyinka, Derek Walcott, ex-President Nelson Mandela and joint winner Dr Rolph Payet.

For further information contact:

Binda Rai
Head of Global Media and PR
University of London External System
Tel: +44 (0) 20 7862 8545 (office)
07920 476483 (mobile)

Peter Quinn
Senior Communications Manager
Tel: +44 (0)20 7664 5584 (office)


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