Petroleum Development Oman (PDO) has signed a research and development agreement with Muscat University to help resolve some of its complex technical challenges.

It is hoped the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) will help PDO further develop its competitive delivery by reducing costs, increasing production and reserves while operating in a safer and greener environment.

At the same time, the collaboration deal will support PDO’s effort to boost In-Country Value by advancing academic and vocational development and increasing the share of the oil and gas industry’s wealth retained in Oman.

The MoU will also pave the way for students to develop their technical expertise through placements with the Company and the university will collaborate on sharing best practice in the area of Knowledge Management.

The two organisations will also work together to encourage Omani small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and entrepreneurs to carry out their basic technological research, test-proof their conceptual thoughts and innovative ideas and develop early-stage technology in the university’s laboratories prior to any potential future commercial agreements.

PDO will assist with the establishment of a technology centre at the university and its own experts will be given access to these research hubs and run and develop teaching programmes.

The MoU was signed by Mr Amran Al Mahrubi,Technical Director of PDO and Professor Yusra Mouzughi, Interim Vice Chancellor of Muscat University.

Raoul Restucci, Managing Director of PDO, said: “PDO is working hard with key research partners to establish hubs of technological expertise in Oman which can help us to address some of our key challenges.

“These collaborations not only give us access to innovative solutions and the best technology and tools but also enable students to learn more about the needs of the Sultanate’s economy and their potential employers.

“This partnership is a win-win for the national oil and gas sector and Omani academia.”

Professor Yusra Mouzughi, Interim Vice Chancellor of Muscat University added: “This agreement reflects Muscat University’s commitment to delivering a high quality educational provision that is research informed and industry led.  Having close links with industry ensures the relevance of our programmes; the long-term employability of our graduates and makes a positive contribution to meeting some of the key challenges faced by industry.   Further, this MoU forms the beginnings of developing a greater understanding of how Knowledge Management can help make gains and efficiencies in the oil and gas sector.”

The agreement will run for three years and also pave the way for PDO staff to enrol on BSc, MSc and PhD degrees and other courses at Muscat University.

Additionally, PDO and Muscat University will exchange best practices on health, safety and environment (HSE), Lean efficiency programmes and governance frameworks. The Company will also become a member of the universities’ advisory boards.