University of Calgary

University of Calgary

October 22, 2014 11:00 ET

University of Calgary and Kerui Group establish collaborative energy research and training site in China

Beijing Site to focus on unconventional oil and gas

CALGARY, ALBERTA--(Marketwired - Oct. 22, 2014) - The University of Calgary has partnered with a major Chinese oil and gas company to establish a collaborative energy research, education and training site in Beijing - the first such facility in China for a university anywhere in the world.

An official agreement between the University of Calgary and Chinese partner Kerui Group will be signed Thursday morning (Oct. 23, Beijing time) at a ceremony in Beijing which includes senior representatives of the Chinese government, Chinese universities and national energy companies.

University of Calgary president, Elizabeth Cannon, is in Beijing for the ceremony, and is also participating in the 2014 China-Canada Unconventional Oil and Gas Summit and touring the new research facility. Several University of Calgary energy researchers will make presentations at the summit.

"This exciting new international site expands our university's already considerable strengths in unconventional oil and gas research, positioning us firmly as Canada's energy university," Cannon said. "It will provide unique research collaborations for our faculty and unparalleled learning and training opportunities for our students and graduates."

"The establishment of the Beijing Site will help advance breakthrough development and production technologies for recovery of unconventional resources in China," said Xian Yang, president of Kerui Group. "The University of Calgary is a global leader in conventional oil and gas research. This mutual collaboration will have important impacts on research, education and personnel training."

The Beijing Site is part of the university's new Global Research Initiative for Unconventional Oil and Gas. This initiative aims to establish at least three world-leading research, education and training centres focused on unconventional hydrocarbon resources, including a Calgary centre and others in key energy locations around the world.

"The Beijing Site will be utilized as a platform for research, technology and educational exchanges between China and Canada," said John Chen, director of the new research facility and professor of chemical and petroleum engineering in the Schulich School of Engineering. "China's demand for unconventional oil and gas resource exploitation provides an enormous research opportunity for the University of Calgary."

Conventional hydrocarbon sources are declining worldwide. Unconventional resources, such as shale and tight gas and oil, coalbed methane, heavy oil, oilsands bitumen and gas hydrates, are the future of the global oil and gas industry. The University of Calgary - with more than 200 faculty engaged in energy research and training, including 30 externally funded energy research chairs - is an international leader in geological, geophysical and engineering research related to the exploration and development of unconventional oil and gas reservoirs.

China has the world's largest resources of shale gas - 134 trillion cubic metres including more than 25 trillion cubic metres of reserves (economically recoverable with current technologies) - and needs advanced research and technologies to produce this resource.

"This research collaboration will open up new doors for training of academic and industrial personnel, graduate students and post-doctoral fellows, and research opportunities for undergraduate students," Chen said.

Kerui Group, a private Chinese oil and gas company with 7,000 employees and operating in more than 45 countries, is contributing $11.25 million (Cdn) for startup infrastructure for the 4,000-square-metre research space in Beijing, including building rental, operational costs and purchase of initial laboratory equipment. Acquisition of additional lab equipment including computer simulation software will be supported through research projects funded by industrial partners from China, Canada and globally.

The university will provide an in-kind contribution, rather than direct financial support, to the Beijing facility that includes faculty expertise and time spent working on projects there. As director, Chen will work at the facility three to four months a year.

The Beijing Site and the Global Research Initiative for Unconventional Oil and Gas are aligned with the university's Eyes High strategy to become one of Canada's top five research universities by its 50th anniversary in 2016.

In addition, the Beijing Site and global initiative dovetail with the university's Energy Research Strategy's four "grand challenges" for innovative energy research, including one focused on unconventional hydrocarbon resources and another on hydraulic fracturing technology used to extract these resources.

Establishing the new research facility in Beijing also is aligned with the university's International Strategy, to increase the number of international undergraduate and graduate students on campus and create opportunities for 50 per cent of all students to have an international experience as part of their studies.

The Government of Alberta is also supportive of the agreement. "This new facility strengthens Alberta-China energy relations and will deliver global benefits by supporting research into innovative technologies for unconventional energy production, while reducing environmental impacts," said Premier Jim Prentice. "Collaborative energy research between our jurisdictions builds on the historic Framework Agreement on Sustainable Energy Development, a first of its kind agreement signed by Alberta and the Chinese government last year."

About the University of Calgary

The University of Calgary is a leading Canadian university located in the nation's most enterprising city. The university has a clear strategic direction to become one of Canada's top five research universities by 2016, where research and innovative teaching go hand in hand, and where we fully engage the communities we both serve and lead. This strategy is called Eyes High, inspired by the university's Gaelic motto, which translates as 'I will lift up my eyes.'

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