New Era (Windhoek)

27 July 2012

Namibia: Petrofund Donates to Geology Dept

The PetroFund on Wednesday donated two giant workstations worth N$124 188 to the University of Namibia's (Unam) geology department.

The workstations were purchased after the department approached the PetroFund Board of Trustees for assistance to accommodate petroleum software that is impossible to run on any computer platform.

Chairman of the PetroFund Kahijoro Kahuure indicated that the software, commonly used in the petroleum industry, is capable of predicting hydrocarbon reserves.

"This prediction includes timing of hydrocarbons, migration routes, hydrocarbon subsurface types, as well as surface conditions.

"These workstations will make it easier for the Department of Geology to strengthen the teaching of petroleum geosciences. I have been provided with assurances by the department that the workstations will enhance the quality and effectiveness of teaching and research through the use of this appropriate technology," Kahuure said.

Kahuure says the petroleum industry presents huge prospects for the economy and as yet, remains to be exploited.

"The petroleum industry is dynamic and research-driven hence scientific innovations are among the benchmarks for success. The petroleum industry will no doubt benefit from better trained graduates hence our involvement in institutional development such as the donation of appropriate workstations to the geology department."

Dr Ansgar Wanke, the head of the geology department received the donation on behalf of the university.

"Oil and gas exploration requires advanced training and to facilitate that we require advanced methods, techniques as well as software.

"We received the specialised software from Schlumberger. Normally, this complex software costs N$8 million but we approached the company and it was donated to us," Wanke explained.

Petrel and PetroMod are leading software programmes in exploration and 3D-mapping of hydrocarbons (particularly oil and charcoal fuel-related finds.) This means they require unique computer platforms to execute successfully.

"They (software) is so highly demanding on the computer that's why we got these two workstations. With the operating capacity of 10 regular computers, the workstations are capable of running the software and enable us to combine geological data acquired to investigate certain areas that have oil potential, said Wanke.

Features of the software involve combining data from various sources, building 3-dimensional models where oil is, assessing volumes, depth and evaluating numerous other characteristics.

"You can also use satellite imaging but mostly, it compiles data as you drill kilometres down and acquire rock formation. However, it also does seismic imaging, which is basically mapping out the area below the ground with sound waves and shockwaves based on how they reflect on the rock layer. It is like x-raying but using seismic waves," explained Wanke.

It is expected that with this donation the university will eventually be able to offer a degree at master's level providing for specialised studies in Exploration Geophysics and Petroleum Engineering and increase the number of students in this particular field of study.

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