The American University of Beirut has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Ministry of Energy and Water, to promote exchange of expertise, capacity building, training opportunities, and sharing of research and data in the field of gas and oil.
“AUB is uniquely positioned to offer assistance in terms of building research capacity; providing relevant training and educational opportunities; and organizing joint activities such as seminars, symposia, and conferences,” said AUB President Peter Dorman, during the signing. “In turn, our students and faculty members will gain access to important data that will enhance their ability to engage in innovative and productive research.
He added: “By engaging with public and private institutions, within Lebanon and internationally, we can help apply knowledge and research innovations that advance solutions to local and global issues.”
Dorman noted that energy and gas are issues that are important to Lebanon, particularly with the prospect of offshore exploration almost becoming a reality.
Energy Minister Gebran Bassil expressed the ministry’s commitment to cooperating with universities and acknowledged AUB’s role in influencing and contributing to the human resource capital of Lebanon and the region. “Not only does this MOU show our recognition of the importance of Lebanon’s gas and oil resources, but also the importance of its human resources, without which we cannot extract the gas and oil that is present offshore and benefit from them.”
Makram Suidan, dean of the Faculty of Engineering and Architecture, noted in his welcome remarks: “This MOU paves the way for greater cooperation between the Ministry, the FEA, the Masri Institute, and AUB at large … to address many of the challenges that are anticipated during the exploration, extraction, and processing of petroleum and natural gas,”
Recently, the Munib and Angela Masri Institute for Energy and Natural Resources at AUB, the Lebanese Petroleum Administration and the Faculty of Engineering and Architecture formed research clusters in areas related to the gas and oil sector, including material characterization; design for offshore structures; instrumentation, control, and wireless sensing; big data; modeling and simulation; project evaluation; risk assessment and worker productivity; and remediation of oil spills.
Nesreen Ghaddar, AUB associate provost and chair of the steering committee of the Munib and Angela Masri Institute of Energy and Natural Resources at AUB, noted, following the meeting: “Signing an agreement with the Ministry of Energy will enhance the University’s capacity to facilitate relevant training in the oil and gas sector and would provide a framework for sharing of data and expertise essential for moving the AUB research agenda to be aligned with the needs of Lebanon.”