Chinese company, Canadian university partner on energy center
Updated: 2014-11-06 06:18
By PAUL WELITZKIN in New York(China Daily USA)
University of Calgary President Elizabeth Cannon and John Chen, who will serve as the first director of the new energy research, education and training center in Beijing that is a partnership between the college and China-based Kerui Group, in Beijing last month. Provided to China Daily
The University of Calgary, in partnership with Chinese oil and gas company Kerui Group, has opened a research, education and training center in Beijing, the first such facility in China operated by a foreign university.
The center will provide research and training into extracting tight oil, shale gas, coal-bed methane, natural-gas hydrates and oil-sands bitumen to help China reduce its dependence on coal.
China has vast amounts of unconventional or hard-to-recover natural gas supplies. It also has the world's largest deposits of shale gas - 134 trillion cubic meters. That includes more than 25 trillion cubic meters of reserves (economically recoverable with current technologies).
In a ceremony in Beijing last month, representatives from Kerui and the Chinese government along with University of Calgary President Elizabeth Cannon signed an agreement for the center.
“The university has a lot of strength in unconventional resources,” Cannon told China Daily in an interview. “This is an opportunity to bring our expertise overseas. This center will enable us to develop and expand our partnerships not only with industry but with Chinese universities in the unconventional oil and gas space.”
More than 600 students from China are studying at the Calgary school.
Kerui Group is a private Chinese oil and gas company with 7,000 employees that operates in over 45 countries. It is contributing C$11.25 million (US$9.87 million) for the 4,000-square-meter research space in Beijing, including building rental and operational costs and the initial purchase of 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.
John Chen, a University of Calgary faculty member and petroleum engineer, will serve as the first director of the Beijing research center.
Bruce Graham, president and CEO of Calgary Economic Development, believes the center will build upon the existing ties between Canada and China.
“It not only strengthens the relationship with our second-biggest trading partner, it will also foster the relationship between companies in Calgary, Alberta and China and that includes an opportunity to bring more jobs to the area and the province,” he told China Daily.
Chinese companies have already invested in Alberta’s fast-growing oil-sands industry. In 2012, China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC)agreed to purchase Calgary-based oil producer Nexen Inc for $15.1 billion. “I think this will encourage even more Chinese investment in this valuable resource,” said Graham.
The center can also serve as a catalyst for improved relations between China and Canada, according to Cannon.
“I think universities can play a unique role in developing relationships between countries,” she said. “I believe we can provide a bridge for stronger political and business ties.”