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Statoil employees Bill Maloney, Astrid Sørensen and Karl Johhny Hersvik with some of the students awarded scholarship funds (Photographer: Emily Kinsolving)

The students and their advisors were honored at a reception at the UT Club President’s Room in Austin on Monday 30 April. Bill Maloney, executive vice president for Statoil North America, attended the reception, along with Karl Johnny Hersvik, senior vice president, research & development, who is responsible for this partnership.

“We aim for a significant growth in our activities in North America. Universities and Academic Institutions represent important arenas for Statoil when it comes to research and competence development,” says Hersvik.

“We want to position ourselves as a leading company within research and innovation, and want to attract top students and talents from top universities.”

The students, their pursued degree and area of focus include: 

 Student Degree  Area of focus 
 Christopher Blyton PhD  Unconventional oil and gas 
 Soheil Ghanbarzadeh PhD  Trap integrityin salt basins 
 Ming Gu PhD  unconventional oil and gas 
 Siwei Li PhD  Trap integrity in salt basins 
 Damian Markez Master  Drainage of deep marine reservoirs 
 Ayaz Mehmani PhD  Integration of geological, geophysical and petrophysical data in earth model 
Michael Merell Master Integration of geological, geophysical and petrophysical data in earth model
Robin Singh PhD Drainage of deep marine reservoirs

Brit Ragnhildstveit, lead business developer in the technology, projects and drilling organization, has been involved in selecting the students and focus areas of study. “It is Statoil’s vision to help these students receive education within designated, strategic areas of study for our company and the industry at large. It was a wonderful event to both honor these students and the scholarship partnership Statoil has established with UT.”

The agreement between Statoil and UT was signed in Austin on September 19, 2011 by Bill Maloney and UT research vice president Juan M. Sanchez.

For 2012, the agreement identified four strategic areas of focus to stimulate research and competence development:

• Integration of geological, geophysical and petrophysical data in earth models

• Trap integrity in salt basins that trap oil and gas underground

• Drainage of deep marine reservoirs

• Unconventional oil and gas

“Thanks to Statoil’s continued support, these graduate students will be further exposed to hands-on research opportunities and side-by-side collaboration with industry partners,” said Mukul Sharma, an advisor and professor at the university. “The research challenges being pursued through this partnership are critical to our nation’s economic and energy future, and I look forward to the research progress that our students will make in these areas.”

The scholarship funds awarded to students can last two to three years, depending on the project and degree. Furthermore the agreement states Statoil will contribute $5 million USD to future students of the university over the next five years.