With a focus on building future professionals in the energy sector and continuing academic research in earth sciences and engineering, The University of Texas at Austin (UT) Jackson School of Geosciences and the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) have strengthened collaborations with each other in the fields of energy, environment and sustainability.
The agreement, which is one of three new agreements recently signed in Mexico City by UT Austin Provost Gregory L. Fenves, will focus on academic research in the earth sciences and engineering. The new partnership will enhance the mutual academic opportunities created by Mexico’s recent energy reform.
“One of the challenges that Mexico will have to face is the huge gap that they’re going to have in professional petroleum engineers and geologists,” Jorge R. Piñon, director of the UT Jackson School of Geosciences Latin America and Caribbean Program, told Rigzone. “That’s because in the next five years, Pemex is going to have a lot of their professional staff close to the retirement phase. They have not built an inventory there for those coming through the ranks.”
The new partnership between the two schools will promote the mobility of postgraduate students, researchers and faculty between the institutions. In addition, it will help facilitate conferences, symposia and joint academic programs and scientific research projects to identify and meet sustainable energy challenges.
“In the next 2 to 3 years, because of the opening by the energy reform, we are going to have a large number of oil companies that are going to require national engineers and geologists,” Piñon told Rigzone. “In the early stages, you are going to have expats filling these spots, but expats are very expensive. Companies coming from outside are going to have two main sources of recruitment: UNAM and Instituto Politécnico Nacional (IPN), which have well established and mature programs, and Pemex itself.”
Mexico is extremely important to The Bureau of Economic Geology (BEG) and the Institute for Geophysics (UTIG), UT Jackson School of Geosciences’ two new research units.
In 2014, UT’s UTIG was awarded approximately $58 million, one of the largest grants to the university, to analyze deposits of frozen methane under the Gulf of Mexico that hold enormous potential to increase the world’s energy supply. Under the new agreement between UT Jackson School of Geosciences and UNAM, there are plans for even more research in Mexico.
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