FORT McMURRAY, Alberta – Syncrude’s support for two new industrial research chairs at the University of Alberta brings its total funding for the university’s research programs to more than $6 million.
“Through the strong and continuing support of Syncrude and our other partners, the Faculty of Engineering has developed major collaborative programs that are focused on, and delivering results for, the responsible development of the oil sands while providing the next generation of engineering innovators for our economy and society,” said Dr. David Lynch, P.Eng., Dean of Engineering at the U of A.
“The oil sands are still a relatively young industry with considerable room for innovation and technology development,” said Syncrude President and CEO Scott Sullivan. “Research in the oil sands can yield tremendous value, whether it is related to our mining, extraction, upgrading or environmental efforts.”
The two new chairs bring the total number of research chairs that Syncrude currently supports to nine. One of the first chairs that Syncrude helped support was the Alberta Chamber of Resources / University of Alberta Department of Mining Industry chair in 2002. This research chair helped increase the focus on the university’s School of Mining and Petroleum Engineering program, which today is considered one of the best in the world but would have closed in the early 1990s without the support of the industry.
With only two graduates in 1992, the university’s mining engineering program was slated to close. Industry support helped preserve the program resulting in 16 graduates by 1996 and today the program boasts 40 to 50 graduates per year. Along with the University and the Alberta Chamber of Resources, Syncrude was instrumental in first saving the program and then establishing the Mining Industry Advisory Committee (MIAC). Over the last 20 years, MIAC has implemented business plans that attracted faculty and students, improved the curriculum and developed the Mining program into one of the top programs in the world.
This is a highly technical business that takes bright, young thinkers to drive improvement every day,
U of A graduate and Syncrude Manager, Mildred Lake Mining
“I have to say it has been a really satisfying experience and journey making a difference for the program. Hundreds of students have now gone through it and are leading Syncrude and our industry into the future.”
The Syncrude Project is a Joint Venture undertaking among Canadian Oil Sands Partnership, Imperial Oil Resources, Mocal Energy Limited, Murphy Oil Company Ltd., Nexen Oil Sands Partnership, Sinopec Oil Sands Partnership and Suncor Energy Oil and Gas Partnership.