BP’s educational initiatives in Azerbaijan

26 May 2010

BP as the operator of Azerbaijan’s major oil and gas development and transportation projects is committed to Azerbaijan’s successful future and as part of this commitment BP supports very important educational initiatives and programmes in this country. 
Most of these initiatives are designed to support development of the energy industry, widen learning opportunities in technical fields and promote business training. To implement these programmes, BP closely cooperates with the National Academy of Sciences, the State Oil Academy, Khazar University, Baku State University, the Technical University and Qafqaz University, various secondary and vocational schools. This cooperation continues to contribute to the development of the scientific basis of Azerbaijan’s petroleum industry and supports education and training of the new generation of highly-qualified national energy industry experts and workforce. 

This press pack provides information about the most important examples of BP’s educational and capacity-building initiatives. 

1. BP bursary programme 

BP’s Bursary Programme is an ongoing initiative which was first launched in 2007 with the aim to motivate academic excellence of students who are specialising in petroleum engineering and geosciences at the State Oil Academy. 

To date some 120 first year students majoring in petroleum engineering and geological prospecting at the State Oil Academy have received BP’s bursary awards (1,000 AZN each). These are mainly winners of the city, regional and national olympiads, as well as talented students from internally displaced and refugee families. 

BP’s bursary programme together with another equally important educational initiative funded by BP together with its co-venturers – Azerbaijan oil and gas scholarship initiative, provides the main resourcing line for the company’s annual summer internship programme. In 2009, for instance, 70% of the students, who practiced engineering and geosciences summer internship with BP, were recipients of either BP bursary awards or other BP-invloved scholarships. 
As part of the bursary awards programme over the past years BP has also donated some 5,000 AZN worth books and scientific magazines to the library of the State Oil Academy (this is in addition to the 10,000 AZN worth book donation made today, May 26, 2010). 

Please also see the press release issued today (May 26, 2010) 

2. Creation of new disciplines at the Qafqaz University 

BP has an ongoing commitment to help the Baku-based Qafqaz University broaden its curriculum to cover undergraduate education in chemical, petroleum, and mechanical engineering disciplines. This is a major investment that will support Azerbaijan’s economic development in the years to come. It is expected that the programme will provide high-quality experts for the oil and gas, dye, chemical, plastics, food, pharmaceuticals and other processing industries. 

In 2009 BP signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the university to launch the project which covers the years 2009-2012 and which will be implemented in three phases. Under the MOU, BP will provide funding for laboratories and related materials required to teach the three new disciplines. The university has started creation of the Chemical Engineering Department with eight students already selected last year. Work to this end also includes establishing a state-of-the-art chemical engineering laboratory at the university’s campus in Baku. 
3. South Caspian basin modeling centre

In 2008 BP presented a South Caspian Basin Modelling Centre to the Geology Institute of the National Academy of Sciences as part of its long and successful cooperation with the institute. The Centre was designed to bring the most advanced geological modelling capability into the institute allowing for subsurface modelling of the challenging and unique South Caspian Basin. In addition, the centre aimed to bring together a full range of related disciplines from geology, geophysics, geochemistry and biostratigraphy in order to improve understanding of Azerbaijan’s near-shore and onshore hydrocarbon potential. In addition to being a technology transfer effort, this important project marks BP experts desire and intention to share their knowledge and experience with their Azerbaijani colleagues through teaching the centre staff how to operate this extremely high-tech and advanced equipment. To that end BP also funded some of the institute experts’ internships in Paris and Moscow. 

SOCAR indicated that they looked forward to the practical application of the results of the basin modelling to be conducted by the experts of the Institute and that they believed these would help them understand the complexity of geological structures into which they drill. BP believes that the advanced equipment transfer and cooperation between the company and institute experts mark the beginning of a new stage in the Azerbaijani geological science. 
The centre is in addition to BP’s previous efforts to support the Geology Institute: 
  • In 1992 - 2000 BP helped publication of a series of articles and monographs on geological science
  • In 2000 BP helped the institute design and implement BTC monitoring project which included creation of seismic stations, installation of Global Positioning System, radiometric and gravimetric devices along BTC.
  • In 2005, 2007 and 2009 BP supported the conference of young geoscientists.
4. Geosciences and engineering speaker series initiative

BP has an ongoing geosciences and engineering speaker series (BPGESS) initiative which is designed to enhance commitment by future generations of engineers to promoting geosciences in Azerbaijan. The project provides students and academia in the areas of geology, geophysics, and engineering disciplines a good opportunity to meet, talk and engage with scientists and practitioners in these fields. The sessions are hosted by BP and the first speaker in the series was Rashid Javanshir, BP Azerbaijan President, Doctor of Geology and Mineralogy, professor, member of Azerbaijan’s National Academy of Sciences. The topic of Dr. Javanshir’s lecture was “The South Caspian Basin: Unique Geology and Unique Petroleum System”. 
Since the launch of the initiative on November 23, 2009, five additional sessions were held by BP experts: 
  • December 9, 2009 - Peter Watson, Global Advisor in Geophysics for BP, “Recent Advances in Seismic Imaging
  • February 18, 2010 – Steve Carhart, BP Senior Reservoir Engineer, “Bright Water – A Step change in
  • March 17, 2010 – Alistair Jones, BP Azerbaijan Resource Authority, “Sedimentological Controls on Displacement in ACG”
  • April 20, 2010 - Nazim Abdullayev, BP Senior Geoscientist, “Subsidence and Tectonics in the South
  • May 18, 2010 - Mike McLean, BP Pore Pressure Specialist, “The Stress Cage process for mitigating losses while drilling and cementing.”
More than 450 students and faculty members from the State Oil Academy, Baku State University, Khazar University and those representing the geology, geophysics and petroleum engineering faculties from other universities have to date attended these sessions. 

For more information go to: http://www.bp.com/caspian/bpgess/ 
5. BP summer students geology field course 

This is another initiative launched by BP to support education of young people specialising in oil and gas industry related disciplines. In August 2009, BP sponsored a summer students field course in sedimentology and structural geology for undergraduate and graduate students. The courses, held in Baku, aimed at building Azerbaijan’s academic capability and knowledge, helping the next generation of geoscientists develop their skills and enhance Azerbaijan’s hydrocarbon industry capabilities. Some 13 students from the State Oil Academy and other universities, selected through open competition, enjoyed a 12-day practical course arranged by BP. The course was led by Dr. Ken McCaffrey from Durham University (UK), Dr. Elmira Aliyeva from the Geology Institute of Azerbaijan’s National Academy of Sciences, as well as a group of other representatives of the National Academy, SOCAR and BP. 
6. Media training on English language and business journalism 

For over 10 years BP funded a successful programme of English language training for over 200 national journalists. The success of the programme can be measured by the fact that currently there is a large number of Azerbaijani journalists with very good English language skills and this opens up good opportunities for them to build international networking and cooperation and enter global media markets. 

Based on the success of the language training programmes and following several rounds of consultations with the leading business journalists in the country, in 2006 BP launched a new initiative to support journalists’ capacity-building and development efforts through a specifically designed international quality Business Journalism training programme. The overall aim of this initiative is to strengthen professional competencies and skills of the national media (print and online media) through a training programme tailored to the needs of the selected target audience. The project, which has been ongoing for 4 years, is expected to contribute to strengthening the credibility of the national media among the society at large, local and international business community, international media, business analysts and other communities. At this stage when the project is nearing completion it has already trained a group of leading business journalists who are expected to set an example of internationally-accepted fair and quality reporting and to promote this standard of journalism in the country. 
7. English language teachers training programme 

To support improvement of English language teaching in Azerbaijan, BP sponsored last year English language teachers training courses at the Azerbaijan University of Languages. The training was provided by experts from the UK. It is expected that participants in the programme will ultimately transfer their skills and knowledge to a larger group English language teachers at the university. 

8. Petroleum engineers societies 

BP has encouraged creation of a number of professional engineers’ societies to support their development through networking and knowledge and experience sharing. 

The most successful of these are the Caspian Engineers Society (CES) founded in 2007 by BP employees, the Society of Azerbaijan Young Specialist Developers (SAYSD), established in 2006, by 6 young BP employees who have petroleum engineering and geosciences background. These are volunteer organizations which continue to bring together professionals and talented university students in their common goal of contributing to the development of Azerbaijan’s oil and gas engineering science.