Posted on October 02, 2013

Texas A&M University at Qatar and Occidental Petroleum of Qatar Ltd. (Oxy Qatar) celebrated a send-off of Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE) students to the annual SPE technical conference in New Orleans, Louisiana, USA. The event was held at the Texas A&M in the Qatar Engineering Building on the Education City campus. The trip was made possible by Oxy’s gift to the University that will span three years and create initiatives that support student development.

Texas A&M at Qatar explores new collaborations with industry partners to develop engineering leaders who will thrive in Qatar industry and contribute to goals outlined in the Qatar National Vision 2030.

Dr. Mark H. Weichold, Texas A&M at Qatar dean and CEO, said "This experience is possible because of the generosity of Oxy Qatar and its dedication to initiatives that support student development. The three-year gift from Oxy that we recognize today which sends 20 Texas A&M at Qatar students to the influential SPE conference in the US will support student development in more than one important way. It will also provide support for 10 students to attend regional conferences in the GCC, and will contribute to the University’s annual Senior Design Project Day, as well as to the development of the SPE student chapter. This gift is evidence of Oxy’s belief in Texas A&M at Qatar students, and it serves to expand the students’ educational horizons and contributes to their undergraduate experience. Partnerships with industry, such as this collaboration with Oxy Qatar, go far to further develop Texas A&M at Qatar students, help them reach their goals and better prepare them for professional life once they graduate. This is partnership that genuinely does make a difference.”

Oxy Qatar’s gift of over a million Qatari Riyals will send students to the SPE annual technical conference and exhibition for the next three years.The gift will also provide for 10 students to attend regional conferences in the GCC. A portion of the donation will support the University’s annual Senior Design Project Day and the SPE Student Chapter.

Stephen A. Kelly, President and General Manager of Oxy Qatar, said:“Oxy Qatar is excited to sponsor student activities at Texas A&M at Qatar for the next three years. At Oxy, we are committed to supporting the communities where we operate, and education is one of our focus areas. We take pride in providing tools that enable young people to develop and realize their potential. Activities such as senior projects and SPE events can help students to achieve these goals. Today marks a milestone in our partnership with Texas A&M at Qatar. We look forward to its continuing success, and we wish every student a successful year.”

Selection of the participating students is based on academic criteria including, but not limited to, student classification (Junior or Senior level), GPA, membership to SPE and abstract writing.

Dr. Vassilios Kelessidis, professor and program chair of the petroleum engineering department at Texas A&M at Qatar, said, “This is a great moment for our students. Oxy, believing in the quality of our students and in the education of high standards provided by our faculty and staff,has pledged this great gift. It will be used to support very important student activities over a period of three years expanding their educational horizons. The major event is the visit of our senior students to the world's largest Petroleum Engineering Conference, held in New Orleans, US this week. We are grateful to Oxy management. Such gifts make our great program even better and help attract the best students from Doha and the Region for the benefit of the great State of Qatar.”

Mohammed Abu Ghazaleh, Texas A&M at Qatar SPE Student Chapter president and conference attendee, said, "The Annual Technical Conference and Exhibition is the SPE’s biggest event of the year. The event attracts the attention of petroleum industry professionals worldwide. Attending this event is a great opportunity for learning and exchange of knowledge, and will offer our future petroleum engineers a unique interaction with the petroleum community and industry. We extend our gratitude to Occidental Petroleum (OXY) for its strong financial support and sponsorship which allowed us to take 22 individuals, 20 of which are students, to attend this year. They have supported the SPE Student Chapter, our students and our University in past years and will maintain their support for years to come."

The Oxy Qatar gift is intended to foster present and future collaboration which will support Texas A&M at Qatar student activities and provide wider prospects for the development of SPE at the University that will engage students and faculty. The send-off event was attended by University faculty and staff, SPE students traveling to the conference and representatives from Oxy Qatar.

Oxy Qataris also working with the University to develop the Mary Kay O’Connor Process Safety Center in Doha, which will bring expertise from Texas A&M’s main campus in College Station, TX, to industry in Qatar.