Ejaad: 4 Research Agreements worth RO 300,000 signed today

Muscat: The first four research agreements generated through Ejaad, worth more than RO 300,000, addressing four industrial challenges were signed today at a special ceremony at the Grand Millennium Muscat.

The agreements were sealed under the patronage of Eng. Salim bin Nasser Al Aufi, Undersecretary of the Ministry of Oil and Gas, and attended by a number of chief executive officers and researchers from across industrial and academic organizations in the Sultanate. The research agreements were signed between the Ejaad platform, Sultan Qaboos University, and Petroleum Development Oman (PDO).

Speaking to Observer, Al Aufi said, “The agreements that are signed today are geared toward achieving an element of cost reduction, increasing efficiency as well as finding a substitute for a material that was imported and used in the past.  So all of them ultimately will be directed toward a lower cost of production per barrel.”

The first of the four signed projects will address the generation of bio-fuels as a clean, sustainable and commercial energy resource, while the second project will deal with the failure analysis of well tubing hanger. The third project will address parallel clearance between Overhead Power Lines (OHLs) and pipelines, while the fourth project aims to develop a polymer for Enhanced Oil Recovery (EOR).

The signing ceremony was held on the side-lines of an Ejaad Leadership Breakfast event, which aimed at keeping the CEOs, researchers and platform members informed of the latest progress achieved by the Ejaad Platform and the challenges it faces, and called for further collaboration and interaction from the private sector in order to achieve the objectives for which the platform has been established.

The Undersecretary of the Ministry of Oil and Gas while presenting the Round-table Discussion titled ‘Stewardship on the Way Forward’, said, “We are delighted today to experience the first output of the industry-academia collaboration through Ejaad Platform, looking forward for more work towards finding research projects that cope with the developments of the coming period in the field of energy.”

PDO Managing Director Raoul Restucci said, “The signing of these four projects represents the first real and tangible output from the platform, and a reaffirmation of how greater alignment between industry and academia can bring significant and lasting benefits for the Sultanate.”

The signing of four Research Agreements under the platform of Ejaad, founded by the Research Council, Petroleum Development Oman and the Ministry of Oil and Gas., which is now a multi-stake holder is an important achievement said Dr Ali al Shidhani, Director of Research Centres and ICT at the Research Council.  “We are very delighted that after only six months of inauguration of Ejaad we have managed to get four signatures and research projects which shows that the potential is there and we are looking forward for more research projects to be signed up in the future.  We are very happy that the platform is beginning to yield fruit and both the industry and academia are finding the platform as one stop shop to collaborate to improve Research and Development situation in the country,” he said.

According to Director of Ejaad Platform, Dr Suleiman Al Toobi, “One of Ejaad’s objectives is to maximize the in country value (ICV) by routing business R&D requests to local researchers and academic institutions through technology transfer, and the dissemination and commercialization of research findings. The platform aims to link academic research to industrial needs, targeting the sectors of oil and gas, water, renewable energy and energy efficiency,” Dr Al Toobi added.

Dr Lamya al Haj, Assistant Professor of Molecular Biology said after signing the agreement for bio-fuel, “I would like to thank PDO for sponsoring our research with a generous fund that is going to take our dream closer to reality.  I also like to thank Ejaad – the platform that connects the academia with industry for being alongside with us.  Our project is to do with date seed waste and converting this waste into energy.  So we managed from the initial fund from The Research Council and we managed to prove that we can produce bio-diesel and with this fund we go to the second stage that is to use the bio-fuel from date seeds to be used in the PDO machinery in the desert.”

Close to 40 institutions from industry, academia and government have so far signed the Oman Energy R&D Protocol, which was initially signed between the Ministry of Oil and Gas, The Research Council and PDO on June 5, 2017, to collaborate and support research and innovation, and establish an efficient R&D partnership.

Currently, there are 14 industrial research challenges posted in the targeted areas for interested researchers to respond to.  The posted challenges are short-term research consultancies and research projects that are executable in a one to three year period.  Commenting on the Platform’s features, Dr Al Toobi said, “The platform is an electronic one station unit for proposing research solutions to industrial challenges at the platform through academia in Oman.”

The platform is an important step towards linking research and innovation in the energy sector among the academic, industrial and government sectors. It bridges the gap between academic research and industrial practices. Ejaad is a new digital platform that has been launched to better align academia and industry and facilitate collaboration among them. A number of services are expected to be provided by Ejaad, such as providing its members with data of researchers and the state of the art laboratories and devices in Oman, enabling the transfer of expertise between academia and industry in later stages.