MUSCAT: Petroleum Development Oman (PDO) is backing moves to build the Sultanate’s scientific and research capabilities. The company is purchasing equipment for The Research Council (TRC) with the aim of establishing an advanced national laboratory in DNA studies in the Sultanate and increasing the capacity of the country in DNA analysis. PDO is also providing equipment for the Oman Innovation Hall in Sinaw, including robotic, electronic and IT devices to support learning and innovation amongst young children in various subjects, such as maths, computer studies, biology and geology. The commitments are included in a tranche of social investment Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs) aimed at meeting educational, community and health needs, which PDO signed on Thursday with a number of government and municipal dignitaries.
The official ceremony took place under the auspices of Salim bin Nassir al Oufi, Under-Secretary of the Ministry of Oil and Gas.
PDO Managing Director Raoul Restucci said: “PDO is widely known as a pioneer of new technology and innovation in the oil and gas sector and beyond.
“We are keen to support the spread of scientific learning at all levels of society from our leading research institutions to our community schools. This is vital if Oman is to bridge the gap between academia and industry needs and make further progress in this rapidly changing world.”
The equipment purchased by PDO will go to the Oman Animal and Plant Genetic Resource Centre, which is aiming to establish a temporary gene bank for DNA research.
It will support the collection of data, tissue samples and DNA from animals, plants, micro-organisms and various marine species for multidisciplinary research.
It can also be used for human diseases and cancer studies. This will cut the cost of outsourcing and repetitive lab work and provide DNA analysis services and capability-building opportunities for students, academics, specialists and national institutions.
PDO will provide a range of hi-tech devices for the Oman Innovation Hall, a popular venue for schoolchildren, including desktop computers, high-definition virtual reality technology, 3D glasses and printers, audio kits, a smart interactive board, a projector and a recorder.
As part of its ongoing educational efforts, PDO is building an extension to Hamra Adduru’a school in the Wilayat of Ibri and piloting a “Little Volunteering” programme to give young students the leadership and communication skills to volunteer, not only in their schools and homes but also in their wider communities.
The programme will be initially trialled in two schools within the PDO concession area and will be extended if successful.
In addition, PDO will create safe spaces for communities to gather during celebrations with the construction of majlises in Bursas and Rabkoot in the Wilayat of Thumrait and a family park in Haima. — ONA