The Chevron-UWA Partnership Programme is a 15-year partnership worth more than $22 million to 2022, which has resulted in new R&D and world-leading products. It supports one of Australia’s major export industries (LNG: Liquefied Natural Gas), in which Western Australia has a strong position, and in which Australia is becoming the largest global player. Chevron have funded major research capability, development in gas process engineering and in LNG futures, supported a large range of projects, and contributed to science education and the arts.
The partnership commenced in 2002, with Chevron’s support of the UWA School of Oil and Gas, and sponsorship of the Science Futures Foundation. In 2008 Chevron selected UWA as the first Australian partner under its international University Partnership Programme. A fundamental component of the collaboration has been Chevron’s financial support of a number of appointments at UWA, including a Chair in Gas Process Engineering.
The Partnership Programme is a commitment by Chevron to encourage academic excellence, grow research capacity, build key relationships and provide student scholarships. The initial $2.3 million investment funded a new Chair, with the appointment of Professor Eric May as the Chevron Chair in Gas Process Engineering in 2008, two postdoctoral appointments and two PhD scholarships in gas processing engineering.
In December 2011, Chevron signed a $5.75 million major partnership agreement, elevating the existing Chair in Gas Process Engineering from a fixed term agreement to endow the Chair in perpetuity.
Chevron has funded a set of projects undertaken within the Faculty of Engineering, Computing and Mathematics including the multi-award winning O-Tube programme, new methods for the design of subsea pipelines by mimicking seabed conditions during cyclones in the laboratory, at a scale and intensity that no other facility in the world can simulate. It also features contributions by Chevron in science education and culture, including support to the Perth International Arts Festival.
A core outcome of the collaboration has been Chevron’s investment in the $9.6 million hub: the Australian Centre for Liquefied Natural Gas Futures. The Centre, launched in 2016, is funded by the Australian Research Council (ARC) as part of the ARC’s Industrial Transformation Research Programme, and nine industry partners including Chevron. The Centre aims to optimise cost-effective LNG production, storage and transportation at all scales, in remote or deep-water locations. It conducts 11 industry-driven projects across three research themes, involving 12 academics (from UWA, Curtin, UQ, Melbourne, Adelaide, Seoul, Auckland), five post-doctoral researchers, and 11 PhD students.
UWA’s indirect impact on Chevron’s business has been extensive, with the University providing the highest number of chemical and process engineering graduates to the company. This influence is extended through UWA’s alumni network as engineering graduates work for organisations that become Chevron’s contractors and clients.
As world demand for natural gas grows Chevron and UWA are pushing the frontiers of knowledge to take advantage of WA’s resource richness and geographic position. More than $100 billion is expected to be spent on developing Western Australia’s gas assets in the next 10 years.
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