07 September 2007

"Hebron means money, research for Memorial"

From The Muse, student newspaper at Memorial University:
“The Faculty of Engineering has a particularly strong link with the oil and gas industry, so there are direct benefits that I expect would follow from the Hebron project. These include increased opportunities within our province for our co-op students, graduates, and alumni of the Faculty of Engineering,” said Dean of Engineering Ray Gosine.

According to Memorial’s Oil And Gas Development Partnership (OGDP), these job opportunities will trickle down to other facets of the community.

The initial phase of construction is less likely to employ MUN students, however there are many opportunities down the road, says Randolf Cooper, executive director of OGDP.

“It’s quite encouraging to look at the bigger picture and the long term. That’s where you start to break down a lot of stereotypes. … I think there may be just as many jobs for people with business degrees, as opposed to degrees from earth sciences or engineering,” he said.

“Some of it takes on aspects of the trickle down economy, by the time the money gets into circulation, there are certainly a lot of people in the hospitality business that are going to benefit.”

Director of OGDP Research, Ian Atkinson, agrees.

“Even though first oil is in 2015, there is an immediate economic boost when they commit to the project. They bring people in, and right away there’s a need for more housing and people are spending money,” he said.

It will also mean major research opportunities in the future, in all sorts of scientific disciplines.

“It remains very much a laboratory for Memorial,” said Cooper. “It certainly looks like oil is headed more and more towards arctic and harsh weather environment exploration.”