Statoil

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Norway-based energy company Statoil signed an agreement with UT to fund $5 million of research focusing on geology, geophysics and petroleum engineering over the next five years.

“It invests into our biggest asset, which is our students,” said Tad Patzek, chairman of the Cockrell School of Engineering’s Petroleum and Geosystems Engineering Department.

Patzek said the growing partnership with Statoil will provide students and researchers with better tools to conduct research and gather more precise data sets.

The agreement will also indirectly help students obtain jobs and internships, according to John Bird, spokesperson for the Geology Foundation at the Jackson School of Geosciences.

“It’s really great when we are able to partner with a company like Statoil. So if you are a student and you are working on a project with Statoil, you are going to come out with a greater chance of getting a job with Statoil,” Bird said.

This is Statoil’s largest research agreement with a university outside of Norway and its first in the U.S. Statoil plans to significantly increase their activities in North America, according to a statement by Bill Maloney, executive vice president for Statoil in North America.

“Universities and academic institutions in North America represent important arenas for Statoil in research and competence development, both on a regional and global level,” Maloney said in the statement.

UT is one of the world’s leading universities in energy research and is an attractive site for energy investment. Texas is the largest oil-producing state in the U.S. and is one of the largest producers of solar and wind energy.

Scott Tinker, director of the Jackson School of Geosciences’s Bureau of Economic Geology, said he hopes the partnership with Statoil will help UT’s program grow.

“[In three years,] UT wants to be the go-to place for any oil related issue and policy-making law,” Tinker said.

By the end of Statoil’s five year partnership, they hope to be No. 1, Tinker said.

“When people say ‘energy,’ they run to UT,” Tinker said. “We not only want name recognition, but also brand recognition worldwide.”

Printed on September 20, 2011 as: Norwegian oil firm to fund $5 million of energy research