Lagos, June 21 – An additional 10 beneficiaries of the postgraduate scholarship scheme of The Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria (SPDC) operated Joint Venture have returned to Nigeria on completion of their one-year Master’s programmes in three top British universities. The beneficiaries from Delta, Rivers and Bayelsa states have completed courses in engineering and geosciences at Imperial College, London, University of Leeds and University College, London. Many of the graduates passed out with distinctions and are looking forward to deploying the newly acquired knowledge for the development of their country.
“We’re proud to be part of the journey of empowering young, talented Nigerians like yourselves,” remarked SPDC MD and Country Chair Shell Companies in Nigeria, Osagie Okunbor, at a reception for the scholars in Port Harcourt. “The SPDC Joint Venture introduced the scholarship scheme as part of its contributions to the development of people in its host communities, and I believe we are achieving the objective as I hear the excellent performances in the competitive environment you studied.”
Delta State indigene, Stephanie Ogbe, who bagged a Master’s degree in Chemical Process Engineering from University College, London with Distinction said: “The most exciting aspect of the programme was my research project “Dislocation of Hydrocarbons using Carbon Dioxide.” Our research team was able to proffer solution to the increasing concerns about global warming as a result of carbon dioxide. Our work led to a brilliant discovery that has been submitted for publication.”
Another beneficiary, Tamunomiete Oruambo from Rivers State said: “The knowledge from the Exploration Geophysics programme has equipped me with a well-rounded training which will help me contribute to the oil and gas industry in Nigeria. I believe this scholarship has been a gift to me and my fellow scholars.”
The SPDC-JV initiated the Niger Delta Postgraduate Scheme in 2010, offering full tuition and living and associated expenses to 10 students every year. The Master’s programmes are in Petroleum Engineering, Geosciences, Geophysics, Engineering Geology, Mechanical Engineering, Civil Engineering, Exploration Geophysics and Oilfield Corrosion Engineering. The beneficiaries are not bonded to work for SPDC, although they must return to Nigeria to contribute to nation-building. Many of them have already been employed by SPDC and other oil companies.
SPDC’s investments in formal and informal education represent one of the biggest corporate social responsibility portfolios operated by any private company in Sub-Saharan Africa. In 2014, the investments in education amounted to $14.8 Million USD, in addition to support for science fairs and full sponsorship of the yearly National Science Quiz competitions.