David MacDonald, Vice-President of the British oil and gas company British Petroleum (BP), Chairman of the Expert Group on Resource Classifications at the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe, joined the council of “Petroleum Engineering” academic programmes. The expert will be able to make proposals for programme modernisation so that future graduates will be prepared as much as possible for work in the present context.

The representative of an international corporation arrived at the University to give a public lecture “Transformation of Natural Resource Management for Sustainable Development of the Planet”. He was invited by the Council of “Petroleum Engineering” academic programmes. During his visit, the British expert met with Sergey Mikushev, Vice-Rector for Research. They discussed topical issues of training specialists for the industry, as well as prospects for cooperation between the University and BP. The meeting was also attended by Kirill Chistiakov, the Director of the Institute of Earth Sciences. He is also in charge of the University’s “Petroleum Engineering” academic programmes.

One of our goals is to get closer to the real sector of the economy, to train specialists who can meet the real needs of the industry. And today it includes the ability to make their own decisions, to possess a superset of skills - both sector-specific and applied ones.

Sergey Mikushev, Vice-Rector for Research, St Petersburg University

“We continue to be academic. St Petersburg University is a classical university that provides a sound educational base, but at the same time we are open to changes, we create specially tailored programmes that will make it possible for professionals to immediately enter the industry, without extra training by companies. And we hope that our industrial partners will be able to help us with this,” emphasised Sergey Mikushev, Vice-Rector for Research, St Petersburg University.

During the meeting, they also discussed future opportunities to establish partner relations with British universities to train professionals in the oil and gas industry. David MacDonald described how BP works with Western universities. He also noted that one of the current areas of cooperation is the development of standards for the industry with due regard to climate change and the impact of oil and gas enterprises on the environment.

“St Petersburg University has a wide network of collaborations with foreign universities. They also include the aspect of studying climate change, their impact on energy and sustainable development. Among our partners are universities from Germany, France, China and many other countries. St Petersburg University is a university that has a special status in Russia, which is enshrined in law. Consequently, we are allowed to upgrade educational standards and develop our own approaches faster than others. This includes “Petroleum Engineering” programmes and areas of study as well. And your expert opinion is very important for us,” added Kirill Chistiakov, Director of the Institute of Earth Sciences.

Sergey Mikushev, Vice-Rector for Research, St Petersburg University, noted that the University has more than 500 partner universities all over the world and is ready to expand this network.

At the end of the meeting, the participants agreed to maintain intensive communication. In addition to the already discussed areas of cooperation, the parties expressed their willingness to discuss new opportunities for interaction.

The public lecture of David MacDonald took place in the main building of St Petersburg University on 23 March 2019. The Vice-President of the oil and gas company told the audience about the global transformation of natural resource management and the harmonisation of world classifications. The fact is that the majority of modern world classifications of reserves of natural resources is based on the design principle. This is also relevant to the Russian classification of oil and fuel gas reserves. David MacDonald highly appreciated the expert approach to the analysis of field development projects in Russia.