Funds dedicated to new oil and gas research

Kerri Breen
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R & D/education MUN professor named chair of Arctic engineering

A cool million dollars was dedicated to new research at Memorial University Tuesday afternoon.

Shawn Kenny, associate professor of civil engineering, was named the Wood Group chairman of Arctic and cold region engineering. Over the next five years, Kenny will lead research to develop new technology tailored to the challenges of oil extraction and transport in some of the coldest places on Earth.

A $500,000 investment from the Wood Group was matched by a contribution from the Research and Development Corp. (RDC) of Newfoundland and Labrador - it's one of the largest research chair contributions at MUN.

Ian Wood of the Wood Group speaks to guests at a ceremony announcing his companys $500,000 contribution to a new research chair at Memorial University Tuesday. The donation was matched by the Research and Development Corp. (RDC) of Newfoundland and Labrad

A cool million dollars was dedicated to new research at Memorial University Tuesday afternoon.

Shawn Kenny, associate professor of civil engineering, was named the Wood Group chairman of Arctic and cold region engineering. Over the next five years, Kenny will lead research to develop new technology tailored to the challenges of oil extraction and transport in some of the coldest places on Earth.

A $500,000 investment from the Wood Group was matched by a contribution from the Research and Development Corp. (RDC) of Newfoundland and Labrador - it's one of the largest research chair contributions at MUN.

Ian Wood of the Wood Group and Glenn Janes, the CEO of RDC, took to the podium to talk about the chair's role and to congratulate Kenny on the appointment.

President pro-tempore Chris Loomis said research at MUN benefits the province in general.

"I think it's no overestimation to say that so the university goes, so the province goes in terms of its economic development and diversification of its economy," he said.

The chair is the first of its kind at the university. Kenny - who has been teaching at MUN since 2007 - has bachelor's and master's degrees from MUN and a PhD from Dalhousie University in Nova Scotia. His specialty is in offshore pipelines in ice environments.

Kenny said the research will benefit the province's oil and gas industry as well as the industries in the Canadian and Russian Arctic, and elsewhere.

"There's significant potential for the outcomes of this research to be applied on a global basis for engineering design," Kenny said.

Coincidentally, the World Wildlife Fund's cross-country speaking tour - called "Oil and Ice" - makes its way to MUN Thursday.

On Tuesday, author Ed Struzik told The Telegram as the Arctic opens up, there is more pressure to develop its oil and gas resources, which could come at a high environmental cost.

But Kenny said his research will work to improve current practices and address technical challenges while keeping the environment in mind.

"These issues or concerns from different groups and stakeholders have their merit. This chair is not specifically looking at that particular problem, but we're looking at how we can actually successfully exploit the resources that are in the Arctic," he said.

Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs Dave Denine spoke on behalf of Premier Danny Williams and Natural Resources Minister Kathy Dunderdale, congratulating the university on the new position.

"Together we will be able to pursue opportunities for growth and development that are critical to the success of our provincial economy and the sustainability of our petroleum industry," Denine said.

kbreen@thetelegram.com

Organizations: Wood Group, RDC, R & D Development Dalhousie University Canadian and Russian Arctic World Wildlife Fund

Geographic location: Arctic, Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia

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