Aberdeen institute to offer topsides, subsea courses in South Korea

Offshore staff

ABERDEEN, UK – The University of Aberdeen is set to open its first international campus next September in the southern part of South Korea.

It will be the sixth international university to have a presence in the country, and the first UK technical institution to take such as step.  

The campus, in the Gwangyang Free Economic Zone, will offer courses in offshore-related disciplines, including Oil and Gas Topside Engineering, Subsea Engineering, Petroleum Engineering (all MSC courses tailored to the country’s needs), and an MBA in Energy Management.

According to Professor Igor Guz, Head of the School of Engineering at the University of Aberdeen, the initial approach for this venture came two years ago from the National University of Busan and the Korea Ship and Offshore Research Institute.

They identified the University of Aberdeen as best equipped to supply the expertise they needed to create a world-class teaching and research facility.

Last October, University of Aberdeen signed a memorandum of understanding with Hyundai Heavy Industries, Samsung Heavy Industries, Daewoo (DSME), and Hanjin Heavy Industries to develop an industry-academic partnership at the campus.

Speaking at Offshore Europe, Professor Guz said the shipyards and the various institutions are particularly interested in postgraduate courses for subsea engineering, petroleum engineering, and topsides engineering.

“Busan is the center of shipbuilding, housing four of the largest shipyards in the world, but they are facing growing competition from China, which has a more advanced design capability, particularly in drilling rigs. For instance, South Korea can build, but currently can’t design drillships.”

Aside from helping the country build a pool of engineering graduates with broader-ranging skills, the new courses should also assist retraining of existing personnel, i.e. mechanical engineers interested in branching into subsea engineering.

“We are targeting up to 100 Ph.D students in the first year,” Professor Guz said. “Their students will also have the opportunity to come to Aberdeen for reconnaissance purposes.

“Our longer-term goal is for our students and Ph.D staff to go to South Korea to use their facilities, which include one of the world’s largest HP/HT simulation chambers – we cannot build facilities of this scale in Aberdeen.”


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