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7 December 2018
AAPG Donation: 5,500 Petroleum Books Fuel Next Generation

(Published - 7 December 2018)

The American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG) has donated 5,500 Petroleum Geology books and periodicals to the University of the Western Cape (UWC) - a gesture intended to aid in training a new generation of geologists to solve South Africa’s ongoing energy concerns.

UWC Senior Lecturer and Masters Programme in Petroleum Geosciences director - and AAPG Africa Regional Secretary - Dr. Mimonitu Opuwari, says the donation will pave the way for students to understand and perform research relevant to the industry.

“This initiative will give students and researchers access to the information they need to excel at their work, and about how to make full use of the literature in their research - which is invaluable experience in their field.”

AAPG, the recognised global leader in the dissemination of high-quality geoscience data and information, brought its International Conference and Exhibition (ICE) to Cape Town last month. ICE 2018 gathered geoscientists and petroleum industry professionals from 60+ countries to build their knowledge and skills, discover technology innovations and network with peers.

UWC’s Earth Sciences Department and AAPG have long had a close relationship - Dr Opuwari, who is a member of the Association, was instrumental in coaching and leading teams of UWC postgraduate students to success in the African leg of the AAPG Imperial Barrel Award, and also the international competition held in the USA. The University is also home to an AAPG student chapter - the very first such chapter at a South African university, in fact.

“If you want to become a leader and/or stay relevant in this constantly changing industry, you need access to the tools, content and contacts that will help you succeed,” Dr Opuwari explains. “AAPG provides those tools and contacts - and access to some of the most credible geosciences information available.”

Dr Shirlene Neerputh, Director of UWC's Library Services, and Prof Michael Davies-Coleman, Dean of UWC’s Faculty of Natural Sciences, formally accepted the donation on behalf of the Faculty and University at the opening of the AAPG International Conference and Exhibition in Cape Town. (The President of AAPG, Denise Cox, visited the Department of Earth Sciences at UWC on Thursday, 8 November 2018.)

“As a Faculty we are very pleased to receive this kind donation,” Prof Davies-Coleman said. “It was clear from my discussions with members of AAPG and exhibitors at the conference that there is, given the current crude oil price, considerable interest from global petroleum industries in tapping into the significant natural gas resources both on and off the continent of Africa.”

The Faculty has established a niche area in South Africa in petroleum geology, Prof Davies-Coleman notes, and this donation will make a significant positive impact on both teaching and research momentum in this field.

“This augurs well for the future employment of our petroleum geology graduates."

The journals and books received will complement the Library's existing collection and will provide vital additional resources in Geology, Petroleum and Earth Sciences for use by students and researchers.

“Access to updated and relevant information resources is the foundation of the creation of new knowledge,” Dr Neerputh notes. “An opportunity to add resources to our collection through donations serves to strengthen the quality and scope of information resources for learning, teaching and research. Relevant and value adding information resources also enhances research output within and external to the University.”

There is a significant shortage of people in the country studying petroleum geoscience as, historically, South Africa had never really been an oil-producing area.

The donations will go through a process of selection, recording and cataloguing in order to be added to the Library's online catalogue, accessible via the UWC Library website.

“This provides a platform for an enhanced understanding of petroleum geology,” Dr Opuwari says. “But this is only the tip of the iceberg - the real learning will start when we absorb this information and start to think more deeply and dream bigger about the subject.”