NTNU and StatoilHydro sign multi-million kroner cooperative agreement

(24.06.09) It's the single largest agreement NTNU has ever signed with a company. And it's the first ever in Norway that has been signed "virtually", with the help of NTNU's new virtual reality (VR) laboratory.

The "Akademia Agreement" between NTNU and StatoilHydro is a comprehensive cooperative programme for research and education, with financial support for student activities, PhD scholarships and professorships.

The agreement should also enhance international cooperation on the exploration for and production of oil and gas.

"The 'Academia Agreement' is the result of many years of cooperative efforts among Statoil, Hydro and NTNU. This collaboration has helped to provide better conditions for education and research here at the university, through greater access to resources as well as access to relevant, real world problems ", NTNU Rector Torbjørn Digernes says.

The agreement extends over five years, and has a value of close to 20 million kroner a year. It is one of eight signed by the company with Norway's institutes of higher learning. All told, the Akademia Agreement budget for 2009 is 95 million kroner, according to StatoilHydro.

Virtual signing ceremony
The agreement was signed in NTNU's new VR laboratory at the Department of Petroleum Engineering and Applied Geophysics. The laboratory consists of two rooms outfitted with high-tech equipment where virtual reality technology, real-time data acquisition and interdisciplinary collaboration are being used to develop the future of how offshore and onshore operations will interact.

The goal of the laboratory is to enhance the quality of petroleum education at NTNU. Approximately 10 million kroner has been invested in the laboratory, with roughly eight million kroner funded by StatoilHydro.

A virtual signing of the agreement was conducted "live" between Trondheim and Bergen. Rector Torbjørn Digernes was in Trondheim, while StatoilHydro's executive vice president for technology and new energy, Margareth Øvrum, was in Bergen. The signing took place online using a Smart Board.

Contact at NTNU:
Jon Kleppe, Professor
Department of Petroleum Engineering
Email: kleppe@ntnu.no

Contact at StatoilHydro:
Tor Ulleberg
StatoilHydro Director of Research in Trondheim
Email: toul@statoilhydro.com

A virtual -- but real -- agreement

NTNU Rector Torbjørn Digernes (right) uses a high-tech communication system to meet with StatoilHydro's executive vice president for technology and new energy, Margareth Øvrum, who was in Bergen along with Gunnar Halvorsen and Petter Eltvik.
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Norway's first ever virtual signing of an agreement -- courtesy of NTNU's brand new virtual reality laboratory.
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NTNU Rector Torbjørn Digernes and StatoilHydro's Margareth Øvrum
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