Flagship for education

August 24, 2001, 09:00 CEST

The research ship Polar Star has set sail for Svalbard with 60 geology students on board. They are taking part in the Svalex project, initiated and supported by Statoil.

The ship will arrive on Saturday 25 August. For one week it will act as a high-tech centre, where students can learn through the use of modern technology.

Statoil is supporting the project to the tune of several million kroner. The group hopes that the expedition will create a lot of publicity for petroleum studies – and that Statoil will reap the rewards from the project. The Svalex project is a partnership between the Universities of Tromsø, Trondheim, Bergen, Oslo, Svalbard and Stavanger University College.

Statoil has much to gain from cooperating with research and educational institutions, says Jonny Hesthammer, Svalex project manager in Statoil:

“This will strengthen recruitment to the petroleum industry while at the same time marketing Statoil,” he adds.

Mr Hesthammer is staff geologist in Statoil and professor at the University of Bergen.

The idea behind Svalex is to introduce students to the entire value chain within geology and geophysics. The students form project groups and work with current challenges. A flight simulator and a visionarium for interpreting underground data on board the ship are some of the instruments that will be used on this year’s trip. The students will also have the opportunity to carry out field studies on land.

“This project is more exciting, in that the students will get to work with real issues, real data and sources of information, which will provide a better picture of how the industry works,” concludes Mr Hesthammer.