Geosteering makes Geosciences faster and more efficient

HALBAN To connect the university with the industry and to present how to overcome challenges faced in the oil industry with a unique Geosteering IT software, Dr. Vlad Karen Payrazyan gave an ‘Industry Talk’ at the Department of Applied Geosciences of GUtech. “Through geosteering, many more jobs will be created in the region in future,” said Wilfried Bauer, Head of the Applied Geosciences Department.

“A modern  Geosteering software makes geosciences related to horizontal drilling  faster and more efficient,” said Dr. Vlad Payrazyan, CEO of ROGII, StarSteer Premier Geosteerinig Software, while adding that the software can increase in particular the precision for horizontal drilling which is increasingly applied worldwide. Through multi-well real time geosteering, data integration and cloud collaborative technologies more  oil rigs can be monitored at the same time delivering excellent well placement results. Dr. Vlad Payrazyan and his team are currently visiting the GCC; he has been visiting Oman for the first time. Previously Dr. Vlad Payrazyan has been working on various projects in Russia, Venezuela, Brazil and in United States. “The geosciences industry has to adapt to changes and increasing challenges,” said Dr. Vlad Payrazyan. The world is moving from an easy drilling environment to difficult environmental challenges including tight shale resources, horizontal wells, big volumes of data, cost reduction and automatization. In addition, during the planning and drilling phase of the oil well geoscientists face various uncertainties, where a special geosteering software, such as StarSteer can support their work, through the analysis and integration of data from different sources (offset wells, seismic, chemostratigraphy, MWD/LWD, image logs, etc. real time geosteering and other cutting-edge technologies such as machine learning, predictive analytics and cloud virtual collaboration.

Dr. Vlad Payrazyan and his team are planning to support GUtech students with a special IT software and to train the students on the application. “I enjoy working with universities around the world while sharing my day to day experiences and challenges faced in the oil and gas industry,” said Dr. Vlad Karen Payrazyan. Five years ago together with two other partners he started the company that now employs more than 60 people in 9 international locations with over 200 clients among oil and gas operating and service companies around the world.

Dr. Vlad Karen Payrazyan received his PhD in Geosciences at Nancy Polytechnical University and an Executive MBA at INSEAD in France. For over 20 years he has worked for in the oil and gas industry, with Chevron (USA), Yukos (Russia), British Petroleum (UK) etc. He has also served on Management Boards and Board of Directors of major joint venture companies in Russia, Venezuela and Brazil.

© GUtech/Text & Photo: Dr. Manuela Gutberlet

Geosciences students to attend the International Carbonate Course in Germany next year

MUSCAT Six Geosciences students of the German University of Technology in Oman (GUtech) will participate in the Annual International Carbonate Course of the GeoCenter at the University of Erlangen (Germany). The students were awarded by the Rector Prof. Dr. Ing. Michael Modigell with GUtech study-scholarships for their travel to Germany in February/March 2019. The seminars will cover all classic and modern aspects of carbonate sedimentology and will include practical microscopy exercises using the worldwide largest carbonate thin- section and sediment sample collection of the GeoCenter. GUtech students will attend the course for the eighth time.

© Text: GUtech/Dr. Manuela Gutberlet; Photo: Wasan Al Ghazi

Geosciences Professor conducted a Mining Workshop in Madagascar

HALBAN Professor Dr. Wilfried Bauer, Head of the Department of Applied Geosciences (AGEO) at GUtech, has recently conducted a scientific workshop on mineral resources and their exploration at the University of Antananarivo/Madagascar. On a global scale, Madagascar is an important producer of nickel, cobalt, ilmenite, and zircon. “The country has significant resources of flaky graphite, chromite, bauxite, Rare Earth minerals, iron ore and the largest known reserves of sapphire. Historically, gold and mica played also an important role but both commodities are currently exploited by artisanal miners only. Minerals account for approximately 35 % of the country’s exports of 2.2 billion USD (2014 data), most of it from a world class nickel-cobalt deposit. International mining companies like Rio Tinto and Sherritt invested in the development of the mineral sector,” said Prof. Bauer. With an increasing number of international exploration companies operating in the country, the need for mineral exploration courses cannot be covered by the existing university staff. “After having given a course about basic exploration techniques, I decided to offer an exploration geochemistry workshop for the specific needs of Madagascar, based on known types of mineral resources and the specific constraints due to tropical weathering and topography in Madagascar.” He said while explaining that he has a long-lasting relationship with the Science Faculty at the University of Antananarivo that dates back to 2005 when the Department of Geosciences supported him in as leader of a BGS-USGS mapping campaign with 10 student interns. Since that time, we upheld our connections,” said Prof. Bauer. The workshop was very successful, despite the fact that English plays a minor role in Madagascar and the normal education language is French. A similar follow-up workshop is planned to be held next year.

This summer, Prof. Bauer also supervised the start of a joint PhD project, between GUtech and the University in Northern Madagascar. The researchers started a petrological study in the North of Madagascar. Research samples are handled and processed at GUtech’s AGEO lab and the analyses are carried out at Lisboa University in Portugal.

Ends

© Text and Photo: GUtech/Prof. Dr. Wilfried Bauer and Dr. Manuela Gutberlet

 

Geoscientist Prof Gösta Hoffmann received a Teaching Award of the University Bonn

BONN Prof Dr. Gösta Hoffmann, who is teaching and researching at GUtech, was awarded with the Rectorate’s Teaching Award 2018 of the University Bonn recently. With this award the management of the University and the Faculty of Mathematics, Geosciences and Natural Sciences of the University Bonn recognizes Prof Gösta’s strength in teaching. “Prof. Gösta Hoffmann successfully combines theory and practise in his teaching. His classes are very popular and are focused on applying the theory during excursions and the student’s overall learning experience in the field. The award was given according to student’s evaluations and a student survey from the faculty,” said Prof. Dr. Thomas Bartolomäus, member of the Faculty of Natural Sciences during the award ceremony held at the university. “The field excursions are very popular among our students and they help to educate the next generation of Geoscientists. They highly qualify them to think out-of-the box and for their future work in the industry or in the academia,” said Prof. Gösta. 

Initially, Prof. Gösta Hoffmann studied Geosciences at the University of Greifswald (Germany) where he completed his PhD in 2004. In 2008 he and his wife Dr. Anne Zacke moved to Muscat, where they were among the first faculty members in the Department of Applied Geosciences at GUtech. Since 2008 Prof Gösta is teaching at GUtech and conducting research on tsunami hazards in Oman. In October 2015 he was awarded with the National Research Award by the Research Council (TRC). Prof. Gösta is teaching courses on geohazards along with excursions. In the past three years he has been conducting field excursions through Oman with students from different universities and research institutes in Germany. In 2016 Prof. Gösta completed his habilitation at RWTH Aachen University, GUtech’s German partner-university and he became the Head of the Working Group for General Geosciences / Environmental Geosciences at the Steinmann Institute of the University Bonn.

The Annual Rectorate’s Teaching Award is given to those professors of various faculties who apply innovative teaching techniques and who receive high evaluations from their students.

 

Caption: Prof. Dr. Gösta Hoffmann during the Award Ceremony along with Katrin Holm-Mueller, Vice-Rector for Academic Affairs of the University Bonn.

(c) Text: GUtech/ Dr. Manuela Gutberlet; Photo: provided by the University Bonn/Prof. Goesta Hoffmann

Applied Geosciences excursion through Germany

MUSCAT The Department of Applied Geosciences (AGEO) at the German University of Technology in Oman (GUtech), recently conducted a two weeks international excursion to Germany with a group of 12 students, their professor and an assistant. The study-trip is part of the AGEO curricula, with its main goal to learn more about the geology of Germany and the regional development of the region between the cities of Aachen and Cologne. “The students had to familiarize themselves with different aspects of applied geology such as the development of natural resources or the usage of ground- and sub-surface water in the lower Rhine district. With a focus on the presentation of thermal springs, coal and base metal deposits as well as volcanic rocks, we give the students an overview of geological topics that cannot be presented here in Oman,” said Prof. Dr. Wilfried Bauer, who headed the excursion.

In the second part of the excursion the students learnt more about the socio-economic development of a region, that developed from an industrial area based on lignite and coal mining region to a more diversified economy today. The group visited the geological garden and the mining museum in Bochum in the heart of the former mining district along the Ruhr river. “Although coal mining will be closed at the end of this year, the production of steel and other metals will continue with cheaper imported energy resources since the skills and know how is still there.” said Prof. Dr. Bauer, who is specialized in the mining sector.

The students visited different German cities like Cologne, Bochum, Xanten, Aachen and Spa in Belgium. At GUtech’s partner-university, RWTH Aachen University, they were welcomed by the international office and informed about Master and PhD programmes and they had the opportunity to attend a lecture in the MSc programme in Applied Geosciences. In recent years, several GUtech students have conducted their research for a Bachelor project at RWTH Aachen or pursued their MSc studies in the Geosciences department. “We continuously need to maintain our excellent links to universities in Germany and in other European countries. This collaboration and cooperation is the best way to link our young Omani graduates with the international research community,” said Prof. Wilfried Bauer.

(c) GUtech/Prof. Dr. Wilfried Bauer and Dr. Manuela Gutberlet

 

The Oman Drilling Project – Expert shares his research with GUtech students

HALBAN Two third of the Earth’s surface is made up of oceanic crust, which forms at mid-ocean ridges and is recycled into the mantle via subduction at convergent plate boundaries. During each phase of its 200 million year lifecycle the oceanic crust plays a key role in global geochemical cycles, including the carbon cycle. The inaccessibility of the seafloor makes it difficult to study. However, fragments of ancient oceanic lithosphere that have been tectonically emplaced on continental margins provide access to complete cross-sections of seafloor. These exposed sections of oceanic lithosphere are called ophiolites. The Samail Ophiolite in Oman is the largest, best-exposed section of oceanic lithosphere in the World.

The Oman Drilling Project (ODP) is a comprehensive international drilling program that aims to sample the whole ophiolite sequence, from oceanic crust through to upper mantle, in a series of boreholes. Data collection includes analysis of rock core, geophysical logging, fluid sampling, hydrological measurements and microbiological sampling. The geoscientist, Dr. Philippe Pezard, University of Montpellier (France) is currently leading the geophysical logging of the boreholes. He shared his experience and information about the equipment used with students from the Department of Applied Geosciences at GUtech. Some students visited one of the project’s drilling sites last week.

After completion of the international research project, a large number of scientists from a broad spectrum of disciplines will use the new datasets. The ODP will address long-standing unresolved questions and undertake frontier exploration of subsurface weathering processes that lead to natural uptake of CO2 from surface waters and the atmosphere, and the nature of the subsurface biosphere in areas. Drilling operations started on December 25, 2016. Intense logging is performed currently. The ODP is funded and supported by a consortium of international institutions, including GUtech.

 

German Geoscience students discover Oman´s beauty and tranquillity

A group of 27 German Geoscience students from the Universities of Bonn, Aachen and Cologne visited the Sultanate recently. They were accompanied by Valeska Decker and Prof Gösta Hoffmann from GUtech and Bonn University (Germany) as well as by Dr. Daniel Felten. Dr. Daniel is the coordinator of the joint geography and geoscience-network called ABC/J-Geoverbund. “We conducted the Oman trip for the third time,” said Dr Daniel. “It is a very positive experience for our students to come to Oman. It is not only the beautiful landscape and fascinating insights into geological processes but also the very rich culture of the people which makes the country a perfect destination for such an educational trip.” Dr Daniel who personally participated the first time, further lined out that he was very curious to visit the country himself. “The students gave very positive feedback in the last years, produced amazing videos on youtube and posted incredible photos on social media. “This year the students blogged about their experience.” Although the blog is in German www.geoverbund.de/omanblog, the pictures already illustrate the group’s huge interest in the country  and its people.

The students also benefited from Prof Gösta’s experience who recently published a field guide on the geology of Oman. “For me it is always a pleasure to guide visitors through the country. Especially Europeans expect to only see sand deserts. When we take them to places like Wadi Shab or to the Hajar-mountains, their perception changes completely.” Prof. Gösta who also guided a trip for the German Geological Association earlier this year further added “This is the most rewarding work I can think of. As the responsible person I am basically busy all the time, but looking into happy faces throughout the day and hearing the laughter during the evening at the campfire are very rewarding motivations for me to run these trips.”

Valeska lined out that “It was easy to conduct this trip to Oman. The Sultanate is one of the safest countries I have ever visited. We were in the good hands of our local partner from Golden Highlands who took care of all the logistics during the trip and also gave us a lot of understanding of the Omani culture.” “We will definitely come back to Oman next year,” said Dr Daniel, before the entire group departed the brand new Muscat International Airport.

New MSc programme in Applied Geosciences – focus on hydrogeology, hydrocarbons and minerals

HALBAN The German University of Technology in Oman (GUtech) will launch a part-time Master’s programme in Applied Geosciences in September this year. “The programme in Oman focuses on an area which is of key importance to the region’s present and future: Energy, water and mineral resources. A strong emphasis is placed on the employability of our graduates. Many elements of the programme will be accomplished in cooperation with local and international partners from universities in Europe, e.g. RWTH Aachen University and companies in the region” said Prof. Dr. Wilfried Bauer, Head of the Department of Applied Geosciences. The degree programme will be taught in English, including written and oral tests, seminar papers and the Master thesis. The programme may offer the opportunity to travel to Europe to complete coursework at RWTH Aachen or any other University in Germany.

“Numerous mineral resources have been found in Oman, such as copper, chromite, and manganese but the country has also vast resources of industrial minerals. Currently, more than 250 mining and quarrying operations are active; their production accounts for 33% of Oman’s total non-oil exports. In this booming environment, and taking into consideration that exploration for non-hydrocarbons is still at a very early stage, the job opportunities for graduates specialized in mineral resources are considered as very good,” said Prof. Wilfried, who is specialized in mining and who has taught in Germany and Madagascar and was active in geological mapping and exploration for the British Geological Survey and private companies.

Applied Geosciences graduates are also involved in the petroleum industry in the Middle East and elsewhere. This trend is likely to continue as advanced technology is needed to exploit this non-renewable resource. Well-trained and highly motivated geoscience specialists will be on demand, despite the recent economic downturn and the decreased oil prize.

Water is a highly important topic in water-scarce countries in the Gulf region. In Oman the water resources management is lead by the Ministry of Regional Municipalities and Water Resources (MRMWR). Moreover, big commercial activities, e.g. for oil and mining companies as well as large industrial producers, mostly have aspects related to water and thus require experts in that field.

The first three semesters focus on fundamental skills needed for Applied Geosciences in general and they give an overview of the three electives: minerals, water and hydrocarbons. Semester 4 and 5 will integrate the material presented earlier by focusing on advanced applications of these skills in the specialisation PGEO (petroleum geosciences), HGEO (hydrogeology) and MGEO (mineral geosciences). It is during this stage that students have to complete two project modules, including a practical project and the MSc project, either nationally or internationally.

(c) GUtech/Text: Dr. Manuela Gutberlet and Prof. Wilfried Bauer; Photo: GUtech/ AGEO Dep.

International Symposium on Flash Floods – Recommendations and Future Research Agenda addressed

HALBAN The organizers of the 3rd International Symposium on Flash Floods in Wadi Systems held at the German University of Technology in Oman (GUtech) mid-December have released a list of recommendations regarding the implementation of the expert’s recommendations for the mitigation of flooding and disastrous damages in arid countries.

“The participant scientists concluded that until today, there is no way to avoid flooding, which may cause disastrous damages,”  said Prof. Ekkehard Holzbecher, Symposium Chair.  “Even though, counter measures can be improved to reduce the risk of flooding and to mitigate negative effects by proper flood management, and future researches will focus on that direction,” he added. “Improved floodwater harvesting technologies will enhance groundwater quantity and quality in arid countries,” Holzbecher emphasized.

Some arid countries like Morocco have developed a flood mitigation strategy including a ground water recharge. However, the wadi environment is always affected. Thus, there is a need to mitigate negative impacts of these structures and to study how to optimize the flood storage works. It is paramount to collaborate with different research institutes to develop new indices to quantify the changes of sediment and water budget and simultaneously the changes of vegetation, aquatic life and water quality. Moreover, social impacts must be evaluated, e.g. concerning urbanization, the loss of agriculture and the decreasing importance of Aflaj systems (traditional irrigation systems) in Oman.

“The fourth International Symposium on Flash Floods in Wadi Systems will take place, at the University Hassan II in Casablanca (Morocco) between 20 – 22 November this year,” said Dr Ahmed Hadidi from GUtech and member of ISFF organizing committee. “The 4th ISFF will focus on urban flood risk management – mitigation and adaptation measures in the MENA region,” he added.

In conclusion, the team of international experts, mainly from Oman, Germany, Japan, Morocco and Egypt suggest to carry out a more proactive approach in disaster risk reduction and the management of flash floods. This can be done through implementing a trans-disciplinary research team and by establishing an early warning system in Oman. Furthermore, it has been suggested to introduce a joint research programme including the water administration (Ministry of Water Resources, Water Board etc.) and academics such as hydrologists, modeller, hydraulic engineers, urban planners, as well as social scientists.

Text: GUtech/ Dr. Manuela Gutberlet and Dr. Ahmed Hadidi; Photo: GUtech/Media Center

The Third International Symposium on Flash Floods in Wadi Systems (ISSF) concluded

HALBAN The 3rd International Symposium on Flash Floods in Wadi Systems (ISSF) entitled “Disaster Risk Reduction and Water Harvesting in the Arab Region,” concluded end of last week at the German University of Technology in Oman (GUtech) in Halban. Sessions on hydraulic simulation, water harvesting and sediment management as well as monitoring, meterology, climate change, risk assessment, risk management and hazard mitigation were held.

According to the international experts in the multi-disciplinary field of flash flood management, most Arab countries have been suffering from a rise in flash floods, especially within the past ten years. Dr. Ayisha Al Khatri from the Ministry of Regional Municipalities and Water Resources (MRMWR) gave a presentation on the Hydrometic network and its role in flash floods monitoring in the Sultanate of Oman. Dr. Ayisha said that the first rain gauge was installed in Muscat in 1893 already. The first flood risk studies was initiated in 1987 already. In 1992 the ministry published the first flood risk maps, indicating areas that are located in flood areas. The hydrometic network monitors flash floods and therefore helps to project and prevent future floods in the country.

A team of researchers from Kyoto University (Japan) Dr. Tetsuya Sumi, Dr. Sameh Kantoush and Dr. Mohamed Saber, raised in their research presentation the question regarding the understanding the dramatic changes of flash floods in terms of their frequency and intensity due to climate change and how to mitigate and manage the flood water and to reduce the risk of disasters? For their research they applied water harvesting and hydrological modelling within a case study conducted in Egypt.

Towards the end of the sessions, the participants of the symposium discussed a joint 5year Road Map towards establishing an international framework of guidelines for the management of flash floods in wadi systems. Short-term measures such as training, construction guidelines and a wadi flash flood textbook were discussed. The framework will also include international research projects, international guidelines regarding the management of wadis, continuous monitoring of the wadi systems, modelling of the wadi flows as well as continuous public awareness through education and health services.

More than one hundred local and international experts from Japan, Egypt, Morocco, Saudi-Arabia, Jordan, Iraq and Germany besides other countries, attended the three-day symposium, that included an excursion to the Fulaij Flood Protection Dam in Sur on Thursday as well as a pre-conference training workshop on “Flow and Sediment Transport Modelling in Rivers and Wadi System using TELEMAC 2D and 3D numerical codes”.

The Department of Applied Geosciences (AGEO) at GUtech organized the symposium in cooperation with the Water Resource Research Center in Kyoto (WRRC), the Global Alliance of Disaster Research Institutes (GDRAI) of the Disaster Prevention Research Institute (DPRI), Kyoto University, and the Ministry of Regional Municipalities and Water Resources (MRMWR). Moreover, the symposium is sponsored by Hölscher Wasserbau GmbH, COMSOL Inc., Al Bustan Construction as well as Gulf Lake. The organizers also wish to acknowledge all support received from the Association for Hydro-Environment Engineering and Research (IAHR).

Since 2015 the Symposium on Flash Floods in Wadi Systems was held in Kyoto (Japan) and in Campus El Gouna (Egypt). The next symposium will be held in Casablanca/ Morocco next year. For further details and registration please check out the conference website isff2017.gutech.edu.om

Ends

Caption: Opening ceremony of the International Symposium on Flash Floods in Wadi Systems held at GUtech

© Text : GUtech/ Dr. Manuela Gutberlet & Dr. Ahmed Hadidi