‘Understanding Carbonate Mudrocks’ – An EAGE lecture by Prof Dr. John Humphrey

HALBAN As part of a student lecture tour organized by the European Association of Geoscientists and Engineers (EAGE), Prof. Dr. John D. Humphrey, King Fahd University of Petroleum & Minerals, will give a lecture on “Understanding Carbonate Mudrocks”. The lecture will be held at GUtech on Monday, 21 October. “We are looking forward to an interesting talk by an internationally renown carbonate rock specialist. Carbonate mudrocks are of specific interest to Oman and the wider region as source rocks for oil and gas. Prof. Humphrey has been extensive teaching, research and consultancy experience within the oil and gas and mining industries,” said Prof. Dr. Wilfried Bauer, Head of the Department of Applied Geosciences at GUtech.

Fine-grained, mud-dominated, carbonate rocks can form in a variety of sedimentary environments. While sub-environments of shallow-water tropical carbonate systems are capable of producing muddy facies, this talk focuses on predominantly pelagic carbonates in slope and basin settings. Increasingly, such carbonate mudrocks are becoming the targets of unconventional petroleum system exploration and development. Basinal accumulations of pelagic carbonate (either platform or open ocean derived) can be associated with anoxic to suboxic conditions conducive to preservation of marine organic matter. These organic-rich carbonate mudrocks tend to be brittle and are therefore viable targets for hydraulic fracturing completions. Other carbonate mudrock systems are economically important conventional reservoirs, such as the Upper Cretaceous to Paleogene chalks of the North Sea. The lecture will consider the sedimentology and diagenesis of pelagic carbonates, including ecological controls on carbonate production, chemical controls on carbonate accumulation, and the effects of burial diagenesis on carbonate mudrock reservoir quality. Case studies of mudstone/chalk reservoirs will be presented.

Dr. John D. Humphrey is Associate Professor and Assistant Chairman of Geosciences at King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals. His appointment is in the Department of Geosciences, within the College of Petroleum Engineering and Geosciences. His areas of specialization include carbonate diagenesis and geochemistry, carbonate sedimentology and stratigraphy, carbonate reservoir characterization, unconventional carbonate reservoirs, stable isotope geochemistry, and paleoclimatology. He has been a consultant to the oil and gas and mining industries for thirty years. Dr. Humphrey is a Fellow of the Geological Society of America and a Trustee Associate of the American Association of Petroleum.

Prof. Humphrey received his B.S. degree in Geology at the University of Vermont, where he was elected to Phi Beta Kappa and graduated Cum Laude. Dr. Humphrey received his M.Sc. and Ph.D. degrees from Brown University in Geological Sciences. He was on the faculty of Geosciences at the University of Texas at Dallas from 1986 to 1991. Beginning in 1991, Dr. Humphrey was a professor of Geology and Geological Engineering at Colorado School of Mines. He was twice awarded the Alumni Teaching Award for the top educator at CSM (1998, 2014). He served as Department Head from 2006 to 2013. From 2013 to 2015, he was Interim Director of the CSM Chevron Center of Research Excellence. He retired from Mines in 2015 and joined KFUPM in 2017.

Caption: Late Permian Khuff Formation, a seqence of muddy limestones and marls, northern Huqf, Oman.


“Computer Science offers recession-proof jobs”

HALBAN Computers are part of our every-day lives. “A Bachelor in Computer Science offers a well-rounded programme where students can learn various skills like reasoning, rational thinking and problem-solving,” said Prof. Dr. Nabil Sahli, Head of the Department of Computer Science and Dean of the Faculty of Engineering and Computer Science during the Avenir Career Fair held at the Indian School Seeb last week. “Computer Science offers recession-proof jobs, withstanding economic changes worldwide,” he added. During his talk to the students, Prof. Nabil mentioned that 60% of the future jobs in science will be related to Computer Science, although only 2% will have the specific skill-set required for the jobs. “Computer scientists will be highly in demand in future, focusing on data sciences, data security especially with regard to the dramatically increasing e-commerce businesses.” He added that Computer Science is a door of opportunities when you have unique ideas that attract a large audience. He stressed that some GUtech graduates in Computer Sciences have started their own start-up businesses in Oman, even representing Google in the Middle East or they work for telecommunications companies like Omantel, Oredoo or consultancies like Ernst & Young. “Our Computer Science graduates have a very good reputation in the local market,” he said. Prof. Dr Nabil Sahli got his PhD from Canada in 2006. He has extensive teaching and research experience in Computer Science. Currently, he is involved in different research projects related to sensor networks and road traffic management.

At GUtech’s BSc Computer Science programme, students attend around 30 hours class per week including hardware and software. In addition, they have to conduct a summer internship and write their Bachelor thesis at the end of the programme. The students are also participating in international competitions such as the Dell EMC competition, Microsoft Imagine Cup, ACM programming or the Google Hackathon. In cooperation with GUtech’s partner-university RWTH Aachen University, GUtech has started a MSc programme in Computer Sciences with an option to study at Hasselt University (Belgium) and to earn an additional Master degree in Transportation Science.

(c) GUtech/ Text & Photo: Dr. Manuela Gutberlet


GUtech Engineering students and professors visit Sohar Aluminium

HALBAN The Department of Mechanical Engineering of the German University of Technology in Oman (GUtech) has conducted an annual site visit to Sohar Aluminium last week. The site visit was part of the course Material Science 2. “Thanks to this annual site visit, the students have the opportunity to experience a real production line, that is usually explained in the classroom and from a theoretical point of view. The plant is the first aluminium smelter in the Sultanate of Oman, that is able to produce about 390,000 tonnes/year of primary aluminium using the Hall-Heroult process,” said Prof. Dr. Annalisa Pola, fly-in professor from the University of Brescia. During their site visit, the students and professors visited three plant facilities including the training centre, where several GUtech students have also been trained in the past as well as the ‘Anodes production Plant’ and the ‘Casthouse’. “We are happy to receive the students in our aluminium smelter and get the opportunity to explain to them the different processes involved in the aluminium production thereby supplementing their theoretical knowledge with practical experience.” said Mrs Dana Geadah, Communications Manager at Sohar Aluminium. Mrs Geadah added: “Sohar Aluminium plays an important role in the future of the aluminium industry in the Gulf region where the smelters collectively produce 10% of the total world production and is considered one of the key economic drivers for the region.”


The 1st OMAN Hydrogen Symposium held at GUtech

HALBAN Under the patronage of His Excellency Dr. Ahmed bin Mohammed Al Futaisi, Minister of Transport and Communications in Oman, the ‘1st OMAN Hydrogen Symposium’, was held at the German University of Technology in Oman (GUtech) today, Wednesday 9 October. The Symosium was organised by the OMAN Hydrogen Initiative, founded by GUtech and the German company Hydrogen Rise AG. The Symposium was supported by the Ministry of Oil and Gas in Oman and by His Excellency Salim bin Nasser bin Said Al-Aufi, Undersecretary of the Ministry of Oil and Gas. During the half-day Symposium experts from the Sultanate of Oman and abroad discussed the potential of green hydrogen as a new energy carrier for the Sultanate. As the global demand for hydrogen is expected to increase in future, experts predict significant export opportunities for Oman. The OMAN Hydrogen Symposium has presented initial research results and has offered proposals for further action including the establishment of a ‘Hydrogen Competence Center’.

Prof. Dr. Ing. Michael Modigell, Rector of GUtech welcomed the audience to this 1st OMAN Hydrogen Symposium. The symposium was divided into three parts: opportunities and challenges for Oman, the international trends and developments including case studies from Japan and Germany as well as future plans of the OMAN Hydrogen Initiative. On the side lines of the Symposium GUtech BSc Environmental Engineering students presented their research on the ‘Potential of Bio-hydrogen Production in Oman’, supervised by Dr. Hind Barghash partially by Petroleum Development in Oman (PDO) and GUtech seed funding. In addition, GUtech students presented their Shell Eco-marathon hydrogen car in front of the conference hall.

H.E. Salim bin Nasser bin Said Al-Aufi, Undersecretary of the Ministry of Oil and Gas said that it is a global challenge to transform the ecosystem to a hydrogen society. “There is no other way to meet the Paris Agreement and to decarbonize the industry,” he said. “The potential is huge. We would like to contribute and shape the hydrogen economy,” he said and in cooperation with different partners from the industry as well as from the academia. H.E. Thomas Friedrich Schneider, Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany to the Sultanate of Oman said that he is pleased to participate in the 1st OMAN Hydrogen Symposium. Germany is undergoing a complete restructuring of its energy sector, reducing its dependency on fossil and nuclear energy resources towards renewable energies. “This is a huge challenge.” Currently some 44 % of Germany’s energy production is generated from renewable energies. By 2050 the amount shall increase to 80-95% with the aim to protect the environment and to limit the consequences of climate change while creating new business opportunities. A National Strategy for Hydrogen will be published by the German government by the end of the year. Therefore, Germany needs green hydrogen imports. Green hydrogen is already used by German companies like Siemens. The German Ambassador stressed that there is an urgent need for further investment in research cooperations and in common standards and policies leading to a sustainable energy future worldwide.

Dr.-Ing. Bernd Wiemann, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Hydrogen Rise AG stressed in his speech that Sultanate of Oman, with its expertise in the energy sector can emerge as a major player promoting hydrogen as an alternative resource and for export while at the same time developing competencies and human resources for the new hydrogen industry.

Mr. Olav Carlsen, Chief Financial Officer and Co-Founder of Hydrogen Rise AG, spoke about the Green Hydrogen – The Global Game Changer and Significant Opportunities for Oman. “Today 18% of the energy worldwide is already supplied by renewable energies. The energy transition needs new energy carriers to decarbonize the industries worldwide. By 2050, 65% of the global energy is projected to be generated by renewable energies. By 2050 the production will increase to 500 million tons of green hydrogen compared to only 2 million green hydrogen in 2017. This energy transition will offer plenty of opportunities for local businesses. Hydrogen can be exported in a large scale while generating little CO2 emissions. According to Carlsen hydrogen is non-toxic and non-polluting, while complying with strong safety regulations. He pointed out that heavy trucks in Chile were already replaced by hydrogen trucks. In Europe and Asia hydrogen trains as well as hydrogen cars are already used for transportation. Overall it is projected that hydrogen creates ‘deep tech jobs’ while attracting energy intensive industries offering a potential for numerous carbon-free industry certifications. In her speech on the Oman Hydrogen Capacity Potential, Ms. Clara Orthofer from the Technical University Munich (TUM) in Germany spoke about the prospects of hydrogen for the local economy. “Oman’s technical electricity potential lies 136 times above the current electricity demand” while adding that the Hydrogen production potential is up to 10 times the current oil exports. For the production of hydrogen only a surface of 1 % is required and 8-17 % of Oman’s water that was generated in 2016. Dr. Abdullah Al-Abri, Executive Director of EJAAD in Oman spoke about Hydrogen: A Promising Economic Engine for Oman”. He said that “Hydrogen is an opportunity for Oman”, e.g. as a chemical feed-stock to produce ammonia and chemicals for EOR such as Dimethyl Ethel and others as well as to blend hydrogen with natural gas.” Mr. Emanuele Taibi, Analyst for Power Sector Transformation Strategies of International Renewable Energy Agency, IRENA, elaborated on Hydrogen: A Renewable Energy Prospective. Dr. Uwe Albrecht, Chief Executive Officer, Ludwig Bölkow Systemtechnik – LBST from Germany spoke about the ‘Global Trends and Developments’ while Mr. Toshiyuki Shirai, Director of Advanced Energy Systems and Structure Division – Agency for National Resources and Energy, Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry in Japan elaborated in his speech ‘Japan – On the Way to a Hydrogen Society’ on the experience in hydrogen from Japan, one of the leading hydrogen technology nations. Mr. Holger Lösch, Deputy Director General of Federation of German Industries- BDI, Germany spoke about the ‘Energy Transition within the German Industry’ and Dr. Karoline Steinbacher, Managing Consultat, Navigant, Federal Ministry of Economic Affairs and Energy, Germany explained in her speech the ‘German Hydrogen Orientation’. The Symposium concluded with a short overview: ‘Next Steps of the OMAN Hydrogen Initiative’, outlined by Prof. Dr.-Ing. Michael Modigell, Rector of GUtech and Dr.-Ing. Bernd Wiemann, CEO of Hydrogen Rise AG. As part of the OMAN Hydrogen Initiative actions, GUtech is to introduce a hydrogen collaboration, piloting and demonstration with different partners in the industry, government and academia while establishing a Hydrogen ‘Competence Center’ for research and development and to further on to build and operate the first green hydrogen pilot plant on campus while at the same time raising public awareness about the potential of hydrogen as a green energy carrier and industrial feedstock for many new industrial businesses in Oman. Due to the success of the Symposium, the organizers are planning to hold a second symposium with different stakeholders in future.

(c) GUtech, Text & Photo: Dr. Manuela Gutberlet/ Fatma Al Balushi

Engineering students conduct summer internships and thesis projects at the University of Brescia/Italy

HALBAN In the past six years, GUtech students have been conducting summer internships as well as thesis projects at the Metallurgical Laboratory of the Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering, University of Brescia in Italy. A total of four Mechanical and Process Engineering students have conducted thesis projects and six students have done six-weeks summer internships at the Metallurgical Laboratory of the University. In February 2014, GUtech and the University of Brescia signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) that was renewed earlier this year.

“The aim of the summer internships in our laboratory is the so-called mechanical and metallurgical characterization of metallic parts (e.g. aluminium alloy, cast iron), in order to find a correlation between the alloy structure and the part properties,” said Prof. Dr. Annalisa Pola, Associate Professor in Metallurgy at the University of Brescia and Fly-in Professor at GUtech. The laboratory tests conducted by GUtech students are used for evaluating the improvement in the performance of metallic parts due to the use of a new alloy chemical composition, a new production route or a new heat treatment.

In the beginning of their internships, the students have to undertake a detailed analysis of the scientific literature. “Recently, one of the topics investigated during the internship was the analysis of Al samples obtained by additive manufacturing and subjected to innovative post processing operations. The process is used for example in manufacturing components for automotive and aerospace industry. In our laboratory the students have been involved in experimental tests to evaluate the performance of the additive manufactured samples such as tensile and hardness tests, as well as density tests. They also had to perform metallurgical analyses by preparing the samples (cutting and polishing), observing by optical microscope or using an image analysis software. They collected and processed all the obtained data to compare them directly. Finally, they have been involved in the analysis of the fractured surface morphologies carried out by a scanning electron microscope,” said Prof. Annalisa Pola.

To get some industry insights, Prof. Annalisa and her colleagues have been also arranging site visits to different local companies dealing with the production of metallic parts that are investigated in the laboratory; all industries are located in the city of Brescia or in the region nearby.

“We are always happy to welcome one or two students from GUtech in our Metallurgy Laboratory. Being a rich industrial district, the city of Brescia is a very interesting location for internships and to further explore Italy. It only takes three hours to go to the capital Rome by train and two hours to Florence and to the Lake Garda,” said Prof. Annalisa Pola. “Overall our cooperation with GUtech aims at promoting and encouraging scientific and academic collaboration including the exchange of Engineering professors, researchers and Engineering students. Activities include but are not limited to student exchange, summer internships and Bachelor thesis, the exchange of Engineering professors, joint research activities, the publication and exchange of academic information and materials in the fields of interest to both universities,” said Prof. Annalisa Pola. Since October 2013 Prof. Annalisa Pola and her colleagues Prof. Marcello Gelfi and Prof. Roberto Roberti have been teaching Material Science (I and II) in the Engineering Departments at GUtech.

(c) GUtech/ Text and Photo: Dr. Manuela Gutberlet and Prof. Dr. Annalisa Pola

The 1st OMAN Hydrogen Symposium will be held at GUtech on 9 October

A Symposium, focusing on the opportunities of the global energy transition

Green Hydrogen – produced from renewable energies – a fundamental option for diversifying the economy in Oman

HALBAN The ‘First OMAN Hydrogen Symposium’, under the patronage of His Excellency Dr. Ahmed bin Mohammed Al Futaisi, Minister of Transport & Communications, will be held at the German University of Technology in Oman (GUtech) on Wednesday, 9 October. During the Symposium experts will discuss and explore the potential of green hydrogen as a new energy carrier for the Sultanate. The Symposium is organised by the OMAN Hydrogen Initiative, founded by GUtech and the German company Hydrogen Rise AG. The OMAN Hydrogen Symposium is supported by the Ministry of Oil and Gas in Oman and in particular by His Excellency Salim bin Nasser bin Said Al-Aufi, Undersecretary of the Ministry of Oil and Gas who will speak at the event. The OMAN Hydrogen Initiative focuses on the development of hydrogen industries in Oman along with developing and facilitating technological and academic competencies including research in all fields of the hydrogen economy. The Symposium will focus on the potential of green hydrogen for the economic future of Oman and its production, storage, distribution and applications. As the global demand for hydrogen is expected to increase in future, it represents significant export opportunities. “This is a joint Renewable Energy Initiative to explore and discuss the potential to produce, develop, operate and export hydrogen and related technologies here in Oman. Our main goal is to start and foster a discussion on hydrogen, to be further explored in future workshops. We have invited a number of high-ranking officials and experts in the field of renewable energies, hydrogen and oil and gas in Oman and from abroad,” said Professor Dr.-Ing. Michael Modigell, Rector of GUtech. Green hydrogen, produced by renewable energies, like sun and wind, is one of the most promising alternative carriers of renewable energies for future CO2-free energy economies. Without green hydrogen, the global task of realizing an energy transition towards renewable energies is very challenging or even impossible. To discuss the potential of this ‘game changing technology’ for Oman, local and international government representatives, industry experts and scientists have been invited to speak at the Symposium presenting recent international hydrogen trends, developments and strategies.

Among others, representatives from the Ministries of Economy in Japan and in Germany, two of the leading hydrogen technology nations will share their insight. These trends and the growing demand for hydrogen around the world offer significant export opportunities for Oman as an important energy carrier. The Sultanate of Oman, like other countries around the globe, with its expertise in energy and outstanding cost advantages in the production of renewable energies and hydrogen can emerge as a major player within the upcoming hydrogen industry. For this, the Oman Hydrogen Initiative will present initial research results and proposals for action. As part of the Hydrogen Initiative actions, GUtech is planning to establish a Hydrogen ‘Competence Center’ and further on to build and operate the first green hydrogen pilot plant on campus while at the same time raising public awareness about the potential of hydrogen as a green energy carrier and industrial feedstock for many new industrial business opportunities in Oman.

For registration please check out the following website: https://www.gutech.edu.om/oman-hydrogen-symposium/

UN World Tourism Day – The Minister of Tourism visited GUtech

HALBAN On the occasion of the UN World Tourism Day entitled ‘Tourism and Jobs: A better Future for All’, the Faculty of Business and Economics at the German University of Technology in Oman (GUtech) has received H.E. Ahmed al Mehrazi, Minister of Tourism in Oman on its campus last Thursday. During the event that was held at the History of Science Centre, the Minister discussed various topics on tourism in Oman with GUtech students. The Minister spoke about the National Tourism Strategy 2040, the role of tourism festivals in marketing the Sultanate as well as cruise tourism and its potential for the Sultanate. Prof. Dr. Osman Barghouth, Head of the Department of Logistics, Tourism and Service Management presented the contribution of the tourism sector in creating employment opportunities especially for Omanis while contributing to the UN Sustainable Development Goals. This special event was open for GUtech students, staff and invitees from the academia and tourism destination management companies.

Each year, the World Tourism Day comes at the end of the high season in the northern hemisphere and the beginning of the season in the southern hemisphere, when tourism is on the minds of millions of people worldwide. According to the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), the World Tourism Day is celebrated to foster awareness on tourism’s social, cultural, political and economic value and the contribution the tourism sector can make in reaching the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

(c) GUtech/Text & Photo: Dr. Manuela Gutberlet and Fatma Al Balushi


The first Summer School on ‘Climate Change Response Strategies for Sustainable Land Use and Water Management’ held at GUtech

HALBAN The First Summer School on “Climate Change Response Strategies for Sustainable Land Use and Water Management” is currently held at the German University of Technology in Oman (GUtech). The two-week interdisciplinary course is conducted in cooperation with professors from Brandenburg Technical University, Cottbus/ Senftenberg in Germany. The Summer School focuses on Sustainable Development and Climate Change, Climate Change Response Strategies, Emerging Issues on Environmental Law and Environmental Assessment with a special focus on sustainable land use and water management while combining different teaching techniques such as lectures, case-studies and group work. The summer school courses are directly related to all Bachelor of Engineering and Bachelor of Science programmes offered at GUtech. “Since pre-industrial times and due to human activities, urbanisation and industrialization, global greenhouse gas emissions have been rising to more than 70%. As a consequence the frequency of cyclones, heat waves and rain season has been increasing in the past years,” said Prof. Dr. Eike Albrecht during his introduction to Sustainable Development. Today due to climate change especially low-lying areas such as islands are vulnerable to increased sea level rise. At the same time a massive extinction of species has been witnessed worldwide including a drastic decline of insects, for example in Germany, said Prof. Dr. Albrecht, while mentioning that the extinction of plants and species has an impact on the entire ecosystem of our planet and many other species and we human beings will be effected. Over-exploitation of our planet’s resources for food, clothing or other products has accelerated climate change. On the other hand, Prof. Albrecht stressed on the fact that forests are the main producers of oxygen, storing CO2 emissions. These need to be protected on a large scale. According to Prof. Albrecht, currently there are more than 200 international environmental agreements and many bilateral agreements in place.

“The Summer School provides students with in-depth knowledge on highly relevant topics in the field of environmental planning, law, hydrogeology, ecology in the context of sustainable development and coping with the effects of climate change through adaptation and mitigation, such as coping measures to be discussed on a local, regional and global scale. The Summer School provides the students with a new vision of the world they live in, addressing the complexity and interrelation of problems such as environmental degradation, population growth and the scarcity of resources. Climate change in the context of land use and water resource management is gaining importance particularly in Asia and in the Middle East where an increased risk of droughts and mismanagement is projected,” said Prof. Dr. Najah Al Mhanna, Head of the Department of Engineering at GUtech.

© GUtech/ Dr. Manuela Gutberlet and Prof. Dr. Najah Al Mhanna

International Summer School at GUtech

Brandenburg University of Technology Cottbus-Senftenberg and German University of Technology in Oman with Support of DAAD organise the International Summer School

“Climate Change Response Strategies for Sustainable Land Use and Water Management”

Date: 23rd September–5th October 2019

Venue: German University of Technology in Oman


The Orientation Days start at GUtech

HALBAN The Orientation Days for new GUtech students have started on campus today morning. For more than 500 students a new stage in their lives begins. GUtech’s Deputy-Rector for Administration and Finances, Dr. Hussain Al Salmi, welcomed the large number of Foundation Year students in the unversity’s Research Hall. The students will study Academic English, Mathematics and IT throughout one year before they will move on to one of the Bachelor programmes. In his speech, Dr Hussain spoke about the development of GUtech, with the beginning in the Beach Campus and the Airport campus in Muscat and the construction of the final campus in Halban in 2012. In that year, His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said Al Said visited GUtech. Dr. Hussain also stressed on the importance of the English language while German is taught as an additional language for three semesters at GUtech. He also mentioned that the studies can be difficult in the beginning but the students will be rewarded in future. All BSc and BEng programmes are internationally accredited by ACQUIN. One of the female Foundation year students who is planning to study BEng Process Engineering, said that she is looking forward to the studies and that her family advised her to study Engineering at GUtech.

The Orientation Days continued with various presentations held by administrative departments including the Department of Student Affairs who highlighted their services such as non-academic counseling, clubs and associations such as the Logistics Club, the Theater Club, the Media Club as well as social events. The Library explained their services and facilities. Towards the end of the first day senior Bachelor students guided new students around the campus to familiarize them with the facilities. International students and Omani students with direct entry into the Bachelor programmes will start their studies from tomorrow onwards.