Upturn in oil and gas industry brings renewed interest in petroleum engineering at Curtin Malaysia

Miri – 12 July 2018 – With the upturn in the global oil and gas (O&G) industry, Curtin University Malaysia (Curtin Malaysia) has begun to see renewed interest in its petroleum engineering programmes from potential students both in Malaysia and internationally.

Curtin Malaysia offers Curtin University’s highly-specialised four-year Bachelor of Engineering in Petroleum Engineering (Honours) degree developed in collaboration with global players like Chevron, Woodside, Shell, BHP Billiton and BP.

Introduced at Curtin Malaysia in 2011, it has been further refined to meet the needs of the national O&G sector with the involvement O&G companies operating in Sarawak like Petronas Carigali, Shell, Nippon Oil, Murphy Oil, Schlumberger and Talisman.

Curtin Malaysia also offers the Master of Petroleum Engineering by coursework that can be completed in 18 months of full-time study.

Curtin Malaysia’s Pro Vice-Chancellor, President and Chief Executive Professor Jim Mienczakowski said that despite the global oil glut, student numbers for the programme have remained constant for the last couple of years. However, with the industry on the road to recovery, enrolment is once again on an upward trend.

He said according to Moody’s 2018 outlook, the global O&G industry will continue its recovery as upstream companies increase production, helping the midstream and services businesses as well.

He also said the International Energy Agency reports that South East Asian nations are expected to approve development of 50 oil and gas fields through 2020, making the region a new heavyweight in global energy.

According to the report, the ten countries of ASEAN represent one of the most dynamic parts of the global energy system and their energy demand has grown by 60 percent over the past 15 years. This represents one-tenth of the rise in global demand, as the region’s economy triples in size and the total population grows by a fifth.

There is strong growth in energy, but increased energy needs lead to rising consumption of all fuels. Oil demand is expected to expand from 4.7 million barrels per day today to around 6.6 million barrels per day in 2040. Demand for natural gas will also grow strongly, by around 60 percent to 2040, due to rising consumption in power generation and industry.

“The future of energy consumption still lies in natural fuels, at least for the next 40 to 50 years. Alternative energy development has not gained much of a foothold in this region and is not likely to for a long time to come,” said Professor Mienczakowski, adding that petroleum engineering will still be at the forefront of the energy sector for the foreseeable future.

Professor Mienczakowski also said that, according to the BP Statistical Review of World Energy 2016, the estimated years of oil, natural gas and coal production left (based on known reserves and production levels in 2015) are 50 years for oil, 52 years for natural gas and 114 years for coal.

He said this augurs very well for Malaysia, which has the largest oil and gas reserves of all the ASEAN countries. Recent announcements of new oil and gas fields being developed in offshore Sarawak and Sabah between now and 2021 are also positive indicators.

Furthermore, with the advent of Petroleum Sarawak Berhad (Petros) constituted by the Sarawak government to administer the state’s oil and gas resources, there are prospects for Sarawakian-owned entities to jointly assess, explore for and develop hydrocarbons.

“All these are set to transform the oil and gas industry and inevitably generate new demand for petroleum engineering graduates. With our well-established petroleum engineering programme and reputation for producing quality graduates for the industry, we are very well positioned to help meet that demand,” said Professor Mienczakowski.

This sentiment was echoed by Associate Professor Hisham Khaled Ben Mahmud, Head of the Petroleum Engineering Department at Curtin Malaysia. He said Curtin Malaysia’s petroleum engineering graduates are immediately employable in the industry upon graduation and, in fact, most of them find employment even before graduation.

This is largely due to the quality of the degree, which is identical to the one offered in Australia and accredited by Engineers Australia and the Board of Engineers Malaysia.

Curtin Malaysia’s location in the O&G hub of Sarawak offers students considerable exposure to real-life industry operations, and the active involvement of industry professionals in faculty advisory panels also ensure relevancy to industry needs.

Student membership to the Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE) is encouraged and this, in conjunction with membership in the Curtin Malaysia SPE Student Chapter, provides students with additional networking, learning and career development throughout the degree. The Curtin Malaysia Chapter is among 39 chapters around the world recognised with the Gold Standard Student Chapter Award for excellence.

To further enhance student learning, Curtin Malaysia regularly hosts guest lecturers from the petroleum engineering department at the main campus in Perth. They have included the likes of Professor Reza Rezaee, winner of the Australian Gas Innovation Award and founder of the Unconventional Gas Research Group of Australia.

It also organises regular industrial visits for students, including to the Shell Wells Asia Pacific (Integrated Gas) Learning Hub in Miri, the first oil and gas specialised training hub of its kind in the Asia-Pacific and Shell’s third after its Houston Centre in the US and Rijswijk Centre in the Netherlands.

Such visits enable the students to learn more about drilling operations, including how to drill a vertical well using a well drilling simulator, and complement practical study in fluid and reservoir rock laboratories and geodynamic lab work at the university.

Associate Professor Hisham said Curtin University’s global reputation in the area of mineral and mining engineering has also added to the degree’s strengths. Curtin is ranked No. 2 in the world for mineral and mining engineering in the 2018 QS World University Rankings by Subject, in addition to ranking in the top 1 percent of universities globally in the Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU) 2017.

Enrolment for Curtin Malaysia’s July/August (Semester 2) intake is now in progress with undergraduate programmes set to commence on 30 July 2018, followed by foundation programmes on 13 August. For more information on its courses, visit courses.curtin.edu.my or enquire online at http://www1.curtin.edu.my/future/enquiry.htm or by email to enquiries@curtin.edu.my.

For more information on Curtin Malaysia, visit its website (www.curtin.edu.my), its Facebook page (CurtinMalaysia), Twitter profile (curtinmalaysia), Google+ page (Curtin Malaysia), Instagram (curtinmalaysia) or YouTube channel (Curtin Malaysia).


Professor Mienczakowski upbeat about prospects for O&G and Curtin Malaysia’s petroleum engineering programmes.


Curtin’s global reputation has strengthened the petroleum engineering programme, says Associate Professor Hisham Khaled Ben Mahmud.


Curtin Malaysia’s petroleum engineering graduates highly sought after internationally.

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