By Hayden McBennett, October 30 2014 —
The University of Calgary signed an agreement to open and fund a research centre in Beijing with the Chinese oil and gas company Kerui Group on Thursday, Oct. 23.
U of C president Elizabeth Cannon and senior representatives from the Kerui Group signed the agreement in Ottawa. Research at the Beijing research centre will focus on finding ways to tap into China’s vast unconventional natural gas reserves.
The facility will conduct research, educate and offer training on the extraction process of unconventional natural gas resources, commonly referred to as fracking.
“The partnership with the Kerui Group is going to allow us to be on the ground in Beijing to develop and expand our partnerships not only with industry but with leading Chinese universities in unconventional oil and gas space, which is a key area of expertise for the University of Calgary,” said Cannon, in an interview with The Globe and Mail.
Cannon said the research will help China ease out of its coal dependency and provide the U of C with expertise on Chinese geology and gas extraction methods.
“[The goal] is to develop new innovative technology that we’ll not only bring back to Canada, but will help China move from a coal economy over to gas through unlocking some of their unconventional oil and gas reserves,” Cannon said.
The relationship between Canada and China has been strained since the federal government created new roadblocks to oilsands acquisitions by state-owned companies.
The partnership is part of the U of C’s global research initiative for unconventional oil and gas. A partnership in Mexico is also in the works.
The U of C also plans to export the model used for the Beijing site to Middle Eastern countries, including the United Arab Emirates, Israel and Qatar. Institutes are also being planned for the United States, Tanzania and Germany.