Port Harcourt — Thirteen indigenes of Niger Delta states of Bayelsa, Delta, Imo and Rivers have won the 2019 Shell Petroleum Development Company Joint Venture scholarship for a one-year master’s degree in three top-ranked universities in the United Kingdom.
SPDC’s General Manager, External Relations, Mr Igo Weli, speaking at the award ceremony in Port Harcourt, Thursday, said the 2019 awards bring the total number of beneficiaries to 92 since the inception of the scheme in 2010.
Weli said the fully-funded scholarship covers all the direct and indirect activities leading up to the award of the postgraduate degree including visa fees, tuition, living expenses, other allowances and return flight tickets for a one-year Master’s degree in top-ranked partner universities.
The partner universities are Imperial College, London; University of Leeds and University of Aberdeen.
“A lack of world-class research institutions and limited access to technology are key challenges in enabling Nigerians and Nigerian companies to play an even greater role in the oil and gas value chain, therefore, the SPDC Joint Venture has, over the years, developed many scholarship programmes and other initiatives as part of our continuing efforts to develop indigenous manpower for the oil and gas industry.”
Weli, represented by SPDC’s Social Investment Manager, Mrs Gloria Udoh, explained that the scheme was targeted at host communities, while admonishing the beneficiaries to make good use of the opportunity.
“We have the national scholarship which caters for the entire country in addition to the scholarships offered by our deepwater business, Shell Nigeria Exploration and Production Company.”
Also speaking, SPDC’s General Manager, Nigerian Content Development, Mr. Olanrewaju Olawuyi, said the company was committed to country value addition not just through scholarships but also through in-country manufacturing, supplier development, asset ownership and infrastructure development.
“Our approach to developing local human capacity has evolved over the years as the challenges facing the industry and our businesses have changed. We look forward to their returning home and contributing to the development of the oil and gas industry and their communities.”
Speaking on behalf of the beneficiaries, one of the awardees, Ibim Diri, from Rivers State, said he was going to the University of Aberdeen to obtain a Master’s degree in Integrated Petroleum Geosciences, while commending SPDC for the lifetime opportunity.
“This is a life-time opportunity for me to improve myself and compete equally with my peers all over the world. Shell is doing a great job and I am extremely grateful.
“I assure you that we won’t disappoint Nigeria and SPDC, but we will study hard, graduate and come back to contribute our own quota to Nigeria’s development.”