Brazil-UK event explores safe exploitation of oil and gas

Oil rig
13 Nov 2012 12:23:00.000


Seven of the 10 biggest oil and gas discoveries this millennium have been made off the coast of Brazil — but their deep water location presents profound challenges.

The safe exploitation of these natural resources was the subject of an international research workshop attended by University of Nottingham academics in Natal, Brazil.

Joined by colleagues from the University of Birmingham, they met with leading researchers from across Brazil to explore complementary research strengths to address these challenges.

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Oil and gas are mainstays of both the Brazilian and UK economies, providing a natural area for exchange of knowledge and expertise.

Discussion topics at the workshop included the use of seismic imaging and microfossils to map out and date oil-bearing rocks; oil generation; enhanced recovery of oil from beneath the surface; and optimising the flow of oil from the drilling platform to the refinery.

The workshop also provided the opportunity to share expertise on new technologies to monitor drilling and production, and the development of corrosion resistant materials essential for safer drilling and production in hostile deep water environments. Furthermore, the UK scientists showcased methods of carbon capture and sequestration to reduce the effect of hydrocarbon use on climate.

Leading research groups

Professor Colin Snape, Director of the Energy Technologies Research Institute at The University of Nottingham, said: “The Universities of Birmingham and Nottingham have a number of leading research groups in oil and gas attending the workshop.

“It offers a unique opportunity for the UK and Brazilian university research groups to forge long-term partnerships. The initial focus of the partnerships is planned to be joint PhD training to provide highly skilled and specialist engineers for Brazil to maximise economic benefit from its huge oil and gas discoveries.”

The workshop was hosted by the Universidade Federal do Rio Grande de Norte (UFRN).

Dr Aderson do Nascimento from UFRN, said: “Strengthening the Brazil-UK partnership in such a relevant economic and scientific theme is surely very important for all of us. This workshop provides great collaboration opportunities for academia in Brazil with our UK counterparts. Here at UFRN we are delighted to host this initiative.”

Joint expertise

Professor Tim Reston from the University of Birmingham, said: “As oil exploration and production in Brazil continues to grow, further development in cutting edge technologies is vital. Building on our joint expertise, we look forward to developing partnerships with Brazilian colleagues to collectively address the challenges ahead.”

Sponsored by UK Trade and Investment, as part of the UKBrasil Season of culture, business and education, the workshop runs from 12th to 14th November 2012.

The workshop was one element of a significant joint investment by the Universities of Birmingham and Nottingham to support partnership development and research collaboration with Brazilian institutions. Other initiatives include 20 PhD scholarships for Brazilian students to study at Birmingham or Nottingham, a visiting fellows programme, a £480k research fund with the São Paulo Research Foundation (FAPESP) and a series of workshops including one around Sporting Legacies.

Both universities are also participating in the Science without Borders scheme and operate a joint office in Joinville, State of Santa Catarina.

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Notes to editors: The University of Nottingham, described by The Sunday Times University Guide 2011 as ‘the embodiment of the modern international university’, has 40,000 students at award-winning campuses in the United Kingdom, China and Malaysia. It is ranked in the UK's Top 10 and the World's Top 75 universities by the Shanghai Jiao Tong (SJTU) and the QS World University Rankings. It was named ‘the world’s greenest university’ in the UI GreenMetric World University Ranking 2011.

More than 90 per cent of research at The University of Nottingham is of international quality, according to the most recent Research Assessment Exercise. The University’s vision is to be recognised around the world for its signature contributions, especially in global food security, energy & sustainability, and health. The University won a Queen’s Anniversary Prize for Higher and Further Education in 2011, for its research into global food security.

Impact: The Nottingham Campaign, its biggest ever fund-raising campaign, will deliver the University’s vision to change lives, tackle global issues and shape the future. More news


The Universidade Federal do Rio Grande de Norte (UFRN) is a lively university with approximately 36,000 students and several other campuses in Rio Grande do Norte State, NE Brazil. UFRN is a fast growing higher institution with a very comprehensive profile and internationalization is high in our agenda. In particular, Oil & Gas research has made a strong impact in our research profile. For further information, visit:

A leading UK research-intensive university, the University of Birmingham is a vibrant, global community and an internationally-renowned institution, in the top 100 globally. With approximately 28,000 students and 6,000 members of staff, its work brings people from more than 150 countries to Birmingham. The University has a bold strategy to develop its global reputation by enhancing its international presence and collaborations. For further information about its engagement in Brazil, visit:

Story credits

More information is available from Cione Cruz, Assessora de Imprensa, Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Norte, tel +55 84 3215 3132,; Catherine Byerley, International Press and PR Officer, University of Birmingham, tel +44 (0)121 4148254,
Tim Utton

Tim Utton - Deputy Director of Communications

Email: Phone: +44 (0)115 846 8092 Location: University Park

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