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$44 million in funding awarded for research partnerships in Mexico

Mexican Ministry of Energy funds four hydrocarbon research networks
March 14, 2017
UCalgary and Mexico leaders at the 2016 Global Petroleum Show, after the Mexican Secretary of Energy, Pedro Joaquín Coldwell announced an investment of 150 million pesos toward joint research and called for proposals. From left, Dan McFadyen, Ed McCauley, Cecilia Villanueva, Leonardo Beltran (back), Sergio Alcocer, Pedro Joaquín Coldwell, Dru Marshall, Janaka Ruwanpura and Carlos Ortiz.

University of Calgary and Mexico leaders at the 2016 Global Petroleum Show, after the Mexican Secretary of Energy, Pedro Joaquín Coldwell announced an investment of 150 million pesos toward joint research and called for proposals. From left: Dan McFadyen, Ed McCauley, Cecilia Villanueva, Leonardo Beltran (back), Sergio Alcocer, Pedro Joaquín Coldwell, Dru Marshall, Janaka Ruwanpura and Carlos Ortiz.

The University of Calgary, in collaboration with Mexican universities and research institutes, has received $44 million (MXN $646,940,122) in funding for four knowledge networks to support joint research projects that will aid energy reforms in Mexico. This funding commitment follows from a long-term collaborative partnership the university signed in December 2015 with the Mexican Ministry of Energy (SENER), to stimulate knowledge creation and practical energy industry solutions between the University of Calgary and leading Mexican research institutions.

“Collaboration between Canada and Mexico helps us both meet our goals. Co-operative research projects such as these stand to advance both countries’ efforts in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and increasing energy security — core aims of the Government of Canada’s international efforts to meet climate change targets and create new opportunities for clean economic growth,” says Canada’s Natural Resources Minister Jim Carr.

The research focuses on four key areas of development: heavy oil, mature and unconventional oil resources, pipeline loss reduction, and industry and labour market development. The knowledge areas will create joint international research networks through the University of Calgary’s Global Research Initiative in Unconventional Hydrocarbon Resources (GRI), linking world-class innovators and partners for increased knowledge and discovery in the energy sector. The networks will be led by the University of Calgary and the lead Mexican partner institutions: the Instituto Mexicano del Petróleo (IMP) and Instituto Tecnolólgico y de Estudios Superiores de Monterrey (ITSEM).

“This outstanding funding commitment from SENER affirms that our Global Research Initiative in Unconventional Hydrocarbon Resources is creating momentum on a larger scale,” says Elizabeth Cannon, president and vice-chancellor of the University of Calgary. “Through the combined guidance of our international strategy and energy research strategy, our university is forming international partnerships — such as this one with SENER — that will drive leading-edge safety, efficiency and sustainability in the global energy sector.”

“Our government has worked to strengthen ties with Mexico and its growing energy sector and I was pleased to visit the Instituto Mexicano del Petróleo last fall as part of this work,” says Margaret McCuaig-Boyd, Alberta’s Minister of Energy. “Encouraging more of these outstanding research partnerships in our universities and colleges is a clear example of the value that our co-operation brings to Albertans and Mexicans. These investments help our two countries develop energy resources in sustainable ways, create employment, and develop valuable learning and research opportunities.”

The initial commitment for the knowledge network was valued at 150 million pesos (equivalent to approximately $10.5 million). However, the quality and value of the submitted proposals resulted in significantly increased funding for the projects, which added to the Hydrocarbon Fund’s investment. Each institution has contributed a portion of each project.

“With this co-operation Mexico and the University of Calgary have taken a bold step in creating outcome-based, international and multidisciplinary research groups,” says the Secretary of Energy, Pedro Joaquín Coldwell. “The products of the research undertaken in these knowledge cells will have tangible impacts on Mexico’s hydrocarbon industry performance. This collaboration will show a clear example of true innovation: knowledge transformed into economic and social gains.”  

“This is a fantastic opportunity for the university to work with our Mexican counterparts to help advance Mexico’s energy sector,” says Dru Marshall, provost and vice-president (academic). “We appreciate the confidence the Mexican Ministry of Energy has shown in our university and look forward to the outcomes that will be shared in the coming years.”

The funding is administered by CONACYT, a national funding organization in Mexico that works to advance science and technology by promoting research projects and disseminating information. The research will be developed over the next three years.

“I’m happy to see our researchers optimize the opportunity provided by SENER and CONACYT to collaborate with Mexican institutions and support the energy reforms,” says Janaka Ruwanpura, vice-provost (international). “University of Calgary’s energy expertise will mutually benefit Mexico and Canada.”

The University of Calgary has researchers from the Schulich School of Engineering’s Department of Chemical and Petroleum Engineering, the Faculty of Science’s Department of Geoscience and Biology, and the School of Public Policy directly involved in the approved research projects.