Nigeria’s First Marine Engineering Centre Takes Off At Rivers State University

The Shell Petroleum Development Company Joint Venture (SPDC JV), has established Nigeria’s first Centre of Excellence in Marine and Offshore Engineering at the Rivers State University, Port Harcourt, Rivers ​State.

The multi-million-naira facility was set up as part of the company’s contribution to top quartile learning and research in tertiary institutions in Nigeria.

The Centre is stocked with modern hydrodynamic equipment and accessories for post graduate education in related disciplines including Marine Engineering (Power Plant), Naval Architecture as well as Offshore and Subsea Engineering.

Apart from building the capacity of teachers, the Centre of Excellence, will run 18-month Master’s and Diploma programmes.

The academic package covers classroom lecture, practical sessions, term project modules and a six-month internship in the oil and gas industry.

Speaking at the inauguration ceremony of the centre,, the Managing Director of SPDC and Country Chairman, Shell Companies in Nigeria, Osagie Okunbor, said the company is not unaware of the challenges faced in the oil and gas industry.

“At SPDC, we recognise that the challenges in our industry–in Nigeria and globally–provide us opportunities for participation and innovation. This collaboration with the Rivers State University will serve as a graduate studies centre and develop quality graduates for potential employment in the oil and gas industry and related sectors,” Okunbor said.

The Rivers State Governor, Barr. Nyesom Wike, who was represented at the inauguration ceremony by the Commissioner of Education, Professor Kaniye Ebeku, said: “This project will help RSU realise its entrepreneurial target. Unemployable graduates would become employable from this Centre which will help to produce experts to man sensitive institutions in Nigeria. It is good that SPDC is not only donating and quitting but is staying to support its growth.”

On his part, the Vice Chancellor of the university, Prof Blessing Didia said the facility has strengthened one of the University’s key objectives to produce top-level manpower for development, and that the University was proud to produce the first African Professor of Marine Engineering, Professor Bob Manuel.

“The University is indeed grateful to SPDC JV for the monumental gesture and the demonstration of corporate responsibility,” the Vice Chancellor added.

Executive Secretary of the Nigerian Content Development & Monitoring Board (and alumnus of RSU), Engineer Simbi Wabote, commended SPDC’s contribution to the university and to growing the capabilities of Nigerians in the oil and gas industry. He promised to enable NCDMB’s collaboration with the Centre.

SPDC’s General Manager External Relations, Igo Weli, said SPDC would continue to implement developmental projects in the Niger Delta, and appealed to the people of the region to create a conducive environment for businesses to thrive.

A Board of Trustees made up of members from the Rivers State University and SPDC will administer the joint venture’s annual subvention to the Centre of Excellence.

It would be recalled that in 2012, the SPDC JV established a Centre of Excellence in Geosciences and Petroleum Engineering at the University of Benin, which offers three specialised postgraduate degrees in Geology, Geophysics and Petroleum Engineering.

The SPDC JV has also endowed active Professional Chairs in six Nigerian universities. In 2016, a Chair in Light Weight Automobile Engine Development was established at the Federal University of Petroleum Resources in Effurun, Delta State, which is expected to contribute to the growth of local content in Nigeria’s automobile industry.

Also, research at the Shell Professional Chair in Petroleum Engineering at the University of Port Harcourt in 2012 produced the Optiwell well-bore stability software.

Use of the software has significantly reduced drilling time as well as costs associated with mud loss and other drilling challenges.



  1. My advice goes to PTDF. I don’t see any sense in allowing the best brains to come out to other countries in the name of international scholarships. As they get there, they enrich the curricula of such countries and are exposed to exotic equipment they may never see at home. It is like dashing goods to a man and still pay him for it. Apart from collaborative projects, European countries don’t offer scholarships to fellow Europeans citizens from other countries. By the time we send ours out, they return not to fit our work environment and there are no modern standard tools. The reason is because they were never trained for their intended work place in mind.
    Alternatively; we can equip our facilities with money for such scholarships and deliver the courses locally. Once upon a time, Germany was the Centre of Learning in Europe but all other countries became wise and preferred to train their people locally. As time went on, they evolved better methodologies than Deutschland. Education in fellow European countries were more refined.
    The more we sent them out, the more we enrich such countries intellectually and financially. The only secret is stressing Philosophy other than undue excessive use of energy, as done in Germany.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here