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Abstract: Academic Research Response to the Restructuring of the Petroleum Industry

William H. Kanes

The international petroleum industry is currently in the midst of massive restructuring constituting one of the more dynamic shifts in direction in its more than century long turbulent history. Policies that had been dogma through the mid-1980's are being swept away by volatility of price and shifting ownership of the resource. In response to these forces, the multinationals are redefining the mission for exploration and production and "right-sizing". The companies are smaller, the E & P units are more narrowly focused, and increasingly support activities are being "outsourced." Even in the largest companies, both basic and applied research activities are being cut back sharply or curtailed completely.

The restructuring of the petroleum industry is coming at a time that academic institutions are experiencing a sharp reduction of public funding for research and training. With funds diminishing for "curiosity-driven" investigations, increasingly researchers in the universities and not-for-profit laboratories are developing "task-driven" research projects. Industry funded research programs, once a fringe activity in many academic institutions, are now welcome.

The Earth Sciences & Resources Institute can serve as a model for successful industry-academe research linkage. During the twenty-years of its existence, it has developed as one of the largest and most comprehensive university-based organizations of its kind. Its success derives from balancing academic freedom and intellectual property-rights with focused research results delivered in a timely fashion with partial confidentiality.

AAPG Search and Discovery Article #90956©1995 AAPG International Convention and Exposition Meeting, Nice, France