The Institute of Petroleum Studies (IPS) of the University of Port Harcourt (UNIPORT), last weekend, offered graduates N1.8 million worth of scholarship in its 12-month M.Sc. and PGD programmes.
Director of the institute, Professor Mike Onyekonwu, made this known at a news conference in Port Harcourt to mark its 11th anniversary/induction celebration, taking place today (Thursday).
He said interested applicants, who managed to scale through its “rigorous qualifying examinations and interviews”, would not only be awarded the scholarship, but would also enjoy free meal daily.
“This programme focuses on reducing the nation’s part-dependence on foreign expatriates to drive its petroleum industry.
“As a mark of giving graduates the best in petroleum studies, 40 per cent of our lectures are from France; 40 per cent from UNIPORT, while 20 per cent are from the oil and gas industry.
“Similarly, the institute does not admit more than 25 applicants in each programme to ensure lecturer-student bond in line with best global practices”, he said.
Onyekonwu said that the scholarship initiative, which began in 2003, was jointly sponsored by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and Total Exploration and Production Nigeria (TEPNG) Limited, to improve graduates proficiency in the nation’s petroleum industry.
He disclosed that 42 M.Sc. and PGD students would be presented with certificates in Petroleum Engineering Scholarships Engineering/Project Development and Diploma in Petroleum Technology, totalling 250 graduates since the institute’s inception.
“About 50 per cent of these graduating students have been offered jobs by mostly local and global oil and gas players-a testament to our drive to remedy skills gap in the industry”, he said.
Onyekonwu explained that many graduates in the country yet to find jobs several years after graduation was partly due to lack of requisite skills for the few jobs available.
The director said that the institute through its research and development drive had produced and registered five patents, including “Optiwell drilling technology” which, he said, had revolutionised global oil and gas industry.
He called on qualified graduates who had interest in pursuing advanced studies in petroleum to apply for the scholarship programmes for 2015 academic session.