Petroleum Development Oman (PDO) today (Sunday, 22 May) celebrated the graduation of its 100th sponsored PhD scholar in an official ceremony at the Ministry of Oil and Gas.
Waleed Al Busaidi entered the Company’s history books after successfully completing his Doctor of Philosophy postgraduate degree in Mechanical Engineering at Cranfield University in the UK. The university also awarded him the Lefebvre Prize for the “best outstanding thesis” at its School of Aerospace, Transport and Manufacturing.
He was congratulated by PDO Petroleum Engineering Director Dr Ali Al Gheithy who was the Company’s first sponsored PhD scholar when he graduated in 1986.
Waleed, 27, was one of 101 PDO scholars who graduated after achieving academic success in leading universities at home and abroad in the last year. The 84 men and 17 women are the 28th sponsored batch to successfully complete their courses in a range of disciplines since the Company launched its flagship Scholarship Scheme.
Three qualified with PhDs and there were also 27 Master of Science (MSc) degrees, 30 from Distance Learning programmes and 19 Bachelor degrees.
The successful scholars studied subjects including petroleum engineering, mechanical engineering, chemical engineering, electrical engineering, geosciences and business studies at leading universities in Norway, Germany, the United Kingdom, Australia and Oman.
The official graduation ceremony, held under the auspices of His Excellency Engineer Salim Al Aufi, Undersecretary of the Ministry of Oil and Gas, also honoured the second batch of 22 graduates from the pioneering Overseas Grants and Educational Support Scheme which PDO introduced in 2011 in response to His Majesty’s Postgraduate Studies Scholarships initiative. The Company prepared a comprehensive policy to support Omani staff requesting a release from duty so they could continue full-time education through other sponsors.
Speaking at the event at the Ministry of Oil and Gas, PDO External Affairs and Value Creation Director Abdul-Amir Abdul-Hussein Al Ajmi hailed “30 years of excellence in the higher education field for Oman,” adding: “We congratulate all the successful scholars on these outstanding academic achievements.
“PDO’s corporate vision is to be renowned and respected for the excellence of our people and the value we create for Oman and all our shareholders. And all those who have graduated are living embodiments of that vision.
“PDO depends on such role models for their future success and their talent and commitment will serve us well as we continue to serve Oman on its path to future success and prosperity.
“Reaching the milestone of 100 sponsored PhD graduates is not just a magnificent achievement for PDO, as a hydrocarbon exploration and production company, but also represents a wonderful wealth of specialised knowledge and expertise for the Sultanate. Let’s also not forget that more than 2,000 students have graduated through our Scholarship Scheme since it was launched in the 1980s.
“I would like to thank all those past and present who have helped in these achievements, including the Ministry of Higher Education for its unswerving support, PDO’s own Learning and Development Centre, which has overseen the development of the scholars, and all the universities and colleges which have guided them through their studies.”
Notable successes in the latest batch of PDO graduates include:
Mohammed Mustafa Al Humeid who won two prizes - Top Student and Best Poster - from the University of Newcastle-upon-Tyne in the UK
Ahmed Nasser Al Hadhrami who won a special award from the London Petrophysical Society for his academic ability
Ibrahim Saif Al Risi who won two prizes - Top Student and Best Dissertation - from Majan College in Muscat
And Musallam Salim Al Ruzaiqi who won the Drilling Engineering Award for the best performance in Well Drilling Equipment and Operations at the University of New South Wales in Australia.
PDO also celebrated the sixth batch of graduating scholars from the MSc programme in Petroleum and Natural Gas Engineering which is run in co-operation with Sultan Qaboos University in Muscat.
Mr Al Ajmi said: “PDO is proud of its strong relationships with educational institutions at home and abroad, not least Sultan Qaboos University for its support of our Scholarship Scheme but also because of its collaborative research and development programmes which help provide solutions for some of our most pressing challenges.”
Six successful Ministry of Oil and Gas graduates also attended the ceremony.