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Curtin University of Technology
Media Releases 2012

Providing an ideal learning environment within the hub of the oil and gas industry

As the global demand for oil and gas continues unabated and the world’s existing oil and gas reservoirs are gradually being depleted, new exploration technologies and upstream petroleum engineers are needed to increase oil and gas production.

Petroleum engineers play a critical role in bringing the oil and gas to the surface, estimating its value and extracting it. In essence, they find the oil and gas, drill and produce it - a process which is known as the ‘upstream’ sector of the oil and gas industry.

Due to the increasing demand for petroleum engineering expertise in Malaysia’s oil and gas industry, as well as interest from Middle Eastern and Central Asian countries, Curtin University, Sarawak Malaysia (Curtin Sarawak) in Miri, Sarawak, now offers a highly-specialised 4-year Bachelor of Engineering (BEng) in Petroleum Engineering.

Equivalent to the BEng (Petroleum Engineering) course at Curtin’s main campus in Perth, Australia, the course at Curtin Sarawak has been further refined to meet the technical needs of the oil and gas sector nationally and internationally, and to ensure career ready graduates, with the involvement of multinational industry players like Petronas, Shell, Nippon Oil, Murphy Oil, Schlumberger and Talisman, which operate extensively in northern Sarawak and neighbouring Sabah state.

Indeed, being located in within the hub of the oil and gas industry in Sarawak offers distinct advantages to petroleum engineering students at Curtin Sarawak. Due to the practical and applied nature of the course, and Curtin Sarawak’s strong links with the industry players, the students have ample opportunity to develop practical skills and gain valuable work experience interacting with industry professionals.

Lectures are often accompanied by fluid and reservoir rock laboratory work, geodynamic laboratory work and field trips to service company offices and drilling sites. Consequently, they will spend a large amount of time applying the course material to real oil and gas data.

The teaching staff of the Department of Petroleum Engineering of Curtin Sarawak’s School of Engineering and Science are professionals with many years of experience in the petroleum industry, and industry specialists also provide regular guest lectures, ensuring content is up-to-date with the latest developments.

The course covers the theory and application of the various disciplines required to evaluate, develop and exploit oil and gas reserves. The first year provides a background of general engineering and in the second year, issues involving fluid flow through reservoirs are examined.

Students will also learn about basic geology and where petroleum engineering fits. Concepts in chemical engineering and thermodynamics will be covered to ensure understanding of the issues of fluid movement as a result of changes in reservoir pressure, temperature and flow of different liquids.

Fluid dynamics and understanding the oil and gas reservoir are examined on a microbial and macro scale. Crude oil processing and transport, drilling and well engineering are studied, along with the methods used to better image the reservoirs in 3D while determining optimum plans to extract the liquids.

In the final year of study, economics, risk and project management topics introduce students to global economic trends and ways of extracting more oil and gas for the good of the community, while also assisting company profit margins.

To complement the theoretical and on-campus practical learning, students will undertake at least 12 weeks of industrial experience and complete a Senior First Aid Certificate course to ensure they are job-ready on graduation.

Career opportunities abound for petroleum engineering graduates. Graduates can pursue a range of professions in the oil and gas industry, such as reservoir engineers, production or operations engineers, and drilling engineers, either on rigs or in an office environment.

According an international survey, there is an inadequate supply of petroleum engineering graduates worldwide and up to 12,000 more petroleum engineers and geoscientists are needed by 2012.

Graduates from Curtin’s BEng (Petroleum Engineering) course fulfill the stage one competencies required by Engineers Australia (EAust) as the pathway to chartered-engineer status (CPEng). The course is furthermore recognised by the Malaysian Qualifications Agency (MQA) and the Public Services Department (JPA).

At Curtin Sarawak, students will not just gain valuable work experience in the industry, learn from lecturers with real industry experience, but also indulge in a unique international and cross-cultural learning environment studying with students from more than 40 countries.

Curtin Sarawak also applies Curtin's 'triple-i' model, which ensures industry links, intercultural and indigenous awareness and interdisciplinary study are embedded into each course curriculum. As a result, students receive a diverse, challenging and rewarding education grounded in the real world.

Further information on Curtin Sarawak can be obtained from its website at Alternatively, one can contact its Student Recruitment Department at 085-443939 or via e-mail to for more details.