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Australia-first master degree to meet engineer demand for deeper waters

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Curtin University will be the first university in Australia and New Zealand to offer a Master of Subsea Engineering for engineers to produce oil and gas in deeper sea depths.Professor Brian Evans, Director Oil and Gas Projects at Curtin, said projects relying on subsea systems and floating liquefied natural gas facilities had increased, resulting in the need for professionals to meet the many challenges that exist in the harsh and extreme environment on the deep water sea beds.

“At depths of thousands of metres below sea, the high pressure and low temperature creates conditions for equipment which present far more complex problems that are extremely more challenging than any workplace on earth or even in space,” Professor Evans said.

“In space, an aerospace engineer will be designing for an environment of only one atmosphere of pressure – in contrast to a subsea engineer designing for an environment with water depths in excess of 2km, where pressures can be 200 atmospheres, and equipment such as a simple rubber O-ring becomes a cold, very hard rock.

“Problems such as this one are common, and our new Curtin Master of Subsea Engineering will help build the number of engineers ready to get to work with companies developing equipment to operate in such conditions.”

Professor Evans said Curtin had also become a founding member of the Global Subsea University Alliance, a group of universities delivering master courses in Subsea Engineering, including the University of Houston, the National University of Singapore, the Federal University of Rio de Janiero, the University of Aberdeen and the University of Bergen.

The Alliance will help provide students with opportunities to study abroad to gain specialist knowledge and allow world-leading experts to be exchanged between its university members.

Starting in 2014, the two-year Curtin master degree will train students in the latest technologies involving offshore oil and gas production.

Professor Evans said the future of offshore oil and gas production in Western Australia was bright, and he was proud to see Curtin become one of the first to produce industry-ready graduates who will help develop future technologies for the highly complex field of subsea engineering.

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