Professor Phil Watson, Shell Chair in Offshore Engineering

Shell Australia and UWA have been working together since 2013, when the Shell Chair in Offshore Engineering was established. Since then, it has grown significantly through the launch of the $10 million, five-year Australian Research Council (ARC) Research Hub for Offshore Floating Facilities.

UWA research has been applied to 10 Shell projects worldwide, including Prelude FLNG, advancing research into important areas such as vessel motion under wave action and the development of oceanographic and geotechnical data. It has supported four academics, six research fellows and 20 PhD students.

Shell recently extended the Shell Chair in Offshore Engineering for a further five years.

Jan Flynn, Lead Metocean Engineer at Shell Australia, and Shell’s Manager of the Shell-UWA Chair initiative said activity over the past five years is an example of the value that university-industry collaboration can create. “Working with UWA is an important long-term partnership for Shell. The benefits of research created by the Shell-supported team and UWA’s offshore engineering group can be seen across the oil and gas industry. We look forward to continuing our partnership for the next five years,” she said.

Professor Watson completed his PhD at UWA and has held high profile roles in the consulting sector. He was formerly a director of Advanced Geomechanics (later Fugro AG) in Perth, and has helped create research-inspired engineering solutions that have been applied across the international oil and gas industry. Professor Watson said he was pleased to be appointed to the role and relished the chance to partner with Shell on research that would benefit and impact the future of the offshore oil and gas industry.

“From my industry experience working at the intersection of research and practice, I see the clear value created by close partnerships such as the Shell Chair and ARC Research Hub,” he said. “I look forward to leading and promoting UWA’s world class offshore engineering team and helping advance research in this important area.”

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Prelude FLNG

Floating liquefied natural gas (FLNG) is a revolutionary technology that will allow Shell to access offshore gas fields that would otherwise be too costly or difficult to develop.