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Durham University

Durham Energy Institute


DONG Energy and Durham University sign agreement to further develop research and engagement collaborations.

(5 November 2015)

Durham University consolidated its relationship with DONG Energy to further joint aims in high-quality research, knowledge exchange and teaching by signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) today (Thursday November 5). This is one of only two strategic partnerships held by DONG Energy.

The signing of a MoU celebrated past successes and demonstrates the desire of both organisations to continue to strengthen their relationship moving forward. This has built up during the last few years through a number of successful collaborative projects, which have already delivered significant benefits. This includes funding for two Professorial Chairs in ‘Renewable Energy’ and in ‘Carbon Capture and Storage and Geo-Energy’; significant research collaborations; DONG Energy studentships and PhD funding within the departments of Anthropology, Engineering and Computing Sciences, and Earth Sciences. DONG Energy has benefited from the close partnership with Durham University and its Durham Energy Institute (DEI) not only through access to its research expertise but also by engagement in DEI’s wide network of stakeholders and programme of events. Recently this has included two co-hosted public debates on the Future of Energy: ‘Will the Lights Really Go Out?’ and ‘Which way should the wind blow for our national grid?’.

The MoU will recognise the importance of the strategic relationship and enable ongoing, broad engagement between the University and DONG Energy. Both organisations have a strong commitment to excellence and innovation in all aspects of research, education, technology development and the transfer of knowledge.

Particular areas of mutual research interest include:

  • Optimising offshore wind operations and maintenance to reduce the cost of energy and to increase availability;
  • Smart Grids development to ensure that renewable energy can be integrated into the power system for the benefit of consumers, society and the environment;
  • Enhancing Oil & Gas Recovery through developing new technologies to enhance the rate of recovery in the existing oil and gas fields and to identify new reserves;
  • Research into overpressure in sedimentary basins; and
  • Research undertaken by the Volcanic Margins Research Consortium (VMRC), which provides the petroleum industry with training and research expertise in volcanology, sedimentology and structural geology of volcanic margins.

Headquartered in Denmark, DONG Energy is a leading energy industry group in Northern Europe. The Company is the market leader in offshore wind and has built more offshore wind farms than any other company in the world to date. Exploration and production of oil and gas is another major area of the Company’s operations, with a portfolio of fields throughout the UK, Norway and Denmark. DONG Energy is also one of the largest suppliers of gas to industrial and commercial customers in the UK with a growing portfolio of electricity products and services on offer.

DONG Energy has been investing in the UK since 2004 and has committed investments of around £6 billion to date. They are the largest offshore wind developer in UK waters and have been a leader in developing the frontier West of Shetland oil and gas region for over 10 years.

Durham University alumnus Brent Cheshire is UK Country Chairman of DONG Energy, and spearheaded the development DONG Energy’s interests in the UK. He has had strong links with Durham Energy Institute and helped shape its development through his role in the DEI Development Board. His links to Durham University were recognised in 2012 when Brent was awarded an honorary Doctor of Science by the University. Benj Sykes, Head of Asset Management in DONG Energy’s Wind business has also been an active member of the DEI Advisory Board for several years.

Brent Cheshire said:

“The Durham Energy Institute is one of the UK’s leading research institutes and our strategic partnership has already proved its worth as DONG Energy works to develop and deploy cutting edge technologies and techniques in the energy field.

“The signing of the MOU will further strengthen our links with the University and help ensure we remain at the forefront of developing the technologies we need to bring down the costs of low-carbon energy, maintain security of supply and give UK consumers the best value possible.”

Durham University’s Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Science, Professor Patrick Hussey said:

“At Durham University we take pride in conducting excellent research and research-led teaching. Our relationship with DONG Energy demonstrates that mutually beneficial strategic partnerships kick-start exciting research initiatives with real world applications, facilitate high-profile policy debates on issues of concern to the public and open up a wealth of development opportunities for our students and staff. In DONG Energy we have found a partner who shares our aspiration for excellence, our appetite for engagement at the intersection of science and society and whose knowledge and experience builds on our world-class research strengths to achieve economic and societal impact.”

Professor Simon Hogg, DONG Energy Chair in Renewable Energy and Director of Durham Energy Institute, said:

“We are delighted that the strong relationship that has been developed over the years between DONG Energy and the Durham Energy Institute is being further recognised through this agreement with Durham University. DONG Energy has contributed to Durham’s teaching excellence by supporting our seminar programmes, giving guest lectures on courses, collaboration with undergraduate final year and MSc student projects and providing internship opportunities within DONG offices. Our students and staff have also undertaken a number of research projects in collaboration with the Company particularly in the areas of optimising the operation and maintenance of wind farms, overpressure in sedimentary basins and volcanic margins research. Recently DEI and DONG Energy (UK) have organised several joint events aimed at exploring key energy challenges and engaging the wider public in debates around energy. Durham Energy Institute encourages strong partnerships between our academics and Industry as this is the best way to ensure our research and teaching is innovative, relevant, and effective. I look forward to building on this fruitful relationship and identifying future opportunities for mutual support as we move forward together.”