Wits University has received a cash injection that it says will help tackle the significant skills shortage in the geophysics and petroleum engineering fields.
Shell SA has invested R5 million over a five-year period to help create a Seismology Reflection Centre at Wits.
Together with the geophysical service company CGG‚ Shell is funding the computer hardware‚ which costs about R1 million‚ Wits said in a statement.
Dr Musa Manzi‚ director of the new centre‚ said that the state-of-the-art techniques and high-end computer graphics capability provide a superb platform for the processing‚ interpretation and modelling of a huge volume of integrated data in 3D space.
Manzi oversees eight postgraduate students who are conducting research on the processing and interpretation of the 2D and 3D seismic data. This research is aimed at high-resolution mapping of some of the world’s deepest gold and platinum-bearing horizons from South African mines.
The research also seeks to develop new techniques that would allow the detection of methane conduits (faults and dykes) in deep underground mines‚ which will mitigate risks and hazards associated with methane explosions.
Additionally‚ the research could lead to better mapping and characterisation of the oil and gas reservoirs‚ and gas-escape features affecting them‚ from some of the major African basins with particular interests in the offshore Orange basin and onshore Karoo basin of South Africa.
“With the increasing number of new petroleum and natural gas discoveries being made in central and southern Africa in recent years‚ this Centre provides an excellent training facility to develop high-level manpower needs for this growing field‚” said Professor Roger Gibson‚ Head of the Wits School of Geosciences at which the new centre will be housed.
Originally published in sowetanlive, on 14 April 2015