ALO/USAID Grant to UH IELE to partner with Bangladesh University

Visit of Dr. Mohammad Tamim to Houston
(March 24 - June 18, 2004 )
Dr. Tamim, who is the main counterpart for the ALO grant activities, visited the UH IELE in Houston for three months. Here is a short interview with Dr. Tamim and his reflections on his visit.
Dr. Tamim, what were your main objectives/expectations for your visit to the UH IELE in Houston?

The Petroleum Engineering Department in BUET started operating in 1995. The focus of that program was more technical oriented. It still has a strong technical and engineering base. During the last few years, the faculty in the department felt that there were a big knowledge gap in the country in energy economics and understanding of the commercial framework of petroleum business. There was an urgent need to fill this gap and create a center of excellence in BUET that would be better equipped to serve the industry and government in this regard.

The expectation for the UH IELE visit was to acquire a clear vision of the integration process of petroleum economics, policy and regulation. Also to understand the complete energy value chain and different parameters that would influence the business. Transferring this knowledge to BUET was also a major objective of the program.

A large component of your visit was the attendance of New Era program. What were the highlights?

The first and foremost success of the New Era program is the opportunity of exchanging ideas and sharing of problems between people from different countries with different backgrounds. Yet it was intriguing to find so many similarities that evoked a feeling that ‘you are not alone'!

The program is very well designed with practical problem solving exercises, field trips and excellent class room presentation covering the entire energy value chain topics. It exposed the participants to the intricacy of a complex commercial framework. At the end of the two week program, everyone left with a clear picture of ‘how things work' in oil and gas business. It did not make anyone an expert but it definitely opened many eyes and helped people to think differently in a positive manner.

Dr. Tamim receiving New Era program certificate upon its completion.

Dr. Tamim visiting Lake Charles
LNG Terminal during New Era program.

What about developing curriculum for BUET/PMRE?

I attended five different courses during the first month of the visit. These courses covered energy economics, petroleum accounting, development of regulations, international petroleum law and transaction and the study of the business framework of petroleum industry. They helped me understanding the subject better and refining my objectives. In addition, these courses also gave me the opportunity to observe different class room teaching techniques.

Based on the experiences gathered from these courses I developed the first course tentatively titled "Energy Value Chain Economics, Policy and Regulation" (Draft Course Outline) with the help of my colleagues at IELE. We are hoping to offer this course to our petroleum graduate students in the coming semester at BUET. Later on, this course will be offered to all graduate students of BUET. We also plan to develop two more courses in the future. Based on the energy economy course, several short courses will be offered to the industry, government and general public.

What were some other activities in which you took part while in Houston ?

I attended several SPE (Society of Petroleum Engineers), GCPA (Gulf Coast Power Association) and USAEE (United States Association for Energy Economics) meetings. I also attended the Offshore Technology Conference which is the largest show in the oil industry. These meetings and seminars gave me a clear image on the present trends and direction in the industry. I also got updated on the recent development in technology, processes, models, procedures and most importantly, ideas.

Together with my colleagues at IELE, I started a research program on the Bangladesh energy value chain. We finished a short article for a Bangladesh publication and are working on a more refined article for the international industry publications such as the Oil & Gas Journal . Eventually, a much longer version will be sent to academic journals such as The Energy Journal or Energy Policy .

Overall, how beneficial was to be in Houston ?

This trip was very helpful. My experience and exposure was beyond my expectation.

Finally, what are the next steps in the partnership activities?

I think the first objective would be to successfully transfer the knowledge and finish the research papers. Recently, Bangladesh has established the Energy Regulatory Commission. We hope to showcase our success to the industry and the government. Through interaction and dialogues with the shareholders, we hope to set the objectives of the next stage.

Thank you.

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