Antigonish, Nova Scotia, Canada

StFX receives $10 million earth science software donation

March 1st, 2017
Environmental science instructor Matthew Schumacher (standing) shows earth sciences student Bailey Malay the Petrel software

St. Francis Xavier University has recently received a substantial in-kind donation of advanced geoscience software.

Schlumberger, the leading oilfield services company in the world, is donating to StFX a state-of-the-art geology software package with a $10 million U.S. market value over the next three years. The company’s suite of software includes Petrel* E&P software platform, which geoscientists can use to combine surface and subsurface data to build sophisticated graphics and models of the geology beneath our feet.

“The use of sophisticated software is now a critical skill for all students to have in order to compete for jobs in the geosciences,” said Matthew Schumacher, an environmental science instructor in the Department of Earth Sciences and the driving force behind StFX’s new collaboration with Schlumberger. “It is also my hope that the addition of this software can bring new and exciting industry research opportunities to our department,” he said.

Mr. Schumacher says he approached Schlumberger about a software donation as he wanted students to have access to the latest resources and tools available, helping in both their education and in making them more competitive and prepared for future careers.

StFX researchers will now be able to compile and explain information in three and four dimensions providing new and exciting interpretations that were not available before. The goal is to have the software fully up and running for faculty and students to use as part of their studies by September.

“I will now be able to not only locate potential reservoirs of groundwater by using this software, but estimate how much water is in them, as part of my own personal research initiatives. I also look forward to being able to provide more innovative technical research methods to environmental science students through the use of this software,” Mr. Schumacher added.

Dr. James Braid, an assistant professor in the department, plans on using the software both in the classroom and for research. “My students get hands on experience using the latest advanced technology allowing them to work with and interpret multiple and sophisticated data sets. Faculty and senior students can use the Petrel platform in diverse research applications from groundwater modelling to 3-D interpretation of complex geologic systems.”

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