Professor John Underhill, Chief Scientist of Heriot-Watt University, explains why the university joined the Scottish Government’s delegation at the Future Energy Expo 2017, and the vast potential for collaboration in Kazakhstan.

Kazakhstan has risen to become one of the major petroleum centres in the world. It is a relatively youthful country, with a burgeoning energy economy that could secure its future: Heriot-Watt has the expertise and experience to assist its policymakers, public and operators achieve those aims.

The knowledge we have gained in the last 50 years as a university, and as an energy-rich nation, could prove invaluable to Kazakhstan. Heriot-Watt and Scotland’s policymakers can add to Kazakhstan’s growing community of research, teaching and learning, and industrial communities, by translating our expertise into existing oil and gas and new sustainable energy developments there.

Scotland’s energy mix has undergone dramatic changes in the past 50 years. Coal was followed by the North Sea oil and gas boom, and now the country has strong commitments to renewable energy. Its experience has not only led to an enviable volume of operational projects in country but also seen the skill sets and expertise being deployed to great effect internationally.

Throughout these changes, researchers at Heriot-Watt University have been developing a body of relevant research and training knowledge and impressive record of innovation across the energy landscape, and continue to do so.

We design robots that can work in hostile environments where humans cannot; develop solar-powered filtration plants in Bangladesh; advise on play fairway analysis and reservoir management; safe and environmental working practices; and have invented smart and sustainable energy systems that power villages with on-demand renewable energy.

Kazakhstan is standing on the cusp of its highest ever level of oil and gas production: it is vital that it takes the knowledge and expertise that Heriot-Watt and Scotland have gained to ensure its energy supply is secure, safe, sustainable and at the forefront of industrial best-practice.

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