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GECF Secretary-General Visits Mining University

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A delegation of the Gas Exporting Countries Forum (GECF) headed by Secretary-General Yuri Senturin visited St. Petersburg Mining University. This Doha-based organisation brings together the world's leading gas-producing states, such as Qatar, Russia, Algeria, Iran, and a few others.

During the meeting with Rector Vladimir Litvinenko, the two sides discussed, amongst others, the issue of fostering academic mobility and the prospects for joint research work. In particular, Yuri Sentyurin noted that the Forum established a gas research institute in Algeria. One of its tasks is to provide scientific support to projects associated with increasing the industry's profitability and reducing the anthropogenic pollution arising during the extraction, transportation, and use of methane.

"The Mining University is known both domestically and abroad as a flagship technical university. We need to work together, form joint research teams to solve the most acute problems the industry is facing. These include the following: adoption of sustainable technologies, digitalisation, development of the difficult-to-access fields, and others," emphasised the GECF Secretary-General.

As he assures, the demand for natural gas will be growing in the foreseeable future, whilst its consumption will not peak any time soon. This is not surprising as using this energy source enables humankind to solve two fundamental tasks at once: ensure global energy security and reduce the environmental burden.

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It is indeed true. Methane is, as known, relatively cheap and can sustain a stable power supply to the grid during peak hours, unlike wind turbines or solar panels. In addition, pollutant emissions from its combustion in thermal power stations are much lower than those generated by coal or fuel oil. Despite this, as Yuri Sentyurin points out, the idea that using methane in the energy sector is unacceptable has been imposed on society, which seems quite absurd.

Vladimir Litvinenko supported his colleague and added that discrimination against hydrocarbons is detrimental. Whether we want it or not, they will remain the foundation of the energy mix for many decades to come and thus demanded by the market. Abandoning hydrocarbons is, for now, unachievable, no matter how strongly we want it. Therefore there is a challenge ahead of science and engineers — make the exploitation of oil & gas as environmentally friendly as possible.

"In Western countries, the perception is that the only way to develop the global fuel & energy sector is to stop using fossil fuels promptly. Yet the problem here is that – be it 20 or 30 years ahead – they will still be needed, with particular demand coming from developing countries, unable for a swift energy transition due to economic restraints. That's why, aside from investing in green energy, we should also create and implement technologies that help minimise the negative impact of hydrocarbons on the environment. This is very important; our joint work in this area has enormous potential that we need to fulfil," stated the Rector of Mining University.

Finally, Yuri Sentyurin suggested that undergraduate and postgraduate students of Mining University participate in the programmes of academic mobility run by the GECF. This refers to, for instance, lectures and internships in Qatar. He also declared the intention to join some of the projects delivered by the International Competence Centre for Mining-Engineering Education under the auspices of UNESCO, operating on the premises of the first higher technical university in Russia.