EVEN the rise of electric vehicles and alternative fuels has done little to dampen the confidence of Vladimir Litvinenko, rector of the Saint Petersburg Mining University in Russia.
For the past 245 years, through times of peace, war and revolution, the university has churned out the best and the brightest for the mining and energy sectors. And Litvinenko sees no reason why it cannot continue to do so despite the worldwide trend for a move away from fossil fuels.
The Saint Petersburg Mining University, set up at the order of Catherine the Great back in 1773, is Russia’s oldest and one of the world’s most recognised technical and engineering establishments. Its Mining Museum also boasts one of the world’s largest collections of minerals, meteorites, rocks and paleontological items.
Speaking to visiting executives of PTT Public Co Ltd recently, Litvinenko expressed confidence that the university will continue to play an important role in producing top-grade engineers and technicians in the field of natural resources, especially oil and gas. The university has more than 8,000 Russian and international students and enjoys support from Russian and international oil companies, such as Rosneft, Gazprom, Total, BP and Shell.
“Oil and gas will continue to be the major sources of energy for the next 30-50 years at least. And with new technology, their costs will come down,” said Litvinenko.
While electric cars are being touted as an alternative to petrol-powered engines, Litvinenko believes that the world is still far from the days of when it will turn its back on fossil fuels. That means that with its vast oil reserves, Russia will have a dominant role to play in the world’s energy market for many years to come and the university’s graduates will be much in demand.
“We estimate to have used up about 30 per cent of the oil reserves. That means we still have 70 per cent left underground,” Litvinenko said.