Student brings innovative ideas to oil and gas research

Ashley Greene - February 27, 2014

Andrea Christians, working with a view of the Northwest Arm. (Danny Abriel photo)

Andrea Christians, a native of Halifax, is the recipient of the 2013 Energy Innovation Grant.  

The award, a partnership between the Nova Scotia Department of Energy and Pengrowth Energy Corporation, recognizes groundbreaking research in the oil and gas sector. Christians’ research into the evolution of salt structures hugging Nova Scotia’s world-famous coastline could eventually help energy companies tap into new oil and gas resources.

After graduating with an Honours degree in Geology from Saint Mary’s University in 2012, Christians, who has always loved rocks, chose Dal to pursue her master's in Earth Science, which she is set to complete in late 2014.

Why Dal? The extremely supportive faculty is one reason; she’s quick to credit the tremendous amount of backing she has received here at Dal. “I wouldn’t have been able to accomplish this [the grant] without the support and guidance of the faculty.”

Her research focuses on unraveling the evolutionary history of salt structures, which are an important mechanism for trapping oil and gas.

Since 2005, the $15,000 grant has been awarded to grad students in business, engineering, environmental science, or earth sciences pursuing their master's at a Nova Scotia post-secondary institution. According to Energy Minister Andrew Young, it’s designed to “provide opportunities for students to help make a difference."

The award is co-sponsored by Pengrowth, a mid-size Canadian oil and gas producer with headquarters in Calgary. Jim MacDonald, east coast director of operations for Pengrowth, was quick to praise the award’s recipients, as “their research will benefit the current and future energy industry.”

After finishing her studies at Dal, Christians plans on working in the oil and gas sector: “I have basically fallen in love with seismic interpretation.” She says she thrives on the challenges of her research, and looks forward to exploring advances in new territories.


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