Abu Dhabi: Schlumberger, the multinational oilfield services company, and Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (Adnoc), launched yesterday a $100 million joint initiative, the Schlumberger Middle East Learning Centre, in Abu Dhabi.

Yousuf Omair Bin Yousuf, Secretary-General of the Supreme Petroleum Council (SPC) and Chief Executive Officer of Adnoc, and Andrew Gould, Schlumberger's Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, inaugurated the first phase, with an investment of $40 million, in addition to $60 million to be invested with the completion of phase two towards mid-2007. Phase three will include accommodation for the trainees.

Bin Yousuf said the centre will be built to provide essential advanced training for the oil and energy industry and is complete with state-of-the-art facilities and equipment including a custom-built training rig. The land on which the centre was built was donated by Adnoc.

CEO Gould told said the company expects two digit growth in 2007, especially after its record 30 per cent growth in the Middle East and Asia in 2006.

"Our revenues in 2006 were $19.3 billion, the region's share is about $4 billion to $5 billion," said Gould.

Gould added even with the high prices, the fast growing demand for oil, will continue in 2007, supported by continuous exploration and production projects in the Gulf.