Unique in Romania and Europe, the Oil & Gas University (UPG) has recently marked half a century of tertiary education in Ploiesti. On this occasion, an ample meeting took place, being attended, alongside former and current professors and students, by the representatives of central and local authorities, by diplomats from the embassies of Algeria, Bulgaria, Moldova, Turkmenistan and Yemen, and also by the CEOs of several oil and gas companies.
At the end of last week, the Oil & Gas University (UPG) marked 50 years of tertiary education in Ploiesti. This meeting was the last in a cycle of events organised this year under the title “Prahova – 2017, World Capital of Oil,” events occasioned by the marking of 160 years since the Mehedinteanu brothers established, in Ploiesti, the first oil refinery in the world.
During the event, the representatives of the university’s incumbent leadership, but also former rectors, talked about the stages that the institution went through over the years, with an emphasis on the role it plays in training specialists in the field of oil and gas – a unique role in the university domain in Romania and Europe.
Basically, as Professor Dr Mihai Pascu Coloja, the current rector of the university, pointed out, the Oil & Gas University of Ploiesti is the successor of the Oil & Gas Institute of Bucharest, established in 1948, which became the Bucharest Institute for Oil, Gas and Geology. The transfer of the institute from Bucharest to the one set up in Ploiesti started in 1967, except for the Faculty of Geology (which was transferred to the University of Bucharest). In 1975, the Bucharest Institute ceased its activity for good. Thus, the City of Black Gold, as Ploiesti is also known, where the first oil refinery in the world was established in 1857, became a Romanian university centre too, with the role of training specialists in the field of oil and gas. In 1968, three sections for engineering assistants were set up. Starting in 1972, evening classes and post-university classes were gradually introduced in all faculties. In 1975-1976, the Institute of Ploiesti had the following faculties in its structure: the faculty of oil machines and equipment; faculty of well drilling and oil and gas production; faculty of technology and chemification of oil and gas. The Institute functioned in its 1975 form – with some modifications regarding the names of the faculties, departments and specialisations – until 1989-1990. After the events of 1989, the decision was taken to expand its teaching domains, so in 1992 the Institute became the University of Ploiesti and in 1994 the Oil & Gas University of Ploiesti. At the same time, simultaneously, measures to reorganise, restructure and modernise traditional education were taken, new specialisations – such as the Faculty of Letters and Sciences – being set up. In 1995, Master in Business Administration courses were organised within the Ploiesti branch of the Institute for Economic Development, in partnership with the Bucharest Academy of Economic Sciences and the Paris-based National Conservatory of Arts and Crafts, based on a Romanian-French governmental agreement. In 1997, its engineering specialisations were assessed by the European Association of Engineers, which recognised and included them in the index of the Federation Europeene D’Associations Nationales D’Ingenieurs, which allows its graduates to be included in this registry and to obtain the title of European Master of Science EUR-ING. Likewise, a department of international relations was set up within the University, which helped it conclude cooperation and collaboration agreements with 20 universities from around the world. Apart from training students, some of them from abroad, the University also got involved in the field of post-university training activities, organising post-university courses, courses for specialisation and doctoral courses.
UPG Ploiesti is a tertiary education institution which enjoys a high degree of confidence, certified by the Romanian Agency for Quality Assurance in Higher Education. It has to be pointed out that by 2016 more than 24,000 engineers and 19,000 students with non-engineering specialisations graduated from the University since it was established. At the same time, more than 10,000 students graduated from its M.A. programs, and 800 students obtained Ph.D. diplomas from 1962 to 2016. UPG has restructured the curricular range of all its faculties and specialisations, in line with European requirements for academic institutions and the Bologna system.