An international duo forms a unique System Dynamics collaboration for their work on issues with North Dakota’s oil and gas producing region.
A “dynamic” exchange By David Dodds Eduard Romanenko is on his second academic journey into the heart of the United States. The first time around, the native of Vladivostok, Russia, was on an exchange opportunity to Lawrence University in Appleton, Wis. He did, however, have a couple of pals who ventured farther west to schools in North Dakota. “I heard different stories from them about the temperature extremes, and back then, I thought I would never come to a place like that,” said Romanenko, who received his bachelor’s degree in international economics from Far Eastern Federal University in Vladivostok, a city on Russia’s Pacific coast near China, Japan and South Korea. A lot has changed since then.
Romanenko is one of two students from the University of Bergen (UiB) in Norway who are currently working on their master’s degrees at the University of North Dakota. Romanenko and Andres Julian Gil Garcia, a native of Manizales, Colombia, are pursuing European Master’s Degrees in System Dynamics, through UiB and a consortium of allied institutions in Europe and at the UND College of Engineering & Mines (CEM), which is an associate member of the group. System Dynamics is an interdisciplinary response to dynamically complex problems around the world, using high-tech computer modeling to simulate scenarios and project outcomes, relying heavily on stakeholder input to come up with solutions. Romanenko and Garcia are working on independent theses, but the nature of their PHOTO BY JACKIE LORENTZ
The interdisciplinary approach of System Dynamics is combined with an international dimension as Andres Julian Gil Garcia (left) and Eduard Romanenko, natives of Colombia and Russia, respectively, work together at UND to explore the market factors and social issues associated with carbon-capture technologies and the use of carbon dioxide for enhanced oil recovery. 10 n UND Discovery n University of North Dakota
work and the idea behind System Dynamics necessitates the two collaborate on parts of their projects. The focus of their theses is the market dynamics associated with the commercialization of carbon-capture technologies and the use of carbon dioxide (CO2) for enhanced oil recovery, something of great concern to the people of the Bakken oil-producing region and Williston Basin of western North Dakota. Romanenko, who, in addition to his economics bachelor’s degree, holds a master’s in economic policy and global markets from Central European University in Hungary, clearly brings a strong background in economic theory and financial markets. Garcia, who got his bachelor’s degree in petroleum engineering from National University in Medellin, Colombia, possesses the technical engineering experience needed for the collaboration. “What makes System Dynamics special is the holistic, rather than fragmented, view of a problem, and we would love to maintain this approach throughout our project work,” Romanenko said. “In practice, this means that we might work on distinct pieces separately from time to time, but the important chunks of work will be happening in direct cooperation.” Last year, UND and its CEM signed a series of agreements with UiB and its Faculty (School) of Social Sciences and with the Petroleum Research School of Norway. These paved the way for faculty and student exchanges between UND and the Norwegian entities. The memoranda of understanding (MOUs) are a big reason why Romanenko and Garcia ended up at UND. Romanenko says he’s glad to be here, despite his preconceived notions of North Dakota. “The quality of the program was so good that I never hesitated to say yes,” he said. “It’s a perfect blend of economics and System Dynamics. System Dynamics supports social science research and I am a social scientist, but I also need technical experience, too.” That’s where his partnership with Garcia comes in. Garcia says it’s exciting for him to study System Dynamics in North Dakota, where so much is taking place in his field of expertise out in the state’s Bakken shale formation. “For me, this is amazing to have the opportunity to come here and work on my thesis at a time and place where this is such a hot topic,” he said. David Wheat, associate professor of System Dynamics at UiB’s Faculty of Social (System Dynamics, continued on Page 18)