Prairie View A&M University gets donation from BP, Shell to create energy trading program

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Orlando Alvarez, the new CEO of Houston-based BP America Inc., pictured above an energy trading floor. BP and Shell donated nearly $1.68 million to Prairie View A&M University to create a new energy trading program. HOUSTON CHRONICLE/HEARST NEWSPAPERS VIA GETTY IMAGES

Prairie View A&M University has received nearly $1.68 million from the local arms of BP PLC (NYSE: BP) and Shell PLC (NYSE: SHEL) to establish an energy trading program.

The funding comes from BP America and Shell Energy North America (US) LP, which are both based in Houston and have made significant donations to PVAMU in the past.

The new program will be in the College of Business, and recruitment will focus on finance majors initially. By 2028, students in any discipline of study will be allowed to apply. Students will be admitted to the program in the spring of their sophomore year.

The two-year program will “develop the next generation of diverse energy professionals through a unique blend of classroom and corporate training, along with individual mentoring experience,” a press release says. It will require a new course called “Dynamics of Energy Trading,” which is currently being developed.

The program also will include applied experience in the industry, and students will graduate the program
with a bachelor’s degree with an energy trading concentration.

“As a former trader, I know there is no energy quite like that found on a trade floor, and I’m excited we can give students opportunities that will help them hit the ground running after graduation,” Orlando Alvarez, BP America’s new chairman and president, said in a March 6 press release. “BP is committed to diversity, equity and inclusion in its workforce. That includes finding the best future talent to help us deliver our strategy, so I am proud to see us take meaningful steps like this program, in addition to our HBCU Fellowship Program, to provide students with invaluable real-world experience.”

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In February 2023, BP selected Prairie View A&M and two other historically Black colleges and universities for its HBCU Fellowship Program. Each school received $1.35 million, and the program provides students with scholarship funding, exposure to the energy industry and career development experience.

“The students at Prairie View A&M University are primed to bring new perspectives and voices into the energy sector,” Carolyn Comer, president of Shell Energy North America, said in the March 6 release. “Building on the already strong relationship between the university and Shell, the Energy Trading Program is a significant step in attracting the best and most diverse talent and giving them the training, mentoring and hands-on experience needed to forge successful paths after graduation.”

In January 2022, PVAMU and Shell Global Solutions signed a multimillion-dollar agreement for research, innovation and diversity. The PVAMU-Shell Nature Based Solutions Research Program is a five-year, $5 million partnership headquartered in the university’s College of Agriculture and Human Sciences.

Additionally, Shell gave PVAMU another $1 million to support diversity and inclusion.

Meanwhile, PVAMU has received numerous multimillion-dollar donations from well- known companies, organizations and individuals in recent years. Most notably,

billionaire MacKenzie Scott gifted the university $50 million in late 2020. Less than a month later, Houston-based Halliburton Co. (NYSE: HAL) gave PVAMU $1 million to fund new scholarships. In November 2021, Charles Butt, chairman and CEO of San Antonio-based H-E-B LP, contributed $5 million to create Founders Scholarships, which are scholarships for PVAMU students from Texas public high schools.

The Brown Foundation Inc., a Houston-based foundation, gave $4 million to PVAMU in July 2021. In
June 2021, two of the world’s largest tech companies, Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL) and Google, gave the school $1.25 million and $5 million, respectively.

Source: Houston Business Journal

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