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Institute of Functional Surfaces

Corrosion and erosion-corrosion

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In the Oil and Gas sector there are many challenges relating to cost-effective operational performance and asset integrity management. The ultimate goal for the industry is to maximise production with improved process safety.

The presence of sand in production fluids, coupled with the shift towards deeper wells and the commercial pressures to increase production rates creates challenges for operators to maintain the integrity of piping and other process equipment. Another major consideration for the industry is safety. The drive towards fewer manned platforms and greater accountability for hydrocarbon leaks means that pipeline integrity is paramount.

Sand management strategies are developed for offshore and onshore in the Oil and Gas industry by looking at material selection and chemical mitigation of erosion-corrosion in a simulated jet impingement system. In the School studies to mitigate corrosion in both sweet (CO2) and sour (H2S) systems enable us to optimise chemical development and devise pragmatic and validated application strategies.

Industry-driven collaborative research in our labs over the past 10 years has focused on understanding the fundamental physics of material degradation mechanisms as well as devising empirical models and material selection guidelines associated with attendant financial cost analyses which enables the industry to implement robust and effective management.

Comprehensive testing facilities and state of the art surface analysis techniques have been developed and utilised to simulate field environments. These include:

  • Electrochemical monitoring system coupled with single or multiphase jet impingement system
  • In-situ imaging system for the study of pitting initiation in sweet and sour environments
  • Acoustic emission system coupled with electrochemistry under jet impingement
  • Standard bubble cell testing equipment to assess corrosion and corrosion inhibitor performance
  • Bubble cell/jar test to assess combined products for corrosion/scale mitigation
  • Benchtop multiphase flow loop to for field simulation and CFD modelling
  • Slurry rig for testing hard coating for application in oil sand industry

Research Focus
Current and future research is focused understanding the fundamentals in order to assist the industry in optimising product development for chemical companies, and to provide information for Oil and Gas operators to improve their asset integrity management strategies. Special attention has also been paid to the environmental impact related to the chemicals deployed during oil recovery. Some key themes of our on-going research have been summarised as followed:

  • Understanding material degradation mechanisms in oilfield applications
  • Understanding the roles of chemicals used in oilfield applications
  • Material degradation rate prediction
  • Monitoring tool development for pipelines containing multiphase flow
  • Development of environmentally friendly chemicals for corrosion/scale mitigation in harsh environments