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PETRONAS, Curtin University Enter Into Research Partnership To Address Corrosion Under Insulation

Jun 22, 2022

PETRONAS Research Sdn Bhd (PRSB) and Australia’s Curtin University have recently entered into a research partnership to jointly address one of the costliest forms of corrosion in the oil, gas, and petrochemical industries.

In line with both parties’ sustainability goals, the collaboration strives to discover innovative solutions for corrosion mitigation to reduce carbon footprint and operational expenditure.

Corrosion Under Insulation (CUI) is often said to be among the costliest forms of corrosion in the industry. Studies have shown that the petrochemical industry spends about 10 per cent of its total maintenance and repair budget on piping systems and pressure vessels for insulation-related corrosion.

The research partnership involves cross-disciplinary experts from PRSB and Curtin Corrosion Centre based in the Western Australia School of Mines: Minerals, Energy and Chemical Engineering as well as the School of Molecular and Life Sciences.

The project’s technical advisor and PETRONAS Principal Scientist (R&D Corrosion) Dr. Azmi Mohammed Nor said, “Collaboration between industry and academics is key to accelerating innovation and progress in technology, such that both sides benefit from opportunities to work on relevant technologies and apply solutions in the real world.

“CUI is one of the industry’s major material challenges. The research and development of advanced coating materials is believed to be the best approach to address the issue, while reducing operations and maintenance costs, as well as unscheduled shutdowns in the long run,” added Dr. Azmi.

(From left) Dr. Kod Pojtanabuntoeng, Lead Researcher at Curtin Corrosion Center and other researchers in the team, Dr. Nicholas Tan, Dr. Ibukun Oluwoye, and Prof. Andrew Lowe.

Lead researcher, Dr. Kod Pojtanabuntoeng from Curtin Corrosion Centre said, both parties would develop new and innovative materials to mitigate the recurring and costly corrosion related to insulation.

“The team will work to develop an advanced coating with insulation properties that can replace traditional insulation. This coating with insulation properties offers potentially significant benefits such as detecting corrosion easier and quicker, while reducing manpower and improving efficiencies for the oil, gas and petrochemical industries,” said Dr. Pojtanabuntoeng.

Addressing this form of corrosion also has direct environmental benefits, including eliminating the need to replace steels, reducing energy loss while maintaining process temperatures and preventing the leakage of harmful and toxic chemicals into the environment. PETRONAS places high emphasis in research and development of advanced materials, which are used to strengthen asset integrity, extend assets’ service life, and reduce carbon footprint. Believing in the strength of synergy, PETRONAS has long-established collaborations with both local and foreign universities while continuing to expand its network of academic partnerships to drive mutual progress.

Top image caption: Corrosion Under Insulation (CUI) is often said to be among the costliest forms of corrosion in the oil, gas, and petrochemical industries