Corrosion Protection How to Reduce Costs of Corrosion by Using Green Solutions?

Editor: Gerd Kielburger

Everything metallic corrodes. The oil and gas industry spends approximately 1.14 billion euros (1.37 billion dollars) a year trying to prevent the damage this causes. How to reduce the costs of corrosion by using environmentally benign corrosion inhibitor products? Dr. Nihal Obeyesekere, Clariant's Head of Global Innovation Integrity Management for Business Unit Oil and Mining Services, has won the 2021 NACE Fellow Honor from the Association for Materials Protection and Performance (AMPP).

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Dr. Nihal Obeyesekere Head of Global Innovation Integrity Management for Business Unit Oil and Mining Services at Clariant, has won the 2021 NACE Fellow Honor from the Association for Materials Protection and Performance (AMPP).
Dr. Nihal Obeyesekere Head of Global Innovation Integrity Management for Business Unit Oil and Mining Services at Clariant, has won the 2021 NACE Fellow Honor from the Association for Materials Protection and Performance (AMPP).
(Source: Clariant)

Muttenz/Switzerland – This honor recognizes the field’s most distinguished contributors to the understanding and prevention of corrosion. Nihal Obeyesekere will now join the forum of technical and professional leaders that serve as AMPP advisers.

In an Clariant-internal interview, he tells more about his accomplishments so far – and how he’s working together with Clariant to bring sustainability to the field of oilfield corrosion.

We’re now programming robots to blend and test thousands of corrosion inhibitor chemicals within a few days.

Dr. Nihal Obeyesekere

According to Obeyesekere reducing the costs of corrosion by using environmentally benign corrosion inhibitor products isn't just a question of cost either. Corrosion inhibitors are critically important for maintaining the safety of pipelines and avoiding accidents.

Over the past 30 years, Obeyesekere have been dedicated to making chemicals and product lines more environmentally friendly and sustainable. He also has done a lot of work on deep-water corrosion inhibitors, especially for extremely high temperatures and pressures. "This is particularly challenging because most water-soluble organic chemicals aren’t stable under these conditions. It’s also hugely important because failures in deep-water pipelines can lead to environmental disasters. One of our newest corrosion inhibitors is highly effective at 200˚C for up to two months at extremely high downhole pressures. In addition, it’s biodegradable and the starting raw materials are environmentally friendly", Obeyesekere explains.

Hydrogen sulfides are a serious challenge for the oil and gas industry

As experts know, a current serious challenge for the oil and gas industry is the high sour systems (hydrogen sulfide), which are very corrosive and can cause fatal accidents. One of Obeyesekere's greatest successes has been starting the NACE Technical Exchange Group 282x: Sour (H2S) corrosion. "When I joined National Association of Corrosion Engineers in 1999, the association didn’t have a technical exchange group for sour corrosion, and this was one of the major areas of my daily work. I started the Technical Exchange Group 282X so that scientists and engineers could exchange ideas about how to understand sour corrosion better, develop new testing protocols, how to develop safer working environments around H2S, and how to handle really bad situations like leaks of H2S in the field. Since then, we’ve met every year for last twenty years", adds Obeyesekere.

The oil industry hasn’t picked up state-of-the-art High Throughput methods as innovation tools

One of his current focuses is robotics in combinatorial chemistry, which he believe will be the future for the industry. Combinatorial chemistry has been around for almost 30 years, but the oil industry hasn’t picked up these methods as innovation tools. "We have a new, state-of-the-art High Throughput Experimental laboratory (HTE) in our headquarters located in The Woodlands, TX, which can apply combinatorial chemical ideas for corrosion control in a much more refined way. We’re now programming robots to blend and test thousands of corrosion inhibitor chemicals within a few days. This is much more efficient than any conventional approach. We are performing 21st century technology to solve today’s corrosion problems, successfully."

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