CORROSION, MAJOR PROBLEM IN OIL INDUSTRY-FUNAI ACADEMIC
Corrosion has been identified as the major facing the oil and gas industry.
A Petroleum microbiologist and Associate Professor in the Federal University Ndufu Alike Ikwo, (FUNAI), Dr Chuma Okoro made the assertion while speaking on the outcome of their research on ‘’Production Related Problems in the Oil Industry: Prospects for Environment-Friendly Solutions’’, at a seminar organised by the Faculty of Sciences of the University, on the 24th of May, 2016 held at the Faculty of Sciences Auditorium.
Dr Okoro stated that the solution lay in using environment-friendly and cost-effective methods, adding that this was what they propounded as solutions to the hydra-headed problem of corrosion in their research.
He explained that corrosion caused by microbial communities in the oil pipelines secrete toxics that cause severe corrosion leading to an opening in the pipes out of which millions of crude oil flow unnoticed thereby creating heavy losses in the process. He stated that these losses account for over N30.5billion which could be used for other purposes.
The petroleum microbiologist maintained that the choice of using chemicals that are not eco-friendly and cost effective are inimical to the idea of lowering the cost of the product by the government because much is spent in the process of refining.
On how to arrest the problem of corrosion, Dr Okoro stressed the need for oil companies to opt for eco-friendly methods in solving this problem of corrosion for eco-friendly methods of biocides, rather than using costly chemicals in exterminating those microbial hosts adding that the use of eco-friendly sources and methods would be germane thus accelerating the speed of production and reducing much expenditures on the part of the producer by extension reducing the cost of the product in the market.
These methods, he explained, included the use of cow urine and the use of bio films. The cow urine, the petroleum microbiologist note, contains urea which expedites the process of endangering the lives of the corrosion-causing microbes. In the same vein, the use of bio films would as he explained, win the war against corrosion, because ‘’these bio films form a barrier against corrosion causing toxics’’. Dr Okoro decried the delay in disbursement of grants needed to fund the research.
Earlier while declaring the seminar open, the Vice Chancellor of the Federal University Ndufu Alike Ikwo Ebonyi State, Professor Chinedum Nwajiuba, reiterated his administration’s commitment in encouraging and widening research base of the University and also providing enabling environment for researchers in the University to thrive.
He explained that the University’s quest for world-class status must, as matter of necessity, be backed with quality research from the University which he noted would be used in transforming society.
Professor Nwajiuba stressed the need for researchers and academics to have linkages to the relevant stakeholders in the society that are affected by their research problems; and assured that the University will support research endeavours. He maintained that his administration would not rest on its oars in ensuring that support is given to every academic to carryout research that accelerate the transformation of the society in order to boost the image of the university.
Earlier in his keynote address, Dr Berti Ozumba, a retired Shell Petroleum Engineer and a staff of Petroleum Engineering Department of the University said oil production was fraught with many processes ranging, from exploration engineering and mechanical and other bottlenecks legislation. Dr Ozumba said the oil industry is a process laden venture as such caution must be exercised while venturing in into.
In his remarks, the chief host and Dean, Faculty of Science, Professor Michael Onuu stressed the need for accountability, teamwork and transparency among researchers, calling for continued exhibition of the spirit of comradeship and collegial spirit among FUNAI colleagues. Professor Onuu decried the alleged academic laziness among FUNAI staff.
The event also featured comments, contributions and questions and answers with many calling for collaborative research endeavours among FUNAI academics. Commenting on the need for synergistic collaboration, Dr Omaka Nduka Omaka, said the Petroleum Microbiologists should also involve others in the sciences when the need for such research comes.