In the United States, a network of over 500,000 miles of pipeline crisscrossing the country carries 75 percent of the nation's crude oil and 60 percent of refined petroleum products. Energy companies have sophisticated integrity management programs to maintain their equipment, initiate mitigation efforts and minimize the potential for product releases. Still, biocorrosion can result in through wall perforations, product interruptions and severe economic consequences.
The energy industry is faced with increasing environmental and regulatory pressures to integrate new fuels and new fuel combinations into their fuel stream. Newer fuel blends tend to be more susceptible to microbial decay compromising performance in a number of ways, including the biodeterioration of fuel quality and biocorrosion in downstream facilities.
Anaerobic microorganisms often catalyze biocorrosion processes but are poorly understood and difficult to control. OU is uniquely positioned to address these problems with a greater concentration of anaerobic microbiologists than anywhere in the western hemisphere.
Iwona Beech, an expert in metal corrosion microbiology, recently joined OU to collaborate on this and other projects. Beech brings unprecedented strength and decades of research on the fundamental aspects of anaerobic hydrocarbon metabolism and biocorrosion and allows OU investigators to take a leading role on this new initiative.
OU will collaborate with numerous scientists with expertise in this area, including Brenda Little, U.S. Navy, an authority in assessing corrosion electrochemistry. OU plans to integrate this discipline with microbiology to gain increased insight into the stability of metals used throughout the fuel infrastructure.
Suflita says he looks forward to working with ConocoPhilli
|Contact: Jana Smith|
University of Oklahoma