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Saudi R&D Spotlights Coatings, Salt, Pipelines

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

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Nano-structured coatings, salt-removal products, and pipeline sensors top the projects in active development by the new Advanced Materials Group at Saudi Aramco’s Research and Development Center in Dhahran.

R&D at Saudi Arabia’s state-owned oil company is focusing on a new generation of materials that can address the company’s production and operational challenges, the Saudi press agency reports.

“We are pioneering research on advanced and nano-structured materials for specific oil and gas applications,” said R&DC Upstream Program director Abdullah M. Al-Houtan. “We want to develop materials that will enhance reliability and improve efficiency safely and cost-effectively.”

As with other facilities worldwide, materials science at the Saudi center is targeting new products and applications for nano-materials and nano-technology, says Al-Houtan.

“We are looking at nano-structured nickel coatings combined with carbon nano-tubes to be used for erosion and corrosion protection,” he said. “This project will be developed in collaboration among R&DC, Dammam College for Girls, and King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals.

“We’re also developing ionic liquids for separation applications in areas such as desulfurization, salt removal and nano-particle conductivity.”

Other projects include development of membrane materials for gas separation, which is being pursued for the Natural Gas and Sulfur Utilization Project under the Downstream and Strategic R&D Program; and creating monitoring sensors to assess pipeline integrity, which is being led by one of the group’s experts in fiber-optic sensor technology for the Northern Area Pipelines Department.

“Putting together a strong team that can handle advanced materials for Saudi Aramco is a key to success,” said Al-Houtan. “In fact, we have an excellent mix of both highly experienced and new Saudi post-graduate scientists.”

With the intellectual capital comes the laboratory assets to use it, Al-Houtan says. The center’s equipment includes a plasma spray and solution-spray system, freeze drying for nano-powder production, scanning electron workstations, pulsed electroplating, jet and slurry erosion equipment, and a high-temperature system that can reach up to 1,600 degrees Celsius.

Now that the facility is up and running, Al-Houtan sees big things ahead: “[W]e will continue to expand and position ourselves as a nationally and internationally recognized research group dedicated to becoming the most effective advanced materials group in the oil and gas industry for both upstream and downstream arenas.”


Tagged categories: Coatings technology; Corrosion protection; Nanotechnology; Pipeline; Protective coatings; Research; Soluble salts

Comment from MAHER AL-KHASHRAM, (4/13/2011, 8:10 PM)

There are vairous of new technologies in surface engineered coatings that can add high value in oil and gas industry incluidng petrochemical palnts such as: 1-Anti-dust and heat dissipation coatings for fin fan coolers 2-Coatings on furnaces/boilers tubes 3-Thermal nano insulating coating for piping and equipment 3-Nano coating for down hole production tubing 4-Ultra Nano Crystaline Coatings for drilling equipment and sealing materails in pumps and compressors 5-Anti Icing coating for cryogenic equipment

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