BP has announced the launch of a major research collaboration with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and the University of Manchester.
BP and the universities will work together on materials and corrosion research, as it applies to oilfield applications. The initial investment from BP has been $2 million, with the company intending to match this for up to a further four years.
The initial emphasis of the research collaboration will be on materials and corrosion science – including corrosion and corrosion-fatigue modeling, environmental cracking, novel coatings and new monitoring technology. This will extend over time to other mechanical integrity and reliability related subject areas.
As BP’s operations move into more severe environments – deeper reservoirs, higher pressures, higher temperatures, higher fluid velocities – it needs materials and corrosion technologies to perform under increasingly harsh conditions. Equally, as oil and gas assets age, corrosion management becomes crucial to achieving safe, reliable and efficient operation of processing facilities and infrastructure.
BP’s Inherently Reliable Facilities (IRF) upstream flagship technology program is responsible for the further development of the company’s fundamental understanding of engineering materials and corrosion. The collaboration with MIT and Manchester will provide innovative, interdisciplinary academic input and support to the IRF program.
“Corrosion control, mitigation, and monitoring are significant concerns in our industry” said Simon Webster, BP’s vice president for the IRF flagship. “We recognized that the future success of the IRF program depends on having reliable long-term access to highly specialized materials and corrosion expertise and laboratory facilities. Our collaboration with MIT and Manchester will provide us with the world-class research access we need.”
“This further investment by BP significantly advances our long standing relationship with the company across a wide range of engineering and management programs,” said Professor Colin Bailey, dean of the Faculty of Engineering and Physical Sciences at Manchester. “In addition, it recognizes the importance of the research underway at the University and will support the consolidation of the University’s position as a world leader in corrosion control and materials research in extreme environments, which is relevant across the entire energy sector.”
A rigorous selection process was used to identify the right university partners, with MIT and Manchester chosen based on their strong reputation and capabilities in the relevant fields. This research program will form part of BP’s global commitment to MIT and Manchester as leading academic research establishments.
As part of this long-term relationship, BP will also fund curriculum development at the two universities in order to help build a higher profile for oilfield materials and corrosion science in undergraduate and graduate education. In this connection, BP will also provide support for the Corrosion and Reliability Engineering initiative at The University of Akron, USA, in the form of a one-off commitment of $500,000. Through these collaborations, BP intends to support the development of the next generation of materials and corrosion specialists, as well as provide training and development opportunities for current BP staff.