After recently speaking at the Petroleum Institute in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, Leonard Bond, director of Iowa State University’s Center for Nondestructive Evaluation (CNDE), sees the promise of a collaborative partnership.
“NDE testing applies particularly to infrastructure and that is of growing importance to the oil industry. Much of the infrastructure in that part of the world is 20 years old, and they are interested in the maximizing the remaining service and safety of those systems,” said Bond.
He adds that the very nature of the industry is changing. “No longer is it about simply drilling a hole and pumping. There are methods like gas injection and water injection to maintain reservoir pressure and increase extraction. The quality of crude oil has changed; there’s a lot more water and sulfur in the mix, which causes corrosion and aging problems,” Bond explained. “These are all systems engineering challenges being met with the use of increased monitoring and instrumentation to create ‘smart’ oil fields.”
While this was Bond’s first trip to the Middle East on behalf of CNDE, other staff members and the former director of the center have also journeyed there to extend outreach.
“There is a high level of interest in developing indigenous technological expertise,” said Bond. “They’ve got some very bright young people in ABET accredited programs, and they clearly have an agenda to engage in some non-traditional relationships. They are interested in joint research projects, partnering with other universities, and the exchange of graduate students—CNDE, Iowa State, and the Petroleum Institute could all benefit greatly from these connections.”
CNDE was established in 1985 as a National Science Foundation Industry/University Cooperative Research Center. CNDE plays an important role in ensuring the safe use of engineered systems, and has a long history of working with industry to provide cost-effective tools and solutions for a variety of industrial sectors which include aerospace, defense, energy, infrastructure and transportation. Learn more at www.cnde.iastate.edu.