Corrosion-related costs reached over $10b globally
Engineer Al Gassab was addressing the opening session of the 14th Middle East Corrosion Conference and Exhibition said that Corrosion segment becomes more relevant in the wake of $160 billion being spent on the Oil and Gas sector annually.
The conference and exhibition was officially opened by the Minister of Energy His Excellency Dr. Abdul Hussain bin Ali Mirza in the presence of a large number of professionals and specialists, at the Gulf International Convention Centre, Gulf Hotel in the Kingdom of Bahrain.
The Minister, in his opening speech, expressed his gratitude and appreciation for the wise leadership of the Kingdom for their constant support, including the international oil conferences and specialized events held in Bahrain. Dr. Mirza said that the high attendance at the conference was a solid testimony of the confidence in the Kingdom of Bahrain from countries in the region and the rest of the world, which began with the resounding success of the Middle East Oil and Gas Show (MEOS) held late last year. He said he was confident that the Corrosion Conference would also achieve similar success.
This specialist conference dedicated to the study of corrosion has been held over the past three decades. The Minister said that the conference was important for a simple reason: corrosion costs the planet billions of dollars each year. It occurs in Asia as well as the Middle East, from the Arctic to the Antarctic, in small villages or large metropolitan areas, in deserts or in the rain forests, on the oceans and on land, in the air, subterranean mines and on the ocean floor. It affects each of us every day. In addition to the tangible material losses, it takes its toll in terms of human suffering as often it leads to serious injuries and loss of lives. Thus it is incumbent on us to find solutions to this serious problem facing us.
“The medical profession and research institutes worldwide spend millions of dollars each year to find cures for diseases, most notably cancer. Humanity must devote similar efforts to cure the cancer of metals – corrosion.”
Dr. Mirza said that over the past few decades great strides had taken place in the fields of materials science, petrochemicals and ceramics. Hundreds of new polymers and other petrochemical or ceramic compounds were developed to replace metals used in our everyday lives. It is virtually impossible to escape the presence of these materials. Cars and car parts, airplane bodies, pipelines and ducts, and boats to name just a few, previously made of metal are now made of materials that were only developed over the past few decades. Add to this list the myriads of household items or those we use in our everyday lives. These strides have achieved remarkable results to prevent the impact corrosion has; but have not eliminated corrosion. The world will continue to rely on metals – their total replacement by man-made materials is virtually unimaginable. It is thus inevitable that corrosion will continue to be with us for a while, he said.
The Minister added that the Bahrain Society of Engineers and the National Association of Corrosion Engineers (West Asia & Africa and the Dhahran-Saudi Arabia chapters) were immensely right in choosing February for convening the conference. Although we were endowed with considerable natural resources, these are located in difficult climates. The organisers of the conference displayed great acumen by planning the conference in February since summers in this region can be brutal. The high humidity coupled with the saline soils on land, or high salinity waters in the off-shore areas are the primary causes of corrosion in the region. The region also produces heavy oil that is high in sulphur content, dubbed in industry jargon as sour. Sulphur is a major precursor to a corrosive environment. Add to this the corrosive atmosphere generated by the pollution caused by the exhausts from automobiles and trucks, by aircrafts and ships, and the problem is quickly compounded.
The Minister said that development of infrastructure was essential for each nation that strives to improve the standard of living of its citizens. Infrastructure consisted mainly of metal structures in buildings and bridges, power plants and refineries, rail road’s and ships, which were susceptible to corrosion. The protection of assets valued at billions of dollars is in the hands of those in the industry, he said.
Ever since its inception in 1979, the Corrosion Conference had as its goal the protection of assets, and of citizens and the environment.
Thousands of participants have attended this conference over the years. Thousands of technical papers were presented from attendees representing companies, research institutions, universities and governmental institutions and industry associations from all corners of the globe. Over the past 30 years, the forum brought together experts and engineers representing many industries. Billions of dollars were saved in the region as a result of implementing ideas and solutions presented during the conference and from the sharing of knowledge and fostering research from ideas germinated at this conference, Dr. Mirza pointed out.
The opening session was also addressed by Omar S. Bazuhair, Executive Director, Engineering Services, Saudi Aramco, Oliver Moghissi, President of NACE International, Engineer Abdul Majeed Al Gassab, President of Bahrain Society of Engineers and Engineer Bader A. Busbait, Chairman of the Organizing Committee of the Conference this year.
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