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Interview with our Principal Cathodic Protection Specialist

05 Feb

AIE recently relocated one of its Principal Cathodic Protection Specialists, David Allan, from the UK to AIE’s Head Offices in Sharjah, UAE.

Professional Profile: David Allan

Professional Career

David’s career spans over 35 years where he held the following roles before joining AIE:

  • Consultant Corrosion Engineer working on various corrosion, materials selection and cathodic protection project design / inputs for major clients such as Saipem, Wood Group and ENI in locations across Europe and the Middle East.
  • Contract Integrity Engineer working on various integrity projects for major clients such as Oceaneering, BP, and Lloyds Register.
  • Integrity Team Leader for onshore oil plant in North Africa and major North Sea oil platforms.
  • Extensive field experience for corrosion management and cathodic protection.

David has a BSc in Applied Chemistry and a Post Graduate Diploma in Offshore Materials and Corrosion Engineering.

The following summarizes our recent interview with David Allan since he relocated to the UAE:

Why do you feel that corrosion management is important?

Corrosion is one of the major contributors to safety, economic and environmental loss impacts. Halting corrosion and its potential impact has been my raison d’étre. Corrosion is often invidious and hidden; finding methods to mitigate and obviate its manifestation is what I find fulfilling. Corrosion may disrupt any plant and the investigation of corrosion (and related – i.e. erosion) failures and their possible root causes is very satisfying. In addition, such intervention may help the environment, indirectly improve safety and reduce potential future losses, by ensuring that any corrosion issues and failures do not occur and when they do, are not repeated.

Cathodic protection is my speciality; is a relatively cheap engineered solution at the design stage of a project which can render a structure (particularly carbon steel assets) effectively immune from corrosion, so long as the CP system is maintained and monitored correctly. Cathodic protection is a complex area which is generally not well understood in the industry.

In years to come do you believe Integrity services will be more widespread in the industry?

Globally a high proportion of oil and gas production and processing assets have exceeded their design lives. Since capital builds have significantly decreased, the existing plant lives are being further and further extended with examples of assets having achieved almost twice their original design lives. Such prolonged operation (often with minimal maintenance) results in extensive deterioration and failures and significant potential integrity service requirements.

Due to the above operational parameters, the requirement for specialist integrity services will significantly increase in the coming years.

What typical scopes of work do you perform for AIE?

We have a range of clients across the Middle East region who operate in varied environmental conditions, much of the time with aged assets. I work mostly in the following:

  • Onshore and offshore cathodic protection review and assessment
  • Cathodic protection management strategy development
  • Cathodic protection design review and RCA
  • RBI inspection assessments and reviews
  • Corrosion engineering
  • Asset life extension
  • Plant and pipeline integrity

What is your biggest challenge in your role with AIE?

The biggest challenge is to get operators to be more aware and pro-active, in their perception of corrosion, the techniques to mitigate corrosion and the practice of risk-based inspection. Such awareness requires operators to be well informed with regards to the long-term consequences of corrosion and resource allocation, and not to be focussed on short-term production targets.

Have you settled in well in the UAE?

Yes, I am living and working in Sharjah. The UAE is a cosmopolitan location. I have previous experience in UAE, having lived and worked in Abu Dhabi almost 20 years ago, and I see great changes.

The UAE has a fantastic diversity of people and I have always found it a stimulating place to live and work.

What do you like most about working in the UAE? How does the work environment differ from back in the UK?

The people. The social nature of a location, be it a country or a work place, is determined by the people living there. Generally, the people (particularly the young engineers) within AIE (and the UAE in general) are exemplary.

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