Dr Richard Barker

For as long as I can recall, we have been led to believe that the world is running out of oil. In fact, I remember hearing that there would be no oil left in the world by 2015! The notion that we will exhaust the world supply of oil is a persistent one, but it won't happen in our lifetime. The truth is that all the 'easy to produce' oil is depleting, but there are many untapped reserves across the world... they are just becoming increasingly more challenging and costly to extract from the ground.

One of the fundamental challenges associated with hydrocarbon production is ensuring the integrity of the pipelines used to transport the process fluids, particularly from effects such as internal corrosion. From an economic perspective, the efficient management of corrosion ensures that oil and gas can be recovered for much longer periods. However, corrosion is also a major cause of hydrocarbon leaks, so safety plays a key role in driving technological advancements in corrosion mitigation.

My interest in oilfield corrosion stems from my PhD research, which was sponsored by Shell UK and focused on erosion-corrosion of carbon steel pipelines. The PhD enabled me to collaborate with researchers and Engineers not only within the UK, but also on an international level. During the research, I was able to solve key pipeline integrity challenges which existed on a collection of Shell's North Sea assets. The conclusions from the thesis resulted in Shell altering their offshore corrosion management strategy across a particular field. 

From a personal perspective, the opportunity to implement scientific methods to solve real world challenges, and to witness the impact of my research is what has driven me to continue my career in academia. Corrosion may not be perceived externally as a particularly 'exciting' research area. However, once you begin to realise the multi-disciplinary nature of the subject, the importance of its control in the oil and gas industry, the advanced techniques implemented to understand and mitigate corrosion and the science behind the different forms of corrosion, you will find there is much more to this subject than you initially anticipated.

About the course
There is currently an increasingly high demand for qualified corrosion engineers with specific expertise in oilfield operations. This course helps satisfy the demand by providing engineers and physical scientists with skills in corrosion measurement, asset integrity assessment, corrosion prediction and corrosion management.

This course has been designed for either professional engineers already working in the industry who wish to deepen their knowledge and expertise, enabling future career enhancement and development. Or for graduate engineers and physical scientists who wish to gain specialist knowledge and skills relevant to the oil and gas sector.

Find out more
To find out more about my research activities, the students I am supervising and some of my recent publications, visit my staff page.

If you have any specific questions about the content of the programme, please contact me via e-mail: r.j.barker@leeds.ac.uk.

For any questions relating to the admissions process and/or your current application please contact our admissions team: pgmech@leeds.ac.uk