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Prestigious award to UiS researcher

Dr. Pei Cheng Chua is awarded Yara’s prestigious Birkeland prize for 2015 for her thesis Studies on New Classes of Low Dosage Hydrate Inhibitors, for which she was awarded the degree of Philosophiae Doctor at the University of Stavanger in 2013.

Picture of Pei Cheng Chua Pei Cheng Chua in the lab at UiS.

The award ceremony took place at the Norwegian Academy for Science and letters in Oslo as part of the Birkeland lecture on Thursday 24 September.

Pei Cheng Chua’s thesis work combines high quality research with technological and environmental focus, the jury says. Her work has resulted in a natural, environmentally safe and effective Kinetic Hydrate Inhibitor, which currently are under further testing.

In addition, environmentally friendly Anti-Agglomerates (AA’s) are also under testing for use in the offshore oil industry to prevent hydrates to form and subsequently block the pipes.

Dr. Chua’s work was carried out under the supervision of Professor Malcolm Kelland at the University of Stavanger.

Honouring innovation

The statutes of the prize state that the work should be in accordance with Birkeland’s research philosophy. The scientific content of the thesis shall as far as possible contribute to technological breakthroughs and innovation. The prize and the award ceremony shall focus on environment and technology, and create interest for interdisciplinary research and development.

In addition to a useful introduction, Chua’s thesis includes 11 papers that have been published in high quality scientific journals; seven feature Chua as the first author. She has collaborated with five other research teams in Japan, the UK and USA.

Avoiding plugs

The scientific problems that are addressed in the thesis find their application in the oil and gas industry within the field of gas hydrate plugging. Pei Cheng Chua’s thesis has made important contributions towards overcoming one of the major challenges in production and transportation of gas and condensate in the oil and gas industry.

Natural gas combined with produced water under high pressure and low ambient seabed temperatures can form hydrates and cause gas hydrate plugging, which in the worst case can completely halt the flow.

Reduced environmental footprint

Chua has designed, produced and pressure tested new Low Dosage Hydrate Inhibitors, which have proved to perform better and have less environmental impact than products currently on the market.

Several patents have been filed and a spin-off company from UiS “Eco Inhibitors” has n established based on Chua’s research.

Pei Cheng Chua defended her PhD thesis in 2013. She now works at Statoil. 

Text: Lars Gunnar Dahle
Photos: Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters and University of Stavanger

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Dr. Pei Cheng Chua shows her prize diploma

Dr. Pei Cheng Chua shows her prize diploma