ASC Conducts Annual Oil Spill Drill
Aramco Services Co. (ASC), together with Vela International Marine Limited, leveraged their oil spill response capabilities and resources March 7 and 8 at ASC’s annual oil spill response and salvage drill. The event – which satisfied federal requirements – was an opportunity to practice the company’s response plan as part of a continuous effort to strengthen the ASC spill management team.
More than 150 people participated as part of the Oil Spill Response Team (OSRT), including representatives of the U.S. Coast Guard, the Texas General Land Office (TGLO), the Louisiana Oil Spill Coordinator’s Office (LOSCO), as well as ASC, Vela, Saudi Aramco, Saudi Petroleum International, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Texas Parks and Wildlife, among others.
“The close cooperation between our partners and government agencies was vital in our planning and implementation efforts throughout the drill,” said Wayne Hollingsworth, supervisor of ASC’s Environmental Services Unit and the company’s regional oil spill coordinator.
“Each year, the drill draws on the talent of employees throughout the enterprise who as a team work to ensure that the company’s response effort is the highest caliber in all areas,” said Majid Alghaslan, ASC Technical Services manager.
“As the legally designated responsible party required for vessels operating in U.S. waters, ASC plays a critical role, but it’s about more than that; it’s about representing the company as a valuable partner with a commitment to safe operations.”
The drill simulated a Vela vessel hull breach in a simulated accident in the Gulf of Mexico lightering area called the South Sabine Pass, about 70 miles offshore of Port Arthur, Texas.
OSRT participants established a field command post in Beaumont, Texas, and activated a Unified Command to coordinate the response while also ensuring the safety of responders and mitigating the effects of the simulated spill on environment and wildlife.
Tactics were considered and plans developed for containment and cleanup, which included use of dispersants, in-situ burning, skimming, booming and other response methods.
A marine salvage/firefighting response was also a component of this year’s drill. Participating from Dubai, Vela naval architects and marine superintendents considered critical aspects, provided recommendations and participated in real time, supplying information as it was needed throughout the simulation.
A comprehensive salvage and lightering plan was submitted to and approved by the U.S. Coast Guard.
With the simulated spill showing possible impact on either Texas or Louisiana, the OSRT developed responses for the environment, wildlife and sensitive shorelines. This included working with Louisiana’s state archeologist to identify key archeological sites that might need protection, depending on the trajectory of the spilled oil.
“My observation of this year’s drill was that there was a great deal of knowledge-sharing and skill sharpening,” said Ali Mohssen, Saudi Aramco’s global oil spill director. “It was a real team effort.”
International Pipeline Conference
The first international conference on “Best Practices in Pipeline Operations and Integrity Management” held in Bahrain has been hailed as a success, with Saudi Aramco as the platinum sponsor.
The Kingdom’s Minister of Energy, HE Dr. Abdul Hussain bin Ali Mirza, was joined at the plenary opening of the three-day conference by MuhammadAli Trabulsi, general manager Pipelines Department, Saudi Aramco. Delegates were present from across the world and included representatives from 29 countries.
Mohammed Sultan Al-Qahtani, East-West Pipelines Department manager, was among the guest speakers at the official opening at the Gulf International Convention and Exhibition Center.
Trabulsi, in his opening keynote speech, said that Saudi Aramco’s sponsorship of the event underlined the company’s commitment to supporting industry technical events.
“Across the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, a massive network of cross-country pipelines serves the needs for hydrocarbon transport, not only for the growing local market but also to provide crude oil and natural gas liquids to export terminals,” Trabulsi said.
A range of talks and presentations focusing on key topics relevant to pipelines operation and integrity management and were given by industry experts over the three days, with Saudi Aramco playing a major role.
Al-Qahtani introduced industry experts from around the world to two key Saudi Aramco pipeline initiatives.
The first initiative is the Pipelines Management Center.
“The Pipelines Management center vision is to be recognized as an effective body that facilitates proactive management of Pipelines Department’s core business using best in class integrity management technologies to ensure safe, reliable and cost effective operation,” Al-Qahtani said.
The second initiative discussed by Al Qahtani was Saudi Aramco’s Rehabilitation Master Plan.
“Pipelines Department has successfully made a substantial transformation to more risk and condition based rehabilitation strategy,” he told conference delegates.
“Earlier, rehabilitation activities were primarily reactive and dependent on fewer factors. In-line inspection data were the major factors on which rehabilitation scopes were prepared. In order to optimize rehabilitation and maintenance activities at the same time, a multi factors four-stages rehabilitation plan was devised in which more variables were considered for the preparation stage followed by a risk-based ranking assessment before the detailed condition assessment is being carried out based on which the final stage of planning and scoping is completed.”
Trabulsi brought the conference to a close and expressed the hope for continued knowledge sharing at a further event scheduled for 2013.
Al-Ayyam Al-Jamilah is a twice-yearly magazine distributed to retired employees and adult children of the Saudi Aramco Enterprise. Much of the content is compiled from letters, articles, news clippings and photos submitted by its readers.
The magazine often includes historic photos that shed light on life in the Saudi Aramco community during the early years. It also includes articles prepared by retirees touching on their past and the company’s history. One issue annually features the Saudi Aramco Annuitants Reunion, held every year since 1958. Other retiree reunions and gatherings of offspring are also covered.
Al-Ayyam Al-Jamilah – Spring 2012
Tim Barger and Sally Duncan stroll by one of the great Nabataean tombs at Madain Salih—a stop for former Aramcons and family members honored in
February for returning archeological artifacts to the kingdom. Photograph by Arthur Clark.
Click Here to Download Al-Ayyam Al-Jamilah – Spring 2012
Company Drives Home Safety Message at Hayil
Saudi Aramco looked to drive home the message of traffic safety at the 2012 Hayil Rally last week.
HRH Prince Saud bin Abdul Mohsen, Hayil emir, chairman of the High Commission for the Development of Hayil and head of the High Commission Organizing the Hail International Rally at al-Mughwah Park, honored Saudi Aramco on Friday for sponsoring and participation in the activities of the popular event.
Mohammed G. Al-Zahrani, executive director of Safety and Industrial Security at Saudi Aramco, thanked the emir, vice emir of Hayil and head of the Executive Commission of the Rally for their efforts in developing the area.
Al-Zahrani said, “Our support to the Hayil Rally comes in the frame of executing Saudi Aramco’s social responsibility and community outreach programs.”
He said that the company’s participation was designed to spread the awareness of traffic safety among community members of all ages, in particular young people. The goal was to promote a message that would help reduce human and material losses caused each year by the large number of accidents in the Kingdom.
Al-Zahrani noted that the activities provided by the company at this year’s rally included providing a “Zero Car” that drove ahead of the competing cars to conduct a field survey and ensure the safety of the road. The Zero Car was first to appear on the show stage in both the opening and closing ceremonies.
He also said that Saudi Aramco provided a display of audiovisual devices that the company introduced for the first time to the public during the rally. Among the highlights was the Safe Driving Challenge Simulator, a traffic safety exhibit equipped with large screens to feature cultural films, traffic safety contests and games, as well as distribution of gifts and awareness brochures.
Of the competitors, Yazid ar-Rajhi won the 2012 Hail International Rally title, while the Toyota team and contestant Mutair Shammary ranked second and third, respectively.
Saudi Aramco has become an official member of the Leadership Board of the World Economic Forum, Workplace Wellness Alliance (WWA), through the company’s Wellness Program.
The World Economic Forum is an independent international organization committed to improving the state of the world. Over the past several years, the forum has successfully worked toward the goal of improving health and well-being through its member organization, the WWA. The WWA is a consortium of companies committed to advancing wellness in the workplace, benefiting individuals, companies and communities at large.
As a part of the WWA, the Saudi Aramco Wellness Program Group is involved with other industry leaders in developing five to10 global wellness key performance indicators (KPIs) that will be presented in Davos 2013, in addition to contributing to the sustainability strategy and the online knowledge sharing repository.
Wellness is now seen as an economic imperative in both the developed and developing world, and being involved at this Leadership Board demonstrates that Saudi Aramco is being recognized globally for the research it has completed and delivered in wellness.
The Saudi Aramco Wellness Program, through its variety of physical activity classes, lifestyle wellness coaching courses, health screening clinics, healthy lifestyle modification classes and injury prevention workshops, has had a significant impact in reduction of health risks, disease prevention, cost avoidance, improved productivity, enhanced job satisfaction, improved stress management, and work engagement.
Much has been achieved by the Wellness Program, but becoming a WWA member is only the beginning of a new journey on a much larger scale. Moving forward as a leadership category member, Saudi Aramco will contribute to metrics and an online repository, as well as engage in shaping the WWA for the future. This opportunity positions Saudi Aramco as a leader in wellness at a regional as well a global level.
This transformational milestone would not have been possible without the support of Richard B. Birrer, M.D., executive director of Saudi Aramco Medical Services Organization (SAMSO) and the efforts of the 289 wellness champions cascaded across the company who are sustaining a culture of wellness in their workplace.