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ASC hosts first reliability forum


Excellence in industry is enhanced with knowledge-sharing and a commitment by industry leaders to incorporate reliable technologies and standards into their operations. To support that principle, Aramco Services Co. (ASC) hosted the inaugural Saudi Aramco Global Reliability Forum on June 7 in Houston.

“The event demonstrated Saudi Aramco’s commitment to promote technological and operational excellence throughout the industry to help ensure the world continues to have reliable supplies of energy now and in the future,” said Majid Alghaslan, manager of ASC Technical Services.

More than 250 engineers and others from throughout North America and abroad participated in the one-day forum to share information on innovative technologies and best practices. They represented major oil and chemical companies such as Shell, Chevron, BP, Dow and DuPont as well as Saudi Aramco and ASC. They also represented manufacturing groups and engineering services companies.

Ali Abuali, then-ASC president and CEO, encouraged participants to learn from one another “to help solve some of the industry’s most difficult engineering challenges,” and to forge new partnerships with colleagues “who share a common goal of ensuring excellence in our industry,” he said.

During the forum’s opening general session, keynote speakers provided fresh perspectives on reliability from outside the oil and gas industry.

Peter Weertman, vice president of Technical Customer Support for Boeing Commercial Aviation Services, talked about Boeing’s systematic and multi-layered approach to ensure the “health” of the world’s largest fleet of commercial jetliners — almost 12,000 airplanes. He said that, at any given time throughout the world, about 10,000 jets are in the sky. “Our goal is to help ensure that the passenger’s greatest concern during the course of travel is the safety of the ride to and from the airport.

Mike Mullane, an acclaimed professional speaker and author, retired U.S. Air Force colonel and NASA astronaut, talked about operational excellence, driving home messages of reliability through candid and colorful storytelling drawn from his experiences.

He warned against “Normalization of Deviance,” describing it as a long-term phenomenon in which individuals or teams repeatedly “get away” with a deviance from best practices until it eventually becomes the norm.

He also said it is important for business leaders to listen to the people who are closest to an issue. “It is important for leaders to establish a culture of safety and reliability by allowing employees to freely express their observations or concerns,” he said. “History shows that, in many cases, mishaps or disasters could have possibly been prevented if warnings from rank-and-file employees had been further explored.”

During the closing session, keynote speaker Paula Hollywood, senior analyst with the ARC Advisory Group — a leading research and advisory firm for industry and infrastructure — presented survey results on how today’s industry leaders prioritize activities within their organizations to help ensure operational reliability.

The forum’s packed day also included 30 technical presentations given by participants in five tracks focusing on instrumentation and control systems, fixed equipment, electrical, machinery, and process control and operations.

Serving as track presenters from Saudi Aramco were Rami Dabbousi from the Consulting Services Department, and John Kinsley and Patrick Flanders from the Process and Control Systems Department. ASC’s Roger Jones also presented.

ASC engineers responsible for coordinating the event were Donald Dunn, supervisor; Gil Dolor, event coordinator; Louis Archuleta and Joe Rhodes.

Breakout tracks were led by Flanders, Jim Bowen, Charlie Green, Thor Stensvaag, Rajan Hingoraney, Howard Chiang and Joe Thorp.


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