Interview with RPME: Move PSM Beyond Compliance for Safer, More Efficient Operations
Refining and Petrochemicals Middle East delves below the corporate strategy to understand what really makes the industry’s leaders tick. This month Andrew Bartlett, Petrotechnics’ HSE Consultant, is interviewed.
Tell us a little bit about Petrotechnics’ main areas of focus here in the Middle East.
Petrotechnics has recently increased its presence in the Middle East by opening up an office in Abu Dhabi. The reason for this is that demand is growing amongst our Middle East clients.
We have an office in Saudi Arabia as well. We think that the main opportunities to grow our business are here in the Middle East. The customers here are appreciative of the fact that we offer enterprise solutions for process safety, which help them achieve their aims with regard to operational excellence.
How seriously does the Middle East take the issue of Process Safety, and does it invest enough in process safety technology?
Attending numerous conferences in the region has confirmed my belief that process safety is top of the list here.
We’ve heard some speeches from CEOs and presidents of some enormous companies, who are all telling us that process safety is top of their agenda. Really, you can’t afford for it not to be.
Companies cannot afford to fail to drive their process safety programmes.
In terms of finances, from what I’ve seen, process safety budgets are in good shape here.
Maintaining the equipment as well as maintaining process safety regimes all help to keep your assets working harder and working for longer.
What is the biggest single contributing factor in process safety incidents in the region?
Nearly all of the incidents that we have seen mentioned in recent conferences, and looking at the Marsh 100 Largest Losses report, most of the incidents concern loss of containment. Loss of containment, most of the time, is caused by process safety events, such as failing to monitor your corrosion, not letting people know what is happening in the plant, despite their being silos of information. That’s where we come in – we provide an enterprise software solution that allows those silos of information to be brought together and to be visible in one single place.
What is new about the product and which aspects of it are you most proud of?
We are proud of our barrier management facility which allows the ‘Swiss cheese’ or the ‘bow tie model’, the barriers that are affected by process safety deviations, to be seen in virtually real time. So that everyone can be aware if there is a relief valve which is out of service or there is a gas detector out of service in a particular area, then it is visible via our software.
If somebody needs to go and do some hot work in that particular area then it would be visible that they would need to take extra precautions. Our software helps do the risk assessment also.
What regional trends are you noticing in terms of process safety?
Yes, one of the big discussions that we are having in the Middle East at the moment is taking the idea process safety down to the front line operations and maintenance people. Instead of it just being with the engineers, the idea is to involve the operations and maintenance teams as well.
Training programmes are being put in place to give them the competencies to be able to recognise the risk in process safety.
At Petrotechnics we are proud of our ability to provide a solution that allows the close monitoring of process safety in any given facility. You only have to look at the Marsh 100 Largest Losses to see the devastation that can occur from the business interruption of process safety incidents.
Organisations do a fine job of analysing failures after an incident but Proscient allows us to think outside of the box and analyse barrier failures and take action before an incident occurs.