The Regional Clean Sea Organization (RECSO), an oil industry co-operative organisation in the Middle East, has hosted First RECSO Enviro Spill Conference and Exhibition.
In delivering the keynote speech at the opening ceremony, Abdulhakim A. Al-Gouhi, vice president of Industrial Services with Saudi Aramco, called on members to collaborate to protect the pristine Gulf environment through prevention, preparedness, and response.
“We come together to demonstrate our unlimited commitment toward protecting the marine environment from any harmful effects of pollution, in general, and of oil spills in particular,” said Al-Gouhi.
He noted that Saudi Aramco demonstrated its expertise in oil spill mitigation at the height of the Gulf War in 1991, when an estimated 8 to 11 million barrels of oil were released in what is thought to be the largest oil spill in human history, and established oil spill contingency plans, response teams, training programs, and oil spill drills that put Saudi Aramco at the forefront of the industry.
But even so, added Al-Gouhi, “the need to pursue research and development in new technologies and more efficient oil spill combating tools and equipment could not be emphasized more.”
Al-Gouhi additionally noted that a major element to test readiness is by conducting drills and exercises. One such exercise was successfully conducted at the south Red Sea this year that involved all stakeholders, including government, military, and civil authorities, as well as specialized international oil response, tanker, and shipping companies. Response operations included offshore containment and recovery, shoreline cleanup, and aerial dispersant spray by Saudi Aramco.
The conference included 65 speakers, and 30 exhibiting companies representing more than 20 countries. Workshops provided an opportunity for interactive discussions between presenters and delegates on key topics and new technologies for oil spill prevention, mitigation, and response.
Among the Saudi Aramco presentations was one by Andrew Regan, the Marine Department’s engineer, who delivered a presentation titled “Oil Spill — The Impact on the Sea Environment and Waste Management.”
Saudi Aramco’s global oil spill response director, Muhammad A. Saber, was a panelist on a leadership panel on “Regional Challenges in Oil Spill Response.”
Ibrahim A. Al-Hilal, regional oil spill coordinator with Saudi Aramco, served as the panel moderator for a leadership panel discussing “Oil Spill Management.”
Majed Al-Khalidi, senior pollution control coordinator, chaired a technical session on "Global Policies and Regulations in Oil Spill Response."
Abdullah O. Tewairqi, manager of the Marine Department, presented recognition plaques to partners and committees. Tewairqi commended members of the team, who presented papers, participated in panel discussions, and manned the booth in the exhibit area.