By Mariana Somensi

The Ministry of Petroleum and Mineral Resources’ modernization program is a bold strategy to transform the Egyptian oil and gas industry in the next five years. In parallel with the country’s economic reform, the plan aims to enhance the petroleum sector and turn Egypt into a strategic energy hub.

Increasing safety value by 2021 is a core concern within the program. “The safety and health of our employees, assets, and environment across the petroleum sector entities and operations is a number one business value,” according to the Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources, Tarek El Molla. In line with the government’s vision to consolidate all safety performance in the oil and gas industry, the Ministry hosted the Safety Stand Down event on November 28, sponsored by BP, to spread awareness and stir up important discussions on the subject.

The Event

The Ministry invited all sector companies, at the same time, to engage in a two-hour discussion. The stand down reached as much as 575 participants from 138 sector companies, from which four were holding companies, four were international oil companies (IOCs), while the remaining were joint ventures and service companies.

In the first part of the stand down, the participating petroleum firms stopped all activities at its offices and fields to listen to a broadcasted speech from the minister. Subsequently, the participants engaged on a debate on each company’s safety procedures. Considering reviewing the safety aspect of the modernization program, the debate employees aimed to spot what aspects of the company need improvement and if they meet the program’s goals. The discussion further tackled evaluating the trainings provided to employees and what points must be prioritized after the stand down. The two-hour mobilization included all firms’ staff, from senior positions to office boys.

In the second part of the event, the heads of private and national petroleum firms, as well as participating companies’ Health and Safety managers, jointed the minister for deeper discussions. Additionally, four petroleum fields were chosen for a special two-way interaction experience, in which the event was broadcasted with a further 15-minute exchange with the minister. The chosen fields are operated by Bapetco, Petroject, Gasco, and Ethydco.

The stand down brought up important presentations and activities providing key information about hazards, protective methods, and each company’s safety policies, goals, and expectations. Although not directly, the event further counted with the participation of the downstream sector through the distribution of flyers to regular citizens at certain fueling stations.

The Ministry’s Goal

The event encouraged senior managers to demonstrate high accountability, commitment, and strive in improving overall safety performance by identifying and controlling unsafe work practices and conditions, as well as communicating awareness through ownership and employee involvement.

“We proactively strive to integrate workplace safety fully into all our daily business operations,” El Molla stated. “Management and all employees must take a proactive approach to safety, demonstrating leadership and direction to ensure the safest possible working conditions. Our ultimate goal is zero accidents,” he added.

In order to continuously unlock the sector’s full value chain as a growth and development engine for Egypt, as well as achieve financial sustainability, safety, innovation, transparency, efficiency, and ethics were highlighted as core values to be enhanced. The Ministry will provide a Safety Excellence Award to the company that complies with these important steps to turn the sector into a role model for the future of modernized Egypt.