Methanex, in collaboration with the Egyptian Petrochemicals Holding Company (ECHEM), started a partnership in 2018 to raise awareness about Process Safety Management (PSM) within the petrochemical sector. In doing so, they hosted two conferences in 2018 and 2019 bringing together more than 800 representatives from various companies of the oil and gas industry. The success which the conferences brought highlighted the importance of PSM systems and started a dialogue on PSM best practices.

The attention garnered through the conferences led to the signing of an official Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) during the Egypt Petroleum Show (EGYPS 2020) between Methanex and the Ministry of Petroleum and Mineral Resources. To put things in motion, after the MoU signing, a PSM steering committee was formed consisting of all holding companies of Egypt’s oil and gas sector and in due course a technical sub-committee was also established. The reason for doing so was to promote PSM systems, in addition to embedding them within all oil & gas and Petrochemicals companies operating in Egypt. Since then, the committee has continued to progress its roadmap to promote and foster a PSM culture; beginning from setting up a three-year roadmap, developing a hazard management program, to the recent launch of the PSM website in January 2021.

Taking into consideration that communication is key when implementing such an important project, the PSM website serves as an effective tool and a forum to exchange knowledge about PSM amongst all the sector’s companies. The launch of the website provides access to information to support companies in managing facilities and guiding them towards a complete life cycle without releasing hazardous material remains a core focus to the committee. This would in due course support companies to adopt PSM, an asset for business compliance with different regulations and supports other safety management systems such as; Responsible Care (RC 14001), ISO 9000, environmental compliance, and worker health and safety, thereby being compatible with other systems to increase efficiency.

To fully implement and ensure a successful adoption and implementation of the PSM systems, it is essential to know and understand the key elements of PSM. This is where the website comes into play as it becomes a learning tool. The website illustrates the elements in a simple manner to identify and comprehend its objectives. Additionally, the website does a great job in communicating the need to apply PSM systems in companies. Fostering a safe environment with PSM increases reassurance and boosts productivity in addition to contributing to shareholder value. Keeping in mind the core goal of PSM “no harm to people, no harm to the environment, and no harm to assets”, it becomes evident why it should be a priority across the sector’s companies.

 In addition to being a link between companies across the sector, the website provides all the latest updates regarding the steering committee, PSM news, and promoting past and upcoming PSM conferences. Through the online portal, interested individuals can access the latest local PSM best practice and latest PSM studies from across the Egyptian oil, gas, and petrochemicals industry. This includes examples of safety cases, research and development (R&D) papers, and the ministry’s PSM policies, standards, and procedures.

There is no doubt that any workplace can potentially be at risk of incidents and hazards. But as the saying goes: “prevention is better than cure”; PSM certainly embodies that proverb. As incidents can be highly visible and highly emotive events within communities and the oil and gas industry; that is why PSM becomes critical to all businesses to protect lives, their businesses, and the trust of the communities and shareholders.