Ministry of Petroleum Features Digitalization as A Vital Way for Enhancing Safety at Annual Safety Day

Ministry of Petroleum Features Digitalization as A Vital Way for Enhancing Safety at Annual Safety Day

The Ministry of Petroleum and Mineral Resources brought together distinguished oil and gas leaders on December 5 at Dusit Thani Hotel to take part in the Annual Safety Day 2019. Convening such a prominent event, for the fourth consecutive year, mainly aimed at highlighting initiatives carried out to indulge safety culture more among the sector’s workers, as well as increasing awareness on the importance of implementing the health, safety, and environment (HSE) basic rules to avoid risks.

The Safety Day highlighted the sector’s digital transformation and its great impact on enhancing the HSE standards for better levels of safety, which comes in line with the ministry’s Modernization Project. It is worth mentioning that the 2019 Annual Safety Day was sponsored by Eni/IEOC, and was empowered by the Egyptian General Petroleum Corporation (EGPC), the Egyptian Natural Gas Holding Company (EGAS), Ganoub El Wadi Petroleum Company (Ganope), and the Egyptian Petrochemicals Holding Company (ECHEM).

Inaugurating the Safety Day, Luca De Caro, Eni/Ieoc General Manager, said “the event is reflecting the strong commitment of the Minister of Petroleum and the leaders of the Egyptian oil and gas sector towards safety in Egypt.”

Caro remarked that Eni’s partnership with the Egyptian oil and gas sector has begun since 1950s, highlighting that, “one of the secrets of our partnership [success] is not only based on oil and gas production, but mainly on the common understanding of evolving this partnership for business sustainability.” And as a sign of success, Caro mentioned Zohr field, stressing that “we faced huge challenges with a very good HSE performance,” adding that “I can clearly say that with our partnership here in Egypt, all challenges become good opportunities.”

Speaking about digitalization, Caro mentioned that Eni entered its digitalization journey several years ago. Furthermore, Caro stressed “[digitalization affects] the way we think about our world. It is more of a a technological change that would enable us to act in a more integrated, faster, and safer way [to achieve our goals] with a significant reduction in both time and risk.” Concluding his word, Caro asserted that “safety is an absolute priority and precisely in the HSE field, [and] digitalization is essential for improving our performance.”

Another opening speech was delivered by Karim Badawi, Managing Director- Egypt and East Mediterranean at Schlumberger, saying “we are very proud of the collaboration with the oil and gas sector in Egypt in providing the energy needs in Egypt. Schlumberger has a vision of being a performance partner of choice to our partners to deliver safety and sustain the energy needs of Egypt,” Badawi said. He praised the significant impacts of the Modernization Project, which “provides a very unique platform to all of us in the sector to collaborate and share our best practices.”

Moreover, Badawi stressed the importance of developing talents because “safety cannot be done without humans and safety is actually for humans.” He also mentioned the training programs implemented by the ministry, especially those programs which focus on HSE itself. Additionally, Badawi supported the minister’s declaration on considering HSE as a major step in any career path, indicating that “within Schlumberger, like any other company, you will actually see that HSE president is coming from operations. [This] is going to be a fundamental part of his career path development.”

Furthermore, Badawi noted that digitalization is critical when it comes to learning from the past to ensure that “we do not expose our people to risks that can be mitigated or to repeated injuries.” Badawi stressed that “we need to leverage the digital platforms to better ensure that we minimize the risks of driving, which is huge in Egypt like any other country around the world,” mentioning his company’s participation in hosting the first day of the safety week, delivering better tools for safer driving experiences.

Ending his speech, Badawi said “as an industry, we [need to] ensure that safety is not a one week or one day event. It is something that is actually an integrated part of how we behave, how we act, how we plan, and how we move.”

Continuing the event, Colby Fuser, Egypt and East Mediterranean Managing Director at Halliburton, clarified during his speech that Halliburton has spent many years in Egypt as an execution company, and “whenever you execute every single day, you have to be able to execute with a mindset that I want to go work safely and come home safely.”

Moreover, he highlighted Halliburton’s participation in the safety week with its Control of Work (CoW). Furthermore, Fuser remarked the vital importance of digitalization as “digitalization means we do things smarter, [and] we do things different.”

At the end, Fuser emphasized that “safety definitely does not end today. It is very important for us to realize [that] safety is a daily thing.”

Walid Lotfy, Petrojet Chairman, noted during his opening speech that despite witnessing many noticeable achievements in the HSE field, “at the same time, we must remark that we faced a number of failures which became lessons to learn how to avoid such mistakes in the future.”

Additionally, Lotfy pointed out the cruciality of reinforcing the sense of responsibility in all employees to encourage them on reporting all ongoing positive and negative HSE procedures to enable the company to improve its performance.

Concluding his speech, Lotfy highlighted the vital importance of cognizant leadership which “mainly contributes to consolidating safety culture to guarantee reaching our targets, which is avoiding accidents and enabling all employees to perform their assigned tasks safely and returning back to their families safely as well.”

The Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources, Tarek El Molla, delivered a keynote speech as well. During which, El Molla agreed with what was mentioned during previous speeches that “we are not talking about a safety day or a safety week. It is just a sign for the importance of safety, in addition, we have to ensure that our message and the awareness we have are transmitted to all employees at our companies.”

Additionally, El Molla asserted that the Egyptian oil and gas sector is unified. “So, we need to speak the same language, we need to share the same targets, and we need to follow the same means and values to achieve these targets,” the minister added.

El Molla indicated that despite holding three previous events on safety to spread awareness, yet “what we did was not enough because accidents, injuries, and deaths are still continuing. Thus, we have to exert more efforts.”

To face these incidents, El Molla mentioned a safety committee will be formed for the sector’s governance, which is responsible for issuing regulations and rules according to international standards Moreover, El Molla stressed that training and developing human calibers turned out to be a necessity to get rid of the recent dominant belief that HSE positions are repellant. “We have already begun a big project which includes over 70 young professionals. The participants were selected carefully, and they managed to finalize phases one and two,” El Molla noted.

Additionally, El Molla mentioned the training program carried out in 2018, in collaboration with Eni, which resulted in sending 72 participants to Italy for intensive programs through our joint ventures (JVs); Agiba Petroleum Company and Belayim Petroleum Company (Petrobel).

El Molla stressed on replying to those calling for a nationalized sector, saying “we need to develop our sector in Egypt; hence, we need advanced technologies, knowledge transfer and investments,” adding that “our foreign partners do not aim at reaping the country’s wealth, they only require returns on their investments.”

Moreover, El Molla noted that a new element evaluating HSE will be added to the quarter-evaluation of each employee, explaining that “I did not want to add this element before giving an opportunity for spreading awareness on safety,” adding that “we cannot let such incidents happen without accountability.”

When it comes to digitalization, El Molla illustrated that “we cannot speak about the sector’s digital transformation without having a proper safety base. Thus, we need more efforts to increase awareness on safety.” As a sign of success, El Molla mentioned Zohr field which included 15,000 employees and was implemented with zero accidents.

“Our main target is achieving our strategy successfully,” El Molla remarked, stressing that all companies need to stick to their HSE plans and training programs, as “we cannot be a successful sector unless we fully commit to safety rules in our business.”

Schlumberger’s Safety Driving Workshop

The Safety Day reaped the accomplishments of the whole safety week, which were made by two international oil companies (IOCs) and one national oil company (NOC). Earlier that week, Schlumberger, Halliburton, and Petrojet held a series of workshops at the Sky Resort, in light of health, safety, and environment (HSE) week, where each company tackled a different HSE topic.

“The oil and gas industry in Egypt, led by the Ministry of Petroleum, recognizes that a safe industry is a successful industry,” Alex Tang, Schlumberger’s HSE Manager, said while presenting her company’s achievements. According to Tang, since last year’s memorandum of understanding (MoU) that was signed between Schlumberger and the Ministry of Petroleum and Mineral Resources, several initiatives were made to promote HSE leadership and awareness in the Egyptian oil and gas industry.

A great example of putting this MoU into action, is the fact that “all of us as leaders are gathered together this week to collaborate on how we can improve the safety of the industry,” Tang said, adding that this offers a fantastic opportunity for industry teamwork and cooperation.

She pointed out that Sunday’s workshop was about safety driving, as Schlumberger regards driving as one of the highest risks. Driving safety workshop started with an overview of how Schlumberger manages driving, reviewing the seven elements of the driving policy and discussing each one with a focus on the technology that has been implemented to manage journeys and influence drivers’ behavior, Tang recapped.

One of the hot topics that were shared at the Sky Resort was the seatbelt convincer. During 2020, Schlumberger plans to lend its seatbelt convincer throughout the year, so that seatbelt culture and awareness can be improved further, according to Tang. The workshop session had a very good turnout, where there were over 150 delegates from more than 30 companies and attendants. Split into 15 roundtables, a diverse group of upstream and downstream executive men and women sat together from all the companies in Egypt’s oil and gas industry. The discussions were “thought-provoking conversation-starters to encourage brainstorming and asking further questions. The level of collaboration and teamwork was exceptional,” Tang said.

To conclude the workshop, Tang said that the teams came up with so many ideas on good driving habits, safe behaviors, standardized training programs, monitoring systems, vehicle standards, trip inspections, and journey management, all of which are meant to make 2020 a safer place.

Halliburton’s Control of Work

Subsequently, Halliburton’s HSEQ Area Manager, Hatem Bashandy, recapitulated on the huge turnout of CoW workshop, saying that at Halliburton, to collaborate and maximize the added value for customers, the company’s leaders are driving their teams to the journey of zero hazards. “All of this started with leadership, commitment and Halliburton Management System (HMS) continuous improvement. And this is what all leaders should have: a good and solid management system,” Bashandy said.

According to Bashandy, to communicate and address risks is how people can have the right safety tools to implement safe executions for a job, which is often empowered by a robust technology and process improvement.

Halliburton’s workshop on the second day of the HSE week had more the
200 attendees from 103 companies, Bashsnady said, explaining that it was a great opportunity to give a massive message to all attendees about the COW. The workshop emphasized the leading indicators of HSE leadership, which how to lead by example, how to commit to change and commit to zero incidents, and finally, how to abide by the nine life-saving rules and spread their awareness.

Petrojet’s Contractors’ Management Workshop

Afterwards, Petrojet’s CEO HSE Consultant, Tarek Adly, explained their main objective to keep people safe. The keyword is teamwork, he further said.

According to Adly, 80% of worldwide fatalities are caused by contractors, and in Egypt, this percentage is as high as 93%.

To spread awareness and go up against this trend, Petrojet has been addressing Contractors Management with a series of workshops. Six HSE Contractors Management workshops were conducted in Petrojet’s headquarters under EGPC’s sponsorship by a predetermined committee of a professional team, presenting to more than 49 companies and 193 attendees.

Under the patronage of H.E. Tarek El Molla, Petrojet held another Contractors’ Management workshop at the Sky Resort on the third day of the HSE week, with 106 companies and 150 attendees. “Those leaders had very fruitful discussions. I was very happy with the constructive feedback of everyone,” Adly said.

Through the workshops, attendees identified six main challenges; lack of HSE leadership and culture, lack of communication in the oil and gas sector, shortage of qualified resources, no proper documentation, lack of competency, and finally, no clear rules and responsibilities. “I want to stress that if we did not solve the first challenge, which is leadership, we will not be able to solve anything else. HSE is a journey which we have begun; we are moving forward and we shall never look back,” Adly concluded.

Y2020 HSE Commitment Plan

EGPC’s CEO, Abed Ezz El Regal, later presented the Y2020 HSE commitment plan, showcasing what has been implemented and what is still in the making.

“To start off, what we have reached is the accumulations of all the previous safety days, along with the ministry’s efforts. Listening to different opinions, we were able to come up with a plan to unify the entire sector with one goal,” Ezz El Regal said.

The first topic which Ezz El Regal tackled was driver’s safety, where he said all the sector’s companies must abide by implementing several special technical requirements. The first requirement is checking the vehicle’s state, durability, and that it is fit-for-purpose. Ensuring that all vehicles are safe throughout the duration of the trip. The second is providing fit and qualified drivers. The third is checking the route’s conditions alongside the weather conditions before moving forward. The fourth is providing a detailed management journey with a tracking network [via GPS/IVMS] to all vehicles and transportation units at each company. Finally,  the fifth is providing an electronic tracking system at each company (Electronic JMP), to ensure the availability of all needed elements to ensure safe navigation.

The second topic was COW, whereas all sector’s companies must abide by providing an effective business management system to ensure safety in the field. This should happen by providing Permit To Work (PTW) for all the works/jobs that could be provided such as (drilling, lifting, etc…), providing qualified individuals for different types of jobs, communicate with all individuals before starting any project (Tool Box Talk), monitoring all simultaneous operations (SIMOPS), empowering all workers to stop any job not done safely, and finally, implementing necessary revisions to PTW by upper management at least once a year.

The third and final topic was contractors’ management, in which Ezz El Regal stated all sectors’ companies should implement the requirements of the contactors management’s guide, which was published by EGPC in January 2019. According to the guide, all companies must provide bridging documents with the contractors, and it should include the responsibilities of the main and secondary contractors. Moreover, all companies should reassess their current contracts with all contractors to ensure HSE standards align with the guide’s provisions.


Enas Shabana, Communications Section Head at the Ministry of Petroleum and Mineral Resources, announced the Y2018 HSE Awards, with four winners. The first award was for Best Employee in Safety, which was won by Ahmed Khattab, Rashid Petroleum Company (Rashpetco).

The second award was for Best HSE Performance, which was received by Sabry El Sharkawy, Rashid Petroleum Company (Rashpetco) Chairman and Managing Director.

The third award was for ‘Best Safety Performance in Projects Execution by Contractors’, which was won by two companies. Ashraf Bahaa, Enppi’s Chairman and Managing Director, and Chemist Mohamed Hassanien, Head of Alexandria National Refine & Petrochemical Company (ANRPC), received the award.

The minister took a group photo with the Safety Modernization Youth and the Technical Committee team. While he was invited on stage for the group photos, he announced that there will be no awards for 2019, as the year witnessed a number of fatalities.

Shaping HSE Future

Consequently, Gamal Fathy EGPC’S CEO Assistant for HSE presented the HSE cultural threats, such as production pressure, risk normalization, and tolerance of inadequate systems and resources.

Fathy showcased the road map to improve HSE culture, saying that in 2018, emergency response and preparedness started being reactive. Starting from January 2018, there was compliance for HSE requirements, leadership commitment, and standardization. In December 2019, there was a commitment towards leadership and employees’ engagement, challenging KPIs, and a shared vision. According to Fathy, if you compared 2018 with 2019, there is a stark improvement in HSE. Furthermore, the road to 2020 will witness continual improvement of audits and reviews, digitalization, and engagement of the capacity building team.

There are currently actions-in-progress in seven projects, comprising HSE standardization, life-saving rules, process safety management, engagement for the capacity building team, wastewater management (GOS), and finally, firefighting systems.

He further took on the EGPC HSE Standardization (phases one and two), which will help in establishing EGPC HSE code of practice from January 2020 – June 2020. The process started in June with the documentation and an application submit to the International Association of Oil and Gas Producers (IOGP). Later, EGPC obtained the IOGP membership and a standardization committee was formulated to review IOGP standards. In December, EGPC launched OMS based on IOGP 510 Report, with the consultation of various companies.

Fathy elaborated more on the life-saving rules, which were discussed earlier by Bashandy, dividing the rules on three phases. Phase one  comprises awareness and training. Phase two includes the integration into the HSE-MS and implementation with positive reinforcement. Phase three ensures follow up and continual improvement. “It is an absolute must to apply these rules in the entire sector,” he said.

He presented the way forward of the projects’ continuation, which focus on leadership, ownership of the middle management front lines, audits and reviews, and finally, digitization.

Panel Discussion with Modernization Youth

EGPC’s CEO sat with the HSE Modernization Youth in a panel discussion moderated by Mohamed Fouad, Managing Director at Egypt Oil & Gas. The panelists were Mahmoud Rabie from Petrojet, Dina Moharram; HSE Head at Gascool, Mohamed Omar; HSE Engineer at GUPCO, Tayseer Gamal; HSE dept. at Rachid Petroleum Company (Rashpetco), and Ahmed Salah; HSE Head.

Among the themes that were tackled were the ministry’s vision for the youth, the role of the Modernization Project in developing the human resources with the best HSE practices, in addition to the HSE challenges and how to overcome them.

Ezz El Regal explained that as there is a need for development, Egypt is seeking to modernize all its sectors, with the oil and gas industry at the forefront. Under the Modernization Project, the petroleum sector has been witnessing many new decisions regarding its development, with a special focus towards human development, as it is one of the most important tools for production, he said.

The five panelists were among a team of 74 individuals responsible for the HSE Capacity Building program within the Modernization Project. Gamal explained that the program does not just depend on trainings, but instead build on the capabilities that make you face your day-to-day challenges and activities. “One of the best perks of this program is diversity, as the team behind it comes from different companies all over the sector, from public to private companies and from downstream to upstream. This made us more aware of the sector’s problems.”

Ezz El Regal praised the unity of standards that now all companies have to adhere to, as it holds the national companies accountable to international standards. He also mentioned that the contractor’s management guide needs to be updated constantly, and to be more detailed. He also recommended that we should have a system with a set of specific standards, statistics, and criteria to uphold.

Moharram discussed how we can implement the best technology in our fields while also upholding the quality standards of safety, this is essential to the job’s sustainability. Not only will we ensure the safety of our equipment but also the safety of our engineers. “Personal and process safety are two faces of the same coin” noted Moharram, as she elaborated on how we always must have a safety plan that denotes any sort of dangerous incident that might occur. Not only that, but we should also monitor the KPIs and to leap at the chance of improvement. She also recommended to keep up with the digitization process in order to improve HSE.

Ezz El Regal concluded the panel by advising the young professionals to utilize their knowledge and the technology to their own interest, and praised them as they are considered the future professionals of tomorrow. He also mentioned that after investing in the infrastructure, investing in the human resources now is even more essential as they are the ones who will control the whole industry in the future.

Digitalization in HSE

The event’s ‘Digitalization in HSE’ session showcased latest safety digitalization initiatives undertaken in the sector’s companies.

Belayim Petroleum Company (Petrobel) introduced its CoW initiative. Petrobel’s COW is a complete and effective system that can control operations in an effective and efficient way. Through which, Petrobel managed to control work processes and minimize risks.

Another example for the CoW was Petrogas. Petrogas has digitally transformed its safety system through establishing a complete interactive model. This model includes all the site’s data, and records it in 3D Mapping real Time Data. This model enabled Petrogas to optimize its safety system, enhance its productivity, improve the quality of its products, reduce operating costs, and mitigate potential hazards.

The Egyptian Drilling Company (EDC) set an example for digitalizing safety reporting. In 2017, EDC transformed its reporting system into an electronic one, through the Aegis 30 system.

This system enables EDC to manage the huge information and reports received daily and obtain all required observations and analyses quickly and accurately. Moreover, the system enabled EDC to supervise all its locations to minimize risks.

Enppi introduced another example for digitalizing safety reporting through establishing its electronic system to overcome different HSE problems faced while managing their projects. This system can use all gathered data to do a root cause analysis for all incidents, in addition, it includes risk management tools for better levels of safety through managing the site’s activities.

Rashid Petroleum Company (Rashpetco) represented an example for driving safety digitalization. Rashpetco made the decision to digitize everything in 2017 through a real time monitoring system that can easily gather statistics on HSE. Throughout the phases of the system’s development, it enabled Rashpetco to record daily observations and reduce potential hazards.

Another example for digitalizing drive safety was Badr Eldin Petroleum Company (Bapetco). Bapetco introduced a new web-based Electronic Journey Management System (E-JMS).

The E-JMS provides an accurate way to create and track journey management plans. This system automatically ensures managing road safety hazards, and improves HSE performance.

Concluding the event, Abed Ezz El Regal stressed that HSE is critical for the success of all oil and gas activities, noting that it is important to sharing different companies’ success stories or their incidents to learn from them. Ezz El Regal asserted on cascading the event’s message and recommendations to all the sector’s employees.

Osama Noureldin, Undersecretary for HSE Affairs at the Ministry of Petroleum and Mineral Resources announced the HSE awards for 2020, mentioning that the upcoming year’s awards will be directed to oil and gas companies, employees, and contractors. Noureldin noted that the criteria and the program of the 2020 awards will be announced through the ministry’s website during January 2020.



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