Posted on April 16, 2019

The 10th Qatar Process Safety Symposium (QPSS), hosted by Texas A&M University at Qatar, ConocoPhillips, and Qatargas, concluded yesterday after a successful two-day run from April 14 to 15 2019. More than 300 industry experts and researchers gathered at the Intercontinental Doha Hotel to tackle this year’s theme of “Human error happens. How do we overcome the inevitable?” This year’s speakers called on a continued dialogue between industry and academia to bring about lasting advances in process safety.

During the event, Texas A&M at Qatar and ConocoPhillips signed a commemorative Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) together with Qatargas to mark their joint cooperation for the delivery of QPSS going forward.

“Year after year, QPSS attracts a growing leadership community who collectively advance our process safety capabilities in line with the national development framework,” remarked His Excellency Dr. Ali Al Mulla, assistant secretary general for Industrial Projects Sector at the Gulf Organization of Industrial Consulting (GOIC) and a keynote speaker at QPSS. “I want to personally congratulate Texas A&M at Qatar and ConocoPhillips on their extended partnership with Qatargas; the three organizing institutions successfully facilitate development through open knowledge exchange.”

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Following a keynote presentation by Todd Conklin, an internationally renowned expert in organizational safety and human performance, the first day of the symposium included discussions on the state of international best practice for human performance development. Dr. Stephanie Payne, a professor at Texas A&M University, chaired a series of panel discussions on process safety culture, while Dr. Tomasz Olewski, interim managing director of the Mary Kay O’Connor Process Safety Center-Qatar and chair of the QPSS organizing committee, led talks on human factors engineering.

Dr. Olewski noted: “Over the past decade, QPSS has set a new standard for intersectional dialogue and developing the competencies of engineers in Qatar. Its continued success is due to the high relevance of process safety to the region’s energy industry, which supplies a growing global demand. We want to continue building on the past ten years as we look towards the future and enhance our understanding of process safety; responding to Qatar’s diversifying economic requirements in safe and effective ways.”

The second day of the symposium included a keynote address from Mohamed Basser from Dolphin Energy Qatar, Dr. Steve Jarvis, and presentations from Qatar Petrochemical Company (QAPCO) and Qatar Petroleum, amongst others. This was rounded off by a panel discussion titled “10 Years of Journey through the Qatar Process Safety Culture and Human Performance Development.” Todd Conklin, keynote speaker at the symposium, commented on the practice of process safety in Qatar: “I am very impressed by the eagerness to learn and the courage to improve that I have witnessed during my time here.” He continued: “The size of Qatar and its agility make it ahead of many other leading countries on the global scale. I believe that with risks come greater responsibilities and it is rewarding to see the investment in a culture of process safety being reinforced and practiced.”

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Highlights of the event this year involved presentations and panel discussions with international speakers, a podcast recording by Conklin, and the QPSS Process Safety Excellence Students Award and Process Safety Excellence Award presentations, honoring Jack Altwal, PhD student at Texas A&M at Qatar, and Jack Cranefield, former process safety and risk manager, Qatargas, and current senior loss prevention consultant, ExxonMobil.

Dr. Steve Jarvis, expert in the aviation field and speaker at the symposium, reflected on the learnings he has taken away from the symposium, noting: “There is a large crossover between the process safety and aviation sectors, especially when it comes to the high levels of commitment to safety and well-being. I am pleasantly encouraged by the scale of knowledge in the process safety sector. The people I have met here have innovative ideas and are actively listening and exchanging expertise for the benefit of all sectors.”

The most significant milestone achieved in the past decade has been collaborating with Qatargas, the World’s Premier LNG Company, to join the long-standing organizers in delivering QPSS 2019, thus positioning the symposium as the most prominent process safety event across the region.