On March 19-20, approximately 120 researchers and practitioners came together at the Sheraton Hotel Newfoundland in St. John’s for the first annual Workshop on Safety and Integrity Management of Operations in Harsh Environments. The workshop on safety and integrity had a tall agenda and exceeded expectations, according to Dr. Faisal Khan, who is the Vale Research Chair in Process Safety and Risk Engineering and chair of process engineering at Memorial University.
“We are extremely pleased with how everything went. The idea of a workshop on safety and integrity came to me last fall. I wanted to bring together experts from industry and academia to share knowledge and to discuss risk-based solutions to the challenges faced in safety and integrity management in natural resource development in harsh and frontier areas. We had a lot of interest and quickly reached our registration capacity,” explained Dr. Khan.
The two-day workshop focused on two important themes related to the management of natural resource development in harsh and frontier areas, namely safety and asset integrity. The main topics of the workshop included safety and integrity challenges in harsh environments and potential solutions; corrosion under insulation; winterization methods; evacuation and rescue issues and methods to address them; production, processing and transportation challenges and potential solutions and risk assessment and management challenges and potential solutions.
“Harsh environment adds an extra degree of complexity in the assessment and management of risk,” said Dr. Khan. “The development of natural resources in the Arctic and sub-Arctic is creating huge challenges. These regions have some of the most severe harsh environment conditions in the world with unique features such as ice and permafrost, complex degradation rates, unpredictable climate changes and high uncertainty due to lack of knowledge in those areas. These important issues require concerted efforts from all entities and this is what this workshop was all about, bringing those key players together to find solutions,” he added.
Since recognizing the need for a workshop on safety and integrity, Dr. Khan worked extremely hard to make it a reality. Once he had the support of the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science, Memorial University and industry, the planning began. Dr. Khan acquired many of the resources for the workshop and was also instrumental in securing many of the workshop’s keynote speakers. Dean of Engineering and Applied Science at Memorial, Dr. Greg Naterer, chaired the steering committee, which involved representatives from different industries. He was extremely pleased with how everything went and praised Dr. Khan for placing the spotlight on such an important area.
“The workshop was the perfect opportunity for key industry people to come together to talk about issues of safety and integrity in harsh environments and to collaboratively come up with possible solutions for improvement. It is important to be proactive when dealing with some of the concerns raised during the two days, and Dr. Khan is to be commended for his foresight and for the overall success of this workshop,” said Dr. Naterer.
The workshop was the result of collaborative efforts from Memorial University, Natural Science and Engineering Research Council (NSERC), RDC Newfoundland and Labrador, American Bureau of Shipping, Vale Newfoundland and Wood Group of Companies.