On Wednesday, September 28th 2022, TIC Council and Tankbank International hosted the International Energy Safety Conference at the Conrad Centennial, Singapore.

The opening address was given by Hanane Taidi, Director General of TIC Council, and by John Hodson, CEO of Camin Cargo Holding and vice-chair of TIC Council’s Commodities Committee. They spoke about TIC Council’s role in promoting and improving safety and ethical behaviour in the Oil and Gas industry, showcasing the International Energy Safety Conference as a joint effort to offer an open forum for all O&G Stakeholders, where dynamic and result-oriented discussions can take place to address safety issues.

The first session of the day was lessons learned for inspections during the COVID-19 pandemic, given by Toine van Moorsel, Global HSE and dangerous goods manager at Saybolt. An overview was given of the experiences, the main challenges, and of practices adopted by inspection companies during the pandemic. Mr. van Moorsel specifically touched upon the different experiences of on-shore and off-shore workers, as well as from laboratory, office and field employees. The floor was opened for the attendees to share the experiences of their own businesses over the last two years. It was noted that several challenges arose out of the heterogenic measures and responses from the different stakeholders, for which it was recognized that having industry-wide guidelines on pandemic-preparedness would be a significant added value that TIC Council could provide.

The second session was given by Mr. Rudi Stalmans, managing director of Ener8 Taiwan, which focused on the topic of building resilient and sustainable liquid bulk supply chains. Mr. Stalmans  discussed with the attendees what steps to take to work towards supply chain excellence, going over the impact and overall damage that insufficient safety has on people, the environment, on assets and on the reputation of stakeholders involved.

Mr. Stalmans walked the attendees through the concepts of safety culture and management systems, through crisis response and communication approaches, contingency planning, among other points. An emphasis was made that having a strong strategy, people with expertise, and defined processes and plans were the optimal approach to develop safety capabilities, and improve the situation in the O&G industry as a whole.

The third session of the day was given by Mr. David Gauci, global lead product and testing at Saybolt, on spectroscopic examination of tanker washing waters. His presentation focused on this new technique, presented as an  innovative method of assessing tank cleanliness that reduces inspectors’ risk exposure by limiting the need to physically enter tanks, while simultaneously producing reliable and repeatable results in a shorter amount of time.

Mr. Gauci’s presentation delineated both the potential positive impact on overall safety of this method, as well as its limitations and ensuing challenges. There was agreement that the safety benefits of this new technology are worth considering, and that advocacy efforts towards pushing for wider adoption of this approach is desirable.

The fourth session of the conference was provided by Ms. Serena Huang, Vortexa’s head of data analytics Asia, on APAC trade flows and the importance of digital information. Ms. Huang highlighted the role that innovative data analytics can play in shedding light on to the O&G industry, described as an unstructured and opaque marketplace. Clear information analytics on energy flows, inventory and freight can help businesses make high-stakes decisions with a clearer comprehension of the market.

Mr. Tony Quinn, director and CEO of Tankbank International, opened the fifth session of the day with a presentation on current commercial market trends in tank storage. His session provided updates on the state of the terminal and storage industry by focusing on some of the most important sites around the world, while also touching upon the projected behaviour and expected evolution of the O&G market for the decades to come.

Mr. Quinn further led the sixth session of the day, by moderating the terminal managers panel discussion. He was joined on stage by Captain William de Gannes, terminal manager of GTI Statia; by Mr. Nizam Noorali, general manager of GTI Fujairah; and by Mr. Mark Mirosevic-Sorgo, managing director at Quincannon Asia Pte.

The panellists discussed safety in their respective industries, their experiences, as well as the common and unique aspects and challenges they have faced, both alone and alongside other stakeholders of the O&G industry. This was followed by a lively Q&A session, in which the participants had the opportunity of sharing their open feedback on safety conduct between and among stakeholders, touching upon common problems such as fatigue management and the ensuing hazards of long shifts.

The final presentation of the day covered the topic of safety when boarding vessels, given by Mr. Mark Harrison, global technical and operational excellence director, Intertek, accompanied by Mr. Toine van Moorsel, global HSE and dangerous goods manager at Saybolt, and by Ms. Melanie Guillory, fuels product quality lead at Shell.

Mr. Harrison gave a presentation on the different modes of vessel access, remarking the challenges and hazards that they pose to inspectors and surveyors boarding vessels. Videos where shown depicting the hazards of ignoring best practices, and the dangers posed by difficult weather during boarding operations. Mr. Harrison further touched upon cases of “lessons learned”, informing participants of the injuries suffered by personnel in the past.

During the second section of the session, Mr. van Moorsel welcomed two fully geared inspectors to stage, who brought an assortment of different equipment utilized regularly during inspection work, to better depict the added difficulties of boarding vessels while geared up. The attendees and the inspectors had an opportunity to exchange thoughts, questions, remarks and concerns, focusing on the pressures imposed by the opposition between ensuring safety while conducting work effectively, with as little demurrage and delay as possible.

The discussion continued under the moderation Ms. Guillory, as attendees were invited to share their thoughts during a final Q&A session, focusing widely on how to address the issues raised on safety when boarding vessels, particularly as it pertains to ensuring the recognition of Stop Work Authority as an accepted mechanism around the world to protect inspectors and personnel despite potential costs and demurrage.

The closing remarks to the conference were given by John Hodson, together with Hanane Taidi, recapping the main points discussed during the day, and welcoming the extensive feedback and discussions held across all the sessions.

Ms. Taidi and Mr. Hodson noted the remarkable alignment of the industry on the need and want to ensure safety for all, recognizing this as the main takeaway of the day. Specifically, they welcomed the identification of priority topics to be addressed under TIC Council in the coming months, such as guidance on personnel fatigue management, promoting the adoption of spectroscopic examination of tanker wash waters techniques, and defining pandemic preparedness guidelines to ensure a more homogeneous and coordinated reaction in the face of potential new lock-downs and/or global diseases.

Finally, this Safety Conference was dedicated to the memory of Richard “Dick” Taylor, secretary of the Petroleum and Petrochemicals Committee of TIC Council. To honour his memory, the first TIC Council Merit Award was awarded to Mr. Taylor posthumously, as a token of recognition to his innumerable contributions to the betterment of the TIC industry over many years.

The full presentation of the conference is available here.

Check our list of webinars to find about more about TIC Council’s work in providing thought-provoking presentations on the current market trends and legislative developments around conformity assessment.