When it comes to loss prevention products and equipment, Saudi Aramco—the state-owned petroleum and natural gas company of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia—relies on best-in-class standards and guidelines from around the globe, including those from FM Approvals.
In November of 2015, FM Approvals hosted an educational seminar at the Mövenpick Hotel in the city of Al Khobar, not far from Saudi Aramco’s Dhahran headquarters. More than 25 engineers from Saudi Aramco’s Loss Prevention and Fire Protection groups participated in the five-day seminar on a broad range of FM Approvals product certification standards, including:
- Foam, gas and water mist fixed fire extinguishing systems
- Sprinklers and components used in sprinkler systems such as valves, pipes and pipe fittings
- Fire pump packages
- Gas detection systems
- Fire detection systems
- Building materials, including roofing systems, wall panel systems, pipe and duct insulation, fire stop and fire stop contractors, and fire retardant coatings
- Hazardous-location equipment
Technical presenters from FM Approvals included Armand Brandao, senior engineering specialist for electrical; Robert Elliott, senior engineering specialist for electrical; Bill Lawrence assistant vice president, principal engineer for hazardous locations; Charlie Mahall, senior engineer for fire protection; and Mark Tyrol (see figure 4), senior engineer for materials.
“Some of the Saudi Aramco engineers from their Loss Prevention Group work in their headquarters writing loss prevention standards, while others work at specific project or refinery sites overseeing loss prevention,” notes Abby So, FM Approvals’ Asia-Pacific new business development manager and seminar organizer. “Each of the participants lives and breathes loss prevention in their daily role and their focus is very much in line with FM Approvals’ loss prevention philosophy.”
According to So, the Saudi Aramco participants shared their own experiences related to loss prevention, asked many questions, and discussed the challenges they face working to protect the world’s largest petrochemical firm. Among the challenges covered during the seminar were some specific to the region and industry, such as the need for products and equipment that can function at the high temperatures found in a desert environment and the impact of water quality on all types of fire protection systems.
“The Aramco engineers were extremely knowledgeable in fire protection issues,” So notes. “Some of the Aramco participants were interested in very specific information relating to their work. We will be following up with them in the coming months on some of the topics they raised during the seminar and hopefully identify and enhance further collaborations in the future.”