Resilience and Excellence

Abqaiq Plants wins Global Business Continuity Award

Planning, practice and preparation paid off in stemming impact of 2019 attacks.

Abqaiq Plants wins Global Business Continuity Award

Last year’s incident response and restoration management of the global oil system’s beating heart echoed across the international business community and has received a world-class recognition. 


Turning a horrendous incident into a success story was attributed to a well-established business continuity system that paid off immensely.


This robust business continuity act of Abqaiq Plants was awarded with this year’s prestigious Global Business Continuity Award 2020 by Continuity Insurance and Risk.


Abqaiq Plants, one of eight finalists selected from dozens of entries, was announced as the winner of this global award at a recent virtual ceremony.


Business continuity in the face of adversity 

Despite attacks that ignited 16 hydrocarbon fires in different locations in the live pressurized facility, Aramco personnel managed to complete the total isolation and depressurization of the facility in a safe manner and extinguish all fires within 7 hours. This action ensured the safety of all plant personnel and the population of the surrounding area. The plant’s partial capacity was quickly restored within 48 hours, and normal capacity in 10 days, ensuring the stability of the global energy supply. 


Remarkable response

What makes the emergency response to the Sept. 14, 2019, attacks more remarkable is the fact that for the first time in Abqaiq Plants’ history — since its inception more than 70 years ago — emergency responders managed to implement a total shutdown of the intricate and complex facility in a safe manner.


The historical decision to safely shutdown the facility for the first time ever has prevented detrimental damage and was the cornerstone of instigating Abqaiq Plants’ business continuity management system.
— Saad A. Al Harbi, Abqaiq Plants shift superintendent and incident commander


“The competence of Abqaiq Plants’ well-trained personnel was evident to execute such complex action in a time of distress,” Al Harbi added.


World-class inherited resilience

Vigorous planning and preparation, frequent practice, annual comprehensive BCM system assessment, and alignment of that system, among other best practices, placed Abqaiq Plants at the top of the business continuity world.

Abqaiq Plants is the first finalist from Saudi Arabia to win the Global Business Continuity Award, an annual worldwide award in its 24th year, which is considered the world’s most prestigious business continuity award.


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