S.M.A.R.T. Safety

S.M.A.R.T. thinking sees Shedgum produce perfect safety record

More than 1,150 employees and contractors performed three turnaround and inspections without any safety incidents or recorded COVID-19 cases.

S.M.A.R.T. thinking sees Shedgum produce perfect safety record


More than 1,150 employees and contractors in the North Ghawar Producing Department (NGPD) worked around the clock, seven days a week in 2020 to conduct three turnaround and inspections (T&Is) at Shedgum with zero safety incidents and no recorded COVID-19 cases.


This remarkable health and safety achievement, successfully completing T&Is for Shedgum Gas-Oil Separation Plants (GOSP) 1, 4, and 5 during difficult times was the direct result of the operations, maintenance, and engineering (OME) team adopting the S.M.A.R.T. management technique.


The agile OME team ensured all activities were specific, measurable, attainable, realistic/relevant, and time bound, a.k.a., S.M.A.R.T.


COVID-19 precautions


A total of 438 shutdown items were executed, ensuring the safety of everyone involved by taking the necessary precautions, which are of paramount importance, especially with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.


Some of the adopted precautions included:

  • Doubling the number of buses for transportation and portables for rest to comply with capacity restrictions
  • Installing thermal heat detectors and touchless hand sanitizers at the three GOSP entrances
  • Zoning of activities to avoid having all manpower present in one area at any given time
  • Segregating rest and break times to avoid congestion
  • Assigning dedicated safety officers to ensure all safety, social distancing, and COVID-19 company precautions are taken at all times
  • Ensuring all contractors on-site have a COVID-19 business continuity management procedure to guarantee backup manpower within 24 hours in case of infection
  • Requiring main and backup personnel come from different camps to ensure no mixing takes place
  • Recommending contractors take a COVID-19 test at least once before the start of a T&I 
  • Holding COVID-19 drills in each facility to measure readiness.


Best practices


There were three significant best practices adopted by NGPD, which helped the department execute the T&Is safely and successfully.


As part of the department’s efforts to meet the zero industrial waste program, all oily water was recovered from vessels and recycled into other North Ghawar hydrocarbon facilities. This practice helped the department to recover many barrels of oily water.


Additionally, lube and seal oils used for injection pumps and gas compressors were also reused in other industrial activities which led to cost reduction.


Steam cleaning


In an effort to enhance the cleaning effectiveness of sludge and oily water and break it down easily, NGPD trialed a solution for steaming activities reducing effects on the environment.


Instead of using diesel, an internationally approved ISO certified water-based solution was used.


This solution effectively breaks down sludge within short period, reducing working time inside a vessel. The conventional technique of applying diesel and a degreaser typically takes up much longer time.


NGPD also successfully trialed a new advanced technology designed to inspect, measure, and display high resolution 3-D visualization accurately.


This facilitated the inspection of narrow and hard to reach equipment to maintain their mechanical integrity, and was specifically used for fin fan coolers, which are typically difficult to inspect, saving one day of inspection time.





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