Aramco stands at the ready, takes part in national oil spill response
Drills represent real test of our capabilities while highlighting our around-the-clock preparedness.
Aramco’s Marine Department recently participated in a series of major oil spill drills led by the National Center for Environmental Compliance (NCEC) under the sponsorship of the Ministry of Environment, Water and Agriculture (MEWA), along both coastlines.
The drills engaged some 40 entities from concerned government and industry organizations, with the objectives of improving the response readiness, communication and collaboration effectiveness as well as testing response assets and resources.
Showcasing our committment
The drills demonstrate Aramco’s commitment to protecting the Arabian Gulf and Red Sea environments while showcasing our ability to vigorously respond to any oil spill incident in support of national efforts.
The first was Estijaba-4 at Jazan, and was under the patronage of HRH the Governor of Jazan Province, Prince Muhammad bin Nasser AlSaud.
The second, on the other hand, was Estijaba-5 at Jiddah, and was under the patronage of HRH the Governor of Makkah Province, Prince Khalid Al-Faisal.
And, the most recent was Estijaba-6 at Ras Tanura Sea Port, under the patronage of Eastern Province Governor HRH Prince Saud bin Naif Al Saud.
Each drill was conducted over a period of three days and simulated a joint response operation to several offshore oil patches drifting across Saudi regional waters from international maritime routes. The simulated spill quantity was 70,000 to 90,000 barrels of crude oil for each drill.
Aramco’s Regional Oil Spill Response coordinators and teams actively engaged at the NCEC Command Centers and at locations that were assumed to have been impacted by the spilled oil. Aramco participation included shoreline protection using specialized pollution control equipment, pollution control vessels, aerial dispersant spray, and trajectory modeling of the spill.
The drills’ activities included notifications of concerned entities under the National Plan, trajectory modeling of the spill at the NCEC Command Center, offshore containment and recovery operations by Marine vessels at the spill location, and aerial dispersant spray sorties by Aviation, using air tractors.
The drills involved an element of response escalation, assuming that the spill size is beyond the capabilities of specific area resources, with Aramco providing specialized pollution control equipment from company bases at Tanajib, Jazan, Jiddah, Yanbu’, and Duba, as well as acquiring international cooperative support through Aramco established agreements.
Aramco has successfully and effectively re-affirmed its proven leadership, reliability, and commitment toward the protection of the environment, by demonstrating its ability to conduct major oil spill response operations along both the Red Sea and Arabian Gulf coasts, with unmatched resources while collaborating with government authorities and international responders.
— Fahad M. Al-Abdul Kareem, Aramco Oil Spill Committee chairman and executive director of Industrial Services
Response resources readiness
Abdullah O. Al-Tewairqi, Marine Department manager, indicated that the drills represented a real test of the company’s capabilities. He said that the drill is an integral part of a complete program to ensure Aramco’s oil spill response preparedness is maintained at all times.
“The drill illustrated the company’s leadership in oil spill response readiness, with experienced personnel working hand in hand with a young talented workforce utilizing the latest technology resources and capabilities,” said Al-Tewairqi.