Shaikh Ahmed bin Mohammed Al Khalifa, Minister of Finance, Minister in Charge of Oil and Gas Affairs opened on Tuesday, October 28, the 3rd International Laboratory Technology Conference & Exhibition (LABTECH-2014) at the Gulf International Convention Centre under the theme ‘Towards Excellence in Laboratory Management’.
The event was organized by the Saudi Arabian International Chemical Sciences Chapter of the American Chemical Society in collaboration with the University of Bahrain, in coordination with the National Oil and Gas Authority (NOGA) and with the support of a number of Gulf and global oil companies and extensive participation of interested parties from the GCC, region and world over.
The Minister said that the conference would be a catalyst for knowledge sharing and idea exchange on a variety of regional and global oil industry and petrochemicals issues. He said the event would boost human resource development, quality management, as well as health, safety and environmental programs.
He stressed the importance of adopting best lab practices in modern refineries to ensure quality control and compatibility with the regulatory oil export requirements, while contributing to clean environment. This entailed all oil industry labs be equipped with the latest equipment that operates under the supervision of a highly qualified technicians who are capable of handling complex technology, and have quick response to emergencies. He pointed out the importance of oil producing countries to develop a strong ‘environment, health and safety culture’.
The Minister said that NOGA and the Bahrain Petroleum Company (Bapco) have modernized the Bahrain Refinery, employing the latest technologies in the petroleum industry, and upgrading the machinery used in testing crude and petroleum products comply with the international standards of safety, quality and environment protection. All NOGA holding companies employed latest laboratory technologies; and all had achieved occupational safety, environmental safeguards and quality objectives, winning a number of international awards in appreciation, he pointed out.
Shaikh Ahmed concluded his speech reiterating that NOGA was keen to host international oil conferences and exhibitions in Bahrain to make the country a global hub for industry specific events. He expressed his appreciation to the Saudi Arabian International Chemical Sciences Chapter of the American Chemical Society and Professor Ahmed Al Harrasi, the Labtech 2014 Conference Chairman, its organizing committee, the University of Bahrain for its support in organizing the event and all the exhibiting companies for their commendable efforts in putting up a highly professional show.
Professor Al Harrasi also spoke at the opening session, where he expressed his gratitude to Shaikh Ahmed for his support in organizing the conference in the Kingdom of Bahrain. Other speakers included Khaled A. Al-Buraik, Vice President, Petroleum Engineering and Development, Saudi Aramco; Prof. Ahmed Al Rawahi, Chancellor University of Nizwa, Oman, who highlighted the significance of the scientific papers presented at the conference and sharing of experiences, as valuable efforts which complemented the scientific and educational movement in countries around the world. This was followed by a speech by Ahmad Saleh Al-Jemaz, Chief Executive Officer, Mina Abdulla Refinery in Kuwait.
Shaikh Ahmed also opened an accompanying exhibition, where many local, Gulf and international oil companies showcased various innovations and the latest technology. Participants from the region included Bahrain Petroleum Company (Bapco), Gulf Petrochemical Industries Company (GPIC), Bahrain National Gas (Banagas), Saudi Aramco and Yasref, among others. Renewable energy companies showcased modern high-end devices used in petrochemical labs, while some exhibitors shared tips on best practices, experiences and success stories in the field of refining and technology transfer in laboratories and chemical industries.
A number of stakeholders and specialists participated in the conference committees, from Saudi Aramco, Saudi Basic Industries Corporation (SABIC), King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals, University of Nizwa – Oman, Department of Chemistry and Earth Sciences, Faculty of Arts and Science at the University of Qatar, Kuwait Institute for Scientific Research, the National Petroleum Company of Kuwait and representatives from the Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia. Specialist laboratory analysts from the Gulf region and world over as well as invited guest speakers participated in the discussions, including Prof. Thomas J. Barton, President of the American Chemical Society, Dr. Ebrahim Mohammed Janahi, Chairman of the University of Bahrain, Dr. Meena Marafi, Executive Director of the Center for Petroleum Research in Kuwait, Japanese researcher Professor Isao Mochida, University of Kyushu and Professor Hugo de Lhasa, Department of Chemical Engineering, University of Western Ontario.