ISO14001 Certification and OES Integration
Margham Dubai Establishment (MDE) is a Dubai Government entity established on November 16, 2000, charged with operating the Margham gas field and plant. The field was initially operated by Atlantic Richfield Oil Company (ARCO) on behalf of the Emirate of Dubai. In 2009 MDE was taken over by Dubai Supply Authority (Dusup).
This project achieved the first certification to ISO14001 of any ARCO Operating Company, the first certification to ISO14001 of a petroleum company operating in the Middle East, and at the same time achieved the first successful implementation of the Operating Excellence System (OES) within ARCO, into which the EH&S program was integrated.
This program was fully implemented within a period of 7 months, and proved to be very cost effective for ARCO through the use of an experienced consultant (Graham A Brown & Associates), advanced EMS implementation software (ISOsoft 14001, later Intelex), and the support of all ARCO Dubai Inc personnel.
The goal for this project was initially to implement ISO14001 throughout ARCO Dubai Inc operations. At the time that this was commenced, OES was introduced throughout ARCO, and a secondary goal was to integrate the EH&S program into OES successfully.
The decision to seek ISO14001 certification was taken in 1997 as a result of discussions between Dubai Municipality and major industries within the Emirate of Dubai, which foreshadowed a requirement under proposed legislation for major industries to achieve certification to ISO14001 within a two year period. In order to achieve certification by September 1998, it was decided to employ the services of Graham A Brown & Associates, Environmental Consultants based in Australia who were working in the United Arab Emirates at that time. On the recommendation of the consultant, ISOsoft 14001 software (later called Intelex) was purchased to assist with the development, implementation, and long-term maintenance of the EMS. The project commenced in December 1997 when the consultants undertook an Initial Review in the form of an Environmental Audit of ADI’s Margham Gas Field and associated gas processing plant, 64 km of pipeline, to ADI’s gas storage terminal at Jebel Ali. The ISOsoft 14001 software was installed and ADI’s Environmental Health and Safety Manager was trained in its use. Further training of ADI personnel in environmental awareness, ISO14001 and the development of aspects and impacts was also undertaken by the consultants. The software program was populated with ADI information which enabled immediate management of the company’s environmental initiatives to be undertaken through the software from the beginning of the project. Development and implementation continued over a 6 month period, during which the consultants prepared an EMS Manual, which included all of the requirements of ISO14001, ongoing management through ISOsoft 14001 software, the identification and integration of associated programs such as emergency response and inspection and maintenance, and the identification and listing of standard operating procedures which if incorrectly carried out, may have had a significant impact on the environment.
During this period, OES implementation was also undertaken, and the EMS Manual recognised throughout that the EMS is an integral part of OES, which provides a framework for the implementation of the EMS and other management systems. One of the most important requirements of both OES and EMS was that formal document control procedures are in place for the management of standard operating procedures. ADI’s existing document control procedures were shown to be adequate for both purposes, however the implementation of the EMS was most useful in identifying a need to incorporate environmental requirements in standard operating procedures during their regular reviews. Graham A Brown & Associates also completed an Air Emissions Study of the Margham gas field and operations.
The success of the project was measured in a number of ways, including:
- certification of the operations of ADI to ISO14001 was achieved on time and within budget
- the implementation of the EMS achieved many environmental improvements and strengthened the management systems to minimise environmental impairment and remediate contaminated areas identified during the environmental audit.
- implementation of the EMS was extended throughout ADI, including administration and procurement. Cost saving measures including a reduction in waste, improvements in containment and handling of chemicals, and improved recycling were introduced.
- flaring of gas was reduced by 2 million cubic feet per day (43%) through re injection of this gas into the producing formations. This reduced greenhouse gases as well as preserving resources.
The EMS operated successfully within the framework of OES, which was audited by ARCO head office. Non-conformances identified by both EMS and OES audits were the subject of corrective and preventive actions, which were tracked through the use of the ISOsoft 14001 software. The EH&S Manager successfully undertook a Diploma in Environmental Management course through the British Safety Council, and an alternate was trained to manage the EMS in his absence. Graham A Brown & Associates continued to monitor the progress of the EMS implementation, provide upgrades for the software, including providing web-based Intelex software (ISOsoft was PC based) and undertake further training of ADI personnel as required in order to maintain the standards at certification level.
Internal audits of EMS and OES continued to be undertaken monthly. The consultants (GABA) were retained to ensure that services were available to maintain the EMS to the highest standard, and that re-certification could be achieved in 2001 and beyond. This included advanced training of existing personnel and training of new personnel as required.
Integration of environmental requirements into all appropriate standard operating procedures became routine as SOP’s were reviewed on a regular basis. The integration of EMS into OES, and the maintenance of environmental standards throughout ADI and its successors continued to be a priority.