The International Society of Automation (ISA) announced today that more than 300 corporate and government officials, manufacturing representatives and consultants across the world attended the association’s 2012 Automation Conference in Doha, Qatar, the first ever ISA conference held in the Middle East.
The two-day event, held 9-10 December 2012 at the Radisson Blu Hotel, was conducted through the support of His Excellency Dr. Mohamed bin Saleh al-Sada, Qatar’s Minister of Energy and Industry, and the Chairman and Managing Director of Qatar Petroleum, which manages all phases of the oil and gas industry in Qatar.
The conference, which sold all available registrations, featured presentations on functional safety and cyber security in industrial control systems, enterprise and control systems integration, and advanced process technologies.
“ISA is an international association, and this conference gave us the opportunity to increase awareness of our core strengths among government and industry leaders in this part of the world,” says ISA’s Executive Director and CEO Patrick Gouhin, who attended the conference along with Jean Pierre Hauet, ISA’s District 12 Vice President and France Section President, and Leo Staples, 2011 ISA President and Chairman of the Automation Federation, an ISA affiliate. “All facets of industry, from oil and gas and petrochemicals to power and instrumentation, are looking for ways to better capitalize on the value and potential of automated systems, obtain the skilled workforce needed to operate them, and ensure safe, reliable and efficient operations.”
The conference attracted attendees from within Qatar and across the world, including Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, Russia, France, Belgium, Italy, Spain, Ireland, Great Britain, and the US.
The local attendees represented a wide range of major companies, including QP, RasGas, Qatargas, Qatar Fertiliser Company (Qafco), Qatar Fuel Additives Company (Qafac), Qatar Chemical Company (Q-Chem), Oryx GTL, Qatar Petrochemical Company (Qapco), Qatar Vinyl Company (QVC), Dolphin Energy and Qatar.
An article on the event published this week by the Gulf Times, the daily newspaper of Doha, Qatar, indicated that Qatar’s industry and government leaders recognize the importance of automation and control technologies, training and standards given the region’s rapidly developing industrial sector.
“In view of Qatar’s fast-growing economy and the ongoing major developments in the use of automation systems in the oil and gas, petrochemical and energy industries, it is certainly fitting that this regional event for automation professionals is being held for the first time here in Doha,” stated Ahmad Saif Ahmad al-Sulaiti, an operations manager at the Dukhan Field, a major oil field in Qatar.
While Qatar is slightly smaller than the state of Connecticut, the country’s per capita GDP ranks among the highest on earth. Commercial ties between the US and Qatar have been expanding at a rapid pace over the last seven years, with trade volumes growing by more than 446 percent, from $738 million in 2003 to $4.03 billion in 2011.
While Qatar is projected to invest an estimated $120 billion in the energy sector over the next decade, it is committed to diversifying and developing its petrochemical industries in particular.
Conference sponsors included: ABB, Emerson Process Management, GE Oil & Gas, Honeywell, Black Cat Engineering & Construction WLL (BCEC), Doha Motors, Maersk Oil – AIMS, Fireye Inc., Forney Corporation, HIMA, ISA100 Wireless Compliance Institute, OSIsoft, Pepperl + Fuchs, Petrotec, Rockwell Automation, Silvertech Middle East, Yokogawa and Jones Engineering Group.