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Allen Gibson Interview

Happy 5th Anniversary PCIC Middle East!


Whether you say “five” or “hamza” we all can agree that the upcoming PCIC Middle East conference is a milestone.

PCIC stands for the Petroleum and Chemical Industry Conference, and PCIC Middle East is the regional sister event of PCIC Europe organizing the premier Conference for the exchange of experience in electricity and instrumentation (E/I) in the oil & gas, chemical and pharmaceutical industries.

The conference was launched in November 2012, during ADIPEC, in a hotel at walking distance from ADNEC, the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre. But already then, local press releases mentioned the newcomer among the activities during the global reference event. PCIC Middle East was “in” and included into the UAE agenda.

Since the first edition, PCIC Middle East has changed dates, switched season, and also moved closer to the Corniche promenade. Content has become more specific as more abstracts are submitted specifically for this conference, leaving behind the launch, with a program of the best technical papers written to address challenges and innovations experienced by GCC based oil & gas owners, operators and engineering firms.

Allen Gibson, the PCIC Middle East Local Committee Chair, looks back at the previous events, and describes the three first conferences as still “rather European”. “One of the best indicators of the accurate regional touch is that in 2016 - and for the first time - more than 50% of the attendees were end-users representing oil, gas and petrochemical companies from the GCC”,

Another indicator reflects the global market evolution and changes in spending, with moves from capital expenditure to operational expenses according to the circumstances. “Three-four years ago, many papers were focused related to greenfield projects”, Allen recalls.

“This has changed with current lower oil prices towards a greater focus on maintenance and operational reliability.”

The 2017 conference program comprises 15 technical papers and 2 tutorials, with several technical papers sharing experiences to improve operational efficiency and reliability and cyber-security or “hardening” of these very critical E/I systems which power and control the operating assets.

The Middle East, with such a unique concentration of natural resources and its industrial infrastructure composing with both ANSI- and IEC-equipment is like a giant and real-time research laboratory for many critical challenges. “

“The PCIC Middle East is a first-hand opportunity for manufacturers to listen to experiences of the important end-users and operators, and to directly network with the people and companies that build and operate some of the largest projects in the world.  This non-profit conference is dedicated to sharing technical information and experiences, including product certifications, personnel competency and training, electrical safety, and operational reliability.”, Allen describes.

This year a new mobile-based application is introduced at the conference in order to facilitate the Q&A session after each presentation, allowing attendees to use SMS to send questions to the moderator. “We want to make sure all questions that occur during a technical presentation are transmitted to the moderator. This, we hope, will stimulate the open dialogue of the audience with the author”, Allen says. “Just type it like an SMS and send!”  A key focus within our industry and this conference is to help bridge the generational gap within engineering.  This new SMS option to submit questions is being used to make everyone feel comfortable to participate without having to be in the “spotlight” among peers.

The PCIC Middle East Local Committee is proud and pleased to welcome Tuesday 28th February, the first ever invited key note speaker, Ms. Ghada Matar Ali from ADCO (Abu Dhabi Company for Onshore Petroleum Operations).  This opening to the conference will describe the perspective of a young electrical engineer, including the opportunities, support and her path to be successful.

Kristina Hakala

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