Despite the challenges arising out of the pandemic in 2020, SABIC Manufacturing remained committed to achieving the highest levels of manufacturing excellence and safety standards.
The continuous pursuit of manufacturing excellence is vital to our drive to become the preferred world leader in chemicals. In a competitive industry, further challenged this year by the COVID-19 pandemic, Manufacturing at SABIC has shown resilience by employing robust standards and process technologies, supported by its knowledge pool to achieve the highest level of asset availability since 2017.
The agility of our manufacturing organization was also demonstrated by our immediate response to the pandemic. Here, our risk and crisis management systems gave us a solid foundation for business continuity, which ensured commitment to both our customers and the community.
Driven by our global manufacturing strategy, we have pursued optimization as a key principle in attaining excellence across multiple geographies and cultures.
Our strategic initiatives have provided focus, where our Asset Lifecycle Management structure has ensured optimization of plant operations and has driven Operations Discipline. We have mobilized our global talent base to support our endeavor in achieving manufacturing excellence, whilst ensuring the continual investment in the capability of our people through our Workforce Development programs.
We also continue to drive Energy Optimization at our sites in support of our sustainability objectives, ultimately reducing our overall footprint.
Our 2020 milestones were all underpinned by our core value of EHSS, where we continue to embed a culture of safety as a top priority.
We are continuously pursuing manufacturing excellence which is vital to our drive to become the preferred world leader in chemicals.
ASSET LIFE CYCLE MANAGEMENT
Our asset maturity continues to strengthen as we build our asset capabilities through implementation of the Asset Life Cycle Management Framework. This has resulted in our lowest unplanned shutdown days leading to increased availability, and significant planned CAPEX optimization.
We are leveraging the strengths of our Operations Management System, which provides an integrated platform for safety and reliability. Through the utilization of the Asset Lifecycle Management standards, we see improved asset capability and reliability performance, and effective governance of the SABIC defect elimination process, resulting in minimizing operating losses. It has also enabled stewardship of reliability-in-design, which has been employed in several new mega projects and integrated into the process throughout our global manufacturing sites.
Cybersecurity is a major threat to many industries, and it is of paramount importance to ensure protection against such a threat. Our cybersecurity model has been developed in line with industry best practices and is applied in our continued effort to mitigate threats across all our sites.
Driven by our global manufacturing strategy, we have pursued optimization as a key principle in attaining excellence across multiple geographies and cultures.
Our ever-stronger culture of excellence is reflected in the achievements of our sites around the world, reinforced by our SABIC values. Sustained focus on our people and their capabilities is utmost, and we have worked hard to continually improve our people competencies.
This improvement starts with our frontline employees (operators, technicians and security guards), where we have deployed a program called JADEER, which will be a single integrated platform to support frontline employees' competency development by enhancing work processes, EHSS and process safety.
We have also conducted assessments for our engineer and chemist development programs – SABIC Engineers early Development program (SEeD) and Technical Talent program with a methodology that moves from compliance to engagement and effectiveness.
Our efforts to embed the right leadership behaviors were maintained, and despite the impacts of the pandemic, we were able to conduct a global virtual assessment of Critical Organization Behaviors (COBs). This provided key insights into our strengths and areas of improvement that will contribute to enhancing our pursuit of manufacturing excellence.
We have begun to build a manufacturing learning platform, combining a rich resource library of learning content with a forum to help SMEs assure quality and be aligned with international standards. It also provides the ability to integrate our technical talent capability development programs under a single unified platform.
For the long term, we will continue to build a working environment that inspires and connects people through our global networks, ensuring access to depth and breadth of experience, excellent learning resources, and diverse assignments.
In 2020, we maintained our focus on improving our energy efficiency, in support of SABIC’s sustainability objectives.
Opportunity assessments looking to identify and evaluate possible conservation measures to improve our overall footprint and assure regulatory compliance with SABIC’s energy efficiency program were carried out at four major sites. Such assessments also play a key role in evaluating any prospective mega project’s sustainability performance.
The Site Energy Optimizer Program – a key analytical tool and process, launched in 2018, to identify site-optimized scenarios in day-to-day operations and design – continued to deliver positive results. Deployment has been completed at 14 sites, helping identify “quick win” energy saving opportunities, and guide the development and deployment of improved energy system operating strategies.
The Operations Discipline journey is one element in SABIC’s Operation Excellence initiative, launched in 2018 to drive universal adoption of the Operating Discipline concept, designed to reduce EHSS incidents and improve reliability. The program looks to ensure compliance with critical operational elements during manufacturing processes, and capitalize on best operational practices.
The Operations Discipline diagnostic assessment was completed in 2019 at our sites in Saudi Arabia and saw the site gap closure plan achieving above target results. The planned assessment for our European and Americas sites was postponed from 2020 to 2021 due to the pandemic. The program will lay the foundation for best in class standards and establish a sustainable environment of empowerment throughout our manufacturing community, strengthening ownership and energizing a drive for results through commitment and innovation.
ENVIRONMENT, HEALTH, SAFETY AND SECURITY (EHSS)
SABIC’s global EHSS organization supports our manufacturing operations, business units and corporate functions, providing a center of excellence that helps deliver continual improvements in our EHSS performance worldwide.
This year SABIC raised EHSS competencies, improved communication and information-sharing, and enhanced and refined initiatives driving people development, digital transformation, and risk and operations management.
While responding to the impacts of COVID-19, we also maintained momentum in embedding EHSS as a SABIC critical core value, in line with our commitment to achieving industry-leading performance.
In 2020, we continued to embed the new risk-based assessment, introducing Maturity Level concept throughout the organization, and assess our sites’ SHEM field implementation, performance and progress.
EHSS INFORMATION ENABLEMENT
This eSHEM Phase II initiatives project underwent a global rollout this year for four EHSS modules – SABIC Assurance Program for EHSS Risks (SAFER), EHS Risk Assessments, EHSS Audit, and Calendar – enabling improved identification, aggregation and communication of key EHSS information.
Increasing automation is also supporting SABIC to better manage risks, capture findings and track mitigation actions, helping reduce violations, equip SABIC for first-in-class EHSS performance, and prepare for improved data analysis and artificial intelligence exploitation.
EHS CULTURE SURVEY
This year’s EHS Culture Survey involved 16,730 participants globally in a hearts & minds effort as part of our Operations Management System (OMS-111) standard, corporate training programs, and efforts to gain a better understanding of employees’ perceptions of their work environment culture.
GLOBAL KEY PERFORMANCE INDICATORS
Global EHSS developed and introduced EHSS Maturity, an overarching new performance monitoring concept using existing KPIs to generate maturity indexes based on existing systems and standards, designed to:
- Drive increased performance excellence, and visibility to SABIC leaders
- Ensure focus on OMS/SHEM key aspects
- Improve accountability at all levels of SABIC leadership
- Allow global KPI benchmarking throughout the organization
- Provide valuable input for OMS-SHEM audits
This year saw the start of the recertification audit for RC14001:2015 and ISO45001 standards, in line with the chemical manufacturing industry’s EHSS initiative Responsible Care®. Five years of internal and thirdparty audits have uncovered no major nonconformances, and this year saw significant improvements.
ENVIRONMENT, HEALTH AND SAFETY
SABIC participated in several Cefic (European Chemical Industry Council) and Plastics Europe groups focusing on marine litter and Operation Clean Sweep programs, and ECHA (European Chemicals Agency) micro plastics and waste gas chemicals restrictions. In the US, SABIC was part of the American Chemistry Council’s work group set up to define a pellet loss metric for Operation Clean Sweep Blue.
A SABIC EHSS team also joined the Association of International Chemical Manufacturers’ pollution prevention workshop, helping prepare and track new regulations, and raise understanding of new requirements. In China, quarterly meetings brought together environmental law firms, site leadership and local EHSS teams. We also worked on:
- Discharges to water - with improved discharges and reutilization, and reduced pollutant loads. At our Vadodara, India, site an online wastewater analyzer was installed to monitor Chemical Oxygen Demand, Biochemical Oxygen Demand, Total Suspended Solids, color, pH and ammonia nitrogen, helping ensure compliant discharges and maximize recycling of treated waste water.
- Emissions to air - with a number of sites seeing installation of new odor abatement equipment and retrofits of low/ultra-low-NOx burners, including Teesside in the UK, and STC-Shanghai, where low-NOx burner retrofits for boilers cut NOx emissions from 110 mg/m3 to around 25 mg/m3.
- Waste generation and management - with segregated bins, and training and reminders for employees, helping increase recycling at our Benoi, Singapore site.
PROCESS RISK MANAGEMENT
PROCESS SAFETY KNOWLEDGE AND COMPETENCY
Our EHSS responses during COVID-19 included:
- Human Capital Development strategic initiatives, including widespread on-line engagement with the workforce for various knowledge-based applications
- Continuing our work with Mary Kay O’Conner Process Safety Center to develop Process Safety professionals, with 27 engineers enrolled in Developing Batch-4, and 18 engineers enrolled for Proficient Level Batch-1 training in 2020.
- Fundamentals of Process Safety training, with 56 professionals attending this year
- Layer Of Protection Analysis training, with online sessions of 230 employees
- 121 employees trained in the SAFER program, which is aimed at senior managers and subject matter experts
- Emergency preparedness training, with particular emphasis on pre-incident planning, delivered to 75 personnel throughout the organization
Hazard Identification and Risk Management is the cornerstone of managing risks. SAFER, which is SABIC’s EHSS risk registry, saw an increased engagement with stakeholders. Organizational resilience and operational agility during the pandemic resulted in overcoming the challenges of risk stewardship.
SAFER stewardship saw closer monitoring of Major and Significant risks, particularly with large number of turnaround deferrals. Site engagements were performed using online engagement tools and an enhanced monitoring of risks provided greater assurance of risk management. IT enablers like eSHEM for SAFER were deployed for Middle East and Africa region and works are underway to fully implement the program in all regions. This will see a greater transparency in risk management and deployment of interim and mitigation actions with a clear focus on risk based prioritization for projects implementation. In addition, the dashboards using IT enablers are also expected to enhance risk awareness and focused corporate and site engagements at all levels.
This year saw numerous initiatives to ensure regulatory compliance, including:
- Risk Management: revalidating security risks, providing Security Risk Assessment training, and conducting and reviewing security risk assessments for sites worldwide
- Cyber Security: training and refresh in response to new threats
- Management System: completion of revision of security risk-based framework
- Travel Security Program: ensuring medical, safety and security help for business travelers worldwide
- Homeland Security Mega Project, with completion of front-end engineering designs for upgrading security infrastructure for our KSA affiliates
Crisis Management responded rapidly to the pandemic, raising preparedness, improving our crisis management structure, monitoring impacts on employees, sites and offices, ensuring business continuity, managing Personal Protective Equipment, monetary and other donations, improving the Crisis Management Dashboard to aid impact visualization and application development, ensuring preparedness for other threats such as cyber security risks, and efficient capture of all COVID-19 learnings, and their incorporation into CM plans and processes.
This year saw an organization-wide move to Corporate Sustainable Development, with core programs built on key initiatives to maintain our program of continuous improvement, including and deploying product stewardship knowledge and competency, enhancing communications, and improving our risk discovery and management processes. We this year:.
- Began building our new Product Stewardship Training certification program
- Improved our efficiency in delivering SABIC compliance documents to customers
- Continued to embed EHSS/PST reviews in T&I, E&PM and M&A programs
- Implemented PST incidents management and product risk characterizations
- Made Manufacturing a key focal point
- Completed our top 50 Product Risk Characterizations
- Continued running workshops in Saudi Arabia, with rollout to other regions planned
- Instituted Safer Chemistry as a major theme
ENGAGEMENT AND SUPPORT
Despite fewer network meetings due to COVID-19, Industrial Hygiene Committee members continued recent years’ meetings and working with a number of agencies, including:
- Royal Commission Public Health Department
- Saudi Food and Drug Authority
- Nuclear and Radiological Regulatory Commission
- Saudi Standards, Metrology and Quality Organization
- Ministry of Labor
This year saw the restart of NEBOSH (National Examination Board in Occupational Safety and Health) - International General Certificate in Occupational Health and Safety, with courses run virtually due to COVID-19, training:
- 29 Industrial Hygiene experts in the Board of Occupational Safety and Health modules
- 82 instructors for new unified safe work permit and LOTO (lock-out/tag-out) for all KSA sites
- 43 IH experts in Health Risk Assessment Workshop conducted for MEA staff
- 140 leaders and key stakeholders in crisis management awareness
GLOBAL EHSS PERFORMANCE MONITORING & REPORTING
We continued to monitor trends in EHSS, the Total Recordable Incident, Occupational Illness, and Security Incident rates, while dropping Process Safety Total Incident Rate in favor of the new metric American Petroleum Institute 754 Process Safety Event Tier 1. Global EHSS Corporate Sustainability Department also approved the incorporation of fatality rates in the new metric.
In eSHEM, we saw enhancements of the global system, making eSHEM compliant with OMS-318, implementation of phases 1 and 2 for incident management, and continued quality monitoring of the eSHEM system by Performance Monitoring Reporting with regular communication to all affiliates, to aid their ongoing EHSS data improvement efforts.
EHSS is a critical core value for SABIC across all its operations