As we are observing the world rebound from a pandemic that has profoundly impacted almost every facet of life, it is quite obvious that what looks like a unique lifetime experience has left us knowing more about ourselves as individuals, members of communities, industry and the international community. I am saying this knowing that the economic consequences have been astounding; and in many cases unpresented. It is incumbent on us to recognize what such a pandemic has helped us discover in ourselves, which is a great deal of adaptability and resilience.
2020 was undeniably a tough year given the fall in world demand for hydrocarbons due to COVID-19 restrictions, and its subsequent impact on crude oil prices. Also, safety precautions have come with restrictions on social gatherings and travel, which were, and still are, essential aspects of our ability to conduct business. Our resilience was tested as we embraced this challenge and attended to our business needs. In this regard, I want to quote from Saudi Aramco’s President & CEO, Mr. Amin H. Nasser’s, 2021 New Year’s Message that went out to all Saudi Aramco employees:
“In this most testing of years, the Aramco family became closer as one team. We can be proud too that despite the ongoing challenge and uncertainty caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, none of us gave up on the idea of a better future last year.”
Saudi Aramco demonstrated social responsibility and its “employee of choice” motto by ensuring workforce safety through allowing many employees to work from home. Also, The pipeline industry’s commitment to a safe and reliable supply of energy was tested, and the industry showed a great level of adaptability and resilience. As knowledge sharing is one essential component of the industry’s effort toward maintaining a high level of excellence, industry members successfully enriched many events with high quality content. A record attendance was observed at the International Pipeline Conference (IPC 2020), which was held virtually for the first time. Key Technical Committee Workshops and Research Exchange Meetings were sponsored by Pipeline Research Council International (PRCI) in virtual settings as well. The current edition of this journal is coordinated with the virtual Pipeline Technology Conference, which will bring together a significant number of major pipeline stakeholders from across the industry.
I find myself thinking of Mr. Nasser’s inspiring message for 2021 as I conclude with a message for our young pipeline professionals of the future. “If 2020 was a test of our endurance, I believe this coming year will be a test of our agility: our capacity to adapt and thrive in response to rapidly changing circumstances.”
I presume that one major contributor to adaptability to change and ensuring resilience is knowledge sharing and collaboration. So seeing young pipeline professionals committing to publishing quality pipeline content will be a major indicator of the industry’s ability to sustain excellence. In my home organization at Saudi Aramco, Pipelines, Distribution and Terminals (PD&T), we made sure that our recognition program promotes young professionals so they can take great strides toward becoming major contributors in the pipeline industry’s publications. This has successfully impacted those professionals and enabled them to accelerate their technical maturity and professional development. In conclusion, I wish all PTJ readers continued health and safety, and for PTC attendees to fully enjoy this vital event.
Nader A. Al-Otaibi,
Supervisor (A), RT Terminals Engr. Unit,