After achieving ISO 50001, the international certification in energy management, Aramco's SONPD embarked on an ambitious plan to certify the biggest gas-oil separation plant (GOSP) in the world and its associated facilities with the International Standard ISO 14001:2015 — the Environmental Management System (EMS).
The main advantage of any international certification is the sustainability of the Plan-Do-Check-Adjust cycle. ISO 14001 goes beyond this minimum tangible benefit to include: (i) development of a best-in-class EMS to align with the requirements of international standards; development of sustainable environmental initiatives based on the full life cycle of all input feedstocks and output products, services, and waste streams to minimise the environmental impact of hydrocarbon operations; optimisation of EMS performance to conserve air, land, and water resources, and an inventory of pollutants leading to financial benefits to the company; ensuring management’s commitment and visibility to employees and contractors for the significance of environmental initiatives leading to a greener future; and, building a respectable image for Saudi Aramco facilities as the company and the kingdom looks to expand its economic portfolio.
During the process, SONPD overhauled its entire Environmental Management System, going from a basic minimum to a top-notch system. The new EMS includes a full life cycle impact assessment of all input and output streams, risk management and treatment plans, and the implementation and closure of some continuing environmental concerns.
Each stage of the audit was designed to take a deeper dive to identify compliance and required longer term preservation measures to minimise the environmental impact and footprint of SONPD operational activities.
After SONPD cleared the implementation steps and the gates for external certification, Aramco's environmental protection department took a comprehensive look at the entire process to search for the best practices and guidelines that may be used for future Saudi Aramco departments opting to certify their facilities according to the international standard.
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