After the meeting, Yokogawa provided a fine dinner by the waters of the Gulf. From sushi to tabouleh, to all manner of great barbeque, the feast was fine. The conversation was finer. I sat with Control Editorial Advisory Board Member, Jim Sprague, “from a large Middle Eastern oil company,” Heinz Gall from TUV, Austin Brell, from that same “large Middle Eastern oil company,” and we talked about safety and stuff. If you want to figure out which company, check back a few posts. Jim’s company requires that when I quote him in an article in Control he be listed that way, but his company affiliation is correctly listed on the magazine’s masthead.
We talked about the BP Texas City fiasco, and were agreed that it was more than an operator failure– that it was a systemic failure caused by inadequate operations instructions, poor operator training, and other similar things, not just a “he didn’t push the right button” failure. After all, the operators had done this startup exactly the same way numerous times, and no explosion happened. They had, it turned out, been lucky.
Sprague noted that contractors coming to work in Saudi Arabia and other Middle Eastern countries are getting skyrocketing pay packages. He mentioned the number of US$45,000 per month…and I thought about calling my wife and telling her I was staying. Editing a magazine doesn’t quitepay that well.
He also noted that he is leading a Foundation Fieldbus End User Council meeting at this same venue, the Crowne Plaza Bahrain, on December 12 and 13.