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WORKING ON AN ALUMINA REFINERY WAS A NEW EXPERIENCE FOR ABDULLAH; HE WAS CONTRACT SUPERINTENDENT ON THE PROJECT FOR ABOUT FIVE YEARS
I couldn’t imagine… doing any other job. Ever since I was young, I wanted to be a civil engineer. I have four brothers (too many!) and they are all engineers too. We all started out working for CCC (Consolidated Contractors Company), and then I joined Petrofac, while one of my brothers joined a Canadian company.
Working on an alumina refinery… was very different to other projects I’ve worked on. It was more challenging and complex, like the piping work. I oversaw the installation of 32 km of underground piping, and we were working in a small, congested area that required a lot of equipment.
I managed… different ‘packages’ of work including the bulk earthwork, underground piping, Bauxite Residue Storage Area (BRSA) and infrastructure (roads, drains and landscaping). There are very few BRSAs in the world. The design was very specialised and required a lot of involvement from us. I was also responsible for all activities relating to the contractor and supervised them and other personnel.
We came up with… new ways of working, not only for Petrofac but Bechtel too. The first package I was responsible for was bulk earthwork and preparing the site. We implemented very high safety standards during this package – there was zero interface between machines and workers using an exclusion zone. So, we didn’t use flagmen on foot to direct the machines inside this zone, only supervisors in pickups were allowed. We were also recognised for doing this stage of the project in a very short time – moving 2.3 million cubic metres of earth efficiently and with zero incidents. It was a new record for the client.
My key achievement… was accomplishing each package on time. It was tough staying on schedule and reaching each milestone. Petrofac became more and more involved in the project and worked in a similar capacity to a contractor.
It was one of the best joint ventures… I’ve worked on in my career. It was very well organised, and I built up good relationships with my co-workers. It’s important to learn from others, take these learnings and apply them within your own organisation.
“Working on an alumina refinery was very different to other projects I’ve worked on.”
WORDS CHRISTINA McPHERSON
IMAGES NEVILLE HOPWOOD
PUBLISHED SEPTEMBER 2019