The First Middle East Process Engineering Conference (MEPEC) was opened yesterday by the Minister of Energy and Chairman of National Oil & Gas Authority (NOGA) Dr Abdulhussain Bin Ali Mirza.
The high number of attendees at the opening ceremony revealed the strong interest in the region's inaugural process engineering event and showed the importance that is placed on technical innovations in the oil and gas industry.
Dr Mirza stated in his opening speech that he was pleasantly surprised by the big turnout for the show which he had not expected for a first time event.
MEPEC has managed to attract over 800 delegates from around 30 countries which will engage in discussions, knowledge sharing and practical experiences in the process engineering field over the three day forum, which is being held at the Gulf Convention Centre, Gulf Hotel.
As MEPEC's Chairman Mr Abdulmoshen Dhawi Almajnoni said in his speech, "MEPEC is the first initiative of its kind to have pooled together the best in the industry. At this conference, we aim to share the best ideas and build on them so as to come up with the best technological solutions and cost-effective strategies."
The Minister of Energy was joined by a distinguished panel of speakers including: Mr Salim Al Aydh, Senior Vice President, Engineering & Project Management, Saudi Aramco and Mr Mosaed Al Ohali, Executive Vice President, Manufacturing, Sabic.
A major theme throughout the opening ceremony was the need for the region to take a lead in local R&D and a desire for the Middle East to become an exporter of technical knowledge and not an importer. All the opening speakers spoke about their hope for the Middle East to take up the mantle of becoming innovators and to step back from borrowing solutions.
As Almajnouni stated; "Technology is the most expensive component of our process industries, especially in the Middle East. It does make good sense to put in place the infrastructure for an indigenous R&D platform."
All the speakers believed that hosting events such as MEPEC is one way in which the region can start to build up domestic technical knowledge. As MEPEC's Vice-Chairman and President, Bahrain Society of Engineers argued last night; "One of the key reasons why this forum is important is that it is the first step towards building a body of technical knowledge built on Middle Eastern expertise."
A key component of moving to a knowledge based economy is through job creation and knowledge sharing. As Al Ohali said in his speech;" to succeed we have to set objectives and move towards them instead of following someone else. We have to create jobs in order to meet these objectives."
The first edition of MEPEC has received a great response with over 45 exhibitors, including regional companies such as SABIC, Saudi Aramco and BAPCO taking part. The event also comprises a strong international presence with companies such as AspenTech, Siemens and Invensys exhibiting. Over the course of the show over 18 keynote speeches will be given and 105 technical abstracts will be presented during the technical sessions.