Outcome of IECEx conference in Dubai

Personnel competence in the Ex field plus UAE’s first Service Facility Certificate

By Claire Marchand

The 2012 IECEx International Conference that took place last March in Dubai, UAE (United Arab Emirates) was extremely successful. The event, organized jointly by IECEx, the IEC System for Certification to Standards Relating to Equipment for Use in Explosive Atmospheres, and ESMA (Emirates Authority for Standardization and Metrology), in conjunction with UNECE (United Nations Economic Commission for Europe), brought together 200 experts from 28 Arab, European, Asian and African countries. IEC e-techreported on the conference in its May issue. In this issue, we present two stories that have a direct link to the March event.

In March 2012, Dubai welcomed the first IECEx International conference in the Middle East In March 2012, Dubai welcomed the first IECEx International conference in the Middle East

Story 1 - Focus on personnel competence

The first story involves CSI (Cenelec Standards Inspections) Ltd and one of its clients, a major international drilling company.

Changing a client's outlook on IECEx

Mark Temple, Projects Director and Vice President of UK-based CSI, participated in the IECEx International Conference in Dubai last March, together with CSI Executive Director, Alan Gibson. Temple had also convinced one of CSI’s key clients, a major drilling company with worldwide operations, to send one of its executives with them to Dubai to find out more about the IECEx System and its numerous benefits.

Moving towards IECEx compliance

CSI had first assisted this particular client in the transfer of a rig from Bahrain to Romania, helping the company to meet all necessary requirements for the move. Shortly afterwards, CSI gained the compliance requirements support business for all rigs deployed by the client throughout the world. In the past 18 months CSI has sent teams to 25 countries to perform electrical, instrument and mechanical inspections for this particular client.

Expanding geographically has also meant finding ways of ensuring global compliance. While the client had been relying mainly on API (American Petroleum Institute) standards, CSI was already using the IEC 60079 series of International Standards on equipment for explosive atmospheres. So, naturally, the next move was to look at IECEx Certification Schemes and the Dubai event was the ideal venue for a comprehensive briefing on the System.

An eye-opener

The conference was a real eye-opener for CSI’s client. Meeting high-level experts, who shared their experience and detailed knowledge of all matters pertaining to the Ex field, convinced him that IECEx was the future for his company.

For both CSI and its client, the focus will be on the CoPC (Certificate of Personnel Competence) Scheme. CSI has about 50 inspectors, while the client has a staff of more than 200; the objective is to have all of them trained to obtain the CoPC. To meet this new challenge, CSI plans to set up a training facility and establish a comprehensive training programme based on IECEx requirements.

About CSI Ltd

Founded in 1982 by Managing Director Alan Gibson, CSI offers niche hazardous area services for companies looking to comply with legal mandatory requirements for potentially explosive atmospheres. For the past 30 years, its core business has been electrical and instrument Ex compliance. Mechanical inspection and ATEX compliance were added in 2011, when Mark Temple joined the company.

Story 2 - First IECEx Service Facility Certificate issued in Dubai

In September 2012, Dubai-based WWPS (World Wide Power Services) was granted the first IECEx Service Facility Certificate ever issued in the UAE for repair and overhaul according toIEC 60079-19Explosive atmospheres - Part 19: Equipment repair, overhaul and reclamation.

Horizon 2014

At the IECEx conference last March, Mohammed Saleh Badri, Director General of ESMA, revealed that a pan-UAE committee would be established to unify practices and standardization of equipment and services in the explosive atmospheres sector. The committee would propose the adoption of IEC International Standards for equipment in explosive atmospheres, with 2014 set as the introduction date across the United Arab Emirates for ESMA to start issuing IECEx certificates.

Establishing a culture of safety and performance

Badri said: “The 2014 timeline is very short, but that shouldn’t be a problem. This is a small country and in the last two years the Government of the UAE has been very keen to have an integrated system with buy-in from all the different stakeholders. The next step is to promote awareness about the role and importance of standardization bodies across the oil and gas sector […] to ensure compliance with international standards, protect facilities from hazards and prevent accidents and disasters”.

The IECEx Service Facility Certificate obtained by WWPS is definitely a first step in the direction laid out by the UAE government.

About WWPS

World Wide Power Services, established in Dubai in 2002, offers electrical engineering services to customers based throughout the Gulf Region, Egypt, India, Pakistan and Azerbaijan. WWPS is recognized as a leading specialist in the rewinding of electrical motors – both AC (alternating current) and DC (direct current) – generators and transformers, as well as in the repair of associated electrical rotating equipment – both LV (low voltage) and HV (high voltage). The company also carries out repairs on a great number of motors from major global manufacturers. The services offered by WWPS cover the drilling, petrochemical, marine, mining and heavy engineering industries.

About Sira

The Certificate was issued by Sira Certification, one of the world leaders in the conformity assessment solutions field, specializing in the safety of equipment used in potentially explosive atmospheres. Sira is one of the few Ex CBs (Certification Bodies) that are approved to issue certificates for all three IECEx Schemes: Certified Equipment, Certified Service Facilities and Certified Personnel Competence. Sira is also approved to operate within the IECEx Conformity Mark License System.

About IECEx Schemes

Proof of the right level of protection: IECEx Certified Equipment Scheme

Everything from the smallest to the largest piece of equipment used in refuelling operations can be tested and certified by IECEx. An IECEx Certificate is like a passport for manufacturers of Ex equipment. It provides clear proof of claimed compliance with International Standards. It certifies that the equipment in question complies with the standards listed on the IECEx certificate and the level of protection covered by the standards. Products that have an IECEx Certificate bear the IECEx Certificate number on the marking or name plate of the Ex product and are easily distinguished by the letters “IECEx …..”.

Certified professional repair: IECEx Certified Service Facilities Scheme

Because Ex equipment has a much higher capital cost than similar equipment used in a less exacting environment, repairing it is often more cost-effective than replacing it. This Scheme assesses and certifies that the organizations and workshops that provide repair and overhaul services to the Ex industry do so respecting the strict requirements of IEC International Standard 60079-19, Explosive atmospheres - Part 19: Equipment repair, overhaul and reclamation. This ensures that unique Ex safety features are not compromised during the repair or overhaul process. The system includes on-site assessments and audits of Ex repair workshops prior to issue of the IECEx Certificate and periodic audits to ensure that repair and overhaul processes continue to comply with requirements, e.g. IEC 60079.

Competence confirmed: IECEx Certification of Personnel Competence Scheme

The CoPC (Certificate of Personnel Competence) gives independent proof that the certificate holder has the qualifications, experience and capability required to apply the various Ex-related Standards covering tasks from Area Classification to installation, inspection, maintenance and repair of equipment located in hazardous areas.

To obtain a CoPC, a person submits an application to an approved IECEx CB (Certification Body). Regular re-assessment subsequently ensures that the certified person maintains these competencies. The certificate is personal, non-transmittable and valid across international borders.

In March 2012, Dubai welcomed the first IECEx International conference in the Middle East In March 2012, Dubai welcomed the first IECEx International conference in the Middle East
Offshore oil rig Offshore oil rig
DC motor with rewound armature (Photo: AEM) DC motor with rewound armature (Photo: AEM)