The NACE West Asia & Africa Area Office Brings the Middle East to New Orleans

Conference attendees walking into Room R-08 at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center yesterday afternoon felt like they were walking into the heart of Saudi Arabia as they gathered in a room designed for social gatherings in the Middle East. At the podium, situated next to heavy Arabian chairs under a tent assembled with gauze curtains and strings of lights, Gasem M. Fallatah with NACE International’s West Asia & Africa Area Office offered a greeting in several Middle Eastern languages as he welcomed visitors to “A Taste of Middle East Culture and Our Battle Against Corrosion in the Desert,” sponsored by Cortec Middle East and Tinker & Rasor, the first forum at CORROSION to provide the cultural experience of the Middle East as well as an overview of the corrosion challenges faced by the region.

 

Engr. Taha Alshareef, Saudi Commercial Attaché with the Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia in Washington, DC, opened the forum with his presentation, “Saudi Arabia, Beyond Oil,” in which he gave the audience a look at the commercial power of Saudi Arabia and discussed goals that comprise the country’s Vision 2030 program.

NACE Past President Tushar Jhaveri (2013-2014), who has traveled extensively in the Middle East for the past 25 years for business and NACE events, shared his experiences in the region during his presentation, “Middle East Challenges and Approach.” With its diverse cultures, ethnicity, and religion, the area’s norms and practices can vary, and Jhaveri pointed out key areas that are important to understand and he shared guidelines for successfully navigating the cultural differences.

 

NACE Vice President Samir Degan from Mumbai, India, delivered a recap of the activities at CORROSION 2017, which was followed by a buffet for forum attendees that featured a sampling of Middle Eastern cuisine.

The second part of the forum featured a series of case study presentations about corrosion challenges in the area, specifically in Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, and Kuwait. Technical speakers included NACE Kuwait Section Trustee Abdul Hameed Al-Hashem with Kuwait Institute for Scientific Research, who spoke about the cost of corrosion of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states and their battle against corrosion in the desert, and NACE Abu Dhabi UAE Section Chairperson Fatima Saeed Al-Mazrouei with Abu Dhabi Co. for Onshore Oil Operations, who provided a view of corrosion in the United Arab Emirates.

 

To honor and recognize individuals and sections for their exceptional contributions to corrosion awareness and promotion of corrosion science and technology through various activities within the West Asia and Africa Area, NACE Abu Dhabi UAE Section Trustee Elvis Sequeira presented the area awards, which included:

·         Outstanding Section Award, presented to the NACE Jubail Saudi Arabia Section

·         Leadership Award, presented to Fatima Saeed Al-Mazrouei with the NACE Founding UAE Section

·         Active Student Award, presented to Muhsen Elhaddad with Qatar University

·         Excellence in Corrosion Science and Technology Award, presented to Husain Al-Mahrous with the NACE Dhahran Saudi Arabia Section

Wrapping up the forum was a presentation by the NACE West Asia & Africa Area Office that described its activities, such as membership statistics (both individual and corporate), the technical groups formed, the courses and conferences held in the region, and the upcoming conferences that will serve as the window of opportunity for many companies.