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Major pact signed for safe disposal of norm waste

Petroleum Development Oman (PDO) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with three key parties for the establishment of a central facility for the management and disposal of Naturally Occurring Radioactive Materials (NORM). The agreement was signed by senior representatives from the Ministry of Energy and Minerals, Environmental Authority and the Oman Environmental Services Holding Company (be’ah).

The project will be among the first in the region to have a sustainable NORM waste management and disposal solution and is expected to generate significant cost savings. Currently around $4.2 million is spent annually on exporting waste outside Oman for disposal.

Waste contaminated with Naturally Occurring Radioactive Materials (“NORM Waste”) is a by-product of Oil and Gas production.

Safety is paramount in the handling of such items and incorporates a wide range of activities. This include rigorous HSE management supported by robust assurance processes, compliance to agreed standards and regulations, competence and skillsets in management of NORM Waste workers and in the complete technical supply chain including decontamination, treatment and storage of wastes.

The Memorandum was signed remotely due to the COVID-19 pandemic by the Minister of Energy and Minerals Dr Mohammed bin Hamad al Rumhy; Environmental Authority Chairman Dr Abdullah al Amri; Chief Executive Officer of be’ah Engineer Tariq bin Ali al Amri; and PDO Managing Director Raoul Restucci.

The four signatories will explore the possibility of establishing a national facility for NORM Waste management, which will build local capabilities through training and research activities. The project will assist the Government in setting national guidelines for NORM waste management, which are aligned with internationally-recognised standards and best practices.

It will also support the industry in NORM waste identification, mapping and establishing best handling practices.

Dr Al Rumhy stated: “We will ensure that the project is smoothly progressed with strong support provided from experts in this field. We are committed to ensuring that Oil and Gas operators utilise the value of the facility in the most efficient way possible.”
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