Building disaster resilience within the Emirati energy sector and its infrastructure through a comprehensive strategic mitigation plan

Al-Khaili, KSK 2015, Building disaster resilience within the Emirati energy sector and its infrastructure through a comprehensive strategic mitigation plan , PhD thesis, University of Salford.

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The energy sector dominates in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and consists of various assets - electricity, oil and natural gas - that are geographically dispersed and connected by systems and networks. The protection of these systems and assets within the energy sector, especially the safeguarding of the oil and gas infrastructure from any internal and external threats, should become a top priority in the UAE. Threats to geopolitical and economic stability that need to be considered and prepared for include tectonic activity, climate change, nuclear energy, terrorism and war. The aim of this research is to develop a framework to enhance the resilience of the UAE’s critical energy infrastructure facilities through a strategic disaster mitigation plan. The philosophy of this research is interpretivism. The research approach is inductive, whilst the research strategy is case study. The secondary data was taken from various academic and professional sources whilst the primary data collection included questionnaires and semi-structured interviews. Three facilities were selected for this research and they were electricity generating plants using gas - one in Abu Dhabi, one in Dubai and one in Sharjah. In total 100 questionnaires were distributed, out of which 42 were answered by energy sector workers (20 from Abu Dhabi, 15 from Dubai and 7 from Sharjah). Respondents of the questionnaire discussed issues such as energy sector preparedness, vulnerability and barriers to be overcome. Respondents believed that while the energy sector is best prepared for terrorism, extreme heat, and health and safety related accidents, it is ill prepared when it comes to facing natural hazards. The risk of terrorism was thought to be the greatest vulnerability. In addition, a total of 9 semi-structured interviews were conducted with Emirati energy sector managers who discussed the questionnaire responses and proposed further solutions to the concerns raised. This thesis provides important practical knowledge and makes a contribution to the provision of advice and methodological steps, derived from fieldwork, when it comes to developing a strategic mitigation plan and communicating it to the energy sector. It provides key information that could be used to improve the design and structure of current educational and professional programmes undertaken by individuals in the 2 disaster sector. The thesis provides tools for qualitatively evaluating the various threats and vulnerabilities faced by the UAE and acts as a platform for change. In terms of theoretical contributions, this research represents the first of its kind that engages both workers and managers in the Emirati energy sector. This gives academics and professionals unique insights into some of the significant problems that have become latent and perhaps would have continued unnoticed but require more comprehensive investigation. The study has specific implications for policy and practices within energy organisations operating in such settings, not to mention the way disaster is viewed.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Schools: Schools > School of the Built Environment
Funders: UAE govenrment
Depositing User: KSK Al-Khaili
Date Deposited: 18 Jan 2016 13:47
Last Modified: 27 Aug 2021 23:22

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