RSK has worked throughout Africa, Europe and the Middle East since 2002 and now employs more than 1,200 staff. However, it is the bold move in 2013 to establish a team in Iraq that has principally led to the honour.
In Iraq, RSK undertakes environmental clean-up operations, environmental impact assessments and geotechnical analyses on major infrastructure projects and oil and gas sites. It has conducted hundreds of geotechnical investigations across major oilfield sites. The growth in demand for geoenvironmental services in the country led to the setting up of a fully accredited laboratory in Iraq Energy City, Basra, in May 2014. The on-site team has grown rapidly since, with the emphasis on employing local and international talent.
Last autumn, the growth in demand for geotechnical services, particularly from the country’s burgeoning oil and gas industry, led to a partnership with the University of Basrah. This will train the next generation of engineers by providing practical experience that will prepare graduates for careers in the Iraqi oil industry. So far, 50 technicians have received training in key engineering skills and safety.
Harnessing new technical advancements to enhance its services, the Iraq team undertook its first unmanned aerial vehicle survey in January 2016. These vehicles are revolutionising environmental survey operations by enabling the inspection of live assets such as flare stacks without shutting them down or risking staff in dangerous conditions.
“We are deeply honoured to have been granted a Queen’s Award,” said Dr Alan Ryder, RSK’s founder and chief executive officer. “When others were reluctant to work in the Middle East, we saw an exciting opportunity. Our long-term commitment to working in the region is bearing fruit. With recent advances in our technical capabilities and investment in new partnerships, we continue to see the potential to achieve more.”
RSK director and Iraq country manager Sean Gamble added, “This award recognises the skills, dedication and integrity of our excellent team, and the contribution we are making to Iraq. We are proud of our laboratory, which is the first laboratory accredited to ISO standards in Iraq, and of what we have achieved in the region. This inspires us to continue to rise to the challenges and opportunities offered there.”
Winners of Queen’s Awards in the international trade category have demonstrated that their business has achieved outstanding growth in overseas earnings and commercial success. The Queen’s Awards were instituted by Royal Warrant in 1965. Awards are formally conferred by a Royal representative, and winners also receive an invitation to a reception hosted by Her Majesty Queen at Buckingham Palace.