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Palisade Risk Conference
Best Practices in Risk and Decision Analysis
November 2, 2015 Dubai

Palisade Risk Conference

Best Practices in Risk and Decision Analysis

November 2nd, 2015 • Dubai

A Key Event for Quantitative Risk and Decision Analysis

Palisade’s 2nd risk conference in the Middle East was held on the November 2nd 2015 at the Sofitel Downtown hotel in Dubai. Over the course of the day 70 participants from a diverse set of industries including oil & gas, utilities, construction, pharmaceuticals, consulting, and finance joined a number of academics for a day of thought-provoking case studies and software training.

Palisade EMEA’s managing director, Craig Ferri, opened the day with a presentation about the history of Palisade and some thoughts on the direction and development of the business in its 32nd year. Palisade’s business development manager for the Middle East, Doug Oldfield, then gave a light-hearted introduction on the need for probabilistic analysis and the power of @RISK.

A selection of varied case studies followed. First of all there was a session from Kuwait Petroleum Corporation’s Salah Al-Ramadhan on the corporate adoption of @RISK and the DecisionTools Suite by KPC for a number of different analyses such as CFaR (case flow at risk) and RAROC (risk-adjusted return on capital). Amir Abdul-Manan from Saudi Aramco’s Research & Development Center gave a thought-provoking session which examined the case for electric, hybrid and gasoline vehicles from a stochastic life cycle analysis perspective. The day was then rounded off with presentations from Palisade trainer, Sarah Sherry, and Santhosh Kumar from the Abu Dhabi Water & Electricity Authority ADWEC, on some of the challenges in modelling a demand forecast for water in a desert state.

Delegates had plenty of opportunities for networking and sharing of ideas over breaks, lunch, and the drinks reception after the event.

Testimonials from the 2015 Conference

"@RISK has a strategic advantage in helping the organisation to make the right decision to drive business performance."

Syed Haq from Shell EP Int LTD, Senior Project Services/Team Lead

"@RISK is an excellent tool for decision making, and ideal for companies with many uncertainties."

Mani Bhushnan from Gasco, Senior Projects Risk Officer

"I studied value and Risk Management in my Masters Degree, but today only I got real benefit on that!"

Chathura Abayakoon form National Engeneering Bureau, Quality Surveyor/MSc Student

"It was great opportunity to join the Palisade Conference and learn more about risk estimation using @RISK. "

Ahmed Abdelgadir Berier from Dubai Municipality, Veterinary Doctor

"Amazing software which helps to save time and effort."

Maryam Saeed Al Qasimy from MOE-Oman, Science labs Supervisor

Join a Global Group

The 2015 Palisade Risk Conference is part of a global, annual series of meetings where professionals share ideas and advance the practice of risk and decision analysis. Events in 2015 include Rio de Janeiro, Johannesburg, Madrid, Melbourne, Munich, São Paulo, Oslo, Moscow, Zurich, London, Dubai and New Orleans.

Information about 2015 Conferences


  Networking Sessions      
  Case Studies      
  Software Training

Monday 2 November 2015

Schedule is subject to change without notice.


8:00 - 9:00
Registration and Coffee
9:00 - 9:30

Introduction to Palisade and the World of Probabilistic Analysis
Craig Ferri
Palisade Corporation

9:30 - 10:30

Introduction to Risk & Decision Analysis using @RISK
Doug Oldfield
Palisade Corporation

10:30 - 11:00
11:00 - 11:45
11:45 - 12:30
12:30 - 1:30
1:30 - 2:15

Best @RISK Features you might not be using
Sarah Sherry
Palisade Corporation

2:15 - 3:00

Risk & Decision Analysis Solutions
Doug Oldfield
Palisade Corporation

3:00 - 3:30
3:30 - 4:15
4:15 - 4:20
Closing Remarks

Craig Ferri
Palisade Corporation

4:20 - 5:00
Networking Reception


  Mohammad Al-Hajjiri

Civil Engineer
Abu Dhabi Water and Electricity Company, ADWEC

Mohammad Al-Hajjiri is a civil engineer with 31 years of experience in the field.

He has worked as a civil engineer in several countries including Jordan, America, Australia, and the UAE.

He has been with ADWEC just a few months after its inception in 1998 after the privatization of the water and electricity sectors in Abu Dhabi.

He started with ADWEC in the Planning and Studies Directorate preparing the water demand forecast, the required water production capacity, and other vital researches and studies for the sector.

He became the Head of the Water Section in ADWEC from 2007 to 2011 and was seconded in 2011 to the Corporate Affairs Department in ADWEA.

Mohammad participated in the establishment of the water sector in Abu Dhabi including the water demand forecasts, water resources expansion plans, sector codes and regulations.

Mohammad holds a Bachelor’s Degree of Civil Engineering from the University of Minnesota, and has done several Masters’ Degree courses in Information Systems, Marketing and Business Administration.

  Salah Al-Ramadhan

Senior Analyst

Salah Al-Ramadhan graduated from University of Missouri Kansas City with Bachelor of Science in Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering. He has got 3 years’ experience in bit design and field engineering with Halliburton and 4 years’ experience in Health & Safety where he was working with Ministry of Oil in Kuwait. Since 2007 until today he works with Kuwait Petroleum Corporation in the Risk Management department as Senior Analyst Risk Engineering. He was involved in building the ERM Policy, KPC Risk Management 2030 strategy and the ERM team capability building.

  Craig Ferri

Managing Director
Palisade EMEA & India

Craig Ferri was promoted to Managing Director of Palisade Europe in 2005, having joined as sales and marketing director for the region in 2003. During that time the company has shown year on year growth. In addition to increasing brand awareness in EMEA and ensuring outstanding customer service, Craig’s helm at Palisade EMEA has seen the company continue to expand throughout Europe, the Middle East and Africa, and more recently into India. Craig built up nine years’ experience of sales and marketing roles in niche technology sectors prior to working at Palisade. Key positions included global marketing director at software company Infomax Incorporated, and European marcomms manager at networking company Anixter. Craig holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Business and Marketing, and an MBA.

  Santhosh Kumar

Civil Engineer
Abu Dhabi Water and Electricity Company, ADWEC

Santhosh Kumar is a civil engineer with more than 24 years of experience in the field.

He has worked in various capacities as a civil and environmental engineer in India and Middle-east. He has taken up key positions in the planning and execution of various water and wastewater projects during his career.

He has been working with ADWEC for the last 8 Years. In ADWEC he is working as Senior Water Demand Forecaster in the Planning and Studies Directorate preparing the water demand forecast, the required water production capacity, and is involved in other vital researches and studies for the sector.

Santhosh Kumar is actively involved in the data collection and modelling of the water demand forecast for Abu Dhabi. He is extensively using @Risk and other statistical tools in preparing the demand forecast model which has been successful in forecasting the water demand for the Emirate even in the very uncertain market conditions. He is also a member of various technical panels and working groups for the formulation of sector codes, regulations and strategies.

Santhosh kumar holds a Bachelor’s Degree of Civil Engineering from the University of Calicut and Master’s Degree in Environmental and Water Resources Engineering from Aligarh Muslim University.

  Doug Oldfield

Sales and Business Development Manager
Palisade EMEA

Doug Oldfield joined Palisade in 2008 and is responsible for sales and business development in the Middle East. In his 6 years at Palisade, Doug has worked extensively with clients in lots of different industries, and has good experience of modelling business risk and opportunity. Prior to joining Palisade, Doug worked 8 years at an IT recruitment company in London, and also managed various retail shops around the UK, including "The Busiest Shop in the World" (according to the Guinness Book of Records). Doug holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Politics and Philosophy from the University of Warwick in the UK.

  Sarah Sherry

Consultant and Trainer
Palisade Corporation

Sarah Sherry is a software consultant for Palisade Corporation. Sarah was previously a Senior Lecturer at the Kelley School of Business at Indiana University. She taught spreadsheet modelling techniques and programs in the DecisionTools Suite for over thirteen years, and was nominated for the Kelley School’s highest teaching award four times, and received it once. After graduating, many of her former students and teaching assistants seek her advice and counsel in their places of work (accounting firms, loan departments, manufacturing operations, hospitals, political campaigns, and so on), on difficulties ranging from issues with data integrity to troubles in spreadsheet modeling.

Sarah collaborated with Dr Wayne Winston on two Harvard Business School Press courses, Spreadsheet Modeling and Mathematics for Management, and she is currently co-authoring an introductory business analytics textbook, to be published by Indiana University Press.

Sarah earned an M.A. in Applied Linguistics at Indiana University and completed the required coursework for a Ph.D. in Linguistics.


  Introduction to Palisade and the World of Probabilistic Analysis

Craig Ferri
Palisade Corporation

Palisade General Manager Craig Ferri, will open the conference by giving a brief overview of Palisade. He will then address the questions you’ve undoubtedly been faced with: “What is risk analysis, and why do I need it?” After all, risk management appears to have failed in many examples, and even now companies are trying to figure out how to grapple with risk and unlock the power of probabilistic analysis. How do we avoid missteps, and how do we make the most of the tools we have for managing the future?

  Quantitative Risk Management Methods: using @RISK in strategic thinking

Salah Al-Ramadhan

» Download the presentation

KPC is a major player in the energy business. It has an ambitious strategy requiring significant investment with attendant uncertainty. For the past decade Kuwait Petroleum Corporation (KPC) has dealt with risks on a semi-quantitative basis, until recently when it moved to risk quantification of the entire supply chain using Palisade’s @RISK software.

Modelling of the business risks to date has imparted considerable insight as to the interdependencies between the businesses as well as the major sources of value generation. Measures of risk thus far have included Cash Flow at Risk (CFaR), Risk Adjusted Return on Capital (RAROC) and Strategic Option.

This session will give an insight of the tools that were developed in order to help senior management make better-informed decisions.

  Electric vs Internal Combustion: Greenhouse Gas Emissions, Life Cycle Analysis, and @RISK

Amir F.N.Abdul-Manan
Saudi Aramco

» Download the presentation

There is a huge uncertainty in the GHG emissions reduction potential with transport electrification. The typical Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) practice of modelling a pathway by reducing what is known about a model parameter to a single value to produce a single-point GHG emissions estimate has led to reports in literature on the GHG emissions differences between Electric Vehicles (EV) and conventional Internal Combustion Engines (ICE) to range significantly from below 10% to above 60%. In this study we performed a LCA, combined with a Monte Carlo stochastic simulation using @RISK, to determine the uncertainty in GHG emission differences between EVs and gasoline ICEs, by taking into account all the possible variations that may affect the life cycle GHG emissions estimates for EVs and ICEs based on the technologies already available in the market today. This case study provides insights into the relative importance of the factors driving the life cycle GHG emissions difference between the EVs and ICEs, and a measure of the probability for EVs providing benefits over ICEs globally today and projected to2040. This case study gives a critical perspective to inform the global debates on the role of transport electrification as means to a low carbon mobility future, and the implications for policy makers.

  Best @RISK Features you might not be using

Sarah Sherry
Palisade Corporation

In this session, we will explore some lesser known features of @RISK, “hidden gems” that expand probabilistic modeling options and analytical insights. Topics to be covered have generated enthusiasm in training and consulting work with participants from diverse domains, and include alternate parameter distribution functions; the RiskGeneral distribution function; uses of the RiskTruncate function; probabilistic scenarios, themselves employed with some probability; the use of RiskSimtable to investigate the effects of a change in decision; summarizing the value of such a change in decision; the use of RiskMakeInput to control sensitivity inputs, including to treat aggregated inputs as one input for sensitivity purposes. Other popular “sleeper” features may be addressed, time permitting.

  Risk & Decision Analysis Solutions

Doug Oldfield
Palisade Corporation

For 30 years Palisade have been well known for their tools which add additional capabilities to Excel, such as @RISK and PrecisionTree. However, this is by no means all Palisade has to offer in 2015. Palisade are seen today as a ‘solution provider’, and year on year have seen their Consulting & Custom Solutions division grow from strength to strength. As well as consulting projects this team also build bespoke application solutions for customers all over the world. In this presentation, we’ll see examples of the types of solutions on offer.

  Challenges in modelling of the uncertainties in Water Demand Forecasting

Santhosh Kumar

» Download the presentation

Forecasting in general is an inexact science/art wrought with challenges and controversy. For achieving good (acceptable) results, the forecaster must have a balanced combination of numerous fields of skills and knowledge including statistical techniques, experience, and deep understanding of the subject matter.

Forecasting the water needs for Abu Dhabi Emirate with a current population of about 2.5 million – with almost complete dependence on desalinated water – makes the forecasting exercise especially challenging. Getting the forecast too low or too high therefore has severe consequences in such an environment.

The Water Forecasting Section in the Planning and Studies Directorate of The Abu Dhabi Water and Electricity Company (ADWEC) is responsible for estimating the water demand forecast for the country. The Water Section has adopted @RISK since 2006 as a tool for modeling the multitude of uncertainties and presenting them in a way that makes it easy to express and analyze the results in a clear and concise way.

Basically the software enables the Water Forecasting Team to model each and every uncertainty in the forecast components, combine them, and then calculate the overall demand forecast range of possible results. With the hundreds of uncertainties involved in the forecast, it is impossible to manually do this task. This is where we totally depend on @RISK to perform this task. The results are expressed statistically in terms of percentiles. The software has a vast array of results analysis possibilities including summary charts, tornado graphs, reports, etc.

This uncertainty modeling process is also repeated for the calculation of the Desalination Security Standard (DSS), in which water desalination plant shut-down risks are modeled. The uncertainties in the demand forecast are combined with the shut-down risks, and this combination results in the calculation of the capacity required to meet the DSS.

One of the major challenges involved in building the demand forecasting model is identifying and modelling the uncertain variables such as water consumption rates, and demand growth rates. ADWEC utilizes various techniques available in the software to identify and model important uncertainty parameters from the available data and this presentation will take a closer look at some of these methodologies employed by ADWEC.

Photo Gallery


Sofitel Dubai Downtown
Sheikh Zayed Road
PO BOX 126272 – Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Tel: (+971)04/5036666
Fax: (+971)04/5036667

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