Geology students and faculty from King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals (KFUPM) and Stanford University, with support from Saudi Aramco and Aramco Services Co. (ASC), conducted a geology field seminar Jan. 13-19 in Dhahran and Riyadh.
A group of 32 geoscientists from Saudi Aramco, ASC, KFUPM and Stanford gained hands-on experience in recognizing and interpreting carbonate rocks that are time-equivalent to some of the most prolific reservoir rocks in the world.
Within hours of arriving in Saudi Arabia, the delegation from Stanford and ASC toured the KFUPM campus and met with faculty members to learn about programs in geoscience. The group next visited Saudi Aramco facilities, including the Upstream Professional Development Center (UPDC), the EXPEC Computing Center and the Geosteering Center.
While at the UPDC, the group visited the CAVE immersive visualization environment to view a 3D model of the rocks they would see in Riyadh. Later, a tour of the Saudi Aramco core warehouse demonstrated the substantial efforts the company undertakes to gain knowledge about its producing reservoirs through core acquisition and analysis.
The following day, led by Saudi Aramco geologists Bob Lindsay and AbdulJaleel AbuBshait, a convoy of six SUVs drove from Dhahran to Riyadh. On arrival in Riyadh, the group enjoyed a guided tour of the King Abdulaziz Historical Center and al-Diriyah.
The next three days were spent at outcrops of Jurassic carbonate and evaporite rocks. The group divided into teams to view and describe different parts of the outcrops. This allowed all participants to think on their feet and learn from each other.
On return from Riyadh, the group visited the Dammam Dome and the Prosperity Well to learn about the history of exploration in Saudi Arabia. An afternoon visit to the Aramco Beach allowed participants to wade into the Arabian Gulf, a relaxing conclusion to a busy but fulfilling week.
The field seminar is part of a strategic alliance established in 2009 between Saudi Aramco, KFUPM and Stanford University to collaborate in geosciences and petroleum engineering education and scientific research. Many members of the group have connected on Facebook so they can exchange photographs and keep in contact about projects of interest. The faculty members and ASC Upstream Research staff are already discussing plans for future activities including short courses, research conferences and field seminars.