SHAYBAH, 08/20/2014 — Anticipation crackles in the air as 135 SAEA members load the buses to head for the much-awaited visit to Shaybah. Shaybah is located in the Empty Quarter, and until 30 years ago, the only people one would have seen would have been Bedouins. After Saudi Aramco began exploring in Shaybah, a camp quickly developed in the middle of beautiful red sand dunes.
A short bus journey and the trip participants arrive at the Saudi Aramco airport to take a company plane to Shaybah, a compound only accessible by Saudi Aramco. As we neared the Shaybah camp, the views become outstanding. There are miles and miles of red sand dunes as far as they eye could see. Once we landed on the ground, the views became more spectacular. The dunes appeared even larger than the view from the air. One feels small and insignificant compared to the splendid dunes. The participants learned about the history of Shaybah before heading to the dunes.
The weather was perfect for enjoying several hours on the dunes. Children and adults alike rushed for the dunes to try their luck at sand sledding. The screams of delight coming from the children could be heard across the sand.
Everyone spent countless times sliding down the dunes before laboriously climbing back up the dunes just to slide back down again. The smell from the barbecue was beginning to waft toward the dunes. The smell was enticing, but so were the views of the dunes as we approached sunset. The change of colors of the sand caused one to stop and appreciate the beauty before one’s eyes. The sand changed from red to orange to brown and finally ended in darkness as the sun bids farewell.
Everyone says goodbye to the dunes and climbed towards the strong smell of the alluring barbecue. If possible, the day gets even better when one realizes the food available for dinner. There were four tables of food along with half a dozen grills preparing food to appeal to all taste buds. There was something for everyone. To end the meal, there were two tables overflowing with a variety of fresh fruits and desserts.
The surreal day came to an end. People collected their containers of red sand and headed back for the plane. Nightfall has set in and our plane waits to take us back to Ras Tanura. Everyone appears to have enjoyed the full day. Many people have waited years for this trip and finally were able to experience the wonder we call Shaybah. The day was filled with memories that will last a lifetime.
The trip was organized by: Nake Arashad (SAEA – RT President)
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The Eastern Province Chamber of Commerce was packed with Saudi businessmen representing construction and engineering companies from across the country last week at a Saudi Aramco forum for discussion about the King Abd Allah Program for Constructing Major Stadiums in the Kingdom’s Provinces.
Abdulhakim al-Ammar, a member of the Eastern Province Chamber board and president of the Contracting Committee, spoke about the unique opportunity associated with the King’s program to construct 11 sport stadiums across the Kingdom. Al-Ammar emphasized the preparedness of the contracting sector, noting that these investment opportunities provide the local contracting sector a chance to prove its ability to train and hire Saudis for the completion of these projects.
Motaz al-Mashouk, general manager of Saudi Aramco Area Projects, thanked the Custodian of Two Holy Mosques, King Abdullah, for directing Saudi Aramco to execute the stadium construction program, which will contribute to the development of sport and youth sectors in the Kingdom.
He spoke about the success achieved by the company in developing the supply and contracting sector in the Kingdom, indicating that Saudi Aramco purchases awarded to suppliers in the domestic market last year reached more than 23 billion Saudi riyals. The value of the services contracts awarded to domestic companies has reached 92 percent of the total awarded company contracts.
“Saudi Aramco has tried through this Eastern Province Chamber-hosted meeting to formulate a common vision that establishes a real development of the private sector and allows it maximum possible participation in executing this gigantic program to provide the opportunities to the contracting, engineering and supply chain sectors to thrive and provide more than 10,000 training and employment opportunities for Saudi youths,” said Al-Mashouk.
He outlined the huge challenges of executing the construction program, scheduled to be completed in 2 years with the highest world specifications and standards.
Ibrahim Al-Jomiah, executive president of Al-Jomiah Companies Group, thanked Saudi Aramco for responding to the chamber’s invitation to meet with businessmen and contractors. “Saudi Aramco has provided the opportunity for everyone to participate,” he said.
Walid Al-Rumaih, manager of the Power Supply Company for Engineering Consultations, said such meetings are a connecting link between proponents and local contractors. “Saudi Aramco is always known for commitment to the highest specifications and standards, and contractors who deal with Saudi Aramco know this quite well,” said Al-Rumaih. “Anyone who wants to work with Saudi Aramco must rise to the level of these specifications and standards.”
Colors of joy and beautiful scents permeate the Art Café workshops, showcasing the drawings of visitors to the iThra Knowledge program in Riyadh. The month-long iThra Knowledge Exhibition, organized by Saudi Aramco at the Riyadh International Convention and Exhibition Center, was launched on the second day of ‘Id.
Visitors of all ages use their tools of choice to draw scenes born from their imagination and paint with all the colors of the spectrum in a new and creative way. The drawings are infused with breathtaking colors and speak of beauty ideals.
Innovative drawings are created in several areas inside the Art Café workshops, which encompass plastic arts, Arabic calligraphy, crafts, free and digital art, and origami.
Sahar Al-Hamud, supervisor of the section, said “The Art Café is all about artworks that speak the same language and represent all cultures. These works were brought together to be presented by the visitors and to the visitors in cheerful and creative colors. We derived our works and ideas from different cultures, mixing them with new and global ideas to offer both entertainment and benefit.”
She added that this section runs training workshops in many fields, including origami, the Japanese art of folding paper, drawing in water colors from Turkish civilization, drawing in the dark, sand drawing and other art forms.
The Art Café doors are open to people between the ages 5 to 23.
Some 110 young Saudis participated in a special summer training program provided by the National Industrial Training Institute (NITI) at its Abqaiq facility.
NITI, a nonprofit organization, is a joint undertaking of Saudi Aramco and the Technical and Vocational Training Corporation (TVTC). The organization’s goal is to foster community growth, reduce unemployment and support Saudization efforts.
The Summer Program focused on upskilling trainees in English language proficiency, computer studies and safety. All of the students who completed the program – 27 percent of whom were orphans – were honored at a graduation ceremony held at the Abqaiq facility recently.
Chairman of NITI, Saudi Aramco vice president of Pipelines, Terminals and Distribution, Mohammed A. Al-Omair, congratulated the graduates and spoke of the importance of the program.
“All of NITI’s activities and programs are geared toward raising the knowledge and skill levels among young Saudis and thereby provide a ready and capable workforce of the future for the oil and gas industries. The summer program is an example of how NITI applies its ethos of training, learning and creation of local content through the latest teaching techniques and technology on a year-round basis,” Al-Omair said.
Saad Shahrani, project manager with NITI, said that the program had been a success. Construction of a massive NITI campus at Al-Hasa is on track for completion later this year.
“NITI is a not-for-profit training institute that has made social responsibility an integral part of its business model,” said Shahrani.