Category Archive: Pipeline
Key high-level representatives from Saudi Aramco, the Technical and Vocational Training Corporation (TVTC)/Colleges of Excellence (CoE) and King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals (KFUPM) recently attended the first implementation workshop in al-Khobar establishing the National Power Academy (NPA).
In his opening remarks, Fuhaid Subai’i, director for Saudi Aramco Business Partners Saudization, emphasized the importance of the project to fulfill the need of a highly skilled Saudi workforce for the energy sector.
Saleh Amri, manager of Power Systems Planning, also welcomed the initiative and affirmed the full support from Saudi Aramco’s Power Systems organization to this critical national level project.
Earlier in 2014, the founding stakeholders — including Saudi Aramco, SEC, TVTC and KFUPM — conducted a feasibility study for the NPA. “We looked at the next 20 years in the Kingdom’s power sector workforce demand and supply, and we identified the gaps in the new and existing trades that will need to be filled,” said Farhan Noor, NPA Feasibility Study project manager.
Ahmed Al-Essa, NPA project manager, facilitated the workshop and led the discussions between the stakeholders regarding the project road map and implementation strategy. He outlined each stakeholder’s roles and responsibilities in the project implementation phase.
“The NPA will be a world-class training institute located in the Eastern Province, providing new and emerging programs for the power sector including renewables, energy efficiency, a smart grid among others, real life labs and workshops, and an applied R&D center, and it will provide a strong multidisciplinary foundation to all the trainees in the academy,” said Al-Essa.
The workshop shared some of the lessons learned on the ITQAN (Inspection Technology and Quality Assurance National Institute) and National Industrial Training Institute (NITI) projects, which are focused on the skilled trades within the high-end inspection and downstream sectors, respectively.
The founding stakeholders agreed to form a joint team to fast-track the project implementation phase and have agreed to sign a memorandum of understanding to solidify their commitment to this national level project.
After recently exporting its first high-quality diesel fuel, YASREF reached another milestone last week by loading 49,000 tons of petcoke.
The loading was based on a fully automated process starting from processing and production through to shipping from the newly equipped Pier No. 69 in Yanbu’ Industrial City.
Marking the occasion, Mohammad S. Al-Shammari, YASREF president and CEO, said: “Having applied the highest safety standards today, we exported the first petcoke shipment from the Red Sea coast based on a fully automated process across production stages through export under the world’s strictest specifications and standards.”
Al-Shammari emphasized the value of petcoke. “The petcoke is of great importance since it is derived from Arabian crude, increasing the added value of this type of petroleum, which contains more energy and less ash, making it the optimal industrial fuel for power generation in many industries targeting lower operating costs and higher production capacity at the same time,” he said. “Furthermore, the petcoke production from the Arabian oil comes in line with Saudi Aramco’s strategy to make the most of its oil resources to promote Saudi industries, maximize their effectiveness in national development and meet the global market needs, apart from achieving the objectives of its strategic partners in creating added value for all products.”
YASREF is a joint venture between Saudi Aramco and China Petrochemical Corporation (Sinopec), with Saudi Aramco retaining a 62.5 percent equity share and Sinopec retaining a 37.5 percent equity share.
The refinery construction was completed ahead of schedule and within budget to become one of the world’s largest and most sophisticated refineries. YASREF is a full conversion refinery with a refining capacity of 400,000 bpd of Arabian Heavy crude oil, which is fully converted to pure and high quality petroleum products, such as gasoline, diesel, benzene, granular sulfur, and petroleum coke.
A breakthrough study by some Saudi Aramco scientists, engineers and environmentalists, supported by the company’s Environmental Protection Department (EPD) regulations, has identified an alternative source of injection water that will help to conserve the Kingdom’s scarce groundwater reserves.
In the late 1970s, Saudi Aramco began the process of replacing all low total dissolved solids (TDS) — groundwater being used for waterflood operations with processed seawater from the Qurayyah plant. The company had also been considering the extension of this practice to the few remaining fields that are still using groundwater with much higher TDS. However, today, there is an alternative — secondary treated sewage effluent (TSE).
Traditionally, sewage and other waste water are collected from urban areas for safe disposal. This is mainly sanitary wastewater and rain water, while in some instances, the wastewater may contain minimal amounts of industrial waste. These are all collected and transported through the sewer system to the municipality wastewater treatment plants for treatment prior to disposal. Currently, a small portion of the treated effluent is being reused while efforts are ongoing to improve and upgrade the distribution network’s capacity for increased TSE utilization.
TSE is considered a valuable source of water given its quality and many potential uses, one of which is irrigation. This is by far the most common application of TSE today, as more than 74 percent of Saudi Aramco’s generated sanitary wastewater from its facilities and communities is being treated and used for irrigation.
Maximizing wastewater reuse is one of Saudi Aramco’s Water Conservation Strategy pillars. The drive to enhance water source sustainability and explore use of TSE as an alternative for existing reservoir injection waters aligns with this conservation policy. Saudi Aramco subsequently carried out a study to evaluate the use of TSE from nearby cities such as Riyadh that is currently being disposed and not beneficially reused for water injection at the Nuayyim and Khurais fields.
The study is the first corporate assessment with involvement of representatives from various corporate departments, including EPD, Research and Development Center (R&DC), EXPEC ARC, the Facilities Planning Department (FPD), the Southern Area Production Engineering Department (SAPED), the Reservoir Management Department (RMD), the Sea Water Injection Department (SWID) and the Khurais Producing Department (KhPD), which hosted the study. There were four focus areas: supply and reliability of TSE plants; quality and compatibility; environmental policies; and economic feasibility.
The study concluded that TSE is an environmentally reliable and compatible alternative to current injection waters used to recover oil (i.e., aquifer water or seawater). Furthermore, the TSE has been found to reduce scale and limit any incompatibility effect to the reservoir formation.
Nidal Samad, senior environmental scientist, said that Saudi Aramco’s EPD is playing a major role in implementing the company’s Water Conservation Policy and ensuring that the Kingdom’s water resources are sustainably utilized. “EPD establishes mandates, provides technical support, and monitors for compliance,” he said.
“As for this initiative, the use of TSE provides a more sustainable water source than groundwater which EPD, R&DC, and EXPEC ARC have encouraged by working closely with the Khurais Producing Department team to successfully complete this study.”
Ali A. Hamed, general supervisor from the South Ghawar Producing Department, who previously acted as the KhPD Engineering superintendent and leader of TSE assessment sub-teams, added, “Such a promising and encouraging finding by the team encourages us to explore in detail the potential for pilot deployment in the future.”
Tony Rizk, science specialist at R&DC and member of the TSE quality assessment team, explained, “Groundwater is a precious national asset, and the corporate work that has been carried out has demonstrated that largely wasted TSE can be used to generate wealth and preserve shallow aquifer water for future generations.”
EXPEC ARC petroleum engineer Peter Osode acknowledged that “significant flow assurance risk associated with onshore development in a challenging ‘hard-water’ reservoir environment has placed limitations on the use of sulfate-rich injection seawater, and therefore, TSE opens up a new vista of opportunity for reducing fluid compatibility risks and enhancing economic value of our assets.”
Ahmed Otaibi, senior engineer from KhPD, who led the reliability and sustainability assessment team, indicated that this initiative serves the national interest in finding wiser ways to use increasing Kingdom’s excess wastewater by the industries.
“The study confirms that the TSE has high potential for use as injection water in either new developments or at existing fields of close proximity to TSE plants. It could also have a good potential for use in some reservoir fracturing operations.
“There was always a lingering thought about the prospects of utilizing this unused asset — TSE for reservoir injection. This thought has been finally crystallized through a corporate multidisciplinary team that has successfully established a new horizon for our company’s future business operations,” he said.
The King Abdulaziz Center for World Culture is an extension of Saudi Aramco’s corporate vision and a continuation of its work to create a knowledge based society. Its opening is just a year away.
By creating the Center, Saudi Aramco is taking the long view to ensure sustainable development in the Kingdom. Its emphasis is on arts and creativity, fun and interactive approach to the STEAM subjects (science, technology, engineering, arts and math) and history — and plans to offer lifelong learning classes to the public at large.
The Kingdom possesses a new generation of people with original ideas, skills, and motivation with potential to compete on a global level. This new generation will need to collaborate with idea makers from other nations, mix the previously considered unmixable fields of arts and science, and learn to accept failure as a necessary step to an even more rewarding success.
Game-changing cultural shifts such as this can only come from a broadly educated population with a deep-rooted understanding of history and culture, the right balance of soft and technical skills and empowerment, a strong infrastructure that adheres to international quality standards for goods and services, and the opportunity to succeed.
The collaboration extends to Saudi universities and government agencies such as the Ministry of Education, local cultural institutions, and businesses such as the Saudi Society for Arts and Culture, alongside world-class institutions such as UC-Berkeley’s Lawrence Hall of Science, MIT and the National Youth Theatre of Great Britain. The Center is keen to offer these organizations opportunities to showcase and develop their unique qualities and areas of expertise.
For more information, visit the King Abdulaziz Center for World Culture website.
As a petroleum engineer who once worked in Project Management in the 1970s and early ‘80s, Perry Donaldson understands how Saudi Aramco has the power to transform society. Donaldson was part of the team that helped to build the Master Gas Program, allowing the Kingdom to take advantage of the vast gas reserves to create domestic electricity. He also helped to build the East-West Pipeline, which continues to deliver crude oil to a growing number of refineries along the Red Sea Coast.
“I liked it over here,” said Donaldson, who retired from the company in 1984 after 12 years of service. “I was in Project Management in Dhahran, and I felt like I created something,” he said with a smile. “That feels pretty good.”
If Donaldson was feeling satisfaction for a job well done, he wasn’t alone. He was just one of more than 700 Aramcons visiting the Kingdom during the recent 3rd Aramcon Reunion. Many of them gathered on March 15 at the Half Moon Bay Executive Beach for a special dinner hosted by Saudi Aramco president and CEO Khalid A. Al-Falih, dining under the stars, meeting up with familiar faces, and being reintroduced to the music, arts, food and culture of a country that most still consider to be home.
Shirley Seymour spent 22 satisfying years as a nurse in Abqaiq until 2012, and gained a close sense of camaraderie with her co-workers at the Abqaiq clinic. In retirement, she sees herself as a kind of ambassador for Saudi culture back in the United States. Her home has a hallway devoted to Saudi arts and culture.
“I have such a love of Saudi culture and the Saudi people,” said Seymour, who worked in the clinic in Abqaiq, and whose husband Cornell worked with the vice president for Southern Area Oil Operations. “When I go back home, I tell people, ‘You won’t believe how warm and hospitable the Saudi people are.’ I still miss the community feeling we had in Abqaiq.”
Her daughter Zakiyah, who was born in Abqaiq, agrees. “When I tell people where I grew up, I describe it as ‘Leave it to Beaver,’” she says, referring to a popular American television show of the 1950s. “It was very open, very safe, and community centered. But we also combined that with the Model United Nations. In my classroom, no group was a majority. We had three or four Asians, three Nigerians, Jordanians, Americans. Everybody was here.”
Among the Aramcons participating in the Reunion Welcome Dinner, this was a common theme: Aramco will always feel like home.
Aysha Nadir left 30 years ago, after spending her childhood in Dammam, as her father Masoud ur-Rahman worked as a drilling engineer in Abqaiq, Ras Tanura, and Dhahran.
She and four of her seven sisters returned for this year’s reunion. Aysha said she can’t believe how much Saudi Arabia has changed in the past three decades.
“Saudi Arabia has changed a lot; the cities are more developed, with tall buildings and shopping malls,” she said.
Her sister, Faiza Masoud, now a rural doctor at a clinic in the Pakistani town of Emmettpur East, says she enjoyed visiting the places where she spent her formative years growing up with Saudi Aramco: the beach at Half Moon Bay, the Third Street pool, and her old family home in Dammam.
“God gave me the best of the whole world: The best of an English-language education at Saudi Aramco schools, with Pakistani culture at home,” Masoud said. “I was born here in Saudi Arabia, and we left by the time I reached the age of seven. But this was home to me.”
Retiree John P. LeSage said that when he sees all the office buildings and residential areas that have built up between Dhahran and al-Khobar, he feels a sense of accomplishment. The reason: LeSage worked in the company’s home ownership development program that subdivided empty tracts of land into residential and commercial properties — a program that gave many Saudi Aramco employees the opportunity to build new homes.
“All my career, I was subdividing the desert,” said LeSage, who retired after 30 years of working on home ownership projects in al-Khobar, Abqaiq, Al Hasa, ‘Udhailiyah, and Dhahran. “I left in 1986, and between Dhahran and al-Khobar and Thuqbah, there was nothing but sand. But now it is all built up. It feels good.”
The Reunion Dinner provided time for returning Aramcons to mingle, catch up with old friends and colleagues, and to get a long-awaited taste of Saudi food and music. Then, after some introductory remarks by Saleh Al-Ghamdi and Ali Al Baluchi, the reunion organizers, Al-Falih thanked the returning Aramcons for the legacy of their hard work and the long-term vision that continues to drive the company into the future.
“The fields some of you helped to discover, delineate and develop are still the bedrock of our reserves and production portfolios,” Al-Falih said. “The Aramcons of today believe that the only way to do justice to that legacy of yours — the work of the generations who have come before – is to build on that foundation and take the company to the next level, transforming Saudi Aramco to make the most of the opportunities of today and tomorrow.”
Al-Falih then reminded the guests that they should continue to consider Saudi Aramco as their home.
“Many times I am greeting new guests, and for some it is their first time in the Kingdom. To them, of course, I say, ‘Welcome,’” said Al-Falih. “Many of them come repeatedly, because they are our partners or our customers, and I tell them, ‘Welcome back.’ But for this very special group, I say from my heart, ‘Welcome back home.’ This is home. And you are among family.”