Category Archive: Pipeline
Saudi Aramco proved to be a major draw at “Invest Saudi,” an investment forum hosted by the Saudi Arabia General Investment Authority (SAGIA) in Paris.
The forum immediately followed the Saudi-French Council’s 34th annual meeting, which was marked by the attendance of HRH Crown Prince Salman Bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud. The Prince addressed an auditorium consisting of more than 300 leaders from France’s business community, including oil and gas companies.
Prince Salman, who was on an official visit to the French capital, was joined by other notable speakers, including: Abdulrahman Al-Zamil, chairman of the Council of Saudi Chambers; HE Tawfiq Fawzan Al-Rabiah, Minister of Commerce and Industry; and HE Abdullatif Al-Othman, Governor of SAGIA.
French involvement in discussions came chiefly from Thomas Thevenoud, Minister of State for Foreign Trade, and Thierry Courtaigne, CEO of MEDEF (Movement of the Enterprises of France), France’s largest union of employers, who moderated the sessions.
Meanwhile, Saudi Aramco was represented by Nasser Al-Yami, manager of the Industrial Development Department, who spoke during a session on energy opportunities highlighting Saudi’s impending growth and the challenges that come along with it. “We at Saudi Aramco realize that the only way to meet these challenges is to partner with our strategic suppliers, industry leaders and technology providers. We are very proud of the collaboration that has already materialized between the Saudi business community and France,” he said.
Indeed, off the back of a successful initiation of Saudi Aramco Total Refining and Petrochemical Company (SATORP) — a partnership between Saudi Aramco and France’s Total, which was mentioned on several occasions — there was a strong sense that Saudi-French commercial ties could be extended even further, even beyond oil and gas, to areas such as transportation and health care.
At the subsequent exhibition, visitors had the chance to liaise with counterparts from across the Kingdom’s business landscape, including Saudi Aramco. Delegates visiting the company included many of the aforementioned, including Al-Othman, who during the morning conference underlined the Kingdom’s credentials.
Paris is the second stop this year for SAGIA and its drive for foreign investment, following a similar event it hosted during spring in Central London, where Saudi Aramco also showed its support.
Saudi Aramco, GE (NYSE: GE), and Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) today inaugurated the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s first all-female business process service center. The Riyadh-based center, which is supported by the Human Resources Development Fund Programs, complements Saudi Arabia’s localization targets, and strengthens local job creation and economic diversification.
Announced in September 2013, the all-female employee business process service center will offer customers specialized Finance & Accounting, HR, Materials Supply and Office services to improve their operational efficiency. The 3,200 square meter facility will create up to 3,000 local jobs for Saudi women within the next three years.
The official opening ceremony was attended by HE Dr. Tawfiq bin Fawzan Al Rabiah, minister of commerce and industry, HRH Prince Saud bin Khalid Al Faisal, deputy governor of Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority (SAGIA), Khalid Al Falih, Saudi Aramco president and CEO, John Rice, GE’s Vice Chairman, Natarajan Chandrasekaran, CEO and MD of TCS and more than 100 dignitaries from Saudi Arabian government entities and business executives.
Saudi Aramco president and CEO Khalid Al Falih, said: “The first all-female business process service center in Saudi Arabia brings significant value to the Saudi economy and society. It helps address the challenge of creating jobs for talented and skilled Saudi female graduates, establishes a more diverse workforce, and boosts the competitiveness of Saudi Arabia.”
John Rice, GE’s Vice Chairman, said: “Today’s inauguration is proof of our commitment to support the Kingdom’s priorities around human capital development and the creation of employment opportunities for talented Saudi women. We are proud to be partnering with the Government entities in the Kingdom, and our two partners Saudi Aramco and Tata Consulting Services on creating this sustainable Saudi based entity that will serve customers across the globe.”
Natarajan Chandrasekaran, CEO and MD of TCS, said: “Skills, talent and technology converge at the Kingdom’s first all-female business process service center, which marks a new era for the IT and business process services industry in the Kingdom. The center draws on the experience of TCS in providing shared services across global markets and clients in the Kingdom can now focus on their core competencies while partnering with this venture. We thank our partners Saudi Aramco and GE and look forward to their continued support to scale up operations at the center.”
Saudi Aramco and GE are the initial clients of the center that will provide specialized business services supporting the companies’ operations. Both organizations have already surpassed their targets of hiring over 100 women each and also transferred business services to the center.
In the center’s first phases, around 300 employees have been recruited. The employees received over 80,000 hours of intensive training in various disciplines. Nearly 90 of the Saudi recruits are fresh graduates, while the rest have two to four years of experience.
The business process service center has already achieved over 70 per cent Saudization rate. The Saudi fresh graduates, who form part of the workforce, were chosen from King Saud University, Princess Noura University, Imam University and others. Over 1,200 candidates were interviewed for the jobs.
All the recruits were also provided extensive training on subjects such as communications, presentation skills, corporate etiquette, global culture, MS Excel skills and domain training to ensure the highest levels of service efficiency.
More than 500 attendees making the closing ceremony for the Summer Program to an impressive testimony to its success.
Hosted by the King Abdulaziz Center for World Culture, the event was a celebration of the power of imagination and innovation of Saudi communities to enjoy and examine their creations of its sons, daughters, friends and peers.
The goal of FABLAB is to support the Kingdom’s creative and productive culture by encouraging students to discover the joy of making. Throughout August its Summer Program has provided participants with hands-on training sessions.
Three program categories were created for middle school, high school and college students; each program session was designed to cater to a certain age group of three to five participants per group. The main goal was to complete 24 products that have a positive impact on society and to exhibit them at the program’s final ceremony.
Ideas were bounced about FABLAB-Dhahran as students came together during their scheduled session to design and create a prototype in three days. During the first day, students received a comprehensive training session to prepare them for the fabrication process in the days to follow.
Ruba Al-Assaf, volunteer and leader of a university-level group, was pleased with her team’s enthusiasm and diligence. “We were nervous at first because we had a lot of pieces,” said Al-Assaf. “We had to understand the nuts and bolts of making a 3D printer — quite literally.”
Knowing that their products needed to benefit society added to the pressure. This was especially true for Nada Al- Mansouri, graduate of Arab Open University, who had always wanted to provide more creative solutions for her community. Al-Mansouri said that with simple digital circuits, solar cells and rechargeable batteries, her team was able to make a phone charger that uses solar energy. “We can use the natural resources that we have to come up with the products that we need,” she said.
Mohammed Al-Senwar, FABLAB-Dhahran’s director, applauded the efforts of the students in designing and creating their own prototypes. “We have grown too comfortable in our lifestyles, and it has made it difficult for people to find the incentive to make something when they can simply buy it from the nearest store,” he said during the closing ceremony of the summer program.
Another aspect of the creative process is failure, said university-level group leader Motheeb Al-Khashram. “You can’t expect everything you make to work,” he said. “Sure, seeing results is what ultimately brings people back to the prototyping table, but at the end of the day, you have to believe that your failures are bringing you one step closer to success.”
As the ceremony came to an end, 16-year-old Manal Al-Yahya tried not to fiddle with the smart table she had built with her team. This simple prototype design set off blinking lights to alert users when their laptop overheats. “I’m glad I had the opportunity to join this program,” she said as she poked the wooden pieces that she hammered together the previous night. “I really enjoyed working with my hands and will definitely keep pursuing these programs to expand my knowledge and create more.”
The achievements of the iThra Knowledge Program demonstrate Saudi Aramco’s ambition to be more than just a leader in the oil and gas field.
The program’s success may be evident by the impressive number of visitors, but the buzz it has generated in the capital city recently shows Saudi Aramco’s support of the Kingdom’s efforts to become a knowledge-based society.
“The program was the talk of the town,” Khalid A. Al-Falih, president and CEO, said to iThra Knowledge Program organizers and members of management in Riyadh on Tuesday. Al-Falih noted, however, that the program is connecting not only on a local level, but on a national level and beyond, too.
The conclusion of the program in Riyadh on Aug. 29 marked the fourth city at which the King Abdulaziz Center for World Culture has hosted the program, with previous stops in Dhahran, al-Hasa and Jiddah.
The CEO expressed pride in the role the iThra Knowledge team and volunteers played in making the event a success, noting that through such efforts, “We are living our values and sharing them with our community.”
Al-Falih noted that although community expectations continue to rise with every stop, the program team is not only meeting the challenge, but exceeding expectations. “It demonstrates that the company is not just a leader in the oil and gas field; it is also a leader in supporting the Kingdom’s drive toward a knowledge society.”
“The program offered a great deal of substance to our communities and families in a very innovative way. iThra shows the connection to our heritage and culture with a pride in our identity,” the CEO added.
More than 640,000 visitors managed to take part in the fourth stop of Saudi Aramco’s iThra Knowledge program in Riyadh last month. The total number of visitors to all four programs in Dhahran, Jiddah, al-Hasa and Riyadh has surpassed the two million mark.
Visitors reflected on the value of the program, which offered — through well thought of pavilions — an attractive and entertaining, educational program suitable for all family members. Praise was received from regular visitors as well as high level Saudi officials and members of the diplomatic community in Riyadh.
HH Prince Saud bin Abdullah bin Thunayan, chairman of the Royal Commission for Jubail and Yanbu said: “Saudi Aramco is giving the young generation a chance to be exposed to culture and innovation through this program.”
HE Abdullatif Al-Othman, Governor and Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority, said, “The program embodies the concepts of knowledge and community service, as well as the idea of edutainment to transfer knowledge and information.”
U.S. Ambassador to Saudi Arabia Joseph W. Westphal thought the program should be permanent and travel around the world. “I think we need activities such as iThra Knowledge to be applied around the world,” he said. “We need such activities to challenge the creativity within people.” Westphal’s sentiments were echoed by many visiting ambassadors, including Turkish Ambassador Yunus Demirer and Canadian ambassador Thomas MacDonald, who said, “Everything in the program delighted and impressed me; and Saudi Aramco should be proud of it.”
The success of the program was due to the thoughtfulness that went into the selection of creative displays in all pavilions, which included the “Names of Allah,” “Energy Efficiency,” “1001 Inventions” “Tinkering Studio” and the “Traffic Safety Village.”
The Riyadh numbers alone speak louder than words. In social media, the program generated 250 million tweets and 65 million Facebook impressions. In traditional media, 107 TV reports, 65 press articles and 40 live radio interviews highlighted the monthlong event.
Perhaps Amani AlHawwas, mother of Layan, the youngest volunteer at iThra Knowledge-Riyadh, captures the excitement and value of Saudi Aramco’s Riyadh program the best: “Above all, volunteering here has taught Layan to depend on herself, and there is no doubt it has developed the scope of her comprehension and personal cognitive skills. But on a different level the professionalism exhibited by Saudi Aramco and attention by the supervisors of the volunteer program created an outstanding atmosphere unlike anything I have ever witnessed before.”