DAMMAM, April 06, 2011 – The business of finance has changed dramatically, forcing finance professionals to take on ever-expanding roles, participants learned recently at the First Saudi Finance Professionals Forum.
Abdullatif A. Al-Othman, left, addresses attendees at the First Saudi Finance Professionals Forum.
The forum, held on March 2 at the Dammam Office Building, was organized jointly by Saudi Aramco Finance and the Saudi Organization for Certified Public Accountants (SOCPA) and brought together more than 350 finance managers and professionals.
Abdullatif A. Al-Othman, senior vice president of Finance, after welcoming the participants on behalf of Saudi Aramco, focused on the Evolving Role of Finance and the Need for Top Talent.
In today’s economy, he said, financial professionals from around the world are being called upon to serve technical roles as well as to contribute to strategic planning, innovation and management.
“More recently,” he said, “finance organizations have been challenged to not only provide data but to provide analysis and insight to enhance business decisions, measure corporate performance and engage in strategy formulation. What we’ve witnessed is a change in the expectations placed on us as finance professionals.
Saudi Aramco’s financial professionals will join others in the Kingdom to partner with universities in their educational programs. Together he said, we can provide insight to ensure that curricula include courses and experiences that will promote and enhance business and finance knowledge, as well as the development of basic soft skills and competencies.
The Finance organization conducts frequent orientation programs for new employees, including new hires from the Kingdom or abroad, and employees transferring to finance from other business lines. Each orientation includes team-building exercises and development of initiatives to improve the work of the company.
So a team-building exercise devoted to corporate social responsibility was the genesis for the forum, Al-Othman said. In other words, we owe the existence of this forum to a group which, by its very nature, took a fresh look at things and proposed an initiative from the grassroots.
Controller Mohammad A. Al-Ali said the Finance organization was happy to host the forum in an effort to help establish a platform whereby representatives from SOCPA, the financial services sector, industry and government can meet annually to review and discuss current and emerging issues facing their organizations.
“The one-day forum,” Al-Ali said, “will promote a sense of common purpose among finance professionals and help them focus on the significant roles played by financiers in helping entities make better decisions.”
SHANGHAI, April 06, 2011 — An Evening of Saudi Arabia” was Aramco Overseas Co.’s (AOC’s) first outreach event to highlight the company’s corporate social responsibilities (CSR) in the Far East region.
AOC Public Relations and the AOC Shanghai Representative Office recently hosted the event to introduce the history and culture of the Kingdom, reinforce the corporate image of Saudi Aramco and AOC, and strengthen the company’s relationship with its local partner university, Tongji University.
The group at Aramco Overseas Co.’s “An Evening of Saudi Arabia” poses for a photograph at Shanghai.
It also was expected to help build a good foundation for future outreach in China.
Wajdi Mugbel, chief representative and Asia Pacific Procurement and Sourcing Division head, introduced the history of and key facts about Saudi Aramco and AOC. He thanked the students for their support in making the Saudi Pavilion a success at last year’s World Expo in Shanghai.
Saudi Aramco and AOC always treasure the support from students and the local community, and we believe students are the future of Saudi Aramco and the Kingdom, Mugbel said. “Therefore, I would like to thank the management and all the professors from Tongji University for all your kindness and help to our students.
Wajdi Mugbel of Aramco Overseas Co. Shanghai gives gifts to Chinese academics after an evening that highlighted the company’s corporate social responsibilities in the Far East.
AOC Public Relations head Sami S. Al-Saeed said, An Evening of Saudi Arabia’ is just the beginning of a great adventure for our future CSR activities in the Far East. We hope this event will be a good start for future (activities).
AOC Industrial Relations division head Mohammed Shoshan also attended. The delegation from Tongji University included Marketing Department deputy dean Tao Xiaoma, Academic Administration Department deputy dean Lin Delong and International Cultural Communications director Li Haiyan, together with other university faculty members. Also in attendance were students whose studies are sponsored by Saudi Aramco and the Saudi government, and their professors and classmates.
Abdullah Baltan, a Saudi Aramco-sponsored student studying marketing at Tongji University, presented historical and modern aspects of the Kingdom in English and Chinese. Saudi Aramco-sponsored students also shared their living and studying experiences in Shanghai in both languages.
Guests watched a video about Saudi Aramco employees in China and, during a dinner featuring Saudi and Chinese food, a film showing modern and natural scenes in the Kingdom.
“I think it was a great night for all purposes,” Baltan said. “The event gathered students and teachers in a friendly atmosphere and created a very good impression of the company and the Kingdom.
YANBU’, April 06, 2011 — Employees at Saudi Aramco’s wholly owned Yanbu‘ Refinery recently completed a wide-ranging and complex Total Refinery Shutdown (TRS) on schedule and without any safety incidents.
A 500-ton crane lifts a center pipe at the Continuous Catalyst Regeneration Reactor at Yanbu‘ Refinery.
The scope of the TRS covered 320 pieces of equipment, 1,000 maintenance work orders and more than 30 projects. The refinery undergoes extensive maintenance every five years to ensure the safety, integrity and reliability of the facility. However, the TRS that ended March 10 was more extensive than previous shutdowns.
Among the differences was improvements made at the refinery, including:
- The crude tower trays were upgraded to a new type of high-capacity stainless steel trays as part of a total revamp to improve the diesel quality and allow a refinery throughput increase to 250,000 barrels per day.
- The Continuous Catalyst Regeneration/platformer reactors’ center pipes and scallops were upgraded to a more robust design to improve the reactor’s integrity and reliability.
Despite adverse weather and other issues, the shutdown was completed in the scheduled 38 days, due largely to advanced planning, organization and solid teamwork. Nearly 3,000 Saudi Aramco employees and contractors worked together to complete the task safely and on time.
Safety and environmental issues were seamlessly integrated into the operation’s scope, and the outstanding performance of employees — and contractors — proved to be a testament to the success of this holistic approach, organizers said.
Young engineers and technicians were given major responsibilities, joining their mentors in playing a major role, enabling knowledge-sharing as an added outcome.
BEIJING, March 30, 2011 – Growing global interrelationships can lead to a “harmonious global community,” Khalid A. Al-Falih told an audience March 21 at the China Development Forum 2011.
Khalid A. Al-Falih speaks at the China Development Forum.
The president and CEO remarked on China’s “‘Harmonious Society where progress is measured not just by headline GDP growth or increasing national revenue but also the rising prosperity of the people, the creation of economic opportunities across the nation, and greater societal balance and social harmony.
Turning his attention to energy, Al-Falih said that with increased prosperity in China come increased energy needs that are best met by “a diversified energy portfolio centered on proven fossil fuels suitably complemented by renewables and alternatives.
Coal meets 70 percent of China’s energy needs and will continue to be important, especially as it develops cleaner, more efficient plants, complete with carbon sequestration.
“Meanwhile,” he said, “I am pleased to see China’s increasing interest in cleaner natural gas — especially given recent technical breakthroughs related to shale gas and its potential exploitation in this market.”
Renewables will continue to grow, he said, “though we need to be realistic about their gradual pace of growth.
Therefore, I believe fossil fuels including clean coal, natural gas and oil — will remain pivotal for the foreseeable future. Oil alone now satisfies nearly a fifth of China’s energy needs, and accounts for virtually all the energy used in transportation and petrochemicals.
Khalid A. Al-Falih, center, joins panelists at the China Development Forum 2011 in Beijing for a discussion of China’s future growth and energy needs. Oil currently meets nearly a fifth of China’s energy needs. China’s National Development and Reform Commission estimates that China will need nearly 12 million bpd of oil by the end of the decade.
Al-Falih said China’s National Development and Reform Commission estimates that China will need nearly 12 million barrels per day of oil by the end of the decade.
“But just as China continues to rely on oil to meet its growing energy needs,” he said, “the oil industry itself looks to China as the largest source of incremental demand growth, so there is a mutually beneficial and strategically important relationship between China and the world’s petroleum producers.”
China’s impact on oil markets is positive, he said, because it encourages investment in exploration and production, refining and transportation, “which ultimately benefits all petroleum consumers.”
Global partnerships are key to an optimal energy portfolio, he said, and China is a leader in that arena. It has invested in resource-rich areas and economic sectors around the world and has opened its domestic market to strategic foreign investors such as Saudi Aramco.
But Chinese investment, which now goes mostly to overseas financial instruments, could generate greater benefits if it were directed to opportunities such as industrial development initiatives, including overseas investments in manufacturing and services projects.
“I strongly believe China can be the global investor, because in addition to capital, this nation also has world-class capabilities in engineering, technology development, industrial services and project management. … This would not only help these nations industrialize, add value, create jobs and diversify their own economies, but also secure those markets for Chinese goods and services, cement bilateral and multilateral partnerships, enhance global economic integration and promote economic stability — all serving to foster a kind of ‘harmonious global community.’”
Al-Falih spoke of the relationship between China and Saudi Arabia in that community, with Saudi Aramco being China’s “largest and most reliable supplier.”
“In this regard, the Kingdom has been and will continue to be a calming influence in global oil markets,” he said, “particularly in times of market turbulence, when it can tap its substantial spare capacity to make up supply shortfalls elsewhere.”
He spoke of existing joint-venture partnerships with Sinopec in Fujian Province and Saudi Arabia, and the acquisition of high-quality goods, equipment and industrial services from China.
“In fact, just this week, we signed two agreements with the leading Chinese petroleum enterprises,” he said, referring to a memorandum of understanding (MOU) that was signed with PetroChina Co. Ltd., a subsidiary of CNPC, and another with Sinopec. “We look forward to working closely with our partners on these ventures, and to realizing the mutual benefits of these world-scale projects.”
He closed saying, “Saudi Aramco’s relationship with China is very much a two-way street, and as we work with our partners to establish more joint ventures here, I look forward to even more traffic and trade — including additional Chinese investments in Saudi Arabia — along the ‘energy superhighway’ connecting our company with this great nation.”
The China Development Forum is an annual platform for business and academic leaders to interact with China’s top decision makers and economic planners. The theme of this year’s event was “The Ongoing Transformation of China’s Growth Pattern.”
HOUSTON, March 30, 2011 – Aramco Services Co. (ASC) recently hosted two major industry meetings — one for the International Electrotechnical Commission and the other for the American Petroleum Institute.
Members of the International Electrotechnical Commission take a break during their meeting for a group photo. Donald Dunn with ASC Engineering Services is pictured at far right.
The meetings were held at ASC’s facilities, where industry experts from around the world convened to share their best ideas on setting new standards in operational excellence.
Members of the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) discussed management of alarm systems for the process industry. Participants represented such end-user companies as Statoil ASA, BP, Petrobras and DuPont.
The meeting focused on developing an IEC standard on alarm management based on an International Society of Automation standard. Donald Dunn, supervisor of ASC Engineering Services, co-chaired the ISA18 standard and now convenes the new IEC working group on alarm management.
DuPont representative Nicholas Sands said the group made significant progress to build on the ISA standard for alarm management, saying it is a key component of process safety.
The IEC is the world’s leading organization that prepares and publishes international standards for all electrical, electronic and related technologies. According to the IEC, millions of devices that contain electronics and use or produce electricity are designed according to IEC International Standards and Conformity Assessment Systems to perform, fit and work safely together.
The IEC is one of three global sister organizations that develop international standards. When appropriate, IEC cooperates with the International Organization for Standardization or the International Telecommunication Union to ensure that standards fit together seamlessly and complement each other.
Members of the American Petroleum Institute (API) discussed development of a standard on Risked-Based Integrity Management for Machinery (API 691). The new standard will provide a roadmap for dealing with equipment aging and lifecycle management.
Joe Thorp, ASC engineer and long-time chair of the API subcommittee on mechanical equipment, led the task force meeting, in which participants made significant progress in developing such methods as advanced signal processing technologies to provide more accurate and timely assessments on remaining equipment life. That will provide operators with information they need to plan and execute interventions (inspections and overhaul). The standard is expected to be published in 2012.
Established more than 75 years ago, API has more than 460 corporate members representing all segments of the oil and gas industry, and has expanded to include a growing international dimension.
Since it began, API has been involved in developing petroleum and petrochemical equipment and operating standards, with many adopted by the International Organization for Standardization.