Category Archive: Pipeline
Innovation Meets Collaboration
When Patrick Flanders and Dr. Abdelghani Daraiseh, both with the Process and Control Systems Department, got together to discuss ways to improve safety system communications, the old proverb that “two heads are better than one” took on multiple meanings.
The two working together noted that multi-disciplinary solutions and smarter logic capabilities are a must to yield the next generation of reliable solutions for Upstream and Downstream plants. Accordingly, they devised a new integrated approach that combined emerging wired and wireless communications technology, digital “bus” signals, and smart logic to enable new capabilities for safety instrumentation used within oil and gas and petrochemicals processing facilities.
Ultimately, their efforts led to U.S. patent No. 7,869,889, issued in 2011, titled “Distributed and Adaptive Smart Logic with Multi-Communication Apparatus for Reliable Safety System Shutdown.”
The two inventors began by considering carefully the ways that existing safety instrumentation could be improved to allow device self-diagnostics and notification of dangerous faults in real time, features not available with existing safety instrumentation systems. Flanders’ experience with Smart ZV and High Integrity Protection Systems and his involvement with the development of a new digital safety communications bus led him to discuss the potential for improvements through the use of Adaptive Multi-Communication technology (combined wired and wireless communications) led by Daraiseh.
The result was a synergy between the two engineers that led to “Wireless Enabled Smart Safety Instruments (WESSI)” and another pending filed patent.
The combination of communications technologies led to the development of another idea described within the patent that introduced “device level, risk-state-based decision logic” to improve the reliability and safety of critical safety systems within hydrocarbon processing facilities. The patent factored in plant simulator input, risk integrity level, state of communications links, user’s input, neighboring system states and operations dynamics.
The patent will lead to improved reliability of communications within an emergency shutdown system, reduced unwanted trips and the ability to adapt to process conditions by failing to a safe mode in dynamic conditions. The new approach outperforms prior art in system reliability, communications performance and introduces an automated approach to deal with risk.
Once commercialized, the invention will allow the use of improved safety system device diagnostics within maintenance-tracking systems and will reduce production interruptions due to nuisance trips. With the deployment of this technology, Smart ZVs will communicate device-to-device to ensure that an interruption of production occurs only in response to the safety logic solver “trip demand signal.”
The next step is for Flanders and Daraiseh to work with Smart ZV suppliers to introduce the WESSI concepts within prototypes now under development.
This effort demonstrated working in a multidisciplinary team to address Saudi Aramco challenges is far better than as discipline-specific teams. The two engineers worked together to merge multiple new novel methods and technologies to identify a new solution and a new patent to serve Saudi Aramco business needs.
Saudi Aramco Wins at World Oil Awards
Saudi Aramco’s EXPEC Advanced Research Center (ARC) took home World Oil’s Best Production Chemicals Award for a new gelation retarder developed by a team led by Ghaithan Al-Muntasheri of EXPEC ARC.
“As we move forward and pursue a transformation program, this is an indicator of the quality of technology and research produced at Saudi Aramco,” said Amin H. Nasser, senior vice president of Upstream.
The World Oil awards program, 10 years old this year, recognizes the industry’s leading innovations and innovators. Judging is conducted by an advisory board whose members are considered leaders of the industry with a diverse range of expertise.
“Research and innovation are critical to our organization and the industry as a whole, and this new retarder has the potential to be an important part of our producing activities,” said Mohammed Al-Qahtani, vice president of Petroleum Engineering and Development.
The new gelation retarder is based on the use of gelling materials that are mixed in liquid form at the surface, then injected into the reservoir. With time and temperature, the gelling mixture starts building a three-dimensional structure referred to as “gel.” This gel blocks the water flow from oil and gas reservoirs and thereby increases the economic life of these wells. Gelation retarders represent an essential component of these gelling recipes.
The harsh reservoir conditions of high temperature in Saudi Arabia can cause gelling recipes to solidify before reaching their target zone producing water. Gelation retarders are used to increase the time it takes the material to transform from a liquid state into a gel. The new gelation retarder developed at EXPEC ARC gave the best results in terms of cost, compatibility with reservoir brine, and performance.
Saudi Aramco’s recognition at the World Oil Awards caps years of hard work that began after Ghaithan Al-Muntasheri finished his doctorate at Delft University of Technology in The Netherlands.
“We were looking at commercially available retarders and their chemical makeup,” said Al-Muntasheri. “I soon realized we needed to come up with something new.”
He felt certain that the key to solving this challenge was through chemistry. Working with a team of people from production engineering to the lab and service companies, a new chemical component for a gelation retarder was developed and lab-tested at EXPEC ARC.
Samer AlAshgar, manager of EXPEC ARC, said: “The Production Technology team were looking at this challenge, and quickly determined that a new path must be struck to address it. This award is an acknowledgment of their inventiveness.”
All the labwork was conducted at EXPEC ARC. “We did the homework in the lab, and the results were solid,” Al-Muntasheri said, describing the work that went into the project, “but I was nervous before the field trial.”
He need not have worried. The field trial was a success. In a comparison of the well before and after the treatment, the water cut was substantially reduced and the well was returned to productivity. A patent application for this technology was filed last year.
“It is always significant when we find a way to bring about new thought, especially in such a critical area that has impacts both on productivity and costs,” said Nabeel Habib, chief technologist of the Production Technology Team at EXPEC ARC.
“I would like to thank EXPEC ARC management and Saudi Aramco — and all of my colleagues throughout the company — who have supported this achievement,” said Al-Muntasheri.
Saudi Aramco was also recognized as a finalist in four other World Oil Award categories: Best Exploration Technology Award — Fully Automatic Estimation and Elimination of Land Internal Multiples; Innovative Thinker Award — Mohamed Noui-Mehidi of EXPEC ARC; Health, Safety Environment/Sustainable Development Onshore Award — ErgoWELL: Trial Suite; New Horizons Award — SmartWater Flood; and Best Outreach Program Award — Your Future Career and Summer 10: Saving Lives.
(Article by Heather O’Connor)
Saudi Arabian Ambassadors to America in Context: The Diplomatic and Geopolitical Lives of Ambassadors Prince Bandar, Prince Turki, and Adel Al-Jubeir by John Duke Anthony as reported in National Council on U.S. – Arab Relations Publications.
In the rapid succession of dramatic events related to the Arab countries, the Middle East, and the Islamic world, one frequently has reason to wonder what on earth could happen next. Something like this happened this past month. it became clear that former Libyan President Muammar Al-Qadhafi had been killed, news references reporting on his death throughout the world added a phrase to his name that no one had ever heard or read before: namely, ” …the late president Qadhafi ….” Indeed, it is often the nature of a given day’s diverse news cycle that dramatic events of only a few days before suddenly become “old news.”
But not always.
Such is the bizarre case of one of the last several weeks’ hottest news items. For days on end the focus was on an alleged plot to assassinate the Saudi Arabian Ambassador to the United States, H.E. Adel Ahmed Al-Jubeir. Once reports of the dire threat hit the news wires, it was as though the international media, and especially its American components, could focus upon little else.
All of a sudden, few remained unaware of the media’s extensive references to Mexico’s drug cartels, the international reach of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, and the imposition of additional sanctions against specific individuals and institutions associated with the Iranian government. Neither did the media ignore what, if the reports were true, the implications might be for Iranian-U.S. relations or Iran’s position and roles within regional and global affairs. Nor did it ignore for long the drawdown of American armed forces from two of Iran’s neighbors, namely Afghanistan and Iraq. Instead, in writing about these and related phenomena, large portions of the media failed to provide an account of one of the central figures to the story: the Ambassador of Saudi Arabia himself.
To read more, please visit the National Council on U.S. Arab Relations to download the full PDF.
Reprinted with Permissioin: National Council on U.S. Arab Relations
Company Shows Well at SPE Conference
Saudi Aramco’s role as an industry leader was well represented at the four-day Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE) 2011 Annual Technical Conference and Exhibition (ATCE), which concluded Nov. 2 in Denver, Colorado.
“Our Upstream professionals received multiple prestigious awards, supported a successful recruiting effort and presented Saudi Aramco’s achievements in various areas of our operations,” said Mohammed Y. Al-Qahtani, Saudi Aramco’s vice president of Petroleum Engineering and Development.
“This widely recognized international event was indeed an opportune platform for our professionals to exchange experiences with subject matter experts and explore the latest technologies available to advance our operations,” he added.
The conference highlighted global energy issues for more than 9,000 engineers, scientists and other oil and gas professionals from 57 countries.
Technical sessions covered best practices and innovative solutions for addressing the industry’s most pressing challenges, and the exhibition featured the products and services of more than 300 companies.
“In addition to covering conventional oil and gas, there was significant focus on developing unconventional resources — one of the initiatives included in Saudi Aramco’s Accelerated Transformation Program,” said Al-Qahtani, who served as vice chairman for ATCE’s 2011 Executive Advisory Committee.
During the conference, Al-Qahtani was elected to an at-large director position on the SPE Board of Directors. He will also serve as chairman of the Executive Advisory Committee for SPE’s 2012 ATCE, scheduled for Oct. 8-10 in San Antonio, Texas. Kwaku Temeng, director of Upstream Research at Aramco Services Company (ASC), also was elected to the ATCE 2012 Executive Advisory Committee.
Eight Saudi Aramco professionals received top honors at the SPE International Awards ceremonies.
“These awards recognize outstanding contributions in the oil and gas industry,” said Alain Labastie, 2011 SPE president. “The recipients have been nominated by their colleagues and selected by a committee of peers for achievements in their field. We congratulate the recipients of these prestigious international awards from SPE.”
Award winners include:
Sami A. Al-Neaim — Distinguished Service Award in recognition of his valuable public service and commitment to the SPE Saudi section and SPE Middle East; and Distinguished Membership Award, which is limited to 1 percent of SPE professional members and acknowledges members who have attained eminence in the petroleum industry and/or who have made unusually significant contributions to SPE.
Sunil L. Kokal — Distinguished Service Award in recognition of his extensive SPE work with advisory councils, committees, sub-committees, councils, technical groups and sections; in mentoring; in organizing and steering workshops, conferences and symposia; and for his SPE activities that span across local and international levels, and include technical, administrative and leadership roles.
Faisal N. Al-Nughaimish — Young Member Outstanding Service Award in recognition of his continuous support for young professionals and students, including his role as chairman of the 2010 SPE/Dhahran Geosciences Society (DGS) Annual Technical Symposium and Exhibition, a first-of-its-kind event in the Middle East.
Abdullatif A. Al-Omair — Young Member Outstanding Service Award in recognition of his enthusiastic actions to promote, maximize and support the technical and leadership skills among the growing number of young professionals in the oil and gas industry; and his impressive commitment to pursuing his vision of helping young professionals achieve their full potential.
Abdulaziz Al-Ajaji, Abdulaziz Al Marshad, Sara Al-Mahroos and Saleh Haidary — Century Club Award for recruiting 100 or more SPE members.
Saudi Arabia’s SPE section also earned special recognition for its remarkable achievements during its 2011 session:
For the fourth consecutive year, Saudi Arabia Section (represented by Abdulaziz Al-Ajaji, 2011 Chairman) received the SPE President’s Award for Section Excellence, which recognizes SPE sections for distinguished and innovative programs, dissemination of technical knowledge, and cooperation with other SPE sections; and Section Membership Contest Winner — Group G for highest percentage total membership growth in its group.
The SPE-Saudi Arabia Section has grown to become the largest section outside of North America (and the third-largest section worldwide), with about 3,500 members.
Saudi Arabia Section (represented by Msalli Alotaibi, 2011 vice chairman of the Young Professionals and Students Outreach arm of the section) received the Outstanding Section Young Professionals Committee Award (Most Innovative category) for the exemplary activity and social initiatives made during the 2011 session.
ASC supported Saudi Aramco’s SPE activities by coordinating and hosting interview workshops for Drilling and Workover, Petroleum Engineering and Development and Southern Area Oil Operations. A total of 30 interviews were conducted, resulting in 19 offers recommended.
Additionally, ASC hosted a Saudi Aramco networking reception to provide interview candidates, Saudi Aramco and ASC employees, industry leaders and others the opportunity to meet informally to exchange ideas and information.
Sanso Strengthens Academic Affiliation With Tufts University
Richard Birrer, M.D., Saudi Aramco Medical Services Organization (SAMSO) executive director, and Dr. Hadi Al-Enazy, administrator of Quality Improvement/Leadership and Development, have been appointed associate dean and assistant dean of Tufts University School of Medicine (TUSM).
These appointments are the first of their kind for Tufts, and SAMSO is the first institution within Saudi Arabia to forge a formal affiliation with a North American medical school.
Tufts University School of Medicine was founded in 1893 and has over 3,800 faculty members offering a wide range of programs in medicine as well as nursing, allied health professions, scientific research and public health-care policies.
Al-Enazy spoke enthusiastically about providing SAMSO staff with the “opportunity to grow professionally through promoting research and best practice,” adding that “our patients will gain access to a wealth of knowledge and experience that TUSM represents.”
The development of SAMSO physicians, nurses and pharmacists is at the heart of the Tufts/SAMSO relationship. Eight SAMSO staff members are already training at Tufts in sub-specialty training and advanced nurse training. Seven more physicians will enter residencies as part of the emergency medicine training program. There are also multiple learning paths for internal medicine and anesthesia as well as remote education solutions, such as the telemedicine and teleconferences, which will provide medical training and knowledge sharing with SAMSO staff in all areas. The educational exchange program will grow over the coming years.
Dr. Adel Abu-Moustafa, dean of International Medical Affairs at Tufts University, referred to the close relationship between the two institutions as mutually beneficial and described SAMSO as “one of our own.” He noted that the development of an exchange program would offer experience to Tufts and SAMSO staff that would be “very advantageous.”
Dr. Harris Berman, TUSM dean, said, “Medical School challenges the best and the brightest minds to learn the science of medicine and public health, as well as the art of compassionate care.” This philosophy of learning reflects Birrer’s recent comment, “Our goal is to create a respectful and compassionate atmosphere everywhere at SAMSO.”