HRH Prince Sultan ibn Abdulaziz
We at Saudi Aramco were deeply saddened by the passing of HRH Prince Sultan ibn Abdulaziz this week. As a champion of the Kingdom’s wellbeing and prosperity, His Royal Highness was revered in the Arab and Islamic worlds for his contributions to his religion and his beloved nation.
“It is important to note Prince Sultan’s supportive role in backing Saudi Aramco’s local and worldwide expansion, which made us an industry leader.”, Khalid A. Al-Falih
Likewise, he was respected and admired globally as a wise, influential and accomplished statesman. HRH Prince Sultan greatly contributed to the Kingdom’s international standing.
He was also a respected leader at home, where he helped steer the Saudi economy, which remained steady and strong during some difficult times for the world economy. His service to the Kingdom over the years also spanned agriculture, transportation and defense.
In his capacity as Deputy President of the Supreme Council for Petroleum and Mineral Affairs, His Royal Highness also played a pivotal role in formulating the nation’s petroleum policy, which, in turn, supported the company in its strategy and long-term plans. It is important to note Prince Sultan’s supportive role in backing Saudi Aramco’s local and worldwide expansion, which made us an industry leader.
We will always remember Prince Sultan’s participation in our major milestones. He was always there to support mega-project inaugurations, acknowledging each as a building block in the Kingdom’s continuing growth.
We also will remember his pride in watching the professional growth of young Saudis, especially those managing our state-of-the-art facilities. His face radiated joy while he listened to young people talk about the nature of their jobs and their success in this industry, the cornerstone of the Kingdom’s economy.
May God have mercy on the soul of Prince Sultan ibn Abdulaziz, accept him among the righteous, and grant us patience and solace in the face of such great loss.
Khalid A. Al-Falih,
President and CEO, Saudi Aramco
Biotopes of the Western Arabian Gulf
Biotopes of the Western Arabian Gulf: Marine Life and Environments of Saudi Arabia, published by Aramco in 1977, describes the different habitats of the Western Arabian Gulf and the main organisms inhabiting them.
The main biotopes detailed in the book include beaches, tidal flats, hard and soft subtidal bottoms, subtidal grassbeds, coral reefs, plankton and hypersaline lagoons. The book, which created a biological baseline against which future ecological changes could be measured, was the result of a five-year company study.
Read more about Saudi Aramco’s contributions to environmental protection in the following articles from Saudi Aramco World.
Saudi Aramco Summer Gifted Program
As one of Europe’s largest science festivals, the British Science Festival was the ideal platform to introduce two students from the Saudi Aramco Summer Gifted Program to science in the United Kingdom.
Spanning six days, the festival was recently held in Bradford and saw more than 50,000 visitors from school groups to families attend. With 350 of the UK’s scientists and guest speakers discussing the latest developments in the field of science, there was plenty to keep visitors occupied.
The Gifted Program students were invited to participate as part of a Saudi Aramco donation to the British Science Association, which was facilitated by Aramco Overseas Co. (AOC) public relations, with the 15-year-old male students, Fawaz Alanzi and Abdullah Al-Harbi being accompanied by the Program’s chairman, Rubaian Shahrani.
The festival is closely aligned with Aramco’s pillar of knowledge, encompassing education and culture.
Both students chose to showcase their science projects to the public during the festival. Fawaz focused on the uses of robotic technology, and Abdullah solved simple mathematical puzzles, including the Tower of Hanoi and Lock puzzles.
Abdullah was especially surprised when 8-year-old student Lucy Haggas from Hilltop Primary School was able to break the one-minute record for completing the Hanoi puzzle.
“The Chinese (Hanoi) rings are quite hard, but I did it,” added 10-year-old Ben Moon from Bradford Grammar.
“It’s the first participation representing all gifted programs Kingdom-wide, with such participation allowing us to take advantage of meeting experts and helping the transfer of knowledge to contribute to developing the next Saudi Aramco Gifted Program,” said Shahrani.
AOC managing director Nabil K. Al-Dabal spoke highly of the students’ participation. “We are delighted that the gifted and talented students are participating in such an iconic U.K. science event. We hope this will not be the last time we see such a rich collaboration between Saudi Arabia and the United Kingdom.”
The festival has been in existence since 1831, with next year’s event to be held in Aberdeen. “I look forward to being able to participate again in 2012, and hope we can bring even more of our gifted students to experience an event of this calibre,” added Rubaian.
The Saudi Aramco Summer Gifted Program (SGP) is an intensive annual program under the patronage of the King Abdulaziz and His Companions Foundation for Giftedness and Creativity (Mawhiba). It is a 12-year partnership between Saudi Aramco and Mawhiba, targeting Saudi gifted students in the 10th and 11th grades who show outstanding talent in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).
This year, 160 students participated over the course of one month.
There’s no better way to describe Saudi Aramco’s vessel Karan 8.
Owned by the Marine Department and operated exclusively by the Hydrographic Survey Unit (HSU), Karan 8 and her crew are the eyes and ears of the company’s offshore operations.
Commissioned in Bergen, Norway, in 1994, the vessel is the only one of its kind in the Gulf region and possibly the Middle East.
For more than 17 years, she has sailed the waters of Saudi Arabia’s eastern coast gathering sea-bed data.
The on-board HSU team converts this data into detailed maps and charts that are vital for pipelines and rig moves — leaving no margin for error.
Yet despite their pivotal role in offshore operations, the Karan 8 and her crew are widely unknown outside of their group.
“Hydrographic survey and sea floor mapping is critical to Saudi Aramco offshore operations,” said senior party chief Fahd Al-Amri. “No offshore work can take place without the charts and maps that HSU and Karan 8 produce. We’re the first step.”
A Multi-Beam Echo Sounder, Side Scan Sonar system, Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) and Differential Global Positioning System (DGPS) serve as the backbone of the vessel’s impressive array of technology.
“We are able to produce the quality of charts we do thanks to the incredible equipment we have on board,” said Al-Amri.
HSU and Karan 8 played an important role in the start-up of Saudi Aramco’s first offshore gas field project at Karan.
The non-associated gas from the Karan field is transported via a 110-kilometer subsea pipeline to onshore processing facilities. There are also five production platform complexes at Karan.
It was the HSU and Karan 8 that provided the crucial maps and charts that were used to plan field layouts and pipeline routes, and allowed engineers to measure initial water depth and sea-bed features for drilling rigs and future platforms.
Despite such high-profile assignments, life at sea means Karan 8 and her crew somehow manage to keep a low profile.
“It’s a very small group of individuals who pretty much stay at sea producing charts for the proponents,” said senior hydrographer Darryl Botha.
“But I think our exposure is pretty limited. Hydrographers are not really out in the public life. They pretty much get down to their job and just do it, yet at the same time are very essential,” he added.
Karan 8’s official home is West Pier at Ras Tanura Terminal. But in reality, it’s the clear blue waters of the Arabian Gulf where she can spend up to four weeks at a time.
The vessel’s unique Dynamic Positioning System (DPS) means Karan 8 can stay at sea when anchoring is not possible — without losing position.
For the crew, which can reach up to 30, it means long stints away from home — some staying on-board for more than a month at a time.
“It’s not too bad out here. The sea conditions in the Gulf are quite mild compared to the rest of the world; it’s a really easy environment to work in,” said Botha.
“The long periods away from family are taxing especially (for) guys with younger kids. Fortunately my kids are grown up,” he added.
Botha decided to put his evenings to good use by buckling down to some personal study.
“I’ve now got my private pilot’s license just from the time spent on board studying. So it can be productive; it depends on your mind set.”
Karan 8’s crew is composed of staff from HSU, Marine and Catering. The HSU team focuses on decoding data and producing charts, while the Marine crew ensures the ship sails safely and reaches her destination.
Food and other essential items are delivered by supply boat from Ras Tanura, and in the case of any personal emergency, crew members can be ashore within hours.
“We mostly have our own cabins,” said senior hyrdrographer Simon Squibb. “We are well looked after by the Marine crew; we make it as pleasant as possible for each other. It’s very much a team game, and everybody helps each other out.”
Despite the difficulty of spending extended periods of time away from family, party chief Al-Amri believes the job is well worth the personal sacrifice it entails.
“You are working with a diverse cultural background, and you are together for long periods of time — in a way they become your family,” he said.
“Everyone gets used to each other as you are all here for the same purpose and everyone understands their responsibilities. We look after each other and safety is always a top priority.
“The work we do on Karan 8 and the lifestyle is challenging, but you get a deep sense of satisfaction when you realize the important role you are playing in Saudi Aramco operations — and that’s what counts.”
Crown Prince Sultan
RIYADH: Crown Prince Sultan, deputy premier and minister of defense and aviation, died on Saturday, the Royal Court said in a statement. He was in his eighties.
Sultan was a central figure in Saudi decision-making since becoming defense minister in 1962.
“With deep sorrow and sadness the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah mourns the death of his brother and his Crown Prince Sultan … who died at dawn this morning Saturday outside the Kingdom following an illness,” said the statement carried on Saudi Press Agency (SPA) and state television. Prince Sultan’s health had declined in recent years.
King Abdullah is now expected to call to session the Allegiance Council to appoint the crown prince. Second Deputy Premier and Interior Minister Prince Naif is expected to be named crown prince.
The Allegiance Council was set up in 2006 soon after Abdullah became king, and is tasked with voting to approve the king’s choice of crown prince or nominating its own choice instead.
“The succession will be orderly,” said Asaad Al-Shamlan, a professor of political science in Riyadh. “The point of reference will be the ruling of the Allegiance Council. It seems to me most likely Naif will be chosen. If he becomes crown prince, I don’t expect much immediate change.”
Prince Naif has been interior minister since 1975 and was appointed second deputy premier in 2009, a position usually given to the man considered third in line to rule.
Saudi television broke its schedules early on Saturday to broadcast Qur’anic verses accompanied by footage of the Kaaba in Makkah. Funeral services will be held in Riyadh on Tuesday, SPA said.
Republished by permission of the Arab News.