Aramco ExPats

Category Archive: Pipeline

Prince Sultan Honored at ‘Roads’ Houston Debut

26 December 2013 | comments (0) | Saudi Aramco News | by

Saudi Aramco News

“Roads of Arabia: Archaeology and History of Saudi Arabia,” the Kingdom’s acclaimed exhibition of remarkable artifacts testifying to its central role in civilization for thousands of years, rolled into Houston —hometown of Aramco Services Co. (ASC) — in mid-December, following stops in Washington, D.C., and Pittsburgh.

ASC honored Prince Sultan ibn Salman Al Saud, chairman of the board of directors and president of the Saudi Commission for Tourism and Antiquities (SCTA) at a dinner on Dec. 17, the day before he formally opened the exhibition at the Houston Museum of Fine Arts (HMFA).

Prince Sultan called Saudi Aramco, cosponsor with ExxonMobil of the exhibition’s five-city U.S. tour, “an excellent partner throughout the history of this endeavor.” He termed the show’s launch in Houston “a very special occasion.”

ASC president Nabeel Amudi welcomed the prince and 150 guests, including Houston Mayor Annise Parker and business, academic and community partners. He also welcomed as “special guests” nine former employees or former employees’ family members who recently returned artifacts to the Kingdom through Saudi Aramco’s “Antiquities Homecoming Project.”

Amudi called the prince “a strong advocate for Saudi Arabia’s culture and history” and said his “drive and vision had made ‘Roads of Arabia’ a reality.”

Abdulrahman F. Al-Wuhaib, Saudi Aramco senior vice president of Downstream, introduced Prince Sultan at the dinner, saying, “Saudi Aramco is proud to be part of the launch and sponsorship” of the exhibition.

Al-Wuhaib noted the “marvels of ingenuity” discovered along ancient trade routes by Saudi archeologists, and by Saudi and expatriate explorers, that are featured in “Roads of Arabia.” “We can be grateful that vital trade between Arabia and far-away places on the planet continues to this day,” he said.

He lauded Prince Sultan’s vision and the SCTA’s work to uncover, study and display the Kingdom’s archeological heritage. “I know that everyone who visits the exhibition will come away enriched with new learning about both the diversity and unity of human civilization,” he said.

“Roads of Arabia” originally opened at the Louvre in Paris in 2010. Featuring about 270 artifacts, some dating as far back as 1.2 million years, it runs until March 9 in Houston. Items on display include delicately chopped arrowheads and scrapers, elegant alabaster bowls and fragile glassware, heavy gold earrings and monumental statues, testifying to a lively exchange among civilizations.

Prince Sultan said the exhibition unveils “a new dimension” of Saudi Arabia. The artifacts showcased in “Roads of Arabia” show the Kingdom “as one of the most important countries in terms of civilizations and history,” rather than empty desert, he explained.

“This exhibition shows that Saudi Arabia stands on the shoulders of great cultures,” he told an audience of more than 100 who gathered for a gala opening at HMFA on Dec. 18.

Nina Myer, one of the individuals with company connections who were honored for returning antiquities to the kingdom through Saudi Aramco’s “Antiquities Homecoming Project,” called the exhibition an “eye-opener.” She said it presented a “new Arabia,” one that played “such an important part in ancient civilizations.”

Myer, who attended with her brother, Robert, had donated dozens of pottery shards, coins, glass bracelet pieces and beads that her mother, Hope McBride, collected near Jubail in the 1960s. Her father was Jackson McBride, and the family lived in Dhahran from 1955-68.

Since 2011, more than 26,000 antiquities discovered by expatriates — the vast majority by former company employees from the United States — have been returned to the Kingdom through the Antiquities Homecoming Project.

Experts Share knowledge, Expertise at ISA Automation Conference

26 December 2013 | comments (0) | Saudi Aramco News | by

More than 500 automation experts attended the ISA Automation Conference, the first in the Kingdom, hosted at a Dammam area hotel Dec. 8-12. Saudi Aramco was a platinum sponsor of the event.

In the first two days of the conference, industry professionals participated in comprehensive training conducted by international well-known experts in the field of process automation. During the remaining three days, more than 60 national and international presenters presented the latest technologies and best practices (see box). The materials presented covered a wide spectrum of topics in automation, ranging from cyber security to wireless and industrial communications.

In the keynote speech, Saudi Aramco chief engineer Ahmad O. Al-Khowaiter stated that “the end-to-end automation is an integral part of Saudi Aramco oil recovery processing and delivery.” Al-Khowaiter underscored how intelligent systems enabled a reduction in capital expenditure while achieving the required safety level.

On the downstream side, as automation continues to advance, there is an opportunity to make gains in productivity, he added. Al-Khowaiter pointed out that the automation industry has the opportunity to take cyber security more serious. Additionally, developers can make automation systems more user-friendly and increase their reliability.

“Saudi Arabia’s ISA (International Society of Automation) chapter should play a vital role in nurturing new professionals and young talents,” Al-Khowaiter said. “This event is a sincere effort and bold statement by the ISA to address key challenges, linking our professionals and promoting awareness.”

Luay Al-Awami, president of the ISA Saudi Arabia Section and conference chairman, said the purpose of the event was “to bring all that expertise under one roof,” adding that the ISA organizes various programs and workshops to facilitate the transfer of technology and know-how to engineers and professionals in the Kingdom.

During the conference, Saudi Aramco representatives highlighted the latest automation technologies and best practices the company is currently utilizing. Faisal H. Al-Shahrain of Abqaiq Plants talked about wireless instrumentation implementation and performance analysis. Mohammed Al-Abdulmohsin of the Khurais Producing Department spoke about risk management methodology to control cyber threats and vulnerabilities of control systems.

In the exhibition, Saudi Aramco hosted a booth to demonstrate the latest technologies to advance automation. The Engineering Solutions Center (ESC) was presented to visitors to the Saudi Aramco booth. The ESC enables engineers from various disciplines to collaborate on tackling technical challenges through providing access to data and sophisticated applications.

“No longer do the defense and aerospace industries lead the development of technologies,” said Sandy Taylor, a senior group vice president for Sales and Marketing at ABB Process Automation Division. Technology for consumers is primarily driving the development of automation systems in the industrial plants. Taylor noted that faster processors, coupled with an expanding sensors capacity to capture data, create immense opportunities to automate and improve productivity. However, designers have to adapt control rooms to deal with this huge expansion in data access. He spoke about the following future trends in the industry:

Sensors will be powered by solar and/or thermal energy, resulting in the elimination of the requirement for complex electricity supply lines.

Wireless networks in plants will connect and integrate scattered sensors.

Dashboards, displaying KPIs in colorful graphics, will replace monitors showing numerous numbers in control rooms.

These improvements should assist in reducing the 80 percent of incidents in control rooms that are preventative, Taylor added.

Aramco Hangar Flyers Group Hits the Road, Takes to the Air

20 December 2013 | comments (0) | Saudi Aramco News | by

Saudi Aramco News

THUMAMAH AIRFIELD, 12/19/2013 — During the first week of November, the Aramco Hangar Flyers’ (HFI) self-directed group in Dhahran organized a trip to Thumamah Airfield northeast of Riyadh, for a “discovery flight” adventure. The purpose of the activity was to stimulate private and sport aviation activities within the Saudi Aramco community.

This activity was the result of a February meeting in Dhahran when HFI invited representatives of the Saudi Aviation Flying Academy (SAFA) to give a presentation about in-Kingdom flight training. SAFA, in conjunction with the Saudi Aviation Club (SAC), has a growing flight school with facilities at the Thumamah Airfield.

The SAC was appointed by the Saudi government to regulate and monitor all aspects of private and sport aviation such as paragliding, paramotoring, private aircraft operation, remote-controlled aeromodeling and educational programs in the field of aviation and astronautics. The SAC assists with licensing of aviation sport activities and regulation with customs regarding importing equipment.

As a result of that meeting, the club worked with SAFA to organize the discovery flight activity so HFI members would have the chance to fly a Diamond DA-40 single engine aircraft. The trip started at 4:30 a.m. in Dhahran, where a Saudi Aramco bus picked up attending HFI members. By 10:30 a.m., the bus arrived in Thumamah.

HFI members were greeted and shown into the SAFA training facility. After a safety briefing by a SAFA safety officer, the meeting was passed to Nemer Abu Samra, Operations and Maintenance supervisor of SAC.

Abu Samra described the SAC’s activities in Saudi Arabia and answered questions from HFI members regarding importing equipment and private operations in KSA, etc. Abu Samra then passed the floor to SAFA’s manager, Capt. William Roe, for a review of the day’s flight training exercises and the assignment of HFI members to the five SAFA flight instructors. Two students were assigned to an instructor for a pre-flight briefing, and then it was out to the aircraft to begin the flying exercises. Students who were not flying in the first wave were given a tour of the installations and given turns in the flight simulator.

After the first wave of students finished, they toured the SAFA installations and were provided an opportunity to use the flight simulator, as well. This was planned to enhance the experience.

The simulator is an exact replica of the DA-40 cockpit and is able to simulate the conditions at Thumamah, giving students a chance to get familiar with the controls, the glass cockpit instruments, the navigation equipment, the meteorological conditions and a view of how the field appears from the sky.

Meanwhile, instructors from SAFA were in the air assisting the participants to actually fly the planes. Each participant was on the controls for about one hour of flying. Each HFI member taxied, took off, climbed and landed the aircraft (with assistance of course).

Some had more assistance during the flight than others. (Four of the HFI members on the trip hold private or commercial pilot licenses.) The flight also included maneuvers such as touch-and-go, steep bank turns, stalls, steep climbing, etc.

SAFA selected the DA-40 because of its good reputation in terms of safety and durability. The aircraft is made with composites such as Kevlar, carbon fiber and glass fiber with epoxy resin. It has a state-of-the-art Garmin 1000 glass cockpit, which none of the members had ever used outside a simulator.

The plane also has an Austro diesel engine that runs on Jet-A, which was also a first for all of the HFI members. As aviation gasoline is not readily available in Saudi Arabia, SAFA decided to use Jet-A with a certified diesel engine so it can operate from almost every airport in the Kingdom.

SAFA used its five single engine planes during the activity. In total, SAFA has five DA-40 single engine and five DA-42 twin engine planes for its commercial pilot training. It is in the process of importing additional aircraft and building its permanent facilities.

By the end of the activity, HFI members were exhausted but extremely satisfied, having had an opportunity to pilot non-company aircraft in Saudi Arabia, which was something that no previous HFI members could boast in the 30-year history of the club.

HFI, with the help of Saudi Aramco and the Recreation Department, has plans to continue with activities such as paragliding, paramotoring, remote control aero-modeling and, maybe someday, a proper “flying club” with its own aircraft.

Everything starts with a dream, and HFI members dream of flying.

HFI would like to thank the company’s Recreation Department for its assistance in making this trip possible, Saudi Aramco’s Transportation Department for providing the bus and to Tamimi Catering for its assistance for the trip refreshments. Also, HFI would like to thank SAC and SAFA for providing this wonderful experience.

HFI meets the first Wednesday of every month. For info, email Wilson Rowe at

Ibtikar Puts Focus on Innovation

19 December 2013 | comments (0) | Saudi Aramco News | by

Saudi Aramco teamed up with the Mawhiba group to present the third Ibtikar Exhibition Dec. 1-5 in the Kingdom’s capital city under the theme “Creativity Builds a Knowledge Society.”

Innovation took the spotlight at the event, which featured hundreds of workshops, lectures and related events in addition to the exhibition, which drew more than 1,700 entrants in several categories. The event’s Scientific Committee reviewed the entries and narrowed the field to 210, including 110 from Saudi men and women students and 100 from university research centers.

Among the entries, 30 patents were registered at the Saudi Patents Office, representing 15 percent of the exhibition finalists.

Saudi Aramco president and CEO Khalid A. Al-Falih spoke at the event and put the innovation displayed there in context.

“As real creativity is a never-ending accumulation of achievements, no words will suffice to repay creative people as their ultimate goal is to contribute to the development and progress of their societies,” he said, noting that the company is honored to partner with the King Abdulaziz and His Companions Foundation for Giftedness and Creativity (Mawhiba) to bring such events to the Saudi people.

The Kingdom’s Minister of Education and Mawhiba vice president HH Governor Faisal ibn Abdullah ibn Mohammed opened the event and took pride in the hundreds of achievements of young Saudi men and women showcased there.

“What we see here reflects the true image of the Kingdom’s progress and prosperity,” the Minister said. “The Ibtikar Exhibition is a source of pride and honor for all of us as the participating pavilions and innovations embody remarkable progress on all sides.”

The Minister toured the Saudi Aramco pavilion and was welcomed by Ahmad O. Al-Khowaiter, the company’s acting executive director of New Business Development. Saudi Aramco Affairs department managers Abdulla I. Al-Isa and Mae S. Mozaini also were on hand to greet the Minister.

During the event’s closing ceremonies, Al-Khowaiter noted that the first Saudi patent was filed in the name of Saudi Aramco and that the company now has 260 international patents and another 535 patents pending.

“Ibtikar has become one of the most important regional exhibitions specialized in spreading the culture of innovation throughout the Saudi society, honoring creative Saudis and bringing together innovators, businessmen and those interested in the development of industries alongside international experts under the same roof,” Al-Khowaiter said.

He also detailed the company’s commitment to the Kingdom and its people.

“Social responsibility is not new to its system of operation. It’s an established part of the company’s core values as embodied in the value of citizenship,” he said. “Based on this role, we contribute greatly to encouraging young Saudis to innovate and invent whether through the various company programs directed to students or through the efforts exerted by Wa’ed, a company to assist young Saudis transform their ideas and inventions into projects by supplying them with material support and technical advice.”

The event was held under the auspices of Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah ibn Abdulaziz Al Saud, who also serves as president of Mawhiba.

Energy Efficiency Takes Center Stage

19 December 2013 | comments (0) | Saudi Aramco News | by

Embracing energy efficiency is crucial to the future of the Kingdom, Saudi Aramco and the wider Gulf Cooperation Countries (GCC), the first installment of a major new sustainability conference has been told.

Saudi Aramco was the Elite Platinum sponsor of the 1st Energy Management Conference and Exhibition held last week in Bahrain.

The company’s acting executive director of New Business Development and conference chairman, Ahmad Al-Khowaiter, described the two-day event as a unique opportunity, saying, “We must adopt a pragmatic approach that enhances the performance and efficiency of traditional energy sources while increasing the viability of alternatives. We must be willing to make the timely and extensive investments required. And we must commit ourselves to working collaboratively rather than at cross purposes.”

Al-Khowaiter noted that technology and promising alternative energy sources can make a difference as growth in worldwide energy demand continues to rise, adding that Saudi Aramco is actively investing in the development of energy efficiency.

“Since its early days, Saudi Aramco has been well aware of the importance of the efficient utilization of the resources it produces. Accordingly, Saudi Aramco has launched several initiatives to improve the utilization of energy through the use of cost-effective innovative solutions and efficient resource management practices.”

Cogeneration plants, Al-Khowaiter said, are now incorporated into the design of almost all Saudi Aramco plants. The technology has a thermal efficiency of more than 80 percent compared to conventional generation and its 40 to 50 percent of thermal efficiency.

He highlighted the company’s commitment to renewables such as the development of the largest carport solar photovoltaic system with a 10 megawatt capacity at its Al-Midra Building in Dhahran.

The Saudi Aramco Energy Venture subsidiary (SAEV) also has a mission to invest globally in startup and high-growth companies with technologies that are of strategic importance to the company.

The Energy Management Conference was officially opened by HE Shaikh Ahmed bin Mohammed Al Khalifa, Bahrain’s Minister of Finance, and Oil and Gas Affairs. Saudi Aramco professionals gave a number of presentations during the conference’s technical program.

Among the keynote speakers was Nabil Al-Nuaim, director of Kingdom Economic and Energy Analysis Department for Saudi Aramco. He spoke about the role of energy efficiency programs in sustainable development.

“Resource rich nations such as GCC countries are developing and implementing energy efficiency programs to preserve their natural resources and secure the greatest benefits to their citizens throughout the resource life cycle,” he added. “Avoiding wasteful consumption leads to sustainable energy and a solid planning framework that integrates the decision and execution processes to manage trade-offs and maximize the value of energy use.”

Saudi Aramco also had a booth at the exhibition where the company’s “Lead by Example” energy efficiency program was showcased.

Several Saudi Aramco experts gave presentations over three different conference tracks. Dr. Nour Eldin Mahmoud Bahy gave a talk titled “The Future of the Industrial Energy Efficiency is Now with Eco Industrial Parks.” Bahy explained the savings that can be made through the integration of power at such parks.

Raed Al Shneiber discussed Saudi Aramco’s experience with energy intensity and its efforts to make savings, and engineer Fahad Otaibi gave details of an atmospheric distillation unit retrofit to save energy and energy-based GHG emissions.

Aramco Travel Club

Have You Joined?

Learn More
  • Travel around the world with your fellow ExPats.
  • All trips organized through a professional travel agency.
  • Activities like Scuba Diving, RV trips, Skiing, Cruises, and more!

Become a Member Today!