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Category Archive: Saudi Aramco News

Local, International Poets Light Up Annual Event

19 March 2015 | comments (1) | Saudi Aramco News | by

Members of the Dhahran Poetry Group’s annual event organizing team pose with guest poets after a night of English and Urdu poetry.

“Poetry is a thing of such beauty and such power. The play of words, the imagery, and the wit make us happier, sadder, more alive, and more inspired. All of that is achieved simply by the careful arrangement of words. The mysterious power of words holds us spellbound and glued to our seats for hours on end.”

Those were the thoughts of Adil Mustafa, president of the Dhahran Poetry Group (DPG), in his remarks as he opened the DPG’s 7th Annual Poetry Event.

In attendance that evening were close to 250 members of the Saudi Aramco community, mostly engineers and scientists, who indeed sat glued to their seats for over five hours, listening to local and international poets and to live instrumental music, which provided a captivating counterpoint to the poetry.

The evening was divided into English and Urdu sections, with the English section hosted by Shahid Nawaz and Zareen Sultan.

Two company executives attended, including Ibraheem Assa’adan, executive director of Exploration, a longtime supporter of DPG. He spoke about the power of poetry and its ability to make an impact across lands and languages and even across time.

Also attending was Warren Wilder, vice president of Chemicals, who spoke about his love of poetry and dismissed the often asserted notion that engineers and poets are like oil and water and expressed his belief that poetry and engineering are closely aligned.

The speeches were followed by original poetry read by award-winning poet Siena Hansen, who is associated with the U.S. Consulate in Dhahran.

The Urdu sections of the evening were skillfully hosted by Syed Nadeem, Asif Khan and Naveeda Abidi. The first Urdu poets were members of the Aramco community, Asif Muzaffar (a geologist by day), Lozai Tanveer, and Irum Iqbal.

The highlights of the evening were three international poets who came to Dhahran specifically for the event: Dr. Nawaz Deobandi from India, Farhat Abbas Shah from Pakistan, and Dr. Nausha Asrar from Houston. The distinguished Urdu poets are also accomplished performers and skilled entertainers.

Asrar passionately rendered his poem, “Khaali Botal” (The Empty Bottle), a moving commentary on the human condition and the need for introspection and soul searching to better understand why things are the way they are.

Shah recited not only his Urdu poetry but also his poems in the regional languages, Seraiki and Punjabi. His famous poem “Shaam ke Baad” (After Dark), in which he contrasts the forces of light and dark, was praised by all. He often brought the audience to their feet.

Deobandi’s recitation of a poem on mothers and unconditional love was particularly moving, and stirred the audience with his touching articulation of feelings that many may have felt but for which we could never quite find the right words, “What oft was thought, but ne’er so well express’d.”

The evening was carefully put together by a team of more than 50 enthusiastic volunteers who took care of travel arrangements, food, stage decorations, music, ticket sales, and other tasks.

The Dhahran Poetry Group is planning to build on the success of this event and organize separate poetry gatherings in English, Arabic and Urdu. Those wishing to participate should contact Mustafa at

Families and Friends Gather in Dhahran for Annual Pancake Breakfast

19 March 2015 | comments (1) | Saudi Aramco News | by

Scores of hungry patrons make their way through the line at the annual Boy Scout Pancake Breakfast in Dhahran.

Aramcons from the Dhahran-area Saudi Aramco communities recently gathered for a pancake breakfast prepared by the Boy Scouts, their parents, and other leaders.

The scouts are members in Boy Scouts of America Dhahran Troop 1. Those who went to the breakfast were able to socialize with old friends and meet new people, all while enjoying pancakes, eggs, and chicken sausages with friends and families in the Dhahran area.

What originally began as a simple fundraising activity for the local scout troop has become a highly anticipated community event.

This year’s event was organized and managed by Patti Cignoli, Lisa Collins, Lani Green, and Dolores Teubner. No small matter of logistics and planning, the process of preparing for next year’s event began almost immediately after the current year’s breakfast had been eaten and the equipment cleaned.

The pancake breakfast has been bringing people together for more than 15 years as many members of the community have been attending the event for years and look forward to it each year. Sometimes, Boy Scouts are even approached by people to obtain a ticket even before sales begin.

For the annual breakfast, Scouts and their families work two to four hours each, cooking, serving or clearing tables, in addition to the many hours selling tickets in advance. The Boy Scouts worked hard to keep up with the demand, putting out fresh pancakes, sausages, and eggs as fast as they could.

The pancake breakfast also included a bake sale, which also contributes to the funds needed by the troop to purchase camping and safety equipment used by the Boy Scouts to learn the values of leadership, independence, and many other useful life skills.

The Boy Scouts thanked all who bought tickets and/or donated money, as well as Recreation for its continued support with this event, including those who made sure that all electrical systems were ready for all of the cooking equipment.

A Solar Solution: Powering the Star Building Through the Sun

18 March 2015 | comments (0) | Saudi Aramco News | by

Saudi Aramco News

Saudi Aramco has achieved a landmark in green installation by feeding power to the Power Systems (PS) main offices  through the company’s first rooftop solar photovoltaic (PV) installation.

As the Kingdom’s demand for energy increases, Saudi Aramco has committed itself to an energy efficiency drive pioneered by the Saudi Energy Efficiency Center, the government body mandated with the promotion of energy efficiency across the Kingdom.

The company aspires to reduce its nonindustrial energy consumption by 35 percent by the year 2020 through the installation of energy efficient LED lights, the testing and installation of solar panels and other renewable energy sources, and the application of new standards and requirements related to thermal insulation in homes and buildings.

A Solar Model

The solar installation was meant as a test of the performance of the footprint of a commercial rooftop photovoltaic system against energy demand during peak hours in the Eastern region of Saudi Arabia. The operation and maintenance of the photovoltaic solar system was closely monitored. The building chosen for the test was named the Star Building.

 “Months ago, we opted to have the Star Building as a model in energy efficiency for all major buildings to come,” said Ahmed Morsy, a KAUST graduate who joined Saudi Aramco’s Power Systems team in 2012. “We conducted an energy audit of the building, which set a recommendation for a solution  where lighting was changed to efficient LED in renovated wings, and smart meters with sub-metering capabilities were installed to closely monitor consumption.”

Building energy audits are being used to identify efficiency opportunities throughout commercial and residential buildings.

Environmental Rewards

The solar installation consists of 144 PV modules interconnected to the existing electrical system, ensuring the delivery of about 35 kilowatt peak (kWp) of power. Over its lifespan, the project will generate 1.2 million kilowatt hours (kWh) of clean energy, mostly during peak-demand time of the day, when energy is most needed.

This clean energy offsets the energy produced by fossil fuels, thereby saving the Kingdom’s associated oil resources for future use.

The project is also Smart Grid compatible, and when connected, will provide enough energy equivalent to light more than 50 homes every year for the next 20 years.

The project is also an environmental-friendly construction. The production of 1.2 million kWh of solar energy avoids emission of 900,000 tons of CO2 gases over the life of the project, which is equal to carbon sequestered by 670 acres of trees.

“On a grand scale, these efforts are not just about injecting clean energy into the power grid,” said Nour Shihabuddin, an engineer with the Renewables Department who is managing the construction and commissioning of the rooftop installation. “By generating clean energy, we are displacing hydrocarbons that could be better utilized within the Kingdom or even exported, creating greater value for the Kingdom’s economy.”

How it Works

The technology behind PV systems consists of solar panels that absorb sunlight and directly convert it into Direct Current (DC) electricity. A solar inverter changes the DC to Alternating Current (AC), which is integrated into the building’s main power supply through cabling, smart metering, and other electrical accessories, to cover part of the building load demand.

Information and statistics collected through this installation will be used for analyzing performance and planning future projects in the company and/or the Kingdom. The plan is to install monitoring screens within the building lobby, which will display live clean energy production data. The transparency in data visibility is a powerful mechanism that would increase awareness and promote the value and benefits of renewable installations.

Saudi Aramco Endorses 2015 Global Risk Awards

18 March 2015 | comments (0) | Saudi Aramco News | by

Saudi Aramco News

For the second consecutive year, Saudi Aramco endorsed the 2015 Global Risk Awards. Hosted by the Institute of Risk Management (IRM) in central London, the awards champion excellence in the field of managing risk.

About 400 leaders from 20 countries attended the ceremony, which is considered to be the annual highlight within the risk industry.

Saudi Aramco sponsored the award for “Managing Risk across Boundaries,” which recognizes individuals or teams that have executed a strategic approach to the risks related to operating across geographic borders.

“Rewarding excellence in business areas related to our industry is vital for us as it shows that we not only continue to pursue best practices ourselves, but also recognize and praise it when it is demonstrated by others,” said Ahmad A. Al Sa’adi, vice president of Gas Operations, who presented the award.

The winner of the awardwas accounting giant PricewaterhouseCoopers. Other notable winners on the night included the Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation and Dubai’s Roads and Transport Authority,demonstratingthe increase of risk awareness within the Middle East/North Africa region.

Reflecting on the night, IRM chairman José Morago said: “In uncertain times such as these, the best risk professionals help their organizations grasp the opportunities, as well as manage the threats, that risk offers. Tonight’s awards show the risk profession at its very best.”

Ian Livsey, IRM chief executive, added: “Everyone shortlisted tonight should be proud. They are at the cutting edge of managing the very real risks the world faces today. As the world’s interconnected risks evolve ever faster, they show how the role of risk practitioners grows ever more vital.”

The IRM, an independent nonprofit organization, is considered to be the leading professional body for risk management.

Saudi Aramco Shares Strategies for Navigating Economic Downturn at MEOS 2015

18 March 2015 | comments (0) | Saudi Aramco News | by

Saudi Aramco Shares Strategies for Navigating Economic Downturn at MEOS 2015

Success through innovation and collaboration was the predominant message at the 19th Middle East Oil and Gas Show and Conference (MEOS 2015) held in Bahrain, which was themed “Energy Beyond Limits Through Innovation and Collaboration.”

With the historically cyclical industry in the midst of a downturn, MEOS 2015 turned out to be a show of force for oil and gas producers and their service providers, with more than 8,000 visitors from the region and overseas attending.

“Our industry has proven over the current decade to be resilient despite the ups and downs,” said Bahrain Energy Minister HE Abdulhussain Mirza during his speech in the opening ceremony. “. We continue to plan long-term, we continue to invest more in technology and we will continue to create global partnerships and alliances.”

Strategies to repel the downturn

In a plenary session composed of global industry leaders, Amin H. Nasser, Saudi Aramco’s senior vice president of Upstream, said this year’s theme was “a clear challenge to harness game-changing innovation” and “push back the boundaries specific to the business climate we are experiencing today.

“The challenge of keeping up during a downturn is more complicated today than ever before,” he said. “But we have seen how that approach to a spending crunch plays out. Indeed, we are still living with the consequences. The reduced investment in technology and talent that characterized the 1980s and early ‘90s should remind us that repercussions can be lasting.”

He outlined a three-pronged strategy to navigating the economic downturn, beginning with a commitment to stay the course on investment in fit-for-purpose innovation and technologies. He cited an example of Saudi Aramco doing just that on one project in Abqaiq during a previous downturn, with the move ultimately proving fruitful after the development of new technology.

“Sustained investment is crucial,” he said. “Clearly, in a business that is long-term, investment must also be long-term.”

The second aspect of the strategy involves expanding the parameters of innovation, which Saudi Aramco has done by partnering with academia. Nasser explained that alliances with universities throughout the Kingdom, as well as the development of several research centers globally, have provided the cornerstones for the company’s commitment to this “paradigm shift.”

The signing of the Saudi Arabia Advanced Research Alliance (SAARA) last year has brought together academic, research and industry stakeholders to refine and transform early-stage technologies into products and outcomes. This, and Saudi Aramco’s ongoing support for the Dhahran Techno-Valley research and innovation hub, is further evidence of the company’s commitment to collaborating for success.

The third component of maintaining momentum through a challenging period involves leveraging low cost market parameters, working with service-providers to improve efficiencies and manage an expectation of long-range planning.

Underinvestment, he said, in any of the three areas outlined, has historically proven to be problematic and difficult to reverse.

“In every challenge, there is a sea of opportunity,” Nasser concluded. “And progress need not take a back seat.”

The event was held under the patronage of HRH Prime Minister Prince Khalifa Bin Salman Al Khalifa, MEOS 2015 and organized by the Society of Petroleum Engineers.

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