Original Saudi-Themed Gift that Supports International Charities

21 November 2014 | 1 comment | Special Interest | by

Looking for a unique, one of a kind gift that is guaranteed to bring back fond memories of time spent in Saudi Arabia? A gift that would help support a worthy charity?  All proceeds go directly to well researched groups. Perhaps for the holiday season, an up coming anniversary, marriage or graduation. Look no further!

Tricia FranckTricia Franck with Saudi Throw gift for charity

The Preceptor Alpha chapter of Beta Sigma Phi in Dhahran, now Sadeeqa, designed this cotton throw/blanket in 1998 specifically to generate funds for charity.  The final product was, and continues to be, masterfully woven in North Carolina. The richness of colors, depth of details and pictures chosen are exquisite.  Included are the Little Blue Mosque by the entrance gate in Dhahran, the clock tower on the campus of KFUPM, Wendy Cocker’s photo of camels crossing a highway overpass, a central design of dates, basket and palm trees, in addition to a Saudi coffee pot, dhow, falcon, carpet, Mada’in Saleh, and a kanjar (curved Arab dagger).

Since the first order was received sixteen years ago, sales have been impressive and generally demand outweighs supply. The increased revenue has allowed us to generously support a much wider variety of charities.  Through their purchase, not only do people get a wonderful memoir of their time in Saudi Arabia, but they are also helping others around the world.  Outreach has been extended to charities in the Middle East, Asia, Africa, and Central America and America.  Funds have been sent to help those affected by world disasters such as tsunamis, hurricanes, and wars. Supporting women and children has been a focus.  Some charities have meant something personally to our own members such as hospice care or research for cures of childhood illnesses.

A limited number of these throws are available for purchase and are ready to be mailed to any US address. The cost for the throw remains $80.00 with an additional $10.00 for postage within the US. They are 100% cotton, machine washable, and measure 51” x 70”. All profits are given to charity.

Please contact Tricia Franck if you have any questions or would like to purchase one. triciafranck@yahoo.com

We are indebted to Aramco Expats for donating their time and effort to market our throw on their site.  Through this generous act, we will be able to widen the circle of charities to which we donate and even more people will benefit.

Tricia Franck

Firmly Embracing the Future at ADIPEC 2014

20 November 2014 | 0 comments | Saudi Aramco News | by

Saudi Aramco News

Technology and talent are the key to transforming industry challenges into opportunities was the key message from Amin H. Nasser, Saudi Aramco senior vice president of Upstream, at the opening ADIPEC 2014, the third largest energy conference in the world.

Held under the patronage of HH Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, president of the United Arab Emirates, Abu Dhabi International Petroleum Exhibition and Conference (ADIPEC) 2014 marked its 30th anniversary.

“The best way to protect oneself from, or prepare for, the future is to create it,” said Nasser during the session, which mirrored the conference’s theme of “Challenges and Opportunities for the Next 30 Years.”

Nasser went on to look at how innovation and leadership challenges can be recast as opportunities and what the future can look like as a result of this.

“Thanks to technology, we’re on the brink of a golden age,” he said, adding that global supply was rising with unconventional oil and gas coming onstream and estimates of recovery levels rising. Resources that only a few years ago were inaccessible or unrecoverable are now being unlocked, he noted.

However, this expansion came at a price, and cost escalation was a major concern, Nasser stressed. Describing a triangle in which the easily accessible resources are at the top, he said the industry is now moving toward the base of the triangle where the amount of resources is greater but requires much more sophisticated technology to extract and produce.

“It is crucial that we all work together to reduce costs,” Nasser said, adding that advancing technology will become a driver for further developments. “We must invest in technology as an enabler of innovation.”

The long view

Nasser observed that although the pace of technology advancement is often dizzying, to truly invest wisely and achieve the best results, leaders industrywide must focus on the long view and commit to investing in technologies that will not only help the industry to survive in the future, but which will also enable it to thrive. He noted that being in an industry that can be volatile at times makes it important to stay the course.

“The market is going to grow,” said Nasser. “We must be ready with the right people, the right training, the right technologies and the right capital program.”

Unconventionals: The case for success

Operational Excellence will be the key driver for success when it comes to developing unconventional fuels, and those who are able to control costs most efficiently will succeed, said Ibraheem M. Assa’adan, executive director of Exploration at Saudi Aramco, at a session titled “Unconventional Resources, Challenges and Opportunities: Focus on the Middle East.”

Assa’adan noted that the Kingdom has significant unconventional opportunities in various locations around Saudi Arabia, from the Rub’ al-Khali in the south to the Eastern Province to the Kingdom’s north, and that exploiting these tight gas and shale gas deposits is crucial to help meet ever increasing power and water demands domestically. As Saudi Aramco begins to ramp up its well-planned unconventional development, it is working to develop these resources as economically as possible.

Research, technology and communication

One of the key drivers to successful R&D efforts industrywide is a commitment to research and strategic global collaboration, said Abdulaziz O. AlKaabi, chief technologist of Reservoir Engineering Technology at Saudi Aramco’s EXPEC Advanced Research Center.

AlKaabi, who was part of a five-person panel discussing “Research and Technology Development,” said that considering its unique position, Saudi Aramco views R&D as a long-term investment. As such, technology is an integral part of the company’s strategy to meet the long-term challenges.

He also stressed the need to understand and decipher challenges at a very fundamental level; bottom-up. “In my opinion, success in reservoir R&D will depend on how well we are able to describe and manipulate the reservoir system at the micro, nano and even molecular and atomic scales,” said AlKaabi, adding that understanding fundamentals is essential. “In fact, new fundamentals and approaches that are in the essence of hydrocarbon extraction will need to be defined.”

A strong presence

In addition to the three high profile speakers, Saudi Aramco — as it has at previous ADIPEC sessions — had a strong presence in the event, from the executive plenary, panel and technical sessions, to its exhibition.

The company’s participation in the event included more than 25 papers by Saudi Aramco Upstream professionals who were accepted for presentation through the various technical sessions.

Also, the company’s “Women Development Program” was recognized as a finalist for the “Empowerment of Women in the Oil and Gas Industry” category during the opening night’s ADIPEC Awards session.

Khurais Program Powers Forward

19 November 2014 | 0 comments | Saudi Aramco News | by

Saudi Aramco News

Saudi Aramco has released the tenders for seven engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contracts for the Khurais Program.

The Khurais Arabian Light Crude Increment is an onshore oil field development, which saw the field initially discovered in 1957. By 2009, KhCPF had a processing capacity of 1.2 million barrels per day (bpd) of Arabian Light crude oil, 320 million standard cubic feet per day (scfd) of associated gas and 80,000 bpd of natural gas liquids (NGLs).

With an eye toward the future, a new project was initiated to increase the crude production of the facility to 1.5 million bpd, making KhCPF one of the largest oil producing facilities in the world. Planning for the new Khurais increment project began in 2012 and the Front End Engineering Design (FEED) was completed in May 2014.
The current Khurais Program involves the development of the Lower Fadhli field and production to KhCPF, and includes the construction of new processing facilities to handle an additional capacity of 300,000 bpd of Arabian Light crude oil, 143,000,000 scfd of associated gas and 34,000 bpd of NGL. To accommodate this increase, a new gas-oil separation plant (GOSP), a crude stabilization unit and a gas train will be installed at the KhCPF.

Two gas turbine driven pump trains will also be installed to provide treated seawater injection for reservoir pressure support.

To optimize energy efficiency and make the plant partially self-reliant with power, a 165 megawatt co-generation unit will also be installed. About 45 percent of the power generated will come from recovering waste heat from the gas turbine hot exhaust flue gases that otherwise would have been vented into the atmosphere.

To comply with Saudi government directives to conserve groundwater, one of the largest membrane technology-based facilities within Saudi Aramco will be installed to use seawater to produce water for process use and refined seawater for injection and enhanced oil recovery production testing.

The Khurais Program will also see the installation of a grass-roots satellite GOSP to debottleneck and restore 200,000 bpd of production capacity from the Abu Jifan and Mazalij fields. To support the Khurais Program, 650 kilometers of pipeline will be installed to transport crude oil, gas, NGL and seawater.

The tender for the construction activities of the plant was awarded to Italian company Saipem last month. Currently, the project has broken ground and site preparation for the construction areas is underway. Project completion is slated for 2017.

It is Time to Diversify Our Sources of Income

18 November 2014 | 0 comments | Opinions & Editorials | by

Abdulateef Al‐MulhimAbdulateef Al‐Mulhim, Commodore, Royal Saudi Navy (Retired)

Commenting on the volatility of oil prices, some energy experts say that it is the only consumable commodity that behaves like water in a swimming pool. It is the same if you take water from the center of the pool or from near the diving board.

According to some experts like Thomas Friedman of the New York Times, the reason for the fluctuation in oil prices is basically a political price war initiated by some oil producers to hurt economies of other countries. However, more objective analysts link the situation to the basic economic principle of supply and demand.

The question is: Who is benefiting from the low oil prices and who is getting affected? And what does low oil prices mean to the world? Ironically when questions like this arise, people look at Saudi Arabia (for obvious reasons) and the United States for answers or solutions.

This is a positive thing for Saudi Arabia. The negative aspect is that the Kingdom heavily relies on oil as its main and only source of income. Persistent low oil prices for a long period can eventually hurt the Saudi economy.

People look at the United States for answers and solutions because America is the biggest consumer of oil in the world and has more oil reserves than it admits. At the same time, the US economy is so diverse to the point that oil plays a small factor in the overall US national economy. In other words, the US is the only country in the world that can benefit from either low or high oil prices.

From what we have seen and heard from world top politicians during the G-20 summit in Brisbane, Australia, is that the low oil price is an indication of slowing world economy. Ironically, most OPEC members rely heavily on oil and most non-OPEC members such as Norway or the United Kingdom have other sources of income. So, why is Saudi Arabia, the largest OPEC oil producers is not in a hurry to reduce production as a means to raise the price of oil?

Many Saudi officials said that the current oil price has no impact on Saudi Arabia. The price of an oil barrel was $147 in 2008 and now it is half as much. So, how low is low according to Saudi standards of producing cost and sales level.

At this stage, there is no sign of when will the fall of price would come to an end. Saudi Arabia has earmarked many mega projects for the next five years and it is very important to reevaluate the expenditure pattern in the Kingdom. There are projects that can wait and there are many projects that can be delayed and most important at this stage is to implement harsher rules regarding the use of public funds. It is true that we can sustain the ability to cope with the lower price but Saudi Arabia is still not keeping pace with diversifying its sources of income.

Saudi Arabia has to use oil and energy products more wisely and to adapt to oil price fluctuations. Energy consumption in Saudi Arabia is very high and at this time it is important to increase the price at the oil pump, put more strict rules on energy saving building standard and should take other measures to reduce the extravagant use of our resources. Saudi economy in the long run is susceptible to the changes in oil prices. It is true a short period of cheaper oil is in Saudi Arabia’s long-term interest because it will discourage any high cost operations to look for oil in remote areas. It will also discourage investments in any new oil discovery method such as the Shale oil. But at the end of the day, there will be more modern and cheaper technologies in the future and the price of oil will rise again. We should find ways to diversify our sources of income.

Written by Abdulateef Al‐Mulhim. It is Time to Diversify Our Sources of Income reprinted with permission of Arab News and Abdulateef Al‐Mulhim.

S. Koreans are Coming to Town

16 November 2014 | 0 comments | Opinions & Editorials | by

Abdulateef Al‐MulhimAbdulateef Al‐Mulhim, Commodore, Royal Saudi Navy (Retired)

During the past 10 years, the Saudi government initiated many mega projects to modernize the civic infrastructure. Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah personally launched many development projects in various spheres of life like new hospitals, highways, universities, railroad tracks, sports stadiums, oil and gas projects etc.

At a time when many of the neighboring countries are rocked by economic uncertainties and facing unrest and instability, Saudi Arabia continues to prosper and the authorities are continuously introducing various social and economic reforms for the benefit of the country and the people.

However, the delays in the completion of several projects and the quality of the end product irks many a Saudi. Various uplift projects are behind schedule and those completed after inordinate delays lack the quality we used to witness during the country’s early phases of development boom. Many people wonder why the projects in the past were finished on time and were of better quality. With advent of new technologies, this is a very valid question and presents a disturbing scenario.

Unlike many countries, there is no dearth of funds for those projects. Had there been any fund-related issue, these delays or lack of quality would have been understood. This situation reminds many Saudis of the first wave of South Koreans entering the Kingdom to work on various development projects. We have pleasant memories of the highly disciplined and hardworking South Korean work force. People in Riyadh still remember the so-called temporary overpasses to ease Riyadh congestions, which were built in a rush because of the dire need to regulate traffic.

Interestingly, those bridges are still in a much better shape than those constructed later and at higher budgets. Saudis still remember the South Koreans who came during the 1970s at a time when their country was amid economic and political uncertainties and many of the workers were very poor and simply needed work to support their families back home.

Many of them left the Kingdom not only with more money in their pockets but also with great experience they had gained while working on various uplift projects using then latest technology. The industrial city in Jubail and many other similar projects in parts of the Kingdom are testimony to their hard work.

South Korea has emerged as one of the most advanced industrial countries with the most skilled work force in the world. Just a few days ago a high-profile Saudi delegation visited South Korea and some Saudi papers reported that the Saudis wanted the South Koreans to come back to the Kingdom and help push building the unfinished projects. It is true that there are South Koreans in the Kingdom but apparently we are going to see more of them. Now, however, the South Korean work force is not as cheap as it used to be because of their skills and work ethics. Despite this factor, it is very important to bring skilled South Korean work force and expose the young Saudis to the work habits of the South Koreans because sooner or later, they will leave again and we should benefit from their ways of doing things. This is why it is all the more important for Saudi and foreign companies working on mega projects in the Kingdom to hire young Saudis and have them work side-by-side with the South Koreans. The current economic boom is guaranteed to last and we have to take advantage of every asset we have. There is a lot to learn from South Korea, which lacked many natural resources and assets but succeeded in beating all the odds and emerged as an economic miracle.

Written by Abdulateef Al‐Mulhim. S. Koreans are Coming to Town reprinted with permission of Arab News and Abdulateef Al‐Mulhim.