Japan: Opening New Horizons

29 October 2014 | 0 comments | Saudi Aramco News | by

Saudi Aramco News

Aramco Asia-Japan, Saudi Aramco’s affiliate based in Tokyo, is opening new horizons, leading new markets and enhancing the company’s growth opportunities in the region. Aramco Asia-Japan, the product of a merger of two branch offices of two companies, Aramco Overseas Company – Tokyo and Saudi Petroleum Limited – Tokyo, carries out key support services for Saudi Aramco. These activities include inspection, information technology, quality management, research and business development and public relations, among others.

Aramco Asia-Japan’s inspectors are the first line of defense in quality assurance. With increasing trade exchanges between operations in Asia and the company’s headquarters in Dhahran, inspection becomes a main element in guaranteeing quality and maintaining the highest standards.

Serving Saudi Aramco’s companies in Tokyo, Beijing, Seoul and Singapore, inspection work also includes quality management and information technologies services. Aramco Asia’s inspection engineers monitor equipment quality through a network of more than 300 engineers in the various Asian countries, plus support from world-renowned quality assurance agencies.

Aramco Asia-Japan performs quality monitoring activities for Saudi Aramco projects and joint ventures such as Petro Rabigh Phase II, SATORP and Sadara. “We work with quality representatives of each project to ensure that manufacturers apply the project’s specifications and standards as required and guarantee the quality of purchases such as heavy equipment, thermal exchangers, electrical transformers and high-pressure machines,” said Ibrahim M. Al-Jardan, head of the Quality Management Unit.

The Tokyo office is also responsible for the main server that provides vital information technology services to Aramco Asia offices in China, the Republic of Korea, Singapore and Japan.

When it comes to social responsibility in Japan, there is a significant cooperation between Saudi Aramco and Aramco Asia to support various causes. For example, through the Tokyo office, Saudi Aramco supports the preservation of coral reefs in Okinawa and in cooperation with a Japanese university, has contributed to mangrove-planting campaigns since 2012. When the 2011 earthquake hit Japan, Saudi Arabia was quick to extend help, and Saudi Aramco president and CEO Khalid A. Al-Falih personally visited the disaster-hit areas, meeting with customers and assuring them that cooperation with them will continue and prosper.

In the coming five years, management expects Aramco Asia-Japan to support major energy projects, including Saudi Aramco’s expanding chemicals business.

Nothing Islamic About IS

28 October 2014 | 0 comments | Opinions & Editorials | by

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

A few days ago, a video released by the self-ascribed Islamic State (IS) showed an Australian teenage boy threatening western leaders. He was later identified as 17-year-old runaway boy who had left his home telling his mom he was going fishing. It still surprises many as to how he ended up joining the IS ranks thousands of miles away in Syria.

That teen is among the hundreds of western militants believed to be fighting along the IS. This writer wonders as to why an Australian teen would announce that the IS would not stop until the group’s black flags were hoisted at the Buckingham Palace and the White House.

He appeared very confident in that video and clarity in his voice was frightening as he was resolved to take lives. It is very unlikely that he will remain in Syria for long. Either he will get killed in the battlefield or one fine morning he will realize his folly. Anyway, cutting the long story short this Australian teen, who seems to be a second generation Australian with Middle Eastern origins, should have been busy doing his schoolwork at home not posing for a video threatening the world.

Thousands of miles from Australia, a Canadian identified as Micheal Zehaf-Bibeau killed a soldier in Ottawa and a gunbattle ensued on Parliament Hill during which he got killed. Later on, it was reported that he wanted to leave for Syria but due to some reasons his passport was confiscated.

Why would a Canadian, 32, or an Australian teenager wish to leave a peaceful and beautiful place like Ottawa or Sydney and travel thousands of miles to fight alongside people they knew very little about?

Most of these western militants are fighting in the name of Islam and claim that they are fighting to protect the faith. Reality, however, is otherwise. Islam is their first victim, as these groups are bringing a bad name to this peaceful religion by killing innocent people.

The Australian teen or the Canadian man has damaged the reputation of Islam and harmed Muslims in their respective countries. Perhaps, unknowingly, they have done more damage than any anti-Muslim extremist could have.

Both Australia and Canada are known for their tolerance toward religious freedom and their respect for Islam and Muslims. Muslim communities in both countries really need to open up to the community and become part of it. If somebody is not comfortable or not capable of getting integrated in a non-Muslim society, he/she should leave it in peaceful manner leaving behind a trail of pleasant memories among their former neighbors. It is important for religious figures to renounce all forms of extremism through their sermons. Islam is all about peace and whatever the IS and its likes are doing is not sanctioned by the true teachings of Islam.

Muslim communities in western countries have a task to not only open up their mosques for public relations but it is important that they open up to the communities they live in. Let us face the reality that Muslims living in western societies are a happier lot as compared with their co-religionists in many Muslim countries. As a matter of fact, many of them left their Muslim countries for a better life and social equality. Muslims in the West are allowed to build mosques and practice their religion in total freedom and among people who respect Islam. Islam teaches us tolerance. The IS has nothing to do with Islam. It is ruining the lives of Muslims and non-Muslims not only in Syria or Iraq but has also affected everyone across the globe. Destroying IS and what it stands for is a must for all countries around the world. The IS is a cancer that has to be removed.

Written by Abdulateef Al‐Mulhim. Nothing Islamic About IS reprinted with permission of Arab News and Abdulateef Al‐Mulhim.

Understanding Saudi Demography

26 October 2014 | 0 comments | Opinions & Editorials | by

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

Few weeks ago, I was invited to attend the C3 Arab-US Business Summit and Saudi-US Commerce. However, due to some reasons, I was unable to attend the event.

Anyway, I tried to catch up with the discussions that had taken place during the event by reading the reports posted on the SUSRIS website. I read with great interest answers to many questions hurled at the president of the Saudi-US Trade Group, Richard Wilson.

Many Saudi-related issues came under discussion but to me the most important was about Saudi demographics because it is one of the most important reasons behind unemployment in the Kingdom.

And I agree with some of the views expressed during the event especially regarding seeing the Saudi economic policies driven by the reality of the Saudi youth demography. I must add that the Saudi people should contribute to resolving the issues facing the government in planning for future due to the unique Saudi demography.

Saudi population is approaching 30 million people. Around 20 millions are Saudis and the rest are from many different parts of the world and this does not include overstayers or illegals.

But, in general, the number of Saudis and expats should be no economic burden on a country that has the strongest economy in the region and also it should not be seen as a problem to accommodate or finding enough housing facilities for these millions in such a huge country. So, why population growth and the lack of housing units are being portrayed as major issues facing Saudi Arabia and why foreign analysts consider these two topics sensitive to address while in the Kingdom?

I have written many articles on these issues. So, may be the topics are sensitive but we always talk and write about them. As for the population growth, we do have a major issue in the Kingdom. Fifty percent are younger than 24 and what is more, sixty percent are younger than 30. And as for the housing issue, the price of real state is one of the highest in the world and simply put, owning a house is not cheap and the government is simply trying hard to ease the problem by injecting billions to help the general public own a home through the Ministry of Housing.

But, frankly put, we the Saudis have the highest birth rate and thus many Saudis would seek bigger houses, which at the end of the day, requires higher electric bills and more money for maintenance. Saudi families should promote family planning for a better future. Raising and educating children is time consuming, requires lots of patience and of course more money. The larger the family, the bigger the house needed.

As for the Saudi youth, we should improve the education environment and should teach them the importance of being responsible and aware of many chances and opportunities provided to them by the government.

They should be made aware of the many employment opportunities, which are available to them through the numerous mega projects. First, the Saudi youth should be exposed to best work ethics. Nowadays, we see a drive for the Saudization of the job market but at the same time we see an increase in the number of visas issued to various major companies around the Kingdom. At the end of the day, it is the duty of the young Saudis to prove themselves and to make it worthwhile to hire more Saudis because of their talents and work ethics and not because of administrative directives. Our youth should work harder because we have a unique demography and we still have the highest birth rate.

Written by Abdulateef Al‐Mulhim. Understanding Saudi Demography reprinted with permission of Arab News and Abdulateef Al‐Mulhim.

Company Puts Tablets in Hands of Over 13,000 Deserving Students

23 October 2014 | 0 comments | Saudi Aramco News | by

Saudi Aramco News

With financial contributions from employees, Saudi Aramco began distributing tablets to children from low-income families.

In an effort to spread knowledge across the Kingdom, Saudi Aramco employees were offered to partake in a campaign to provide more than 13,000 students with tablets. For two months, employees donated generously with their money to support the company’s initiative.

The project was a collaboration between Saudi Telecom Company (STC), Huawei Tech Investment Saudi Arabia Co. Ltd., DHL and Takaful Charity Foundation, which dedicates its resources to helping students from low-income families succeed.

Khalid A. Al-Falih, president and CEO of Saudi Aramco, applauded employees for their donations to a campaign that embodies the spirit of giving. “At Saudi Aramco, we believe that education, like water and oxygen, is a right for everyone, and it is one of the essential foundations for our citizenship efforts that we take pride in and work on cementing in our goals and objectives. When we invest in education, we nourish a generation that will lead the way with their passions and aspirations.”, he said.

The Gift of Knowledge is an extension of the School Kit Campaign, which provided students with school bags and supplies for the past 12 years. Al-Falih supported the evolution of the campaign and said the tablets would allow students to learn through discovery and educational programs that will broaden their horizons and strengthen their desire to learn.

James and Rita Maher

23 October 2014 | 2 comments | Annuitants | by

Hundreds of Aramcon ExPat annuitants gathered recently in Asheville, NC for an unforgettable weekend spent renewing friendships, sharing old memories and creating new ones. Among them were James and Rita Maher, residing today in Las Vegas after Jim’s retirement in 1996.

When asked what drew him to Saudi Arabia back in 1973, Jim, an industrial engineer, cited the opportunity to work overseas in his field studying the multiple infrastructures that supported Aramco. He also gave credit for inspiring him to colorful stories told by his uncle who served with the US Air Force in Dhahran during World War II.

Jim remembers fondly his many former Saudi colleagues, especially Maki Al Ghaim who was his manager for a time. Scuba diving in the Red Sea and Arabian Gulf is one of his favorite memories of life in Saudi Arabia, along with Arabian dinners on the dunes outside Dhahran and Christmas pageants staged on the local ball field in the early ‘70s.

Hobbies that keep him busy these days include sailing his MacGregor 26 on Lake Mead and giving seminars on Apple computers in Sun City. Like many retired Aramcons, Jim continues his passion for simulated sports. He arrived in Asheville eager to play in simulated NFL football tournaments with fellow enthusiasts. He must have fared well, for he’s offered to chair a committee to organize simulated sports tournaments at future gatherings.

Jim and Rita raised their three children—Julie, Nora and Brian—in the Kingdom and have wonderful memories of the experience. Jim’s fellow annuitants can only nod their heads in agreement when he says that, “Only those who have been there and raised a family in Saudi Arabia can really understand how great it was, both professionally and in terms of the lifestyle ExPats enjoyed.”

When Jim was a child, he listened to his uncle tell exotic stories about the Kingdom. Now that he’s retired, he and Rita no doubt have lots of colorful stories of their own to tell their five grandchildren. In their own way, they are serving as active good will ambassadors to Aramco, the Kingdom and the Saudi people.

Note: Please send a photograph of Rita and Jim to info@aramcoexpats.com.