Aramco Florida Mini Reunion Music and Magic

14 November 2011 | 2 comments | Annuitants | by Anneliese Tedeschi and Judy Butler

<Aramco Florida Mini Reunion Music and MagicBecky Belanger, Guest, Fred Bobb, Bob Radford

Once again Aramco Expats met for a biennial reunion over a delicious lunch at the Tampa Palms Golf & Country Club on November 6, 2011. The setting was just as beautiful as we remembered with great views of the well-groomed surrounding golf course.

This time we were a small but lively group of 49 including a few newcomers. Many had expressed their regrets via email at having to miss this joyous occasion because of conflicts and hoped for a future opportunity.

<Aramco Florida Mini Reunion Music and MagicDorothy and David Steinheimer, Bill Morrow, Fred and Maggie Shoemaker

The festivities started Saturday night. Pete and Gayla Dorris invited us to a taste of homemade brew – Brown and White – which brought back memories of the good old days. As most of the attendees were staying at the Club’s guest rooms, food and drink were plentiful with lively discussions.

Aramco Expats are definitely special for even if we haven’t seen each other for years, as soon as we get together it’s like yesterday. We bond instantly by chatting and laughing and reminiscing. We had exactly one hour to visit with our friends before we sat down to a delicious buffet. Peter Cunningham welcomed our intimate group and thanked Anneliese Tedeschi and Judy Butler for its organization.

<Aramco Florida Mini Reunion Music and MagicTerry La Rosa, Judith Butler, Anneliese Tedeschi

After lunch the program began with Judy Butler, our talented MC, announcing it was time to tell, “This happened to me in Saudi Arabia” stories. Some were so funny and hilarious that we couldn’t stop laughing, especially the story of the injured window cleaner by Fred Bobb, the polar bear by Fred Killgore, the food processor by Sol Asekun, and the encounter with matawas by Jim Milliken. Others were more informative like Sharon O’Brien’s report on “Life in Aramco Now” as a visiting grandmother or Ann Tandlich’s adventure of arriving in Arabia in 1962.

Sol Asekun treated us to an unusual musical performance on CD. It was the “Blue Flame” sung, not read, by the Canterbury Madrigals Choir to the tune of Church of England chants. All the presentations will be well remembered and bring a smile to our face. Bob Banta demonstrated a talent that you can teach yourself in retirement – the art of magic. He had us puzzled and in awe when we watched his many tricks. How can you turn a torn newspaper into one whole piece again or guess correctly several playing cards randomly drawn from a thick deck? We believe it’s magic!!

The program included the exciting game of Questions and Answers to honor special attendees with food prizes of the Middle East.

  1. “Who has the lowest badge number?” Bill Morrow stood up with a big grin and proved his badge number was 17123 by waving a button that was issued to him in 1952.
  2. Bill Morrow also took the prize being the “oldest person in the room” – 88 years of age.
  3. Bob Radford had “the longest service with Aramco” – 30 years – though mostly outside of Saudi Arabia.
  4. “The most recent retirees” were Gene and Sharon O’Brien. They retired to Florida in 2003.
  5. Fred Bobb and his father, Arthur Bobb, and Pete and Gayle Dorris “traveled the furthest” arriving from the east coast of Florida – Palm City, Tequesta.

This part of the program always generates enough interaction that some folks are not ready to leave.

<Aramco Florida Mini Reunion Music and MagicGene and Sharon O’Brien with Jerry Korf

The program concluded as Judy and Anneliese thanked Gene Stenov for taking photos during our gathering; Lisa Stenov for preparing name tags and checking in our guests, and Mary Stenov for displaying her lovely art composition on our welcome table. After a group picture, we promised to meet again. Aramco gave us an experience we treasure for a lifetime.

We are looking forward to our next gathering in two years. To make it a future success, please help Anneliese and Judy by sending names, addresses and particularly email addresses of Florida Aramcons to keep our master list updated. Judy Butler, Tel: 813-979-2125,; Anneliese Tedeschi, Tel: 727-544-8233,

Enjoy more photos in the Aramco ExPats Galleries.

Dutchman Nostalgic About Rafha Days

14 November 2011 | 5 comments | Annuitants | by

<Dutchman Nostalgic About Rafha DaysDutchman Nostalgic About Rafha Days

RAFHA: A Dutch man is still nostalgic about the good times he spent in the Kingdom nearly half a century ago.

In a touching letter posted on online news sites, Tony Wifer Hoven is eager to find out about his former Saudi colleagues, especially those from the northern city of Rafha.

He still cherishes sweet memories of his unforgettable life in Rafha and other parts of northern Saudi Arabia.

Hoven is keen to know what had happened to his friends in Rafha and Budna (the old name of Arar). He expressed pride over the unique opportunity to work with such a group of nice people in Rafha and get involved in acquainting them with modern technology.

Hoven was part of a batch of foreigners who worked on the Trans-Arabian Pipeline (Tapline), an oil pipeline from the Kingdom’s Qaisumah to Sidon in Lebanon owned by Saudi Aramco.

When construction was completed in 1950, it was the world’s largest oil pipeline system. Tony spent 17 years in the Kingdom from 1957 until 1974. He was in charge of the electricity power supply division of the Tapline pumping stations.

“I am Tony Wifer Hoven from the Netherlands. I had worked as a Tapline official during the period between 1957 and 74. I have been at all stations of Tapline,” he starts his letter.

“Now I am 78 years of age. Until this day, I have been overcome with nostalgic feelings. After spending several years in Rafha, I am still cherishing good feelings about my contributions in the progress achieved by a section of people in the region.”

Tony said he was fully confident that some of his colleagues still remember him.

The Dutchman says that his first memories revolve around Budna during 1957. “I was in charge of the electricity division of the pumping station (Tapline Budna). I had to also supervise all electricity power supply-related problems in Arar city. During those days, Budna was a small inhabited area. Life was quite different there,” he said.

“During the 50s and 60s, Tapline was used to transport crude oil from Saudi Aramco facilities to Europe via Lebanon. Due to the increased production, it was essential to expand the pipelines and add more turbines, in addition to pumping gas to stations in Al-Shouba, Jalamid and Jordan.”

Tony recalled that during the early 60s, he had been asked by the Saudi oil company to move to Rafha, where he discovered a small community. “I lived together with them. They were a small group of Saudi local officials. We formed a team to confront the new challenge. We started providing training on the basis of transferring technology from one person to another,” he said.

According to Tony, this interaction developed into a bond of solidarity among all the colleagues who had then been transformed into an integrated team.

Referring to the infrastructure facilities during the period, he said: “Roads were very limited and their condition was the worst. The distance between gas turbine stations and pumping stations was about 150 km, and that forced me to cross hundreds of kilometers. In view of the poor condition of roads, we had acquired some sort of expertise in this,” he said.

Citing the factors behind his return home, Tony said: “During the 70s it was very difficult to continue the transportation of crude oil through Tapline, especially because of the stiff competition from huge oil tankers. That forced the eventual halting of the project, and subsequently I left the company and returned together with my family to Holland in 1974.”

Republished by permission of the Arab News.

Technology Quest Offers Collaborative Opportunities for Company

8 November 2011 | 0 comments | Saudi Aramco News | by

Saudi Aramco NewsTechnology Quest

Saudi Aramco held its first European Upstream “Technology Quest” in Aberdeen, Scotland, from Oct. 10-12 as experts in the field gathered at the invitation-only event to explore opportunities to collaborate with Saudi Aramco in the development of breakthrough upstream technologies.

Hosted by Aramco Overseas Company (AOC) U.K. Ltd, the three-day symposium focused on 21 specific challenges within several research domains, including computational modeling, geophysics, geology, production, drilling and reservoir engineering relating to the work of Saudi Aramco’s Exploration and Petroleum Engineering Center Advanced Research Center (EXPEC ARC). Before the event, academics, researchers and companies perfected their proposals for joint development initiatives before submitting them through the official Technology Quest website.
Technology Quest attracted 170 technology experts from around the globe with representation not only from Europe and North America, but also Russia, Ukraine, Australia and the Far East.

In the opening remarks, Nabil Al-Dabal, managing director of Aramco Overseas Company B.V., said: “Technology Quest is an event which seems to me to be unique as it encourages pioneering contributions from those outside the small group of mega companies within the industry. And this year for the first time, Quest is being held in Europe, further recognition of the prominent role European companies’ play in the upstream oil and gas industry.”
Samer AlAshgar, manager of Saudi Aramco’s EXPEC ARC, also addressed the gathering. “The aim of Technology Quest is to partner and collaborate with several of you to find solutions to these challenges,” AlAshgar said. “EXPEC ARC’s role is to develop innovative upstream oil and gas technologies for tomorrow that are aligned with our discovery and recovery goals and targets in Saudi Aramco.

“Our development plans for our oil and gas fields are decades long. This allows us, in fact pushes us, toward a strategy that invests significantly in high impact technologies that typically would have a long-term investment horizon. This has resulted in a portfolio of R&D projects that is more balanced with process changing, breakthrough type of projects, and not on simple enhancements” he added.

A representative from each of the research teams then delivered a challenge-specific presentation to the audience on their research domains.

“Automation in the Seismic Value Chain is a major research initiative within Geophysics Technology of EXPEC ARC,” said Panos Kelamis, chief technologist of Geophysics. “More data is on the way … we continue to employ more receivers and simultaneous sources in addition to non-seismic technologies, for example electromagnetics and gravity. Automation offers unique opportunities to accommodate these large volumes of multidisciplinary data while improving subsurface imaging with reduced cost and turnaround time” he added.

Over the course of the three days, Technology Quest then saw 40 presentations delivered by delegates in breakout rooms, as well as over 130 private one-on-one meetings that took place, giving delegates and Saudi Aramco’s chief technologists from the EXPEC ARC a great opportunity to discuss their ideas for collaboration in detail.

Dr. Ali Dogru, chief technologist of Computational Modeling Technology with Saudi Aramco said, “We were really impressed with the quality of the proposals as well as the innovative ideas communicated to us.”

William Rossen, professor of Reservoir Engineering Technology at Delft University of Technology said: “This was my second time participating in Technology Quest, and I find it very useful. Saudi Aramco was genuinely interested in our proposal and the level of caliber of their technologists and indeed the attendees was very high. It was really interesting meeting the other delegates representing computational modeling that came from academic institutions, small corporations and even computer game companies.”

Klaus Mosbacher, managing director of ABBON, a production technology company said: “I must admit I was pleasantly surprised by the pragmatic approach and the hands-on mentality from Saudi Aramco. We appreciate that Saudi Aramco is talking with smaller companies and promoting innovation in its early stages.”

This year’s event was the Company’s third Technology Quest, with the previous two being hosted in Houston by Aramco Services Company ASC.

For more information, visit
(Article by Laura Baker)

MEOS: Innovation Beyond Limits

7 November 2011 | 0 comments | Saudi Aramco News | by

Thousands of exhibitors and visitors, including a large contingent from Saudi Aramco, filled the halls of Bahrain International Exhibition and Convention Center for the 17th Middle East Oil Show (MEOS 2011). The theme of this year’s event was “Innovation Beyond Limits.”

About 900 Saudi Aramco employees took part in the event, many of whom presented technical papers during conference sessions, participated in discussion groups and shared information about the latest technologies and innovations.

During the opening session, Amin H. Nasser, senior vice president of Upstream, emphasized the rapidly changing nature of the industry.

“Since our last meeting in MEOS, Saudi Aramco took one of the boldest steps in its history, certainly the boldest in my career. The company launched its Accelerated Transformation Program,” said Nasser. “This effort will change us, within less than a decade, from an oil and gas company to a fully integrated energy and chemicals company. Most relevant to our topic today, Saudi Aramco will transform itself from a consumer of the best technology into an innovator and producer of leading technologies.”

Nasser went on to speak about key advancements in the field of technology, including the intelligent digital field and reservoir simulation.

“The intelligent digital field is here today, but we are already looking toward the next-generation of intelligent fields with advanced diagnostic gravity and electromagnetic tools,” he said. Those tools, coupled with the company’s in-house nanotechnology program, allow the company to develop nanoparticles not only to map and characterize reservoirs better, but also to better recover product from them, Nasser added.

Giving an example of the advanced uses of technology in reservoir simulation, Nasser pointed to Saudi Aramco’s ability to simulate giant fields with the highest fidelity possible by using GigaPOWERS, its in-house developed reservoir simulator.

“To fully reap the benefits of this engine, however, we are becoming more interdisciplinary in our approach,” he said. “For example, we are turning to geophysics to develop technologies to extract higher resolution inter-well data to better populate our models. Our geophysicists work with geologists, reservoir engineers, and petrophysicists to make sure that we integrate all the data and that our models make sense.”

Nasser noted that the company is now moving toward exploration and exploitation of unconventional resources and that unconventional reservoirs require unconventional technologies. With substantial technical and economic challenges ahead, the company will continue to develop innovative technologies to unlock these resources and collaborate with its partners to develop “fit-for-purpose” technologies in these endeavors.

The conference offered insights from a variety of experts and officials from throughout the Gulf region on the challenges facing the oil industry.

Bahraini Minister of Energy, HE Dr. Abdul Hussain Bin Ali Mirza, noted in his speech to conferees that he expects the global energy consumption to increase by 36 percent by 2035.

“Such demand is driven by two important factors, namely: the increase of world’s population over the coming 25 years by 25 percent according to UN estimates, and development of emerging countries, which will put pressure to increase energy supplies due to population, economic output and improved living standards,” he said.

Exploration and Petroleum Engineering Center — Advanced Research Center (EXPEC ARC) manager, Samer AlAshgar, participated in a panel discussion on “Technology Development: How Fast?”, which gathered leaders of technology development from different sectors of upstream industry. “We couple our high impact challenges with long term, well-mapped roadmaps toward targets that are almost always aspirational,” he said. “A long-term, blue sky goal is required to gravitate and calibrate the slope of any development, which should in turn enhance the impact potential of the technology as well as its development time.”

“The participation and diversity of the technical program was the strongest in the history of MEOS during the last 32 years,” said Abdulaziz Al-Kaabi, chief technologist at EXPEC ARC and chairman of Technical Program.

Huda Al-Ghoson, general manager of Saudi Aramco Training and Career Development, took part in the session held under the theme of “Energy and Development of Skills in the Industry: Innovation Against Application,” which focused on industry changes that provide opportunities and challenges for the most important element in Saudi Aramco’s wealth and industry — its people.

The session focused on how to give and get top skills of performance from and to employees in a dynamic and rapidly changing industry.

(Article by Adil Sadiq)

S-Oil to Expand Onsan Refinery

7 November 2011 | 0 comments | Saudi Aramco News | by

Saudi Aramco NewsS Oil to Expand Onsan Refinery

At home and abroad, Saudi Aramco is committing itself to the petrochemicals industry in a big way. On Oct. 20, Saudi Aramco joint venture S-Oil inaugurated its Onsan Refinery Expansion Project, which comes less than two weeks after the company and The Dow Chemical Co. signed the Sadara joint venture shareholders agreement.

The expanded Onsan plant will produce enough paraxylene (PX) — which is made from naphtha and is the raw material for polyester and other products — to clothe nearly half the world.

Among the 1,000 people celebrating the launch were South Korean President Lee Myung Bak, Saudi Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources H.E. Ali I. Al-Naimi, Saudi Aramco president and CEO Khalid A. Al-Falih, S-Oil CEO Ahmed A. Subaey, Saudi Aramco senior vice president of Downstream Khalid G. Al-Buainain, Hanjin Group chairman Cho Yang Ho, mayor of Ulsan Metropolitan City Park Maeng Woo and vice minister of Knowledge Economy Yoon Sang Jik.

President Lee commended S-Oil for taking the risk of investing during difficult economic times. “This is a meaningful investment,” President Lee said, “since S-Oil did it during a down cycle.” As it turned out, the timing was fortuitous: In the past year or so, PX prices have doubled.

The president also noted S-Oil’s commitment to the local community and to corporate social responsibility. On a multinational level, “S-Oil is a good model of cooperation between Saudi Arabia and Korea,” he said.

President Lee’s history with the refinery and the company goes back 35 years, when he worked for Hyundai Engineering and Construction building the refinery.

On the other side of the history is Al-Naimi, who was president of Saudi Aramco when in 1991 it took a 35 percent stake in S-Oil to become its largest shareholder.

“I feel proud of making the JV deal with S-Oil as the then-president of Saudi Aramco,” Al-Naimi said. “S-Oil is an ideal model of economic cooperation between an oil-producing country and an oil-consuming nation, and is the most successful case of projects invested in by Aramco around the world.”

He said Saudi Aramco’s investment has dramatically improved S-Oil’s profitability and competitiveness.

Al-Falih called S-Oil a crown jewel of Saudi Aramco and said, “I hope to see S-Oil growing into a globally competitive refiner.”

Subaey said the inauguration shows that S-Oil “can be a greater contributor to the further prosperity of mankind beyond being a profitable refiner, all thanks to Saudi Aramco’s continuous and stable investment.

“These new facilities,” he said, “will become the future growth engine of S-Oil. We will continue to expand our business portfolio into petrochemicals downstream and solar PV (photo-voltaic) such as poly-silicon.” In June, the company acquired a 33.4 percent stake in the PV company HK Silicon.

The $1.2 billion refinery project doubles S-Oil’s PX production capacity to 1.7 million tons per year and benzene to 560,000 tons per year. Its 90,000 barrel per day condensate fractionation unit boosts crude refining capacity from 580,000 bpd to 670,000 bpd.

With its 30-story xylene tower and 700 kilometers of pipeline, it is considered the world’s largest single-train plant.

(Article by Paul Sauser)