A record crowd of runners took to the streets along the al-Khobar Corniche on March 15 to participate in the 17th Annual Charity Run. Saudi Aramco is one of the sponsors. Organized under a theme emphasizing organ donation, all proceeds from the event went to the Saudi Society for Organ Donation.
More than 15,000 youngsters and adults took part in the event, which had originally been postponed due to weather. In addition, people with special needs had their own run with the purpose of bring them closer the community.
More than 50 volunteers from Saudi Aramco and its contractors and staff members’ children helped support the event. Also, a SAMSO ambulance and medical team also supported the event, and the company provided 20 buses to transport people with special needs and others to their starting points.
One of the aims of the run was to promote fitness. In addition to the physical activities, there were also a number of awareness activities during the event. Saudi Aramco Corporate Social Responsibility’s campaign looked to raise awareness of the importance of recycling and conservation.
Local and regional officials praised the race’s effectiveness, both in the growing number of active participants and its ability to get important messages out to the public.
Korean, Saudi Aramco School Students Travel to Distant Shores
“For six months, my students have been excited to come [to Dhahran],” said Jeon Hyoung Jae, principal of Eungye Middle School (EMS) in Sihung, South Korea, during his speech in a luncheon hosted by Dhahran Saudi Aramco Schools. Exploring the culture of the Kingdom “should give us a new perspective in life,” he added.
Korean students visited Saudi Aramco Schools in Dhahran for 10 days as a part of the friendship program between the two schools. This trip was the first international travel experience for many of the visiting students.
Some were excited to experience the Kingdom’s desert climate. “We do not even have dust [in Korea],” said Dong Gyune Kim of EMS. Others were eager to discover some Saudi history because of the country’s uniqueness.
The Korean students wasted little time before acclimating, kicking off their visit by joining fellow students for a Winter Dance. In Dhahran, the students learned about Saudi Aramco and the community’s history during a visit to the Heritage Gallery. In al-Hasa, the students visited Ibrahim Palace and the old market, and they later flew to Shaybah to see up close the company’s operations.
A day was devoted to a workshop about Korean culture for students from Saudi Aramco Schools who are planning to go on the trip to Korea. As part of the program, the exchange students shadowed their hosts in the Dhahran school for a day.
“It is interesting that students here get the chance to have discussions about what they think,” said Seukwon.
Meanwhile, the two teachers who volunteered to accompany the students had the chance to observe the school’s educational philosophy. “Whereas some schools focus on making students get high grades in exams, this school [SA school] makes students confident in everything,” said Korean English teacher Mina Kim.
The student exchange program started in 2008 to culturally enrich the trip for SAS students who travel to Korea. Instead of only seeing the tourists’ sites, students now have the chance to go into Eungye Middle School and stay a night with a host family.
“The highlight of the trip for the kids usually is the home stay with the family because they get firsthand experience of the Korean culture,” said program coordinator Alice Underwood. “For the Korean students, it is about getting out of the [Korean] Peninsula,” seeing a different country and how big the world is beyond the Republic, she added.
Every two years in January, 10 Korean students and two Korean staff members come to Dhahran. In March, a group of Saudi Aramco school students travels to Korea.
“Teens are curious about what their peers do in other countries,” Heather Aberle, one of the coordinators said.
Dong Gyune Kim said his parents supported his decision to participate in the program because they wanted him to be open to other cultures and learn to become competitive in a global market.
The Board of Directors for the Yanbu Aramco Sinopec Refining Company (YASREF) Limited, a joint venture between Saudi Aramco and China Petrochemical Corporation (Sinopec), was held on recently in Seou.
The meeting was conducted by the board chairman, Khalid Al-Buainain, with representation from the joint venture partners, including Fahad Al-Helal, Khalid Al-Naji and Salah Al-Hareky from Saudi Aramco, and Ling Yiqun and Zhou Xinqian from Sinopec.
The YASREF Board reviewed and confirmed the new board members and committee members, and the appointment of new company officers, along with other administrative items. Also presented as information items were the 2011 year-end financial results and the company’s development plans, including the ongoing apprentice program and direct-hire recruitment programs for 2012. The Project Execution Status was also presented, showing the project’s construction being 5 percent ahead of schedule at 12 percent, engineering being 2 percent ahead of schedule at 79 percent, and procurement being on schedule at 41 percent.
The joint venture refinery now being built by YASREF will be in the Royal Commission of Yanbu’. It will be a world-class full-conversion refinery using 400,000 barrels per day (bpd) of Arab Heavy crude that will produce ultra-clean transportation fuels for international and domestic markets. After commissioning and start-up, the single-train refinery will produce 263,000 bpd of diesel, 90,000 bpd of gasoline, 140,000 tons per day (tpd) of benzene, 1,200 tpd of pelletized sulfur, along with 6,300 tpd of petroleum coke. The construction is expected to be completed in June 2014, with start-up commencing in September 2014 and the first commercial shipment of refined products expected in the fourth quarter of 2014.
Within a few years of operation, YASREF is expected to deliver significant annual revenues and generate about 6,000 direct and indirect jobs for Saudis. Also, the joint venture has enrolled 550 Saudis in the apprentice program, with the majority of the apprentices to be assigned to operations and maintenance activities in the refinery.
The refinery is using proprietary technology supplied by UOP, Chevron Lummis and ConocoPhillips to assure the quality and quantity of the ultra-clean transportation fuels produced. All of the refinery’s products will be marketed and sold to the world on behalf of YASREF by the joint venture partners.
We invite you to enjoy part 8 of the 12 part Distant Arabia video series courtesy of Selwa Press.
The majority of the film clips posted on the Selwa Video You Tube channel are comprised of films taken in Saudi Arabia between 1937 and 1940 by Tom Barger, Les Snyder and Jerry Harriss. They are among the few moving pictures that record that critical and brief moment in the country’s history when an ancient pastoral way of life was coming to an abrupt end, to be replaced by an industrial society. Many of the Bedouin depicted had never seen an automobile let alone a movie camera before these men arrived. The herds of camels, once the lifeblood of Bedouin life, would become irrelevant. The dhows of the Gulf replaced by motor launches, the date oases, the very anchor of the Al Hasa economy, would become all but insignificant. All that remains of those days are these flickering images from a time before oil.
Selwa Press is a publishing company devoted to exploring the early days of Saudi Arabia. It’s website at www.SelwaPress.com has many related features to this time as well as a complete catalog of its publications. www.SelwaDigital.com is devoted to the company’s ebook selections and includes other titles not related to the Kingdom.
Distant Arabia part 8 – Gymkhana in Saudi Arabia
Filmed by Aramcon Dean Cantrell in the mid 60s this clip opens with a mare and her filly. At 0:20 riders from the Hobby Farm pass in a 4th of July parade. At 0:26 is Sher Lyn Cruise, followed by Lynn Martin, Patricia Dixon, at 0:38 Jeff Jones, at 0:52 Michael Barger, at 0:58 Helen Seidler, and at 1:14 Kit Milam. The gymkhana begins at 1:22 and includes the opening demonstration of the figure eight maneuver. At 1:38 the riders attempt to lance three inch rings while galloping at full speed. At 1:56 the obstacle course proves a formidable challenge. Annie Barger shows off her horse Alia at 2:14.
Sharon Eboch with the Mendenhall Glacier in the Background
Former Dhahran resident Sharon Eboch has published a mystery novel set in Juneau, Alaska, called Murder on the West Glacier Trail. Ed and Sharon lived in Dhahran from 1974 to 1980 and from 1992 to 1999. Ed worked for Aramco as an economist. Sharon belonged to two different writers’ groups in Dhahran and started the book at that time.
They also lived in Juneau for six years in the 1980s. Sharon ran a bed-and-breakfast in their home one summer while living there and has set the mystery in a B&B. A young guest is shot to death while hiking the West Glacier Trail near the Mendenhall Glacier, and her hostess, Kate Foland, decides to try to track down the killer.
Kate’s investigation leads her through Juneau’s Native community, tourist attractions, and construction sites. But when the killer turns his sights on Kate’s family, Kate must do more than solve a murder—she must save her son.
Juneau has changed since the 1980’s, and some of the changes made it into the book and some didn’t. For example, the Fiddlehead Restaurant has closed since then, and one of the recipes in the book is for the Fiddlehead’s North Douglas Chocolate Cake. Readers may enjoy trying it and some of the other Alaska-themed recipes.
Sharon and Ed currently live in Chandler, Arizona. Their daughter, Chris, has published 14 books, 12 for children as Chris Eboch and 2 for adults as Kris Bock. Their son Doug Eboch wrote the screenplay for Sweet Home Alabama and has published two books, The Christmas Tree Lot and LOL: Little Old Ladies, both based on his blog, The Little Church Stories.
Murder on the West Glacier Trail was published as print-on-demand. It is available in print or electronic form in the Aramco ExPats Suq.