SAEEA Monthly Meeting Minutes for April 2013

8 April 2013 | 1 comment | Pakistan | by Iqbal Ahmed Khan

Saudi Aramco Ex-Employees AssociationSher Ali, MA Matin, GQ Khan, Kamal Farooqi, Engr. Iqbal Khan,
Anwar Mirza and Safdar Mirza

The monthly progress meeting of Saudi Aramco Ex-Employees Association (SAEEA) Sindh based was held at Mr. Anwar Mirza’s house (One of SAEEA very active member). The attendees were as follows:

  • Kamal Ahmed Farooqi
  • Engr. Iqbal Ahmed Khan
  • Ghulam Qutubuddin Khan
  • Mohammed Abdul Matin
  • Sher Ali
  • Anwar Mirza
  • Safdar Mirza
Saudi Aramco Ex-Employees AssociationSafdar Mizra

Following are the highlights:

  • Kamal Ahmed Farooqi explained the activities during the month of March 2013.
  • KAF and all attendees welcomed Safdar Mirza son of Mr. Anwar Mirza currently on a visit to Pakistan.
    Safdar is from USA and carries 25 years of IT experience. He shared his experience. He shared his experience with all attendees and offered his services for SAEEA website and any other related matter. SAEEA requested him to minutely review our website and send his valuable recommendations to SAEEA. Safdar also became SAEEA member and will be in touch for any assistance that may be needed in future.
  • SAEEA is in process of ordering souvenir with its Logo for distribution to SAEEA paid members.
  • SAEEA to meet the two Ladies who offered their services to run Ladies activities. Two Ladies came forward to work as Ladies Representatives.
  • It was mutually agreed to hold the seventh reunion function tentatively on April 21, 2013. Qutub Khan and Abdul Matin surveyed the local restaurants and submitted their feedback. KAF also requested Anwar Mirza to submit his recommendations for another place for the 7th reunion.
  • SAEEA Membership and Business Cards were reviewed and approved. Shafiq A. Khan is responsible to prepare the cards.
  • Shafiq Khan is in process of designing a penaflex for SAEEA 7th and forthcoming reunion functions.
  • Finally Kamal Farooqi concluded the meeting with prayers for sick people and condolence prayers for Late Syed Irfan Ahmed who passed away on March 31, 2013.

If you have any questions and comments then please call Engr. Iqbal Ahmed Khan Cell No. +92-321-701-4929 or write to him on his e-mail address

A Driving Tour of Dhahran

8 April 2013 | 33 comments | Special Interest | by

Weave your way through the roads of Dhahran in this video driving tour. Travel down Rolling Hills Boulevard to Riyadh Boulevard. Enjoy the many side roads that make up residential life in this home away from home.

Video found on YouTube.

Reforming the Saudi Health Care System

6 April 2013 | 0 comments | Opinions & Editorials | by

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

Health care system is the most important service in any country. Unlike education, which starts when a child is around five to six years old, it is a service that starts even before the baby is born. Ultrasound is done and records are maintained from the start of the conception. The health care for any human doesn’t stop until the person is dead. In another word, health care is needed for everybody all the time. People know who their health minister is, but only few would know their commerce minister.

Saudi health care system is the most unique in the world. It is free of charge and if the treatment is not available in the Kingdom, then the patient is taken to the best medical facilities in the world, namely the United States. And on many occasions, if regular airline flights are not able to provide the comfort level a patient requires because of the type of his illness or he is in need of in-flight medical attention, then a private jet is used to transfer the patient with medical staff attending to him. And this service is a kind of facility that is not only extended to the elite in Saudi Arabia, even though it is true that more elites are enjoying this kind of service because of their official positions, but I know Saudi patients who were flown to Houston Medical Center aboard private jets and they are from the Saudi middle class. There are thousands of Saudis who had been transferred to top medical centers in the US such as Mayo Clinic and John Hopkins. And in addition of this service, the patient can be accompanied by a family member and the accompanying person will receive a daily allowance while the patient is being treated. For the information of the readers, this kind of services is only given in Saudi Arabia and five other Gulf states. But, there is one problem in health care system of any country. No matter what kind of a health care system is provided, people always want more. So, why do people in Saudi Arabia want health care reforms?

Saudi Arabia allocates the highest percentage of its national budget on health care system. The budget for the Ministry of Health runs into billions. It is a huge budget that can match the entire national budget of many countries in the world. So, what kind of reforms is needed to bring about a qualitative change in delivery of health services?

Saudi Health Minister Abdullah Al-Rabeeah is one of the most qualified and experienced physicians in the Kingdom. He has extensive education both in Saudi Arabia and the West. And he is responsible for running hundreds of hospital around the Kingdom. And some Saudi hospitals’ budgets are also in billions.

Despite all this, Saudi Arabia still faces many challenges with regard to health care system. One of them is that Saudi Arabia is a very large country with many cities and villages scattered all over and is witnessing a rapid growth in population. The Saudi capital, Riyadh, alone has more than five million people. And it is very difficult and almost impossible to build a specialized medical center in every city. So, there is a real need to make drastic reforms about the way our health care is managed.

At this stage, Saudi health care system is very dependent on expatriates who work in Saudi Arabia as we still need more Saudis and expatriates to staff the medical centers and hospitals. Having large numbers of foreign medical staff from different cultures makes it important that some of their needs are taken care of.

I am not a doctor, but it is very easy for any Saudi to note that the most challenging thing facing our health care system is the management of hospitals and medical centers. Managing a hospital is one of the most difficult and demanding jobs in the world. And only the best should be assigned to these positions. Every degree of a hospital staff should be examined very carefully. Because if the assets and budgets for hospitals are not managed properly, then the health care system will be negatively affected.

Moreover, the Ministry of Health should go for joint ventures with top medical facilities in some of the countries that have been able to manage their health care systems effectively and efficiently for long periods of time. These countries have very advanced health care management and technology, like the United States, Canada, Europe and Japan.

Having joint ventures with known medical centers in the West will help the Ministry of Health access the most qualified staff and they will be in direct contacts with Saudi hospital staff, sharing their experiences with our hospital staff.

Our Saudi health care system is centralized and we can take advantage of the same standard of management in the Kingdom. We have huge budgets for our health care system and we do not need joint ventures to build hospitals, equip them and run them professionally.

Saudi Arabia can at this stage enhance the capabilities of big central medical centers in Riyadh, Jeddah and the Eastern Province and have them connected to the other hospitals to follow up on patients. Apart from this, doctors from big hospitals in big cities should also be deployed, for a year or so, to smaller hospitals in small and faraway towns for improving the delivery of health services in these places.

And finally, it is very important to increase the amount of entertainment in hospitals, especially in the huge medical complexes. We don’t expect a foreign doctor or a nurse coming to work at our medical facilities away from his or her family and expect them to do their shifts and go to their living quarters for rest then do the next shift. Entertainments can be utilized with little efforts. A private movie theater for the medical staff and their families can make a difference.

And occasional get-together or a trip to another town can raise the morale of the hospital staff, especially the nurses. We all know about the hard work at the hospitals. They work long hours, day and night. Hospital staff deserves the highest form of appreciation.

Written by Abdulateef Al‐Mulhim. Reforming the Saudi Health Care System reprinted with permission of Arab News and Abdulateef Al‐Mulhim.

Doctoral Student Wins MIT Energy Grant

4 April 2013 | 0 comments | Saudi Aramco News | by

Saudi Aramco News

Zeid Al Ghareeb, a Saudi Aramco sponsored student pursuing a Ph.D. in Petroleum Engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), has been awarded a Seed Fund grant of $150,000 for doctoral research from the MIT Energy Initiative (MITEI).

The proposed research was endorsed by founding and sustaining members of MITEI, including Saudi Aramco, BP, Shell, Schlumberger and Chevron, among many others.

Al Ghareeb was recognized for his research titled “Optimum Decision Making in Reservoir Management Using Reduced-Order Models.” Al Ghareeb’s research focuses on broadening the application of oil reservoir simulation for decision making in light of geological, operational and financial uncertainties using fast, physics-based reduced-order models.

“I am extremely honored to be receiving the MIT Energy Initiative Award for Doctoral Research,” said Al Ghareeb. “I am grateful for the recognition I have received for my research from the founding and sustaining members of MITEI.

“Earning this award was not just because of my sole effort, and so I would like to thank my colleagues at the Reservoir Description and Simulation Department and Aramco Services Co. for all the support shown and the help given.”

The award will help in tackling real world problems. Applications of reservoir simulation and optimization are generally computationally intensive, and having state-of-the-art high performance computers will definitely increase the company’s computational capability.

Incorporating operational and financial models with geologic models throughout the decision-making framework is not common, according to Al Ghareeb, and will require collaboration with energy economists, engineers and geologists.

This multidisciplinary approach to reservoir simulation and management is expected to include seminars and summits through MITEI to address this challenge and emphasize the effect of coupling these models in the reservoir optimization and decision-making process.

The goal is to make this process educational to engineers and scientists, and attractive to energy economists.

“Zeid’s award is an outstanding recognition of the caliber of his work and reflects well on all of our sponsored students, both in North America and globally,” said Moutaz Mashhour, ASC manager of Industrial Relations.

ASC is currently hosting more than a 1,000 company sponsored students in North America, providing academic mentoring to ensure the success of the program and that the company’s professionals are fully prepared to guide the company into the future.

A recent memorandum of understanding between Saudi Aramco and MIT will help expand the partnership between the school and the company, and includes research encompassing renewable energy, energy efficiency, energy economics, CO2 management and conversion, desalination, advanced materials and a range of hydrocarbon production areas, such as computational reservoir modeling and simulation, geophysics and unconventional gas.

Engineers and Inventions Shine at MEOS

4 April 2013 | 0 comments | Saudi Aramco News | by

Saudi Aramco News

“Transforming the Energy Future” was the theme of the Middle East Oil and Gas Show (MEOS) held March 10-13 in Manama, Bahrain. In his speech at the popular event, Amin H. Nasser, Saudi Aramco senior vice president of Upstream, said MEOS had matured into an event “that industry players always put on their calendars.”

MEOS 2013 opened with a speech by Abdulaziz Al-AbdulKarim, conference chairman and Saudi Aramco executive director of Information Technology.

Al-AbdulKarim highlighted the distinctive role of the conference in supporting the oil and gas industry through its introduction of the latest technologies in oil exploration and drilling, as well as the training of qualified nationals to handle industry related jobs, especially in petroleum engineering, drilling and producing, as well as other technical and administrative positions.

Al-AbdulKarim also stressed that MEOS represents a great opportunity for oil and gas field professionals to learn the latest technological solutions in increasing oil reservoir recovery.

Nasser noted that technology has already transformed the energy business, with more changes expected in the near future.

“Many view us as a ‘sunset industry.’ I strongly disagree,” he said. “In fact, I would stress that … we are not even at mid-day … I would even advocate that we have the power of time travel by renewing, reinventing and rediscovering ourselves in meeting tomorrow’s energy challenges.

“A few years ago, ‘Peak Oil’ theorists were abundant, professing increasing unsustainable demand,” Nasser said. “However, the industry’s ingenuity, through technology and exploration advancements — notably with tight oil and shale gas in the United States — have made oil abundant and natural gas even more so. The picture of 2020 or even 2030 is much different now.”

“Much of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia remains unexplored or under-explored for oil and gas,” Nasser added. “We have very recently expanded our exploration operations in the Red Sea.

In the past few years, we have completed a series of seismic surveys and are now drilling our first deep-water prospects.”
Highlighting his words, Saudi Aramco showcased at its MEOS 18 pavilion a new technology invented by Constantinos Tsingas, a geophysical consultant in EXPEC Advanced Research Center (ARC).

The new technology, represented by a device called SpiceRack, features a low cost, highly effective and totally automated tool that can be used in shallow waters. The self-propelled device applies a subsea technology that can be used to acquire and retrieve seismic data. Each device consists of four parts that helps it spread over a large area, complete the subsea survey and return again to the seismic survey boat.

According to Tsingas, EXPEC ARC is planning, in association with CGG, to develop and test the device to offer more features such as low-cost sea operations (first phase at 300m deep), simple design and the ability to work in areas where traditional seismic surveying isn’t an option, especially near subsea pipelines and offshore platforms and drilling rigs.

Nasser also noted that Saudi Aramco is committed to investing in research and plans on doubling or even tripling its manpower in science technology around the world. “To complement our capable and expanding Research and Development Center at our headquarters in Dhahran, we are opening global research centers in North America, Europe and East Asia, all to be operational by this year. Some are already operational,” he said.

Saeed Al-Mubarak, an intelligent-field team leader, participated in one of the conference technical sessions and highlighted the rapid movement and development in intelligent-field technologies and their ability to meet operators’ needs around the world.

Al-Mubarak also pointed out the leading strategies adopted by Saudi Aramco to maintain its position as a global leader in this field and to achieve the highest return on investment in a manner consistent with the company’s values and objectives.

Emphasizing the importance of developing young professionals, Al-Mubarak concluded his remarks by saying that intelligent-field management requires competence and skill to ensure sustainable growth as well as leaders who aspire to achieve constant technological and administrative development.

Perhaps the most distinctive event of MEOS 18 was the panel discussion on financing petroleum projects that took place on the side of the conference on March 12, with about 200 participants from oil, gas and banking sectors attending.
HE Abdulatif A. Al-Othman, governor and chairman of the Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority, was the panel keynote speaker. The event was also attended by Sheikh Ahmad M. Al-Khalifah, banking presidents, executives and investment decision makers and high-ranking officials from the oil sector.

Al-Othman asserted that the Arabian Gulf region is stable and unlikely to witness financial crises, adding that investment opportunities are available in petroleum projects. He also urged companies to endeavor to develop fields, services and investments, citing Saudi Aramco’s continuous efforts to develop its oil and gas technologies as an example to be followed in the Gulf region.

“I wanted to seize this opportunity in the presence of energy decision makers, businessmen and officials, to send an important message that the oil and gas industry is the most vital sector and main driver of the region’s economy,” Al-Othman said.

“And despite all the great achievements and initiatives that we take pride in, the region is still in an urgent need to adopt new policies for manufacturing industries, to increase local levels of job creation and to transfer advanced and modern technologies to this important sector.”

Following the inauguration of Saudi Aramco’s Pavilion and reception of VIPs, Ali H. Habtar, who heads the Hawiyah Gas Reservoir Management Unit, briefed HH Sheikh Ali ibn Khalifah Al Khalifah on the Khurais field and its energy production technology.

Habtar provided an overview of Khurais field, which is considered the largest field to be completed with an initial production capacity of 1.2 million barrels per day. Habtar also explained intelligent wells, a Saudi Aramco innovation that capitalizes on nano sensors.

He described these sensors, saying: “If we gather a thousand pieces of these sensors, they would be the size of a single human hair. Can you imagine that? And, Saudi Aramco has already obtained a patent for them. These sensors are pumped into the well to come out later with the oil produced from an adjacent well. Yet before coming out, the sensors record all well characteristics, which will be analyzed after their extraction to develop the well and turn it from an ordinary well into an intelligent one.”

Khaled Al-Buraik, Saudi Aramco vice president of Petroleum Engineering and Development, emphasized the importance of MEOS to Saudi Aramco, saying it was an opportunity to exchange expertise and knowledge, as well as being a good chance for Aramco engineers and scientists to share their scientific research and studies.

Abeer M. Al-Olayyan, an EXPEC ARC petroleum researcher who joined Saudi Aramco in 2011 after a 12 year career as a professor and researcher of analytical chemistry at Dammam University, has been studying water ions to find out which concentration increases oil recovery when injecting water into reservoirs. This helps in maintaining ideal oil flow.

“It is known that Saudi Aramco oil reservoirs have natural water mechanisms that are supported by water injection programs since the mid-1950s,” said Al-Olayyan. “The growth witnessed by the water injection system over the past decades has led to a noticeable development in injection water infrastructure that is considered the largest of its type in the world.”

“Currently, the main source of water is the sea. EXPEC ARC has developed the Smart Water Injection Program, which helps increase oil recovery via the improvement of water characteristics such as salinity, ionic composition, surface resistance, viscosity and so on,” he added.

“This technology targets hydrocarbon reservoirs that show an increase of 9 percent in oil recovery after the injection of conventional seawater. This advanced technology is going through more field tests to improve the current process and provide the main standards for designing the whole project.”

MEOS 18 attracted nearly 7,100 oil and gas officials, professionals and enthusiasts, and about 300 companies from 30 countries. It showcased 36 technical sessions, five discussion panels, and for the first time ever, MEOS featured a special session on petroleum project financing.