Gift Giving Highlights Arab Culture at ASC Sponsored Exhibition
It has been said that a picture represents a thousand words. In the case of the recent Aramco Services Co. (ASC) sponsored exhibition “Gifts of the Sultan: The Art of Giving at the Islamic Courts” held at the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston, it was gifts that were used to represent the Arab culture.
More than 200 pieces of various objects of art, such as ceramics, textiles, jewelry, furniture, decorative arms and armor and manuscripts comprise a unique collection that explores the universal tradition of gift giving and its significance to the Arab culture.
This is the first Islamic art exhibition of this scope and pieces were assembled from 40 institutions worldwide. The exhibition is divided into three sections: personal gifts given from one ruler to another as a token of friendship or celebration, religious gifts to mosques and shrines as a symbol of devotion, and diplomatic gifts.
Many of the most impressive examples of Islamic art can be classified as gifts, and the exhibition brought together these pieces to serve as an example of the importance and cultural significance of gift exchange within Arab culture. The exhibition spans the 8th through 19th centuries with works from three continents.
“This is a good example of our commitment to cultural bridging,” said Mae Mozaini, director of ASC Public Affairs. She added that the exhibit focuses on cultural similarities rather than differences regarding the Islamic world. “Gift giving is a common practice shared by most cultures so it establishes a common ground.”
Within the exhibit, prominent Saudi artist Ahmed Mater is featured with his work “Illumination Diptych” (Ottoman Waqf). Mater, from Abha, is both an artist and practicing physician. This is one of his earliest and well-known bodies of work that combines his modern life as a doctor with a strong spiritual sense using decorative illuminated borders, headings and verse markers from manuscripts of the Qur’an. The diptych, a description for artwork consisting of two painted or carved panels hinged together, shows two X-ray images of human torsos facing each other and includes the word waqf often found in manuscripts of the Qur’an indicating a charitable donation. The artwork is intended to inspire and “illuminate” the benefits of human interaction and exchange, making it an ideal piece of artwork for this exhibit.
The exhibition was made possible by the National Endowment for the Humanities and as well as other art councils and foundations. While the exhibition was international in scope, it took place at only two U.S. locations, Los Angeles, California, and Houston, Texas.
ASC was one of the key sponsors who made the presentation of the exhibition in Houston possible. ASC president Ahmed Al-Zayyt and ASC Public Affairs representatives attended a preview event hosted by the patrons of the Houston museum.
“We are exploring the possibility of bringing this exhibition to other parts of the world, including Saudi Arabia,” said Mozaini.
Aramco Trading, a wholly-owned company subsidiary, geared up and began commercial operations Jan. 1, 2012, as Saudi Aramco’s downstream investment portfolio expands in-Kingdom and overseas.
Formally established as Saudi Aramco Products Trading Company, the new entity will replace the Product Sales and Marketing Department (PSMD) in importing and exporting refined petroleum products, commonly known in the industry as “system balancing” of refined petroleum products.
Starting off with 80 employees, Aramco Trading’s role will be to support the parent company’s efforts to maximize downstream integration and generate further value by optimizing its growing global downstream presence.
The formation of Aramco Trading was first announced in February 2011. Since then, the company has been quick off the blocks preparing to commence business, establishing internal risk management and counterparty business management systems in line with industry best practices.
Aramco Trading will represent the company’s interest in sales and purchases of refined petroleum products such as condensates, naphtha, gasoline, middle distillate fuels, fuel oil and residual products and bulk petrochemical products.
With energy demand forecasted to rise in the long term, the company continues its significant downstream capital program via investments through its subsidiaries, affiliates and joint ventures in Saudi Arabia and abroad.
“The landscape for trading has shifted with evolving market dynamics, and that will bring both challenges and opportunities. Our company continues to be responsive and committed to balancing its system and create value through continuous market participation,” said Said A. Al-Hadrami, president and CEO of Aramco Trading.
Aramco Trading’s headquarters is based in Dhahran.
(article by Nesa Subrahmaniyan)
Summit Focuses on Gas as Clean Fuel
Influential oil and gas companies and officials from throughout the GCC region recently came to Muscat for the Seventh Gas Arabia Summit. Saudi Aramco was an associate sponsor of the event.
The theme of this year’s summit, held Dec. 11-14, was increasing awareness for efficient use of gas as a clean fuel for the economic development of the GCC region in an environmentally friendly manner.
Saad Al-Turaiki, vice president of Saudi Aramco’s Southern Area Oil Operations and chairman of the Gas Processing Association-GCC, addressed the summit and highlighted the need and importance of flare reduction in the GCC region. This would enhance the availability of gas for value-added utilization as a clean fuel, he said.
Saudi Aramco conducted a survey with the help of the summit organizers over the past three months, focusing on awareness of gas flaring issues among the players in the GCC region.
Wael Blaies, a young employee, presented the Saudi Aramco Flare Minimization Plan created in-house by company engineers for developing a comprehensive framework across the hydrocarbon value chain.
Flare and Relief Systems supervisor Muhsin Al-Khudhairi chaired the first “Gas Flare Reduction Day” on Dec. 14.
The session was kick-started with regional producers sharing experiences related to flare reduction, followed by a debate on the results of the survey conducted on the subject.
The session also included discussions on guidelines for flare minimization and process standardization, best practices and technology advancements and the potential for future value-added utilization of gas in the GCC region.
At the conclusion of the session, the majority of representatives showed a formal interest in forming a “Regional Gas Reduction Group” focused on working together to reduce flaring in the region through an exchange of information and experience.
First Downhole Drilling Chip Developed
Perseverance not only pays off but is essential in much of the innovative research and development that pushes the envelope at Saudi Aramco’s EXPEC Advanced Research Center (EXPEC ARC).
The EXPEC ARC Drilling Technology Team (DTT) recently achieved the first major field test milestone of its four-year project to develop industry’s first downhole drilling microchip.
“This important stage of the microchip technology development has proven that the project is on the right track to deploy such a miniature device for practical and useful applications in the near future,” said Nasser Al-Khanferi, DTT chief technologist. “This is a strong achievement for our Drilling Technology Team, and the future holds even greater opportunities for more technologies to come.”
The concept may have seemed far-fetched years ago when, during an SPE conference, a casual meeting between Shaohua Zhou, DTT technologist, and a Tulsa University professor turned into a serious business venture.
“Our dream was to develop a low-cost and alternative downhole data acquisition system capable of recording measurements such as pressure and temperature along the circulating path of drilling fluids,” said Zhou. “Such a technology would optimize mud and cement formulations while drilling and further reduce well cost by providing an alternative low cost data acquisition system.”
It was quickly realized that the idea could potentially change the way the industry acquires downhole data. Such data is rarely available in shallow and intermediate hole sections and can help drillers more readily diagnose hole problems while drilling to optimize and improve rig operations.
After extensive technical discussions between EXPEC ARC and Tulsa University teams, a research program was well on its way where a miniature device – or microchip – is pumped or dropped into the drill string and, acting like a robot, is capable of recording in-situ data and stores it on board the chip while travelling downhole, eventually returning to surface with the circulating drilling fluid.
Once recovered at the surface, the recorded data would be downloaded wirelessly for instant use at the rig site or transmitted back to an operation center.
After more than three years of challenging work by dedicated technologists in overcoming various technical, design, manufacturing and lab testing challenges, a prototype was ready for the first field test.
The industry’s first field test of a drilling microchip was successfully conducted in a Saudi Aramco well.
“We are very pleased with the field test results,” said AbdulHameed Al-Rushaid, Drilling & Workover general manager. “This could be a game-changer, and we would even like to accelerate the deployment of microchips in our fields.”
The function test successfully proved the basic concept of the microchip system, a batch of seven mm prototypes, which travelled about 6.6 km in the 8-3/8 inch wellbore to a depth of 11,050 feet and returned to the surface successfully.
Meaningful and realistic data was retrieved from this environment for the first time and downloaded from the returned microchip that showed the dynamic bottom-hole pressure of 7,500 psi and circulating bottom hole temperature of 190 degrees Fahrenheit, consistent with static bottom hole pressure of 6,700 psi due to mud weight and wireline tool recorded static bottom hole temperature at 235 degrees. The field test also identified several areas for further improvements.
“This is an important milestone in the development of this technology,” said Samer AlAshgar, manager of EXPEC ARC. “Not only are we looking to improve the integrity of the drilling microchips but also to increase their capabilities beyond pressure and temperature.”
Currently, the primary function of the prototype microchip is to record in-situ mud temperature and pressure profile along the entire wellbore circulating path.
The current state-of-art fiber optical mini sensors are used as part of the data recording system, while the internal design of the on board chip is an open platform so that it can be adapted for many other mini sensors.
The next step will be to continue optimizing the microchips and further miniaturize the size while at the same time investigating the potential for various measurement sensors and optimizing the surface recovery method to achieve a commercially viable product in the near future.
(Article by Heather Bence)
ASC Joins ‘We are Houston 2012′ Campaign
Aramco Services Co. (ASC) representatives recently gathered on the steps of City Hall with Houston Mayor Annise Parker and other officials to raise the U.S. Olympic Trials Marathon flag in celebration of the 2012 U.S. Olympic Trials Marathon — which will take place in Houston on Jan. 14.
Houston will be the first city to host both the men’s and women’s U.S. Olympic Trials races on the same day at the same event.
At the flag-raising ceremony, the Houston Marathon Committee announced its “We are Houston 2012” marketing campaign which involves a partnership of 15 Houston-based corporations — including ASC — that are collaborating with the host committee of the 2012 U.S. Olympic Trials Marathon in its fundraising efforts.
ASC president Ahmed Al-Zayyat and Public Affairs director Mae Mozaini were among the participants at the ceremony.
ASC joined the “We are Houston 2012” campaign to further demonstrate its leadership in the community and help spotlight the city of Houston on the world stage.
Through the “We Are Houston 2012” campaign, NBC television will broadcast two hours of same-day national coverage from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. ET, the first time that both men’s and women’s Olympic Trials have been televised on the same day. Additionally, several commercial spots will air featuring Houston, its business leaders and community members.
“Thanks to the generous support of these great Houston-area companies, the Team USA Olympic Trials for the marathon will showcase Houston to a television audience reaching millions of viewers nationwide,” said Steven Karpas, managing director of the Houston Marathon Committee.
He added: “This prestigious sporting event will feature the best U.S. athletes and bring corporate leaders, dignitaries and spectators from all parts of the world to Houston and will add to the Houston Marathon’s … economic impact on the local economy.”
The top 150 male and 194 female distance runners are expected to compete in Houston to qualify for the six coveted spots on the U.S. Olympic marathon team for the London 2012 Olympic Games.
The Olympic qualifying event will be held the day before Houston Marathon Race Day, which features a full marathon, half marathon and 5K that annually attracts more than 22,000 participants from 50 U.S. states and 20 foreign countries.
ASC has served as title sponsor of the half marathon for eight consecutive years.
(Article by Judi Ottmann)