RAS TANURA, May 25, 2011 — Saudi Aramco has once again proven its commitment to environmental stewardship, operational excellence and safety with the completion of the Ras Tanura diesel hydrotreater plant, which was inaugurated on May 11.
At the inauguration, president and CEO Khalid A. Al-Falih said the plant will be vital in protecting the quality of human life and our environment.
Executives and management listen to a presentation at Ras Tanura on May 11 to mark the inauguration of a diesel hydrotreater plant that will be vital in “protecting the quality of human life and our environment,” according to Khalid A. Al-Falih.
The diesel hydrotreater is the largest of its kind in Saudi Aramco and capable of processing 105,000 barrels per day of 10-parts-per-million (ppm) ultra-low-sulfur diesel.
Completed within 28 months, the plant represents a milestone in the company efforts to produce cleaner fuels. The project was part of Saudi Aramco Environmental Master Plan, which was launched in 2001 to identify and implement capital projects that lighten the environmental footprint of the company and the products it produces.
The hydrotreater is situated in the middle of Ras Tanura Refinery and surrounded by operating facilities that continued to operate during construction of the hydrotreater.
Yanbu‘ and Riyadh diesel hydrotreaters produce 500 ppm low-sulfur diesel. By 2015, the Kingdom new sulfur specification will be 10 ppm, meaning the Ras Tanura diesel hydrotreater will be able to meet the future sulfur specification without any additional capital investment.
Cleaner fuels are more efficient fuels said Al-Falih, “and it is vital that we improve the energy efficiency of the Kingdom.
Saudi Aramco first introduced low-sulfur diesel into the domestic market in 2006, helping to significantly reduce the Kingdom’s sulfur emissions from diesel vehicles.
This has yielded great benefit to air quality, especially in major cities added Al-Falih. Our ultra-low-sulfur diesel also meets exacting European fuel standards.
Completed on time and within budget, the plant will serve as a model for future Saudi Aramco projects. More than 4,000 workers totaled 16.7 million hours without logging a single lost-time injury.
Al-Falih praised the project team for its flawless safety performance. On- and off-the-job safety remains the biggest challenge facing our company and our Kingdom Al-Falih said. “I thank everyone involved for making safety a priority.
This project was a very complex undertaking. Its success is a tribute to the labor force of 4,000 people who were involved in the construction; to our Saudi Aramco team members in offices and departments including project management, refining, and environmental protection; and to our contractor, Samsung Engineering.
DHAHRAN, May 25, 2011 — Joseph J. Johnston, a former senior vice president, director and secretary who ran the company New York office when it served as the hub of communications between shareholder companies and Aramco headquarters in Dhahran, died May 8, 2011, in California at age 95.
Johnston grew up in Taft, Calif., and earned a degree in petroleum engineering from the University of California, Berkeley, in 1940.
Joseph J. Johnston, right, is pictured with, from left, Lowell Brooman, Madison Roberts, Frank Jungers and Aramco Board chairman Thomas C. Barger in the company’s New York office at 505 Park Ave. during the launch of direct cable communications with Saudi Arabia in 1965. At the time, Johnston was secretary and general manager of U.S.A. Offices.
He went to work for Lockheed Aircraft Corp. in 1941 before enlisting in the U.S. Navy in 1945. He returned to Lockheed in 1946 and for a short time before joining Aramco as a petroleum engineer in 1947, he worked at Universal Studios in the special-effects department.
Johnston worked in the Kingdom until mid-1951 when he moved to company headquarters in New York as a senior petroleum engineer. He was a senior research engineer when company headquarters transferred to Dhahran in 1952.
Except for an Oil Operations relief assignment in Saudi Arabia in the late 1950s, he remained in the New York office for the rest of his career.
In 1961, he was named general manager-U.S.A. offices and became a member of the board of directors and board secretary. He was elected vice president in 1968 and senior vice president in 1970.
In 1976, he contributed to the smooth transfer of a number of former New York office functions to Aramco Services Co. (ASC) and was named CEO of ASC.
He retired in 1979 and was rehired the same year, retiring for the final time in 1982, when he and his wife, Genevieve, moved to Newport Beach, Calif.
Johnston was “a straightforward and outstanding executive,” said former company president and CEO Frank Jungers.
“I worked for Joe in New York City for two years as his assistant to gain an understanding of shareholder needs and to assist in intercompany negotiations Jungers said. Joe … patiently and quickly trained me and others. He handled difficult problems with dispatch and a firm but fine, friendly humor.
Jungers said that when he became board chairman and CEO in 1973, Johnston became my primary adviser who always gave me honest and straightforward advice based on his government and shareholder experience. He was, for me, a true friend and confidant.
Aramco Brat Alexander (Alex) J. Manasa graduated from North Carolina State University this year, with a Bachelor Degree in Aerospace Engineering and a Minor in Physics, receiving Cum Laude in the University Honors Program.
Alex was born in Dhahran on April 30, 1989 to Hal and Norma Manasa. The Manasa family returned to Dhahran from 2000 to 2004; Alex graduated from Dhahran School in 2004.
Hal is still living in Dhahran and working as the Assistant to the Executive Director of SAMSO.
Alex’s post-graduate plans are to attend the North Carolina State University Graduate School to study Aerospace Engineering.
DHAHRAN, May 18, 2011 — The importance of air quality cannot be overstated, whether it is for individuals or industry. For individuals, it is important in that it affects our health and being. For industry, it highlights a company’s attention to environmental affairs.
Ras Tanura Refinery is witnessing continuous upgrading in its industrial equipment to improve its environmental performance. It has three air quality monitoring stations.
With that in mind, Hesham A. Al-Musaiid, manager of Saudi Aramco’s Environmental Protection Department (EPD), recently unveiled the company’s large-scale and developed technical program to continue in the tradition of monitoring air quality in its operation areas.
Al-Musaiid said that the program includes an integrated network of technologically advanced stations equipped with sensors, computers, and transmitters to monitor air quality and meteorology around the company’s plants and refineries.
The program continues the company’s decades-long commitment to the environment, air refining and quality control through the result of industrial, environmental and climate studies — processes that continue today to improve our daily lives.
In the Kingdom, five gases have been identified by the Presidency of Meteorology and Environmental (PME) as significant air pollutants that should be controlled and monitored, including sulfur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide, carbon monoxide, hydrogen sulfide and ozone. The network will address these pollutants.
Employees examine sensing antennas in the mobile air quality monitoring station the Company added to its network.
This station network represents a total of 20 electronic stations remotely controlled Al-Musaiid said, adding that the stations are in various operations areas throughout the company and supervised by EPD.
The project is one of several pilot programs in the Kingdom applied by Saudi Aramco to ensure that its facilities will effectively and accurately comply with environmental standards for years to come.
Al-Musaiid said that this program is one of several environmental programs that have been maintained by the company over the years. Other programs have included a waste-management program, a marine environment protection program, a program for the protection of groundwater, a program for wastewater and industrial water treatment, just to name a few.
Air quality monitoring stations have been used to ensure air quality around Saudi Aramco’s industrial facilities since the 1980s, and the environmental program has already begun at three stations. Al-Musaiid predicted the total number will be 25 stations by the year end.
In this context, he announced that Saudi Aramco recently launched its latest high tech mobile station that can measure any industrial pollutant of air, if any, and ensure compliance with environmental standards.
The mobile station can be moved to any of the Company’s operation areas and run within a short period of time not exceeding one day,” Al-Musaiid said, adding that the station is designed to be used for special studies and only temporarily at new worksites until suitable sites for fixed stations are found.
The Gas-Oil Separation Plant GOSP-3 in Haradh processes natural gas instead of burning it.
In describing the air quality stations, the general supervisor of the Environmental Engineering Division, Osama Fageeha, explained, “These stations take air samples from special holes and tubes to the station, where samples taken from the open air undergo series of technical analyses to determine the level of air quality on an ongoing basis, 24 hours a day in the Company’s operation areas.
He said the stations, which measure air pollutants with remote sensors, can also measure temperature, wind speed, moisture, condensation, solar radiation, barometric pressure and rainfall. The weather data are also used in designing new facilities.
Saudi Aramco facilities are subject to environmental considerations throughout the activity cycle of each facility, from the planning stage to early stages of design and construction. The environmental follow-up of those facilities continues during the operational phase.
Al-Musaiid said that after the completion of the construction work and with the beginning of the operational phase, EPD will monitor emissions from the installation using air quality monitoring stations to ensure that the installation complies with the environmental standards.
Saudi Aramco has implemented several developmental projects for its petroleum products to reduce air pollutant emissions resulting from consumption.
In 2001, unleaded gasoline was introduced in the Kingdom. In 2007, Saudi Aramco started the production of low sulfur diesel in the Kingdom by building distillate hydrotreaters in Riyadh and Yanbu’ refineries.
With the completion of the hydrotreaters at Ras Tanura this year, the sulfur dioxide emission rate from diesel fuel will drop by 95 percent, thus enhancing air quality Kingdom-wide.
Ready to start operations, Ziyad al-Shammari, right, and ‘Abdullah bin ‘Id, left, meteorological technicians from the Environmental Protection Department, calibrate technical electronic equipment inside the new station.
Planning for the Future
Al-Musaiid said that Saudi Aramco has developed a roadmap to ensure and maintain air quality standards in the long run.
This map puts a timetable for the projects necessary for the production of high-quality fuel for the domestic market. The roadmap also takes into account the population growth, urbanization and engine emission reducing technologies, as well as the composition and the growing volume of cars in the Kingdom he said.
Al-Musaiid said that this roadmap is being implemented and will be completed in the next few years.
Saudi Aramco is also working continuously on reducing emissions from its facilities. Al-Musaiid said the establishment of Saudi Arabia’s Master Gas System has cut emissions dramatically. It resulted in significant benefits for the Kingdom. The company has established several giant plants that extract associated gas and process it rather than burning, as was the practice in the past and is still happening in some countries” he said.
Saudi Aramco gas plants currently process more than 8 billion cubic feet of natural gas for the Kingdom electric power sector as well as for the petrochemical industry, making the Kingdom a key world exporter of petrochemicals.
Al-Musaiid noted that Saudi Aramco has established many sulfur extraction plants that have reduced sulfur dioxide emissions from gas plants and refineries by more than 98 percent. Saudi Aramco is currently moving forward in the implementation of its plans to reduce the burning of flue gas through extracting as much waste gas as possible by creating gas recovery systems.
The Saudi Aramco Employees Association was proud to present an Indian Dance drama – “Rhythms of Rajasthan”, at the Ad Diwan on two consecutive evenings: Wednesday, April 27th and Thursday, April 28th. Unna Ramanathan and Yasmin Khory chaired the event.
Rhythms of Rajasthan was a musical that sought to establish that man does not always choose between right and wrong consciously, but his choice is often determined by circumstances. The story is told in the traditional form of folk dance typical of the Indian state of Rajasthan.
A learned sage sends two of his disciples on a path of experience to learn firsthand about making the right choice depending on the circumstance one is faced with. The disciples, in turn, take the audience along on a journey of intrigue.The musical is enlivened by dances in colorful traditional Rajasthani outfits, sweet melodies, outbursts of infatuation and generosity.
Men, women and children of Saudi Aramco’s Dhahran community had been developing and rehearsing the dance drama since January. The musical had a cast and crew of nearly fifty people. With sets and props, the Ad Diwan stage was transformed into a Rajasthani village providing a near-authentic backdrop for the show.
Swapan Mukherjee was the Technical Director, Neena Mukherjee was the Artistic Director, and Shreyasi Mukerji, an accomplished musician and dancer, was the choreographer. Together they gave the audience a night to remember. The audience was captivated by the flow of the entire drama as it unfolded before their very eyes.
Enjoy more photos in an Aramco ExPats Gallery: Rhythms of Rajasthan.