Inventors Honored at Swiss Event

20 April 2011 | 0 comments | Saudi Aramco News | by

GENEVA, Switzerland, April 20, 2011 — Saudi Aramco and Saudi Arabia inventors won 17 awards at the 39th Geneva International Inventions Exhibition.

Gold1 Dr. Ezzat M. Hegazi receives an award for the best invention at the Geneva International Inventions Exhibition.

Dr. Ezzat M. Hegazi, Abdullah H. Al-Grainees and Maha A. Sayegh from the Research and Development Center received a gold medal with distinction for their invention, “Laser Oil Fingerprinting — Desert Ray Instrument,” and received a second award from the Swiss Tourism Board as the best invention at the Geneva Inventions exhibition.

The April 6-10 event was sponsored by the Swiss government, the World Intellectual Property Organization and the state and city of Geneva. There were more than 750 exhibitors from 45 countries showcasing 1,000 new inventions from companies, individuals, universities and others around the world.

More than 100,000 people visited the exhibition. Seventeen medals — four gold, seven silver, five bronze and a Geneva award — were won by King Saud University, King Abdulaziz University, King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals, Princess Nora University and individual Saudi inventors from around the Kingdom.

Gold2 From left, Awad M. Al-Mofleh, technical program director; inventors Abdullah H. Al-Grainees and Dr. Ezzat M Hegazi; Dr. Omar S. Al-AbdulHamid; Yazeed A Al-Dukhayyil, coordinator of Analytical Support Division; and Abdullah M. Al-Ghamdi, supervisor of the Advanced Analytical group, celebrate the awards from the Geneva International Inventions Exhibition.

Dr. Mohammed A. Al-Ansari, director of Saudi Aramco’s Technology Program, said Saudi achievement at the exhibition was due to investment by the Kingdom and the company, which provide the kind of environment that motivates innovation, patenting and talent development.

Saudi innovation, Al-Ansari said, has been converted into applicable and marketable solutions and services that are adding value, bringing high returns on investment and boosting the nation’s economy and its competitive position in the world of invention and excellence.

He said Saudi Aramco had entered with just one invention to give other entities in the Kingdom a chance to show their inventions. As a result, 18 inventions sponsored by Mawhiba competed in the Geneva exhibition.

Dr. Omar S. Al-AbdulHamid, manager of Research and Development, said the Laser Oil Fingerprinting invention was a recognition on a global stage of the company’s capabilities. He added that events such as this were a great way to interact, learn and expand inventors’ abilities.

Hegazi said the event was a great experience to learn from and has allowed Saudi inventors to connect with others and showcase their inventions.

CEO Challenges Businesses at Energy Forum

18 April 2011 | 0 comments | Saudi Aramco News | by

PARIS, April 13, 2011 — In his keynote speech at the Second International Energy Forum (IEF) NOC-IOC Forum here April 7, president and CEO Khalid A. Al-Falih stressed the need for petroleum companies to “revisit our concept and philosophy of business.

Saudi Aramco News Khalid A. Al-Falih speaks to International Energy Forum delegates.

He urged NOCs and IOCs to leave behind outdated modes of thinking and models of cooperation and go beyond “simply supplying energy to realize true sustainability. Al-Falih said that concept required inclusion of a wide range of priorities, from energy, economy and society to technology, infrastructure and the environment.

What is the larger public good that we serve as petroleum enterprises?” Al-Falih asked the audience before dividing the industry’s response into three phases.

The early mission” of oil companies, he said, was limited to finding and producing oil and getting the product to the consumer. That was adapted to encompass the growing importance of public health related to oil products, environmental safeguards and the safety of employees and operations.

Despite these initiatives, shortcomings in economic transformation and job creation have led to a third generation of societal expectations. Al-Falih said: It is increasingly apparent that people are willing to grant the energy and oil industries … a social license to operate only if our business activities have a wider and positive ripple effect in the markets and communities where they conduct their business.

He argued that true sustainability, which includes all three phases, is “very much in our self-interest as corporations.

He then set out three key imperatives to achieving those goals: the creation of a practically workable, optimum future energy mix that leverages local resources while addressing the issue of energy poverty; ensuring the adequacy, affordability and acceptability of energy supplies to meet rising demands while maintaining industry profitability; and striking a balance between natural resources, food, water, energy, economic growth and the environment.

Put simply, Al-Falih noted that energy companies are required to do far more than merely supply oil; popular expectations now include the promotion of development, and the production of progress and prosperity. “There are no more easy rides and no more free lunches to be had,” he said.

Furthermore, petroleum companies will benefit by developing a clearer understanding of the future energy world. “Demand for petroleum will taper off in OECD countries over the next quarter-century,” he said, “but incremental consumption growth in emerging markets and developing economies will more than compensate for those declines, heralding a fundamental redrawing of the global demand map.”

While such a statement provided a relative assurance of the demand, the supply side was far from certain. Al-Falih noted that tremendous speculation surrounds the “exact nature of the future energy mix and the outlook for shifting source allocations.” He pointed out that a balance needs to be struck between economic growth and development on the one hand and environmental stewardship on the other.

“Activities like local economic development, the creation of new employment and professional opportunities, and strengthening local communities are no longer ‘nice-to-dos,’ but instead have become ‘must-haves’ for successful and sustainable petroleum enterprises,” he said.

Turning to NOC-IOC cooperation, Al-Falih cited several areas of partnership, such as human-resource development and cross-training, collaborative approaches to environmental issues, and joint research and technology projects.

He referred to Saudi Aramco’s pride in its joint ventures as an example of the company’s belief in capitalizing on mutually beneficial opportunities.

He illustrated some of the ways the company has put sustainability into action. “We have long been focused on trying to leverage everything we do to promote the development of the Saudi economy and society, because such contributions are an integral part of our corporate mission.”

He added that upstream focus was on the “careful, prudent stewardship of the Kingdom’s hydrocarbon resources,” before pointing out that Saudi Aramco’s long-term ethos was “a key differentiating factor between (the company) and many operators … as we emphasize the long-term management of our reservoirs alongside economic optimization.”

By comparison, Al-Falih said, Saudi Aramco’s downstream portfolio is aimed at adding value to the Kingdom’s hydrocarbon resources “and driving the creation of new jobs.” Each objective of the company’s downstream strategy “is designed to contribute to the nation’s prosperity in ways that are tangible, valuable and sustainable.”

Investment in research and development involving upstream and downstream technologies, as well as a commitment to creating a knowledge-based economy in the country, reflects Saudi Aramco’s recognition that the impact of its work and responsibilities to stakeholders “don’t stop at the gates of our refineries, gas plants and petrochemical complexes or the perimeters of our producing fields.” 

He closed his address by urging energy companies to consider the hopes, aspirations and expectations of their stakeholders as “central elements in (their) business strategies,” and to address the sustainability challenges of the social and economic development of their communities alongside business profitability and environmental protection.

With so many unknowns ahead, Al-Falih said one thing is certain: The oil business of the future will not resemble that of the past and neither will society’s expectations.

Thai Cooking Class in Houston

15 April 2011 | 1 comment | Annuitants | by

Thai Cooking Class in Houston

On Monday, April 11, 2011 twelve ladies participated in a Thai cooking class at Sur La Table in Houston, Texas.

The class was organized by Pamela Johns and Georgi Rosal of Johns Rosal Financial for Marlene Shields, the hostess and one of the Aramcons in attendance. The other Aramcons were Beverly Mathe and Sheila Stevens.

For almost four hours, we followed the masterful instruction of Mario, the teaching chef at Sur la Table, and feasted on our meal of several courses. We made and munched on spring rolls as our starter then moved on to making green papyia salad, red curry pork tenderloin with jasmine rice in coconut milk, stir fried chicken and shrimp with vegetables, and topped it all off with chocolate banana fried wontons for dessert. The wines were carefully selected to complement our food and we enjoyed the whole experience.

Even those of us who have been cooking for well over 30 years learned some new cooking tricks to save time in the kitchen and to enhance food presentation.

Thai Cooking Class in Houston

Marlene, a Language Arts teacher at the Dhahran School, and her husband Darryl, a Benefits Consultant with Saudi Aramco, retired in September 2007 and now reside in Houston, Texas.

Please enjoy more photos of the cooking class in an Aramco ExPats Gallery: Sur La Table Cooking Class. Thanks to the many ladies who contributed these photos!

SATORP Financing Recognized

15 April 2011 | 1 comment | Saudi Aramco News | by

DHAHRAN, April 13, 2011 –  Saudi Aramco Total Refining and Petrochemical Co. (SATORP), the Saudi Aramco joint venture with French oil giant Total S.A., is a big deal not only for the company and the Kingdom, but also for the world of finance.

Sixteen-year financing for the mega-project, which closed in October, has since won two international awards.

SATORP Financing Recognized The people behind the Saudi Aramco Total Refining and Petrochemical Co. financing appear in Dubai to accept the Middle East Oil and Gas Deal of the Year award from Project Finance Magazine.

In January, Project Finance International (PFI), one of the industry’s leading journals, recognized the SATORP financing as the Middle East Petrochemicals Deal of the Year during its awards ceremony in London. And in February in Dubai, SATORP was recognized by another of the industry’s best-known journals, Project Finance Magazine, as the Middle East Oil and Gas Deal of the Year.

The awards reflect the size of the transaction, the strength of the sponsors, the benchmark pricing and the multi-source financing of the deal.

“The deal is significant not only for its scale and low debt margins so soon after the credit crunch,” Project Finance Magazine said, “but it is also the first time since the 1990s that project finance banks have accepted net refinery margin risk (the ups and downs in profits due to changes in refined product and crude oil prices in the market) on a greenfield (new) project.”

SATORP’s financing was well-received by a diverse group of local, regional and international banks.

The large number of project lenders is a sign of commitment and confidence in the project, the sponsors and the Kingdom, organizers say. The 19 loan facilities include dual-currency (U.S. dollar and Saudi riyal) commercial and dual-currency Islamic facilities, seven export credit agencies (ECA) and local developmental agencies.

ECA financing included direct and covered loans from the Japan Bank for International Cooperation, the Export-Import Bank for Korea (KEXIM), the Korea Trade Insurance Corp. (K-sure), Spain’s Companía Espanola de Seguros de Credito a la Exportacion, France’s Compagnie Francaise d’Assurance pour le Commerce Exterieur, Germany’s Euler Hermes Kreditversicherungs-AG, and Japan’s Nippon Export and Investment Insurance.

There are also Saudi riyal facilities covered by KEXIM and K-sure, which, according to experts, is unprecedented in the project-financing market. Furthermore, Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund loan was instrumental in the close of this landmark transaction.

Jamal Al-Rammah, general manager of Corporate Project Finance Development, said SATORP’s financing is an important landmark, with the largest number of financing facilities in any one project, sourced from a broad and well-respected collection of financial institutions. That means favorable pricing for SATORP, which will pave the way in the post-financial-crisis era for further mega-project financing in the region.

“SATORP’s financing was challenging and complex due its size and the many parties involved, and both of these awards are a huge honor,” Al-Rammah said. “This accomplishment would not have been achieved without the teamwork exhibited among Finance, New Business Development, Domestic Joint Venture Development and Law working together with our partner.”

Al-Falih Addresses Real Sustainability Challenge

14 April 2011 | 0 comments | Saudi Aramco News | by

Paris, April 07, 2011 –  Khalid A. Al-Falih, president and CEO of Saudi Aramco, today delivered the keynote speech “Addressing the Real Sustainability Challenge” at the Second International Energy Forum  (IEF) NOC-IOC Forum in Paris, France.

Khalid A. Al-Falih Saudi Aramco president and CEO Khalid Al-Falih addresses the NOC-IOC Forum in Paris.

In his keynote speech, Al-Falih addressed evolving economic trends and the need to rebalance the global economy to regain stability and promote sustainable growth. He added that central to this is a holistic view of the ultimate sustainability of energy and business, and that includes the promotion of enhanced living standards, social progress and environmental protection as well as profitability, a critical factor to meet the other obligations.

Events around the world, political and social, or even catastrophic such as the unfortunate disasters in Japan are pointing towards a world that’s constantly changing and becoming increasingly interdependent, Al-Falih noted in his address.

Despite the changing global and economic landscape, Al-Falih cautioned against short term solutions for long term challenges, and urged the energy industry to stay the course for the long haul.

“The day-to-day gyrations of the petroleum markets and the news feed rolling across our TV screens should be viewed in perspective and kept in context. So while it is imperative that we demonstrate short-term agility, it would be a mistake to overreact to events in a manner that throws us off course from our future goals,” he said.

Al-Falih noted that as societal changes occurred and expectations for greater prosperity—especially in the developing world–increase, the petroleum industry needs to evolve from being mere producers, suppliers, refiners, traders and marketers of oil and gas to doing more to enable sustainable economic and social progress.

“It is increasingly apparent that people the world over are willing to grant the energy and oil industries—and in fact, any industry—a social license to operate only if their business activities have a wider and more positive ripple effect in the markets and communities where they conduct their business,’’ Al-Falih said in his address.

The paradigm NOCs and IOCs are now using to meet these broader objectives and commitments requires the use of different benchmarks to better optimize capital, time, technological and human resource investments.

“There are no more easy rides, and no more free lunches to be had—neither for NOCs nor IOCs,” Al-Falih said. “In my view, true energy sustainability should be treated as an all-encompassing concept including a wide range of energy, economic, social, technological, and of course environmental priorities.”

Calling for pragmatic solutions to the world’s energy challenges, Al-Falih said the needs of producers and consumers can be further aligned to create outcomes that are acceptable in serving the interests of both the energy industry and societies and communities around the world.  

“The optimal roles of various NOCs and IOCs still need to be thoroughly thought through, based on their aspirations, competitive positions, various capacities and available opportunities—as well as a better understanding of a future energy world certain to comprise conventional and unconventional oil and natural gas, clean coal, renewables and alternative sources of energy.”

A collaborative approach between NOCs and IOCs can help in ensuring the adequacy, affordability and acceptability of energy supplies to meet the rising demands of a growing world population, while maintaining industry profitability, he added. 

Sharing Saudi Aramco’s success in collaborative partnerships with other petroleum companies and service providers, Al-Falih said: “Saudi Aramco is a strong believer in capitalizing on such mutually beneficial collaborative opportunities, and we are proud of our partnerships with both multinational firms and fellow NOCs in the Kingdom and abroad, and in sectors ranging from natural gas to refining, marketing, retailing and petrochemicals.”     

In his closing remarks, Al-Falih said: “There are many variables and unknowns ahead and there will be both welcome and unwelcome surprises that lie in wait. But one thing is certain: the oil business of the future will not be like that of the past, any more than the expectations of the societies we serve will resemble the needs and desires of previous generations.”

To view the full text of the speech, please visit www.saudiaramco.com.