Al-Falih Speaks on Future of Petrochemicals in Gulf

10 December 2010 | 0 comments | Saudi Aramco News | by

Dubai, December 08, 2010 — Khalid A. Al-Falih, President and CEO of Saudi Aramco, today delivered the keynote speech “Chemicals: A Middle East Pillar Industry During a Decisive Decade of Opportunity” at the Gulf Petrochemicals & Chemicals Association (GPCA) Forum in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

ALFalihSaudi Aramco President and CEO Khalid A. Al-Falih

The GPCA Forum is an annual event for the industry to review and discuss outlook of the petrochemicals industry in the coming years. The Gulf petrochemical industry, in addition to being the main production hub in the future, is also expected to become the main arbitrage point for polymers worldwide.

In his keynote speech, Al-Falih noted that refinery-petrochemical integration has only started to emerge in the region, which has been built largely on the competitive advantage derived from gas-based feedstocks.

“This area of the business, which offers many opportunities for product diversification and value addition has significant room for growth in the Gulf and Saudi Aramco intends to take an active role in realizing those opportunities,” Al-Falih said.

Comparing the Gulf’s petrochemical sector to those in other parts of the world, Al-Falih said the Gulf region’s enterprises need to focus on product diversity and downstream value addition. This should go to the extent of supporting industries such as automotives, construction, electronics, textiles, pharmaceuticals, agriculture and others that could benefit from further diversification.

As well as helping to diversify economies and boosting GDP growth, product value addition creates employment opportunities.

Al-Falih called on the Gulf’s petrochemical industry to invest more in R&D and innovation, human resource development and to nurture and cultivate a dynamic environment that would bring about commercial success and promote entrepreneurship.

In addition to Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) disciplines, Al-Falih called for the development of talent in marketing, business systems, finance, customer service and supply chain management.

He added that Saudi Aramco is moving in that direction by setting up a new Entrepreneurship Center, providing local small businesses and start-ups with seed capital and learning opportunities.

In his closing remarks, Al-Falih outlined a proposed set of demanding but doable targets for the Gulf’s chemical sector.

“By 2020, the region’s petrochemical and chemical enterprises should increase their sales by a factor of five,” Al-Falih said.

He urged GCC chemicals producers to double the business-as-usual estimate of $80 billion per year for the next decade to $150 billion to $200 billion a year.

With numerous employment creation prospects, Al-Falih called on the industry to increase the chemicals-related workforce by a factor of 10 over the next 10 years, boost R&D spending and develop the necessary specialized manpower skills.

“The next ten years will be a golden age for our region in terms of economic conditions and commercial opportunities, but we also face many structural hurdles and challenges. We must therefore seize this moment before it passes,” Al-Falih said.

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

Saudi Aramco Ranked Top Oil Company

8 December 2010 | 0 comments | Saudi Aramco News | by

DHAHRAN, December 08, 2010 — Saudi Aramco dominance in Petroleum Intelligence Weekly (PIW) annual rankings continued as it recently received the global No. 1 rank of the world 50 largest oil companies. The company has achieved the top spot in the PIW rankings for 22 consecutive years.
 
The Saudi national oil company leads the world in reserves and production of liquids, two of six criteria in the rankings. Others include gas output and reserves, product sales and distillation capacity.

Khurais.For 22 years running, PIW ranked Saudi Aramco first in reserves, production of liquids, gas output and reserves, product sales and distillation capacity.

Rounding out the overall top 10 companies are, in order, Iran NIOC, Exxon Mobil, Venezulea PDV, China CNPC, the U.K. BP, Royal Dutch Shell of the Netherlands, Chevron, ConocoPhillips and Total of France.

The top 100 on the PIW list control 87 percent of the world oil reserves and 72 percent of the gas reserves.

Authors of this year Energy Intelligence Top 100: Ranking the World’s Oil Companies, which incorporates PIW top 50 list, said that while little has changed atop the list, there have been significant gains made by Eastern Asian companies. They noted the rise of such companies as Malaysia Petronas (17), China CNOOC (39) and Thailand PTT (53).

Perhaps the most noteworthy example of the trend is India’s Reliance Industries, which jumped 26 spots from the previous year rankings to reach No. 40 in this year report.

The current rankings are based on operational results for 2009, which are the most recent annual data available for such a large group of companies.

Facts from the Top 100 report

  • The 4 percent rise in Top 100 oil reserves was largely the result of a massive reserve upgrade by Petroleos de Venezuela; Top 100 gas reserves grew 2 percent.
  • Top 100 oil output declined by about 1 percent, and gas production fell nearly 2 percent.
  • Median revenue for the Top 100 was down 25 percent, and income dropped 42 percent. Median capital expenditures slid 35 percent.
  • Four companies joined the Top 100 list: Cenovus Energy, Southwestern Energy, Ultra Petroleum and Korea National Oil Corp.
  • North America is stirring again as a major upstream player, helped by unconventional (shale) gas success.

Saudi Aramco Celebrates Inventions

7 December 2010 | 0 comments | Saudi Aramco News | by

DHAHRAN, December 01, 2010 — The company on Nov. 24 celebrated its 100th patent, which was granted in March, but since March, 25 more patents have been granted, heralding an age of innovation like none before.

patents Inventors were the center of attention at the 100-Patent celebration at the Plaza Conference Center. Patent-earning employees are shown above wearing red ribbons.

The story of how that came to be is one of hard work, teamwork and talent, said president and CEO Khalid A. Al-Falih. Each one of us here is part of a transformation that is preparing the Kingdom for the post-industrial world and setting the stage for a true knowledge society and economy. The centerpiece of that is innovation, technology and learning. It all about the human element — the human being.

The groundwork has been laid for a patent surge. “Why we’re here today is a product of decades and generations,” Al-Falih said. “It’s the continuation of the spirit that conquered difficulties from the explorers who came to the Kingdom, from our forefathers who left their villages and did something that made all our lives today more prosperous.

Although employees have been producing patents since 1950 — with Edward Van Dornick oil and gas separator — it wasn’t until 2000 that a process was put in place to help them do so. In fact, 110 of the 125 patents granted to Saudi Aramco were granted since the introduction of the Intellectual Assets Management (IAM) system, indicating that all those ideas needed was harvesting.

Ideas have been there all along, from the very beginning of time,” said  Mohammed A. Alansari, coordinator of the Technology Program and one of the key figures behind IAM.
“Value and wealth have previously been associated with physical assets,”Alansari said. “Nowadays, the real value is derived mainly from intellectual assets. Corporations that recognize the true importance of intellectual capital are going to be more successful, and the future value of intellectual capital is going to depend on our willingness and commitment to manage these assets.”

Rashid Khan, supervisor of  the IAM  Group, said: “We didn’t capture (the ideas) as well as we could have before the process. The process is our structural capital — it enables us to capture a number of inventions.”

The discoveries of today’s inventors are a clear passing of a torch from the early days. Explaining one example, Saudi Aramco inventor Bill Connor said, “There are oily chemicals in wastewater that don’t biologically treat very well and make it unfit for reuse.”

While lying in bed one night, Connor came up with a solution. “I couldn’t sleep, and I was thinking about it, and I essentially came up with an entirely different way of approaching the problem,” he said. His idea treats the previously unusable wastewater. “This technology will allow Saudi Aramco to reduce water consumption. It’s exciting to be able to do something that will be very helpful to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and its future.”

For Omer Refa Koseoglu, “doing something” means developing cleaner fuels through refining — a subject he’s passionate enough about to have been granted three patents already. “The secret is knowledge. I know the refining process well,” he said. “We do research, and I find a gap there, and I file a patent.”

Flexibility and openness to alternative solutions is why his team has many patents in process. “When it comes to ideas, I tell them, ‘No idea is stupid,’” Koseoglu said. “‘Come with the idea. Let’s discuss it with the team, and then we can build on it.’ That’s how we came up with so many applications.”

Patents follow the company’s business needs, which was the case with Saad Y. Mousa and his colleagues, Hani A. Al-Otaibi and Maan J. Khalife, who developed and patented a program that forecasts how many specialists there will be in a discipline after 10 years. “There was a need; in fact, there still is a need for this program,” said Mousa, who was the team’s computer programmer. “We use formulas for manning prediction, plus we develop Individual Development Plans and track development,” he said. “It’s already in use in four or five departments within Aramco.”

The company’s large support system — in the form of labs, processes and encouragement — also has increased the number of patents. “The experiments were conducted in the lab, with the EXPEC Advanced Research Center. Management would sit with us and really ensure that we protect our ideas,” said Abdullah M. Al-Dhafeeri, who, with Mohammed A. Al-Yami, combined gel with acid-soluble cement to help when drilling muddy reservoirs. “I was thinking of how we can be innovative and create a new solution that doesn’t exist in the market. That’s how we came up with it. It’s unique.”

Employees’ capacity to come up with unique solutions is why Al-Falih felt that a target of 100 patents per year was not too ambitious. “We all need to participate and create our own innovations and inventions,” he said.

“Saudi Aramco is bringing the best talent from all over the world, putting it together and creating true energy … energy of ideas, energy of hope and energy of development,” Al-Falih said. “You are the true champions.”

Banner Flies on Fuji’s Top

7 December 2010 | 0 comments | Saudi Aramco News | by

TOKYO, December 01, 2010 — Saudi Aramco employee Faisal F. Mirza and his 15-year-old son, Khalid, scaled Japan iconic Mt. Fuji recently and hoisted the flags of Saudi Arabia and Saudi Aramco at the mountaintop.

Fuji. Faisal F. Mirza, above left, and his son Khalid unfurl the Saudi Aramco banner at the top of Japan’s Mt. Fuji. They were part of a group in which they were the only Saudis, but the strangers became friends as they climbed.

Mirza, deputy general manager of Saudi Petroleum Ltd. in Tokyo, and his son were recognized by Saudi Ambassador Abdulaziz Turkistani for their accomplishment in scaling the 3,776-meter pinnacle. The father-son duo was part of a 20-person climbing expedition.

This adventure actually took place during our first holiday in Japan,” Mirza said. “The beauty of this adventure is that we were a group of 20 made up of a number of Japanese, and me and my son, who happened to be the only non-Japanese in the group. At the beginning, they refrained from talking to us as strangers, but as hours unfolded, we won them over and started communicating with them even when we were exhausted. We encouraged them, and they did the same for us.

Mirza said being atop Mt. Fuji at dawn seemed more meaningful as Japan is called the Land of the Rising Sun.

It was and will always be the most beautiful sunrise I’ve ever seen, he said. Where the land recedes to the ocean and they blend together in a hazy blur. The light of the dawn offers an unforgettable view over other mountains, forests and lakes. I don’t know how to explain it precisely as you see the gentle slope, rolling green hills and clouds rising from below while the sun appears within this transitional area.

He said they found the climb challenging. The most difficult challenge we faced was the lack of oxygen when we reached Station No. 8, which is the last station prior to the summit, he said.

At sunrise, he and his son hoisted a large photo of King Abdullah along with the flags. “Although the Fuji summit was very windy and freezing cold — 12 degrees below zero — I am enormously proud that I raised the photo of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques along with the Saudi Arabian and the Saudi Aramco flags at sunrise. That indicated the start of a new day for the entire world.”

It was an exciting experience for young Khalid, as well.
“Even though this was a tough experience, and I barely made it except for my father’s encouragement, I am very proud of what we shared together as our first experience in Japan,” said Khalid.

Jennifer Johnson Graduates from Law School

6 December 2010 | 0 comments | Graduations & Retirements | by

Jennifer Johnson

Jennifer L. Johnson, the daughter of Bobby and Sandra Johnson, will be graduating from the Arizona State University Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law with a Juris Doctorate as a Pedrick Honors Scholar on December 17, 2010.

In 2007, she graduated from the George Washington University with a Bachelor degree in International Affairs and Middle Eastern Studies.

She is a class of 2000 graduate of Dhahran Junior High, and was born in the Dhahran hospital.

She will be moving to Los Angeles where she will sit for the California Bar exam.

Her email address is jennlj84@gmail.com.