FDR and Hafeez Qureshi: Two Philatelists of Note
Shedgum Gas Plant. Photo courtesy of Saudi Aramco.

In 1975, Saudi Aramco began construction of a series of gas plants at Shedgum, Uthmaniyah, Ju'aymah, Berri, Jubail, and Yanbu in the Eastern Province. At that time this was the largest gas gathering and processing system ever undertaken. The goal of the project was to capture and utilize natural gasses that had previously been flared as waste product, creating the famous flames that once upon a time filled the skies over Aramco refineries on the Peninsula with blazing light 24-hours a day.

Thus was born the Master Gas System, a vast network of facilities designed to capture and profitably utilize once-neglected natural gas, some of it to be used to generate power, some of it to be used in the desalination of water. In one of many affiliated moves, Aramco constructed the world's largest offshore LPG (Liquefied Petroleum Gas) loading terminal at the time at Ju'aymah. To this day, the company continues unabated with the massive investment into LPG-related infrastructure it first committed to over 40 years ago.

FDR and Hafeez Qureshi: Two Philatelists of Note
Hafeez Qureshi near the oil rig
FDR and Hafeez Qureshi: Two Philatelists of Note
Hafeez Qureshi in the office

Undertaking projects on such a monumental scale would have been impossible without the participation and contributions of thousands of skilled workers like Hafeez Qureshi, badge number 072842. A native of Pakistan with a degree in Chemistry, Hafeez joined Aramco in 1975, at the earliest stage of the Gas Gathering Project. Over the next 31 years, Hafeez was involved with on-site testing of effluent gasses at all of Aramco’s offshore Gas Oil Separation Plants (including those at Zuluf, Marjan, and Safaniyah) as well as at all of Aramco’s onshore GOSPs (even those at remote sites such as Shaybah).

While working for Aramco, Hafeez had the good fortune of being chosen for a month-long Corrosion Engineering Course with NL Treating Chemicals in Houston, Texas. (Note: NLTC was later acquired by Exxon Chemicals in 1993). The course was beneficial to his work as a chemist in the Kingdom, helping to shape the lives of Qureshi and Nusrat Hafeez for three decades as they lived together in Al-Khobar and raised their daughter, Jovairia.

With a solid foundation in science, Hafeez was attracted to joining Saudi Aramco by the opportunity to work in “a place where my knowledge of Chemistry could be utilized in the best possible way.”

Hafeez describes with fondness what it was like to work for Aramco:

“It was a marvelous experience working with Aramco as it is a matchless company in providing working facilities and then acknowledging the efforts put forward by its employees. Even after people retire, the company remembers its old employees by inviting them to re-visit those places where they have spent most of their lives.”

Interestingly, Hafeez shares a common hobby with that great American friend of the KSA, President Franklin D. Roosevelt. Like FDR famously once was, Hafeez is an avid stamp collector:

“Collecting of stamps has been my hobby since childhood. It takes quite a chunk of time in sorting them, pasting them in albums, and keeping up with the current issues world wide.”

Retired since 2005, Qureshi today lives with Nusrat in their native Pakistan, where their address is Faisal Town, C-Block House 152, Punjab, Lahore, Pakistan. Friends are invited to reconnect with Qureshi via email at [email protected].

Send a Stamp to Hafeez

Interested readers might want to write to Qureshi and Nusrat using good old-fashioned “snail mail” with an envelope bearing an interesting commemorative stamp from whatever country they currently live in. According to Google, this newsletter reaches readers from 200 countries around the world. Think of what it would mean for Qureshi’s stamp collection if someone from all 200 of those countries were to mail an envelope festooned with colorful stamps from their country! We here at Aramco ExPats in the U.S.A. plan to do so, and we encourage our readers to do the same.

FDR and Hafeez Qureshi: Two Philatelists of Note