Young Researchers Shine in Grand Challenge
Ahmad Al Ghraibi gives his presentation during the final round of EXPEC ARC's Grand Challenge.

With the spotlight on developing young talent, the Saudi Aramco EXPEC Advanced Research Center (EXPEC ARC) recently conducted a competition designed to give young researchers an opportunity to hone their presentation skills, develop ties between individuals and recognize exceptional talent while also stimulating creativity.

For the ‘Grand Challenge’ competition, EXPEC ARC invited young researchers who have contributed to the development of innovative concepts in their area of technical interest to present their ideas. The challenge is one of the initiatives in EXPEC ARC’s Young Researcher Program.

“Being relatively new to EXPEC ARC, this was a wonderful way to get involved with others outside my division and present my work for the first time to a multidisciplinary forum of department colleagues,” said Salma Sinan, a geophysicist. “My fellow competitors gave excellent presentations. I am honored to be among the selected group and to have the support of my colleagues and management.”

This year’s competition was held in two rounds: an initial qualifying round and the final round. There were 16 participants in the initial round; each had 10 minutes to deliver a presentation on their innovative idea. The presentations were expected to be technically sound, innovative, well prepared, and professionally designed and delivered. A judging committee consisting of EXPEC ARC’s manager and seven chief technologists evaluated the presentations.

“During the judging process, it was remarkable to witness such a rich and diverse pipeline of intellect at EXPEC ARC,” said Ali A. Al-Meshari, acting EXPEC ARC manager. “Such competitions are constructive in further challenging our young professionals, in addition to knowledge sharing across the department.”

Finalists Face Off

Young Researchers Shine in Grand Challenge
Salma Sinan, gives her presentation on
'Kerogen: The Fuel of the Future?', winning
top honors in the Grand Challenge competition.

For the final round the five finalists — Sinan, Abrar Abbad, Ahmed Al Ghraibi, Ahmed Alismail, and Hytham Othman — each delivered a 20-minute presentation on their innovative ideas covering a wide range of concepts in the areas of geology, geophysics, and petroleum engineering to their EXPEC ARC colleagues. In addition to their presentation, each of the finalists had to answer questions from a panel of experts and fellow competitors.

Sinan took the top honors in the competition with her presentation “Kerogen: The Fuel of the Future?” In second place was Alismail for “Nanosurfactant Technology,” and third place went to Al Ghraibi for “Potential of Shallow Field Exploration.”

“We have introduced this competition to identify talent and were impressed that all of the participants demonstrated such skill. The future of the company is in good hands,” said chief technologist Maher Almarhoon.

The Young Researcher Program is designed to motivate and challenge young researchers, ensuring focused development and mentorship. As part of the program, young researchers participate in different development opportunities, including field deployment projects and advanced degree programs.