Empowered to learn
With an eye on empowering and engaging young employees, Saudi Aramco’s EXPEC Advanced Research Center (ARC) has launched several development programs over recent years targeting niche groups such as young researchers and women employees with the goal of expanding their skill sets.
The latest initiative, incorporated into the department’s umbrella talent program, is tailored for technicians. As a significant population of laboratory employees, technicians play a pivotal role in the success of technology research and development, testing and developing solutions in the laboratories.
The EXPEC ARC Technician Development Program was created to address both technician development and improving management’s soft skills to better engage and empower employees.
The following showcase examples of the impact of the program and how technicians contribute to the Company’s success.
Mohammed L. Subhi and Ahmad Al-Humaidi
Mohammed L. Subhi and Ahmad Al-Humaidi, with the Advanced Technical Services Division Drilling Fluids and Cement Unit, illustrate the high-impact role that technicians play. They took the initiative to conduct intensive research, innovative thinking, and comprehensive lab testing to develop the cement oil-based mud (OBM) spacer formulation.
“As technicians, we are empowered to take initiative. We observed the increasing proponents’ demand for OBM and the high cost, and decided to investigate whether we could develop something better in-house to provide cost savings. And with the freedom to innovate, we did,” said Subhi.
The OBM spacer has achieved an outstanding record of over 250 field deployments, along with remarkable cost savings and field performance. It provides effective fluid separation during the cementing operation to prevent high fluid viscosity mixtures from forming, leading to a successful cement job.
“Localization and cost efficiency are two of the main drivers in our drilling operations. The locally sourced Saudi Aramco OBM spacer is a perfect example of how the innovative minds in EXPEC ARC are providing cost-effective solutions to our cementing operations,” said Najeeb I. Abdulrahman, manager of the Exploration and Oil Drilling Engineering Department.
Hussain A. Shateeb
As the newest addition to the Reservoir Engineering Technology Division In Situ Sensing (ISI) technicians, Hussain A. Shateeb has contributed to almost all ISI projects. He learned to handle several experimental procedures and spectroscopy techniques in a short time.
Shateeb’s lab contributions with the Advanced Tracers project earned him his first technical publication as coauthor and participation in two field deployment tests; his work on contrast agents for the magnetic nano-mappers project made him a co-inventor on a patent.
“Since joining EXPEC ARC, I have learned new instruments and techniques to improve data collection,” said Shateeb. “Working directly with engineers and senior researchers has allowed me to learn much about our nanotechnology projects. Such new skills have helped me develop as a person and as a technician.”
He is also heavily involved in nano-surfactant coreflooding testing to evaluate the new class of surfactants in enhancing oil recovery.
Abdullah M. Al Boqmi
Abdullah M. Al Boqmi of the Reservoir Engineering Technology Division is a coauthor of four Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE) conference papers and two SPE journal papers covering research in bio-based chemical enhanced oil recovery, gel-based conformance control, and SmartWater/polymer synergies.
He is a co-inventor of two patent applications related to determining trace amounts of oil via spectroscopic absorption. Such work serves as a clear indication of Al Boqmi’s mastery of experimental techniques and strong contribution to the team.
“For me, the need to regularly think outside the box is most motivating. When we face a problem with the research or a lab experiment doesn’t go as expected, we need to apply our innovative creativity to discover a new way to solve it. It is truly a satisfying field of work,” commented Al Boqmi.
Khalid M. Al-Marshad and Faisal M. Al-Sahman
Khalid M. Al-Marshad and Faisal M. Al-Sahman of the Formation Damage and Stimulation Unit play a valuable role as lab technicians in conducting experiments that mimic fluid flow and interactions with rocks at reservoir conditions.
They are also an outstanding team in conducting quality assurance and control for all injected fluids in over 1,200 fracturing stages in collaboration with Southern Area Oil Operations.
“Upon graduating, I thought maybe my career would be just mixing chemicals to produce another,” noted Al-Marshad. “However, EXPEC ARC’s state-of-the-art lab instruments and facilities encouraged me to develop my competencies and explore field challenges. My knowledge is enriched every day.”
“In the beginning of my career as a technician, I wasn’t sure what effect I would have on the company,” added Al-Sahman. “However, my organization has many ideas and methods that support the company, and I can contribute every day to deliver cost savings and a safer environment with chemicals.”
“Given the pivotal role of our technicians to the success of the technologies we deliver to Upstream and the power of innovation, the development of lab technicians’ skill sets and career is a major priority,” said Ali A. Al-Meshari, EXPEC ARC Manager.
Given the pivotal role of our technicians to the success of the technologies we deliver to Upstream and the power of innovation, the development of lab technicians’ skill sets and career is a major priorityAli A. Al-Meshari, EXPEC ARC Manager