Saudi Arabia’s Vision for 2030 and Saudi Aramco
On the sidelines of HRH Deputy Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman bin ‘Abd Al-‘Aziz Al Sa’ud’s recent visit to the United States to convey the Saudi Vision 2030 and invite collaboration, HE Khalid A. Al-Falih, Minister of Energy, Industry and Mineral Resources, and Chairman of Saudi Aramco’s Board of Directors, took part in disseminating the message, also taking time to share Saudi Aramco’s strategy to help implement Vision 2030.
Al-Falih noted that Saudi Aramco will take center stage in helping to implement Vision 2030. He said the company’s assignment to assist in the effort can be attributed to its history of excellence.
Al-Falih described the transformation taking place in Saudi Arabia as being both bold and visionary, and in step with a changing world, an evolving global economy, emerging technologies, geopolitical trends, and more. In addition, as Saudi Arabia diversifies, so will Saudi Aramco. Al-Falih noted that Saudi Aramco began its own transformation program a few years ago, which will now be updated to be in step with Vision 2030, which has, in effect, turbocharged that effort.
The company, he said, will seek to move, change, and expand into areas that will not only make it more agile and responsive, but also lead the industry into a better energy future.
“We will become a much more technology and knowledge-driven organization,” said Al-Falih. He added that Saudi Aramco will develop a stronger downstream business, double refining capacity, expanding into chemicals, do more with renewables, create new technologies through its R&D efforts, and develop new business lines through investments and acquisitions.”
Al-Falih also touched on the topic of the anticipated initial public offering, saying it will open up Saudi Aramco — and Saudi Arabia — to the wider world, also showcasing our achievements to the investment community.
We will become a much more technology and knowledge-driven organization. Saudi Aramco will develop a stronger downstream business, double refining capacity, expanding into chemicals, do more with renewables, create new technologies through its R&D efforts, and develop new business lines through investments and acquisitions.HE Khalid A. Al-Falih
The petrochemical sector and Saudi Aramco’s continued growth of its Downstream business have the potential to play a pivotal role in the Kingdom’s 2030 Vision for a diversified and sustainable economic future, according to Warren W. Wilder, Saudi Aramco’s vice president of Chemicals. Saudi Aramco’s entry into chemicals and its ambitious strategic plan to become a fully integrated global petroleum and chemicals enterprise will leverage its capabilities and resources to create jobs and help diversify the Saudi economy beyond oil. Wilder characterizes Saudi Aramco’s approach to growth in the chemicals sector as being based on a two-pronged integration strategy — integration with refineries and other feedstock providers and integration, or closer ties, with customers. Wilder also highlights that the Saudi petrochemicals industry has been designated as one of seven national industries selected for concentrated support. However, to maintain competitiveness and achieve its full potential, the industry must address “certain key challenges,” which are: diversification of feedstocks, diversification of the product slate, and the promotion of downstream industries.
In line with the Saudi Vision 2030, Saudi Aramco and Saudi Arabian Basic Industries Corporation (SABIC) have recently signed a heads of agreement to conduct a feasibility study on the development of a fully integrated crude oil-to-chemicals complex to be located in Saudi Arabia. Consistent with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 goals, this project will provide new opportunities toward creating a world leading downstream sector in Saudi Arabia, built on four key drivers: maximizing value from the Kingdom’s crude oil production via vertical and horizontal integration across the hydrocarbon chain; enabling the creation of conversion industries that produce semi-finished and finished goods to help diversify the economy; developing advanced technologies and innovation; and enabling the Kingdom’s sustainable development in alignment with the Kingdom’s National Transformation Program.
Research and Development
The global R&D program, which was part of the Accelerated Transformation Program journey and comprises eight international research centers spread around the world directed from the corporate R&D centers in Dhahran, is beginning to turn out exciting results in terms of technology enhancements and breakthroughs.
During a recent visit to Saudi Aramco’s Houston Research Center, which was inaugurated in 2014, HE Khalid A. Al-Falih, was presented with an ultrasonic tomographic meter built in collaboration with the Production Technology team at EXPEC ARC — the Upstream R&D center in Dhahran. The meter was developed entirely within Saudi Aramco and does not use radioactive sources, which is better for the environment and less costly to build and service.
Another area of interest was a downhole electromagnetic receiver wireline tool, which was a collaborative project with EXPEC ARC’s Geophysics Technology Team. The tool, currently in field trials, is expected to provide better front mapping and detection of bypassed oil.
In the area of drilling, several novel technologies were showcased and they are expected to undergo field trials this year. These include a new advanced material to repair high-pressure gas wells suffering from defects in the well’s cement sheath, as well as a new material for improving the wellbore construction process, avoiding a significant amount of downtime. Another interesting area currently being researched is a high-value drilling fluid chemical that could be manufactured in the Kingdom, reducing imports.