Non-oil activities increasingly important for Aramco

Updated 07 July 2017
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Non-oil activities increasingly important for Aramco

DUBAI: Saudi Aramco’s annual review, published on Thursday, highlights activities outside the traditional energy business — technology, innovation and human capital — which it sees as central to its corporate structure and which it believes will help maximize its value for the upcoming initial public offering (IPO).
“Technology and innovation are key drivers of our strategy to maximize the inherent value of the resource base, enable a more diversified and globally competitive domestic market for our products, and create a Saudi workforce with a world-class knowledge base,” the review said.
“We realize these goals by developing and commercializing new technologies, evolving strategic alliances with industry partners, forging relationships with world-leading research and academic institutions, and pursuing strategic acquisitions and investments to generate additional value,” it added.
In research and development, Aramco’s efforts focus on the upstream, downstream, and sustainability domains — specifically on high-impact technologies that have the potential to create significant competitive advantage for operations, and help grow new businesses.
In 2016, Aramco “progressed initiatives across the hydrocarbon value chain, from underwater robotic seismic acquisition and faster reservoir modeling, to improved refinery yields and new fuel formulations,” the review said.
Research network
Research is an increasingly important part of Aramco’s corporate strategy. Its Global Research Network has 11 offices in the Kingdom and around the world. Three in the US — in Detroit, Boston and Houston — came together to collaborate on climate change issues in 2016.
The venture capital subsidiary, Saudi Aramco Energy Ventures (SAEV), headquartered in Dhahran and with a presence in North America, Europe, and Asia, invests globally in startup and high-growth companies developing technologies of strategic importance.
In 2016, SAEV made eight new direct investments and began a series of technology pilot projects, the review said.
Human resources and localization of jobs and services also play a prominent part in the review.
“The Kingdom is a land rich in natural resources — especially oil and gas. But its real wealth lies in the talents of its people and the potential of its younger generations. We help unleash this potential by delivering community-based corporate citizenship initiatives that give people the tools they need to seize the opportunities of the future,” it said.
Aramco runs 141 company schools in the Kingdom, and launched a program to encourage women’s employment in science, technology, education and mathematics.
In 2016, the flagship King Abdulaziz Center for World Culture, an initiative for enabling the knowledge economy through creativity and culture, opened in Dhahran. It organizes activities in Saudi Arabia and abroad on the themes of history, archaeology, arts and film of the Kingdom.


Japan prosecutors weigh bringing case against Nissan after Ghosn arrest -Asahi

Updated 14 min 59 sec ago
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Japan prosecutors weigh bringing case against Nissan after Ghosn arrest -Asahi

TOKYO: Japanese prosecutors are considering bringing a case against Nissan Motor Co. after Chairman Carlos Ghosn’s arrest on suspicion of financial misconduct, the Asahi Shimbun daily said on Wednesday.
Ghosn, one of the global car industry’s best-known leaders, was arrested on Monday after Nissan’s internal investigations found he had allegedly engaged in years of wrongdoing, including personal use of company money and under-reporting earnings. The Japanese company plans to remove him as chairman on Thursday.
Prosecutors said Ghosn and Representative Director Greg Kelly conspired to understate Ghosn’s compensation over five years starting in fiscal 2010 as being about half of the actual 10 billion yen ($88.65 million).
The Asahi quoted unnamed sources as saying that the mis-stating meant the company also bore responsibility and that prosecutors were eyeing the possibility of putting together a case against it.
Prosecutors were not immediately able to comment. Nissan declined to comment on the report.
There has been no comment from Ghosn or Kelly on any of the allegations against them, including a report in Japan’s Nikkei business daily on Tuesday that Ghosn had received share price-linked compensation of about 4 billion yen over a five-year period to March 2015 but that it went unreported in Nissan’s financial reports.
Reuters could not contact Ghosn or Kelly for comment.
Ghosn is also chairman and chief executive of Nissan’s French partner Renault, and chairman of Japan’s Mitsubishi Motors Corp, the third partner in the alliance.
Renault on Tuesday tapped its chief operating officer and a senior board member to fill in for Ghosn, but the board refrained from firing him while awaiting for detail on the allegations — a decision that could buy more time for an accelerated, permanent succession process.
Shares in Nissan rose 0.6 percent on Wednesday after falling nearly 6 percent a day earlier. ($1 = 112.8000 yen)