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.


Oil rises on US-Iran tensions, but trade war concerns weigh

Updated 26 min 17 sec ago
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Oil rises on US-Iran tensions, but trade war concerns weigh

  • There are expectations producer club OPEC will continue to withhold supply this year
  • President Donald Trump on Monday threatened Iran with ‘great force’ if it attacked US interests in the Middle East

SINGAPORE: Oil prices rose on Tuesday on escalating US-Iran tensions and amid expectations that producer club OPEC will continue to withhold supply this year.
But gains were checked by concerns that a prolonged trade war between Washington and Beijing could lead to a global economic slowdown.
Brent crude futures, the international benchmark for oil prices, were at $72.24 per barrel at 0534 GMT, up 27 cents, or 0.4 percent, from their last close.
US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were up 26 cents, or 0.4 percent, at $63.36 per barrel.
“Escalating tensions between the US and Iran, in addition to signs that OPEC will continue its production cut, drove oil higher,” said Jasper Lawler, head of research at futures brokerage London Capital Group.
US President Donald Trump on Monday threatened Iran with “great force” if it attacked US interests in the Middle East. This came after a rocket attack in Iraq’s capital Baghdad, which Washington suspects to have been organized by militia with ties to Iran.
Iran said on Tuesday that it would resist US pressure, declining further talks under current circumstances.
The tension comes amid an already tight market as the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), Russia and other producers have been withholding supply since the start of the year to prop up prices.
A meeting has been scheduled for June 25-26 to discuss the policy, but the group is now considering moving the event to July 3-4, according to OPEC sources on Monday, with its de-facto leader Saudi Arabia signaling a willingness to continue withholding output.
Price gains were constrained by pressure on financial markets, which have this week been weighed down by worries that the United States and China are digging in for a long, costly trade war that could result in a broad global slowdown.
Singapore, seen as a bellwether for the health of the global economy, on Tuesday posted its lowest quarterly growth in nearly a decade of 1.2 percent year-on-year. Growth in Thailand, a key Asian emerging market, also slowed to a multi-year low.