DiplomaticQuarter: Ties between Saudi Arabia and Austria on upward trajectory

The outgoing Austrian Ambassador, Gregor W. Koessler, with the Governor of Riyadh region, Prince Faisal bin Bandar. (Photo/Supplied)
Updated 09 January 2019
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DiplomaticQuarter: Ties between Saudi Arabia and Austria on upward trajectory

  • The annual two-way trade between Riyadh and Vienna is reportedly around SR1.9 billion ($0.5 billion)

RIYADH: Austria’s outgoing ambassador to Saudi Arabia called on Saudi Foreign Affairs Minister Ibrahim Al-Assaf and Riyadh Gov. Prince Faisal bin Bandar to bid farewell at the end of his tenure.
Gregor W. Koessler said issues of mutual interest were discussed and that the two top-level officials wished him success for the future.
“We reviewed the broad range of bilateral relations I was covering in my six-and-a-half years in the Kingdom,” the envoy told Arab News.
“I expressed my deep appreciation for the friendly reception in Saudi Arabia and the many friendships built on to connect our two countries even more.”
He wished King Salman, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the government and nation a prosperous and peaceful future, and every success for the Vision 2030 reform plan.
“We need to continue building bridges between our societies and making every effort for constructive dialogue.”
Koessler previously called on Austrian companies to ensure their “local presence” in the Kingdom for intensive engagement and promoting business. Saudi Arabia and Austria enjoy cordial ties. Last year, Austria pledged to ramp up cooperation in key commercial sectors with Saudi Arabia after a group of business leaders representing about 25 top-notch Austrian companies had wide-ranging talks with Saudi officials and businessmen.
The pledge came within the framework of Saudi Vision 2030, which calls for forging partnerships with foreign companies to achieve the desired objectives of the vision.
The annual two-way trade between Riyadh and Vienna is reportedly around SR1.9 billion ($0.5 billion).
Many Austrian companies have been working closely with Saudi enterprises over the past decades, either as joint ventures or in close collaboration with the Saudi side on a number of projects. As of 2018, there were reportedly 20 joint ventures operating in different sectors.
Austria has been the fastest growing European tourist destination in the Middle East. The number of guests from the Middle East to Austria has increased by 400 percent in the last 10 years.
Klaus Ehrenbrandtner, director Middle East of the Austrian National Tourist Office, said: “In 2016, Austria welcomed 105,000 guests from the Kingdom.”


Saudi Aramco recognized as a leader in the Fourth Industrial Revolution

Updated 22 January 2019
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Saudi Aramco recognized as a leader in the Fourth Industrial Revolution

JEDDAH: Saudi Aramco’s Uthmaniyah Gas Plant (UGP) has been recognized by the World Economic Forum (WEF) as a “Lighthouse” manufacturing facility and a leader in technology applications of the Fourth Industrial Revolution. 
Saudi Aramco is the first energy company globally to be included in this select group of manufacturing sites. The plant is also the only facility in the Middle East to be recognized by WEF. 
The announcement was made ahead of WEFs annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland.
The gas plant is one of the world’s largest gas processing plants and was commissioned in 1981 as part of Saudi Aramco’s Master Gas System to process associated gas from oil wells. 
The use of drones and wearable technologies to inspect pipelines and machinery has helped cut inspection time by 90% in this industrial facility.
“The recognition of the Uthmaniyah Gas Plant demonstrates Saudi Aramco’s shift to transform and adapt in the rapidly changing global energy landscape. Uthmaniyah is only one part of our large integrated energy value chain where IR 4.0 technologies are playing a critical role to enable significant capital and operational efficiencies,” said Amin H. Nasser, Chief Executive Officer of Saudi Aramco.
The seven new facilities join nine other “Manufacturing Lighthouses” which WEF unveiled in September 2018. The 16 factories were selected from an initial list of 1,000 manufacturers based on their successful implementation of cutting-edge technologies of the future that drive financial and operational impact.
The “Lighthouse” program was conducted by WEF in collaboration with McKinsey during a year-long study. A study team visited UGP in Saudi Arabia and performed a thorough audit.