SADA: Drilling academy to train over 4,000 Saudi nationals a year

The first meeting of the SADA board of trustees marks an important step in developing a training hub to serve the drilling and workover industry in the region.
Updated 18 July 2016

SADA: Drilling academy to train over 4,000 Saudi nationals a year

DHAHRAN: A dynamic new project, the Saudi Arabian Drilling Academy (SADA), has officially been launched.

The goal set by its directors and stakeholders is to develop SADA as a training hub to serve the drilling and workover industry in the region, according to Saudi Aramco website.
The project goes back to early 2015 when the Saudi Aramco Drilling and Workover (D&WO) Admin Area initiated the concept and a countrywide feasibility study was commissioned for the drilling industry. The study found that over the next 20 years, approximately 90,000 Saudis will need to be trained to meet the industry’s growth plans in the Kingdom.
The best way to meet such a high demand is to act proactively by training Saudi youth to work in the drilling industry, and to do so, SADA is going to build up to training more than 4,000 Saudi nationals a year. This initiative will result in a marked increase in Saudization levels in the drilling industry across all technical job ranks.

Building on strong foundations
A major milestone was reached with the first meeting of the SADA board of trustees. The meeting marked an important step in moving the project into the implementation stage and the board will now meet regularly to discuss and approve all key actions related to the establishment and operation of the academy.
The board is chaired by Dawood M. Al-Dawood, acting vice president of Northern Area Oil Operations and initiator of the SADA concept while at D&WO, and vice-chaired by Nabil K. Al-Dabal, general manager, Training and Development (T&D).
Of the 15 board members, three are from Saudi Aramco, one is from the Technical & Vocational Training Corporation (TVTC), and 11 are voted from among the drilling and workover companies who are stakeholders of SADA.
The project is funded by the industry itself with 34 stakeholders contributing to the establishment and continuous running of the academy. Saudi Aramco has played a key role from the beginning and will continue to support SADA as a national project.
Saudi Aramco agreed with the stakeholders to launch SADA in two phases, making it possible to start training operations as early as the fourth quarter of 2016. While the permanent home of SADA with the capacity of 4,000-plus trainees a year is being built over the coming four years, it will temporarily train and graduate hundreds of trainees at a TVTC training center in Abqaiq. To that effect, TVTC has recently issued a permanent license for SADA as an independent, not-for-profit entity.

Teaming up to train well
D&WO and T&D are making a significant effort to further this project and have assigned a team of subject matter experts (SMEs) from Saudi Aramco and SADA founding stakeholders to be dedicated to this project for the foreseeable future.
Equally, drilling companies have been exceptionally proactive on this initiative and continue to offer the support needed, be it through donations of training equipment, the assignment of SMEs to work with the project development team, or the effective presence that management of these companies demonstrate to various functions and sub entities of SADA.
One of SADA’s key strengths is going to be the wide range of training programs offered to drilling companies. There are already training programs and patterns proposed to not only train young high school graduates, but to also offer continuous development programs to junior operators and technicians, which will allow them to progress with their careers all the way into senior roles.
With such a clear market need for an emerging technical workforce in drilling rigs around the country, SADA provides a very promising prospect of ensuring that such an opportunity is utilized fully to benefit Saudi youth and promote their role within the industry.

Palestinians in financial crisis after Israel, US moves

Updated 22 March 2019

Palestinians in financial crisis after Israel, US moves

  • A Ramallah-based economics professor said the Palestinian economy more generally, remain totally controlled by and reliant on Israel
  • Israeli-Palestinian peace efforts have been at a standstill since 2014

RAMALLAH, Palestinian Territories: The Palestinian Authority faces a suffocating financial crisis after deep US aid cuts and an Israeli move to withhold tax transfers, sparking fears for the stability of the West Bank.
The authority, headed by President Mahmud Abbas, announced a package of emergency measures on March 10, including halving the salaries of many civil servants.
The United States has cut more than $500 million in Palestinian aid in the last year, though only a fraction of that went directly to the PA.
The PA has decided to refuse what little US aid remains on offer for fear of civil suits under new legislation passed by Congress.
Israel has also announced it intends to deduct around $10 million a month in taxes it collects for the PA in a dispute over payments to the families of prisoners in Israeli jails.
In response, Abbas has refused to receive any funds at all, labelling the Israeli reductions theft.
That will leave his government with a monthly shortfall of around $190 million for the length of the crisis.
The money makes up more than 50 percent of the PA’s monthly revenues, with other funds coming from local taxes and foreign aid.

While the impact of the cuts is still being assessed, analysts fear it could affect the stability of the occupied West Bank.
“If the economic situation remains so difficult and the PA is unable to pay salaries and provide services, in addition to continuing (Israeli) settlement expansion it will lead to an explosion,” political analyst Jihad Harb said.
Abbas cut off relations with the US administration after President Donald Trump declared the disputed city of Jerusalem Israel’s capital in December 2017.
The right-wing Israeli government, strongly backed by the US, has since sought to squeeze Abbas.
After a deadly anti-Israeli attack last month, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he would withhold $138 million (123 million euros) in Palestinian revenues over the course of a year.
Israel collects around $190 million a month in customs duties levied on goods destined for Palestinian markets that transit through its ports, and then transfers the money to the PA.
Israel said the amount it intended to withhold was equal to what is paid by the PA to the families of prisoners, or prisoners themselves, jailed for attacks on Israelis last year.
Many Palestinians view prisoners and those killed while carrying out attacks as heroes of the fight against Israeli occupation.
Israel says the payments encourage further violence.
Abbas recently accused Netanyahu’s government of causing a “crippling economic crisis in the Palestinian Authority.”
The PA also said in January it would refuse all further US government aid for fear of lawsuits under new US legislation targeting alleged support for “terrorism.”

Finance Minister Shukri Bishara announced earlier this month he had been forced to “adopt an emergency budget that includes restricted austerity measures.”
Government employees paid over 2,000 shekels ($555) will receive only half their salaries until further notice.
Prisoner payments would continue in full, Bishara added.
Nasser Abdel Karim, a Ramallah-based economics professor, told AFP the PA, and the Palestinian economy more generally, remain totally controlled by and reliant on Israel.
The PA undertook similar financial measures in 2012 when Israel withheld taxes over Palestinian efforts to gain international recognition at the United Nations.
Abdel Karim said such crises are “repeated and disappear according to the development of the relationship between the Palestinian Authority and Israel or the countries that support (the PA).”
Israel occupied the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, including now annexed east Jerusalem in the Six-Day War of 1967 and Abbas’s government has only limited autonomy in West Bank towns and cities.
“The problem is the lack of cash,” economic journalist Jafar Sadaqa told AFP.
He said that while the PA had faced financial crises before, “this time is different because it comes as a cumulative result of political decisions taken by the United States.”
Abbas appointed longtime ally Mohammad Shtayyeh as prime minister on March 10 to head a new government to oversee the crisis.
Abdel Karim believes the crisis could worsen after an Israeli general election next month “if a more right-wing Israeli government wins.”
Netanyahu’s outgoing government is already regarded as the most right-wing in Israel’s history but on April 9 parties even further to the right have a realistic chance of winning seats in parliament for the first time.
Israeli-Palestinian peace efforts have been at a standstill since 2014, when a drive for a deal by the administration of President Barack Obama collapsed in the face of persistent Israeli settlement expansion in the West Bank.