GE focus on localization pays rich dividends

GE focus on localization pays rich dividends
Updated 06 July 2012

GE focus on localization pays rich dividends

GE focus on localization pays rich dividends

The state-of-the-art GE Energy Manufacturing Technology Center in Dammam achieved a number of successes in the first year of its operations.
The SR 1 billion center, popularly known in the energy industry as GEMTEC, was inaugurated in June last year. Since then it has helped serve more than 50 customers in the Kingdom and across the Middle East and Europe, and also extended service support to over 450 gas turbines.
GE Energy Saudi Arabia CEO Hisham Bahkali was at hand during a media tour of the facilities yesterday. The young and dynamic electrical engineering graduate of Riyadh's King Saud University, Bahkali is widely seen as the architect of GE Energy's phenomenal success in Saudi Arabia.
"GEMTEC achieved key milestones in the delivery of service technology to Saudi and global customers, enabling enhanced operational efficiencies along the entire energy value chain, while continuing to drive the development of Saudi human resources," said a delighted and jubilant Bahkali while talking to Arab News during the media tour of the massive facilities at Dammam's 2nd Industrial City yesterday.
He said the achievements were in line with the Kingdom's Vision 2020 goals of promoting localization and empowering national talent toward a knowledge-based economy.
"As GE's largest energy facility of its kind today, GEMTEC, with SR 1 billion ($250 million) investment, underlines the company's long-term commitment to the Kingdom," said Bahkali. "We are proud to be serving the technology and service needs of our long-term customers such as Saudi Electricity Co., Saudi Aramco, Marafiq and Saudi Basic Industries Corp. (SABIC)."
He highlighted the center's focus on technical talent development to support the Kingdom's growing energy infrastructure. "This has provided a big boost to the Kingdom's efforts to establish itself as a technology hub for the global energy industry," said Bahkali.
To complement the human development goal outlined in Saudi Vision 2020, the massive facility is employing about 400 technologists and training another 100 under the Saudi-GE Joint Technical Program. Its participants are being trained in key areas of maintenance and repair of gas turbines, electrical motors and generators that are critical to the efficient generation of electricity in the Kingdom.
"Over 60 percent Saudization has been achieved to date at the technology center," said Bahkali.
In its first year, the center serviced 450 gas turbines that power the Kingdom, with GE today supporting the generation of half of the Kingdom's electricity through over 500 turbines installed at various sites.
The manufacturing center also extended service to more than 50 key customers based in Saudi Arabia and across the Middle East, Africa and Europe, underling its competencies to help local and global customers achieve operational efficiencies with advanced and localized technology and services.
The center, a joint venture with Ali A. Tamimi Co., consists of three key main components: a manufacturing facility of high technology equipment for the power, water and oil and gas industries; a service and repair center for advanced turbine equipment; and a training center that offers the latest technology and managerial courses for college students, field engineers and other power industry professionals throughout the region.
Bahkali said his company has signed another strategic partnership agreement with Technical and Vocation Training Corporation (TVTC) under which 150 select Saudi technical graduates will be trained at GEMTEC every year.
"GE has three offices, eight energy facilities and more than 1,000 employees in Saudi Arabia, putting GE closer to customers and providing them with faster response," said Bahkali. "The company has developed several successful co-op programs with leading institutions such as King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals (KFUPM), King Abdullah University of Science & Technology (KAUST) and Prince Mohammed bin Fahd University."
Bahkali said GE has a robust Saudization plan backed by comprehensive training programs for young nationals. 'We plan to double our work force in the Kingdom by 2013," he added.
GE has had a long and historically successful presence in the Kingdom. Since supplying the Kingdom with turbo-machinery for its first oil expedition in 1942, the American giant has been a growth technology partner to the Kingdom. GE technology produces more than 180 million liters of clean water that is delivered to the most remote corners of the Kingdom.