Non-oil activities increasingly important for Aramco

Updated 07 July 2017

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.

Bank jobs go as HSBC and Emirates NBD reduce costs

Updated 15 November 2019

Bank jobs go as HSBC and Emirates NBD reduce costs

  • Others have also reduced headcount amid economic downturn and property market weakness

DUBAI: HSBC Holdings has laid off about 40 bankers in the UAE and Emirates NBD is cutting around 100 jobs, as banks in the Arab world’s second-biggest economy reduce costs.

The cuts come amid weak economic growth, especially in Dubai, which is suffering from a property downturn.

HSBC’s redundancies came after the London-based bank reported a sharp fall in earnings and warned of a costly restructuring, as interim CEO Noel Quinn seeks to tackle its problems head-on.

HSBC has about 3,000 staff in the UAE, part of a nearly 10,000-strong workforce in the Middle East, North Africa and Turkey.

The cuts at Dubai’s largest lender Emirates NBD came in consumer sales and liabilities, one source said, while a second played down the significance of the move.

HSBC and Emirates NBD declined to comment.

“The cuts are part of cost cutting and rationalizing to drive efficiencies in a challenging market,” the second source said.

Other banks have also reduced staff this year. UAE central bank data shows local banks laid off 446 people in the 12 months until the end of September. Foreign banks added staff in the same period.

Staff at local banks account for over 80 percent of the 35,518 banking employees in the country.

The merger between Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank, Union Commercial Bank and Al Hilal Bank saw hundreds of redundancies.

Commercial Bank International (CBI) said it would offer voluntary retirement to employees in September, which sources said saw over 100 departures. Standard Chartered, too, cut over 100 jobs in the UAE in September.

Rating agency Fitch warned in September a weakening property market would put more pressure on the UAE’s banking sector.