TheFace: Ohoud Al-Harbi, supervisor at Saudi General Authority of Civil Aviation 

Ohoud Alharbi with her brother Abdullah. ( AN photo by Ziyad Alarfaj)
Updated 30 August 2019

TheFace: Ohoud Al-Harbi, supervisor at Saudi General Authority of Civil Aviation 

I built myself from scratch. In a household with 10 siblings, I was a middle child, and my father’s favorite.

I’ve always been very opinionated, and my family has allowed me to be open about my stance on many things.

Growing up, I was immensely interested in art, specifically drawing throughout my adolescence. I do not draw anymore, but have taken an interest in photography, and I especially enjoy capturing people going about their daily lives.

I do not consider myself a professional, rather a semi-professional in street photography. On my Instagram account, I document stories from around the world through the cities I have visited.

When women driving was permitted last June, my life turned 180 degrees. It has allowed me to rediscover the city in which I was born. I started seeing Riyadh in a new light as a photographer. I became giddy about discovering new places that I could capture through the lens of my camera.

Before that, I used to always go out with my driver and felt like I had to accommodate him and other family members. During one of these drives, I came upon a spot that got me thinking about creating a personal project for myself.

It was right across King Saud University, targeting students and staff, where I decided to set up a high-quality coffee shop that was affordable and accessible to them.

Soho Shot opened four months ago, and my partners and I are anticipating the students’ return to school to test our brand and services. We’ve chosen the name based on New York City’s neighborhood of art, and our logo — a one-line drawing of a face sipping coffee — is artistic and minimalistic in a way that we hope will draw students in.

As a coffee lover myself, and keeping in with social trends, the idea struck me while driving past the empty spot and in a way, it felt right. Most students need their morning cup of coffee or a quick fix before exams. I made sure to design Soho Shot spaciously to provide them with a cozy place to study.

In our coffee house, we are also sponsoring artists to come in and draw and decorate coffee cups for customers.

For four years, between 2005 and 2009, I worked in Riyad Bank’s call center. I then suggested to management about monitoring call center demands and supervising service agreements, which enabled me to move to the back office to maintain quality assurance.

After that experience, I decided to continue with my studies, pursuing a bachelor’s degree in business administration and administrative systems while simultaneously working at the National Water Co. (NWC).

At the time, the NWC had just launched, and I started in corporate relations overseeing quality assurance. I then moved up the ladder and joined performance management as a specialist, monitoring the company’s projects in Riyadh.

When I graduated from the Arab Open University, many more opportunities presented themselves to me. I started working for Tata Consultancy Services, providing service-level agreement reports for General Electric projects.

From there, I moved on to the Saudi General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA) where I am currently a supervisor in the project management office.

I have always been independent, even as a child and I am very lucky to have a family that has helped shape the woman I am today and is understanding of how demanding my career is.


Attacks on oil facilities in Kingdom threaten world economy: Saudi energy minister

Updated 15 September 2019

Attacks on oil facilities in Kingdom threaten world economy: Saudi energy minister

  • Saudi Aramco says no staff have been injured in attacks
  • The oil giant is working on restoring the lost quantities

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s energy minister said drones that attacked Saudi Aramco installations had caused an interruption of an estimated 5.7 million barrels in crude supplies and threaten the world economy.

Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman said as a result of the terrorist acts, oil production in Abqaiq and Khurais was knocked out temporarily and that estimates show that 50 percent of the company’s production had been interrupted.

Part of the decrease will be compensated to clients through reserves, Prince Abdulaziz said in a statement carried on the Saudi Press Agency.

The newly appointed minister confirmed there were no injuries to staff at the locations targeted, adding that the company is still assessing the resulting damage.

The attacks not only target the Kingdom’s vital installations, but also target the international oil supply and threaten its security, he said, and are a threat to the world economy. 

The blasts took place at 3:31am and 3:42am at the two locations, both in the Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia, causing fires that were brought under control by emergency services.

The drone attacks, at the world’s largest oil processing plant at Abqaiq and at an oilfield in Khurais, highlight the importance of the international community to protect energy supply against “all terrorist sides that carry out, support and finance such cowardly disruptive acts,” the statement said.

He said that these blasts also knocked out the production of 2bn cubic feet of associated gas daily, used to produce 700,000 barrels of natural gas liquids, which will lead to an approximate 50 percent decrease of Ethane and natural gas liquids supply.

The statement said the company is currently working on restoring the lost quantities, and will present updated information within the next 48 hours.

World leaders condemned the attacks on Saudi Arabia on Saturday and those behind the terrorist acts. 

Donald Trump called Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to reassert his country's “readiness to cooperate with the Kingdom, by all means conducive to maintain its security and stability.”

The Crown Prince "underscored the Kingdom’s willingness and strength to thwart such a terrorist aggression and deal with its consequences,” SPA reported on Saturday.

The UAE said it “condemns this act of terrorism and sabotage and considers it as a new evidence of the terrorist groups’ attempts to undermine the security and stability of the region as a whole.”

“The Houthis must stop undermining Saudi Arabia’s security by threatening civilian areas and commercial infrastructure,” said the British government.

“The US strongly condemns today’s drone attacks. These attacks against critical infrastructure endanger civilians, are unacceptable, and sooner or later will result in innocent lives being lost,” said the US envoy in Riyadh John Abizaid.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was emphatic about the need to condemn Iranian aggression, specifically on Saudi Arabia, and the need to ensure the security of world energy supplies.

“Tehran is behind nearly 100 attacks on Saudi Arabia while Rouhani and Zarif pretend to engage in diplomacy. Amid all the calls for de-escalation, Iran has now launched an unprecedented attack on the world’s energy supply. There is no evidence the attacks came from Yemen,” he tweeted, “We call on all nations to publicly and unequivocally condemn Iran’s attacks. The United States will work with our partners and allies to ensure that energy markets remain well supplied and Iran is held accountable for its aggression”

The Houthis, who are backed by Iran, said they had carried out the attacks and that 10 drones had been used.