How young Saudi engineers restored oil production after attack on Abqaiq

Saudi Aramco CEO Amin H. Nasser, right, expressing appreciation to the engineers for their excellent work in restoring production back to its pre-attack levels. (Photo via Twitter)
Updated 01 October 2019

How young Saudi engineers restored oil production after attack on Abqaiq

  • Aramco has many assets, but the most valuable is its staff

JEDDAH: Attacks last month on Saudi oil facilities were an attack on the heart of the global energy industry, as Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman has pointed out. The region accounted for about 30 percent of the world’s energy supplies and 4 percent of its GDP, and about 20 percent of global trade passed through the Gulf, the crown prince said in a TV interview broadcast on Sunday night.
“Imagine if all of these three things were to stop. That would mean a total collapse of the global economy, and not just Saudi Arabia or the countries of the Middle East,” he said.
We visited Abqaiq — the heart of the global energy industry to which the crown prince was referring — and we were amazed by the efforts of the young Saudi engineers working there.
Two weeks after the drone and missile strikes on the oil installations, work is continuing and production is back to its pre-attack levels.
The world has praised Saudi Aramco for putting out the fires in record time, and for the remarkable repair operations that followed.
The many Aramco officials we spoke to had only praise for the teams of engineers who carried out this work; their excellence, their innovation and their courage made us all proud, one senior manager said.
Watching a video of the attack, we were impressed with the young Saudi engineer who kept spraying water on the blazing tanks to reduce the heat and avoid further explosions. He reacted quickly, while still implementing all the relevant safety rules. And although he is a relative newcomer — a company employee for only 18 months — he kept his cool even as the attacks were in progress.
While the fires were being extinguished, different teams were working simultaneously to assess the damage, and with the first part of the job done the second important step was on everyone’s mind: To get production back on track.
After the initial assessment, some thought that to have the tanks ready even to be repaired might take three to four weeks if the usual procedures were followed; as one engineer explained, there were residual gases inside the tanks that would usually take weeks to clear.
However, a young Saudi engineer and a veteran Aramco supervisor with 40 years’ experience worked together to come up with an ingenious solution that enabled the tanks to be safely welded without further problems.
Some Aramco staff have grown up with the company, the third generation of their families to work there. Others had never set foot in any Aramco facility before they joined. All, however, share the same pride in being part of this giant, and are happy to call themselves “Aramcons.” They take pride in being problem solvers, not only on the rigs but everywhere they work.
This also applies to former Aramco engineers, expatriates who have never lost their connection with the company. Many were quick to offer their services after the attacks.
Aramco has many assets, but the most valuable is its staff. “Our real wealth lies in the ambition of our people and the potential of our younger generation. They are our nation’s pride and the architects of our future,” the crown prince said.
The achievements at Abqaiq proved his every word, and justified his faith in Saudi youth.


Pakistan, Saudi Arabia have always stood by each other

Updated 9 min 28 sec ago

Pakistan, Saudi Arabia have always stood by each other

It gives me immense pleasure to extend my congratulations to my fellow Pakistanis on the Independence Day of Pakistan. I am happy to be celebrating the occasion with our brothers in our second home: Saudi Arabia.

This day provides us with an opportunity to reaffirm our commitment to the ideals of Quaid-e-Azam Mohammed Ali Jinnah, and to the aspirations of Dr. Allama Mohammed Iqbal. The founding father worked tirelessly for the creation of Pakistan so that the Muslims of the subcontinent could flourish in an independent homeland without any fear of oppression and injustice.

Since the inception of Pakistan, our leadership has consistently moved forward to realize the dreams of our founding fathers. We are proud to have developed into a responsible state in the comity of nations, through the untiring efforts of our people and leadership.

Pakistan, a country of more than 200 million people, is a progressive Islamic state with a functional parliament, independent judiciary, free media, vibrant civil society and resilient economy. Above all, Pakistan is endowed with abundant natural resources and inhabitants that are industrious and peace-loving.

Saudi Arabia and its leadership have a special place in the hearts of Pakistanis because of their outstanding services and guardianship of the two holy mosques. The countries have always stood by each other and the bilateral cooperation continues to grow.

We are grateful to the Kingdom for the warmth and hospitality extended to nearly 2.6 million Pakistanis, which is the largest overseas Pakistani community. Saudi Arabia has always acknowledged the contributions made by professionals and other workers from Pakistan to the development of the Kingdom. Saudi Vision 2030 provides opportunities for investors and professionals on both sides to enhance cooperation in all fields.

On this occasion, on behalf of the government and people of Pakistan, and myself, I would also like to express gratitude to the government and people of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for providing free medical treatment during the COVID-19 pandemic to all Pakistanis. Further, the Kingdom undertook all necessary measures to protect the livelihoods of expatriate Pakistanis despite the economic slowdown.

Let us today renew our pledge to make Pakistan the state envisioned by its founding fathers. As ambassador, I congratulate all Pakistanis on this auspicious occasion. Let us work together to build our country and further strengthen our fraternal ties with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

May Allah bless Pakistan and Saudi Arabia with lasting peace and prosperity in the times ahead.

Long live Pakistan. Long live Saudi Arabia. Long live the Pakistan-Saudi friendship.


• Raja Ali Ejaz is the ambassador of Pakistan to Saudi Arabia