Saudi Aramco empowers women in engineering support for oil sector

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Saudi Aramco saw a promising future for Saudi women and began a long journey aimed at empowering them by hiring Saudi women for various jobs in the oil company. (SPA)
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Saudi Aramco saw a promising future for Saudi women and began a long journey aimed at empowering them by hiring Saudi women for various jobs in the oil company. (SPA)
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Updated 08 March 2020

Saudi Aramco empowers women in engineering support for oil sector

  • Saudi Aramco committed in the early 1960s to build two primary schools for girls every year in the Eastern Province
  • It put its qualified female cadres in advanced positions of its engineering and technical work

RIYADH: Saudi women have not lost sight of their presence in the oil sector, which is the Kingdom’s most important source to the national economy.
Saudi Aramco committed in the early 1960s to build two primary schools for girls every year in the Eastern Province.
The first two schools were built in Khobar and Rahima in September 1964 and Saudi Aramco saw a promising future for Saudi women and began a long journey aimed at empowering them by hiring Saudi women for various jobs in the oil company.
It was Najat Al-Husayni more than five decades ago that was the first Saudi woman with a university degree to join the company, and since then Saudi Aramco has continued to hire women in professional jobs and train them in all areas of the company’s work, from general planning to reservoir management.
Moreover, Saudi Aramco put its qualified female cadres in advanced positions of its engineering and technical work to demonstrate that Saudi women can offer a lot in various fields of innovation and creativity.
Just as the company dug deep into the ground to excavate its bounties, it also did so in exploring the best that Saudi Arabia has to offer and to acquire the nation’s wealth from its precious human resources, and worked on developing and qualifying it to promote localization and employment experiences.
A group of Saudi females held advanced positions in the company in the early 1960s and 1970s, including Naela Al-Mousali, the first petroleum engineer at Saudi Aramco.
In the early 1980’s, large numbers of Saudi professionals poured into the company, although during that period, few people found professional opportunities in oil fields and production facilities, apart from the establishment of the Center for Computer Exploration and Petroleum Engineering, and keeping pace with the computer dependency in the company.
This provided Saudi women with more job opportunities, and some other notable women, including Nabila Al-Tunisi, Samia Al-Idrisi, Dr. Soraya Al-Areed, Huda Al-Ghosn, and Fatima Al-Awami, did scholarship programs to study petroleum engineering in the United States at Aramco’s expense in the early 1980s and contributed to the work of the reservoir projects in Al-Safaniya, Shaybah, Moneefa, and other reservoirs.
The distinguished pioneers in Saudi Aramco have remained part of the company’s product in its journey to support the Saudi people and stimulate their potential.
Engineering, technical and scientific works have recently emerged in Ras Tanura, with luminous patterns for Saudi females to offer exceptional work experience.
Nine employees are currently working at the refinery and in Ras Tanura, and others are working in the laboratories there.
In a growing number of facilities and in an increasing number of administrative regions, the female workforce is able to find jobs on the front lines of the company’s core business of exploration and production, refining and chemicals, mechanical engineering, chemistry, petroleum engineers, labortaory experts, geology, geophysics, technology and information protection, safety inspections, firefighting, and loss prevention.
And at the Ras Tanura refinery, engineer Maria Al-Faraj contributes to finding solutions that maintain the continuity of the work safely and effectively, and she has been given a great deal of responsibilities.
“My colleagues at the refinery welcome me and cooperate with me,” says Al-Faraj, who holds a degree in mechanical engineering and business administration. 
“Wherever we work in the company, somehow we will all deal with the downstream business chain. Therefore, the field contribution and achieving benefits and solutions for the company to help in the success of our business,” she added.
Mechanical engineer Alaa Al-Ahmad believes that daily work represents one of the most important experiences for applying knowledge and expanding the horizon of skills, by working with colleagues on some of the company’s largest projects, such as the integrated manufacturing business management system.
“The theory and practical experience go hand in hand and complement each other,” she said.
Al-Ahmad managed to do her job confidently in an environment from a predominantly young age. She is passionate about engineering and this enabled her to overcome the many challenges involved in working at the refinery.
The woman in Aramco were able to prove themselves and, consider Moudi Al-Alawi, for example, she was responsible for planning the entire Ras Tanura refinery and communicated daily with the department of planning and regulating the supply of oil in Dhahran to ensure that the refinery meets customer demands.
“When I came to the Ras Tanura refinery, the facilities planning department told me it would be very difficult, so I have to be tough,” Al-Alawi said.
“I was able to prove myself in this environment that, despite its difficulty, the staff’s search is characterized by support and cooperation. It also helped me build my communication skills in this difficult environment,” she added.
Among the team working in the laboratory in Ras Tanura is Dima Ismail, a laboratory scientist with seven years experience who analyzes water samples.
Ismail has contributed mainly to the modernization of systems and methods in the refinery laboratory, and also trained her colleagues on using laboratory equipment.
“Our work is very sensitive in the refinery,” said Ismail, adding that “results are urgently needed, and if there is any delay, it affects the course of work. On the other hand, this place is great to start your career, as it is like university, you can learn a lot here.”
Meanwhile, regarding attention to the smallest details, which is a vital part of chemical work, Asma Al-Fahd, who focuses on gas chromatographic separation devices, inspects all the tools before operating any equipment, and changes all parts that must be changed from the equipment to avoid failure. 
Al-Fahd said: “Working here imposes a certain change, but I thank God because here I apply everything I learned at university.”


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