Saudi Aramco broke ground Friday on the construction of a brand new, state-of-the-art research center at King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST), with an expected completion date of mid-2019.
The ground breaking ceremony was attended by Ali I. Al Naimi, former Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources and Chairman of KAUST Board of Trustees; Khalid Al Falih, Minister of Energy, Industry and Mineral Resources, Chairman of Saudi Aramco and Vice-Chairman of KAUST Board of Trustees; Amin H. Nasser, President and CEO of Saudi Aramco; Prof. Jean-Lou Chameau, KAUST President; and several government, academic and business dignitaries.
Al Falih said: “Saudi Aramco and KAUST are leaders in technology development domestically and internationally. Their unique roles in developing innovative and original research is essential to the future success of the energy industry in Saudi Arabia. Their future joint research and development efforts, through collaboration and partnership, will help achieve the Kingdom’s strategic energy objectives and create business value in pursuit of the national objective of transition to a knowledge society, as enunciated in Vision 2030.”
“The groundbreaking marks a major milestone in the successful partnership between Saudi Aramco and King Abdullah University of Science & Technology, for the benefit of the nation as a whole,” said Saudi Aramco President and CEO Amin H. Nasser. “Our relationship started when KAUST was just an idea and today, it has grown, literally from the ground up. A number of highly promising technologies have been produced here, such as the Saudi Aramco inspection robots, and research here has contributed to many patents.”
The facility will allow Saudi Aramco to leverage its unique position within the R&D ecosystem at KAUST to accelerate the implementation of the company’s Technology Strategy. The facility will include laboratories and offices to support research in the areas of chemicals, intelligent systems, solar energy, reservoir engineering, computational modeling, and environmental protection.
“At KAUST, we are committed to advancing science, innovation and technology through distinctive and collaborative research, which relies upon the nurturing of ideas and talent,” said KAUST President Jean-Lou Chameau. “Partnering with Saudi Aramco on this new center is the latest of a series of shared successes to foster the transition to an innovation-driven economy sustained by intellectual capital and scientific discovery.”
The new center will be an 11,300 square meter research facility, housing 132 scientists and researchers, aimed at supporting Saudi Aramco’s upstream and downstream research domains as well as environmental protection research efforts.
“This new facility is about expanding our research needs as a business. As part of our new technology strategy we are looking to enable our research domains through capitalizing on the world-renowned scientists, exceptional facilities, and international network of academic institutions affiliated with KAUST,” said Saudi Aramco Chief Technology Officer Ahmad Khowaiter. The facility is intended to integrate with the University community and foster strong networks with other leading R&D organizations focused on solar energy, chemicals, fuel technology, robotics, hydrocarbon recovery, computational modeling and the marine environment.
“We achieved this year a leading position in creativity among energy companies. To reach our aspiration of global leadership in energy-related technology development and deployment, Saudi Aramco has adopted an accelerated strategy to expand its global R&D footprint with further collaborations in academia and industry,” said Nasser.
“These partnerships, including the one with KAUST, will be crucial to the company and national agenda for the next 15 years, and they are seen as much needed enablers to accelerate the successful delivery of technologies across the entire value chain of the energy industry.”
This article was first published in the Saudi Gazette on December 18, 2016.SHOW MORE