Digital Transformation

How Aramco embraced Fourth Industrial Revolution, digitalization

Company reaps big dividends in drive to push its digital transformation.

How Aramco embraced Fourth Industrial Revolution, digitalization
At the Future Investment Initiative (FII), Saudi Aramco president and CEO, Amin Nasser, touched upon the company’s commitment to leveraging the latest digital technology.

In 2018, Aramco’s Strategic Counsel endorsed the company’s Digital Transformation Strategy. Nasser told the FII conference that the company had already benefited tangibly from its digital drive.

Digital transformation

This included the setting up of an ambitious digital transformation program with a vision to position Aramco as the world’s leading digitalized energy company, maximizing shareholder value and spearheading digital innovation. 

As global industry negotiates the Fourth Industrial Revolution (IR 4.0) — where artificial intelligence, machine learning and big data are offering unprecedented competitive advantages — Aramco remains a leader investing in staying ahead of the technology curve.

This technology innovation drive has touched every area of Aramco’s business and its communities, from resource recovery, to construction, to the environment, and providing an effective response to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Benchmarking


A digital maturity benchmarking exercise was conducted in 2019, highlighting the company’s position compared to its peers, its strengths and potential areas for improvement. 

Company departments have been working on various initiatives to close gaps and enhance operations. During his FII panel discussion, Nasser highlighted Aramco’s state-of-the-art 4IR Center, based at its Dhahran headquarters.

The center is designed to inspire a youthful, tech-savvy employee population to explore technology solutions to the company’s challenges.

Value


It creates value through the deployment of the latest technologies, ensuring a smarter, faster, greener, and safer way of doing business.

The center’s functions are geared toward value creation, efficiency, innovation, and unlocking new business opportunities and operating models.

The 4IR Center will play a pivotal role in enhancing the workforce’s technical skills and bringing advanced technological capabilities to help execute the company’s digital transformation strategy in a highly collaborative environment. 

Targets


Another example of Aramco’s first mover status in the adoption of the latest technologies is the Saudi Aramco Energy Ventures (SAEV), which continues to build on an impressive portfolio of startup companies that are disrupting the energy industry.

SAEV targets investment in six to eight new companies each year with plans to double its portfolio in size over the next few years.

Its modus operandi is to identify and target technologies that have the potential to add value across the company’s business lines. 

SAEV has also expanded its investment focus to digital solutions and nonmetallics, in line with Aramco’s corporate strategies.

Further successes in the company’s digital transformation program include: 
Upstream:
• Big seismic data optimization, which improves drilling success rates.
• Intelligent rig optimization, which yields cost avoidance equivalent to 42 rig days.
Downstream:
• Plant Digital, which has cut total maintenance costs by 20%.
• 14,000 H2S sensors deployed in the field resulting in an 80% cut in maintenance.
Technical Services:
• Robotic Process Automation.
• Virtual Reality Safety training.
HR & Corporate Services:
• Smart car sharing.
• 20 unmanned aerial vehicles for surveillance and emergency responses.
Finance Strategy and Development:
• Robotic Process Automation, with eight processes now automated.
• Sensitivity Analysis Tool, which provides 10 times faster financial forecasts.
 

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