Innovation Excellence

At Aramco, necessity is the mother of invention

Challenges drive Upstream innovations, intellectual properties

At Aramco, necessity is the mother of invention

Even a global pandemic cannot suppress Aramco’s creative and innovative spirit.


Earlier this month, our Exploration and Petroleum Engineering Center -- Advanced Research Center – in existence only since 2006 -- surpassed 1,000 U.S. patents granted. This signifies the company’s leadership position in Upstream research and development (R&D), and illustrates the fertile environment for creativity and innovation the company fosters to support its operations. 


EXPEC ARC works diligently to solve unique field challenges across all Upstream domains and has created a prolific environment to develop innovative technologies. Its researchers have also been able to help secure patent protection for these new solutions, allowing Aramco to use its competitive products and processes exclusively, thereby extracting value from its innovative technologies.


“Technology development is paramount in meeting the company’s Upstream strategic objectives,” said Ashraf M. AlTahini, manager of EXPEC ARC.


Through patenting, we are protecting the company’s intellectual property assets, supporting its competitive advantage, and maintaining its leadership position in Upstream R&D.
— Ashraf AlTahini

Passion and commitment 

In 2010, Aramco celebrated its 100th patent granted by the U.S. Patent and Trade Office. In 2020, 10 years later, Aramco received over 650 U.S. patents in 2020 alone, making Aramco one of the top innovative international oil and gas companies. 


Over half of these patents were the result of activities from the Upstream business line. In 2020, EXPEC ARC was granted on average six U.S. patents each week. 


AbdulHameed A. Al-Rushaid, acting vice president of Petroleum Engineering and Development, said: “When you are in the leadership game, resting on your laurels is not an option. These patents demonstrate our passion and commitment in technology development.”


An Incubator of Ideas
• In 2020, EXPEC ARC was granted a new U.S. patent almost every day
• EXPEC ARC patented technologies create value for Aramco’s Upstream operations
• Several EXPEC ARC’s innovative technologies were shortlisted at the 2020 World Oil Awards, the highest in the department’s history at the event
One EXPEC ARC patented solution received the IoT World Award competing against technology giants in Silicon Valley, California.


An industry pioneer

Our technologies and intellectual property portfolio are constantly evolving and expanding to address the ever-changing complexities of company operations, which is evident in the number of technologies capitalizing in areas such as big data, artificial intelligence, robotics, advanced simulation, and high power computing.


Similarly, as part of the company’s commitment to the environment, the focus on technologies addressing sustainability and green solutions has increased in the last few years.


Nasir K. Al-Naimi, senior vice president of Upstream, said, “Venturing into these emerging domains is a testament of EXPEC ARC’s agility to diversify its R&D portfolio to support the Upstream operations while reducing its carbon footprint.” 


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