Digital Transformation

Aramco building upon years of digitalization success

Senior vice president of Technical Services, Ahmad A. Al Sa'adi, addresses landmark First Saudi Forum on the 4th Industrial Revolution in Riyadh.

Aramco building upon years of digitalization success

Aramco continues to build upon a digital transformation that has a rich history spanning decades, a landmark Fourth Industrial Revolution (IR 4.0) forum has been told.

The senior vice president of Technical Services, Ahmad A. Al Sa’adi was addressing a panel discussion group at the First Saudi Forum of the IR 4.0 in the Kingdom’s capital, Riyadh.

Aramco is effectively blazing a trail within the energy industry with its targeted strategic focus on deploying cutting-edge digital technology across its operations.

Al Sa’adi shared the platform with Ahmed Al-Zahrani, assistant Minister of Energy; Mohammed Abunayyan, chairman, ACWA Power; and Jason Bordoff, director, Center on Global Energy Policy at Columbia Climate School.

Exciting journey

“We are already embarking on an exciting journey when it comes to digital transformation, and in 2017, we developed our digital strategy,” Al Sa’adi told the panel discussion group under the theme ‘Accelerating Clean Energy Transitions.’

“Of course, our strategy did not start from scratch — we’ve been really transforming ourselves for many years with regards to the digital transformation,” he said.

The senior vice president pointed to Aramco’s flagship reservoir mapping TeraPOWERs simulator, which heralded an unprecedented deployment of digital technology more than 20 years ago, and which has been evolving ever since.

Neural networks and inferential modeling have also revolutionized refinery and gas plant efficiency.

Building on success

“We build upon our successes over the years, and what we have done as part of this new and exciting journey is that we have established our baseline through a very rigorous benchmarking exercise.

“We very carefully selected a world-renowned benchmarking group, where we benchmarked ourselves in four quadrants.”

The quadrants examined are the company’s operating model, digital platforms, business optimization, and Aramco’s digital venturing.

Public and private partnerships will be key to the success of IR 4.0, Al Sa’adi said, who went on to list government and private entities that the company collaborates with.

“We have deployed one of the fastest computers in the world — the Dammam 7 Super Computer, and that was in collaboration with STC, one of the national telecommunications companies.

“On the technology side, we have developed our cloud strategy, which has three-tier strategies. First, we have developed our private cloud strategy, which allows us to run our in-house applications. Second, we have deployed third-party strategy in partnership with Google and SAP Ariba. And third, we are working with SDAIA on a national cloud strategy for critical national infrastructure within the Kingdom.

“On the re-skilling front, we are working with KFUPM, KAUST, and international universities such as Georgia Tech and IE of Spain to develop our people and to make sure that they are skilled and able to deliver on their commitments,” according to Al Sa’adi.

The future, he said, will see further Aramco IR 4.0 drives on decarbonization, cybersecurity, and green ventures.

The IR 4.0 forum has a goal to be a global platform for multiple stakeholder collaboration across the public and private sectors, while maximizing the technological benefits to society. 

Saudi Arabia inaugurated its IR 4.0 Center in partnership with the World Economic Forum on the sidelines of the event.


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