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Aramco’s Yanbu’ distribution hub project powers forward

Distribution and Terminal Projects Department puts focus on safety, Saudization, local content, technology, and best practices.

Aramco’s Yanbu’ distribution hub project powers forward

Aramco employees and contractors have been busy in the Kingdom’s west, where they are building a distribution hub in Yanbu’, laying two 340-kilometer pipelines from the hub to Jiddah, and expanding the North Jiddah Bulk Plant.


The projects are part of the Yanbu’ Distribution Hub (YDH) program, which is managed by the Distribution and Terminal Projects Department, and were recently highlighted by Abdulkarim A. Al Ghamdi, vice president of Project Management, as excellent examples of safety, Saudization, local content, technology deployment, and best practice.


37 million safe man-hours

The YDH is designed to deliver refined products to the Makkah region, and has so far achieved 37 million safe man-hours without any fatalities or lost time injuries. Saudization targets have been exceeded, with more than 700 Saudi nationals undertaking a variety of roles ranging from directors, project managers, and interface managers, to safety, civil, mechanical, and electrical engineers. In-Kingdom Total Value Add (iktva) targets have also been met with project contracts awarded to local companies and material procurement remaining mostly domestic. 


As a world-class leader in the energy and petrochemicals industry, Aramco is embracing technology and innovation to enhance safety, reliability, and the environment. To meet the company’s drive to tap into cutting-edge innovations, Project Management organizations are deploying technologies to enhance efficiency, improve construction, reduce costs, and optimize time.


Plastic, radar technologies

The YDH collaborated with the Consulting Services Department, Environmental Protection, and the Western Region Distribution Department to deploy recycled plastic and used tire rubber in paving materials and roadways, increasing longevity and reducing waste at dump sites.


The program is utilizing guided wave radar technology, with permanently installed monitoring sensors in buried sections of the two 20-inch and 24-inch product pipelines to provide corrosion and metal loss information, eliminating the need for culverts — or tunnels — at road crossings and ensuring asset integrity.


The YDH is also utilizing a vapor phase corrosion inhibitor for the preservation of the underside of bottom plates in fuel storage tanks. This particular technology has the advantage that corrosion protection can be achieved with the injection of the inhibitor in the absence of a cathodic protection system. The metal is preserved once the substance is injected, protecting the base plates from corrosion during construction.


Best practices recognized

A design for road crossings that allows product pipeline and fiber optic cable to share a single casing was also developed, eliminating the need for two separate ones, and resulting in significant cost and time savings. This in particular was recognized by Al Ghamdi as a best practice. 


Also recognized was the soil screening of excavated materials during the pipeline construction between Jiddah and Yanbu’, which significantly enhanced productivity in backfilling, berming — shaping the flat area next to the pipeline — and the use of fewer trucks to transport the materials. A robotic camera has also been deployed to improve internal inspection of the two pipelines, representing a cheap, safe solution with high-definition live videos to detect internal defects.



Amjad Alharthy, an engineer with the North Jiddah Bulk Plant Project Unit, gives an overview of the program at the Yanbu’ Distribution Hub facility to Abdulkarim A. Al-Ghamdi, vice president of Project Management, along with other members of management at the site visit.


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