World Oil Awards

Aramco earns recognition for exploration and water management technologies

Two were among 18 winners from a field of more than 300 nominations.

Aramco earns recognition for exploration and water management technologies

On Oct. 13, Aramco and EXPEC ARC were recognized at the 21st World Oil Awards ceremony that was held in Houston. EXPEC ARC was recognized with two World Oil Awards in two categories: Exploration Technology and Water Management, during this year’s event honoring the upstream energy industry’s leading innovators and game changing technologies.


The competition was fierce with over 300 nominations in 18 different categories, representing multiple disciplines within the upstream sector.


Developing innovative technologies has been one of the key drivers to enhance Upstream operational efficiency. These developments were led by Aramco’s Upstream research arm, the EXPEC Advanced Research Center (EXPEC ARC), where their core mission is to develop cutting-edge technologies to support Upstream operations, from exploration to production. 


Aramco’s Upstream R&D excellence is evident, where EXPEC ARC has received numerous local, regional, and international awards throughout the years. These awards serve as a testimony to our leadership in Upstream R&D and reinstates Aramco’s position as a technology developer. 

The Best Exploration Technology Award went to Aramco for “Airborne Micro-TEM and Physics Deep Learning: A Solution for Seismic Near Surface Corrections in Sand Covered Areas.” Sand covered areas such as desert environments, pose challenges to seismic imaging for resource exploration and monitoring. 

Aramco’s R&D effort, led by Daniele Colombo, Ersan Turkoglu, and Ernesto Sandoval-Curiel, resulted in an out-of-the-box ultra-resolution and low-cost approach to seismic near surface corrections by coupling a custom-designed helicopter-borne micro-transient electromagnetics (micro-TEM) with in-house developed algorithms for physics-driven deep learning, to measure and map near surface features. The map is then used to correct seismic images acquired beneath sand covered areas for improved subsurface characterization of hydrocarbon accumulations and de-risk drilling of our fields.

The Best Water Management Technology Award was received for “A Sustainable Produced Water Management Technology for Circular Water Economy” also known as zero liquid discharge (ZLD). With huge volumes of water produced along with hydrocarbons in oil and gas fields, a sustainable produced water management solution was developed to recycle and reuse water by transforming its ionic properties. This breakthrough produced water management solution comprising a unique combination of custom-designed pretreatment system to remove residual oil/hydrogen sulfide and dynamic vapor recovery technology for salt removal from hypersaline oil field produced waters. 


Circular economy

The use of reject concentrated salts has also been demonstrated to formulate drilling fluids and achieve 100% circular economy. A win-win project; a win for the environment by minimizing wastewater disposal volumes, and conserving ground water, and a win for oil recovery due to the reuse of treated produced water for reservoir injection and unconventional fracturing operations.


The international recognition that Aramco has received over the past 20 years from this prestigious award illustrates the company’s strong connection between research and development and improving operational and business performance. In addition to creating competitive advantages for Aramco, the knowledge gained from these advances is shared for the benefit of the entire industry. 


The annual competition places Aramco among the world’s best energy companies and service providers as well as material science companies and data and digital transformation organizations. 


Strong presence again

Aramco and EXPEC ARC’s presence in the World Oil Awards is a continuation of our outstanding and strong presence in this awards venue. Aramco has been announced as a finalist 13 and 16 times in 2020 and 2021, respectively. This year, the company had a total of 12 award finalists, placing us at the top three companies and the only national oil producing company competing with service companies. Out of the 12 nominees, eight finalists were from EXPEC ARC and its affiliated research centers around the globe.


“The contribution of Upstream technologies to the industry is globally recognized by our industry peers,” said Waleed A. Al-Mulhim, executive director of Petroleum Engineering and Development.


Our technologies have long been recognized by prestigious organizations for the strides we achieved in sustainability and digital transformation, anchoring our leading position in industry innovation and advancement.
— Waleed A. Al-Mulhim


“The winning technologies have been recognized as game changers in the industry and part of Aramco’s strategy to leverage technology to enhance our operational efficiencies,” said Ashraf M. AlTahini, manager of EXPEC ARC.


Caption for top photo: Mohammad Al-Askar, Aramco Americas R&D director, received the two awards on behalf of Aramco in the categories of Exploration Technology and Water Management.


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