Full-cycle drill-bit manufacturing comes to Dammam
Skilled Saudi team will manufacture drills that will be deployed not just Kingdomwide, but also across the entire Middle East and North Africa region.
On May 9, SLB announced the opening of a new 3,700 m2 full-cycle drill manufacturing plant in Dammam as part of the company’s commitment to Aramco’s In-Kingdom Total Value Add (iktva) program.
Since 2019, the oil field service company, formerly known as Schlumberger, has been steadily transitioning away from the traditional model of localized assembly of imported kits toward complete lifecycle in-Kingdom manufacturing of fixed-cutter and roller cone drill bits.
An iktva success
The inauguration of the new plant, which was attended by Aramco’s executive vice president of Upstream, Nasir K. Al-Naimi, and other members of management, marks the culmination of these efforts.
“To witness the end-to-end manufacturing of advanced drill bits in our own back yard shows the continuing success of Aramco’s iktva program in de-risking our supply chains and energizing a homegrown industrial base,” said Al-Naimi. “In today’s environment, nearshoring and keeping supply chains close at hand count for a lot.”
He also praised SLB for their faith in Saudi talent and capabilities, and for their willingness to enter into ever deeper forms of partnership that founded upon long-term commitment, genuine know-how and technology transfer, as well as considerable in-Kingdom material investment.
We applaud the dedication and enthusiasm with which SLB has advanced the ‘Made-in-Saudi’ brand, and appreciate their contribution to the establishment of a locally-embedded Saudi Aramco supply chain of unprecedented resilience and agility.
—Nasir K. Al-Naimi
The Kingdom, the region, and beyond
Courtesy of a $7.2 million investment, SLB has now upgraded and expanded the Dammam Bits Production Unit of its “Middle East Center of Reliability and Efficiency (MCRE)” facility to encompass end-to-end manufacturing of Matrix PDC, Steel PDC, ands Casing-while-Drilling Bits, which happen to be among the most utilized drill bits in drilling operations in the Kingdom.
For the first time, these will be entirely produced domestically – from graphite powder all the way up the value chain to final product. Moreover, the ultimate vision and ambition going forward will be to additionally source locally even the raw material.
As an initiative, this upgrade aligns closely with ongoing localization efforts that are enabling Saudi Arabia to switch from being an importer of technologies to a home-grown value creator and exporter. Indeed, a skilled and highly motivated Saudi team will henceforth enable the manufacturing of drills that will be deployed not just within Saudi Arabia, but also across the entire Middle East and North Africa region, and potentially beyond.
Caption for top photo: SLB and Aramco officials, including our executive vice president of Upstream, Nasir K. Al-Naimi, celebrate the opening of a new 3,700 m2 full-cycle drill manufacturing plant in Dammam.