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R&DC forum focuses on innovation, new ideas



More than 200 members of the Saudi Aramco technical and scientific community recently gathered for the second annual Research and Development Center (R&DC) Technical Exchange Forum under the theme “Transforming R&DC Intellectual Capital into Added Value.”

Throughout the two-day event, participants shared new ideas, innovations and advancements, in seven core areas including: Future Hydrocarbon Based Fuels; Catalysis and Process Development; Biotechnology in the Oil Industry; Carbon-dioxide Capture, Utilization and Conversion; Advances in Hydrocarbons and Materials Characterization; Advances in Chemicals and Petrochemicals; and Scale and Corrosion Mitigation.

R&DC manager Omar Abdul-Hamid said, “As a research and development organization, such gatherings are undoubtedly vital to our progression and success as they provide opportunities for the exchange of ideas and learning from each other’s experiences.”

Abdul-Hamid highlighted three major and recent accomplishments:

* Laser Oil Fingerprinting (or DesertRay Technology). DesertRay was developed in-house as a multipurpose laser instrument that helps identify the ingredients of blended crude oils as well as blended refined products.

* Online Salt in Crude Analyzer for Gas-Oil Separation Plants (GOSP). The analyzer can perform salt-content measurement automatically in harsh operating conditions. The prototype analyzer was tested in Ain Dar GOSP-2.

* Gas Treating Membrane Technology for Natural Gas Upgrading. This economical technology unlocks the Kingdom’s huge reserves of sub-quality natural gas by removing large quantities of impurities such as nitrogen, carbon dioxide and hydrogen sulfide. The pilot plant was commissioned and tested at Shedgum Gas Plant.

Science Specialist and forum chairman Tony Rizk said, “One goal of the forum was to provide important R&D opportunities to share what’s new, exciting and cutting edge.”

“For younger researchers, it’s learning more about areas that might interest them in terms of future study for advanced degrees,” he said. “For others, it’s sharing what we are doing and learning from our colleagues. And for those outside R&DC, it’s a chance to see how we are taming technology for their specific applications.”

Atef Al-Zahrani, a Professional Development Program (PDP) engineer, found the event remarkable. “It offers me the opportunity to practice and share the knowledge we have as a team and get feedback and suggestions from attendees,” he said.

First-year R&DC scientists Hassan Al-Jama and Mohammed Al-Abuallirat agreed.

“Even though I work here, I can’t be aware of everything that’s going on at R&D,” Al-Jama said. “This event let me learn about projects and products R&DC is involved in and how they’re making contributions to the company.”

Al-Abuallirat liked the exposure to new ideas and activities – something he hoped would spark his interest and lead to further exploration and an advanced degree.

Keynote speakers included Ingo Pinnau of King Abdullah University of Science and Technology, Gautam Kalghatgi of Saudi Aramco R&DC, and Zain Yamani of King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals.


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