Ten best innovations selected for recognition from among 148 contributions, ranging from aerial detection of oil spills to amendments to radios, desktops, security gates, and drilling rigs. Once implemented on a larger scale and in the right business lines, they will all actively contribute to facilitating future operations.
Thamer Tarabzouni, a consultant with Saudi Aramco Information Technology’s eMap Division, not only envisaged the scenario of an oil spill that might contaminate the waters of the Arabian Gulf, but was also inspired to use his long experience and come up with a new innovation that would make his division’s operations easier in the face of such a catastrophe. His idea — an aerial monitoring system — became a reality less than a year after it first sparked in his mind.
"It is a great pleasure at seeing creative innovations that facilitate and enhance Saudi Aramco’s operations“, Abdulaziz Al-Abdulkarim, executive director of Information Technology said. “IT recognizes and appreciates the value of the initiatives that serve and support the development of the company’s onshore and offshore operations.”
“A closer look at the ideas will reveal that all of them are creative ideas that save time, effort and cost, and represent a successful and better alternative to support operations in the IT sector. We are confident that with further encouragement, a firmly established approach of Saudi Aramco’s that is in line with the 2020 vision, we will see more creativity and innovation,” he added.
Al-Abdulkarim stressed the role of technology incubators in Saudi Aramco, such as the IT Future Center in Dhahran.
“No proposed idea, whatever it is, should be dismissed. We have a system in IT that lives up to the company’s aspirations and strategic vision. We are very proud that our employees developed innovations that inspired some of Saudi Aramco contracted companies; they managed to find solutions to the technical problems that these companies grappled with,” he said.
Monitoring oil spills
Tarabzouni tells that it began in the Remote Sensing Unit building in the eMaps Division when he decided that there must be a more professional, accurate and large-scale method of monitoring oil spills that may occur in the Arabian Gulf, a major oil shipping lane.
“The quickest way available to us was to use a satellite named Cosmo that sends two images a day. However, this way needs prior arrangement through a special application to request the images within a two-day window. This is the reason why I decided at the beginning of 2013 to develop a new way,” Tarabzouni added.
He said that it was not until a few months after the idea first struck him that it turned into his daily reality, with field trials and regular communications with various suppliers of this technology, until it was decided that an agreement be signed with King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology (KACST), as a step toward the drafting of a final action plan for the drone.
“The aerial monitor is equipped with a digital camera and a night vision camera, and flies at a maximum altitude of 5,000 meters. It can take and directly transmit clear photos. The initiative is now in its final stages. The technology has been approved for use in the company’s operations, and a final contract is being signed with KACST to bring a number of the devices soon.”
Saving wireless communications devices
The innovation of Marzouq A. Shihab, a support telecommunications technician in Abqaiq’s IT division, focuses on the development of Industrial Security’s stationary wired radios at the company’s gates and offices that oversee drilling activities.
He revealed “The idea struck me at the beginning of 2014 after increasing problems and the failure of some wireless communications devices due to misuse and high loads. I have introduced a number of amendments to the new transmitter model.”
The amendments made by Shihab took months of hard work and his creative thinking paid off later. Device temperature went down, the number of broken devices plummeted, and valuable time that was previously taken up by maintenance work was saved.
Controlling battery hydrogen content
Abdullah Y. Al-Hassan, an employee in the Tanajib IT Division, zones in on sparing communications buildings fire disasters that may result from overheating in backup battery rooms.
Al-Hassan explained: “These batteries give off explosive hydrogen gas, which increases the risk of fire at any moment. My idea is centered on installing a device to monitor the volume and weight of hydrogen in the battery room to control any increase in the hydrogen content, which should not exceed four percent of the air in the room.”
Sensors that were born in Hassan’s mind as a radical solution to the growing dangers of battery rooms, have now become an essential feature of the buildings housing these batteries.
“These devices will be linked to the monitoring and control centers in the central IT Control Department in Dhahran,” Al-Hassan added.
Basim Al-Ruwaii, manager of the Communications Operations Department, praised the efforts of the IT employees: “The innovations and creative ideas whose pioneers were recognized highlight the efforts made by the IT staff to come up with solutions and ideas that improve the department’s operations and serve Saudi Aramco’s best interests.
“These initiatives are relevant to Saudi Aramco’s employees’ everyday work and the daily challenges they face to provide energy and continue the company’s successes. We, are confident that these innovations will directly contribute to the improvement of the company’s functions and operations, as well as to the development of the way in which Saudi Aramco’s various operations and activities are conducted,” Al-Ruwaii concluded.