The ceremony was attended by HE Ali I. Al-Naimi, Saudi Arabian Oil Minister, who unveiled the Center’s memorial plaque following a ceremony that featured a short film about the history and operations of Baker Hughes Company. HE Dr. Khalid S. Al-Sultan, rector of KFUPM, and Martin Craighead, president and CEO of Baker Hughes, also spoke at the event, which included an introduction tour to the center premises and its different departments.
Years of planning and partnership
The establishment of this center, with its focus on research and development of new technologies — which in turn contribute to optimum use of the unconventional hydrocarbon resources — is a product of years of planning and cooperation between Baker Hughes and Saudi Aramco as part of their efforts to address the challenges facing the energy production operations around the world.
“This culminates years of accurate planning and hard work, and reflects our deep commitment to boost our local presence over the coming years,” Craighead said. He also added: “When it becomes fully operational, the Center will be an important addition to our global research and technology network, and a highly distinctive world-class facility.”
Dhahran Techno-Valley one of a kind
“One of a kind in the region,” is how Al-Sultan described KFUPM Dhahran Techno-Valley, which was established six years ago. He added by saying “the focus is on research and development in oil, gas and petrochemicals, which are as we all know the major industries in the Kingdom.
Al-Sultan articulated, “It (the new center) will offer research opportunities for students and post-graduates in different research and development focus areas, ranging from petro physics, drilling, geo-mechanics, fluids and production technology.”
Al-Sultan hailed the support and encouragement that KFUPM receives from “our strategic partner, Saudi Aramco,” and he thanked in particular Khalid A. Al-Falih, president and CEO of Saudi Aramco, and Amin H. Nasser, senior vice president of Upstream.
Long-term practical solutions
Nasser congratulated Baker Hughes by saying: “The opening of the unconventional resources research and technology center which clearly demonstrates a long-term commitment in meeting the world’s energy challenges. For Saudi Aramco, the center is an example of our strategy to capitalize and strengthen mutually beneficial collaborative opportunities with most prominent international companies and additionally, it will help to further leverage and develop our intellectual capital and technological capabilities.”
A glimpse of the center’s future
The new research and technology center encompasses a sophisticated laboratory to study rocks and liquids. It provides the required facilities to conduct scientific studies and develop cutting-edge technologies to unlock the potential of unconventional resources. The center will also benefit from the experience and expertise of Baker Hughes’ team of engineers and scientists and the oil and gas experts in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and in particular in KFUPM to collectively collaborate to develop new solutions.
The new research center is yet another contribution to the expansion of Baker Hughes projects in the Kingdom’s infrastructure. In 2010, Baker Hughes opened a state-of-the-art 100,000 square-meter business center that includes laboratories, offices and facilities for maintenance and repair, as well as a center for remote cooperation.
Baker Hughes, the past and present
The company was founded in 1987 after a merger between Baker International and Hughes Tool Company, which were founded more than 100 years ago by R. Baker and Howard Hughes, who invented revolutionary solutions that set new standards in the emerging oil industry of his day.
The company provides high value services and technologies in the oil and gas industry, including well drilling, assessment, completion and production, in addition to integrated operations and consultations.
The company’s solutions are designed to provide cost-effective, low-risk and enhanced productivity in the world oil and gas sector.
The company has more than 57,000 employees working in more than 80 countries around the world and started its contribution to oil development in the Middle East beginning in 1936 when it supplied the drilling bits for the discovery well Dammam Well No. 7.