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Upstream Professional Development Center

The Upstream Professional Development Center: a bridge for development.

A changing world and a challenging Upstream environment require new knowledge and skills to meet future energy needs. To provide the necessary training and work environment that will produce the next generation of engineers and geoscientists, we established the Upstream Professional Development Center (UPDC).

UPDC exists to meet the following challenges:  

  • Provide the resources needed for professional development; to bridge the experience gap between young and experienced professionals.
  • Bridge the disciplines of geology; geophysics; petrophysics; reservoir, production, drilling and facilities engineering; and upstream computing by creating collaborative learning environments.
  • Link the past, present and future.

Upstream professionals will be prepared to think holistically. They will develop the ability to solve problems through the integration of discipline, knowledge and experience, using the latest technologies.

Our Mission and Vision

Mission:  Ensure a sustainable, competent Saudi Aramco Upstream workforce by providing effective and efficient professional development for all Upstream professionals.  

Vision:  The UPDC will be the industry leader in the training and development of Upstream professionals.

Our Training Philosophy and Methodology

UPDC courses are designed to be interactive, hands-on, experiential learning with reduced lecturing and numerous practical applications that translate directly to the workplace. Leadership skills are integrated into courses to reinforce employee’s communication and people skills development.

Instructional design specialists work closely with subject matter experts to design and build courses, which enhance learning and retention. Customized technology applications are integrated into the courses, to allow participants to perform analyses and learn important concepts quickly. To ensure relevance to the job, a large number of courses are presented by Saudi Aramco’s recognized experts.  Additionally, to create realism and relevance, UPDC courses utilize company data, workflows, and business tools. To improve their effectiveness, internal facilitators and instructors participate in UPDC’s train-the-trainer program.

Our Values

Performance-Driven Training:  UPDC is unique, because we target outcomes; the training is focused on teaching the knowledge and skills required to achieve technical business objectives.

Environment for “Bridging”:  UPDC provides an environment for people, information and technology to come together to enhance and accelerate learning. It is within this environment that the concept of bridging arose based on the confluence of employees from different generations.

Dynamic Learning Entity:  UPDC upholds the values of learning, growing, and developing technical expertise to meet the future challenges of long-term energy solutions. As the energy needs of the world change, so must we.

Industry Best Practices:  UPDC continually utilizes best practices to ensure that our workforce can safely and efficiently solve technical challenges that lie ahead.

People:  UPDC’s people are at the heart of the program.  We are a strong, willing, knowledgeable and dedicated team that continuously improves and enhances development and learning for Upstream professionals.

World-Class Training Facilities

Our geoscientists and upstream engineers  are being trained within a new state-of-the-art building, the Upstream Professional Development Center located within the core area of Saudi Aramco’s headquarters in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia.  This industry leading facility houses collaborative environments and high-tech classrooms designed to enhance, accelerate, and increase the efficiency of Upstream training.

High-Tech Classrooms:  The center is equipped with 18 modern classrooms that incorporate large wall-to-wall viewing screens, LCD touch screens, and 3D capability. The classrooms are located on the second and third floors of the building, together with eight breakout rooms that are used for group activities and project based applications.

Collaborative Learning Environment:  The center is designed to promote interaction and collaboration, with mobile furniture, portable technology, and open common areas, which allows flexibility to meet the objectives of courses, seminars, or team-based development activities.

The lobby on the first floor also provides additional space for collaboration and teamwork. It can be converted to a large area for informal or formal meetings. Technology and projection capabilities are available in this area to easily facilitate any learning event.

Drilling Simulator:  The Drilling Simulator consists of a driller and assistant driller stations, 4 large screens (5m x 3.75m), a "dog house" and an observation platform. It also has an instructor station to control simulation sessions. Users are able to practice with a Blow-Out Preventer (BOP) panel, choke control panel, standpipe manifold and choke manifold.

From the driller stations, participants are able to perform various rig operations, complex well controls; and predict, mitigate, and resolve down-hole problems. They are able to safely gain experience dealing with issues such as handling kicks, loss of circulation, stuck pipe, and hole wash-out.

Four high-tech projectors and large screens are used to visualize the rig floor, pipe handling, building stands, and tripping. A viewing gallery is located above the simulator where other participants can witness the operation.

Cave Automated Virtual Environment (CAVE):  The CAVE is a four-sided immersive virtual-reality display that allows UPDC students to experience the locations, equipment, and concepts of upstream oil and gas operations and processes.

Simulation-based learning and conceptual visualization greatly enhance and accelerate learning.

Simulation-based Learning:  Users can experience environments such as virtual rock outcrops/field visits, virtual well site visits, vertical seismic profile (VSP) simulation, reservoir simulation scenarios and modeling, well logging, and seismic acquisition.

Conceptual Visualization: Allows users to be immersed in experiences such as the borehole environment, multiphase fluid flow, acoustic wave propagation, neutron thermalization, reservoir management, and geophysical scales.

Upstream Information Center (UiC):  The Upstream Information Center (UiC), is also located within UPDC.

UiC is a valued source for Upstream professionals to access resources and information relevant to Upstream activities. UiC is staffed with experienced hydrocarbon librarians and database engineers to assist users to quickly identify information, resources, tools and services.

Located on the first floor of the UPDC building, the UiC accommodates a large print collection of industry specific books and journals. It has a dedicated study area on the mezzanine level; armchair alcoves for quiet and uninterrupted professional reading; an audio-visual room for viewing discipline-specific recordings; and a study room for group sessions and seminars.

In addition, the UiC manages all the major databases resources in Petroleum Engineering, Earth Sciences and Energy Intelligence.  This includes the largest Science & Technology database, ScienceDirect, and the companion citation database, Scopus.

Bridging …

… Disciplines

For the first time at Saudi Aramco, professionals from all Upstream disciplines will train together in one state-of-the-art facility.

… Generations

Upstream’s senior professionals will train new professionals in order to close the gap of Saudi Aramco knowledge and experience. The training courses integrate Saudi Aramco specific work flows and expertise.

… History, Experience, and Technology

UPDC connects Saudi Aramco’s rich history and experience with new methods and technologies for exploring and producing.