By Arab News
By Ahmad Al-Sa’adi*
Smart sensors. Carbon fiber. Recycling networks. These are just some of the innovative growth sectors we are targeting in our push to expand our capabilities and develop a thriving industrial ecosystem within Saudi Arabia.
Through Namaat, launched last November, we are enhancing how we do business with the help of international partners — such as Hyundai, DHL, Samsung Engineering and Shell.
Growth of these innovative sectors, spurred by investments worth billions of dollars and our Namaat collaborations with local partners, will create jobs, localize services and diversify the economy, while reinforcing Aramco’s cost leadership, security of supply and focus on sustainability.
“Nama’at” means (collective) growth in Arabic, and our aim is to create and stimulate a range of industries that complement our own activities, and those of other companies operating in Saudi Arabia’s vast energy and chemicals sector. As such, we have just announced 23 new partnerships through our Namaat program — building on our long history of partnering with leading global players to attract investment and drive capabilities, knowledge transfer and expertise.
Focusing on strategic areas
The new opportunities targeted by Namaat focus on four key areas: Sustainability, where we aim to localize businesses that are expected to help us achieve carbon footprint reduction and implement circular carbon economy concepts; technology, where our investments are guided by our ambitious digital transformation strategy; industrial and energy services, in terms of advanced logistics and modularized construction that reinforce our focus on cost leadership and reliability; and advanced materials, where we drive innovation in hydrocarbon-based, nonmetallic materials and upgrade low value byproducts of our operations.
Developing complementary activities
With DHL, we plan to set up an industrial logistics and procurement hub. Given our massive inventory, there is little doubt that optimizing logistics will benefit us, as well as other major industrial players in the region.
As a raw materials producer, we have sought collaborations that allow us to develop new products and reach new markets. For example, we have joined forces with Belgium-based Solvay to manufacture carbon fiber. This incredibly strong and light material is ideal for airplane fuselages, as well as both heavy and light transport.
In terms of sustainability, we are seeking to collaborate with French waste and utility group Veolia to establish an integrated waste management and recycling company here in Saudi Arabia, which will harness local capabilities to treat and manage industrial and municipal waste.
And with Honeywell, we aim to accelerate digital transformation of the industrial ecosystem by providing end-to-end plant digitalization solutions, which can benefit major industrial players in the region.
Namaat is a natural extension of our flagship In-Kingdom Total Value Add, or IKTVA, program, which was launched in 2015 to strengthen and drive the efficiency of our domestic supply chain, while also developing a diverse and globally competitive energy sector in Saudi Arabia.
Today, we have all the elements in place to build a thriving industrial ecosystem — a wealth of young Saudi talent; government incentives including the Shareek private sector investment plan launched in March; and, Aramco positioned to support the process as both enabler and investor.
Namaat is another demonstration of our focus on long-term goals. It aims to help ensure a robust supply chain for both ourselves and our customers, accelerate our product leadership, and complement our core activities. Championing new markets and targeting growth sectors will also contribute to the development of a diverse and future-proof Saudi economy.
• Ahmad Al-Sa’adi is Aramco’s senior vice president of technical services.