From the SPE President: Oil and Gas Industry: Bringing Prosperity and Happiness to the World
- Sami Alnuaim (2019 SPE President)
- Document ID
- Society of Petroleum Engineers
- Journal of Petroleum Technology
- Publication Date
- October 2018
- Document Type
- Journal Paper
- 10 - 11
- 2018. Copyright is retained by the author. This document is distributed by SPE with the permission of the author. Contact the author for permission to use material from this document.
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I vividly recall a trip with my family when I was 10 years old from my hometown Hofuf to Dammam city on the east coast of Saudi Arabia. This was the early 1970s, and we passed through the northern part of Ghawar, the largest oil field in the world. We also drove through Abqaiq city, which was established by Aramco as a crude-handling facility. During that trip I was wondering what oil and gas would bring to me and to my country, Saudi Arabia. During that time, Saudi Arabia was at the initial stage of educational, industrial, and scientific evolution, trying to catch up with the more advanced West. I remember Saudi Aramco (Aramco back then) was the company where most of the people in Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia dreamt of working. Not only was Aramco a source of a reliable job with good pay, but also health, education, sport, food, and entertainment. To my generation in Saudi Arabia, the oil and gas industry was everything a young person dreamt of. During that trip, while gazing through the drilling rigs and flares on both sides of the highway at night, I created for myself a goal to be part of this great industry.
My thoughts back then were limited to myself and my family, hoping for more economic prosperity and happiness. Today, after 45 years, I can observe how oil and gas has brought economic prosperity not only to myself and my family, but to my country. I also see the positive impacts globally.
Saudi Arabia has evolved in a very short time to be one of the top developing countries, one of the top 20 global economies, primarily because of oil and gas. In a few decades, Saudi Arabia achieved extraordinary advancements in many areas—economy, health, education, manufacturing, agriculture, sport, and entertainment. It isn’t just exporting countries though. South Korea is an example of an importing country that has also developed due to oil and gas. Imported energy supplied the fuel for its development in advanced electronics, automobiles, and heavy industry. In mid-March, the SPE Board of Directors held a meeting in Ghana. Just days before, The New York Times published an article projecting that Ghana will be the world’s fastest-growing economy in 2018. This is primarily due to the recent offshore natural gas discoveries and the high potential for more oil and gas development in the region. Like many parts of Africa, Ghana does not have a countrywide electrical grid, and most current electric power comes from diesel major changes in the quality of the environment and the lives of people throughout Ghana. A number of other African countries have also had recent discoveries, meaning that even more people may benefit as these resources are developed.
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