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LEAP24 - Remarks by Amin H. Nasser Saudi Aramco President & CEO March 4, 2024


Your Royal Highnesses, Excellencies, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen,

Let me begin by thanking His Excellency Abdullah Alswaha.

Much credit goes to His Excellency, his team and all involved as LEAP has rapidly become one of the world’s leading tech conferences and exhibitions.

At Aramco, we are delighted to take part in the third edition of LEAP.

After all, we have long been an active developer and keen user of new technology.

So, when it comes to technology, we recognize that to stand still is to fall behind.

And that is why Aramco is constantly moving forward in our tech journey.

We are doing so in three ways.

Through integration. Through innovation. Through investment.

In terms of integration within our operations, we continue to see benefits from our ongoing digital transformation.

We can now do things in seconds that previously took countless hours.

In fact we own two of the three largest supercomputers in this region, which helps of course.

Where possible we are also turning equipment at our facilities into smart devices to provide us with real-time data.

We are not only applying this power of digitalization to our newest facilities.

We have even digitalized our oldest oil processing facility located at Abqaiq.

As our Abqaiq plant is over eighty years old, this did present a few challenges.

The utilization of AI, data analytics, robotics and the Internet of Things at Abqaiq has enhanced operations in many ways, including robotics and 4IR technology to do mundane or potentially hazardous tasks.

We are also using AI algorithms to optimize performance and to predict when assets require proactive maintenance to minimize downtime.

All of this has resulted in our Abqaiq facility being added to the World Economic Forum’s Global Lighthouse Network, which recognizes leadership in implementing 4IR technologies.

We are proud to have four of our facilities now included in the Network.

Right across our operations we are integrating digital innovation.

It is a transformation that is touching every part of our company – from managing projects to improving logistics to calculating reserves.

Just last week we announced a significant upward revision in the estimated reserves of gas and condensates in the Kingdom’s Jafurah unconventional field.

This was made possible by combining advanced machine-learning systems together with the data gathered by our inhouse experts through our GigaPOWERS simulator.

In other words, Big Data is helping us make bigger discoveries.

Our dedicated digital and AI-driven centers are also playing an important role in helping increase efficiency and decrease costs.

These centers also support the development of new technologies as well as provide the environment and the resources for innovators and entrepreneurs to develop new digital solutions.

Our deployment of cutting-edge technology also extends beyond our industrial operations.

Late last year, our use of 4IR technologies to manage residential and commercial facilities and services in Dhahran was also globally acknowledged.

Again, we were very proud our efforts were recognized as we received the Infrastructure and Building Award at the World Smart City awards in Spain.

I should perhaps pause to point out that as the digital world expands and as we spend more time in front of screens or talking to machines, we all need to be mindful of the digital well-being of individuals.

Beyond efficiency and new ways of doing things, we need to be aware that excessive use of technology can also have negative side effects, from reducing attention spans to inter-personal skill development.

And while I cannot speak for others, striking the right balance for the digital wellbeing of our employees is certainly something we are focused on at Aramco.

Now the second way we are moving forward, as I mentioned, is through continued innovation.

At last year’s LEAP, we had just launched Aramco Digital.

We took the bold step of creating our own digital company not just for transforming Aramco, but also in the Kingdom and beyond to deploy cutting-edge technology at scale.

Our metabrain generative AI model showcased earlier today by Ahmad Al Khowaiter is another example of continued innovation.

We believe metabrain has the potential to raise both productivity and growth as well as transform the way we work.

On the Upstream side of our business, metabrain is helping to analyze drilling plans and geological data as well as historical drilling times versus costs and recommend well options.

For Downstream, metabrain will have the capability to provide precise forecasts for refined products, including pricing trends, market dynamics, and geopolitical insights. 

So clearly, the power of generative AI is something most companies are keen to tap into.

What is also clear is that with any major innovation, there are obvious risks.

For Aramco, developing our own generative AI model enables us to realize the benefits while reducing these risks.

At the same time, we recognize we cannot do everything on our own.

Collaboration is critical.

That is why initiatives like the Saudi Accelerated Innovation Lab, which was announced earlier today, are so very important.

SAIL is not just a project.

It is a journey with our national and private partner and it is a commitment to the future.

Together we intend to establish a preeminent digital ecosystem that attracts global leaders, top talent and breakthrough innovation to incubate what is needed now and invest in what’s next.

We aim to enable Saudi businesses to outperform in their industries, growing the digital economy, and keeping the Kingdom at the forefront of market-driven digital innovation.

Through SAIL, our goal is to create new Digital Products, new Digital Ventures, breakthrough IP, and global consortiums to tackle major challenges.

One example is the Aramco-IBM Innovation strategic partnership, which through SAIL is expected to be operational in early 2026.

Aramco and IBM will jointly collaborate on technology co-development in the areas such as cybersecurity, sustainability, circular economy and material science.

SAIL will also take in challenges and opportunities from its market intelligence, perform the required innovation and R&D – then incubate, accelerate, scale, and commercialize novel solutions through Saudi incepted ventures.

It aims to also be a one-stop-engine for all innovators, entrepreneurs, and investors.

All of which brings me to the third way we are moving forward in our tech journey at Aramco: through investments.

One particular investment stream that will likely be of interest to people here relates to Aramco Ventures, our venture capital arm.

We recently increased the funding available to Aramco Ventures by four billion dollars.

An amount that more than doubles our total venture funding to $7.5 billion, making Aramco Ventures one of the top corporate venture capital funds in the world.

Half of this new funding is to be invested in disruptive technologies outside the energy sector.

The other half is earmarked for late-stage, larger-ticket ventures in the sustainability and digital domains.

Our intention is to fund game-changing innovations across a variety of industries.

And to pave the way for collaborations with innovative companies to develop new technologies that create long-term diversification opportunities for Aramco.

Today, I have shared with you just a few examples of how Aramco’s technology journey is constantly moving forward.

In closing, I should also briefly explain why...

It all comes down to creating value.

For society in general, the latest technology can help reduce emissions.

For our shareholders large and small, it can help us maximize returns.

For current and future generations of Saudis, it can help us optimize the Kingdom’s resources.

For Aramco’s customers around the world, the latest technology can help us deliver the highest possible reliability and energy security.

And for our employees, it can help all of us do our jobs efficiently and safely.   

Indeed, creating value for people is the ultimate reason for any technology journey – ours included.

Thank you. 

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