Skip to content
aramco logo

Middle East Process Engineering Conference 2024 (MEPEC) - Inauguration address by Wail Al Jaafari, EVP for Technical Services

Wail A. Al Jaafari - Executive Vice President Technical Services

Wail Al Jaafari, EVP for Technical Services

Speech|Dhahran, Saudi Arabia|

Good afternoon ladies and gentlemen,

It is my pleasure to welcome you to the 6th edition of the Middle East Process Engineering Conference. Since we first met in 2011, our industry has changed significantly.

One thing which has remained unchanged however, is our commitment to innovation in order to achieve excellence. It is a commitment we all share and a commitment which will guide us over the coming days.

Through MEPEC, we have deepened the partnership between industry and academia and focused on developing young talent. We have an inspiring youth program to excite and empower the next generation, connecting them with experts and revealing valuable insights.

This is why Aramco has always been a strong advocate for this event. As an original sponsor in 2011, we are now proud to be the exclusive host sponsor for MEPEC 2024.

And one thing we in Aramco understand clearly is behind innovative process is innovative people. 

This is why we offer a program of lifetime-learning to our people, training thousands of colleagues every year.

We need our people to evolve to meet the challenges of a rapidly changing process industry. The industry demands greater growth, but also greater sustainability.
Combined with aging assets these two demands can be daunting.

And so, process re-engineering, adopting cutting edge technologies, will be essential to achieve the improved safety, improved sustainability and improved reliability we aspire to.

For safety, we are digitalizing previously manual processes like job safety analysis, field rounds and isolation management. Other areas are being automated to reduce human error and improve operator safety. 

An example of this is the introduction of drones and robots to inspect plants, platforms and other assets. They use sensors and cameras, meaning our field inspectors are being retrained to pilot them, avoiding exposure to challenging environments and the need to shutdown facilities during inspections.

It also means that the next generation, many having grown up playing video games, already have some of the necessary skills to fly these UAVs. They could turn their craft with a controller into a compelling career.

For sustainability, we have ambitious targets to achieve net zero emission for Scope 1 and 2 across our wholly owned assets. To do this, we are further reducing methane emissions and flaring, increasing the use of renewable energy and innovating in areas like carbon capture, utilization and storage (CCUS)

In fact, the CCUS Hub we are building at Jubail will be one of the biggest in the world, capable of capturing 9 million metric tons of CO2 every year.

And of course, digitalization will play a key role through the development of an Emissions Monitoring Solution, tracking emissions from our facilities and identifying opportunities for further mitigation.

We recently announced plans to use a new generation of Low Earth Orbit satellites, supercharging our Fourth Industrial Revolution technologies. These will complement our existing efforts to monitor our emissions from space, helping to meet our sustainability goals.

And, to improve our reliability we are creating Digital Twins in our refineries to help close the gap between production planning and production reality. This real time optimization tool identifies process improvement opportunities and was a key factor in our Yanbu refinery being awarded Global Lighthouse status by the World Economic Forum. 

We are also rolling out Asset Predictive Analytics on thousands of Aramco assets; using data mining, machine learning and fault modelling to predict deterioration and take proactive steps to prevent it. 

Our process engineers are equipped with the latest simulation and analytical tools enabled by Artificial Intelligence, the like of “self-service analytic platform, SEEQ”, which is helping us model, troubleshoot, and optimize our operations and associated energy consumption.

All these innovations to improve safety, improve sustainability and improve reliability are only possible because of the people who developed and pioneered them. Over the coming years, process engineers will be at the forefront of this kind of technological innovation.

I know we have the talent here today to help achieve our ambitions for tomorrow.

Finally, to the students joining us today, I would say; choosing a process engineering career, will put you at the cutting edge of innovation, where your creativity is valued and your development is a priority. 

You can have an impact on a global industry which is essential for global prosperity. 

Respected colleagues; on behalf of the MEPEC Advisory Committee, I’d like to thank you all for being here and many thanks to the people who have worked to make this conference happen.

Thank you.

Media contact information

All media enquiries are handled by Aramco's Media & Executive Communications Department, Dhahran, Saudi Arabia.

For media inquiries, please email us at

Recent speeches

See all speeches