The al-Hasa region in the Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia can become a major center for knowledge-based and innovation-driven sectors, and the small-to medium-size enterprises, as part of the Kingdom’s economic transformation strategy, Amin H. Nasser, Saudi Aramco President and CEO said.
In remarks made at the opening session of al-Hasa Investment Forum 2016, Nasser reaffirmed Saudi Aramco’s commitment to play a pivotal role in the Kingdom’s sustainable economic development and diversification, including focused development in high potential regions, such as al-Hasa. Nasser said the company is working on multiple fronts with its partners to achieve its objectives. He said the growth potential for al-Hasa is aligned with Saudi Aramco’s business objectives of further enhancing the existing oil and gas value chain, while at the same time expanding and diversifying its portfolio into high-yielding sustainable economic sectors.
Nasser said “al-Hasa is among the richest areas for oil and gas in the world, and we are proud that it is the home of Al Ghawar, the jewel of the Kingdom's oil fields and the largest conventional oil field in the world. The company’s plan for al-Hasa is by no means limited to this giant field, as we have ambitious plans to further develop oil and gas in the area.” He described the recent discovery of unconventional gas in the basin of Jafurah, near al-Hasa, as promising with the potential to generate new business and investment opportunities, and highly-specialized jobs for Saudi nationals.
The Saudi Aramco CEO explained that al-Hasa region holds a vast potential, especially in agriculture, tourism and manufacturing, among others. “al-Hasa region has ample opportunities to make a significant leap in its economy, based on its ever expanding energy sector, advanced agriculture, world-class tourism, small factories and trade, and above all, taking advantage of the conducive business environment, as the area has been for centuries the center of trade routes in the region.
The promising potential of al-Hasa is limitless,” he said. He further added, “al-Hasa is one of the ideal sites — for small- and medium-sized enterprises specialized in various sectors, especially the hydrocarbon supply system, petrochemical conversion industries — which enjoys substantial competitive advantages.”
In his remarks before an audience of dignitaries and senior officials and representatives from the government, the business community and local institutions, Nasser outlined Saudi Aramco’s plans and commitment to support the growth of al-Hasa, which would benefit its people and its communities. He said that one of the most important strategies adopted by the company in its effort to promote economic diversification is domestic value addition, by maximizing the local content of goods and services. This strategy will be driven by the In-Kingdom Total Value Add Program (IKTVA), initiated in 2015 by Saudi Aramco, to increase the percentage of local content of goods and services to 70% over the next 5 years.
Referring to the development of the Energy Industrial City, which was announced by H.E. the Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources during the al-Hasa Investment Forum 2013, Nasser said the project, currently under development, can position the region as a major center of growth for small- and medium-size enterprises, and for entrepreneurs.
Nasser also pointed out that a key Saudi Aramco contribution to al-Hasa’s human capital development was the establishment of the National Industrial Training Institute (NITI), the result of a strategic partnership between Saudi Aramco and the Technical & Vocational Training Corporation (TVTC). NITI provides industrial training to young Saudis to help meet market and industry needs, contribute to community growth, provide employment opportunities, and support the Kingdom’s Saudization efforts.
The al-Hasa Investment Forum is an initiative of the al-Hasa Chamber of Commerce and Industry, in cooperation with Saudi Aramco as a strategic partner. The forum is the premier business and economic event for al-Hasa and the Eastern Province, and has served as an effective mechanism for stimulating growth and investment activity in al-Hasa.