Bahrain Review 2017

Ibrahim ... driving growth

Ibrahim ... driving growth

GE sees great future for Saudi Arabia and region

GE has delivered on more than $1 billion in investment commitment on its localisation initiatives and now it is further strengthening its presence, ZAHER IBRAHIM, CEO, GE Oil & Gas, Saudi Arabia tells K S SREEKUMAR

GE, which has been playing a stellar role in the transformational growth of Saudi Arabia for over eight decades, feels that the future is looking great despite the current challenges which are of a 'cyclical nature'.

'We have been in the region for over eight decades and we are here for the long-term. We have witnessed challenges and understand their cyclical nature. That is why we have always remained positive throughout these situations, and we confidently look forward to working with our partners and to enabling them to smoothly navigate them,' says Zaher Ibrahim, CEO, GE Oil & Gas, Saudi Arabia.

GE’s Oil & Gas business is joining forces with Baker Hughes to create a world-leading oilfield technology provider to provide best-in-class physical and digital technology solutions for customer productivity. Also in the year, there is the big opportunity that digital industrial solutions bring, which Ibrahim is confident, will be a major trend for 2017.

'We are well positioned in our market, and have the right people, right technologies and infrastructure in the right places. We are continuously expanding our local footprint in Saudi Arabia and have built a massive advanced manufacturing infrastructure that supports our customers, and brings us closer to them,' says Ibrahim in an exclusive interview with OGN.

GE’s Industrial Internet – the meshing of heavy machinery with big data and advanced analytics – helps achieve significant gains in productivity, asset use optimisation and operational efficiency, says Ibrahim, who is responsible for driving growth, operation excellence and partnership with Saudi customers across the GE Oil & Gas portfolio.

In the kingdom, GE is creating a new era in innovation with its Industrial Internet technologies. GE’s industrial internet drives Predix, and young software professionals can create apps for industry on Predix. This is a great opportunity for Saudi talents to develop innovative solutions.

'I can say with full confidence that Predix will be a game-changer for the region in driving new innovations, and it can be integrated on existing non-GE platforms too,' says Ibrahim, who sets strategic direction to drive top and bottom line growth, strengthening GE’s commercial focus, localising services and increasing customer satisfaction.

GE estimates that its Industrial Internet and software solutions offer a potential 20 per cent increase in performance. These solutions could help unlock $465 billion in economic value annually for industry across the Middle East, North Africa, Turkey and Pakistan.

Referring to Aramco’s In-kingdom Total Value Add (iktva) Programme, he says: 'As a long-term partner of Saudi Aramco, we value the iktva initiative tremendously; it is more than an obligation for us, but a part of our organisational DNA, where we are focused on supporting the local economy, especially the small and medium enterprises, and thus developing a vibrant global supply chain.'

GE has delivered on more than $1 billion in investment commitment on its localisation initiatives and now it is further strengthening its presence. Through its support to the iktva programme, the company is supporting the creation of a full-fledged manufacturing ecosystem in Saudi Arabia.

GE also contributes to the iktva programme with the GE Oil & Gas Multi-Modal Manufacturing Centre, a manufacturing, assembly, repair, services, and training facility in Dammam that will create 100 high quality jobs. It will serve as a hub for the full portfolio of businesses under GE Oil & Gas, including Digital Solutions, Downstream Technology Solutions, Turbomachinery Solutions, Subsea and Surface.

'In fact, we have reached 70 per cent Saudisation at our pressure control manufacturing facility, expanding our workforce threefold. GE’s goal is to double the Saudi workforce to 4,000 by 2020 and also double its Saudi supplier base from 150 to 300 to strengthen the Saudi supply chain.

'Further, we have announced an exciting new initiative: GE, Saudi Aramco and Cividale SpA are jointly working to build the Mena region’s first-of-its-kind, world-class forging and casting manufacturing facility, which will supply the kingdom and global markets with forged and cast materials for the marine and energy industries. With a total investment of $400 million, the facility will be operational by 2020 and create over 2,000 new local jobs,' he continues.

Excerpts from the interview:


How is GE delivering on its commitments to support the transformational growth aims of Saudi Vision 2030 and how is it strengthening local manufacturing capabilities, in line with Saudi Aramco’s In-kingdom Total Value Add (iktva) Programme?

We have been a partner in the transformational growth journey of Saudi Arabia for over 80 years now. With three offices and seven facilities, we have the largest workforce of GE in the kingdom, and we have always been committed to support the nation in achieving its growth goals. Saudi Vision 2030 has been a definitive roadmap for economic and industrial diversification, and it serves as an ideal fit for us in our own evolution as a digital industrial company.

As a long-term partner of Saudi Aramco, we value the iktva initiative tremendously; it is more than an obligation for us, but a part of our organisational DNA, where we are focused on supporting the local economy, especially the small and medium enterprises, and thus developing a vibrant global supply chain.

A GE employee at work

We have delivered on more than $1 billion in investment commitment on our localisation initiatives and now we are further strengthening our presence. Through our support to the iktva programme, we are supporting the creation of a full-fledged manufacturing ecosystem in Saudi Arabia.

I would like to highlight four of our long-term initiatives that contribute significantly to the ‘Made in Saudi’ ecosystem. These are the GE Manufacturing & Technology Centre in Dammam (GEMTEC); the GE Oil & Gas Pressure Control manufacturing facility in Dammam Second Industrial City; GE Oil & Gas Multi-Modal Manufacturing Centre, and the Saudi Technology Innovation Centre in Dhahran Techno Valley.

GEMTEC today manufactures heavy duty gas turbines in the kingdom, and GE Oil & Gas has already delivered 12 high-efficiency gas compression trains for Phase 1 of Saudi Aramco’s Master Gas System expansion project, which were assembled fully at GEMTEC. It is a matter of great pride for us to deliver the ‘Made in Saudi Arabia’ stamp on our turbines.

We are continuing to expand our manufacturing capabilities in the kingdom, which in turn supports the goals of iktva. Our GE Oil & Gas Pressure Control manufacturing facility at MODON, which is the largest GE advanced manufacturing facility in the region, has the full competency to manufacture all ranges of wellhead equipment in the kingdom to the highest specifications. We are pushing the boundaries and have now tripled its capacity to manufacture wellheads, valves and other equipment for the oil and gas sector in Saudi Arabia, as well as for exports.

We also contribute to the iktva programme with the GE Oil & Gas Multi-Modal Manufacturing Centre, a manufacturing, assembly, repair, services, and training facility in Dammam that will create 100 high quality jobs. It will serve as a hub for the full portfolio of businesses under GE Oil & Gas, including digital solutions, downstream technology solutions, turbomachinery solutions, subsea and surface.

Further, we have announced an exciting new initiative: GE, Saudi Aramco and Cividale SpA are jointly working to build the Mena region’s first-of-its-kind, world-class forging and casting manufacturing facility, which will supply the kingdom and global markets with forged and cast materials for the marine and energy industries. With a total investment of $400 million, the facility will be operational by 2020 and create over 2,000 new local jobs.

Last year, we also hosted the Global Supplier Forum in Riyadh to encourage GE’s international suppliers to either establish or increase their presence in the kingdom. The forum convened over 500 partners and suppliers from over 20 countries. Over 300 local Saudi manufacturers – qualified GE suppliers and local suppliers invited by MODON, SAGIA and Saudi Aramco – networked with GE’s international suppliers for potential new partnerships and to become part of a global supply chain.

We are delighted that our contributions to iktva have been recognised by Saudi Aramco. Recently, we have won the ‘Best in Supplier Development’ honour at the iktva Excellence Awards in the first anniversary of the launch of iktva.

I would like to share with you the citation by Saudi Aramco, which read: 'GE is recognised for its efforts in developing the capabilities of in-kingdom suppliers in a number of areas, such as technical capabilities, technology transfer, quality improvement and integration into the international supply chain. Other considerations included GE’s costs in supporting development of local supply-chain capabilities.' This is indeed a great testament to what we are doing to create a dynamic local supply chain.


How far have you progressed in your aim to usher a digital industrial age in Saudi Arabia and the region?

This is the era of digital, and we believe that digital industrial transformation is a real and tangible opportunity to achieve unprecedented levels of operational efficiency, productivity and asset optimisation. It covers the entire value chain, and the value-add that our partners and customers can derive out of it is tremendous. In fact, this was the key message of our Minds + Machines event held last year in Dammam.

At the heart of our digital industrial transformation in the kingdom is our GE Saudi Technology & Innovation Centre (GE STIC) in Dhahran Techno Valley. The centre works to enable our Saudi customers and partners to work collaboratively with our developers to design and develop digital solutions that will become Apps running on Predix – the world’s first and only cloud-based operating system built exclusively for industry. The centre also focuses on building digital talent across Saudi Arabia through training and skill-set development programmes focusing on start-ups and entrepreneurs in the digital industrial space, because we understand how crucial it is to invest in and nurture the next generation of talents. Future skill-sets demand strong capability in hardware and software – and we are now accomplishing that through our industrial internet roadmap.

GE ... contributing heavily to the region

We are now introducing our first Asset Performance Management (APM) solution to reside on Saudi Aramco’s business network for the Aramco Jazan Complex Integrated Manufacturing Operations Management System (IMOMS). This will be deployed on industrial assets, and will support the reliability and integrity of the assets, providing tools for analysis and strategy development, and assuring greater operational excellence.

The solution will enhance reliability and integrity to drive business and financial key performance indicators for the Jazan Complex and detailed refinery and IGCC operations. It is being deployed through a partnership between GE and Accenture, and will be the first APM refinery reference in the Menat region set to go live in January 2018.

Saudi Aramco is currently collaborating with us to pilot our Smart Signal predictive maintenance technology for rotating equipment at one of their gas plants to enable proactive detection of failure of critical equipment, and to increase equipment availability and reduce maintenance costs. This is another demonstration of industrial internet, whereby the real-time analysis of tremendous amount of data can help our partners to reduce downtime and cut down costs, while improving productivity.

Furthermore, across the region, our oil and gas partners have begun implementation of our APM solutions for pipelines as well as Field Vantage, a unique software solution which keeps our customers connected to their field data anytime, anywhere, allowing them to reduce downtime and increase productivity.


What were the highlights of the performance of GE Manufacturing & Technology Centre (GEMTEC) in Dammam in 2016?

GEMTEC is today a strong example of our commitment to localised manufacturing and talent development. This further marks our commitment to supporting the goals of Saudi Vision 2030.

Last year was truly a milestone year for us. We opened Phase II of GEMTEC with expanded capabilities including the capability to manufacture HA and F-class turbines at the facility. This is of great significance because GE’s HA turbines are the world’s largest and most efficient, leading the industry in output.

The opening coincided with the completion and delivery of GEMTEC’s first 7F turbine to Saudi Electricity Company’s Waad Al Shamal combined-cycle power plant.

Phase II of GEMTEC will continue to develop an integrated industrial ecosystem in the kingdom, through local, Saudi-driven manufacturing, services and R&D. It creates more than 150 high quality jobs for Saudi professionals and supports more than 300 Saudi suppliers to provide gas turbine parts that are manufactured locally. That makes for a strong localisation story.

The expansion adds 9,000 sq m of manufacturing space to the facility, taking the total area to 26,000 sq m – the size of 100 tennis courts. In addition to the enhanced manufacturing competencies, the facility also offers services and repairs for gas turbines, as well as the first balance of plant (BOP) test and inspection services in the region.

The expanded GEMTEC also has a dedicated monitoring and diagnostics centre – Saudi PowerGen Efficiency Centre (SPEC) – for gas and steam turbines. We are also constructing a dedicated building for the Hot & Harsh Centre of Excellence. I am delighted to say that GEMTEC is now a ‘brilliant factory’, the first of its kind in the region.

From an oil and gas perspective, as mentioned, GE Oil & Gas completed the delivery of 12 high-efficiency gas compression trains manufactured in Saudi Arabia, which were provided for Phase I of Saudi Aramco’s Master Gas System expansion project in the kingdom. Phase II has six additional trains which will be delivered by the first quarter of this year.


Could you elaborate on the ‘Hot & Harsh’ Technology Development Programme currently being undertaken at the Saudi Technology & Innovation Centre (STIC) involving teams from GE Global Research, GE Power and GE Oil & Gas?

In 2015, we announced an investment commitment of $100 million in new programmes in the kingdom. This included a ‘Hot & Harsh’ Technology Development Programme, which is currently being undertaken at STIC – with teams from GE Global Research, GE Power and GE Oil & Gas.

The GE Power Hot & Harsh Technology CoE focuses on the effect of high temperature, dust, corrosion, erosion, duty cycle, and fuel harshness, which have a critical impact on the reliability and efficiency of power plants in the MEA region.

The findings from the research will be deployed in the gas turbine manufacturing or repair at GEMTEC and have potential application in countries with similar ambient challenges.

The Hot & Harsh technology development is also an example of the GE Store, a bustling marketplace of ideas, applications and solutions, shared across industries to improve customer outcomes. The findings from the research will have applications in power and oil and gas sectors.


How will GE’s Industrial Internet roadmap help drive the digital transformation of the industry?

Our Industrial Internet – the meshing of heavy machinery with big data and advanced analytics – helps achieve significant gains in productivity, asset use optimisation and operational efficiency.

We estimate that our Industrial Internet and software solutions offer a potential 20 per cent increase in performance. These solutions could help unlock $465 billion in economic value annually for industry across the Middle East, North Africa, Turkey and Pakistan.

As I mentioned, in the kingdom, we are creating a new era in innovation with our Industrial Internet technologies. Our industrial internet drives Predix, and young software professionals can create apps for industry on Predix. This is a great opportunity for Saudi talents to develop innovative solutions. I can say with full confidence that Predix will be a game-changer for the region in driving new innovations, and it can be integrated on existing non-GE platforms too.

At GE, we encourage a culture of innovation – not just within the organisation – but in the communities we serve through what we call the open innovation, or the 'global brain' – the collective intelligence of connected societies. The various initiatives that we have announced thus support the digital transformation of industry.


What will be the features of the newly opened state-of-the-art Data Visualisation Lab?

The state-of-the-art Data Visualisation Lab at GE Saudi Technology & Innovation Centre enables us and our partners to intelligently interact with, and visualise, large quantities of Big Data, generating meaningful insights that drive productivity gains across industrial assets.

This further expands the R&D and localised innovation capabilities of GE STIC, which is focused on co-creating technologies and solutions across key sectors such as power, oil and gas, aviation and water.


What does your MoU with Taqnia entail?

We have signed a MoU with the Saudi Technology Development & Investment Company (Taqnia) to co-create digital industrial solutions that support the economic and industrial diversification of the kingdom in line with Saudi Vision 2030. We aim to co-develop industry Applications (Apps) on GE Predix. This will help establish Saudi Arabia as the region’s largest marketplace for specialised industry Apps and build a home-grown innovation ecosystem for talented Saudi nationals. We will also work together to develop cutting-edge cyber security solutions for the Saudi industrial sector. Wurldtech, a company acquired by GE that builds solutions to protect critical infrastructure from cyber-attack, will deploy advanced cyber-security solutions for the industrial environments.


How do you see 2017 compared to last year - both in Saudi Arabia and across the region?

We have been in the region for over eight decades and we are here for the long-term. We have witnessed challenges and understand their cyclical nature. That is why we have always remained positive throughout these situations, and we confidently look forward to working with our partners and to enabling them to smoothly navigate them.

We are well positioned in our market, and have the right people, right technologies and infrastructure in the right places. We are continuously expanding our local footprint in Saudi Arabia and have built a massive advanced manufacturing infrastructure that supports our customers, and brings us closer to them.

In fact, we have reached 70 per cent Saudisation at our pressure control manufacturing facility, expanding our workforce threefold. GE’s goal is to double the Saudi workforce to 4,000 by 2020 and also double its Saudi supplier base from 150 to 300 to strengthen the Saudi supply chain. We understand the importance of energy and industrial diversification and we commit our resources and technologies to help our partners meet their aspirations. Recently, we partnered with Saudi Aramco to install Saudi Arabia’s first wind turbine at the Turaif Bulk Plant; its success has tremendous positive impact in re-imagining the wind energy landscape of the kingdom.

As I am also leading GE’s upstream business in Menat, I can say the future of the region is looking great. With the combination of GE’s Oil and Gas business and Baker Hughes we’ll be creating a world leading oilfield technology provider with a new company to provide best-in-class physical and digital technology solutions for customer productivity. There is also the big opportunity that digital industrial solutions bring, which I am confident, will be a major trend for 2017.

Look at our track record in 2016: We have invested in expanding our manufacturing base, we are investing in localised innovation, we are nurturing local talent, and we are moving to new areas that are aligned with the vision of the government. I can say with total confidence that 2017 holds several promising opportunities – for GE and our partners – especially by drawing on the power of the industrial internet.




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