In a recent interview with the U.S.-Saudi Business Council (USSBC), Nouf Alturki, Vice President of Corporate Affairs at Rawabi Holding, a leading Saudi oil & gas company and a Platinum-level member of the Council, discussed the company’s strong commitment to localization and developing local talent in Saudi Arabia. During the interview, Ms. Alturki emphasized the positive impact of Rawabi’s initiatives on the Saudi workforce and discussed the company’s interest in collaborating with international partners to contribute to economic growth and diversification efforts. Ms. Alturki further highlighted Rawabi’s deep involvement in renewable energy, waste management services, and its focus on enhancing industrial process efficiency and safety.
Rawabi Holding has been a strong advocate of localization and developing local talent in Saudi Arabia. Can you talk more about the company’s localization initiatives and the impact they have had on the Saudi workforce? How can U.S. companies looking to do business in Saudi Arabia contribute to these efforts and help build local capacity and skills?
Localization has always been a central part of Rawabi Holding’s strategy. We are a Saudi company that supports local content at various levels through people development, knowledge and technology transfer, building manufacturing facilities, and investing in research and development to advance and diversify the local economy.
Developing people is at the core of what we do best as we are powered by our people. This year we celebrated the tenth year of our internship program. As one of our most rewarding and impactful programs, it is one of multiple Youth Empowerment programs that we launched to help young Saudis make more informed choices about their future education and work choices in order to play a more active role in building their future and the future of our country. Rawabi Holding offers 2-month summer internships to college students and fresh graduates, guided by volunteer mentors within the company with a set work-plan and objectives to be met towards the end of the internship, while our Co-op Program is tailored for college students to fulfill their graduation requirements of 3 to 8 months. Since 2011, the company has offered internships to a total of 558 interns: 152 men and 406 women. We are proud that the most qualified interns usually join our workplace post-graduation.
Rawabi Holding also offers Pre-Employment Training Programs conducted in collaboration with vocational training academies where employees, upon hiring, are enrolled in diploma programs to equip them with the technical skills required for the job. We have partnerships with distinguished National Training Centers (NTCS) such as the Saudi Arabian Drilling Academy (SADA), National Maritime Academy (NMA), and Leading National Academy (LNA), which is the first sponsored Saudi female training center in the Kingdom, training women in technical and vocational industries. Our partnership with NTCs goes beyond sponsorship of students. Through contribution agreements and board memberships, we have the chance to actively participate in providing technical feedback on the programs offered to our future employees and contribute to the wider industry pool of local talents. Such partnerships enable us to equip our future national workforce with the required skills and competencies to lead our industry.
To us at Rawabi Holding, localization is not just a national obligation but an essential part of our long-term business strategy. It facilitates continuous growth and offers us agility, security, and resilience and gives us a competitive advantage.
Is Rawabi Holding currently exploring opportunities for collaboration with U.S. companies, and if so, what specific areas or industries is the company interested in collaborating on, and what benefits does Rawabi Holding see in such collaborations?
Part of Rawabi Holding’s business strategy is to grow and expand globally, while maintaining the Saudi flag. We explore opportunities for collaboration with selective companies from around the globe. Our three main lines of business are energy, contracting, and industrial services. However, we also seek expansion and diversification in alignment with Saudi Arabia’s economic diversification strategy. We recently entered the real estate sector through Magnom Properties, which is building an innovative and environmentally responsive tower named the Forbes International Tower in the New Administrative Capital in Cairo, Egypt. This is the first commercial tower to carry the Forbes name.
We are interested in introducing new technologies and know-how into the Kingdom. We are also interested in investing in green energy in line with the Saudi Vision 2030’s sustainability program and Saudi Green Initiative.
Rawabi Holding is very selective when it comes to collaborating with companies. We seek partnerships with those who align with our vision and share our core values. We create joint ventures where partners support localization and the transfer of technology and know-how. Our focus is to work with those who will add value and are keen on positively contributing to the economic growth and development of Saudi Arabia.
Rawabi Holding established a subsidiary, Rawabi Integrated Gas, to focus on the development of natural gas projects in Saudi Arabia. Can you talk more about this venture and the opportunities it presents for Rawabi Holding?
Rawabi Integrated Gas (RIG) was created to serve the demanding industrial sector of Saudi Arabia and operates a business model designed to provide its customers with a complete product portfolio that will enhance their efficiency, reduce operational costs, and generate savings, alongside topnotch service, safety, and quality.
RIG offers world-class refrigerants, ammonia, and specialty gases. We provide our services through trading and manufacturing. In trading, we offer an extensive range of welding solutions from leading manufacturers. We proudly represent Honeywell for refrigerants, providing a complete line of refrigeration accessories along with copper tubes.
On the manufacturing front, RIG operates a fully integrated facility for industrial gases, including specialty gases, helium, and both anhydrous and aqueous forms of ammonia. We are expanding our capabilities to include hydrogen production and a specialized facility for medical gases – these facilities are spread across two locations in Jubail with a total area of around 40,000 m2.
By leveraging the latest technologies, automation, and advanced QC/QA processes, RIG can drive technological advancement within the industry. This leads to increased efficiency, productivity, and innovation, setting new standards for the sector. Then there is knowledge transfer – RIG’s joint ventures with international companies to establish manufacturing facilities enable the transfer of valuable knowledge, expertise, and advanced technologies to the Kingdom. This contributes to the development of local capabilities and the growth of the industrial sector.
What is Rawabi Holding’s current stance and plans towards investing in the renewable energy sector, and how does the company envision contributing to the growth and adoption of renewable energy in Saudi Arabia and beyond?
Saudi Arabia announced its goal of net-zero emissions by 2050 and by 2030 it plans to generate 50 percent of its electricity from renewables and the other half from gas. It has announced investing in renewable energy projects and indigenizing the renewable energy market with the highest international standards as part of Saudi Arabia’s National Renewable Energy Program (NREP). So most certainly, renewable energies are at the top of Rawabi Holding’s list. We are in discussions with different companies to build partnerships to serve the renewables sector. In addition to hydrogen, we are also assessing floating wind farms.
Can you talk about the products and services Rawabi is exploring for waste management/treatment and how that fits into Rawabi’s sustainability strategy?
Our fully owned subsidiary, RISAL, established in 1976, operates industrial business lines including Environmental and Waste Management Services, Steam Services, Chemical Cleaning Services, and Inspection Services. RISAL provides services for all solid and liquid waste requirements, including hazardous waste.
Our experienced team offers full waste management services including sourcing of disposal routes, recycling opportunities, waste segregation and advice, and management of the legal documentation required for waste handling.
RISAL offers consultancy services on waste minimization and segregation and full management of site waste transfer stations to ensure the most environmentally sound practice runs alongside efficient and cost-effective operations.
Such services align with our Sustainability Strategy which outlines how we will advance our efforts to positively impact our stakeholders. Our sustainability strategy recognizes the importance of understanding our impacts and actively working to maximize these positively for the benefit of our stakeholders.
In what ways is Rawabi Holding involved in developing and implementing measures to enhance the efficiency and safety of industrial processes?
As a company that is powered by people, we place the health and safety of our people above all. In fact, we acknowledge that our industries can present many safety challenges, which not only drove us to adopt stringent health and safety policies, but we took this a step further and we have invested in Canada-based United Safety (USL), the global provider of industrial safety products, safety consulting, and safety training servicing both the Upstream and Downstream sectors of the Oil & Gas industry, to ensure that the industry overall has access to the most innovative safety services. We have specialized experts that fully understand the risks associated with work. We take a very comprehensive view of safety where we train our employees on everything from road safety to mental health, as well as safety technology that we use ourselves, we deploy to our clients, and we train others on how to use to ensure the reach of this knowledge for the benefit of as many as possible.
We manage and measure our health and safety records diligently. Our group HSE policy requires that each company in our group implement a strict policy managing all risks according to international guidelines that apply to their operations. We are members of IOSH, the British Safety Council, and the International Association of Drilling Contractors, a Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents Silver Award holder, and hold ISO certifications 90001:2015; 1400:2015; 45001:2018.