Saudi Aramco's Al-Saif Retires After Stellar Career

Senior vice president Abd Allah Saif Al-Saif retired Jan. 1 after almost a half century with Saudi Aramco.

"It is, indeed, hard to segregate his personality as an individual from his personality as an executive," said president and CEO Abdallah S. Jum'ah at a retirement celebration at Ghawar Hall. "The links that tie him to the company are integral parts of his life. I cannot even conceive him being away from Saudi Aramco."

When asked what he thought about retiring, Al-Saif said retirement is an extension of giving, but with a difference: A retiree moves from a structured work schedule to a more flexible one in which he chooses his own program and pace.

Al-Saif bid farewell to Saudi Aramco in a speech that chronicled the most prominent events of his years, which, he said, "passed so fast as a result of job fulfillment and enjoyment." He said he would continue to support professional societies, especially in earth sciences and petroleum engineering, while passing his expertise on to the next generation of professionals.

With Al-Saif's retirement, Al-Naimi said, one page in the company's history, that of the pioneers and founders, is turned. "They faced the struggles and challenges of a company in its metamorphosis stage."

Of Al-Saif, he said, "If he proposed a fresh idea, he would follow up and stand for it until he was convinced that a better idea was being proposed. I wish him a happy life, longevity and success in his endeavors."

Al-Saif has seen a lot of changes in his career. In the early days, exploration was done with primitive tools, he said. The focus then was only on large reservoirs. In recent years, exploration has looked at smaller and more difficult reservoirs at greater depths. The challenges have become more difficult and have forced the industry to search for more sophisticated techniques, such as seismic surveys and drilling techniques. Those advances have played a major role in recent oil and gas discoveries, he said.

In 1998, Al-Saif was elected to the company's Board of Directors. He also served on many management committees. He completed a number of executive management programs and participated in a large number of international energy conferences. He also is a member of the Society of Petroleum Engineers.

Al-Saif said his career has been filled with great achievements and challenges. He started his employment in Abqaiq when the company was owned by international oil companies and managed by expatriates. It produced about 2 million bpd of oil and flared most of its associated gas.

He retires from a company that is 100 percent owned by the government of Saudi Arabia, with production capacity of more than 10 million bpd of oil, and 9 billion scfd of gas. It is managed by a highly qualified and skilled national work force.

Abd Allah S. Al-Saif said he is proud to have played, along with others, a significant and influential role in these momentous changes.