(MENAFN - Arab News) Saudi Aramco President and CEO Khalid A. Al-Falih , an alumnus of KFUPM, delivered a keynote address at a recent seminar attended by a number of prominent dignitaries, economists and decision-makers from around the world. The seminar included educational, economic and industrial papers, as well as two panel discussions about past achievements, present facts and future aspirations.
Al-Falih also praised King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals (KFUPM) for its longtime support of the Kingdom's energy industry. He was also present for the announcement of a new interdisciplinary petroleum sciences college planned for the university.
During his address, Al-Falih focused on the successful partnership between the academic and industrial sectors, as manifested in KFUPM and Saudi Aramco.
"Today, and on the world scale, there is no similar model between a huge industrial institution and a prominent academic institution as the one that exists between KFUPM and Saudi Aramco," Al-Falih said.
He noted that KFUPM, since its establishment 50 years ago, has become "an ideal partner that has kept pace" with Saudi Aramco's sometimes hard but generally successful development endeavors to become the world's largest oil company.
"The company has benefited from the university and its academic excellence, while KFUPM benefited from the company's excellence and pioneering role in the oil industry," Al-Falih said.
KFUPM was a primary source for supporting the company's successful Saudization program in the 1970s and 1980s. "More than half of the company's 5,000-plus engineers are KFUPM graduates, and more than 50 percent of its current leaders are also KFUPM graduates," said Al-Falih.
As part of the event, the launch of a new joint project by Saudi Aramco and KFUPM was announced. A college of innovation for petroleum engineering and petroleum geosciences will be built.
The college is planned to be one of the world's best five leading colleges in its field and will have a distinguished curriculum in teaching upstream science that integrates several micro-disciplines normally studied at separate schools. The project is expected to be completed by 2015.
A tripartite memorandum of understanding was concluded between KFUPM, represented by Rector Dr. Khaled Al-Sultan, Saudi Aramco, represented by Al-Falih, and the Korean Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST), represented by Dr. Nam Su.
The university is currently celebrating its golden jubilee. It was founded in 1963, and according to the Gregorian calendar, the 50th anniversary celebrations should be in 2013 but according to the Islamic calendar, the 50th anniversary is this year. The celebrations will last for 18 months.
The university's faculty is drawn from the best and brightest of many nations, and its thousands of graduates have achieved positions of trust in all sectors of the Kingdom's increasingly diverse and vibrant economy. Getting into the university is very tough, and it is said that for every 20 students who apply, only one is chosen.
By SIRAJ WAHAB