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GE upbeat on Saudi energy manufacturing sector

Saudi Arabia’s energy-sector manufacturing – industrial activities that are principally related to the energy value-chain – are set for robust growth in the coming decade, not only adding to the Kingdom’s exports but also promoting job creation among highly-skilled Saudis and strengthening the Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) sector, reports the findings of the first-of-its-kind study on the Saudi industrial and energy manufacturing landscape by GE.

Unveiled at the Future Investment Initiative, the white paper titled ‘Building Saudi Arabia’s Energy Manufacturing Ecosystem: A GE Roadmap’ offers comprehensive insights on the energy-manufacturing landscape, primarily through the views and perceptions of Saudi engineering and manufacturing professionals (most of them Science, Technology, Engineering or Math (STEM)-qualified) and students.

Launching the white paper, Hisham Albahkali, President & CEO of GE – Saudi Arabia and Bahrain, said: “The findings of our first independently commissioned survey offers new insights on the value that energy-sector manufacturing can bring to the Kingdom. With over 80 years of presence in the Kingdom, and our committed investments in building localized manufacturing, we see the sector as a powerful platform to support achieving the wider goals of the Kingdom under Saudi Vision 2030, such as, transferring vital skills and technologies, creating high-value jobs for Saudis, building human capital, supporting a culture of tech entrepreneurship, promoting R&D and innovation, supporting SMEs and increasing exports. This is reiterated by the survey’s participants – the young tech leaders of tomorrow.”

The key findings of the survey are:

 Saudi STEM professionals and students view manufacturing as a key industry that is set to grow over the next decade

Manufacturing, in fact, is seen just as important as technology, healthcare and power, while oil and gas, and natural resources continue to be deemed as important sectors. Saudi STEM professionals and students regard manufacturing as one of the top three, alongside technology and tourism. GE is contributing to this with its localized energy-manufacturing ecosystem, represented by the GEMTEC (GE Manufacturing & Technology Center) campus in Dammam.

Energy manufacturing is seen as an industry of the future and a shared responsibility between the government and private sector

Over 74% observed that energy sector manufacturing should be an economic priority for the Kingdom. This aligns with NIDLP’s aims to transform the Kingdom into a leading industrial and logistics powerhouse. GE’s commitment in this regard is exemplified by GESAT (GE Saudi Advanced Turbines), a joint venture with Dussur at the GEMTEC campus, which has the capability to locally manufacture GE’s H-class turbines, the world’s most-efficient.

Saudi STEM professionals and students see major economic benefits to a stronger energy manufacturing sector

Saudi professionals and students see energy manufacturing to have a positive impact on Saudization, with 59% of all respondents citing that jobs created in the energy-sector manufacturing would go primarily to Saudi nationals. Across its manufacturing facilities in the Kingdom, GE has focused on finding and training the best Saudi professionals.

 Talent gap is a major obstacle to a stronger Saudi energy manufacturing sector

Among the most significant challenges preventing more energy manufacturing components being produced domestically in Saudi Arabia, the most commonly cited was the lack of highly skilled workers. GE is helping address talent shortage through its academia linkages, localized training and investment in students to prepare them for energy-manufacturing jobs, such as through GE Garages as well as a number of international GE Leadership Programs run in the Kingdom.

 Three in four professionals and students express interest in energy manufacturing

Jobs in energy manufacturing are associated with making a positive impact on the economy with the sector perceived as creating opportunities for high-skilled professionals. The catalytic effect on the economy is evidenced in GEMTEC campus recording annual exports of around US$100 million, and the multiplier effect it has on local industry.

 SMEs are seen as key to growing the energy manufacturing industry in the Kingdom

Saudi professionals and students are optimistic of the energy manufacturing serving as a catalyst for growth. Today, the GEMTEC campus supports more than 150 Saudi suppliers, including SMEs, which play a key role in building a Saudi-based technology-related supply chain.

 Entrepreneurship spirit is high among Saudi talents, especially the younger generation

Half the respondents said they are considering starting a small business in Saudi Arabia, deriving inspiration from the Saudi Vision 2030. Ever since the first turbomachinery was delivered to help power Saudi Arabia’s early oil explorations, GE has been unwavering in its focus on promoting a culture of localized manufacturing and entrepreneurship driven by local Saudi talent.

The GEMTEC campus in 2nd Industrial City, Dammam is a world-class facility that serves as a manufacturing, repair and overhaul center for gas turbines in the Kingdom. GESAT, an integral part of the campus, is an advanced facility with the capability to locally manufacture high-end gas turbines. GEMTEC also has the Hot & Harsh Research & Development lab that locally solve challenges for the power and energy sector.

GE’s commitment to localization is further underpinned by the GE Grid Solutions Khobar Integration Facility (KIF), which serves international customers and works with local suppliers. The center assembles critical high-technology components for substations, enabling remote monitoring to add to operational efficiency.


Also published on Medium.