One of the key enablers of IIoT is its range and diversity of applications across many industries. So when, for example, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, as part of its Saudi Vision 2030 economic diversification plan, wants to move beyond oil & gas and into areas, such as power, healthcare, and mining, IIoT and digital transformation took center stage. This came to fruition when US President Donald Trump and Saudi Arabia’s King Salman recently signed a $110 billion deal primarily for defense equipment and services, which was actually part of a series of wider trade deals expected to be approximately $380 billion. These trade deals included agreements and partnerships with GE worth about $15 billion, including almost $7 billion of GE technology and solutions for industrial project development and capacity building across multiple sectors, with IIoT and Predix being the common denominator that enabled GE to procure agreements across a wide range of industries. GE is not new to Saudi Arabia, and has been doing business there for over 80 years.
Some of the components that are part the GE agreements include partnering with the Saudi Ministry of Energy, Industry and Mineral Resources [MEIM], Saudi Aramco, Dussur [formerly the Saudi Arabian Industrial Investments Company], and Ma’aden to grow power generation capabilities; provide an increase to the global industrial supply chain; and deploy productivity and efficiency savings through digital solutions in both the oil & gas and mining sectors. Projects include, for example, an additional generation of up to 12 GW of power. GE will also work within Saudi Vision 2030 to create a STEM educational curriculum for high schools and universities to develop Saudi Digital Industrial personnel to meet future demand for software developers and data scientists.
Within the oil & gas sector, Aramco and GE have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to undertake a digital transformation of Aramco’s operations with the goal of generating $4 billion in annual productivity improvements. To enable the transformation, GE will provide a private Predix IIoT cloud, GE’s APM and industry-specific applications, and staff a Digital Transformation Office (DTO) with local engineers and technical expertise. The DTO is expected to generate 250 jobs and stimulate local economic demand for an additional 500 digital-oriented jobs.
Saudi Aramco and GE have also partnered to implement a local supply chain. Known as the IKTVA Program, or the “In Kingdom Total Value Add,” the program aims to support Saudi Aramco’s 2021 Objectives of reaching 70 percent of it’s spend from within the Kingdom. Among the initiatives that supported these goals of IKTVA include the opening of the second phase of the GE Manufacturing and Technology Center (GEMTEC) in Dammam and the GE Oil & Gas Wellhead Manufacturing Center in Dammam. The first phase of GEMTEC opened in 2012, and is a major heavy-duty gas turbine repair facility. The agreement will also examine the feasibility of new business development covering upstream, midstream and downstream oil & gas businesses, including development of Oilfield Services and Equipment (OFSE) manufacturing hubs.
The mining sector in Saudi Arabia is led by the Saudi Arabian Mining Company, Ma’aden. GE’s partnership with Ma’aden will see the application of GE’s Digital Solutions to support the business in adapting to decreasing ore grades; reducing energy and fuel costs; improving equipment reliability and availability; reducing maintenance costs and increasing overall productivity and efficiency.
For healthcare, there are five different partnerships with GE where the company is providing expertise, equipment and digital solutions to ramp-up national healthcare competencies. These partnerships including the King Faisal Specialist Hospital [KFSH], Dr. Suliman Habib Medical Group (HMG), the Saudi Telecom Company [STC], King Fahad Medical City [KFMC] and the Saudi Industrial Clusters Development Program [NICDP]. For example, KFSH and GE are establishing a long-term technology management partnership to create a digital hospital, making use of GE’s analytics, information technology systems and infrastructure. GE and HMG are collaborating to develop a Hospital Information Solution through GE’s Predix, with the goal to deploy it in Saudi Arabia and across the region. The agreement between STC and GE will introduce digital solutions through an Electronic Medical Records Predix Solution and a Centralized Appointment System [CAS], which together will serve to transform the centers into digital hospitals. These solutions will involve primary care facilities and hospitals across the region. The partnership between KFMC and GE Healthcare focuses on the radiology privatization proof-of-concept for medical imaging. This cooperation agreement between NICDP and GE will foster collaboration in the development of biopharmaceutical capabilities, with a focus on vaccine research and the development of local capabilities, eventually leading to the initiation of a bio-science park.
In conclusion, ARC feels that the common denominator that enabled GE to provide digital transformation solutions across the oil & gas, power, healthcare, and mining sectors was IIoT and its Predix platform, which provides the digital thread and analytics that enables the business intelligence needed to help the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to diversify and digitize its economy.