Saudi Aramco: The World’s Most Valuable Company Upgrades its SAP R/3 System
SBR 1 Saudi Aramco: the world’s most valuable company upgrades its SAP R/3 system 1 Founded
in 1933, Aramco is Saudi Arabia’s national oil company, headquartered in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia.
Aramco is managing the world’s largest reserve of crude oil; a humongous amount of 260 billion
barrels, the world’s 4th largest gas reserves with 279 trillion cubic feet. It is the world leader of oil
exploration, production, refining, distribution, shipping and marketing. Aramco is the world’s
largest oil company by production and reserves. The company manages over 112 oil and gas fields
in Saudi Arabia. It is the world’s top exporter of natural gas liquids (NGL) with over 316 million
barrels in 2010. Aramco is owned by the government of Saudi Arabia. In 2005, Aramco was
estimated to be worth $781 billion in 2005 which makes it the world's most valuable company.
Aramco manages a lot of operational activities that are connected to numerous business processes.
Therefore, it would have been very hard for Aramco to go without an integrated system that is able
to understand the oil and gas industry as well as Aramco’s complicated operations. Furthermore,
other operational activities need to be integrated and monitored e.g., healthcare, fleet of aircraft,
telecommunications, real estate, etc. Saudi Aramco depends on an enterprise resource planning
(ERP) system from SAP. To get benefit from the latest releases from SAP, Saudi Aramco decided
to upgrade their R/3 system to benefit from the functional enhancements which have the potentials
to render competitive advantage. However, a decision was made to start with the upgrade of the
hydrocarbon business and then other units and department will follow. The upgrade project faced
many challenges, but mainly the need to manage a 24x7 global business in different operational
areas and the need to ensure operational excellence. Further, the aim was to upgrade without
disrupting day-to-day business activities and to demonstrate the value of upgrade to the other
divisions. The SAP ERP upgrade project had to be accompanied with two other services from
SAP: SAP Safeguarding for Upgrade and SAP Active Global Support. IT aimed at a minimized
downtime in order to comply with the stringent business requirements, and that is why the project
relied on SAP Safeguarding for Upgrade portfolio of services, which was provided by the SAP
Active Global Support organization. As a result, SAP managed to finish the project, one month
ahead of time. “SAP Active Global Support worked closely with us throughout the project, SBR
#1 helping us define requirements, draw up plans, and optimize the environment to ensure rapid
implementation”, said Adel Aldoulab, SAP Hydrocarbons Management Division Head at Aramco.