Your Excellency, Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen, good morning.
It is a pleasure to join you as part of the International Women’s Day celebrations happening around the world this week.
I am pleased to see so many of our key partners represented today. Collectively, I am confident we can make a difference when it comes to diversity.
As the CEO of Saudi Aramco, I want to take a moment to acknowledge the many talented and capable women from Aramco who are here. Thank you for everything that you do for our Company. Each and every day you bring a solid work ethic and valuable skills to your respective jobs and Saudi Aramco is better because of you.
Also, as the father of two daughters who are relatively new to the workforce, I need to thank all the women here today. Thank you for the inspiration you provide to young women in the Kingdom.
Now, as we celebrate International Women’s Day, I know there are people here who are less than satisfied with the pace of progress for women in the workplace.
I can understand why.
I am not satisfied either.
The energy sector as a whole is in need of a better gender balance.
The recent 2019 Global Energy Talent Index Report goes so far as to declare that there is a “chronic shortage” of women in our industry.
Personally, I am also not satisfied with the current percentage of females in Saudi Aramco.
The Company is considered a pioneer for women in the workplace in the Kingdom, but we still need to make more progress.
That said, I am optimistic that there is a bright future ahead for females in the oil and gas industry in general and at Saudi Aramco in particular.
I am optimistic because what was once largely seen as being impossible, is proving to be possible.
At Aramco, we now have female petroleum engineers working out in the field and in plants, providing solutions to complicated production challenges.
We have female scientists in our R&D centers conducting potentially future-transforming research on everything from storing CO2 in cement to directly converting crude oil to chemicals in just one single step.
We have female inventors coming up with revolutionary new processes and products. And at last count, women working at Saudi Aramco have filed more than 180 patents in recent years.
We have female traders selling our oil and refined petroleum products to customers around the world.
We even have internationally certified female firefighters – the first in the Kingdom – women who, in addition to being engineers, have completed the rigorous training necessary to qualify as professional firefighters.