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Communication and Security Business to Support Saudi's Vision for the Future

May 2011

Taking on a communication and security systems package for an international academic city

On the Red Sea in the western part of Saudi Arabia, about 80 kilometers north of the country's second largest city, Jeddah, there is an international academic city with a vast area of 36 million square meters centering on the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST).

KAUST is a graduate-level university that opened in September 2009, realizing a vision of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The school attracts outstanding students, researchers and professors in science and engineering from around the world to conduct the world's top level education and research activities. The results are put into practical use through industry-academia cooperation, and ultimately contribute to the development of the world. KAUST boasts not only the state-of-the-art education and research facilities, but also sites for facilities of invited corporations.

Sumitomo Corporation undertook implementation of communication and security systems for the academic city on a full turn-key basis, from design to procurement and construction.

Participants in the site visit in February 2009 study the model of the huge KAUST campus.

Highly valued ability to accomplish tasks with a positive attitude

Sumitomo Corporation was contracted with Saudi Arabia's national oil company, Saudi Aramco, to develop systems for the KAUST project. As the world's largest oil company, Saudi Aramco had developed many large-scale oil and gas plants in Saudi Arabia. In recognition of the fact that they had accomplished construction for these projects on schedule and acquired abundant expertise, the company was entrusted with the construction of the King's long-cherished dream, the world's leading science and technology university, as their first non oil/gas project.

Sumitomo Corporation began providing communication and security system to Saudi Aramco around 2000. We had acquired advanced technology and know-how in this area through work on security, particularly for oil and gas plants with strict requirements, including antiterrorism measures. In September 2005, we were contracted with Saudi Aramco to provide communication equipment for the Khursaniyah oil field on a full turn-key basis. As they highly valued our ability to accomplish tasks and our positive attitude toward the Saudi Arabian market, they requested us to participate in a bid for the KAUST project in July 2009, and we won the bid and signed a contract in December of that year.

Sumitomo Corporation was commissioned to carry out the processes from design through construction of communication systems in the academic city (including data communication network, IP phone network, wireless LAN, videoconferencing system, IP TV system, and external cables), security facilities (including intruder monitoring and entry/exit management), communication building, security headquarters building, and the 15-kilometer security fence surrounding the city. The project was one of the largest communication projects we have been involved in, in terms of both the scale and dollar value.

We constructed the communication building, which controls all communication facilities on campus.

High project management capability provides a key to success

Our biggest challenge in the KAUST project was that we had to carry out the implementation of all systems and the construction of all facilities simultaneously in only two and half years. For example, in wiring communication cables inside walls and under floors, we had to cooperate with building constructors to adjust schedules, and, based on the adjusted schedules, procure materials for related works. Failure to do so would have resulted in the suspension of all works, seriously affecting the overall construction schedule and budget.

Therefore, we needed to have solid overall project management ability—while managing about 10 local sub-contractors, including design firms, constructors and equipment manufacturers, we had to cooperate and negotiate with Saudi Aramco and other companies, checking and adjusting the respective companies' work and appropriately carrying out our tasks, including procurement, on schedule and within budget, in light of the overall processes and progress at the respective sites.

To achieve this mission, the Telecommunication Project Department put together the technologies and expertise acquired through various projects in the past and prepared for all possible risks. Furthermore, it took advantage of Sumitomo's integrated corporate strength, cooperating with other departments related to assessment, legal affairs, insurance, and material procurement, to analyze the risks and identify how best to respond.

As a result, Sumitomo Corporation successfully accomplished the KAUST project, proving our high-level total project management ability, including risk management. We also demonstrated our high safety management technology as we achieved the record of no accidents for 2 million consecutive work manhours.

As we installed optical communication fibers, plumbing for electricity and water supply was ongoing around our site.

Launching a total business focusing on communication, in the Middle East and beyond

In light of our record for consecutive hours of operation without accident, Saudi Aramco, which prioritizes safety management, recognized Sumitomo Corporation as top class among communication/security service providers. That recognition has helped us to receive orders for large projects from Saudi Aramco: a communication system project for Saudi Arabia's largest project to increase oil production in Manifa heavy oil field development; a communication system project for Jubail Refinery constructed by Saudi Aramco and major French oil company, Total, as one of the world's largest export oil refinery plants; and a wireless communication system project to cover Saudi Aramco's plant areas in the eastern part of the country.

For the KAUST project, we made a substantial contribution to revitalizing the local economy and increasing employment as we used local companies only, including subcontractors and suppliers. As Saudi Arabian companies have witnessed our performance, they have developed increasing trust in Sumitomo Corporation and are now offering us cooperative project proposals, which implies great possibilities for continued business expansion and development. Based on these achievements, we plan to launch our communication/security business extensively, not only in the Middle East and Africa regions but also in other parts of the world, contributing to the development of local communities as we expand our business.

Saudi-Arabian staff involved in the construction commemorating the completion of current test for on-campus power system

Related Tag

  • Environment & Infrastructure Business Unit
  • Saudi Arabia
  • Machinery

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