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Summary: Penn State and the Global Oil and Gas Industry

Penn State’s Center for Global Business Studies hosted its conference, titled “Penn State and the Global Oil and Gas Industry,” on April 29th, 2016. Dr. Charles Whiteman, Dean of the Smeal College of Business, opened the event by introducing keynote speaker Mr. Basil Abul-Hamayel, President and CEO of Aramco Services Company, the U.S. subsidiary of Saudi Aramco.

Abul-Hamayel spoke about Aramco’s commitment to “generational thinking” as the company charts a path for its future; that path includes strengthening Aramco’s downstream businesses, prioritizing Aramco’s research and development, and promoting technology expansion via Aramco’s capital venture group.

Following President Abul-Hamayel’s remarks, Dr. Fariborz Ghadar, Founding Director of Penn State’s Center for Global Business Studies (CGBS), discussed long-term trends in the global oil and gas industry. Ghadar highlighted the continued relevance of oil and gas while emphasizing the need for industry, government, and society to collaborate towards improved efficiency and a more sustainable future.

Dr. Chunshan Song, Director of Penn State’s EMS Energy Institute, then provided a comprehensive overview of the university’s oil- and gas-related research and development. Song underscored the link between energy and the environment in Penn State’s approach and touched upon a wide variety of R&D areas, strategic themes, and strategic priorities, as well as a number of alliances between the university, industry, and government agencies.

Finally, Dr. Monty Alger, Director of Penn State’s Institute for Natural Gas Research (INGaR), described INGaR’s goals toward connecting university research to industry implementation and vice versa. Alger underlined INGaR’s mission to build a structure using data and facts “to get people together and get them talking” within the energy sector.

The overarching themes of the “Penn State and the Global Oil and Gas Industry” conference included (1) the continued and even increasing importance of oil and gas to the energy sector, (2) the need for forward-looking policies to address sustainability and efficiency concerns, and (3) the imperative that academia and industry collaborate to promote innovation and best-in-class technologies.

 CGBS thanks both the participants and the attendees of the conference for making the event a success.


Short biographies of the speakers can be found below:

Basil Abul-Hamayel
President, Aramco Services  Company                                                                                                                                                           

Basil Abul-Hamayel is President of Aramco Services Company, the U.S.- based subsidiary of Saudi Aramco. Abul-Hamayel also serves on the board of Aramco Services and several of its subsidiaries:  Saudi Refining Inc., Saudi Petroleum International, Inc. and Saudi Aramco Energy Ventures – U.S. LLC.  Prior to his current position, he served as Saudi Aramco’s Executive Head of Treasury in charge of Finance, Strategy and Development.  Abul-Hamayel holds a master’s degree in business administration from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Sloan School of Management, and a bachelor’s degree in economics from The University of Texas at Austin. 

Dr. Charles H. Whiteman

Dean, Smeal College of Business

Charles H. Whiteman is The John and Becky Surma Dean of the Penn State Smeal College of Business. Whiteman assumed the leadership position at Smeal in July 2012. Prior to joining Penn State, he was senior associate dean of the Tippie College of Business at the University of Iowa.
Whiteman holds a Ph.D. in economics from the University of Minnesota and a B.A. in economics from the University of Kansas. He has advised the state of Iowa’s Department of Management on economic issues and served as a visiting scholar at the Federal Reserve Banks of Kansas City, Atlanta, Cleveland, and Minneapolis.

Dr. Fariborz Ghadar

Founding Director, Center for Global Business Studies, Penn State University

Dr. Fariborz Ghadar, is the William A. Schreyer Professor of Global Management Policies at the Smeal College of Business and founding director of The Center for Global Business Studies. He is also a senior advisor and member of the advisory board of CSIS, Center for Strategic and International Studies. Dr. Ghadar is a leading authority on future business trends, global economic assessment, global corporate strategy and implementation, immigration, leadership development, e-business, and international finance.

Click here to view Dr. Ghadar's presentation.

Dr. Chunshan Song

Director, Energy Institute, Department of Energy and Mineral Engineering, Penn State University

Dr. Chunshan Song is the Director of the EMS Energy Institute, a Distinguished Professor of Fuel Science, and a Professor of Chemical Engineering at The Pennsylvania State University. He specializes in clean fuels and catalysis research focusing on catalytic conversion and utilization of energy resources, including coal, petroleum, natural gas, biomass and carbon dioxide as a carbon source. He has served as a consultant for Saudi Aramco, BP and ExxonMobil.

Dr. Monty Alger

Director, Institute for Natural Gas Research, Penn State University

Monty Alger, is the inaugural director of the Institute for Natural Gas Research (INGaR) at Penn State. Before entering academia, he served as the Senior Vice President of Research and Development (R&D) at Myriant Corp and the Vice President and Chief Technology Officer with Air Products and Chemicals Inc. There, he was responsible for R&D and championed development for the gases and specialty materials businesses.

Click here to view Dr. Alger's presentation.