Geoscience Train

Human capital development

Charging into the future of exploration at Saudi Aramco.

Saudi Aramco's preeminent position in Upstream has always been a hallmark of our company.

Our progress over the decades is a result of facing challenges head-on with determination, persistence, and innovative thinking. And it has been made possible through our unique training programs, which help equip and train our professionals for the considerable tasks ahead.

We have always been strongly committed to educating, qualifying, and training our employees. In our early days of oil exploration operations, Jabal School — the company’s first school — was established, and it is from this seed that our major training and development programs have continued to grow.

The Geoscience Train

Chapter 1

Our Exploration organization represents the company's backbone for discovering, recovering, refining, and marketing oil. It places great importance on education and training, to ensure these operations continue performing effectively.

The organization had been facing a loss of key skills and knowledge when valued team members reached retirement. This was compounded by the fact the area hires the largest number of young graduates direct from our various education programs. They needed a way to ensure that these precious skills were preserved and ensure a smooth transition, helping to guarantee the success of new employees.

Question: how can the development of these young employees be expedited, giving them an opportunity to work directly under supervision and training, ensuring the quality of their output?

Answer: provide new employees a training program that facilitates on-the-job learning and allows for expertise and knowledge transfer from older generations: the “Geoscience Train” program.

The program focuses on building the participant’s strengths in geology and geophysics through a mix of educational courses and field applications. It selects mentors from different specialties and backgrounds to align ideas with expertise and close the scientific gap between the new and seasoned employees.

Participants in Geoscience Train's Batch 10 on a geological trip to Hail make their way down a hillside as part of their field studies. 

Four phases

Chapter 2

The Geoscience Train route was divided into four phases through which new employees undergo their extensive training:

Each phase of Geo Train includes intensive study to meet the new graduates' needs in geology, geophysics and other related fields.

Phase one
focuses on geophysical methods and includes a mix of training courses, presented by world-class experts, and practical applications to reinforce the basic concepts and principles of geophysics
Phase two
focuses on petroleum systems, including petroleum geological principles and tools, as well as major oil and gas exploration technologies
Phase three
includes applying tools and techniques to fully understand the process and operations of oil and gas reservoir exploration, and identifying causes of success and potential risks in the exploration process
Phase four
focuses on building 3-D models for oil and gas fields and reservoirs, and evaluating oil and gas reserves by using well logs and geophysical and petrophysical information

After completing the Geoscience Train program, the best fit within Exploration for the candidate is decided based on three factors: identifying the needs of work; mentors’ evaluation of the graduates’ skills; and candidate preference.

The Geoscience Train program was launched in November 2013. So far, eight batches, consisting of 156 employees, have graduated since the program was launched. There are plans to extend the program in the coming years.

The graduates

Chapter 3

The graduates’ are the markers of the success of Geoscience Train. Their comments and remarks on the program bear witness to the achievement of the program's objectives:

Majid Al-Ghamdi

“The program has allowed me and my colleagues to accumulate a wealth of information about the Exploration organization, its departments, divisions, and units. It helped us to understand and apply professional communication techniques to all employees inside and outside the organization. The Geoscience Train program actually enlightened and transferred me from the knowledge level to the work level.”

Majid Al-Ghamdi


“I didn’t know anything about seismic tests, techniques, equipment, or the machines that are deployed within Saudi Aramco. Choosing geophysics as a major seemed exciting and very gainful. Every day brought new challenges that helped me define my future career where the potential options were even broader than I ever imagined.”

Jana Alabdullatif

Hassan Al-Momen

Into the future

Chapter 4

Currently, three groups graduate each year, allowing Exploration to have approximately 60 employees able to choose their appropriate specialization. There are plans to expand on the success of the program with a recruit-to-retire integrated development program.

During the five years following the Geoscience Train program, Exploration seeks to enable 75% of the employees to obtain a master’s degree, along with continuing the scholarship program for postgraduate studies. In an agreement with the University of Leeds, a leading U.K. university, Exploration nominated 30 employees in 2017 to pursue a master’s degree in the Kingdom while they are still on-the-job.

The goal is that ten years after the completion of the Geoscience Train program, the employee is qualified to be a world-class professional in his or her area of specialty, and will have the ability to lead and train new employees, continuing the cycle of the Geoscience Train program.