Saudi Arabian Oil Company -Aramco
Headquarters: HQ in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia; operating in various locations worldwideKey people: Abdullah S. Jum'ah: President, Director and CEO
Ali I. Al-Naimi: Chairman and Minister of Oil. Products: Hydrocarbons: crude oil, natural gas, and petroleum products. Oilfield services: oil exploring, producing, manufacturing, marketing, and shipping Employees: 51,843 (as of 2005)
Slogan: "Energy to the World"Website: www.saudiaramco.com
Saudi Aramco, the state-owned national oil company of Saudi Arabia, is the largest oil corporation in the world and the world's largest in terms of proven crude oil reserves and production. Headquartered in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia, Saudi Aramco also operates the world's largest single hydrocarbon network, the Master Gas System. It was formerly known as just Aramco, an acronym for Arabian American Oil Company.
Saudi Aramco's history dates back to May 29, 1933, when the Government of Saudi Arabia signed a concessionary agreement with Standard Oil of California (Socal) allowing them to explore Saudi Arabia for oil. Standard Oil of California passed this concession to a wholly-owned subsidiary called California-Arabian Standard Oil Co. (Casoc). In 1936 with the company having no success at locating oil, the Texas Oil Company purchased a 50% stake of the concession.
After a long search for oil that lasted around four years without success, the first success came with the seventh drill site in Dammam, an area located a few miles north of Dhahran in 1938, a well referred to as Dammam number 7. The discovery of this well, which immediately produced over 1,500 barrels per day, gave the company the hope to continue and flourish. The company name was changed in 1944 from California-Arabian Standard Oil Company to Arabian American Oil Company (or Aramco). In 1948 Standard Oil of California and the Texas Oil Company were joined as investors by Standard Oil of New Jersey who purchased 30% of the company, and Socony Vacuum who purchased 10% of the company, leaving Standard Oil of California and the Texas Oil Company with equal 30% shares.
In 1950, King Abdul Aziz Ibn Saud threatened to nationalize his country's oil facilities, thus pressuring Aramco to agree to share its profits on oil sales 50/50. A similar process had taken place with American oil companies in Venezuela a few years earlier. The American government granted US Aramco member companies a tax break known as the Golden gimmick equivalent to the profits lost in sharing oil profits with Ibn Saud.
In 1973 the Saudi Arabian government acquired a 25% share of Aramco, increased this to 60% by 1974 and finally acquired full control of Aramco by 1980. In November 1988 the company changed its name from Arabian American Oil Company to Saudi Arabian Oil Company (or Saudi Aramco).
From its headquarters in Dhahran on the eastern shores of the Arabian Peninsula, Saudi Aramco manages virtually all of Saudi Arabia's enormous hydrocarbon enterprise. From the giant Ghawar and Safaniya oil fields, the world's largest onshore and offshore fields, to the leading-edge technology at the Exploration and Petroleum Engineering Center, and from one of the largest and most modern fleets of supertankers to refining and marketing joint ventures around the globe, Saudi Aramco is positioned to continue to play its leading role in meeting the world's demand for oil. Saudi Aramco is responsible for 99 percent of the Kingdom's proven crude oil reserves of 259 billion barrels (41.2 1010m³) -- about a quarter of the world's total conventional oil reserves. That is more than double the total of Iraq, the country with the world's second largest conventional oil reserves, and nearly 12 times the reserves of the United States. Saudi Aramco produces and exports more crude oil than any other company. Recent production has averaged some 8 million barrels (1,300,000 m³) per day. That is more than twice the output of the next highest producer and nearly five times greater than the largest U.S. oil company.
Saudi Aramco maintains a maximum sustained crude production capacity of 8.5 million barrels per day. Saudi Aramco ranks among the top ten companies in gas production worldwide. The company is also a leader in both the production and export of natural gas liquids (NGL), and a major producer of refined products. The company produces natural gas in association with crude oil and nonassociated gas from deep, independent gas fields. This gas is used as fuel and feedstock for the Kingdom's backbone industries and utilities, and for export and domestic consumption as NGL. A vigorous programme is currently under way to expand gas production and processing capabilities to meet increasing demand for gas at home to power the Kingdom's robust domestic economic growth.
Saudi Aramco's oil operations encompass the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, including territorial waters in the Persian Gulf and the Red Sea. Totaling more than 1.5 million square kilometres, this area is larger than the combined areas of Texas, California, Oklahoma and Utah, or of France, Spain and Germany. Most production comes from fields in the coastal plains of the Eastern Province in an area extending 300 kilometres north and south of Dhahran.
In May 2005, a Saudi Aramco VP announced Aramco's plans to build projects worth about 487.5 billion Saudi Riyals (US $130 billion) in the next 5 years. Due to the unprecedented global demand for oil, Aramco announced that the number of its oil rigs will double by the end of 2006 .
Saudi Aramco has begun performing tasks that were previously conducted by the American companies in the region. The company has attempted to produce an independent environment; it has begun to perform critical tasks itself, while contracting secondary tasks to companies in the region.
A significant portion of the Saudi Aramco workforce consists of geophysicists and geologists. Saudi Aramco has been exploring for oil and gas reservoirs since 1982. Most of this process takes place at the Exploration and Petroleum Engineering Center (EXPEC). Originally, Saudi Aramco used Cray Supercomputers (CRAY-1M)  to assist in processing the colossal quantity of data obtained during exploration. In 2001, Saudi Aramco decided to use Linux clusters as a replacement for the decommissioned Cray systems.
Drilling & Work over
This is the most crucial process and as such accounts for the largest segment of the Saudi Aramco workforce. Drilling new wells efficiently and then maintaining them requires the company to employ a large number of petroleum engineers. Due to the recent surges in oil demand, Saudi Aramco has been pressed to produce more oil and therefore has (and still is) hired several petroleum engineers and geo-scientists.
Refining and Distribution
While the company did not originally plan on refining oil, the Saudi government wished to have only one company dealing with oil production. Therefore, on July 1, 1993, the government issued a royal decree merging Saudi Aramco with Samarec, the country's oil refining company . Since then, Saudi Aramco has taken on the responsibility of refining oil and distributing it in the country.
Saudi Aramco has employed several tankers to ship crude oil, refined oil and gas to various countries. It has created a wholly-owned subsidiary company, Vela International Marine Limited, to handle shipping to North America, Europe and Asia.
Research & Development
Saudi Aramco has taken a keen interest in optimizing its processes over the last decade. To this end, it has employed hundreds of engineers and scientists specializing in different aspects of the hydrocarbon industry.
Saudi Aramco also provides several services to its employees. It maintains a large hospital and provides health insurance for its employees. It also maintains several fire stations, both industrial and residential. Saudi Aramco introduced its Industrial Security over two decades ago. This security force primarily ensures the safety of the company's industrial and residential areas.
Saudi Aramco has operations all over the kingdom and therefore, it often needs to transport employees between operations. It therefore maintains an aviation department with a fleet of over 150 aircrafts and over 45 helicopters.
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