It is common knowledge that Saudi Aramco, the state-owned national oil company of Saudi Arabia and the largest oil corporation in the world, have played an important role in shaping the life and culture in the Eastern Province of the country. Established in the 1930s, the company has become an integral part of the history of the region. I was born in Hofuf, the closest city to the famous Ghawar oil field, one of the world’s largest conventional (land-based) fields. A large number of my family members and friends have worked for the company, and it is hard to find someone in the Eastern Province whose life has not been affected by Aramco in a way or another.
This is why that I follow with interest a website called Aramco ExPats. The website was founded in 2004 by Vicci Thompson and her son Rusty Swayne. Her husband Errol is a pilot in Saudi Aramco’s Aviation Department. Aramco ExPats is mainly targeted at former and current employees of the company to find information and to keep in touch with friends, but I found it also useful for anyone who is interested in taking a glimpse at the effect of such large organization, not only here but also in other parts of the world.
The section of the website that keeps me amazed is the Galleries. It is often updated with photos that date back to the inception of the company as well as some recent pictures of the different places in the EP, and I always find myself spending a long time looking at these photos trying to imagine what life looked like in that time.
UPDATE: Saudi Aramco celebrate their 75th anniversary next year, and they plan a series of celebrations to generate enthusiasm and excitement among its employees, retirees and friends worldwide. They also plan opening a world-class cultural center that will integrate the planned archive center and a major public library. “The 75th Anniversary Committee is searching for memorabilia and other artifacts from your past while working and/or living in Saudi Arabia,” the website said.