Photos from Aramco History

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.

8 thoughts on “Photos from Aramco History

  1. Yes, Aramco has been very good to Saudi Arabia, hasn’t it? When Americans found oil in Saudi Arabia, they chose to enter into a mutually beneficial business partnership with the Saudis. We didn’t make you our colony. Instead, we carefully respected your religion and customs. We gave you cars and electricity and television and billions upon billions of petrodollars which raised you up from a desperately impoverished country and delivered you into the lap of luxury. No nation in human history has benefitted as much from another country as Saudi Arabia has from America.

    In return, Saudi Arabia raised its children to hate America as the Great Satan because we are not Muslim. Saudi Arabia funds attacks on America, including the slaughter of three thousand innocent people on Sep 11. Our investment of generosity and good will in Saudi Arabia has harvested only an inhuman hatred from Saudis, who hate everything non-Muslim.

    That is a powerful lesson for Americans, that regardless of any good will or great benefit we bestow on Saudi Arabia, the Saudis will always regard us as enemies.

    Beware of what you wish for.

  2. America have benefited from Saudi Arabia in the same amount if not more. The US would not have sustained its economical growth if it wasn’t for the energy source that is Saudi Arabia. To blame what an extremist minority did on Saudi Arabia as a country and/or people is non-sense.

  3. Ahmed: Are Abdulrahman Munif’s books still banned in the KSA? His ‘Cities of Salt’ series are about the best thing I’ve ever read about how disruptive the coming of the Americans was to the EP. He captures the period of utter bewilderment and misunderstanding perfectly.

  4. @Tantor
    Yes well if you whitees had just come out of your barbed-wire-four-walled compounds and tried to mix and socialise with the many nationalities that STAY here, you wouldn’t be so MISunderstood now, wouldja? or have most of you been afraid of scimitar-wielding bedouin mobs doing you in!?

  5. faiz,

    Yes, we are “whitees” and you treat the many nationalities that stay there really well, don’t you? You let them dig your ditches and clean up your vomit. Hmm, can’t remember the last time I saw a bible for sale in a bookstore there. I wonder why that is. After all, you are such good people, aren’t you?

  6. Whitee,
    I’m not a Saudi.I’m a Pakistani.And my people are the ones that dig those ditches and clean up that vomit.

Comments are closed.