1940s

1940

Abqaiq field discovered

While drilling continues on the Dammam Dome, chief geologist Max Steineke leads teams to study an apparent uplift in the Abqaiq area. Steineke, J. W. "Soak" Hoover and Jerry Harriss use this camp as their base of operations in 1936. Abqaiq Well No. 1 hits oil in early 1941, with flow rates indicating a major new oil field.

First company school for Saudis opens

The first company school for Saudis opens in a rented room of an al-Khobar house. Casoc employee Hijji bin Jassim, who owns the house, is also the school's first instructor. Early training focuses on job-specific skills, but later progresses to broader instruction.

1941

Tea kettle refinery shuts down

A 3,000-bpd refinery opens in Ras Tanura, but is closed six months later due to shortages caused by World War II.

Aramco begins large-scale agriculture projects

Aramco guides, engineers and geologists punch water wells for the 2,000-hectare farm at al-Kharj which employs over 700 Saudis To assist farmers in the Eastern Province, we operate the Agricultural Assistance Department from 1956 to 1993.

1942

Field mapping suspended

Field mapping is suspended due to wartime limitations of manpower and equipment.

Bomb shelter in Dhahran during World War II.

1943

Wartime shortages spur innovation

Due to difficulties obtaining automotive parts, camel transport is used to supply the distant Jauf camp with diesel oil, gasoline, drilling muds and cement.

Dhahran during World War II.

1944

Casoc becomes the Arabian American Oil Company

On January 31, to more accurately reflect the Kingdom's newfound prominence among oil-producing nations, our name is changed to the Arabian American Oil Company, which becomes better known by its acronym, Aramco.

Jabal School opens

The Jabal School opens April 8, 1944, to class of about 70 Saudis between the ages of 8 and 18. It is the fourth company school, but the first one on camp and in a permanent building.

Jabal School students include future CEO Ali I. Al-Naimi, holding a baseball.

1945

Ras Tanura refinery begins operations

The arrival of a shipment of steel turns Ras Tanura into a beehive of industrial activity as we begin constructing a major new refinery. The U.S. government, which sent the steel, intends for the refinery to supply fuel for Allied war efforts in the Pacific, but the war ends before refinery begins operations.

The Ras Tanura community grows quickly as the war nears its end.

1946

First wing of administration building opens

The first increment of the permanent administration building is completed and occupied in Dhahran.

Arab Industrial Development Department established

In an effort to more fully support Saudi businessmen, contribute to the growth of the local economy and to remove itself from non-oil concerns, we establish the Arab Industrial Development Department. The program helps transform al-Khobar and Dammam over the years into thriving commercial centers.

The first administration building, Dhahran.

1947

Ras Tanura completes first year of operations

From its humble origins as a 'tea kettle' refinery to a 50,000 bpd facility, Ras Tanura Refinery completes its first full year of operation.

Suliman Olayan becomes successful businessman

Suliman Olayan joins Aramco as a stockman in 1937. In the 1940s, he takes advantage of the assistance Aramco provides to entrepernurial Saudi employees. Olayan leaves the company to form his own trucking company and goes on to create a global business empire.

The Ras Tanura Refinery.

1948

Aramco acquires additional owners

Standard Oil of New Jersey and Socony-Vacuum (both now ExxonMobil) join Socal and Texaco (now Chevron Corporation) as owners of Aramco.

First educational film about water conservation commissioned

We produce Miyah, A Story of Water, our first educational film for Saudis, created to teach water conservation to farmers. We truck portable screens and generators across the desert to bring Miyah to many Saudis who had never before seen a moving picture.

Radio operators keep in touch with field parties.

1949

Oil production hits 500,000 bpd

Crude oil production of 500,000 bpd is achieved early in the year.

Summer Program tradition begins

In our first Summer Program, we give 10 full scholarships to Saudis to study at the American University in Beirut (AUB). Two years later, we offer 10 full scholarships each year to Saudi students to study at AUB, Aleppo College in Syria or other accredited Middle East institutions.

Dhahran expands in the post-war boom.

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