1950 – The Trans-Arabian Pipeline, the world’s longest oil pipeline, is completed so oil can travel 1,719 kilometers (1,068 miles) from the Abqaiq oil fi eld to the Mediterranean Sea port at Sidon, Lebanon.

1951 – Safaniya fi eld, the world’s largest offshore oil fi eld, is discovered. The company completes the 357-mi (575 km) Saudi Government Railroad from Dammam to Riyadh.


1952 – Indications of Ghawar, world’s largest oil field, detected. Company headquarters transferred from New York to Dhahran.

1953 – Company undertakes the construction of 10 primary schools in the Eastern Province.

1954 – Crude-oil production exceeds 1 million bpd in May

>> Momentum

1955 – Crude-oil reserves estimated at 30–35 billion barrels due to drilling in the Ghawar and Safaniya fields.

1956 – Discovery of the Khursaniyah field, together with other drilling operations, increases proved reserves of crude oil to 34 billion barrels.

‘The Saudi contingent working with us were mostly young men from bedouin tribes……
It war mervelous to see these men learn and develop …..’

John Kelberer, in the early 1950s, a communication engineer in Tapline’s early days and later Aramco Chairman Of the Board.

The World demand for petroleum took a sudden upward trend in the 1950s. Aramco reached new oil production milestones during this decade. The Dammam Field produced more than 29 million barrels of oil from 30 producing wells in 1951. By May 1954, crude oil production topped 1 million barrels per day, earning Aramco the title of “world’s largest oil producer” for that year. In 1958, crude oil production exceeded 1 milion barrels per day for the entire calendar year – a major achievement for Aramco. Aramco announced two spectacular finds in the 1950s: Ghawar, the world’s largest oil field, and Safaniya, the world’s largest offshore oil field.

Saudi man laying down for an x-ray at Aramco Dhahran Health Center, 1950 s

Khamis IbnRimthan, Saudi pioneer guide. Photo by: Russell Lee

Susan Kelly, American, and Faridah Sowayigh, Saudi. Dhahran, January 1952. Photo by:T. F .Walters 

1957 – Cumulative crude-oil production reaches 3 billion barrels, making Saudi Arabia fi fth country to reach that mark.

1958 – Crude oil production exceeds 1 million bpd for a calendar year.

1959 – Aramco publicizes worldwide the availability of non-associated gas as an inexpensive fuel.

A young Saudi with some camels having rest. (The camels were a common means of transportation in the early days). Buildings in background. Jiddah, 1950s. Photo by: T. F. Walters

Abdullah Ibn Hassan, Plant Supt. of GOSP no. 4 for 12 Years, lives and works in Hofuf. Photo By: R. E. Bright

Survey exploration party on desert in Eastern Saudi Arabia. Geologist communicates with headquarters via walkie-talkie as his companion sights through a transit. Exploration surveying. Abqaiq, September 1952. Photo by: T. F. Walters

Falcon hunting is still practiced in Arabia. These birds are trained to hunt rabbits and hubara – while others are highly trained in the hunting of gazelles. Desert, November 1955. Photo by: Khalil Nasr

Mohammed Hazza, no 010696, fire station leadman checks pressure of hydrant no. 185 which serves the south plot limits of the hydroformer in the Ras Tanura refinery. Ras Tanura, November 1956. Photo by: T. F. Walters

Ain Dar no. 57 looms above a herd of watering camels while herdsman smile. Located approximately 68 kms (41 Miles) north and west of Abqaiq,  Aramco’s producing headquarters, no. 57 is situated in the north Ghawar field, 8 kms (5 miles) due south of Ain Dar no. 56., Ain Dar no. 57, September 1957. Photo by: V. K. Antony