King ‘Abd Allah
Reign 2005 – Present
As Crown Prince and then as King, ‘Abd Allah guided Saudi Aramco into a higher profile in the global petroleum industry, expanding the Company’s international ventures and extending the Company’s reach into downstream activities, including petrochemicals and associated industries. Under his leadership, Saudi Aramco forged in-Kingdom joint ventures in natural gas, embarked on the largest capital program in its history and took the lead on the creation of a world-class graduate research university.
In a stunning display of technology and human ingenuity, Saudi Aramco brought the Shaybah project on-line and in March 1999, Crown Prince ‘Abd Allah inaugurated the facility, and in April, he inaugurated the Dhahran-Riyadh-Qasim multiproduct pipeline and the Ras Tanura Refinery upgrade project.
Additional oil production capacity was added with the completion of the 800,000 bpd
Qatif-Abu Sa‘fah project, inaugurated by Crown Prince ‘Abd Allah in December 2004. The following year, the Saudi Government and Saudi Aramco unveiled the most ambitious capital project in the Company’s history: a slate of crude oil production expansion projects that, by 2009, will raise the Kingdom’s maximum sustained output of crude oil by 2 million bpd to about 12 million bpd – an increase roughly equal to the output of some leading oil-exporting nations.
With domestic demand for natural gas increasing, Saudi Aramco placed greater emphasis on finding and producing non-associated gas. One of the first tangible results of this strategy was the Hawiyah Gas Plant, inaugurated by Crown Prince ‘Abd Allah in October 2002. This was soon followed by the Haradh Gas Plant, inaugurated by the Crown Prince in January 2004. Under the direction of the Government, Saudi Aramco entered into discussions with international petroleum companies for possible gas exploration and production joint ventures in the Kingdom. In 2004, the last of four joint venture agreements was signed for upstream gas projects in the Rub’ al-Khali.
The natural gas strategy does not end with the production of gas, but extends to associated downstream industries, thus further diversifying the national economy and creating new jobs for Saudi citizens. To this end, in March 2006, ground was broken on a joint venture with Sumitomo Chemical Co., Ltd. of Japan, to build an integrated refining and petrochemical complex in Rabigh.
In the Founder’s Footsteps
Inaugurating Hawtah, 1997
Inaugurating Shaybah, 1999
Inaugurating the Hawiyah Gas Plant, 200
Inaugurating Qatif, 2004
The following year, in May 2007, Saudi Aramco and Dow Chemical Co. agreed to conduct a feasibility study for a world-scale chemicals and plastics production complex integrated with the Ras Tanura Refinery. In addition to forging international partnerships at home to strengthen the national economy, Saudi Aramco, under the direction of King ‘Abd Allah, has entered into long-term partnerships abroad that will ensure future markets for Saudi Arabian crude oil. In 2004, a Company subsidiary acquired a strategic shareholding in Showa Shell in Japan, and in 2007, agreements were signed with Sinopec, the Fujian provincial government and ExxonMobil for the first fully integrated Sino-foreign projects that involve refi ning, petrochemicals and marketing of fuels and chemicals.
King ‘Abd Allah and Saudi Aramco are not only focused on the economic development of the Kingdom, but on its human development as well.
For decades, Saudi Aramco has operated one of the largest industrial training programs in the world and has sponsored thousands of Saudi employees to study in universities at home and abroad. Recognizing the need for advanced science and mathematics skills to tackle the energy and environmental challenges confronting all the people on the planet, King ‘Abd Allah announced the creation of a graduate research university: the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology, or KAUST. As a sign of continued trust in the Company’s capabilities and expertise, King ‘Abd Allah called on Saudi Aramco to develop and build the university. Ground was broken on 21st October 2007, and the first classes will be held in the Fall of 2009.