Reigned 1982 – 2005
The reign of King Fahd included both boom times and lean times for Aramco, which weathered its gravest challenge and emerged as the world’s leading petroleum enterprise, a position it retains to this day. Early in his rule, King Fahd oversaw the appointment in November 1983 of Ali I. Al-Naimi as the fi rst Saudi president of Aramco, effective January 1984. The rise of His Excellency Al-Naimi through the ranks of Aramco was a testament to the potential of the Saudi people, nurtured by the Company’s world-class training programs.
King Fahd visited Dhahran on the occasion of the Company’s 50th anniversary, in May 1983, and inaugurated the Exploration and Petroleum Engineering Center, or EXPEC, a facility which allowed Aramco to perform many of the geoscience and petroleum engineering tasks previously performed by outside companies.
The following year saw the creation of the Company’s international shipping subsidiary, Vela International Marine Limited. By 1995, a program to build 15 advanced supertankers was completed. Today, Vela is recognized as one of the premier tanker fleets in the world, transporting millions of barrels of crude oil and petroleum products safely around the globe.
The final act in the transformation of Aramco took place on 8th November 1988, when King Fahd issued a Royal Decree that established the Saudi Arabian Oil Company, or Saudi Aramco. Ali I. Al-Naimi became CEO at this time. Seven years later, in 1995, Abdallah S. Jum’ah was named President and CEO and Al-Naimi was appointed Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources, positions they retain today.
In the Founder’s Footsteps
Inaugurating EXPEC, 1983
Inaugurating Aramco Training Center, Ras Tanura, 1986
Also in 1988, under the guidance of King Fahd, Saudi Aramco took its first steps on the path to becoming a truly integrated international petroleum enterprise when a Company subsidiary and Texaco established Star Enterprise, the Company’s first joint refining and marketing venture in the United States. Star Enterprise later evolved into Motiva Enterprises, LLC, a joint venture between Saudi Refining Inc. and Shell. The Star Enterprise venture was followed in 1991 by an equity venture with SsangYong Oil Refining Co. Ltd. (today’s S-Oil) in the Republic of Korea and in 1994 by an equity venture with Petron in the Philippines.
In 1989, Saudi Aramco made the first oil discoveries in central Saudi Arabia, followed in 1992 by discoveries on the Red Sea coastal plain. These discoveries were a result of a Government Inaugurating EXPEC, 1983 VisitingYanbu’, 1983 VisitingYanbu’, 1980 Inaugurating Aramco Training Center, Ras Tanura, 1986 mandate to expand exploration beyond the limits set in the original Concession Agreement.
Confronted with its severest test in 1991, Saudi Aramco successfully contained and then cleaned up one of the largest oil spills in history, a tragic result of the Gulf War. During the crisis, the Company did not falter in its production of petroleum, helping stabilize world energy markets. No Company production facilities or Government installations such as desalination plants were shut down as a result of the spill – a proud testament to Saudi Aramco’s ability to perform at the highest levels under any circumstance.
The trust placed in Saudi Aramco by the rulers of the country was again demonstrated in July 1993 when King Fahd issued a Royal Decree merging all of the Kingdom’s oil refineries, product distribution facilities and interests in three joint-venture refineries into Saudi Aramco. With this act, King Fahd had transformed Saudi Aramco into the world’s third largest refiner. Under the leadership of King Fahd, Ali I. Al-Naimi and an expanding Saudi management, Saudi Aramco was transformed from an oil producing company into a fully integrated petroleum enterprise, with operations spanning the globe.