Life in Aramco

17 March 2009 | 2 comments | Reunions | by

Life in Aramco 2009 KSA Reunion attendees checking in.
Photo by Aramco ExPats

The experience of working for Saudi Aramco is only enhanced by living in one of the residential camps established for employees and their families. Currently there are four residential camps located in the Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia that Aramco families call home.

The oldest and largest camp is located in Dhahran, which is also the headquarters of Saudi Aramco. Approximately 11,300 Saudi Aramco employees and dependents live on the compound that was founded in the late 1930s after large oil reserves were discovered in the area. As headquarters, Dhahran is the epicenter for the company’s finance, exploration, engineering, drilling services, medical services, and materials supply.

Being welcomed by their old departments, many annuitants enjoyed their time visiting the ‘core area’ and other Saudi Aramco facilities. For many, the old administration building was the only one in existence when they were working for Aramco.

Life in Aramco Starting a tour of Aramco schools.
Photo by Aramco ExPats

The Abqaiq compound was built in the 1940s and now houses about 2,000 residents in camp. Located in the desert, about 60 kilometers southwest of Dhahran, Abqaiq is known for its oil stabilization and Natural Gas Liquids (NGL) plants. After these processes, the oil continues down the pipeline to other sides for further separation and purification, or exportation.

The only camp located on the Persian Gulf is Ras Tanura. The Ras Tanura Refinery began operations in 1945 and currently manufactures about 150,000 barrels of petroleum products every day. The port city also supplies crude oil to the world, natural gas liquids and other refined products to tankers that visit the terminal. Today, Ras Tanura is home to over 3,200 Aramcon residents.

The most recently established Aramco camp, and also the smallest, is Udhailiyah, which was originally a “bachelor camp” for Aramcons and contractors in the 1970s. In 1977, the camp was expanded to accommodate families and is currently home to about 1,950 residents.

Life in Aramco The red carpet to the Reunion Welcome Dinner.
Photo by Aramco ExPats

Saudi Aramco residential compounds include many of the amenities that Aramcons enjoy in the states, such as golf courses, pools and gym facilities, libraries, and small markets. As in any local community, many self-directed special interest groups formed over the years; from theatre groups to cycling and running clubs to Little League teams.

Another unique element found on all Aramco compounds is the quality education of the Saudi Aramco Schools. Serving the dependents of Aramco employees from kindergarten to ninth grade, Saudi Aramco generously provides a world-class education in the unique backdrop of Saudi Arabia.

The unique experience of Aramco families living in Saudi Arabia has prompted the foundation of the Dhahran based Saudi Aramco Community Heritage Gallery. The exhibit displays photographs, artifacts, films, publications and other memorabilia documenting Saudi Aramco’s 75-year history in the Kingdom.

2 Comments for “Life in Aramco”

  1. Anonymous says:

    The Udhailiyah Camp actually was re-opened as a bachelor camp in the seventies. I remember when it was shut down in the sixties, but I don’t know how long before that it originally was opened. There were family houses there when it was shut down in the sixties, so it must have been a family camp, however small and short-lived before 1977.
    Fred Scofield

  2. Ursula (Ulla) Morris-Carter says:

    I am trying to get in touch with an editor of "Sun and Flare" (or the equivalent publication of today). My late husband, Joe Alex Morris, Jr. worked for Aramco Public Affairs 1951-1953, wrote for the Sun and Flare, did Radio reports and wrote "Reports from the Field" for Aramco World. He appeared on the cover of Aramco World in 1968 as Los Angeles Times Middle East Bureau Chief. I have put together a collection of Joe’s Letters from Saudi Arabia 1951-53 in a small booklet. Please, contact me at "ulla@wcarter.us. Thank you in advance for your assistance.
    Ulla Morris-Careter, Los Altos Hills, CA 94022

Leave a Comment