The roots of Saudi Aramco are traced to 1933 when the government of Saudi Arabia granted oil exploration rights to Standard Oil of California (Socal), a company based out of the United States. After repeated failed attempts to locate significant oil reserves, the company finally struck 'black gold' in 1938. Occurring just prior to the outbreak of the Second World War, this discovery proved crucial to the Allied war effort.
Following the Second World War, the company changed its name to the Arabian American Oil Company (Aramco); and, subsequentially, Saudi Arabia experienced a period of growing Arab nationalism. These developments reflected the rising frustration amongst Saudis for not having a stake in the emerging demand for oil in the world economy.
As a result, in 1950, the Saudi Government demanded and received control of half the oil company. In 1973, in retaliation for American support of Israel during the Yom Kippur War, the Saudi Government nationalized a further 25% of Aramco. By 1980, the Saudi government controlled the entire company. The company received its present name, the Saudi Arabian Oil Company (Saudi Aramco), in 1988.
Today Saudi Aramco continues to manage the world's largest proven crude oil reserves, which weigh in at 260.1 billion barrels. In tandem with the company's vast reserves is an equally large workforce consisting of more than 54,000 people from 66 countries. The company describes its workers as a cohesive family of individuals who enjoy an excellent lifestyle in fully equipped and safe company communities.
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