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What is Saudi Aramco?

What is Saudi Aramco?

Saudi Aramco is 85 years old this year. The state-owned oil company of Saudi Arabia is the biggest in the world, helping the kingdom become the biggest exporter of crude oil.

Riyadh is looking to take a part of the company public, which is set to be the largest IPO in history.


1933: Saudi Aramco is born out of an agreement between Saudi Arabia and California-based oil company Socal. This agreement, like many granted to big U.S. and British oil companies at the time, gave it the exclusive right to explore and extract oil on Saudi territory.

1944: The California Arabian Standard Oil Company was renamed the Arabian American Oil Company, or as we now know it, by its acronym Aramco. It was run by a consortium of U.S. oil companies — including the predecessors of Chevron, Texaco and Exxon Mobil.

1960: Following the creation of OPEC, Saudi Arabia and several other oil-producing countries began nationalizing their natural resources

1980: The Saudi government completes its buyout of Aramco's assets, eventually creating the Saudi Arabian Oil Company in 1988.

2012: Aramco launches a new trading arm, which it says buys and sells about 1.5 million barrels of chemicals and polymer products every day. This helps keep more of that revenue in-house by reducing its reliance on outside traders.

2016: The Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman announces he's considering listing shares of the state-owned company, and selling around 5 percent of those in order to build a large sovereign fund.