Photographic Memory: Building the Trans-Arabian Pipe Line
Tapline played a critical role in the early days of Aramco, delivering crude oil internationally.
Work crews on the Trans-Arabian Pipe Line, or Tapline, relieve a giant Kenworth truck of its load of 93-foot sections of pipe near Ras Mish‘ab in March 1949. The construction project employed more than 1,500 Americans and nearly 15,000 Saudis and other nationalities.
The final weld connecting the two sections was made Sept. 2, 1950. A few months later, the first tanker was loaded with Saudi crude at the four-berth western terminus of the pipeline a few kilometers south of the ancient city of Sidon, in Lebanon. Tapline’s initial capacity was 320,000 barrels per day. In 1957, capacity was increased to 450,000 barrels per day.
(Photo by T.F. Walters)