Memory Lane: From exploring to the Rub’ al-Khali to record enrollments to a great run in the World Series
In the early days of Aramco, the turning of weather in September meant time to get to exploring, and in 1951, company employees took on one of their most daring journeys.
Here are some headlines over the past 70 years from The Arabian Sun and Arabian Sun and Flare.
Sept. 5, 1951
A three-team Exploration unit left Dhahran in successive stages Sunday and Monday for the sand dunes and gravel plains of the Rub’ al-Khali, the “Empty Quarter” of Saudi Arabia.
This area — largely unexplored and uncharted — is the scene of Exploration’s largest single concentration of activity this year. A structure drill party moved out Sunday, and a gravity-magnetometer party, and a vertical and horizontal control unit left the following day.
The field part will work through the northern and western areas of the Rub’ al-Khali until June 1, 1951, when operations will cease for the summer. Approximately 35 Americans and 200 Saudis, including escorting soldiers, will staff the party.
Sept. 13, 1961
The thirteenth Aramco-built school, and the second intermediate school, in the Eastern Province for sons of Muslim and Arab employees was officially accepted by Shaikh ‘Abd al-‘Aziz al-Turki, director of Education for the Eastern Province, at an opening ceremony held Sept. 11 at the school in Hofuf.
The program of building schools for sons of Muslim and Arab employees was founded as part of a joint agreement between the Saudi Government and Aramco signed in February 1953.
Since the agreement was signed, a total of 13 schools built under the program have been opened. The first one was opened Nov. 27, 1954.
Sept. 8, 1971
This past Monday, Sept. 6, marked the launching of college careers for a freshman class of some 200 strong as the fall term opened at the College of Petroleum and Minerals at Dhahran.
The size of this year’s new class attests to the steady growth that has characterized CPM’s seven years of operation. Its very first enrollment, in 1964, numbered 40 students; the present new class will this term boost the student body to beyond the 700 figure.
Increased facilities for this growing student body are on the horizon as construction is now under way on Phases Two and Three of CPM’s long-range building plan.
Sept. 10, 1986
Aramco president Ali I. Naimi, at a luncheon held in Ras Tanura Sept. 3, presented to Saad R. Shaifan, general manager of Ras Tanura Refinery, a plaque awarded by the U.S. National Safety Council honoring the Ras Tanura Refinery with the Council’s highest award for safety and health performance, the Award of Honor.
Among all Aramco organizations working toward high corporate safety performance, the Ras Tanura Refinery marked up 9,848,629 — almost 10 million — IDI-free man-hours between September 1983 and October 1985. IDI frequency refers to “Industrial Disabling Injuries” per 200,000 Man-Hours Worked.
Confirmation that it was a record-breaking statistic was received in a letter to Naimi from T.C. Gilchrist, president of the National Safety Council, in April of this year.
Sept. 13, 2006
The Arabian American Little League (AAAL) team has returned to Dhahran after making its best Little League Baseball World Series showing since the tournament expanded to a 16-team format in 2001.
It was the team's seventh straight appearance in the Little League showcase, and after failing to do so since 1994, AALL advanced out of pool play to reach the international semi-finals.
The team lost its final game of the 2006 World Series in the semi-finals of the international bracket against an exceptional team from Japan.
“We hung in there,” manager James Durley said. “I know nobody in the world gave us a chance, but 13 people in our dugout and our fans did. They left everything they had out there on the field.”