Memory Lane: First service stations, contractor camps, winter weather and the ATP
Temperatures dove to near-freezing in January 0f 1977, reach 1 degree Celsius in Abqaiq.
From service stations to floating contractor quarters, a look back at some of the more interesting headlines over the past seven decades.
NEW SERVICE STATION OPENS ON ROAD TO AL-KHOBAR
The new Dhahran Service Station was opened with formal inaugural ceremonies, assisted by batteries of spotlights and flood lights, attracted a large crowd. Refreshments were served as an indication of the size of the crowd, over 2,000 bottles of soft-drinks were consumed.
The building and equipment costs totaled SR320,000.
The equipment is the most modern available and presages efficient lubrication service. There are four hydraulic lifts installed, three for passenger vehicles and one for trucks.
Pick up and delivery service will be provided to residents of Dhahran free of charge.
CONTRACTOR CAMPS NEARING COMPLETION
Aramco's contractor camp program is moving into high gear.
Within the next six to eight months, more than 20,000 contractor employees engaged in gas program construction are expected to move into bachelor camps at Abqaiq, Berri-Jubail, Dhahran, Ju'aymah, Shedgum, and 'Uthmaniyah, while another 1,000 contractor supervisory personnel will move into associated family camps at Abqaiq, Dhahran North, Rahima, and 'Udhailiyah.
This influx of personnel will bring camp occupancy to its projected peak and will constitute a major step forward in construction of the first phase of the Gas Gathering Program being undertaken by Aramco for the Saudi government.
Other bachelor camps are located at Abqaiq, where support facilities are being constructed; at Dhahran, where central staff groups and community facilities are being expanded; and at 'Uthaminyah, where an NGL processing center and the southern area gas gathering system is to be built.
Smaller camps are at al-Hasa, where a new health center is under construction, and Ras al-Qurayyah, site of a new seawater treatment plant and barge port.
COLD, SNOW, HAIL, WIND GREET 1992
A persistent plunge in minimum overnight temperatures driven to the bone by strong winds in the Eastern Province, a dusting of snow in the northern regions, and sporadic hail in Dhahran and Half Moon Bay marked the onset of the new Gregorian year.
Despite the winter-like conditions, most of the region escaped the vicious blast of frigid weather that all but paralyzed northern countries of the Middle East.
Although it probably felt much colder with the wind, the lowest reading in an Eastern Province Aramco community was 34F (1C) in Abqaiq on Jan. 7. Over the decades, the coldest on record was 27F (minus 3C) in Abqaiq in January 1964.
The Plaza in Dhahran was filled to capacity on Jan.7 for the second Accelerated Transformation Program (ATP) Town Hall.
The formation of the Strategy Council is a significant development in the transformation of the company. The SC now routinely engages in frank and challenging structured discussions on the company's overall strategic direction and plans, having met 17 times since it was formed. Members of corporate management now spend as much as 20 percent of their time on strategic, rather than operational matters.
"We are already a great and successful company," president and CEO Khalid A. Al-Falih said. "To achieve global leadership, you have to continue climbing. Our 2020 strategic intent is a stretch, but sustainable achievement is attainable. We need every one of you in order to achieve our aspirations."
Progress on the transformation efforts were discussed by Al-Falih and other members of the SC, including Muhammad A. Al-Ali, Khalid G. Al-Buainain, Abdulaziz F. Al-Khayyal, David B. Kultgen, Amin Nasser, Abdullatif A. Al-Othman, Muhammad M. Al-Saggaf, and Abdulrahman F. Al-Wuhaib.