The Saudi Arabian Oil Company is a giant public oil and natural gas company based in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia. For historical reasons, it is commonly referred to as Saudi Aramco.
As of 2020, it was one of the top-20 largest companies in the world by revenue, and it manages over one hundred oil and natural gas fields in Saudi Arabia, including the famous Ghawar field and Safaniya field.
The activities of Saudi Aramco are monitored by the Saudi Arabian Ministry of Petroleum and Mineral Resources and the Supreme Council for Petroleum and Minerals.
Saudi Aramco´s modern-day operations span the globe, and include everything from exploration and petroleum production to refining, petrochemical derivatives, shipping & distribution, and marketing.
On 11 December 2019, the company was listed for trading on the Tadawul stock exchange. On its second day of trading, its market capitalisation surpassed $2 trillion USD.
Traded as on Tadawul: 2222
The initial public offering (IPO) was only for a small portion of the total company, and it had been delayed due to concerns over the corporate structure. On 9 April 2019, Aramco issued bonds for a combined value of 12 billion USD and this international bond issue received more than 100 billion USD in orders from foreign investors.
On 3 November 2019 Aramco announced its plan for an IPO that would list 1.5% of the company´s value on the Tadawul stock exchange. The prospectus was released six days later, and revealed that up to 0.5% of the shares were locked for individual retail investors.
On 4 December 2019 Aramco priced its offering at 32 Saudi riyals per share (circa 8.53 USD). The subscriptions totalled 119 billion USD (well over 450% of total offer of shares).
These numbers are high, but Saudi Aramco´s earnings actually fell by nearly 45% in 2020 compared to 2019 as Covid19 pandemic measures reduced the international market´s demand for oil.
After forming a local subsidiary named the Bahrain Petroleum Co (BAPCO), the United States company Standard Oil of California (SoCal) struck oil in Barhrain on 30 May, 1932. A year later, the Saudi Arabian government gave SoCal a wide concession to explore for oil in Saudi Arabia. The concession was assigned to the wholly-owned subsidiary California-Arabian Standard Oil (CASOC).
After failing to locate oil, CASOC sold 50% of the concession to the Texas Company (Texaco) in 1936. After two more years of no oil, the seventh drill site in Dharan turned out to be a success in 1938. (This well is known as Dammam No. 7.)
In early 1944, CASOC changed its name to Arabian American Oil Co (Aramco).
Standard Oil of New Jersey (later known as Exxon) and and Socony Vacuum (later known as Mobil) both invested in Aramco soon after the end of WWII, with the former acquiring 30% of the company and the latter a 10%. This meant that SoCal and Texaco retained just 30% each.
In 1950, King Abdulaziz of Saudi Arabia threatened to nationalize the Saudi oil facilities. A deal was reached where Aramco agreed to share its profits 50/50 with the Saudi state, and the company headquarter was moved from the United States to Dharan, Saudi Arabia. To offset the loss of profit for Aramco, the United States government granted Aramco a tax break known as “the golden gimmick”.
In 1973, the Saudi Arabian government acquired a 25% “participation interest” in Aramco´s assets, as a reaction to the United States´s support of Israel in the Yom Kippur War. The participation interest rose to 60% in 1974, and in 1976 the Saudi Arabian government acquired the remaining 40% interest.
Aramco continued to operate and manage these former Aramco assets on behalf of the Saudi Arabian government until 1988.
In November 1988, the Saudi Arabian company Saudi Arabian Oil Company was established by royal decree and took control of the former Aramco assets, while also taking over management and operations of the assets.
The Saudi Arabian Oil Company is still commonly referred to as Saudi Aramco.