Saudi Aramco: Oil and gas exploration

Saudi Aramco has been exploiting hydrocarbon reserves for over 75 years1 and have discovered over 100 oil and gas fields. ‘Ghawar’ is the worlds largest onshore oil field and ‘Safaniya’ is the worlds largest offshore oil field2.

Recently, Saudi Aramco have invested with Royal Dutch Shell in the Motiva Port Arthur Refinery in the Gulf of Mexico. This refinery has very recently been expanded, costing over $10 billion (€7.8 bill). It is perfectly positioned for the Keystone XL Pipeline, a controversial oil pipeline proposed to run from Alberta to Nebraska, linking the Canadian oil sands to refineries in the US3. This pipeline would give Motiva access to some of the dirtiest and most carbon intensive crude oil in the world, from the Canadian tar sands. Markets for oil sands would then be increasingly globally accessible, including to Europe4.

With domestic energy use increasing in Saudi Arabia, and the economy dependent on the export of crude oil, Saudi Aramco is looking towards ‘fracking’ for natural gas to provide energy for crude extraction as well as domestic energy5.


  1. Saudi Aramco (2014): Our story (accessed 01.10.2014) []
  2. Aramco Overseas (2014): About Saudi Aramco: A world leader in oil and Gas. (accessed 01.10.2014) []
  3. trans Canada (2014): About the project: A proposed oil pipeline form Alberta to Nebraska. (accessed 01.10.2014) []
  4. Colarulli, K et al. (2013): Fail: how the keystone XL pipeline flunks the climate test, pg21 []
  5. Mahdi, W. (2014): Saudi Aramco to pump tight natural gas at equal cost to US. Bloomberg, 7 July (accessed 01.10.2014) []
Case location
Port Arthur, Texas, USA
United States of America

Affected topics
  • Environmental and Climate protection
Affected norms and standards Directly and indirectly (through shareholding) involved companies Indirect investors through shareholding

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