Tapline [Prev] [Main] [Next]


The Story ofTAPLINE

    Tapline is the abbreviated name customarily used to identify the world's biggest oil pipe line system which connects the oil fields of eastern Saudi Arabia with a Mediterranean shipping terminal at Sidon in the Republic of Lebanon. Actually the Tapline system is composed of two sections under different ownership and operation.

    The Trans-Arabian Pipe Line Company's part of the line begins at Qaisumah in northeastern Saudi Arabia and extends northwesterly 753.5 miles to Sidon. The 314.7 miles of pipe line which extends east and south from Qaisumah to one of the world's largest producing oil fields at Abqaiq, is the heart of the gathering system of the Arabian American Oil Company (ARAMCO). This eastern section of the pipe line system can be used either for collecting oil and delivering it at the Persian Gulf shipping port of Ras Tanura or for a westward journey, through the royalty-gauging tanks at Qaisumah, to the Mediterranean shipping terminal at Sidon. The Aramco-owned part of the line connects with Aramco's producing fields and can be linked to future fields as they are discovered and developed.

    The history of Tapline must start with the discovery of oil in Saudi Arabia. That oil is close to the Persian Gulf but by tanker route it is 3500 miles from the Mediterranean. Oilmen, looking at their maps, saw quickly that tremendous savings in time and money could be made by piping the oil across the sands, gravelly plains and mountains of the Arabian Peninsula.

    The Arabian American Oil Company, which discovered oil in Saudi Arabia in 1938, has provided huge quantities of oil for the armed forces of the United States. The American Navy still draws heavily on that supply under special price arrangements which have resulted in savings of millions of dollars to American taxpayers.

    The peace which followed World War II brought great demands for oil to be used in the rebuilding of Europe and until the completion

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