Tapline was at the time of its construction in 1948 the largest pipeline in the world. The design incorporated many new idea's that were never used before and some experts were very sceptical about it and said that it would never work. I am standing next to one of those new methods of construction.That great experience came to an untimely and unfortunate end in 1986, with the vision, the people, the innovation and the facilities now only a footnote to history.


This is a travelogue of my trip along the Trans Arabian Pipeline in July 2001.

Initially I had planned to make this trip at the time of the Aramco Annuitants Reunion which was scheduled to be held in Dhahran in April 2000. But that event was rescheduled because of an administrative muddle and I already had other trips arranged and booked which I could not cancel. I did however visit Jordan and then went to Lebanon where I met up with Fred Drucker and together we drove through Syria to revisit some of the archeological sites, some we had visited before and some others in the eastern part of Syria that were new for me.
 I had almost given up the chance of ever visiting the area again. A new opportunity arose when I had  an unexpected opportunity to go back to Saudi Arabia in July 2001.

I first flew to Bahrain where I attended the wedding of Rachel Hendley, daughter of John and Kath Hendley on the 9th of July.  The next day, Ken Murphy of Aramco Aviation picked me up in his bright yellow Porsche and drove (flew) me over the bridge into Saudi Arabia. The border formalities were very simple and the Saudi staff were extremely friendly.

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Ken then drove me through Dhahran to see how things have changed there. These changes were quite profound, as they were everywhere else I went.

I checked into the Dammam Hotel and contacted Ahmad al-Mohanna, who had kindly offered me a vehicle to get around. I stayed 3 days in Dammam and saw Ahmad's brothers as well as Othayeb and Mashour Mutlaq and Shamaan Abla. 

Ahmad Mohanna is still the same, is very busy and is on the phone all the time. time. They are all well and his sons Jamal and Hamad are very active businessmenl.  Jamal is the heir apparent of his fathers business, he is still the same very nice man to talk to. Another son,  Hamad Ahmad has a very rapidly expanding GM parts dealership and is now venturing into water treatment and filtering equipment. He is determined to show his father that he can make it on his own, the signs so far are that he will !  
Shamaan Abla showed me around al-Khobar and the new Shopping Center. He is still employed by Sceco and hopes to retire in about two years. 
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Othayeb is totally different, very laid back and always has some nice stories to tell.  His favorite story is that if he could trade-in his sons for daughters, he would do so without hesitation. The daughters are all doing extremely well, having had a first class education and now all holding very good jobs. He is very proud of them and rightly so.

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I am much indebted to Otayeb Mutlaq, Ahmad Mohanna and Ashraf Ali for making this trip along the pipeline possible.They all received me very well and it was with some sadness that I had to say Good Bye to them and continue my trip along the pipeline. I also wish to include my special gratitude to the ex-employees who went out of their way to receive me in a manner that I will always remember. They are Dhaifallah Annah, Khoder Ali,  Kamal Hran al Ruwaili, Ali Farhan, Atallah Annah and many others.

The buttons on the top of this page take you to the indicated station for further details and photo's. 

Have a look around and if you have any questions feel free to contact me. If you are interested in obtaining high resolution photo's of some of the pictures on this site, contact me and I will print them on glossy paper up to an A4 size.
I may have the names of some of the people on the pictures wrong, my excuses but please contact me and I will make  corrections.

John Makkinje

For further information about Tapline please go to:


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