Aramco was listed on Saudi Arabia's Tadawul stock exchange on December 11 in the world's biggest-ever IPO at a valuation of $1.7 trillion. It is worth remembering the world's largest oil producer is arguably Silicon Valley's most successful startup.

Aramco traces its beginnings to 1933 when Saudi Arabia granted Standard Oil of California (SoCal) exclusive rights to look for oil in the vast tracts of desert land for 30,000 gold sovereigns and a rental of 5,000 gold sovereigns a year. At the time, the Saudis were largely nomadic people. The country's economy was based on tourism revenue from Muslims' pilgrimages to the holy city of Mecca. Oil was selling for less than 50 cents a barrel.

The Kingdom lacked even basic infrastructure and had no familiarity with modern technology. Not only the drilling rig and equipment, but every item of lumber, hardware, plumbing and steel needed to create living quarters, pipe for water, transportation equipment, food and personal requiremen


Source: The Wall Street Journal