Who was the Bedouin guide who tracked Saudi’s first oil in the desert?

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Long before the invention of GPS and the development of equipment for oil and gas exploration, oil giant Aramco resorted to the help of guides. One of their most distinguished trackers was Khamis ibn Rimthan, from the Ujman tribe.

Aramco honored him last week by naming one of its oil tankers after him.

This is not the first time Aramco recognizes ibn Rimthan’s expertise and efforts as in 1974, it named an oil well that was discovered in the eastern province after him to honor him for contributing to discovering the first oil well, i.e. well no. 7, in Saudi Arabia.


Ibn Rimthan is one of the most famous guides who was highly commended by geologists when drilling and exploration works first began in Saudi Arabia.

He was the first guide to be assigned by the Saudi government and was later assigned to Aramco in 1934.

Ibn Rimthan and American geologist Max Steineke were assigned by King Abdulaziz to find oil for commercial use in the eastern province. Although many had given up on finding oil there, they eventually found the first oil well, later dubbed as oil no.7.

The renowned guide passed away in 1959 at 50 years old following a battle with cancer and remains highly appreciated for his efforts in discovering oil wells.

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