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How an oil company created an American suburb in Saudi Arabia

Business Insider Logo By Sarah Jacobs of Business Insider | Slide 1 of 11: Much of the world's oil has been discovered in Saudi Arabia, and it now accounts for  92% of the country's budget.  It began in the 1930s, when Standard Oil of California began breaking ground for oil in the country. Working with the Saudi government, SOCAL agreed to employ Saudi nationals within the country, "as far as practicable," as the contract stated. As American geologists began to also work on the site, the found their new life in Saudi Arabia was foreign to them in many ways. In response, the company, whose name was changed in the 1980s to Saudi Arabian Oil Company - or Saudi ARAMCO - built a compound that imitated the look and feel of an American suburb.  There, Americans working for Saudi ARAMCO could raise their families in a more familiar setting. Photographer Ayesha Malik was born and raised inside the Saudi ARAMCO community in the 1990s, and her new book, "ARAMCO: Above the Oil Fields," explores her experience there.

Much of the world's oil comes from Saudi Arabia, and it now accounts for 92% of the country's budget.

It began in the 1930s, when Standard Oil of California began breaking ground for oil in the country. Working with the Saudi government, SOCAL agreed to employ Saudi nationals within the country, "as far as practicable," as the contract stated.

As American geologists began to also work on the site, they found their new life in Saudi Arabia was foreign to them in many ways. In response, the company, whose name was changed in the 1980s to Saudi Arabian Oil Company - or Saudi ARAMCO - built a compound that imitated the look and feel of an American suburb.

There, Americans working for Saudi ARAMCO could raise their families in a more familiar setting. Photographer Ayesha Malik was born and raised inside the Saudi ARAMCO community in the 1990s, and her new book, "ARAMCO: Above the Oil Fields," explores her experience there.

Click through the slideshow

© Ayesha Malik

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