Common perception has the industry at odds with environmental management and biodiversity conservation. Yet, scientists have found sanctuaries of biodiversity coexist alongside Saudi Aramco’s operating areas.
Significantly, some of these onshore operating areas are more than eight decades old. Experts have identified many types of fauna and flora under Saudi Aramco’s protection, including threatened, migratory, and endemic species.
A four-year program completed by environmental scientists earlier this year identified and recorded 285 species of fauna and flora, and found 55, or 19%, of them are “endemic” species or subspecies. Standing in a bird shelter overlooking a company wetland in Saudi Arabia, company terrestrial ecologist Christopher R. Boland says this means around one in five of all plants and animals in these sanctuaries are found only in the Arabian Peninsula.
“Within our communities, within our operating areas, within our reservations we find countless species of birds, reptiles, mammals and plants,” he said. “Many of these species are globally endangered — some occur in Arabia and nowhere else on Earth; others are highly migratory, flying 15,000 km or more to forage at company protected areas.”