Abdullah Tariki

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Abdullah Tariki
Abdullah al-Tariki.jpg
Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources
In office
December 1960 9 March 1962
Prime Minister King Saud
Preceded byOffice established
Succeeded by Ahmed Zaki Yamani
Personal details
Born(1919-03-19)19 March 1919
Zulfi, Emirate of Nejd and Hasa
Died7 September 1997(1997-09-07) (aged 78)
Cairo, Egypt
Nationality Saudi Arabian
Alma mater Cairo University
University of Texas

Abdullah ibn Hamoud Tariki (19 March 1919 – 7 September 1997) (Arabic: عبدالله الطريقي), also known as Red Sheikh, [1] was a Saudi politician and government official. He was the first Saudi oil minister appointed by King Saud, and co-founder of Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) along with Venezuelan minister Juan Pablo Pérez Alfonso.

OPEC international organization of petroleum-exporting countries

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries is an intergovernmental organisation of 14 nations, founded in 1960 in Baghdad by the first five members, and headquartered since 1965 in Vienna, Austria. As of September 2018, the then 15 member countries accounted for an estimated 44 percent of global oil production and 81.5 percent of the world's "proven" oil reserves, giving OPEC a major influence on global oil prices that were previously determined by the so called "Seven Sisters” grouping of multinational oil companies.


Early life and education

Tariki was born on 19 March 1919 in Al Zulfi (Arabic : الزلفي) in Najd. [2] He was the son of a camel owner who organized caravans between Saudi Arabia and Kuwait. [3]

Najd Place

Najd or Nejd is a geographical central region of Saudi Arabia that alone accounts for almost a third of the population of the country. Najd consists of modern administrative regions of Riyadh, Al-Qassim, and Ha'il.

Kuwait Country in Western Asia

Kuwait, officially the State of Kuwait, is a country in Western Asia. Situated in the northern edge of Eastern Arabia at the tip of the Persian Gulf, it shares borders with Iraq and Saudi Arabia. As of 2016, Kuwait has a population of 4.5 million people: 1.3 million are Kuwaitis and 3.2 million are expatriates. Expatriates account for 70% of the population.

Tariki received his early education in Kuwait and in Cairo. [4] He held a bachelor's degree in geology and chemistry, which he obtained from Cairo University in 1944. [2] He graduated from the University of Texas in 1947, earning a master's degree in petroleum engineering and geology. [2] [5] He was also trained at the Texas Oil Company after graduation. [2] [6]

Cairo City in Egypt

Cairo is the capital of Egypt. The city's metropolitan area is one of the largest in Africa, the largest in the Middle East, and the 15th-largest in the world, and is associated with ancient Egypt, as the famous Giza pyramid complex and the ancient city of Memphis are located in its geographical area. Located near the Nile Delta, modern Cairo was founded in 969 CE by the Fatimid dynasty, but the land composing the present-day city was the site of ancient national capitals whose remnants remain visible in parts of Old Cairo. Cairo has long been a centre of the region's political and cultural life, and is titled "the city of a thousand minarets" for its preponderance of Islamic architecture. Cairo is considered a World City with a "Beta +" classification according to GaWC.

Cairo University public university with its main campus in Giza, Egypt

Cairo University is Egypt's premier public university. Its main campus is in Giza, immediately across the Nile from Cairo. It was founded on 21 December 1908; however, after being housed in various parts of Cairo, its faculties, beginning with the Faculty of Arts, were established on its current main campus in Giza in October 1929. It is the second oldest institution of higher education in Egypt after Al Azhar University, notwithstanding the pre-existing higher professional schools that later became constituent colleges of the university. It was founded and funded as the Egyptian University by a committee of private citizens with royal patronage in 1908 and became a state institution under King Fuad I in 1925. In 1940, four years following his death, the University was renamed King Fuad I University in his honor. It was renamed a second time after the Egyptian revolution of 1952. The University currently enrolls approximately 155,000 students in 22 faculties. It counts three Nobel Laureates among its graduates and is one of the 50 largest institutions of higher education in the world by enrollment.

Career and activities

After training in the US, Tariki returned to Saudi Arabia and worked at the ministry of finance office in Dammam from May 1953 to December 1954. [5] He served as an interpreter at the initial phase of his career at the ministry. [7] In December 1954, Tariki was appointed director-general of petroleum and mineral affairs in the ministry of finance and national economy. [5] [8]

Dammam Regional capital city in Eastern Province, Saudi Arabia

Dammam is the capital of the Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia. The judicial and administrative bodies of the province, plus several government departments, are located in the city. Dammam is the largest city in the Eastern Province, and the sixth largest in Saudi Arabia, after Riyadh, Jeddah, Mecca, Medina and Taif. Like the other 12 regional capitals of Saudi Arabia, Dammam is not included within any governorate; instead, it is governed as a "municipality" headed by a mayor.

Tariki's work at the directorate involved processing the petroleum production statistics provided by Aramco, and analysis summaries were then presented to the Saudi royal family. In fact, Tariki was one of the earliest critics of Aramco, arguing that the US companies should consult more with Saudi officials in exploring, pumping and selling of oil. [9] He called for the nationalization of Arab oil. [10] To achieve this goal, he and Venezuela's mines minister Juan Pablo Perez Alfonso strongly supported the foundation of the OPEC and eventually became founding members of it in September 1960. [4] [11]

Venezuela Republic in northern South America

Venezuela, officially the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, is a country on the northern coast of South America, consisting of a continental landmass and a large number of small islands and islets in the Caribbean Sea. The capital and largest urban agglomeration is the city of Caracas. It has a territorial extension of 916,445 km2. The continental territory is bordered on the north by the Caribbean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean, on the west by Colombia, Brazil on the south, Trinidad and Tobago to the north-east and on the east by Guyana. With this last country, the Venezuelan government maintains a claim for Guayana Esequiba over an area of 159,542 km2. For its maritime areas, it exercises sovereignty over 71,295 km2 of territorial waters, 22,224 km2 in its contiguous zone, 471,507 km2 of the Caribbean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean under the concept of exclusive economic zone, and 99,889 km2 of continental shelf. This marine area borders those of 13 states. The country has extremely high biodiversity and is ranked seventh in the world's list of nations with the most number of species. There are habitats ranging from the Andes Mountains in the west to the Amazon basin rain-forest in the south via extensive llanos plains, the Caribbean coast and the Orinoco River Delta in the east.

The ministry of petroleum and mineral resources was created in December 1960, and Tariki was appointed the first oil minister. [12] [13] Tariki joined Prince Talal bin Abdulaziz's camp, Free Princes Movement, in 1961, [14] and they accused Crown Prince Faisal, later King Faisal, of corruption. [12] Tariki became a powerful ally of the movement. [3] He claimed on evidence that Kamal Adham, who was the brother-in-law of Prince Faisal, got 2% of the profits of the Arabian Oil Company that had been cofounded by Saudi Arabia and Japan. [12]

The Free Princes Movement was a Saudi liberal political movement that existed from 1958 to 1964. Its members were known as the Young Najd, Free Princes, and Liberal Princes.

Faisal of Saudi Arabia King of Saudi Arabia

Faisal bin Abdulaziz Al Saud was King of Saudi Arabia from 1964 to 1975. He emerged as an influential royal politician under his father King Abdulaziz and brother King Saud. While crown prince in 1962, Faisal outlawed slavery in Saudi Arabia. With the help of other members of the royal family and his maternal relative, the grand mufti of Saudi Arabia, Faisal persuaded King Saud, who was increasingly becoming a figurehead, to abdicate in 1964 and became king himself.

Kamal Adham was a businessman and former director general of Saudi Arabia's Al Mukhabarat Al A'amah or the general intelligence directorate. He served as a royal counsellor to both King Faisal and King Khalid.

Tariki was removed from office by Prince Faisal in 1962. [4] [15] He was succeeded by Ahmed Zaki Yamani as oil minister. [12] Yamani sacked Tariki also from Aramco's board. [12]

Later years

Following his dismissal, Tariki went to exile and settled in Beirut. [10] [12] In January 1963, he and Lebanese oil expert Nicholas Sarkis founded an oil consulting firm in Beirut. [5] Tariki also launced a journal there, namely Arab Oil and Gas. [16] He could visit Saudi Arabia only after the death of King Faisal in 1975. [3] Later he settled in Cairo. [17]


Tariki died of a heart attack on 7 September 1997 in Cairo at age 78. [18] [19] His body was taken to Saudi Arabia for burial. [17]


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