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Aramco early adopted the rules outlined in 'Classification and Nomenclature of Rock Units' published in the Bulletin of the Geological Society of America, v. Inline with this policy, the new code on stratigraphic nomenclature by the Commission, which was published in the Bulletin of the American Association of Petroleum Geologists, v. 645-665, 1961, has been adopted by Aramco and accepted as basic to current usage.
During the early phases of exploration in Arabia, two sets of rock names were developed; one for the sequence exposed in central Arabia, the other for subsurface sections penetrated in the coastal area.
Only limited investigations of special outcrop problems have been carried out since that time.
High-altitude photography was of particular help in this phase.
The Biyadh and Wasia Formations are prime examples (for details refer to discussion of these units).
The problem has been solved with varying degrees of success by: (a) extending the limits of subsurface units equivalent to their surface counterparts to include beds to which they are logically related (as was done in the case of the Biyadh Formation) or (b) defining a new unit through correlation with areas adjacent to Arabia, for example, the Shu'aiba Formation.
Aramco's first offshore discovery came in 1951 with the drilling of the Safaniya (As Saffaniyah) structure in the northwestern Arabian Gulf.
Further discoveries in 1951, 1952, and 1953 at 'Uthmaniyah (Al 'Uthmaniyah), Shedgum (Shadqam) and Hawiyah (Al Hawiyah) established Ghawar (Al Ghawar) field, a single anticline - oil-filled from Haradh to Ain Dar and Fazran, a distance of nearly 250 kilometers.
Nine more wells were later drilled at Dammam; although some of these were promising none proved out on sustained testing.This is to be expected, in that first correlations between two such distant areas would obviously be weak.