Biodiversity commitments & protected areas

Biodiversity & land use

From creating a wildlife sanctuary in the Rub’ al-Khali to establishing artificial reefs, planting millions of mangrove and desert trees, and developing the first mangrove eco-park in the Kingdom, Aramco is invested in a wide range of initiatives that protect the biodiversity of land, seas, and coastlines.

We maintain 10 sites across Saudi Arabia that have been designated as Corporate Biodiversity Protection Areas; a total of 977 square kilometers dedicated to the protection of local, natural ecosystems. From Shaybah in the south, to Tanajib in the north, these ten protected areas include migratory bird sanctuaries, sandy-gravel wildflower fields, mangrove forests, mountains, wetlands and vast sand seas.

Together, these sites are home to more than 500 species of plants and animals, including at least 55 species or subspecies that are unique to Saudi Arabia. Many are globally endangered; others are highly migratory, flying 15,000 km or more to forage at our company protected areas. Some occur in Saudi Arabia and nowhere else on earth. All of them need our ongoing stewardship.

Additional sites are currently under review for designation as biodiversity protection areas, and we continually refine our operations to ensure our activities minimize impact on biodiversity wherever possible. Promoting the conservation of natural biodiversity within its reservations is guided by our overarching Environmental Protection Policy. Our company procedures for implementing this policy were revised in 2019 to strengthen biodiversity protection measures.

How do we protect the natural environment at our sites?

Before any project, we conduct environmental evaluation studies in accordance with the relevant environmental regulations and standards of Saudi Arabia’s environmental laws and regulations, in addition to other regulations as applicable in certain areas of the Kingdom.

These studies identify potential environmental impacts, the appropriate actions and means to prevent or minimize negative effects or appropriate actions to increase the project’s positive returns to the environment.

We follow international best practices and local environmental regulations to develop project site closure and rehabilitation plans to minimize the environmental and health impacts associated with out- of- service plants and contaminated sites. These best practices include mitigation and monitoring plans that ensure effective site closure and rehabilitation, to restore land use.

We ensure that final asset disposal and remedial obligations comply with relevant environmental legislation, regularly updating closure plans to restore land use for the community. In addition, rehabilitation of such sites contributes to the CCE, where usable materials can be recovered, reused, recycled, or removed.