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|• Mayor||Bandar Al-Subayi|
|• City||100 km2 (40 sq mi)|
|• Land||100 km2 (40 sq mi)|
|• Water||0 km2 (0 sq mi)|
|• Mayor||Bandar Al-Subayi|
|• City||100 km2 (40 sq mi)|
|• Land||100 km2 (40 sq mi)|
|• Water||0 km2 (0 sq mi)|
Dhahran (Arabic الظهران aẓ-Ẓahrān) is a city located in Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia, and is a major administrative center for the Saudi oil industry. It forms part of the Dammam Metropolitan Area along with Dammam and Khobar, which together have a combined population of over 2.5 million.
Large oil reserves were first identified in the Dhahran area in 1931, and in 1935, Standard Oil drilled the first commercially viable oil well. Standard Oil later established a subsidiary in Saudi Arabia called the Arabian American Oil Company (ARAMCO), now fully owned by the Saudi government and known as Saudi Aramco. Dhahran has been Saudi Aramco's headquarters for 80 years and is its first and largest gated compound with over 9,700 residents. Employees and dependants of Aramco, known as Aramcons, have a tendency to use Dhahran to solely refer to the Aramco camp while using Khobar and/or Dammam to refer to the area outside the camp. The Saudi Aramco Residential Camp makes up most of the city of Dhahran today.
Dhahran is a short distance west of downtown Khobar. It is about 15 kilometres (9.3 mi) south of Dammam. Both are older Saudi port cities on coast of the Persian Gulf. Looking farther afield, Dhahran is northeast of Abqaiq, and southeast of Qatif and, further north, Ras Tanura, a major oil port. The island of Kingdom of Bahrain is also within easy driving distance to the east (about 20 miles (32 km)), across the King Fahd Causeway, from Khobar.
The patch of desert on which the city is built is hilly and rocky, and most of the earliest productive oil wells in Saudi Arabia were drilled in the area, such as Dammam Well #7: "Prosperity Well," the first commercially viable oil well in Saudi Arabia in the 1930s. This well is still in production 70 years later. This later led to the selection of two barren nearby hills as the place for Aramco to construct its headquarters.
Dhahran’s climate is characterized by extremely hot, humid summers, and cool winters. Temperatures can rise to more than 50 °C (120 °F) in the summer, coupled with extreme humidity (85–100 per cent), given the city’s proximity to the Persian Gulf. The highest recorded temperature in Dhahran is 51.1 °C (124.0 °F). In winter, the temperature rarely falls below 2 °C (36 °F) or 3 °C (37 °F), with the lowest ever recorded being −1 °C (30 °F) in January 1964. Rain falls almost exclusively between the months of November and May. The Shamal winds usually blow across the city in the early months of the summer, bringing dust storms that can reduce visibility to a few metres. These winds can last for up to six months.
On July 8, 2003, the dewpoint was 35 °C (95 °F) while the temperature was 42 °C (108 °F), resulting in a heat index of 78 °C (172 °F).
|Climate data for Dhahran, Saudi Arabia|
|Record high °C (°F)||30.0|
|Average high °C (°F)||20.8|
|Daily mean °C (°F)||15.5|
|Average low °C (°F)||10.2|
|Record low °C (°F)||−1|
|Precipitation mm (inches)||17.7|
|Avg. precipitation days||11.0||9.7||16.2||7.6||2.2||0.1||0.1||0.0||0.1||0.6||4.9||10.2||62.7|
|Source #1: Hong Kong Observatory (1981–2000)|
|Source #2: NOAA (extremes and humidity, 1961-1990)|
Dhahran was settled after 1938, the year oil was discovered in the vicinity.
During WW II on 19 October 1940 Dhahran was struck by Italian Royal Air Force (Regia Aeronautica) as a part of Bombing of Bahrain, causing little damage. In 1950 Dhahran had a population of about 7,000 people. During the Gulf War, the city was the scene of the largest loss of life among coalition forces. On February 25, 1991, an Iraqi missile hit a U.S. Army barracks in the city, killing 28 American reservists from Pennsylvania.
Dhahran has the headquarters of Saudi Aramco. The company is the largest oil company in the world with the largest oil reserves in the world , and it produces about 10 million barrels of oil per day. Most of the oil is exported, since local Saudi needs require about 12 percent of the total production. (See: Saudi Aramco)
Seventy-seven years on, Dhahran is still Saudi Aramco's worldwide headquarters and the center of the company's finance, exploration, engineering, drilling services, medical services, materials supply and other company organisations.
The population of Dhahran is mainly Saudi, but also includes many expatriates from Asian countries, such as Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, Nepal, Pakistan and the Philippines, as well as countries such as the United States, Canada, European countries, Turkey, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand. There are also many non-Saudi Arab nationals living in Dhahran, such as Egyptians, Jordanians, Lebanese, Palestinians, Sudanese, and Syrians. According to a 2004 census the total population of the Dhahran municipality is 97,446.
Many companies that employ relatively large numbers of expatriates have built fenced-in compounds where only expatriates live, however the Saudi Aramco Residential Camp in Dhahran is not one of these. Built originally to allow expatriate oil company employees (mainly Americans) a degree of Western comfort and separation from the restrictions of Saudi and Islamic laws, the community today has shifted somewhat in line with the reduction of western residents into a multi-ethnic mosaic of Saudis, other Arab nationalities (e.g. Egyptian and Jordanian), Filipinos, Indians, Pakistanis, and a few Americans and British expats. While only employees of Saudi Aramco live on the camp, their nationalities reflect those of the company as a whole. As of 2008, the Saudi Aramco workforce is 85% Saudi, with only 15% expatriates. There are also several neighborhoods, or suburbs just outside the main Saudi Aramco Camp, such as Doha Camp (حي الدوحه) and Dana Camp (حي الدانة), where Saudi Aramco gives home loans to Saudi employees to build their own homes.
Dhahran is part of the Eastern Province, the largest province in Saudi Arabia. The province is governed by Prince Saud bin Nayef bin Abdul Aziz al-Saud. Just like the rest of the country, the law of Shari’a, or Islamic law is adhered to. Following the Saudi Arabian municipal elections in 2005, members of the municipal councils were elected.
Dhahran is guarded as it is a high visibility city. The Saudi Special Emergency Forces' Eastern Province headquarters are located in Dhahran near the Saudi Aramco residential camp. There are many security checkpoints throughout the city that have been almost permanently in place since the Riyadh Compound Bombings.
As the centre of the nation's oil industry, Dhahran enjoys good transport resources both nationally and internationally, especially after the extensive modernisation of the nations highway infrastructure in the 70's and 80's.
The extensive highway network in the Dhahran, Khobar, Dammam area serves the strategically important national oil industry, led by 'Saudi Aramco', as well as the local population. However, car ownership in the Kingdom has soared which often leaves non-highway roads congested at peak times. An ongoing traffic smoothing project is underway, installing underpasses at major intersections which will help alleviate the congestion.
Formerly one of Saudi Arabia's three major international airports, Dhahran Airport (DHA), which opened in 1946 as Dhahran Airfield, is now a Royal Saudi Air Force air-base. Today, King Fahad International Airport (DMM), which replaced Dhahran International for commercial and cargo, serves the entire Metropolitan Area of Dhahran, Dammam, and Khobar, the distance to the airport terminal is about 40 km (25 Miles) from Dhahran. Saudi Aramco Aviation has its own buildings and terminal where all Saudi Aramco flights originate.
Although rail service in Saudi Arabia plays a much more minor role today than 50 years ago, an industrial railroad with a station adjacent to Dhahran still exists, linking it to the capital Riyadh.
Public transport buses are only available in a very limited manner (when off of the Saudi Aramco residential camp), with Taxi services, at reasonable prices and widely available, proving more popular. Large companies such as Saudi Aramco run their own bus transport operations, connecting residential and industrial camps of the company with Dhahran, Dammam and Khobar. Many smaller residential compounds also operate their own bus services which are typically used for transport to places of work or shopping trips by residents.
STC also provides landlines through its Al-Hatif services, as well as providing internet services through Saudi Data.
Schools in Dhahran come under two sections: public (government-run) and private. Public schools (K-12), open to almost everyone, strictly adhere to teaching the curriculum exactly as provided by the Ministry of Education. Public schools also come under two sections: Aramco Built and government built. The Aramco built schools are usually better in design and last longer due to them being built to higher standards. The Dhahran School and the Dhahran Hills School are the two main schools that are only for the children of employees, located inside the Saudi Aramco Dhahran Camp. They are international schools and are fully accredited. Private schools also teach the ministry’s curriculum, but they have more flexibility often enhancing certain aspects, such as exceeding the ministry’s curriculum when teaching the English language and computer applications. King Fahad University Schools, Dhahran Ahliyyah Schools and Saad National Schools are examples of top private schools in Dhahran.
There are several schools that teach the curriculum of their native countries, such as the Pakistan International School, International Indian School, Dhahran British Grammar School, Dhahran Elementary Middle School, Dhahran High School.
Dhahran is also home to the world renowned King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals (KFUPM), and the Aramco Training Center (ATC), where many new employees of Saudi Aramco learn useful skills, such as English, Business Mathematics, Physics, and computer skills. University of Dammam and Prince Mohammad bin Fahd University are also located near the city.
Dhahran, specifically a team drawn from the Saudi Aramco Residential Camp, represented the Middle East-Africa, or "MEA" region (formerly the Trans-Atlantic region) from 2000–2011. The city also had 11 teams before that represented them from the first being in 1983 through 1998. Though Dhahran has produced many teams to the Little League World Series, no team has ever won the World Series championship game, nor the international championship game. The best finish by a team from Saudi Aramco Residential Camp was a tie for third place in 1994. Aaron Durley is a former Little League baseball player for the team.
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