Saudi Arabia Geography and Oil Compared Term Paper

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Saudi Arabia

GEOGRAPHY and OIL

Compared to other geographical regions of the world, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia which stretches from the Gulf of Aqaba and the Red Sea in the west to the Persian Gulf in the east and border the nations of Jordan, Iraq, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, the UAE, Oman and the Republic of Yemen, occupies a unique position, due to two important facts. First, it is extremely limited when it comes to natural resources, such as arable land for crops, lumber for building homes and adequate freshwater resources for its population of just over 17,000,000 people. Second, Saudi Arabia has been blessed with one of the world's largest oil reserves on the planet, a situation which created a gross national product of over $374 billion dollars in 2006 (the Middle East, 387). Obviously, Saudi Arabia has come out on top of the economic mountain as a result of its oil reserves which would not exist if it were not for the geographical and geological nature of this huge Middle-Eastern peninsula.

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Geographically, Saudi Arabia is generally divided into regions characterized by very distinctive terrain, such as coastlines, sand deserts, plateaus, escarpments and mountain ranges. Along the eastern shore of the Red Sea, a narrow plain runs the entire length of the coastline and gradually rises from the shore to mountain ranges averaging between 4,000 and 7,000 feet in height. Just south of the holy cities of Mecca and Medina, the rugged coastal highlands of the Asir is composed of peaks rising more than 9,000 feet in height. East of this area lies the central rocky plateau known as the Najid.

TOPIC: Term Paper on Saudi Arabia Geography and Oil Compared to Assignment

In the north, the immense Syrian desert extends southward into "the 22,000 square miles of the reddish al-Nufud desert, where a narrow strip of desert known as al-Dahna... arcs downward" toward one of the largest sand deserts in the world, "the Rub al-Khali or Empty Quarter which measures more than 250,000 square miles" (the Middle East, 388). The Eastern Province which slopes toward the sandy coastline of the Persian Gulf contains Saudi Arabia's rich oil fields, "the main source of the country's national income, formed by sedimentary rocks, gravel and sand" which constitutes "common oil-producing land formations typical of the Middles East" ("Saudi Arabia," 301).

As previously mentioned, Saudi Arabia lacks many essential natural resources, due to its geographical composition. This immense expanse of sand makes it impossible for permanent rivers and other bodies of water to exist which not surprisingly makes this area extremely dry. Rainfall, ground water, desalinated seawater and very scarce surface water are the only sources for Saudi Arabia's rather minuscule agricultural output which mostly is used to feed the country's growing population. As a result, Saudi Arabia has invested more than $20 billion dollars in desalination projects and is currently the largest producer of desalinated water in the world (the Middle East, 388). However, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, due to its geological composition, also makes use of and exports a wide range of minerals, such as gold, uranium, bauxite, coal, iron, phosphate, tungsten, zinc, silver and copper ("Background Note," Internet).

According to the United States Department of State, oil reserves in Saudi Arabia "are the largest in the world" and is currently "the world's leading oil producer and exporter." The drilling and removal of oil "accounts for more than 90% of the country's exports and nearly 75% of government revenues." Overall, it has been estimated that Saudi Arabian oil reserves exceed

260 billion barrels, "about one-quarter of world oil reserves" ("Background Note," Internet).

Since oil is Saudi Arabia's main or perhaps only legitimate export, we should at least briefly examine its geographical and geological makeup. In layman's terms, every oil field in Saudi Arabia are of the structural type… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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