The Eastern Province: A Key Trading Centre

Saudi Arabia’s “Eastern Province” is located on The Arabian Gulf and offers a strategic access to international trade and tourism. It has an area of 710,000 km2 with a population of 3,360,157. It is the largest province, representing more than 36% of country’s total area.


Its coastline has been a significant link in East-West trade from many past centuries. The region emerged as the centre of commercial activities during the early to mid 20th century.


The province achieved enormous economic power and stability following the discovery of substantial oil reserves. It has more than 20% of the entire 1.3 trillion barrels of confirmed oil reserves in the world. This discovery brought huge investment in modern roads, ports, airports, communications and financial services, and acts as a catalyst for economic growth.


A growing agricultural sector, a thriving electricity industry, water desalination plants, petrochemical complexes, and a vast network of downstream industries also acted dynamically in the development of the province.


Today, the province is a major route between neighbouring countries, including India, the Far East, Europe, and America. 

A Strategic Province

It extends from the borders of Kuwait and Iraq in the north to the desert of Al-Rub Al-Khali in the south, where the country shares borders with Yemen and Oman. It also has land and/or sea borders with Oman, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar and Bahrain. 


Eastern Province generates 60% of the Saudi Arab’s total GDP, which makes it the second-largest economy in the Middle East, and the industrial capital of the region.


In fact, investment in engineering works like the King Fahd Bridge, which connects Bahrain to the Eastern Province, has facilitated commerce and trade to a great extent. The Eastern Province is also linked to the Kingdom’s other provinces as well as to strategic western ports on the Red Sea, including Jeddah.

Natural Resources

The unique feature of Eastern Province is its massive natural resources, mainly oil and gas. Saudi Arabia has over 100 oil and gas fields and the eight fields in the Eastern Province account for a 50% of country’s total oil reserves.


Ghawar field is the largest oil field in the world covering the area of 3,262 km2 and expected to have 70 billion barrels of crude oil. The Saffaniyah field (including Khafji and Hout, the world’s largest offshore oil field) is expected to have 25-35 billion barrels of crude oil.


The crude oil in the Kingdom’s oil fields is of high quality. Around two-third of Saudi oil reserves are considered to be of “light” or “extra light” grades, which is a higher quality crude oil used to produce more premium products (such as gasoline) at relatively lower costs than it would with “medium” or “heavy” grades of oil.

Natural Beauty

The Eastern Province is the most industrialized part of the Kingdom with more than 86% of country’s basic industries located there. Industrial areas in the cities of Dammam and Al-Jubail represent significant achievements and unique development in the entire region.


The administrative and territorial division of the Eastern Province includes 10 districts. The largest cities include Dammam, Al-Hasa, Al-Jubail, Ras Tanura, Dhahran, Al-Khobar, and Al-Qatif.


Besides being a centre for industry and commerce, the Eastern Province has magnificent coastlines, beautiful public parks, and numerous green areas along its coasts. As such, Eastern Arabia is often called “Al-Ahsa” (or Al-Hasa) after the largest oasis and one of the most fertile areas of the country.

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