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Abqaiq is located in Saudi Arabia
Location in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
Coordinates: 25°56′N 49°40′E / 25.933°N 49.667°E / 25.933; 49.667Coordinates: 25°56′N 49°40′E / 25.933°N 49.667°E / 25.933; 49.667
Country Flag of Saudi Arabia.svg Saudi Arabia
Province Eastern Province
Established 1940
 • Provincial Governor Saud bin Nayef Al Saud
Population (2005)
 • Total 44,000
  Abqaiq Municipality estimate
Postal Code (5 digits)
Area code(s) +966-13
Website Official website
Map of Abqaiq Region

Abqaiq (Arabic: بقيق‎‎ Biqayq), is a Saudi Aramco gated community and oil-processing facilities located in the Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia, located in the desert 60 km southwest of the Dhahran-Dammam-Khobar metropolitan area, and north of the Rub' al-Khali, the second largest sand desert in the world also known as the "Empty Quarter". The community was built in the 1940s by Aramco (now Saudi Aramco). The Abqaiq community had a population of approximately 1,500 in 2012, though the inclusion of the population outside the Saudi Aramco community brings this number closer to 30,000.

Terrorism and security[edit]

Abqaiq was the site of a terrorist attack attempt by al-Qaeda on 24 February 2006, targeting the oil processing facility.[1] The news of the attack pushed oil prices up by 2 dollars. The damage, however, was immediately contained by Saudi Aramco. According to Khalid R. al-Rodhan of the Center for Strategic and International Studies, "even if some of the facilities were destroyed, Saudi Aramco has claimed that it has backup and redundant facilities to produce at near capacity". In a report about the incident, he concludes that "the attack against Abqaiq should not be seen as a turning point in either Saudi stability or the global energy market. Rather, it is evidence that al-Qaeda and other extremists groups will stop at nothing to disturb the global economy and international peace. It also signals that al-Qaeda is changing tactics to attack an area that will garner most attention and inflict most damage on the Saudi leadership, the U.S., and the international community."[2]

However, a moderate to severe attack on Abqaiq would slow production from an average of 6.8 million barrels (1,080,000 m3) a day to 1 million barrels (160,000 m3). The chief purpose of Abqaiq is to remove hydrogen sulfide from crude oil and reduce the vapor pressure, making the crude safe to be shipped in tankers. Abqaiq is the world's largest facility for this stabilization.[3]



There is a small single strip airport in Abqaiq (Abqaiq Airport) operated by Saudi Aramco and not open for commercial air traffic. However, Saudi Aramco utilizes the nearby King Fahd International Airport in Dammam which is 60 km away from Abqaiq. It also provides full international air service.


  1. ^ "Saudis 'foil oil facility attack'". BBC News. 24 February 2006. Retrieved 8 April 2013. 
  2. ^ Al Rodhan, Khalid R. (27 February 2006). "The Impact of the Abqaiq Attack on SaudiEnergy Security" (PDF). CSIS. Retrieved 8 April 2013. 
  3. ^ "Saudi Explosion". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 8 April 2013. [dead link]

External links[edit]