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  • Date Submitted: 10/18/2010 01:09 PM
  • Flesch-Kincaid Score: 33.4 
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‘Yanbu', as the city is commonly known, is the western terminus of parallel pipelines that carry liquefied natural gas and oil across nearly 1300 km (nearly 800 mi) of desert and mountains. The town is a growing industrial center with three large oil refineries, a petrochemical complex, and a large desalination plant. Industries using gas and oil as raw materials make a variety of consumer products, including plastics. Yanbu' is connected with the rest of the country by a modern highway system. It also has an airport, a large commercial port, and a naval base. During the 1st millennium BC Yanbu' al Bahr was a stopping point for merchant caravans on the incense route that extended from Yemen to the Mediterranean Sea. Later it also served as a resting site for Muslim pilgrims traveling to Mecca and Medina. In 1975 the Saudi government chose Yanbu and Al Jubayl, a small town on the Persian Gulf coast, to be developed as modern industrial cities. Both play a central role in diversifying Saudi Arabia's economic base so that the country is not dependent solely on crude oil exports.
Population (1993 estimate) 40,000.
Twenty years ago, all that could be seen at Yanbu was an insignificant Red Sea fishing port, surrounded by an arid coastal plain. Today, Yanbu Industrial City together with its port ranks as one of the exporting giants of the modern Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The construction of this ultra-modern industrial base in such a short time must surely be counted as one of the Kingdom's most astonishing achievements.
Back in the 1960s, Saudi Arabia's vast petroleum deposits were still being largely extracted by foreign countries, thirty years on from the first discovery of oil. The dramatic rise in oil prices, however, which began in the early seventies, heralded a glowing social and economic future for the Kingdom. The dream to establish Saudi Arabia as a top worldwide industrial exporter could at last begin to take shape.
The first step was...


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