Ras Al Khafji ( ) or Khafji was historically the principal town in the neutral zone between Kuwait and Saudi Arabia. It was only when the Japanese-owned Arabian Oil Company Ltd discovered substantial oil deposit off shore of Khafji in the 1950s. that a permanent demarcation was established, and with Khafji being formally located within Saudi Arabia. However the agreement conclued that both states would still maintain joint rights to all natural resources within the designated neutral zone. With the termination of the Arabian Oil Company lease to explore and extract within the area, operations within the Khafji Fields reverted to a joint venture between shareholder companies representing both states, and with production being split on a 50:50 agreement between Kuwait and Saudi Arabia
Khafjis notoriety however is primarily owed to the Battle of Khafji which took place in and around the town in 1991, and marks the high tide of Iraqs advance through Kuwait and into Saudi Arabia.
Al-Khafji city is affiliated to the Eastern Regions Amarah. The city started as a residential compound for the staff of the Arab-Japanese Oil Company which was offered the first concession right for oil exploration and drilling in the neutral zone between the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the State of Kuwait. The city is located on the side of the Persian Gulf in the neutral zone, the concession area between Saudi Arabia and Kuwait. Later the city became fully administered by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and called Al-Khafji Province of The Eastern Region.
It is located at latitude 28-26 N and longitude 48-30 E slightly north of Ras Al-Khafji, 10 kilometers distance south of the Saudi-Kuwaiti border, 130 kilometers south of Kuwait City and 300 kilometers north of Dammam.
A number of factors affect the climate in Al-Khafji area, the most important being the meteorological and geographic locations. Its climate is considered as an arid region climate, with a total average annual rainfall of only 105 mms. However, the quantity of annual rainfall substantially varies from one year to another as some years witness a precipitation of more than 200 mms, while in others only a few mms. In Spring the average temperature is in the range of 21 degrees Celsius, with relative humidity about 50 %. In Summer the temperature averages around 33 degrees Celsius, while relative humidity is about 50 %. Autumn sees average temperatures around 29 degrees Celsius, while relative humidity is about 50 %.
The building of Al-Khafji started in 1960 (1380 AH) after the discovery of the Al-Khafji oil field by the Arabian-Japanese Oil Company. Following the flow of oil in commercial quantities at the outset of the year 1960, the Arabian Japanese Oil Company established a residential compound that was composed of 73 residential quarters, built on a total area of , and provided with all needed drainage, sanitary, electricity, water, cable telephone and road networks. With the expansion of oil exploration and drilling works in the region, the city gradually expanded, regularly keeping pace with the socio-economic development witnessed by the Kingdom in general.
the Saudi government with the cooperation with Khafji Joint Operations is having huge projects in Khafji to list it as one of the major cities in Saudi Arabia. According to the Saudi government's view, Khafji is to be the headquarter of a new natural gas company. One of the government's projects there is to make the city as a national tourist destination, for the beautiful virgin beaches it has on the Arabian gulf during summers, and the beautiful weather and desert camps in winters.
Population in khafji is about 65,000 (2005). Most of those who live there are oil companies employees and their families. All Khafji residents came from different cities in Saudi Arabia and Kuwait after founding the Arabian Oil Company, Khafji Joint Operations currently. However, a new generation grew up in Khafji and it became their new hometown.
The city still needs higher education for its residents as education stops at the high school level there. Male students who graduate from high school need to leave Khafji to get higher education. The only college in Khafji is the Girls Education College which is a female-only college. However, that college has a lot of troubles in its educational system, which forced many female students to seek better education quality away from home, and away from the kingdom too.
Shopping in Khafji
Shopping in Khafji is still not the best anyone can do, though businesses are getting better there. Being located near Kuwait, many residents in Khafji prefer to do shopping in the neighbor state. Some others wait for weekends to go to Dammam, 300 kilometers south to khafji, for shopping. This is due to the variety and availability of most of the products in Kuwait's and Dammam's big markets comparing to Khafji's growing markets. Because this is one of the Khafji's residents' main shopping behavior, many businesses fail in that town. Only serious businesses can make it there with providing the same quality products in competitive prices.