Ras Tanura is a city in the Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia located on a peninsula extending into the Persian Gulf. The name Ras Tanura applies both to a gated Saudi Aramco employee compound (also referred to as "Najmah") and to an industrial area further out on the peninsula that serves as a major oil port and oil operations center for Saudi Aramco, the largest oil company in the world. Today, the compound has about 3,200 residents, with a few Americans and British expats.
Geographically, the Ras Tanura complex is located a distance south of
the modern industrial port city of Jubail (formerly a sleepy fishing village) and north across Tarut Bay from the old port city of (Al-)Dammam. Although Ras Tanura's port area is located on a small peninsula, due to modern oil tankers' need for deeper water, Saudi Aramco has built numerous artificial islands for easier docking. In addition, offshore oil rigs and production facilities have been constructed in the waters nearby, mostly by Saudi Aramco, Schlumberger, and Halliburton.
Najmah compound 'is one of four residential compounds built by ARAMCO in the 1940s and the only one located on the Gulf itself. Ras Tanura refinery is surrounded by a heavily guarded security fence, and Saudi employees and their dependants may live inside the Najmah residential compound which is less heavily guarded. Built originally to allow expatriate oil company employees (mainly Americans) a degree of Western comfort and separation from the restrictions of Saudi and Islamic laws, the community today has shifted somewhat in line wth the reduction of western residents into a multi-ethnic mosaic of Saudis, other Arab nationalities (e.g. Egyptian and Jordanian), Filipinos, Indians, Pakistanis, and a few Americans and British expats - all of whom live with English as the common language.
Ras Tanura in fiction
In the Clive Cussler book Treasure of Khan.
In the BBC docudrama, The Man Who Broke Britain, the price of oil increases dramatically after a terrorist attack against the oil refinery in Ras Tanura.
In the FX movie Oil Storm, the already damaged oil industry in the United States is further crippled by a terrorist attack at the same refining facility.
References to Ras Tanura in popular culture
During recent years, Ras Tanura (or RT or Najmah) has had an active community of Facebook users, that have contributed to more, easily searched, website pages with on-line photo galleries of Najmah, Saudi Arabia. Ras Tanura photo galleries that provide general views of the ocean beach, residential neighborhoods, and community facilities. Notably the golf course, and other well-maintained original community buildings, between the theater and the bowling alley, of Najmah which continues to function as an important coastal and inland link.
A most recent movie-sized documentary production of the American oil company-built towns, including the Ras Tanura employee camp Najmah, is the nostalgic titled "Home - The Aramco Brats Story", promoted as released with a trailer and DVD, December, 2006.
Aramco expats - Saudi Aramco company operated website for retiree relations
Ras Tanura Middle School
[*] Satellite image showing most parts of Ras Tanura: Aramco residential area, common city, and the huge oilfarms and oil seaport.
City-specific images and documents from the Aramco-Brats.com website
Aramco Services Company site: By clicking the "communities" link, information and photo tour''' can be found about Ras Tanura as well as other Aramco communities.
A billion barrels ago..., stories in the Ras Tanura refinery