Shifting Saudi sands

Shifting Saudi sandsThe towering red sand dunes of the Rub' al-Khali stand mute sentinel over the gleaming new facilities at Shaybah, Saudi Arabia's most recent giant oil field to go on stream (OGJ, Apr. 5, 2004, p. 24).Some of these dunes are well over 600 ft tall, yet they blend in with the massive, trackless expanse that is the Empty Quarter of Saudi Arabia. It is one of the world's largest sand deserts, one of the driest places on earth, and virtually uninhabited.Last March, a group of journalists touring the Shaybah operations at the invitation of state oil company Saudi Aramco was encouraged to hike the dunes and enjoy the view amid a setting sun.After the trek to the to...

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