The region of Al Dhafra encompasses approximately 35,250 sq km and accounts for 60% of the total landmass of the emirate of Abu Dhabi. The region is bound by a 350-km northern coastline and lies between Saudi Arabia to the west and south, Al Ain to the east and the Abu Dhabi region in the north-east. Al Dhafra is mostly desert and lies on the edge of the Arabian Peninsula’s Empty Quarter (Rub Al Khali), the world’s largest uninterrupted mass of sand. As a result, Al Dhafra, despite being the largest of Abu Dhabi’s regions, is the most sparsely populated. Al Dhafra’s economy is underpinned by its hydrocarbons industry; the region is home to around 90% of Abu Dhabi’s total oil reserves.
This chapter contains an interview with Sheikh Hamdan bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Ruler’s Representative in the Al Dhafra Region.