1. Location and Size
Republic of Yemen is located on the southwest corner of the
Arabian Peninsula, between latitudes 12 -20 north of the
equator, and longitudes 14-54 east of Greenwich. The total
area is 555,000 sq.ktn excluding. Ar-rub-al-khali (the Empty
Quarter). The Red Sea to the west and the Gulf of Aden and
Arabian Sea to the south make up a 2000km long coastline.
Across the Bab al Mandab Strait, Djibouti is the nearest
African country and Oman is the neighbour to the east., Saudi
Arabia borders Yemen from the north.
2. Physical features
The landscape changes dramatically as one
moves eastward from the shores of the Red Sea and northward
from the Gulf of Aden to the great desert. Five distinct
geographical areas with climatic zones ranging from tropical
to moderate can be distinguished.
Called the Tihama, or “hot land” is a desert-like plain 30
to 40 k.m.. wide. Quite fertile when irrigated, dates and
cotton grow well here. Reefs protect the coastline and
there are many beautiful beaches. A tourist
infrastructure, however, has yet to be developed. The most
popular are near Khawkha and on the Aden peninsula. The
length of the coastal regions is about 2,000 km.
These are the most spectacular feature of south Arabia.
Rising steeply to 2000m, they are lined with tens of
thousands of intricately-fashioned terrace fields. The
terraces are part of an age-old yet highly sophisticated
system of water and soil management that enabled an
agriculture-based society to flourish in an otherwise
hostile environment. Deep wadis (valleys) divide the
mountains and discharge the monsoon torrents into the sea.
Many wadis are lush with papaya, mango and banana groves.
The western slopes are the natural habitat of coffee: a
crop that started its world career in Yemen, during the
16th century. The terraces are used also to cultivate
sorghum, wheat, barley and corn.
The Central highlands and their large basins, in one of
which the capital Sana’a is located at an altitude of 2350
m. boats the highest mountain on the Arabia peninsula.
Nabi Shu’aib (3650 m). During the summer grapes, grain and
vegetables grow and fruits are grown and large-scale
agriculture is practiced.
Ranging from 1100m to 2300m, the eastern mountains are
barren and rugged and agriculture is carried out mainly in
the wadis. Yemen’s ancient civilization developed and
flourished here at the edge of the desert. The seasonal
rain water was dammed with remarkable technical skill and
year-around irrigation systems were developed.
A1-Kliali (the Empty Quarter)
The Empty Quarter forms part of the desert regions of
Yemen. The commonest desert vegetation includes needle
plants, such as Kuthib, Zeiza, Mawrer, etc. The seasonal
wadis (Oasis) constitute a suitable habitat for
animal-rearing and nomadic settlement. Through various
historical periods, Ar-Rub Al-Khali was given a number of
names, namely Al-Regrag sea, Al Safi Sea, Great Yemeni
Desert, Ahkaf desert.
3. Yemeni Islands
There are more than 115 islands in Yemen
with distinct climatic and natural characteristics. Among
those located in the Red Sea, Kamaran is the biggest, and
Mayoon island, in the Bab al-Mandab strait, has strategic
importance. Socotra, with an area of some 3,600 sq.km. and a
population of 80,000, is the largest and most interesting in
the Yemeni islands . It is situated, together with some
smaller islands, in the Arabian Sea, some 500 km from
Mukalla city and 700 km from Aden.
Climate zones range from tropical on the
coastal strip and subtropical in the western and eastern
mountains, to moderate in the central mountains and basins.
Sana’a in the central highlands; is generally dry and
temperatures rarely exceed 30C in summer, while they may
fall below zero on winter nights. In Aden/Hodeidah the mean daily
temperature in summer is 36.6C.and in winter 28.6C, The
summer monsoon brings rain that varies considerably from
region to region. It permits rain-fed cultivation on the
terraces which are part of a sophisticated water management
system. In the south west (around Ibb), it rains from
February to October and rainfall of up to 1,000 mm/year may
be recorded. Other areas enjoy two rainy seasons, in
March-April and July-August. Rainfall in Sana’a averages
250mm, decreasing towards the east to 50mm. Aden receives
very little rainfall, on average 50mm per year.
5. Susceptibility to Natural
The tectonic process which formed the
mountains of Yemen and caused immense volcanic activity from
the beginning of the neozoic age (some 70 million years ago)
continues even today. The Arabian plate which separated from
the African continer to form the Red Sea still moves
eastward a few centimeters each year. Today, there is no
volcanic activity, but the “fires of Yemen” are remembered
in history. Hot springs testify to fact that the earth has
not completely settled yet. The severest earthquake of this
century hit the Dhamar region in 1982, taking 2502 lives and
affecting more than 265,000 people in 1072 villages and
hamlets. The earliest recorded earthquake was in 742 AD in
Sheba land. 25 earthquakes are believed to have occurred
since the 8th century. The last earthquake, which measured
4.5 on the Richter scale, occurred in the Udayn region west
of Ibb in November 1991, and killed 26 people. In February,
1993, Aden suffered major floods which killed 12 people and
caused extensive damage to property and the city’s aging
drainage and sewerage systems.
The main international airport is
situated in the capital, Sana’a, and is currently served by
a number of international airlines. There are also regional
airports in Aden, Hodeidah, Taiz and Rayan. Plans are
underway to improve the airport facilities in Sana'a as well
as opening up international flights to Aden International
In 1997, Hunt signed agreements with the
government of Yemen and partner companies to develop the
Yemen liquefied natural gas project. Natural gas reserves
from Marib Block 18 and other fields located in the vicinity
have been dedicated to the project, which will require
approximately 1 billion cubic feet of gas per day to produce
6.7 million tones of LNG per annum. The existing gas
production facilities in Marib Block 18 currently have a
capacity of 3.2 billion cubic feet per day.
Hunt holds a 17.22 percent interest in
Yemen LNG Company (YLNG), the company developing the
project. YLNG is currently constructing a two-train natural
gas liquefaction plant with a guaranteed capacity of 6.7
million tones per annum, plus associated pipelines, storage
and port facilities.
In August 2005, the board of directors
launched the project and YLNG signed three 20-year
take-or-pay sale and purchase contracts with KOGAS, TGP and
Suez, committing 100 percent of the guaranteed plant
capacity. The LNG will be shipped to markets in the U.S. and
In September 2005, YLNG signed the plant
and pipeline engineering, procurement and construction (EPC)
contracts. The main pipeline currently under construction is
a 325- kilometer line running from the Marib Block 18 field
to the plant located at Bal Haf. Construction of the plant
started in 2005 and YLNG expects that Train 1 will be ready
for start-up in December 2008.