Covering 2 million km², Saudi Arabia is the largest country in the Middle East and the 14th largest country in the world. Saudi Arabia’s size and geology make it rich in minerals, oil, gas, key raw materials for manufacturing and industrial development. Saudi Arabia has the largest mineral deposits in the Middle East. In the west of the country, the Arabian Shield is a major source of precious and basic minerals such as gold, silver, copper, zinc, chromium, manganese, tungsten, lead, tin, Aluminum and iron. Mainly in the east, extensive sedimentary formations contain industrial minerals such as gypsum, feldspar, mica, Sulphur and salt.
Saudi Arabia is also a source of highly prized rare earth elements such as tantalum - for which it has a quarter of the world’s reserves - and niobium. Saudi Arabia’s deeper sedimentary formations contain most of its 266.4 billion barrels of proven and recoverable oil. This vast natural resource represents up to 22% of global oil reserves, more than any other country. Saudi Arabia oil production began in 1933 and oil exports in 1939. Some eight decades later, Saudi Arabia has enough oil to last another 80 years at today’s extraction rate of 10.2 million barrels a day. Each day Saudi Arabia extracts over 7.5 billion standard cubic feet of natural gas. More than 8588 billion m³ of natural gas is available.