Dhahran (Arabic: الظهران, romanized: al-Ẓahrān) is a city located in the Eastern Province, Saudi Arabia. With a total population of 143,936 as of 2022, it is a major administrative center for the Saudi oil industry. Together with the nearby cities of Dammam and Khobar, Dhahran forms part of the Dammam Metropolitan Area, which is commonly known as greater Dammam and has an estimated population of 2.2 million as of 2022.
A Concession Agreement to search for oil was signed in Jeddah on May 29, 1933 between the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and Standard Oil of California. However, it was not until five years later, in 1938, that the first oil in commercial quantities was produced. Standard Oil later established a subsidiary in Saudi Arabia called the Arabian American Oil Company (ARAMCO), now owned by the Saudi government and known as Saudi Aramco. Dhahran has been the home of Saudi Aramco's headquarters for 90 years and is its first and largest gated compound. Employees and dependents of Aramco, known as Aramcons, have a tendency to use Dhahran to solely refer to the Aramco camp while using Khobar and/or Dammam to refer to the area outside the camp.
Dhahran is unusual in that a large portion of it is made up of gated areas including Saudi Aramco's headquarters and residential camp, the King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals (built by Aramco) and the King Abdulaziz Air Base. Dhahran is also home to the Mall of Dhahran, one of the biggest shopping complexes in the Eastern Province.