Time Frame: The hard way

  • These dunes are near Habshan, today the starting point of the newly opened pipeline. Courtesy John Vale
  • These dunes are near Habshan, today the starting point of the newly opened pipeline. Courtesy John Vale

November 11, 2012

Every year comes a reminder of the importance of the energy industry to the development of the nation with the Abu Dhabi International Petroleum Exhibition and Conference.

More usually known as Adipec, this yearís event, which starts next week, will feature a section devoted to the history of oil and gas exploration and production.

The image shown here comes from The Nationalís own archives and was taken by John Vale, who worked in the oil industry during its formative years from the early 1960s. It shows Valeís team deep in the desert, as the search for black gold saw the oil companies devote huge amounts of manpower and resources to the exploration of the concessions.

These dunes are near Habshan, today the starting point of the newly opened pipeline flowing 360 kilometres across the country to the Fujairah coast.

Driving to Habshan takes a little more than an hour today, but half a century ago, equipment had to be moved the hard way. The battered monsters seen here are hauling a storage tank over the dunes to the expedition camp, which in the early days was a collection of tents.

The tank was actually for water, a vital resource that in the heart of the desert was even more difficult to obtain than crude oil.

* James Langton

Explore our pictorial history of old Abu Dhabi with the interactive map below, and see all of our Time Frames here.

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