Picture choosen by : Mr.Michael Holling
Before the Americans struck oil, Pekanbaru was little more than a sleepy river port on Sungai Siak. Today it is Indonesia's oil capital, with all the hustle and bustle of modern cities. Pekanbaru's primary purpose for tourists is as a transit point between ferries from Singapore, but the increased affordability of air travel has curtailed the sea passage. Now only Western oil executives on business trips find themselves in Pekanbaru. If you do decide to wander through, you'll spend most of your time accepting inexplicable gestures of kindness, from café conversations to instant friendships.Pekanbaru is the capital of Riau, a province in Indonesia on the island of Sumatra. It has an area of 632.26 km² and population of over 793,000. Located on the Siak River, which drains to the Strait of Malacca, Pekanbaru has direct access to the busy strait and was long known as a trading port (the city name is derived from the Indonesian words of new market or new town, pekan meaning market or town , and baru meaning new). The city is divided into 12 subdistricts (kecamatan). The Sultan Syarif Qasim II International Airport serves Pekanbaru with direct flights to Batam, Jakarta, Malaysia (Malacca and Kuala Lumpur), Singapore and other destinations in Indonesia. A settlement has existed on the city site since the 17th century. In the late 19th century, the city developed to serve the coffee and coal industries, and the Dutch built roads to help ship goods to Singapore and Malacca. After oil was discovered in the region in the 1930s, Pekanbaru's economy has depended heavily on oil revenues and made the city with the highest per capita income in Indonesia. Most of Indonesia's petroleum is produced in Riau, and much of Pekanbaru's economy is based on the petroleum industry. International oil companies, such as Chevron from US, as well as other Indonesian companies, have established their offices in the region. This location for oil has proven to be one of the best money providers in the world. The city is connected by road to an oil refining and exporting port at Dumai. Many facilities, including an airport, three stadiums (building a fourth), swimming pool, one of the two bridges that cross the Siak River near the city, the roads in Rumbai area, and also the road to Dumai, were partially or fully financed by oil companies working in the area.