The Water Desalination and Reuse Center in King Abdulla University of Science and Technology, in Saudi Arabia, held a workshop on thermal desalination on the 11th and 12th of March, 2013. This paper was presented as part of a lecture at the workshop. It presents the status and possible developments of the two main thermal desalination systems processing large quantities of seawater in the Gulf Cooperation Council, multi-stage flash, and thermal vapor compression systems. Developments of these systems were presented to show how these systems are competing with the more energy-efficient seawater reverse osmosis desalting. © 2013 © 2013 Balaban Desalination Publications. All rights reserved.