Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman on Monday laid the foundation stone for an upcoming energy zone in the kingdom Eastern Province.
King Salman Energy Park (Spark) will eventually span 50 square kilometres between Dammam and Al-Ahsa.
The first phase launched by the royal this week covers 12sqkm and is expected to cost SAR6bn ($1.59bn), with a completion deadline of 2021.
Saudi energy minister Khaled Al-Falih said the project aimed to boost the kingdom’s position as a regional and global energy hub by developing competitive Saudi industries and services.
Activities set to take place there include energy exploration and production, refining, processing and marketing, petrochemical and oil production, natural gas, power generation, transmission and distribution, water production, distribution and treatment and Sanitation and treatment, according to Saudi Press Agency.
Spark will be developed, operated, managed and maintained by state oil giant Saudi Aramco and the Saudi Authority for Industrial Cities and Technology Zones (MODON) over three phases.
The site spans five areas in total with the first focussed on general manufacturing, electricity and equipment, liquids and chemicals, metal formation, and industrial services.
A dry port area will have a capacity of 8 million metric tonnes of cargo a year and there will also be a Saudi Aramco well-drilling and maintaining area, a training area with 10 centres to educate Saudi nationals and space dedicated to residential, commercial and recreational buildings.
The wider zone is forecast to contribute more than SAR22bn ($5.865bn) to the country’s GDP and create 100,000 direct and indirect jobs opportunities when it is completed in 2035.
Other gains are expected to come in the form of local supporting industries for Aramco’s operational and development needs.
The company is embarking on a local content push to double the percentage of locally produced energy-related goods and services to 70 per cent of spending by 2021.