JEDDAH (Rahnuma) : Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman on Monday inaugurated the King Salman Energy Park (SPARK), located in the Kingdom’s Eastern Province.
SPARK is a 50 km² energy city mega-project and will unite approximately 300 industrial and service facilities, which will position Saudi Arabia as a global energy, industrial and technology hub.
Saudi Aramco will develop, operate, manage and maintain the project’s infrastructure in partnership with the Saudi Authority for Industrial Cities and Technology Zones (MODON).
SPARK’s role in enabling localization within the Kingdom’s energy supply chain aligns with the strategic goals of Saudi Aramco’s In-Kingdom Total Value Add (IKTVA) program.
IKTVA was launched by Saudi Aramco in December 2015 with the aim of benefiting from relationships with manufacturers, suppliers, and service providers, to enhance the company’s goals and raise the level of local content to about 70% by the end of 2021.
The energy park, located between Dammam and Al-Ahsa, will be developed in three phases. The project will cover an area of 50 km². The first phase of the development will cover 12 km² and will be completed by 2021.
During the groundbreaking ceremony, Minister of Energy, Industry and Mineral Resources and Saudi Aramco chairman, Khalid A. Al-Falih, announced that SPARK will be a Special Economic Zone, where tenants will benefit from regulatory, fiscal and non-fiscal support.
“SPARK’s status supports the energy city’s objective to attract investments and improve its competitiveness for the regional and global export of energy products and services,” he said.
Highlighting SPARK’s role in unlocking the full potential of the Kingdom’s energy resources in line with the Kingdom’s economic transformation plan, Al-Falih said: “SPARK is one of the country’s most ambitious projects, affirming the Kingdom’s commitment to Vision 2030 by creating thousands of high-skilled jobs, serving as an economic catalyst and advancing Saudi Arabia’s strong position in the global energy sector.”
Saudi Aramco President and CEO Amin Nasser said: “The King Salman Energy Park will start a new era of growth for one of the Kingdom’s thriving sectors. It will serve as a central gateway to the region’s economies with Saudi Aramco continuing to be at the heart of the global oil and gas industry.
“We’re looking forward to collaborating with our first anchor partners at SPARK, as we are investing in business opportunities for international investors and private-sector companies in the Kingdom. Together, we are building a world-class energy hub that will accelerate solutions across the value-chain for generations,” he added.
SPARK has already attracted investments from foreign and local companies to produce and manufacture goods and services in the Kingdom’s energy sector.
The investment in the first phase of the project is expected to be around $1.6 billion.
When operational, SPARK is estimated to contribute more than $6 billion to the Kingdom’s GDP annually and create up to 100,000 direct and indirect jobs.
Twelve agreements and memorandums of understanding were signed on Monday for land leasing and the construction of investment partnerships in the city, worth SR 1.2 billion, between Saudi Aramco and the city’s board of directors and some international and local companies, including Schlumberger, Halliburton and Baker Hughes GE, Halliburton, Oilfields Supply Center, Saudi Information Technology Company, Al-Rushaid Group, and many more.
The first phase will target more than 120 investments.
SPARK will target five areas; the first one focuses on industrial manufacturing and will include electrical equipment,
liquids and chemicals, metal formation, and other industrial services.
The other areas include a dry port area with an annual capacity of 8 million metric tons, a Saudi Aramco drilling and well-maintenance area, a specialized training area that can accommodate 10 training centers aimed at developing skills and building the capacity of Saudi national cadres, and finally, a residential, commercial and recreational area.