Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince, HRH Mohammed Bin Salman, unveiled King Salman Energy Park (Spark), a Saudi Aramco megaproject, on 10 December, 2018. Spark will generate 100,000 direct and indirect jobs and contribute up to $6bn (SAR22bn) to the kingdom’s gross domestic product by 2035, in line with the Saudi Vision 2030 programme.
Located between Dammam and Al-Ahsa in Saudi Arabia’s Eastern Province, Spark is a three-phase 50km2 hub for energy, industrialisation, and technology that will report Phase 1 construction completed in 2021. Phase 1 spans 12km2, with investments totalling $1.6bn (SAR6bn).
Construction work on Spark started in September 2017, as per a Saudi Aramco statement on 6 December, and engineering designs for the scheme are currently more than halfway complete. Investor plot allocations were carried out in Q3 2018.
According to an Arabic-language report by Saudi Arabia’s state news agency, SPA, the city features five major regions. Phase 1 will comprise general manufacturing, industrial facilities, a dry port area, a Saudi Aramco well-drilling and maintenance area, and a specialised training zone for 10 centres focused on enhancing Saudi citizens’ skills.
The project also includes residential, commercial, and recreational areas. At maturity, the dry port will have a capacity of eight million metric tons of cargo, with high levels of automation. The completion of Phase 1 will see Spark attracting more than 120 investments, according to a separate, English-language report by SPA.
Spark will be operated and anchored by Saudi Aramco, which will build its drilling and workover headquarters within the city, as well as operate its procurement and supply chain management centre from the space. Aramco will develop, operate, manage, and maintain the park’s infrastructure in partnership with Saudi Authority for Industrial Cities and Technological Zones (Modon).
According to Spark’s website, the project seeks to attract industrial investors across five major sectors, such as upstream, downstream, petrochemicals, power, and water and wastewater. In addition to work for Phase 1, also under way is the development of a regional logistics zone with customs that will link Spark to the rest of the kingdom and Gulf States along the region’s planned rail project.