Saudi Arabia's crown prince to inaugurate 1st phase of energy park

The crown prince will inaugurate the 50-square-kilometer project on Monday. (Saudi Aramco)
Updated 10 December 2018
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Saudi Arabia's crown prince to inaugurate 1st phase of energy park

  • SPARK is a mega project designed to position the Kingdom as a global energy hub

JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman will inaugurate the first phase of the King Salman Energy Park  (SPARK) on Monday.
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).
The energy park, located between Dammam and Al-Ahsa, will be developed in three phases. The project will cover an area of 50 sq. km. The first phase will be completed by 2021.
SPARK is a reflection of the objectives of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 and an embodiment of its executive programs, particularly the National Industrial Development and Logistics Program, which aims to achieve sustainable economic development by transforming the Kingdom into a leading industrial force and a global logistics services hub.
The program supports the competitiveness of the private economic zones, including “SPARK,” and transforms them into a global market platform, and seeks to enhance their direct and indirect gains and returns to the national economy. Such projects are aimed at increasing employment opportunities, income generation, exports diversification and foreign direct investments.
As for indirect gains, the program seeks to provide indirect employment, local skills development, technology transfer, urban and regional development, and economic reforms.
At the completion of its first phase, the park will attract more than 120 investments. SPARK will be divided into five main regions. Its different regions will focus on general manufacturing, electricity and equipment, liquids and chemicals, metal formation, and industrial services; it will also include a dry port area with a capacity of 8 million metric tons of cargo annually; a Saudi Aramco well-drilling and maintaining area; a training area dedicated for 10 training centers; and a residential, commercial and recreational area.
By 2035, the park is expected to contribute more than SR22 billion to the Kingdom’s gross domestic product (GDP), provide up to 100,000 direct and indirect jobs, localize more than 350 new industrial and service facilities and create an industrial base to support innovation, development and global competition.


India and Saudi Arabia take bilateral relationship to new heights

Updated 21 min 34 sec ago
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India and Saudi Arabia take bilateral relationship to new heights

  • Indian PM Narendra Modi heralds Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s visit on a day that delivers a strategic partnership

NEW DELHI: India and Saudi Arabia have taken their bilateral relationship to new heights with a decision to set up a Strategic Partnership Council and hold a summit meeting every two years.

The move was agreed during discussions between Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi on Wednesday that yielded five memorandums of understanding in investment, tourism, housing, and information and broadcasting. 

The Saudi crown prince also announced a $100 billion investment in India in areas including energy, refining, petrochemicals, infrastructure, agriculture and manufacturing. 

Saudi Arabia is also investing in the IT industry, and India can help the Kingdom expand and strengthen its “IT footprint,” he said.

Meanwhile, New Delhi announced e-visa facilities for Saudi citizens to promote trade and tourism. 

The two leaders spoke one-on-one before the start of delegation-level talks. The Saudi crown prince’s visit has “given a new momentum to our age-old relationship,” Modi said in a joint press conference after the meeting.

Modi told the media that Saudi Arabia has agreed to become part of the International Solar Alliance, a group of “solar resource-rich countries” initiated by India to promote solar energy.

The “time has come to convert our energy relationship into a strategic partnership,” he said. “The biggest refinery in the world and Saudi participation in India’s strategic petroleum reserve elevate our relationship from a mere buyer-and-seller relationship.”

Speaking at the joint press conference, the Saudi crown prince agreed. “We are now diversifying our interests in petrochemicals and building storage capacities. We want to cooperate with India, and this will give a new momentum to our relationship,” he said.

The crown prince said that the tie between India and Saudi Arabia goes back in history and “flows in our blood.”

Recalling the visit of Modi to Riyadh in 2016, he said that “since then we have made great strides, and Saudi Arabia has made the investment of $44 million.”

Earlier in the day, the crown prince met with the media at the presidential palace. “The relationship between India and Saudi Arabia is in our DNA,” he explained. “Today, we want to be sure that the relationship is maintained and improved for the sake of both countries, and with the leadership of Mr. President and the Prime Minister, we can create good things for both countries.”

The crown prince expressed his admiration for Modi. “He is the elder brother and I am his younger brother.”

On the sidelines of yesterday’s talks, 400 business leaders from India and Saudi Arabia gathered in the capital under the banner of the Saudi India Forum to discuss opportunities for business cooperation.

“India and Saudi Arabia are undergoing a paradigm shift, and both countries need to cooperate strategically to realize the potential of the change,” said Dr. Faisal Al-Sugair, head of the Saudi Center for International Strategic Partnerships, in his inaugural address. 

“We want Indian companies to become strategic partners in Saudi Arabia’s march to realize (the) 2030 Vision.”

Yousef Al-Benyan, of the Saudi petrochemical company Sabic, said that “both India and Saudi Arabia are undergoing transformation, and at this stage we can do so many things together to realize the potential of the young generation.”

Azim Premji, of the Indian IT company Wipro, underlined the importance of “using India’s IT know-how” to access the knowledge and service industry in the country.

Indian foreign policy experts see the crown prince’s tour as a landmark development. “Mohammed bin Salman’s visit marks a paradigm shift in the relationship between New Delhi and Riyadh,” said Dr. Zakir Hussain, a New Delhi-based foreign policy expert. 

“The visit reveals  a mature partnership, and underscores the importance both countries place on each other’s growth and prosperity,” he said.