Saudi Arabia's crown prince inaugurates King Salman Energy Park project

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Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman inaugurated the King Salman Energy Park (SPARK) that will transform the Kingdom into a pioneering industrial power. (SPA)
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Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman inaugurated the King Salman Energy Park (SPARK) that will transform the Kingdom into a pioneering industrial power. (SPA)
3 / 11
Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman inaugurated the King Salman Energy Park (SPARK) that will transform the Kingdom into a pioneering industrial power. (SPA)
4 / 11
Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman inaugurated the King Salman Energy Park (SPARK) that will transform the Kingdom into a pioneering industrial power. (SPA)
5 / 11
Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman inaugurated the King Salman Energy Park (SPARK) that will transform the Kingdom into a pioneering industrial power. (SPA)
6 / 11
Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman inaugurated the King Salman Energy Park (SPARK) that will transform the Kingdom into a pioneering industrial power. (SPA)
7 / 11
Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman inaugurated the King Salman Energy Park (SPARK) that will transform the Kingdom into a pioneering industrial power. (SPA)
8 / 11
Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman inaugurated the King Salman Energy Park (SPARK) that will transform the Kingdom into a pioneering industrial power. (SPA)
9 / 11
Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman inaugurated the King Salman Energy Park (SPARK) that will transform the Kingdom into a pioneering industrial power. (SPA)
10 / 11
Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman inaugurated the King Salman Energy Park (SPARK) that will transform the Kingdom into a pioneering industrial power. (SPA)
11 / 11
Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman inaugurated the King Salman Energy Park (SPARK) that will transform the Kingdom into a pioneering industrial power. (SPA)
Updated 11 December 2018

Saudi Arabia's crown prince inaugurates King Salman Energy Park project

  • SPARK aims to strengthen the Kingdom's position as a regional and global energy hub

JEDDAH: 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.


Saudi Arabia joins forces with four nations to launch Digital Cooperation Organization

Updated 7 min 17 sec ago

Saudi Arabia joins forces with four nations to launch Digital Cooperation Organization

  • The Kingdom, Bahrain, Jordan, Kuwait and Pakistan will be part of the initiative

RIYADH, JEDDAH: Senior government officials from five countries have banded together to launch a new global organization with the aim to strengthen cooperation across all innovation-driven areas and accelerate the growth of the digital economy.
Dubbed the Digital Cooperation Organization (DCO), the participating nations in the initiative are Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Jordan, Kuwait and Pakistan.
The DCO aims to strengthen collaboration among member nations as they adapt to a global economy increasingly defined by technological innovation.
Abdullah Al-Swaha, Saudi minister of communications and information technology, spoke about the importance of the event and the necessity of banding together to fortify the digital economy.
“We are joining hands together toward a commitment to drive consensus on digital cooperation to make sure that we seize an opportunity for our youth, our women and our entrepreneurs with the ambition to grow our combined digital economy to $1 trillion in the next three to five years,” he said.
He added: “Our future prosperity will depend on the digital economy, but it can only reach its full potential if we are able to make governments work together collectively with businesses and entrepreneurs so they can survive and thrive, expand their depth into current markets and open doors for everyone into new ones.”
One of the things the world had learned in 2020, the minister said, is that economies are as strong as their digital economies.
The DCO was announced in a digital launch event on Thursday evening, which was attended by several big names in the field, such as International Telecommunication Union Secretary-General Houlin Zhao, and President of the World Economic Forum Borge Brende.
Brende stressed the government role in fueling the digital economy, “I think the GCC countries and governments have been extremely successful in doing so; they set up a lot of funds. They injected a lot of funds into startups and helped them really grow and led to the different success stories that we hear about today.”
Zhao insisted that government institutions must no longer work separately, and that the world needed to have a holistic approach to facilitate and encourage ICT developments to better serve the digital economy.
“We encourage regulators to work with the other sectors to try to create a good environment to facilitate that ICT development,” he said.

HIGHLIGHT

• The event also featured a group of leading private-sector startup founders from the region who discussed their role in driving digital transformation.

• They shared opinions on potential opportunities in crowdsourcing ideas, and innovations between governments and the public — as well as challenges regarding regulations, workforce skills, global competition, infrastructure and funding.

Zhao also highlighted Saudi Arabia’s efforts during its presidency of the G20. However, without action based on all the good statements and declarations announced, there would not be much change, he said.
The event also featured a group of leading private sector startup founders from the region who discussed their role in driving digital transformation. They shared opinions on potential opportunities in crowdsourcing ideas, and innovations between governments and the public — as well as challenges regarding regulations, workforce skills, global competition, infrastructure and funding.
Panelists also highlighted the necessity of working together, whether between the different institutions within each country or between governments on the global level, to overcome hurdles and begin to envision a more resilient shared future.
“I think everyone now is aware of the impact of COVID-19 on the economy in general. But what we’ve seen this year was actually a very positive gear toward accelerating the digital economy,” said Abdulhameed Shararah, the founder and CEO of RiseUp. “Because I think what governments and investors and corporations had wished to happen in 10 years or 15 years from now has actually kick-started super fast.”
It had also had a massive impact on the culture of acceptance of technology on both people and at the government level, he added.
The Saudi vice minister of communication and information technology, Haytham Al-Ohali, announced that Saudi Arabia will be building on this year’s digital economy roundtable efforts to establish and lead an annual digital economy forum to discuss key opportunities and challenges facing the sector.
This will convince governments and stakeholders to work together to make sure that policymakers are driving the global digital economy through sustained growth while ensuring prosperous societies.
The event also featured CEOs, entrepreneurs and other experts contributing their opinions in a multi-national, digital roundtable during which they discussed the future of the digital economy.