Work is in full swing at the King Salman Energy Park (SPARK) industrial city, coming up in the Saudi Arabian city of Dhahran in the Eastern Province, with 60% of Phase One facilities – including infrastructure, roads and utilities, and real estate assets established across 14sqkm, in addition to a dedicated 3sqkm logistics zone and dry port – fully completed.

Investors and neighbouring regional hubs will be able to benefit from world class logistics infrastructure and enhanced global reach, according to the development’s owners.

SPARK is being designed as a fully integrated city that will become the gateway to the regional energy sector, a statement said. It added that the city will include an industrial area, dry port and logistics zone, as well as a residential, educational and commercial zones.

A total of $1.6 billion has been invested into Phase One of the megaproject, which is set to be completed next year. Fifteen major energy companies have already signed agreements to invest in SPARK, while another fifteen are currently in the pipeline.

Forecasts predict that foreign direct investment in Spark will exceed $2 billion over the next two years, once investors finalise the construction of their facilities, the statement added. Furthermore, it predicted that once the project is completed, it will add $5.86 billion annually to the Kingdom’s gross domestic product by 2035, while also creating thousands of new highly skilled job opportunities.

SPARK Chairman Dr Mohammed Yahya Al Qahtani said: “Achieving this feat strongly reflects our commitment to implement this unique project that is designed for the betterment of our community.”

“SPARK will be a new engine fuelling the growth of the energy sector as well as driving the diversification agenda of our economy. As we take huge economic leaps, soon, we will be ready to attract the best talent and create new opportunities for our ambitious youth,” he added.

According to him, Spark has also signed an MoU with the leading global logistics specialists, Hutchinson Ports to create a joint venture company to manage and operate the dry port and logistics zone.