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Saudi Aramco is considering to build a new industrial city in the south of al-Ahsa district in the Eastern Province, as authorities seek to expand the kingdom’s industrial base
International companies have already bid for engineering work, industry sources added, declining to give more details, Reuters has reported.
According to one source, the new city would be built around energy-related industries such as support services for power generation and transmission. Renewable energy such as solar may be included, it added.
The move suggests that authorities are determined to invest heavily in long-term efforts to create jobs and diversify the economy beyond oil.
The creation of industrial cities — huge projects in which state institutions play key roles in planning and raising finance, but which seek to attract private investment — is part of the government's efforts to jump-start development.
Among industrial city projects already underway are King Abdullah Economic City, a zone on the Red Sea coast near Jeddah. Its population of about 3,000 people is expected to roughly double this year and hit 50,000 by end-2020, rising to two million around 2035. Other industrial cities are at Jubail and Yanbu.
In 2013, oil minister Ali al-Naimi had said that Saudi Aramco was looking at such a project on the road from Dammam to al-Ahsa.