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Mar 25 2013

Saudi Jazan Economic City gets a royal boost

By P.K. ABDUL GHAFOUR Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah has urged Saudi Aramco to complete the first phase of infrastructure projects for Jazan Economic City in order to woo investment and boost the region's development.

Jazan Gov. Prince Muhammad bin Nasser thanked King Abdullah for his efforts to develop the region and strengthen its economic position in order to play a vital role at national and regional levels. He said the king's order would create more jobs for Saudis. "The king's order will definitely boost the JEC project," said Petroleum and Mineral Resources Minister Ali Al-Naimi. Saudi Aramco, the largest investor in JEC, is currently building a major oil refinery and an electricity plant in the city, Al-Naimi said, adding that the company would soon unveil plans to develop the city. The Jazan Refinery will process 400,000 barrels per day of Arabian Heavy and Arabian Medium crude oil to produce gasoline, ultra-low sulfur diesel, benzene and paraxylene by 2016. A marine terminal on the Red Sea coast is designed to accommodate very large crude carriers for the supply of crude oil to the new refinery. A 2,400MW high-efficiency combined cycle power plant is also part of the project that will form JEC's backbone.

"The Ministry of Petroleum and Mineral Resources will establish and develop industries and services related to oil, energy and minerals at JEC," Al-Naimi said. "We have plans to establish titanium, silica and silicon projects. We are also studying prospects of setting up a ship building industry."

Prince Faisal bin Turki, adviser at the ministry, said the king's order was aimed at promoting regional development and achieving economic diversification. "The new infrastructure projects will enhance JEC's investment climate."

Abdullatif Al-Othman, governor of Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority, said SAGIA has presented a report to the king explaining the present condition of the four mega-economic cities in Rabigh, Hail, Madinah and Jazan. He hoped that the four cities would achieve greater progress in the coming years.

"King Abdullah's order for the completion of infrastructure projects at JEF will be a turning point of the city," Al-Othman said.

© Arab News 2013

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