The Industrial Cities of Jubail and Yanbu

As part of the Kingdom's strategy to optimize its energy resources, the Royal Commission for Jubail and Yanbu embarked a two-stage project in the 1970s to conserve and exploit the enormous reserves of natural gas in the eastern region.

This involved the establishment of a vast industrial network to gather and process natural gas in Jubail Industrial City, followed by the construction of a double pipeline running from east to west across the Kingdom to transport oil and gas from Jubail to Yanbu. The aim was to supply energy for the many industrial projects in Yanbu and to facilitate the export of energy products from the Red Sea coast. The pipeline, which runs for 1,170 kilometres, was completed in 1982.

These two massive industrial complexes on the Arabian Gulf and the Red Sea are shining beacons of Saudi Arabia's vision of industrial and economic development to reduce the country’s reliance on oil exports. Expansion of the two cities in the form of Jubail II and Yanbu II is well underway.

Jubail Industrial City lies 100 kilometres north of Dammam on the Arabian Gulf. The nearest airport is King Fahd International Airport on the western outskirts of Dammam.

Yanbu Industrial City is located on the Red Sea. It has three distinct areas – Yanbu Al Bahar, Yanbu Al Nakheel and Yanbu Al Sinaiyah where Marafiq’s facilities are located. The city is approximately 380 kilometres north of Jeddah, which has an international airport. Yanbu has a domestic airport with connections to most major airports in the Kingdom.

The Formation

To understand the Marafiq of today, one has to go back to where it all started. Marafiq's foundations were laid in the 1970s when the government established the Royal Commission to develop the two industrial cities of Jubail and Yanbu. The objective was to diversify the national economy and reduce the Kingdom's reliance on its oil revenue by providing the requisite infrastructure and facilities for the establishment of primary, secondary and support industries.

Today the two industrial cities are symbols of the Kingdom’s unprecedented growth in the industrial sector. It is also a reflection of the confidence of foreign investors in the industrial capabilities of the country. Several successful joint ventures between Saudi and international companies such as Chevron, Mitsubishi, Shell and Mobil are located in the two industrial cities. A recent international survey has named Jubail as the city with the best economic potential in the Middle East.

The Royal Commission established the power and water infrastructure in Jubail and Yanbu, comprising a power station in Yanbu, seawater cooling facilities, desalination plants and wastewater treatment plants. By 1999 the ball was set rolling to privatize these utilities. Council of Ministers Decision 57 of 11 July 1999 defined the charter of a new private utility company, leading to the establishment of Marafiq by Royal Decree in October 2000. All the utility assets run by the Royal Commission were transferred to Marafiq, and the new company started operating commercially on 1 January 2003.