Hyundai Engineering & Construction and Hyundai Engineering sealed a $2.4 billion deal with Saudi Aramco, Saudi Arabia’s state-run oil giant, to construct a gas processing plant in the Jafurah gas field.
The deal was signed on Monday during a ceremony marking 50 years of construction cooperation between Korea and Saudi Arabia in Riyadh. South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol and around 200 business captains from the two countries attended the event, according to the South Korean Presidential Office.
Aramco’s Jafurah gas field is the largest liquid-rich shale gas play in the Middle East, and beneath its basin lies an estimated 200 trillion standard cubic feet (TSCF) of natural gas. The latest deal brings the total value of construction projects secured by Korean companies in Saudi Arabia this year to $8.6 billion, the Presidential Office said.
In his commemorative speech, Yoon said that if South Korea combines its cutting-edge technological capabilities with megaprojects such as the NEOM megacity being pursued by Saudi Arabia, the two countries can present a new model for future cities together.
Korean companies have been keen on bidding for $25 billion of a total of $500 billion in urban projects to build a sustainable smart city in Saudi’s northwestern province of Tabuk along the Red Sea.
Construction Deals Total $160 Billion
The South Korean President also highlighted the scale of construction cooperation between the two countries, which has expanded to $160 billion in half a century from $20 million.
He recalled that bilateral construction cooperation began in 1973 when a Korean company won an order to build an expressway between Khaybar and AlUla in Saudi Arabia.
“The efforts of Korean businesspeople and workers are reflected through more than 1,900 projects across Saudi Arabia including in Dammam, Jeddah, Jubail and Yanbu,” he said.
During Monday’s ceremony, a $100 million contract was signed between tech giant Naver and Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Municipal and Rural Affairs and Housing to launch a ‘Digital Twin’ platform, building virtual reality spaces in five Saudi cities to provide urban planning and management and flood forecasting services.
This is the first foray into expanding construction beyond physical infrastructure into the digital space, following the Yoon administration’s digital platform vision, the Presidential Office said.
A memorandum of understanding was signed between Samsung C&T and Saudi’s Public Investment Fund to form a joint venture on modular construction, which will contribute to the NEOM megacity project.
Yoon and Saudi Arabia’s Prime Minister and Crown Prince H R H Mohammed bin Salman issued a joint statement calling for deepening and advancing the future-oriented strategic partnership of the two countries.
The two leaders called to enhance trade and investment in future-oriented industries and further strengthen cooperation in the fields of construction and infrastructure, defence and defence industry, energy and cultural exchanges and tourism.
The statement welcomed the signing of the “Jafurah Phase 2 – Package 2 Utilities, Sulfur and Export Facilities Project” in the construction cooperation ceremony.
Yoon also attended a Korea-Saudi Arabia future technology partnership forum at the King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology, the country’s top research institution.
He also spoke on innovation to some 2,000 students and faculty at King Saud University, the country’s oldest institution, becoming the first foreign leader to give a speech at the school.