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Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia news and analysis, tenders, contracts awarded, commentary and economic data

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Saudi Arabia
King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz al-Saud

Saudi Arabia country datafile
Country overview
Government contacts

Country data

Iran 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012f 2013f 2014f
Nominal GDP ($bn) 519.8 429.1 526.8 669.5 727.3 745.6 761.5
GDP per capita ($) 20,157 16,095 19,113 23,599* 25,085 25,163 25,170
Real GDP growth (annual change, %) 8.4 1.8 7.4 8.5 6.8 4.4 4.2
Government revenue (% of GDP) 60.5 36 41.6 47.5 48.6 45.3 42.4
Government total expenditure (% of GDP) 29 40 38.6 35.1 33.4 35.7 35.9
Total government debt (gross, % of GDP) 12.1 14 8.5 5.4 3.6 3.5 3.5
Current account balance (% of GDP) 25.5 4.9 12.7 23.7 24.4 19.2 16.1
Value of oil imports 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Value of oil exports 281 163.1 215.2 317.6 350.3 327.1 309.1
Inflation (%) 9.5 4 5.8 3.6 3.7 3.6 3.5
Click to see full economic data (2005 - 2018 forecast)
Source: International Monetary Fund, World Economic Outlook Database; Last updated: June 2013; *=Estimate

Doing business in...

Saudi Industrial Property Authority industrial cities Subscription

Saudi Industrial Property Authority (Modon) was established in 2001 to develop industrial cities across Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia trends

March contract awards

Middle East contracts awarded: March 2014 Subscription

17 April 2014, 12:23 GMT

Over $12bn of contracts awarded in March in the Middle East


The growing appetite for bonds Subscription

10 April 2014, 13:46 GMT | By

Increased corporate activity spurred by strong economic growth is helping to expand the market

Serco is the service provider for the Dubai Metro

Bringing the region's services to life Subscription

10 April 2014, 13:21 GMT | By

Facilities management firm Serco works quietly in the background, providing major services across various sectors in the region, but its CEO is looking to extend its reach

Power: Deputy Crown Prince Muqrin’s appointment was announced on state television

Riyadh presents a united front Subscription

3 April 2014, 15:00 GMT | By

The appointment of a deputy crown prince shows King Abdullah wants to end speculation about the Al-Saud family’s succession plans

Strained ties: Obama’s meeting with King Abdullah seems to have produced only modest results

US influence on the Middle East waning Subscription

3 April 2014, 14:18 GMT

Recent foreign policy initiatives have put Washington at odds with key allies in the GCC

Middle East contracts awarded: February 2014 Subscription

20 March 2014, 12:58 GMT

Over $17bn of contracts awarded in February in the Middle East

Next stage: The second phase of the kingdom’s downstream industry will be much more complex

Rethinking Riyadh’s industrial plan Subscription

13 March 2014, 16:45 GMT | By

Senior voices in Saudi Arabia say a new approach to developing the downstream sector must be adopted

Switch: Prince Mohammed has taken over the leadership of Riyadh's strategy towards Syria

Riyadh tightens foreign policy Subscription

13 March 2014, 15:15 GMT | By

The kingdom has adopted a more forceful approach to diplomacy in a move to align its domestic and external policies aimed at fighting terrorism and extremism

Tallest buildings in the Middle East

Middle East to build more skyscrapers Subscription

19 February 2014, 10:49 GMT | By

Kingdom Tower in Jeddah set to be tallest building in the world

Contract awards

Middle East contracts awarded: January 2014 Subscription

16 February 2014, 11:13 GMT

Over $17bn awarded in January in the Middle East

Filter Saudi Arabia analysis by sector

MEED comment

Dubai: Infrastructure requires new sources of funding

Race for Mecca metro deals

17 April 2014, 13:50 GMT

Competition for Mecca metro contracts heats up as Turkish firms dominate the field in the prequalification round

Prince Bandar bin Sultan

New policy heralds leadership change

17 April 2014, 13:13 GMT

Saudi Arabia’s foreign policy change likely one of the main reasons for intelligence chief’s resignation

Markets and bonds

Bonds market gains maturity

10 April 2014, 15:39 GMT

An increasingly diverse base of issuers, driven by strong economic growth is helping to deepen the region’s capital markets

Gasification at Jizan

Higher bid prices return to the GCC

10 April 2014, 15:24 GMT

European firms have been winning work again for a couple of years now, beating South Korean competition

Agenda: Obama flew to Riyadh to mend relations

US bid to mend damaged ties

7 April 2014, 15:26 GMT | By

Washington is looking to repair relations with key allies in the GCC, following its criticised decisions on Iran and Syria


Chemicals plan hits fuel hurdle

3 April 2014, 15:21 GMT | By

A planned oil-to-chemicals project in Yanbu has huge potential, but could be derailed by the amount of subsidised fuel it needs for power


Jizan success to attract investors

27 March 2014, 14:33 GMT | By

While the gasification scheme is expensive, it could end up paying for itself very quickly

Muslim Brotherhood

Muslim Brotherhood under scrutiny

20 March 2014, 16:31 GMT

Riyadh’s isolation of the Muslim Brotherhood will be difficult to extend regionally

More MEED commentary

Special reports

GCC real estate

Real Estate: GCC property markets stabilising

18 March 2014, 14:02 GMT

There is an uptick in demand for residential and commercial property across the region, with just one or two exceptions

Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia: Budget targets social spending

12 February 2014, 13:04 GMT

Over the past decade, Riyadh has consistently announced record budgets

GCC construction

Construction: Continuing GCC projects growth into 2014 Subscription

16 January 2014, 13:52 GMT

After such a successful 2013, beating that target will be a major challenge for the GCC projects market in the year ahead


MEED Yearbook 2014: Infrastructure spending drives economic rebound Subscription

5 January 2014, 7:11 GMT | By

Energy efficiency moves to the fore


Saudi Arabia: Economic growth set to slow Subscription

18 December 2013, 10:51 GMT

The full economic impact of the Saudi government’s current drive to expel illegal foreign workers will only be felt from next year

SR Cover Riding the Boom

Construction: Middle East rides the new projects boom Subscription

21 November 2013, 6:29 GMT

Transport awards, particularly metro schemes, are driving a construction rebound across the region

More Saudi Arabia special reports

Market presentations

Qatar metro

Webinar: GCC metro and rail projects Subscription

12 September 2013, 6:53 GMT

MEED’s analysis and forecast presentation on the metro projects in the region

Middle East Outlook 2013

A region in transition: Middle East outlook 2013 and beyond Subscription

18 August 2013, 7:46 GMT

Insight and analysis on the economic and projects outlook for the Middle East

Project Finance

Webinar: Middle East project finance outlook Subscription

17 June 2013, 11:40 GMT

Market constraints to continue, with deals flowing to most stable markets in the region

Mena renewables 2013

Webinar: MENA Renewable Energy Subscription

12 May 2013, 12:38 GMT

In this presentation, MEED discusses the trends and prospects for renewable power in the region

After the Uprisings webinar

After the Uprisings: The outlook for business in the Middle East in 2013 and beyond Subscription

4 March 2013, 5:52 GMT

A webinar on the region’s business environment, providing current data and exclusive expert analysis drawn from MEED’s team of experts

Top 100 projects 2012

Top 100 projects: The Middle East market gains momentum Subscription

3 February 2013, 9:23 GMT

This webinar examines projects market trends in the region and forecasts which countries and sectors will grow in 2013


Webinar: Project opportunities in GCC wastewater Subscription

15 May 2012, 11:24 GMT

Join MEED for an exclusive online seminar looking at the Gulf wastewater sector

Barzan: The gas project raised $5.7bn

Rebuilding the Middle East: Prospects for the projects market 2012 Subscription

6 February 2012, 5:40 GMT

MEED’s webinar looks at expected growth in the Middle East and North Africa

Solar power panels

Arab states plan renewable energy capacity hike Subscription

24 November 2011, 13:00 GMT

Get exclusive insight into the drivers behind the ambitious 2020 renewable energy programmes in the Middle East

Arab uprising: Facebook gave power to protesters

The impact of the Arab uprisings on business growth Subscription

27 July 2011, 12:50 GMT

MEED’s webinar is a mid-year review that assesses the consequences of protests in the region on project plans

Top 10 projects


Rank Project Name Sector Contract value ($m)
1 Riyadh Light Rail Transit (Riyadh Metro): Lines 1 & 2 Transport 9,450
2 Haramain High-Speed Rail Network: Phase 2 Transport 8,396
3 Riyadh Light Rail Transit (Riyadh Metro): Lines 4, 5 & 6 Transport 7,820
4 Riyadh Light Rail Transit (Riyadh Metro): Line 3 Transport 5,942
5 King Abdulaziz International Airport: Phase 1: New Terminal: Package 1 Transport 4,034
6 Housing Development: Phase 2 Construction 3,600
7 Abraj Kudai in Mecca Construction 3,500
8 Rehabilitation Centres for Prisoners Construction 3,400
8 Rabigh Power Plant Extension: Phase 6 Power 3,400
10 King Abdulla bin Abdulaziz Project: Riyadh Security Forces Medical Complex Construction 3,350
Click through to the full data table on Saudi Arabia's biggest projects in construction
Click through to MEED's Q4 2013 Top 100 Projects report
Source: MEED Projects; Data compiled: January 2014; All projects are in construction

Project awards

Saudi Electricity Company awards substation deal Subscription

3 April 2014, 10:01 GMT | By

Two other substation contracts were awarded in March

Saudi Electricity Company appoints WSP for power study Subscription

3 April 2014, 6:57 GMT | By

Environmental study will be conducted at Waad al-Shamal industrial development

French firm to provide components for Saudi power plant Subscription

31 March 2014, 8:48 GMT | By

France’s Vallourec to supply equipment for South Korean-constructed Shuqaiq steam power plant

Six Construct joint venture wins more Jeddah sports city work Subscription

26 March 2014, 10:39 GMT | By

Team has completed work in the stadium

ABB wins Saudi substation contract Subscription

20 March 2014, 12:51 GMT | By

Substations will reduce requirement for diesel generators in remote areas

Saudi Arabia moves forward with power schemes Subscription

20 March 2014, 11:14 GMT | By

Saudi Arabia has awarded $476m-worth of transmission and distribution contracts

Sabic and Shell award polyurethane plant design to KBR Subscription

19 March 2014, 8:45 GMT | By

New complex planned for Jubail could have budget of up to $3bn

SEC awards $166m overhead power lines contract Subscription

18 March 2014, 11:21 GMT | By

Deal involves installing transmission lines in Eastern Province

GE to provide components for Saudi power plants Subscription

11 March 2014, 13:08 GMT | By

US firm GE will provide 24 drives for two power plants in Saudi Arabia

Saudi Aramco awards subsea cable contract Subscription

6 March 2014, 10:29 GMT | By

Electricity to feed Ras Abu Ali and Khursaniyah plants

Projects trends

Gulf projects index

Iraq and UAE lead Gulf index growth Subscription

17 April 2014, 11:01 GMT

Kuwait, Qatar and Iran record largest declines in value

Gulf Projects Index 8 April 2014

UAE leads growth in Gulf index Subscription

10 April 2014, 11:06 GMT

Iraq records largest decline in value of projects market in the region

Gulf projects index

UAE records strong growth Subscription

3 April 2014, 9:31 GMT

Oman sees second-largest increase while Iran continues poor performance

More Gulf Projects Index articles


Abdulrahman al-Wuhaib Subscription

9 March 2014, 11:42 GMT

Abdulrahman al-Wuhaib is senior vice-president downstream, Saudi Aramco

Ziad al-Labban Subscription

9 March 2014, 10:53 GMT

Ziad al-Labban is CEO, Sadara Chemical Company

Halim Hamed Redhwi

20 February 2014, 7:23 GMT

Halim Hamed Redhwi is CEO, Dhahran Techno Valley; professor at King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals

Osama Abdulaziz Al-Zamil

20 February 2014, 7:17 GMT

Osama Abdulaziz Al-Zamil is board chairman / VP business development, Zamil Chemplast / Zamil Group

Simon Holmes

20 February 2014, 7:12 GMT

Simon Holmes is senior adviser, Saudi Arabia Elastomers Downstream Industry Development, ExxonMobil

Mosaed al-Ohali

20 February 2014, 7:07 GMT

Mosaed al-Ohali is executive vice-president, manufacturing, Polymers, Sabic

See all Saudi Arabia biographies

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MEED events

Saudi Green Building Forum

Saudi Green Building Forum 2014 Subscription

Optimising energy efficiency and reducing operational and life-cycle costs in green buildings and sustainable infrastructure through critical design, build and sustainable management strategies 

More MEED events