US-based Bechtel has signed a five-year contract extension with the Royal Commission for Jubail and Yanbu to continue its services at the Jubail and Ras al-Khair industrial cities.

Bechtel has worked with the Royal Commission on the Jubail project since it began in the mid-1970s. Located in the eastern province of Saudi Arabia it is said to be the world’s largest single industrial development project. Jubail currently produces approximately 7 percent of the world’s petrochemicals.

Covering an area of 1,016 square kilometres, the Jubail industrial city includes petrochemical and other industrial complexes, major harbour and port facilities, telecommunications, and a highway system.

Bechtel says its work over the next five years will focus on building residential accommodation and education facilities such as a 18,000-student university as well as roads, bridges, medical centres, and power, water and waste facilities.

Jubail and Ras al-Khair are a major contributor to the Saudi economy. Together the two industrial cities employ an estimated 140,000 people, which is predicted to rise to 190,000 by 2021.