The local contractor is to build a series of new wharfs, deepen piers , and increase the port’s oil storage capacity. The work is expected to take 15 months and will make the deep sea port the first in the kingdom to capable of handling the very largest oil tankers.

The first two phases of work at the port have cost more than SR400m ($106,8m) combined.

The Saudi Ports Authority says it also plans to begin work on a floating dock facility at the port early in 2009.