(EnergyAsia, May 18 2012, Friday) — German engineering giant Siemens said it has started work on a building a 220,000-sq m plant in Saudi Arabia’s Dammam city to manufacture gas turbines and compressors for the kingdom’s fast-growing energy markets.

Siemens and local partner E.A.Juffali & Brothers expect the facility to also create job opportunities for young Saudis, serving as a knowledge transfer hub for technology and supporting the country’s industrialisation drive when it starts up in late 2013.

Siemens said it and E.A. Juffali & Brothers are jointly investing a “three-digit million US dollar figure” in what it has described as the first of its kind for the German firm in the Middle East.

The plant’s groundbreaking ceremony last week was held under the patronage of Prince Mohammed bin Fahd bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud, governor of the kingdom’s Eastern Region, in the presence of senior government officials, and executives from Siemens, E.A. Juffali & Brothers, Saudi Electricity Company and Saudi Aramco.

Among those present were Saleh Al Awaji, Saudi Deputy Minister of Water and Electricity for Electricity Affairs; Abdulrahman Al-Wuhaib, Saudi Aramco’s Senior Vice President; Ali Al-Barrak, CEO of Saudi Electricity Company; Michael Suess, CEO of Siemen’s Energy Sector and board member; Sheikh Sami Juffali, chairman of Siemens Ltd in Saudi Arabia, and Arja Talakar, CEO of Siemens Saudi Arabia.

Dr Suess said: “With this new facility, Siemens is strengthening its long-term commitment to Saudi Arabia. We will create qualified jobs and train young Saudis in order to achieve a true transfer of our innovative technologies.
Since establishing a presence in Saudi Arabia in the early 1930s, Siemens has built up an operation of around 2,000 employees at five different locations across the country.