Saudi Arabia plans to spend $27bn to make its southwestern province of Jazan into a refining, petrochemical and power hub. While appearing economically illogical, the plans are driven by politics, in particular fears of instability.

Saudi Arabia’s King ‘Abd Allah has asked state-owned oil giant Saudi Aramco to build 11 sports stadiums in various parts of the kingdom, including the southern province of Jazan bordering Yemen. Not exactly the most strategic energy project for the world’s largest integrated oil company to undertake. But converting Jazan into an economic hub, creating jobs and even leisure facilities for its youth are strategic imperatives for Riyadh. (CONTINUED - 1503 WORDS)