The Salwa border, which links Saudi Arabia with Qatar, may give way to allow Saudi Arabia to develop a whole new area on the Western coast of the Arabian Gulf.
This, however, depends on the approval of a preliminary study to drill a canal which would mean an increase in the economic isolation of Qatar.
According to reports in the Saudi media, drilling of the canal would be done by a Saudi investment alliance which includes nine companies. It is expected to be completed within 12 months.
The canal would be 60 kms long, 200 meters wide and 15 to 20 meters deep, enabling it to receive all kinds of ships from tankers and passenger ships, with a maximum length of 300 meters and a width of 33 meters. Sources estimated the initial cost of the project to be around 2.8 billion Saudi riyals.
According to reports, this canal will create a shipping line and a regional and global tourist attraction in addition to establishing ports on both sides of the canal, which would be dedicated for different water sports.
Along with ports for yachts and tourist ships, which is considered to be the first of its kind in the region, a number of five-stars hotels and resorts with private beaches will also be built.
There are other scheduled projects in the region both petrochemical and industrial, which will enable the area to become an economic and industrial hub. Thus the economic importance of the project is not less than its importance for tourism.
Two years ago Egypt drilled the New Suez Canal, with 72 km long at a cost of $4 billion, and in a record time which did not exceed 12 months.
This article is also available in Arabic.