Saudi Arabia’s newest attraction: roller coasters on an oil rig


Located in the Arabian Gulf, “THE RIG” will be the world’s first tourism destination inspired by offshore oil platforms. (Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund)

Oil-dependent Saudi Arabia is taking literally the concept of economic diversification.

The kingdom has announced plans to convert an oil rig in the Arabian Gulf into a 1.6-million-square-foot “extreme park” and resort, according to CNN.

The Saudi Arabia Public Investment Fund is behind the project, dubbed “The Rig.” It would include three hotels, 11 restaurants, helipads, rollercoasters and activities such as bungee jumping, skydiving, and aquatic sports spread across a series of platforms.

Renderings show a concert venue and an underwater restaurant. One pictures a cruise ship docked at the rig. PIF didn’t release a planned completion date.

The project is part of a wider governmental push to develop the country’s tourism industry and diversify its economy under its Saudi Vision 2030 initiative.

PIF said in a statement that it hopes to attract ”tourists from around the world,” while targeting in particular people from Gulf Cooperation Council nations.

Meanwhile, construction is under way at Six Flags Qiddiya, outside Riyadh, with a stated completion date in 2023.

The park is anchored by The Falcon’s Flight, which upon completion could be the world’s fastest and tallest free-standing roller coaster, nudging out the Formula Rossa at Ferrari World Abu Dhabi in neighboring United Arab Emirates. It’s set to pull passengers around at about 155 miles per hour.

The nation is also seeking investors and brands from abroad. This summer, Sam Nazarian announced plans for a $100 million expansion into the country as part of a joint venture with WK Holding.

His company, C3, is set to introduce 40 international brands to the country, including Umami Burger and El Pollo Verde.

[CNN] — Dennis Lynch