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MEED
June 2005

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  • A place in the global economy iNTERVIEW: Development & International Co-operation Minister

    Mohamed Nouri Jouini on the opportunities for private investors in Tunisia
  • A stable environment

    'Everyone is agreed: Tunisia is a very attractive place for foreign investors.' So concluded the Tunisian daily La Presse the morning after the Seventh Carthage Investment Forum, held in Tunis on 16 June. If everyone really is agreed, then the conference, designed to showcase the country's potential, has served its purpose. 'The forum's primary objective was to help people learn about Tunisia, its business environment and the opportunities it presents,' says Chokri Mahjoub, a senior official at
  • Abbas battles against renewed violence

    Attacks intensify in the Occupied Territories as Abbas and Sharon meet
  • Abbas to steady teetering truce

    Tit-for-tat violence threatens fragile ceasefire
  • Abbas tries to stabilise ceasefire

    Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas arrived in Gaza on 9 June to persuade militants to abide by the faltering ceasefire negotiated with Tel Aviv in February. Israeli forces made a short incursion into Gaza on 8 June after Palestinian militants launched mortar attacks on Israeli settlements there. Earlier in the day an unmanned Israeli drone fired missiles at Hamas militants near Khan Younis that Israeli officials said were about to launch an attack on Israel. 'This raid cannot be
  • Abbas wants airport and safe passage route re-opened

    Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas appealed on 8 June for Tel Aviv to permit the re-opening of Gaza airport and the 'safe passage' link between the West Bank and Gaza after Israel withdraws from Gaza. Abbas made the request during a meeting with James Wolfensohn who is the special envoy for the Middle East quartet of Washington, Moscow, the EU and the UN. He will oversee Tel Aviv's withdrawal from Gaza. Opening the safe passage route would allow the free movement of Palestinian p
  • Abrar tower advisory let

    The local Saudi Diyar Consultants has been selected for a contract to provide consultancy services for the proposed Al-Abrar mixed-use tower to be built in Mecca.Estimated to costSR 200 million-250 million ($53 million-66 million), the project will involve the construction of a 28-storey tower with a total built-up area of 70,000 square metres. The first of five packages will be issued by late August. The client is Riyadh-based property developer Dar al-Arkan(MEED 10:6:05
  • Abrar tower advisory let

    The local Saudi Diyar Consultants has been selected for a contract to provide consultancy services for the proposed Al-Abrar mixed-use tower to be built in Mecca.Estimated to costSR 200 million-250 million ($53 million-66 million), the project will involve the construction of a 28-storey tower with a total built-up area of 70,000 square metres. The first of five packages will be issued by late August. The client is Riyadh-based property developer Dar al-Arkan(MEED 10:6:05
  • Abu Dhabi gets Stellar Tower

    The Finance & Industry Ministry is planning to build a 255-metre-high tower in memory of the federation's former president, Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al-Nayhan. The Stellar Tower, which is still in the design stage, calls for the construction of a 66-storey building covered with gold-coloured titanium crystal. Located at Abu Dhabi's Ittihad square, the project will comprise offices, retail outlets, conference facilities and a 300-bedroom hotel. Construction is expected to begin in the first quarte
  • Abu Dhabi gets Stellar Tower

    The Finance & Industry Ministry is planning to build a 255-metre-high tower in memory of the federation's former president, Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al-Nayhan. The Stellar Tower, which is still in the design stage, calls for the construction of a 66-storey building covered with gold-coloured titanium crystal. Located at Abu Dhabi's Ittihad square, the project will comprise offices, retail outlets, conference facilities and a 300-bedroom hotel. Construction is expected to begin in the first quarte
  • ACC closes in on white cement plant

    Algerian Cement Company (ACC), a subsidiary of Egypt's Orascom Construction Industries (OCI), is expected to get approval from the government by mid-July to build a white cement plant at Muaskar about 100 kilometres southwest of Oran. The facility will have capacity of 600,000-800,000 tonnes a year. Two suppliers, Germany's Polysiusand Denmark's FL Smidth, have been shortlisted for the equipment supply contract. A consultant has yet to be appointed.
  • ADCB, IDB EMTNs priced

    The first drawdown in the euro medium-term note (EMTN) programme of Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank (ADCB) was priced on 20 June at 35 basis points (bp) and was increased in size to $800 million from the $500 million originally envisaged. The five-year issue was lead managed by BNP Paribasand HSBC(MEED 10:6:05).
  • Adgas studies bids

    Abu Dhabi Gas Liquefaction Company (Adgas) is evaluating commercial bids from three companies for an estimated $30 million-35 million, three-year maintenance contract covering its Das island gas liquefaction plant. The bidders are Costain Oil, Gas & Processof the UK, Pakistan's Descon Engineeringand the local/Australian joint venture of Imdad Group with Pipeline Engineering Services (PES) Transfield.The contract is scheduled to
  • ADWEA eyes overseas assets through Taqa

    Plans by Abu Dhabi Water & Electricity Authority (ADWEA) to pursue opportunities abroad took a significant step forward on 21 June, with the issue of a decree by UAE President and Abu Dhabi ruler Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed al-Nahyan establishing Abu Dhabi National Energy Company (Taqa). Capitalised at AED 4,100 million ($1,118 million), Taqa has the mandate to own and operate assets at home and abroad in the power, water, energy, oil and mineral sectors. Initially, it will be wholly owned by ADWEA
  • ADWEA issues Fujairah RFQ

    Abu Dhabi Water & Electricity Authority (ADWEA) has issued the request for qualification (RFQ) document on the Fujairah independent water and power project (IWPP), inviting interested developers to respond by 25 June. The RFQ release came a week after ADWEA received expressions of interest from developers for the brownfield IWPP (MEED 20:5:05).
  • Ahmadinejad in row with oil ministry

    Iran's Oil Ministry spokesman Akbar Nematollahi called on 22 June for presidential candidate Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to apologise for suggesting a single family controlled Iran's oil industry. 'Some [people] attack the country's oil industry and bring up weird claims like the existence of a powerful mafia in this sector,' Nematollahi said. 'We recommend them to seriously stop such claims and accusations against oil directors and people.'Ahmadinejad had said in remarks directed at
  • Airlines look to summer in Paris

    Regional airlines are expected to make major orders at the Paris Airshow on 13-19 June. Qatar Airwaysis understood to be looking at placing an order for up to 60 aircraft and Dubai-based Emiratesis also thought to be considering a major order.
  • Airport designers line up

    The Supervision Committee for the Expansion of Abu Dhabi International Airport (Scadia) is preparing to release request for proposals (RFP) documents for two key design contracts on the first phase of the estimated $6,800 million redevelopment of Abu Dhabi airport, after shortlisting firms for the midfield terminal complex and the air traffic control tower complex packages. Scadia is also close to selecting a contractor for the rough grading package on the development (MEED 27:5:05).
  • Airport designers line up

    The Supervision Committee for the Expansion of Abu Dhabi International Airport (Scadia) is preparing to release request for proposals (RFP) documents for two key design contracts on the first phase of the estimated $6,800 million redevelopment of Abu Dhabi airport, after shortlisting firms for the midfield terminal complex and the air traffic control tower complex packages. Scadia is also close to selecting a contractor for the rough grading package on the development (MEED 27:5:05).
  • ALDAR presses ahead with Raha Gardens

    Abu Dhabi-based ALDAR Propertiesheld a meeting in mid-June with about 15 local contractors interested in bidding for the first phase works on the estimated AED 1,000 million ($272 million) Raha Gardens project, the first stage in the multi-billion dollar Raha beach development. The meeting came just a day after the 363 villas under phase 1 were sold to UAE nationals in just 45 minutes (MEED 3:6:05).
  • ALDAR presses ahead with Raha Gardens

    Abu Dhabi-based ALDAR Propertiesheld a meeting in mid-June with about 15 local contractors interested in bidding for the first phase works on the estimated AED 1,000 million ($272 million) Raha Gardens project, the first stage in the multi-billion dollar Raha beach development. The meeting came just a day after the 363 villas under phase 1 were sold to UAE nationals in just 45 minutes (MEED 3:6:05).
  • Algerian Islamists claim responsibility for Mauritania attacks

    An Algerian militant group linked to Al-Qaeda, the Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat (GSPC), claimed responsibility on 6 June for an attack on a military base in Mauritania during which 15 people died. 'The valiant fighters of the GSPC staged this operation : against the forces of the infidel army, leaving several dead and wounded and putting several vehicles out of action,' the group said in a statement posted on its website. Nouakchott said that in addition to the 15 killed, 17 peop
  • Algerians must know the truth about disappearances, says HRW

    Algiers must investigate the disappearance of thousands of people in the 1990s, Human Rights Watch (HRW) official Eric Goldstein said on 22 June. 'If the Algerian government sincerely wants to bring about national reconciliation, it must seriously investigate the atrocious crimes of which the Algerians were victims, shed full light on those terrible years and prosecute those responsible,' he said.Faruk Ksentini, head of the national consultative commission for the promotion a
  • Aljaber/Tremix land NDIA concrete supply

    A joint venture of the local Aljaber Engineeringand Dubai-based Tremixhas been awarded the on-site concrete supply package for the first phase of the New Doha International Airport (NDIA) project. The contract, which is likely to be worth more than QR 300 million ($82 million) over the duration of the project, covers installation of batching and storage facilities capable of delivering 730,000 cubic metres of concrete over a two-three-year period. The concrete supply cont
  • Aljaber/Tremix land NDIA concrete supply

    A joint venture of the local Aljaber Engineeringand Dubai-based Tremixhas been awarded the on-site concrete supply package for the first phase of the New Doha International Airport (NDIA) project. The contract, which is likely to be worth more than QR 300 million ($82 million) over the duration of the project, covers installation of batching and storage facilities capable of delivering 730,000 cubic metres of concrete over a two-three-year period. The concrete supply cont
  • Almarai IPO dates set

    A 10-day subscription will open on 4 July for the initial public offering (IPO) in shares of local dairy firm Almarai Company, following approval from the Capital Market Authority for the offering. Up for sale will be 3.5 million shares priced at SR 512 ($136.5) each - 30 per cent of the firm's capital. Almarai is the first company in the kingdom to stage a public share offering simultaneous with its conversion to a joint stock from a limited liability company. HSBCis acting as fin
  • Al-Qaeda forms all-Iraqi suicide wing

    Al-Qaeda in Iraq has created an all-Iraqi unit of suicide bombers, the group led by Abu Musab al-Zarqawi announced on 22 June on a website posting. 'A unit of martyrs named Al-Ansar, belonging to the martyr brigades of Al-Baraa bin Malek, has been formed. All its members are Iraqis,' the posting said. Abu Dujana al-Ansari leads the Brigades. Foreign Affairs Minister Hoshyar Zebari said on 21 June that the authorities had arrested hundreds of foreign fighters in Iraq. He said that most suici
  • Al-Reem towers out

    The local Tamouh Investmentshas invited design and build bids by 16 July for the first major towers contract on the Al-Reem island development in Abu Dhabi. Prequalifiers for package 2, the building works, are understood to include the the local/Lebanese Arabian Construction Company, Athens-based Consolidated Contractors International Company (CCC), the UK's John Laing International, South Africa's Murray & Roberts Contractors (Middle East)
  • Al-Reem towers out

    The local Tamouh Investmentshas invited design and build bids by 16 July for the first major towers contract on the Al-Reem island development in Abu Dhabi. Prequalifiers for package 2, the building works, are understood to include the the local/Lebanese Arabian Construction Company, Athens-based Consolidated Contractors International Company (CCC), the UK's John Laing International, South Africa's Murray & Roberts Contractors (Middle East)
  • Al-Suhaimi's view: What the chairman said

    On the CMA's achievements
  • Ambitious blue-chips drive up bourse

    The Kuwaiti market underwent a correction recently, after a sustained rally since the start of the year. However, the benchmark Kuwait Stock Exchange (KSE) index is still up by more than 30 per cent since the start of the year and valuations continue to look attractive compared to the runaway markets of Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the UAE. Positive news from expansionist local corporates is driving up the index, with several multi-billion dollar deals sealed over the last couple of months.
  • Amman protests against Haram al-Sharif visit

    Amman on 7 June criticised a visit by Jewish tourists to Haram al-Sharif the day before. The visit culminated in clashes between Palestinians who threw stones at the visitors and Israeli police. 'While the Jordanian government condemns such moves which provoke the sentiments of Arabs and Muslims, it views such attempts as a dangerous escalation against Arab and international efforts aimed at the establishment of a comprehensive, durable and just peace,' the cabinet said in a statement. 'The
  • An unusual sphere of influence the divided zone

    Since 1984, when Chevron Corporation's partner-to-be, Texaco, acquired another US firm, Getty Oil Company, the super major has been involved in a unique venture. On behalf of the Saudi government, Chevron has been operating as Saudi Arabian Texaco (SAT) in the Divided Zone, a neutral area shared by the kingdom and Kuwait. Under the production contract - the only one of its kind held by an international oil company (IOC) in the region - Chevron operates alongside Kuwait Oil Company (KOC), which r
  • Another push by Tasnee

    Two groups of technology providers and engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contractors on 10 June submitted final commercial proposals to the local Tasnee Petrochemicalsfor the contract to build a large-scale mixed feedstock cracker at Jubail. A contract award on the scheme has taken longer than expected as a result of escalating material and equipment costs, leaving offers above Tasnee's budget (MEED 20:5:05).
  • ANP looks to seal aircraft deal

    Algeria may be close to securing a major military aircraft deal with Russia, following the visit to the country by Chief of Staff of Algeria's Armee Nationale Populaire (ANP), Major General Salah Ahmed Gaid, in early June. A deal for the purchase of 50 MiG29SMTs has been on the table since early 2004 with an estimated value of $1,500 million. Russia is understood to have offered to take in return 28 older MiG-29s bought from Belarus in 1998 as part of the deal. An estimated $800 million-$1,000 m
  • Aoun secures poll victory

    Michel Aoun, the Christian former army commander, on 12 June made sizeable gains in the third round of Lebanon's four-stage parliamentary elections.Voters turned out in large numbers in polls held in Mount Lebanon, the Shouf Mountains and the Bekaa valley. Aoun's camp won 15 of the 16 seats contested. Aoun beat some prominent Christian opposition leaders linked to the movement of Saad Hariri, the son of assassinated former prime minister Rafiq Hariri, and Walid Jumblatt, the
  • Aoun seeks the presidency

    Lebanese Christian leader Michel Aoun announced on 15 June that he wants to be head of state if opposition politicians agree that President Lahoud should stand down. 'I'm ready to become president on the condition that those leaving be given an honourable discharge,' Aoun said. Parliament extended Lahoud's term of office by three years in 2004. The decision can only be reversed with a two-thirds parliamentary majority. Aoun gained considerable political leverage in the third round of parlia
  • Aoun shakes up electoral race in latest round

    Michel Aoun, the former Christian Civil War commander, looks set to play an influential role in the new parliament following his victory in polls on 12 June. Aoun made substantial gains at the expense of other groups in the anti-Syrian opposition.
  • Aramco tenders major pipeline jobs

    Saudi Aramco has invited local and international companies to bid for additional pipeline contracts. The largest covers the upstream and downstream pipelines under the Abu Hadriyah, Fadhili and Khursaniyah (AFK) onshore oil field development programme, which will produce 500,000 barrels a day (b/d) of Arabian light crude (MEED 18:3:05).
  • Aramco ups Showa Shell stake

    Aramco Japan Holdings, a subsidiary of Saudi Aramco, on 20 June announced that it had acquired a 5 per cent stake in Japan's Showa Shell from the Royal Dutch/Shell Group. The acquisition brings Aramco's total stake in the publicly traded Japanese refining and marketing company to 14.96 per cent. The transaction came as part of an agreement reached between Aramco and Shell in July 2004, in which the Saudi oil firm purchased its original stake and in prin
  • Arcapita stages divestments

    Bahrain-based Arcapita, the renamed First Islamic Investment Bank, has staged a series of divestments, selling the US' DVT Corporation- a manufacturer of machine vision systems - and two US real estate portfolios. DVT, acquired in 1999, was bought for cash by Cognex Corporation, also of the US, for $115 million, generating a 40 per cent return to investors. It is Arcapita's fourth corporate divestment. 'Three of our corporate investments have been acquired for
  • Architect picked for light rail

    UK-based Llewelyn Davieshas been selected as lead architect to design 30 stations for the Dubai light rail transport (LRT) system. The appointment was made by Dubai Rapid Link, the consortium led by Japan's Mitsubishi Corporation,whichwas awarded in late May the $3,400 million contract to build the first two phases of the metro system. Llewelyn Davies joins another UK firm, Capita Symonds, which is acting as lead engineer and project manager. US-ba
  • Architect picked for light rail

    UK-based Llewelyn Davieshas been selected as lead architect to design 30 stations for the Dubai light rail transport (LRT) system. The appointment was made by Dubai Rapid Link, the consortium led by Japan's Mitsubishi Corporation,whichwas awarded in late May the $3,400 million contract to build the first two phases of the metro system. Llewelyn Davies joins another UK firm, Capita Symonds, which is acting as lead engineer and project manager. US-ba
  • Arifjan masterplan signed

    A local grouping of International Financial Advisors (IFA)and Al-Dowailah Engineering Consultants & Construction Managershas signed an estimated KD 3 million ($10.3 million) contract with the Public Authority for Housing Welfare to draw up a masterplan for the Arifjan urban housing project in the south.
  • Arifjan masterplan signed

    A local grouping of International Financial Advisors (IFA)and Al-Dowailah Engineering Consultants & Construction Managershas signed an estimated KD 3 million ($10.3 million) contract with the Public Authority for Housing Welfare to draw up a masterplan for the Arifjan urban housing project in the south.
  • Asad issues stock market decree

    President Asad on 19 June issued a decree establishing the Syrian Securities & Exchange Commission, paving the way for the creation of a stock exchange. The seven-member body, which will report to the prime minister's office, will regulate the bourse. In a statement carried by the official SANA news agency, Finance Minister Mohammed al-Hussain said that the commission would be financially and administratively independent. 'The Syrian Stock Market will be of great importance in encouraging the cr
  • Asad says corruption is a moral and social problem

    President Asad told a Baath Party conference on 6 June that corruption was a 'moral and a social problem' in Syria. The three-day congress in Damascus, which 1,200 delegates attended, was the first such meeting in five years. 'The economic situation and improving living standards represent a priority for us,' Asad said. 'We should emphasise anything that would push reform forward addressing all the needs of our wide sectors of society,' he said, without giving details of the type of reforms
  • Asad set to restructure party as veteran Khaddam steps down

    As the first Baath Arab Socialist Party congress for five years was convened in Damascus on 6-9 June, Syrian President Asad told the 1,231 delegates to ignore foreign pressure and concentrate on reforms to improve the economy and fight corruption. On the same day, veteran Vice-President Abdul-Halim Khaddam announced he would step down to make way for a younger generation of politicians. The move appears to signal a restructuring of the party in the wake of the Syrian withdrawal from Lebanon.
  • ASIT paints the city blue

    The government's plans to develop the tourism sector have taken a new turn after the launch on 4 June of the estimated $15,000 million Blue City (Al-Madinat al-Zarqa) development in the sultanate. A joint venture company, the Al-Sawadi Investment & Tourism Company (ASIT), which includes the local Cycloneand Bahrain-based AAJ Holdings, has been granted a 75-year concession by the government to develop the land (MEED 1:4:05).
  • ASIT paints the city blue

    The government's plans to develop the tourism sector have taken a new turn after the launch on 4 June of the estimated $15,000 million Blue City (Al-Madinat al-Zarqa) development in the sultanate. A joint venture company, the Al-Sawadi Investment & Tourism Company (ASIT), which includes the local Cycloneand Bahrain-based AAJ Holdings, has been granted a 75-year concession by the government to develop the land (MEED 1:4:05).
  • Award approaches on Yanbu substation

    Evaluation of bids is well under way at the Royal Commission of Jubail & Yanbu for a contract to build a 380/115-kV substation at Yanbu. Seven companies priced the estimated SR 320 million ($85 million) contract in early May. They are Europe's ABB, and Middle East Engineering & Development Company (MEEDCO), Hadi Haider,Al-Toukhi, Al-Fanar, SSEMand Arabian Bemco Contracting, all local. Tenders are also due to be issue
  • Award awaited on LPG scheme

    Marib Gas Company (MGC)is expected to make an award by the end of July on the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract to build its liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) plant at Marib following the submission of commercial offers. The four bidders for the 500 million-cubic-feet-a-day LPG plant are understood to include Belgium's Tractebel Engineering, India's Larsen & Toubroand a South Korean group of Samsung Engineering Company and Hyu
  • Award nears on Algiers metro

    The award of the Eur 500 million ($647 million) Entreprise Metro d'Algiers turnkey contract for the provision of integrated systems on line 1 of the Algiers metro is expected by the end of July. Bids were submitted by France's Alstom, Canada's Bombardierand a consortium of Germany's Siemensand Construcciones y Auxiliar de Ferrocarriles (CAF) of Spain, but Bombardier is understood to have withdrawn from the running. Technical bids are un
  • Award nears on Al-Kawther project

    UAE-based Petrofac Internationalwith the local Galfar Engineering & Contractingis understood to be the frontrunner for the estimated $260 million combined front-end engineering and design (FEED) and engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract on the Al-Kawther gas gathering project. Bids came in over budget but the client, Petroleum Development Oman, is unlikely to change the scope of works, which includes the installation of gas gathering and tre
  • Award nears on Bandar Abbas port

    The consortium of the local Ghorb Khatemwith Italy's Treviand Royal Boskalis Westminsterand Royal Haskoning, both of the Netherlands, is understood to be close to being awarded the phase 2 engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract for the Shahid Rajaee container port project at Bandar Abbas. Three groups of companies submitted commercial offers in late February. The scope of works calls for the construction of two kilometres of berth
  • Award nears on Bandar Abbas port

    The consortium of the local Ghorb Khatemwith Italy's Treviand Royal Boskalis Westminsterand Royal Haskoning, both of the Netherlands, is understood to be close to being awarded the phase 2 engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract for the Shahid Rajaee container port project at Bandar Abbas. Three groups of companies submitted commercial offers in late February. The scope of works calls for the construction of two kilometres of berth
  • Award nears on Salalah port expansion

    The team of Athens-based Consolidated Contractors International Company (CCC) with local/Geneva-registered Hani Archirodonis understood to be the frontrunner for the two main construction packages on the Salalah port expansion project. CCC and Archirodon were the second lowest bidder at RO 85.9 million ($220 million) for the dredging and breakwater package and with their lowest bid were the cheapest on the work covering construction of two new berths, at RO 30.1 million (
  • Award nears on Salalah port expansion

    The team of Athens-based Consolidated Contractors International Company (CCC) with local/Geneva-registered Hani Archirodonis understood to be the frontrunner for the two main construction packages on the Salalah port expansion project. CCC and Archirodon were the second lowest bidder at RO 85.9 million ($220 million) for the dredging and breakwater package and with their lowest bid were the cheapest on the work covering construction of two new berths, at RO 30.1 million (
  • Baghdad calls for debt relief

    The communique from an international conference on Iraq attended by senior officials on 22 June called on Iraq's creditors to give debt relief. Finance Minister Ali Allawi said Saddam Hussein's regime left behind debts of $12,500 million and Gulf war compensation demands of $5,000 million. 'What we inherited after the collapse of tyranny was massive indebtedness, a dysfunctional state geared to war and oppression and a hugely distorted and ill-operating economy,' he said. Rep
  • Baghdad launches counter-insurgency drive

    Baghdad announced on 26 May that it would deploy 40,000 Iraqi troops in a counter-insurgency crackdown nick-named Operation Lightening. Defence Minister Sadoun Dulaimi said the operation would focus initially on Baghdad and then expand across the country. 'We shall not leave any place for terrorists or those who shelter them and incite terrorism in Iraq,' Dulaimi said. 'We shall stand against all those who try to shed Iraqi blood: We will implement the law with everything we've got,' he sai
  • Baghdad may honour old contracts

    The Oil Ministry has established a ministerial committee to examine contracts signed between international oil companies (IOCs) and the regime of Saddam Hussein. A number of agreements were signed before the war but were never implemented because of the outbreak of hostilities and the imposition of UN sanctions.
  • Baghdad tenders refinery

    State Company for Oil Projects (SCOP)has issued the tender for the design and supply of a 140,000-barrel-a-day (b/d) grassroots refinery at Nahrain, in the central region close to Baghdad. International contractors have until 27 July to purchase tender documents. The deadline for the submission of bids is 11 September.
  • Bank Muscat bids low for waste advisory

    The team led by Bank Muscatis low bidder at RO 5.2 million ($13.2 million) for the contract to provide consultancy services on the development of a national solid waste management strategy. According to the tender board, four bids were opened, with offers also coming from Germany's Fichtnerat RO 8.5 million ($21.8 million), Ernst & Youngat RO 8.9 million ($22.8 million) and the local office of Middle East Strategy Advisersat RO 9.7 million ($24.9 million). The selecte
  • Bank Muscat plans capital hike

    The Central Bank of Oman (CBO) has approved plans for a capital increase by Bank Muscatthrough global depositary receipts (GDRs). The exact size of the increase is not yet known but issues of such instruments are rarely less than $100 million. The proposal is now with the Capital Markets Authority. Bank Muscat is planning a regional expansion.
  • Banks leap for Dolphin

    The second tranche of the bridge financing for the Dolphin gas project has had a massive response, with several banks offering to underwrite the entire transaction. The split is understood to have ended up at about $2,000 million of conventional finance and $1,000 million of Islamic, both priced at 35 basis points (bp) for the first two years and 45 bp for the final two. The new facility will be used to take out the previous five-year, $1,360 million bridge, which was signed in 2004 with a club
  • Banks teased on Rabigh finance

    Banks have been approached about participation in the financing of the estimated $4,300 million Rabigh integrated refining and petrochemicals development, a 50:50 joint venture between Saudi Aramco and Japan's Sumitomo Chemical Company (MEED 20:5:05).
  • Baraka signs Cap Juby MoU

    Australia's Baraka Petroleumhas signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the state Office National des Hydrocarbures et des Mines (ONHYM) to examine an undeveloped offshore oil discovery at Cap Juby between Morocco and the Canary Islands. The MoU covers an area of 3,600 square kilometres around the field, up to a depth of 200 metres, and contains a number of other untried prospects, including the Winnow lead, with potential for up to 300 million barrels of oil in place (OIP) a
  • Barzani sworn in as president of Kurdistan region

    Former Peshmerga leader Masoud Barzani has been sworn in as the first president of the Kurdistan Region in Iraq. The swearing-in ceremony at the Kurdistan National Assembly, Irbil, on 14 June was attended by Iraq's President Jalal Talabani, also a Kurd, Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari and representatives of foreign governments, including the US and the UK.Barzani is the son of Kurdish leader Mustafa Barzani and is the leader of the Kurdistan Democratic Party, one of the two m
  • Beirut fires anti-aircraft missiles at Israeli war planes

    Lebanon fired anti-aircraft missiles at four Israeli war planes that violated its airspace and flew low over the city of Tyre on 7 June. The Israeli army retaliated by firing mortars across the border ( MEED 13:5:05).
  • Beirut issues twin eurobonds

    Beirut has raised $500 million through the issue of two sovereign eurobonds, a $250 million, five-year instrument carrying a coupon of 7.375 per cent and a $250 million, eight-year bond with a coupon of 8.625 per cent. BLOM Bankand Credit Suisse First Boston acted as lead managers. Roadshows were held in London and the arrangers reported strong international interest, although the majority was placed with local banks. The paper was rated B- by Fitch. Beirut is a regular issu
  • BG set to double investment

    The UK's BGis set to allocate almost $1,000 million to a range of new investments in its gas development, production and transportation infrastructure.
  • Bidders line up for Hawiyah gas projects

    A clearer picture has emerged of the prospective bidders for two projects under the estimated $1,700 million Hawiyah natural gas liquids (NGL) recovery programme being planned by Saudi Aramco.
  • Bidders line up for latest major DEWA substation tender

    Dubai Electricity & Water Authority (DEWA) has begun evaluating bids for its latest large-scale substation and cabling tender, focusing on the construction of nine 132/11-kV substations. Fifteen local and international contractors participated in the tender, although the vast majority only priced part of the works. In February, DEWA signed contracts, totalling $130 million, on its initial nine-substation programme (MEED 4:2:05).
  • Bidders prepare for EWG-1 pipeline work

    About 10 local and international contractors have been invited to bid by Saudi Aramco for the conversion of the existing Abqaiq-Yanbu oil looped line (AY-1L) into a gas pipeline (EWG-1). The project is one of several pipeline schemes being tendered by Aramco (MEED 20:5:05).
  • Bidders prepare for Qurrayat

    Three local firms are preparing to submit bids by the revised 29 June deadline to Saudi Electricity Company for the contract to expand the existing power plant at Qurrayat in the northwest. The prospective bidders are Al-Toukhi Contracting, Arabian Bemco Contractingand National Contracting Company (NCC). Under the expansion project, the successful bidder will install an additional two distillate-fired 25-MW turbines at the station. Bemco in May sig
  • Bids due for capital road

    Bids have been invited by 18 July for the contract to widen the existing road and construct some new sections of highway between Al-Amerat and Quriyat. The total length of the road will be 80 kilometres and the duration of the contract is 24 months. The US' Parsons Internationalis the consultant to the client, Muscat Municipality.
  • Bids due for capital road

    Bids have been invited by 18 July for the contract to widen the existing road and construct some new sections of highway between Al-Amerat and Quriyat. The total length of the road will be 80 kilometres and the duration of the contract is 24 months. The US' Parsons Internationalis the consultant to the client, Muscat Municipality.
  • Bids due for Khursaniyah project

    Saudi Aramco has invited companies to submit bids by 9 July for a contract involving the construction of several buildings at Khursaniyah, 30 kilometres north of Jubail. Called industrial support facilities, the estimated SR 150 million ($40 million) contract covers the construction of four office buildings, material storage warehouses, four major covered parking areas and fire stations over a built-up area of 41,884 square metres. The facilities will take about two years to complete. The
  • Bids due for Khursaniyah project

    Saudi Aramco has invited companies to submit bids by 9 July for a contract involving the construction of several buildings at Khursaniyah, 30 kilometres north of Jubail. Called industrial support facilities, the estimated SR 150 million ($40 million) contract covers the construction of four office buildings, material storage warehouses, four major covered parking areas and fire stations over a built-up area of 41,884 square metres. The facilities will take about two years to complete. The
  • Bids in for Al-Mas tower

    Bids were submitted in early June for the main construction contract on the Al-Mas tower project at Jumeirah Lake Towers (JLT) in Dubai. Bidders for the estimated AED 500 million ($136 million) contract include a joint venture of Japan's Taisei Corporation and Lebanon's Arabian Construction Company (ACC), the local/UK Al-Naboodah Laing O'Rourke, Sembcorp of Singapore, and the local ETA Ascon. The 20-month contract calls for the construc
  • Bids in for Al-Mas tower

    Bids were submitted in early June for the main construction contract on the Al-Mas tower project at Jumeirah Lake Towers (JLT) in Dubai. Bidders for the estimated AED 500 million ($136 million) contract include a joint venture of Japan's Taisei Corporation and Lebanon's Arabian Construction Company (ACC), the local/UK Al-Naboodah Laing O'Rourke, Sembcorp of Singapore, and the local ETA Ascon. The 20-month contract calls for the construc
  • Bids in for Durrat bridges

    Five bids were submitted on 21 June for the estimated $50 million contract to build the bridges linking the various sections of the Durrat al-Bahrain resort. The bidders are understood to be: the local AA Nass with South Africa's Murray & Roberts Contractors (Middle East); the local Cebarcowith Malaysia's WCT; the local Ahmed Mansour Al-A'Ali, with Geneva-registered Archirodon Construction (Overseas); the local Bin H
  • Bids in for Durrat bridges

    Five bids were submitted on 21 June for the estimated $50 million contract to build the bridges linking the various sections of the Durrat al-Bahrain resort. The bidders are understood to be: the local AA Nass with South Africa's Murray & Roberts Contractors (Middle East); the local Cebarcowith Malaysia's WCT; the local Ahmed Mansour Al-A'Ali, with Geneva-registered Archirodon Construction (Overseas); the local Bin H
  • Bids in for DZ telemetry system

    At least two companies, including Europe's ABBand UAE-based Petrofac International, have submitted bids for the estimated $50 million contract to supply and install a telemetry system covering the onshore Wafra field in the Divided Zone (DZ). The lump-sum turnkey (LSTK) project calls for the supply and installation of relief systems, power and control rooms, supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) systems, workstations and a new control tower. An award is expecte
  • Bids in for GCC grid packages

    Engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) bids were submitted in early June for all five packages on the first phase of the GCC electricity grid project. The packages, covering substations, overhead lines, a submarine cable, the HVDC converter station and a control centre, are being tendered in 13 lots. The client on the estimated $1,190 million project is the GCC Interconnection Authority (GCCIA - MEED 14:2:05).
  • Bids in for NDIA runway

    Technical evaluation has started for the airfield paving/road tunnel package on the New Doha International Airport (NDIA) project, following the submission of bids on 6 June. At over $500 million, the design and build contract is the biggest so far tendered on the estimated $2,500 million project (MEED 3:6:05).
  • Bids in for NDIA runway

    Technical evaluation has started for the airfield paving/road tunnel package on the New Doha International Airport (NDIA) project, following the submission of bids on 6 June. At over $500 million, the design and build contract is the biggest so far tendered on the estimated $2,500 million project (MEED 3:6:05).
  • Bids in for Safaniya work

    Bids were submitted in early June to Saudi Aramcofor two separate contracts covering the fabrication and installation of pipelines, platforms and associated infrastructure at the three offshore oil fields of Safaniya, Zuluf and Marjan. The bidders include Jebel Ali-based J Ray McDermott Middle East and Abu Dhabi's National Petroleum Construction Company (NPCC - MEED 1:4:05).
  • Bids in for Sohar road

    Technical bids were opened on 6 June from seven companies for the contract covering the dualisation of the Sohar-Buraimi road. The bidders are: Austria's Strabag, Athens-based Consolidated Contractors International Company (CCC), Cyprus-based Joannou & Paraskevaides (J&P - Overseas), and National Construction & Trading, Galfar Engineering & Contracting, Al-Shanfari Tradingand Gulf Petrochemical Services, all loca
  • Bids in for Sohar road

    Technical bids were opened on 6 June from seven companies for the contract covering the dualisation of the Sohar-Buraimi road. The bidders are: Austria's Strabag, Athens-based Consolidated Contractors International Company (CCC), Cyprus-based Joannou & Paraskevaides (J&P - Overseas), and National Construction & Trading, Galfar Engineering & Contracting, Al-Shanfari Tradingand Gulf Petrochemical Services, all loca
  • Bids invited for cement expansion

    Bids are due by the end of July for the main construction contract on the Oman Cement Companyexpansion project. The 27-month contract calls for the addition of a 5,000-tonne-a-day (t/d) clinker line and a 3,000-t/d grinding unit at OCC's plant near Muscat, and the construction of a 3,000-t/d grinding plant at Sohar. India's Holtecis the consultant (MEED 22:4:05).
  • Big budget, grand ideas

    With high oil prices set to maintain the Gulf's economic boom for the foreseeable future, governments find themselves grappling with the challenge of providing the infrastructure needed to sustain this growth. Nowhere is this challenge more pronounced than in Qatar, whose enormous gas reserves have underpinned economic growth of 20 per cent in each of the past two years.
  • BNP lines up for Banque du Sud acquisition

    BNP Paribasis understood to be the frontrunner for the acquisition of a strategic stake in Banque du Sud, with up to five other banks interested in the 33.5 per cent holding. BNP is undertaking due diligence. It is also seeking guarantees that it will be able to take a majority stake in the company - negotiations are under way for the French bank's simultaneous acquisition of the 17 per cent interest held by a consortium of local investors.
  • Bombs explode, five days before elections

    Six bombs exploded on 12 June in Iran killing 10 people, five days before Iranians vote for a new president.Two small devices went off in central Tehran early in the evening, killing one person and injuring at least three. Earlier in the day four larger bombs exploded in Ahwaz, provincial capital of Khuzestan, in the southwest. At least six people were killed and more than 30 injured by explosions at the Ahwaz governor's office, the city's housing department and the residence
  • BP takes two new offshore concessions

    The Petroleum Ministry and the UK's BPin early June signed concession agreements for two new offshore blocks in the Mediterranean. The Burullus and North El-Burj offshore blocks lie in shallow water in the west and central Nile Delta. Burullus covers an area of about 1,309 square kilometres while North El-Burj covers about 1,250 square kilometres. BP will invest about $63 million over the next three years on the exploration of the two blocks. Some $40 million will go on the Burullus
  • BSF borrowing upsized

    A $650 million syndicated loan for Banque Saudi Fransi (BSF) was signed on 21 June. The five-year borrowing, priced at 35 basis points, was upsized from $500 million due to heavy oversubscription. Calyon, Citigroup, Deutsche Bank, Gulf International Bankand Sumitomo-Mitsui Banking Corporationacted as mandated lead arrangers (MLAs), with ING Bankand Standard Chartered Bankalso coming in at that level. Thirty banks participated in the deal, w
  • Cabinet stands down, PM uncertain

    The government of Lebanese Prime Minister Najib Mikati stood down on 21 June to make way for a new cabinet. The new parliament will meet at the beginning of July to appoint a prime minister and parliamentary speaker. The anti-Syrian opposition bloc led by Saad Hariri won all 28 seats in the final election round, increasing their number of seats to a parliamentary majority of 72 out of 128. Mikati and Hariri are favourites for the post of premier. 'There should be administrati
  • Cairo begins energy sale

    Prospective investors were given one month to secure a stake in Sidpec after the launch of the sale on 7 June. The offering is split into two tranches, with 60 per cent of the 20 million shares on offer being sold to small investors at£E 70 ($12) a share with the maximum number of shares per buyer capped at 1,000. The remainder of the offering will be privately placed with institutional investors.
  • Cairo must push reforms, says IMF

    The IMF has praised Cairo's attempts to modernise the economy but warned that the government must continue to push ahead aggressively with its reforms if it is to avoid falling back into the economic stagnation that has plagued the country in recent years.
  • Candlelight vigil protests against government violence

    Opposition movement Kifayeh supporters joined about 1,000 demonstrators on 8 June for a candlelight vigil near the grave of nationalist leader Saad Zaghul in Cairo. The demonstrators were protesting against violence perpetrated by government supporters during a national referendum on electoral reform in late May. Opposition supporters said ruling National Democratic Party members attacked them as they protested against the referendum. Security forces surrounded the vigil but made no attempt
  • Car bomb kills second anti-Syria figure

    Anti-Syria politician George Hawi died on 21 June when a bomb planted in his car exploded in the Wata Musaitbi district of Beirut. The blast occurred two days after opposition parties swept to victory in Lebanon's parliamentary elections. Hawi was a former leader of the Lebanese Communist Party. His death follows the assassination of anti-Syria journalist Samir Qasir by car bomb at the beginning of June (
  • Car bombs kill police and civilians

    Four car bombs exploded in Baghdad in the early hours of 23 June, killing more than 17 people. In one attack, a suicide bomber killed three policemen and seven others in the business district of Karrada. The blasts followed a trio of car bombs in the Shia Shola neighbourhood in Baghdad, which killed more than 18 people. Al-Qaeda in Iraq claimed responsibility for the triple attack.Security Minister Abdul Karim al-Enzi called on insurgents to negotiate with Baghdad. 'There are
  • CCC wins more seawater cooling work

    Athens-based Consolidated Contractors International Company (CCC)has received a letter of intent for the engineering, procurement, installation and commissioning (EPIC) contract on the LNG1/W4 project, which will see the planned Qatar Liquefied Gas Company II(Qatargas II) complex and the proposed Ras Laffan ethylene cracker connected to Ras Laffan Industrial City's common seawater cooling system. The award, valued at just over $100 million, was made after Q
  • Cement capacity grinds the kingdom

    Cement capacity in the kingdom could reach 70 million tonnes a year (t/y) by 2010, if 27 licences for new plants come to fruition, a senior industry official told the MEED Middle East Cement Industry conference in Dubai on 19-20 June. 'We expect that at least seven will be realised,' said Khalid Al-Mudaifer, general manager of the local Qassim Cement Company (QCC). 'It is difficult to forecast as each week it seems a new press release is issued announcing a new project.'
  • Cement: Sedating the sector

    US Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld's assertion that there are few known knowns and more known unknowns might well strike a chord with Saudi cement producers. In the cyclical world of cement production, the one known known is that a famine will follow the feast. But in Saudi Arabia, knowing exactly when the days of plenty will end is the problem.
  • Commercial bids invited for Habshan plant expansion

    Abu Dhabi Gas Industries Company (Gasco)has set a tentative deadline of 9 July for the submission of commercial bids for the estimated $250 million-300 million engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract covering the first phase of the proposed Habshan gas expansion project, following approval from the Supreme Petroleum Council (SPC) to proceed with the bidding process (MEED 1:4:05).
  • Companies gear up for Aramco gas plants

    Saudi Aramcohas set final bid deadlines for two contracts being tendered under its estimated $1,700 million Hawiyah natural gas liquids (NGL) recovery programme (MEED 8:10:04).
  • Companies show interest in platforms work

    Companies responded in early June to an initial query for the major platforms and related works packagecovering the next phase expansion of the offshore Al-Shaheen oil field. The client - Maersk Oil Qatar (MOQ), the local subsidiary of Denmark's Maersk Oil & Gas - is expected to issue a tender in 2006, contingent on it receiving approval from Qatar Petroleum (QP)to go ahead with its field development plan. The planned expansion involves the supply and installa
  • Construction: Bracing for the boom

    The kingdom's civil construction sector is on the verge of a major boom - driven by a combination of massive cash surpluses and unprecedented population growth. High oil prices, coupled with the post-9/11 repatriation of significant funds from abroad, have fuelled a wave of expenditure in both the private and public sectors.
  • Consultants line up for Bubiyan PMS

    The Mega Projects Agency (MPA), a section of the Ministry of Public Works, has invited local and international companies to bid by 28 June for a retendered three-year contract to provide project management services (PMS) on the $1,200 million Bubiyan port project. A number of international project management consultants are expected to team up to bid for the work which covers all three of the main phases of the port's development. The PMS work was originally tendered earlier in the year by MPA's
  • Consultants line up for Bubiyan PMS

    The Mega Projects Agency (MPA), a section of the Ministry of Public Works, has invited local and international companies to bid by 28 June for a retendered three-year contract to provide project management services (PMS) on the $1,200 million Bubiyan port project. A number of international project management consultants are expected to team up to bid for the work which covers all three of the main phases of the port's development. The PMS work was originally tendered earlier in the year by MPA's
  • Contractors eye major projects at Zakum

    Abu Dhabi Marine Operating Company (Adma-Opco) has awarded a contract to Australia's WorleyParsons to provide project management consultancy (PMC) services for the proposed Zakum west gas processing facilities project. Worley beat off competition from Oslo-based Aker Kvaerner and Mustang Engineering and Foster Wheeler, both US-based, for the contract (MEED 25:2:05).
  • Contractors found for Atlantis

    The joint venture of Bahamas-based Kerzner Internationaland the local Istithmarhas awarded two pre-construction services contracts on its Atlantis project on Palm Jumeirah in Dubai. The agreements with the local/UK Al-Naboodah Laing O'Rourkeand the local/Australian Leighton Emtechare expected to lead into full lump-sum contracts being placed with the ventures to carry out the two main construction packages on the $1,100 million development (MEED 18
  • Contractors found for Atlantis

    The joint venture of Bahamas-based Kerzner Internationaland the local Istithmarhas awarded two pre-construction services contracts on its Atlantis project on Palm Jumeirah in Dubai. The agreements with the local/UK Al-Naboodah Laing O'Rourkeand the local/Australian Leighton Emtechare expected to lead into full lump-sum contracts being placed with the ventures to carry out the two main construction packages on the $1,100 million development (MEED 18
  • Contractors prepare for pipeline work

    The Ministry of Energy has invited international and local contractors to submit prequalification applications by 2 July for the estimated $100 million C3 second phase pipeline package on the Subiya water storage and distribution scheme. Under the terms of the contract, the successful bidder will construct a 53-kilometre section of 48-inch-diameter pipeline from the desalination plant at Subiya to Mutla. The scope of works also covers trench excavation, pipe welding, backfilling and connection o
  • Contractors sought for Med port upgrades

    Local and international contractors have been given until 25 June to submit prequalification documents to Hong Kong-based Hutchison Port Holdings (HPH)for a project to upgrade and expand the container terminals at Alexandria and Dakahliya ports on the Mediterranean. The project covers the modernisation of container handling facilities, dredging of the berths to depths of 12 metres and lengthening of the quay walls to 380 metres at Alexandria and 560 metres at Dakahliya. The tender fo
  • Contracts awarded for SGH hospitals

    audi Arabia's International Hospitals Construction Company (IHCC) has been awarded three contracts worth a total of $230 million to build three new hospitals across the region for the Jeddah-based Bait al-Batterjee, part of the Saudi German Hospitals (SGH) Group.
  • Contracts awarded for SGH hospitals

    audi Arabia's International Hospitals Construction Company (IHCC) has been awarded three contracts worth a total of $230 million to build three new hospitals across the region for the Jeddah-based Bait al-Batterjee, part of the Saudi German Hospitals (SGH) Group.
  • Cristal clear on plant expansion bids

    The local National Titanium Dioxide Company (Cristal) is evaluating bids submitted by Germany's Dywidag International and Larsen & Toubro Saudi Arabia for a contract to expand the capacity of its titanium oxide plant at Yanbu. Estimated to be worth SR 50 million ($13 million), the contract involves the construction of coke processing lines and reinforced concrete silos. Two options have been submitted. The first covers two processing plants and four silos, eac
  • Cut of the cloth

    Since the beginning of the year, the region's textiles producers have been faced with a new challenge. On 1 January, the system of quotas that had offered a degree of protection from competition to exporters in the region for almost 30 years finally came to an end. Traders who had been sheltered from the cheaper products of Asian countries with mass production facilities and negligible labour costs, such as China, India and Bangladesh, are now exposed to the full brunt of global competition.
  • Dairy firm farms out shares

    The initial public offering (IPO) of shares in local dairy firm Almarai Companyis approaching after its conversion in mid-June into a joint stock company with a capital of SR 750 million ($200 million). The upcoming IPO is one of several expected to be launched in the kingdom this year.
  • Damas sparkle tempts

    Dubai-based Damas Jewelleryannounced on 8 June the completion of a transaction increasing its capital by 40 per cent to AED 1,421 million ($387 million) from AED 900 million ($245 million). The transaction, made through a private placement, was taken up by a group of strategic investors that include Saudi Arabia's Amwal al-Khaleej Company, Shuaa Partners, the private equity arm of Dubai-based Shuaa Capital, and Al-Fahim Groupand
  • Damascus arrests Kurdish demonstrators

    Syrian authorities arrested 60 Kurdish protesters at the beginning of June and allegedly tortured some of them, the Lebanese Daily Star reported on 20 June. Kurdish parties Yikiti and Azadi Kurdish Party said police arrested protesters when they rallied in the northern town of Qamashli against the death in police custody of Syrian-Kurdish cleric Sheikh Mohammed Maashouq al-Khaznawi. They were also protesting against Damascus' mistreatment of Kurds. The authorities held demonstrators in pris
  • Damascus wants to mend relations with Baghdad

    Syrian Foreign Affairs Minister Farouq al-Shara called on 23 June for a new era in Syria-Iraq relations. Damascus is 'ready to co-operate and open a new page with Iraq,' Al-Shara said. He questioned Washington's claims that foreign fighters crossed into Iraq from Syria to participate in the insurgency. 'We want to confirm by words and deeds how accurate these accusations are and what solutions can be found,' he said. Damascus will ask Baghdad for documents and evidence on insurgent infiltra
  • Damascus will continue to target Lebanese opposition

    Washington has credible information that Syrian intelligence operatives plan to assassinate Lebanese political figures, the New York Times reported on 10 June. The article quoted a senior US official who said that Damascus is trying to create 'an environment of intimidation' in Lebanon. 'This is the moment when many politicians are facing overt Syrian intimidation in the middle of an election period,' the unnamed official said. 'When Lebanese sources tell us they are hearing that the Qasir
  • Dar al-Arkan ups investment drive

    Local property developer Dar al-Arkan Real Estate Development Company is due to launch prequalifications by the end of June for the main construction package on the proposed Al-Qasr mixed-use development at Suwaidi, south of Riyadh (MEED 18:3:05).
  • Dar al-Arkan ups investment drive

    Local property developer Dar al-Arkan Real Estate Development Company is due to launch prequalifications by the end of June for the main construction package on the proposed Al-Qasr mixed-use development at Suwaidi, south of Riyadh (MEED 18:3:05).
  • Date set for BMB rights issue

    The rights issue by BMB Investment Bankis due to begin on 19 June and will close in early July. On offer will be 200 million shares priced at $0.25, raising capital by $50 million, as part of a capital restructuring programme. BMB has received a commitment from an existing shareholder to subscribe to $33 million worth of new shares if the rights issue is not fully subscribed, with an additional $50 million possibly being raised through a private placement and debt-for-equity conversi
  • Decisions near on Sharq

    Contract awards are approaching on three main packages being tendered by Jubail-based Eastern Petrochemical Company (Sharq)under the planned $2,300 million expansion of its olefins complex. Final offers were submitted by international contractors on 14 June for the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contracts to build ethylene glycol (EG) and polyethylene (PE) units while final bids are due on 20 June for the mixed feedstock cracker (MEED 22:4:05).
  • Defeated candidates claim election fraud

    Defeated reformist candidate Mustafa Moin said on 18 June that Islamist militias had interfered in Iran's presidential elections. Another defeated candidate, former parliament speaker Mehdi Karroubi, said the election was subjected to 'bizarre interference'. He said that bribes had been paid to influence the outcome ( MEED 17:6:05). Poll watchers expected Moin to go th
  • Degremont picks up three water contracts

    France's Degremont, a subsidiary of Suez Environnement, has won design, build and five-year operation contracts for two drinking water production facilities in Algeria and a wastewater treatment facility at Marrakech in Morocco. Canada's SNC Lavalinhas awarded the company a Eur 38 million ($47 million), 37-month contract to build a 605,000-cubic-metre-a-day (cm/d) drinking water facility at Taksebt. The work is part of a $600 million contract awarded to the Ca
  • Demonstrators against unemployment arrested

    Bahraini police attacked and arrested about 50 protesters on 19 June during a demonstration against joblessness in the kingdom. Violence erupted after police tried to move the protesters, who included the head of the banned Bahrain Centre for Human Rights Abdulhadi al-Khawaja, away from outside the king's royal court. The detainees were later released.
  • DHCC plans move ahead

    The local Welcare World Health Systems (WWHS)has invited expressions of interest for the main contract on the estimated $40 million City hospital in Dubai Health Healthcare City (DHCC). The main tender is scheduled to be issued in July. Abu Dhabi-based Dutch Foundationis carrying out the excavation and shoring enabling works. The 210-bed cardiology and orthopaedics facility will have a built-up area of about 32,000 square metres rising to 10 storeys. Dubai-based S
  • DHCC plans move ahead

    The local Welcare World Health Systems (WWHS)has invited expressions of interest for the main contract on the estimated $40 million City hospital in Dubai Health Healthcare City (DHCC). The main tender is scheduled to be issued in July. Abu Dhabi-based Dutch Foundationis carrying out the excavation and shoring enabling works. The 210-bed cardiology and orthopaedics facility will have a built-up area of about 32,000 square metres rising to 10 storeys. Dubai-based S
  • Diggers burrow for the bay

    Evaluation of bids is under way at Dubai International Propertiesfor the main contract to build a channel between Dubai's creek up to the Burj Dubai vicinity. The contract is part of the first phase in the construction of Business Bay, which is scheduled to be completed by 2010 (MEED 3:6:05).
  • Diggers burrow for the bay

    Evaluation of bids is under way at Dubai International Propertiesfor the main contract to build a channel between Dubai's creek up to the Burj Dubai vicinity. The contract is part of the first phase in the construction of Business Bay, which is scheduled to be completed by 2010 (MEED 3:6:05).
  • Dolphin gears up to tender gas loop

    Companies have submitted prequalifications to Abu Dhabi-based Dolphin Energyfor two engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contracts covering the upgrade and modification of the eastern gas distribution system (EGDS) in the emirate. The applicants include Technip Abu Dhabi, part of Paris-based Technip, Athens-based Consolidated Contractors International Company (CCC), India's Punj Lloyd, the Italian office of ABB, U
  • DPI wins Aden port operation

    Dubai Ports International (DPI)has been awarded the 35-year concession to operate and manage Aden Container Terminal and the neighbouring Ma'alla Container terminal by the government, working with the World Bank's Port Cities Development Programme and the consultant, Rotterdam Maritime Groupof the Netherlands.
  • DSM takes stock, but outlook is good

    The Doha Securities Market (DSM) was due a correction after a spectacular rise in the first quarter and so it proved, with the benchmark DSM index slumping by about 16 per cent in April and trading volumes halved. Out of the 31 listed stocks, only one managed to register growth during the month. But the fall needs to be put in perspective: with share prices up by some 40 per cent since the start of the year, the market remains among the region's best performing.
  • Dubai blacks out

    A six-hour power cut brought Dubai to a near standstill on 9 June. Dubai Electricity & Water Authority (DEWA) said that the power cut was caused by a major failure in one of its main substations at Jebel Ali. It added that a committee had been formed to look into the causes of the outage.
  • Dubai Holding launches new energy subsidiary

    Dubai Holdingannounced on 7 June the launch of its latest subsidiary, Dubai Energy, aimed at building up a diversified global energy investment portfolio. 'The new initiative of the Dubai-based investment group aims to capitalise on the window of opportunity for new entrants in this sector after factors such as volatile energy prices, insatiable demand, evolving players and increasing capital requirements have reshaped the energy sector,' said Dubai Holding. 'The company is al
  • Dubailand spins the wheel

    Dubai will see the construction of the world's largest observation wheel by 2008 after Netherlands-based The Great Wheel Corporation (GWC)was granted a 99-year concession agreement to develop the project within the Dubailand leisure and tourism development. The local Benaa Developments, part of Thani Investments, has also recently signed an agreement to build Golf City at Dubailand.
  • Dubailand spins the wheel

    Dubai will see the construction of the world's largest observation wheel by 2008 after Netherlands-based The Great Wheel Corporation (GWC)was granted a 99-year concession agreement to develop the project within the Dubailand leisure and tourism development. The local Benaa Developments, part of Thani Investments, has also recently signed an agreement to build Golf City at Dubailand.
  • Economy: Gainful employment

    As mid-year approaches and analysts adjust their full-year forecasts for the local economy, most Saudis will find the economic outlook for 2005 could not be much better. Strong oil prices and high production levels show no sign of retreating. Nominal gross domestic product (GDP) is set to cross the SR 1 trillion mark for the first time ever this year. For government revenues, the stock market and company revenues, the story is much the same. Indeed, almost all key economic data for 2005 will nee
  • Economy: Private delivery

    Muscat's efforts at economic diversification and structural reform over the past 12 months can hardly be faulted. Key laws have been passed and a healthy set of fiscal and gross domestic product (GDP) figures produced. In recognition of its efforts, Standard & Poor's (S&P) in November upgraded the sultanate's foreign currency rating to BBB+/A-2, putting it on a level with more diversified Bahrain and better-endowed Saudi Arabia. 'Structurally, everything seems to be going in the right direction,
  • EdL privatisation plans rise again

    Prime Minister Najib Mikati announced on 3 June that the reactivated Higher Committee for Privatisation (HCP) is set to consider plans to privatise state electricity company Electricite du Liban (EdL) marking a departure from a previous strategy proposed under the government of Omar Karami in December. Sources in Beirut say that HCP held a meeting in late May, which adopted a privatisation action plan presented by the Energy & Water minister. A meeting in mid-June will decide on how
  • EFC race hots up

    India's Tata Group has regained the lead in the race to control Egyptian Fertiliser Company (EFC) after tabling an offer of about $519 million for an 88.25 per cent stake in the firm. Tata hit the front of the five-way auction on 7 June when it offered about $352 a share for the 1.475 million shares on offer. The bid overtakes the offer of $350 a share submitted the previous week by Egypt Kuwait Holding Company.The three other interested parties are Canada's
  • EFC race hots up

    A group of investors led by the local private equity company Citadel Capital has taken the lead in the race for Egyptian Fertiliser Company (EFC) after tabling an offer of about $700 million for an 88.25 per cent stake in the firm. Citadel hit the front of the five-way auction on 21 June when it offered about $475 a share for the 1.475 million shares on offer. The bid overtook an offer of $462 a share submitted on 17 June by Egypt Kuwait Holding Company (EKH).
  • EGYPT: Cairo's new dawn

    The strong financial performance of Egypt's major private banks in 2004 confirms what government supporters have been arguing for much of the past 12 months that Egypt's banking sector is entering a new era of growth (see table).
  • EgyptAir to buy new 737s

    State-owned EgyptAiris set to sign in June a $850 million deal with The Boeing Companyof the US for 12 new 737/800 aircraft. The new planes each have capacity for 159 passengers and will be used on EgyptAir's Europe and Middle East routes. They will be delivered between mid-2006 and the end of 2007. Under a separate $12 million deal, EgyptAir is also buying a flight simulator to train pilots on the new planes. The carrier will take delivery in 2006 of four A320s from Euro
  • Emaar struggles in kingdom

    Dubai-based developer Emaar Propertiesissued a statement on 14 June to the Dubai Financial Market confirming that it was in dispute with a Saudi-based company, although it denied the clash would impact on its activities in the kingdom. 'The dispute does not go beyond the ambit of the conditional agreement and will have no effect on Emaar's local or international expansion plans, including those in Saudi Arabia,' the statement said. Media reports in the kingdom claimed that local cour
  • Emaar struggles in kingdom

    Dubai-based developer Emaar Propertiesissued a statement on 14 June to the Dubai Financial Market confirming that it was in dispute with a Saudi-based company, although it denied the clash would impact on its activities in the kingdom. 'The dispute does not go beyond the ambit of the conditional agreement and will have no effect on Emaar's local or international expansion plans, including those in Saudi Arabia,' the statement said. Media reports in the kingdom claimed that local cour
  • Emirates engines centre readies to roar

    South Africa's Group Five, with local Al-Naboodah Contracting,has been awarded a $16 million contract for a jet engine testing facility in Dubai. The project calls for the construction of a 6,000-square-metre building with a 13-metre cross-section chamber capable of testing jet engines with up to 150,000 pounds of thrust. The facility is scheduled for completion in 2007. The test centre will be located in Al-Aweer on the Dubai-Hatta road. The client is Dubai-based
  • Emirates engines centre readies to roar

    South Africa's Group Five, with local Al-Naboodah Contracting,has been awarded a $16 million contract for a jet engine testing facility in Dubai. The project calls for the construction of a 6,000-square-metre building with a 13-metre cross-section chamber capable of testing jet engines with up to 150,000 pounds of thrust. The facility is scheduled for completion in 2007. The test centre will be located in Al-Aweer on the Dubai-Hatta road. The client is Dubai-based
  • Emirates sukuk priced

    The seven-year, $550 million sukuk issue by Dubai-based carrier Emirateshas been priced at 75 basis points, and was placed about 40 per cent in Europe and Asia, with the remainder sold in the region. Subscription came in at about $824 million but the instrument will not be upsized.
  • Etihad appoints loan arrangers

    Calyonand National Bank of Abu Dhabi (NBAD)have been appointed to arrange an estimated $1,500 million financing for Etihad Airways, to fund the purchase of 12 aircraft from Europe's Airbus. The 12-year deal is expected to come to market within the next six months, pending completion of negotiations with export credit agencies. The 12 planes are due to be delivered between April 2006 and June 2008. Etihad is also in the market for a $500 million loan pac
  • Etisalat calls Islamabad

    Emirates Telecommunications Corporationannounced on 21 June the acquisition of a 26 per cent stake in Pakistan Telecommunication Company (PCTL). The Privatisation Commission, which was set up by Islamabad to oversee the sell-off, selected Etisalat ahead of seven international prequalifiers including Saudi Telecomand Saudi Oger(MEED 20:5:05).
  • EU meets Hamas

    EU officials have been in talks with Hamas, representatives of the militant organisation confirmed on 16 June. 'There have been several meetings and communication between Hamas and the EU on several levels. Some of it has been in Gaza and the West Bank, but some of it has been outside the Palestinian territories,' said Hamas' Gaza spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri. Talks began after Hamas did well in recent local elections. 'Europe understands that there can be no order in the Middle East without Ha
  • EU to establish diplomatic ties with Baghdad

    The EU aims to establish a diplomatic mission in Baghdad, its external relations chief Benita Ferrero-Waldner said on 10 June. 'This is the beginning of a new political relationship with Iraq and I do hope it can grow toward a real partnership,' she said upon her return to Brussels from a visit to Baghdad. 'After having seen what the conditions are, it is my view that gradually we can go back and we will open up a delegation of the European Commission in Baghdad as soon as possible, I would
  • Federation increases cement production

    A new round of capacity additions are planned in the local cement sector as producers look to meet demand. Current capacity stands at 11 million tonnes a year (t/y) and is set to increase by 3 million-4 million t/y by 2007.
  • Final offers due on YanSab units

    Contractors are due to submit final commercial offers in late June for the ethylene glycol (EG), polypropylene (PP) and linear low-density polyethylene (LLDPE) packages being tendered by Saudi Basic Industries Corporation (Sabic) as part of its programme to build a grassroots olefins complex at Yanbu, called YanSab. A last round of meetings between the client and the bidders is due to be held in the UK around 20 June and will be followed by the submission of final prices. The contend
  • Final verdict on Zarqa due

    The Energy & Mineral Resources Ministry is expected to release imminently the final version of a financial report on the planned $700 million modernisation and expansion of Zarqa refinery, as part of the government's overall strategy to reform the kingdom's energy sector. The terms of reference (TOR) for the advisory contract on Zarqa and the government's overall energy strategy were due to be released in April. The Japan Bank for International Co-operation (JBIC) has had an advisory role. Some
  • First female cabinet minister for Kuwait

    Kuwait has appointed its first female cabinet minister, one month after parliament agreed to let women vote and stand for office. Massouma al-Mubarak, a political science professor, was named Planning Minister & Administrative Development. Mubarak told Agence France Presse that it was 'a great honour for Kuwaiti women and [an] appreciation of their struggle'. Women will be able to take part in parliamentary elections in 2007. The law was passed by parliament last month but it
  • First female minister takes oath of office despite protests

    Kuwait's first female cabinet member, Planning Minister Massouma al-Mubarak took her oath of office on 20 June. Tribal and Islamist MPs shouted in protest during the ceremony in the national assembly. Protesters said that her appointment was unconstitutional, arguing that she had not registered to vote and she was not eligible to become an MP. Speaker Jassem al-Khorafi told the parliament that he had consulted constitutional experts and Al-Mubarak's appointment was legal (
  • First Medgaz package let

    Local/Spanish group Cosider-MASA has been awarded an AD 7,140 million ($97 million) contract to build the first phase on the local section of the Medgaz gas pipeline project. Construction will take about 20 months. The client is state energy company Sonatrach.
  • First non-Arab head for UASC

    Ken Soerensen has been appointed president and chief executive officer (CEO) of Kuwait-based United Arab Shipping Company (UASC). Soerensen, the first non-Arab to be appointed to the position, will take up his post on 1 July and replace acting CEO and president Khalifa al-Shebli. He comes from Brussels-based European Liner Affairs Association (ELAA) where he was executive director.
  • Float glass award nears

    Italy's Ianua Engineering is in final negotiations for the estimated $200 million lump-sum turnkey contract to build the proposed Emirates Float Glass plant in Abu Dhabi Industrial City in Mussafah. An award is expected by mid-July with work scheduled to begin by mid-September (MEED 20:5:05).
  • Fluor wins cooling plant PMC

    The US' FluorCorporationhas been appointed the project management consultant (PMC) for the seawater cooling plant serving the state's planned aromatics and olefins II petrochemicals complex. A tender for the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) element of the project, which is also called pumping plant D, is expected to be issued by the end of June. The estimated KD 70 million ($241 million) scheme involves the construction of an offshore intake delivery pipeline sy
  • Four eye MIBank sale

    Four international banks are preparing bids for a majority stake in the partly state-owned Misr International Bank (MIBank). Ahli United Bank (AUB), Barclays Capital, Societe Generale (SocGen)and BNP Paribashave been given one month to submit bids for an estimated 67.7 per cent shareholding in MIBank after completing due diligence on 11 June.
  • Fourteen in for GCCIA overhead lines package

    Technical bid evaluation is under way for the overhead lines package on the first phase of the GCC electricity grid project, after 14 groups submitted proposals on 8 June for the four lots on offer. The overhead lines were the fifth and final package to be tendered on the estimated $1,190 million project. For the other four, the GCC Interconnection Authority (GCCIA) received bids in the first week of June (MEED 10:6:05).
  • Fragile truce further weakened by ongoing violence

    Israeli troops killed Islamic Jihad leader Maraweh Ikmil and a member of the Palestinian security forces on 7 June during a raid in the village of Qabatiya in the West Bank. Troops were on a mission to arrest Ikmil and detained two other Islamic Jihad members. A gun battle started when troops surrounded the house where he was hiding and other Islamic Jihad fighters came to his aid. After the fighting, an army bulldozer flattened the house. In reference to the ceasefire between Palestinian m
  • French interested in Tunisie Telecom

    France Telecomis understood to be in negotiations for the acquisition of a 35 per cent stake in state-owned operator Tunisie Telecom. Plans for an initial public offering (IPO) of shares in the operator's capital have been shelved in order to secure a strategic partnership with a large international telco, facilitating the transfer of technology and expertise to the local market. The decision also promises a better price for the sale, which the government hopes will raise $1,7
  • Fresh prices due for Jebel Dhanna tanks

    Abu Dhabi Company for Onshore Oil Operations (Adco)has invited companies to submit revised prices by 28 June for the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract on its Jebel Dhanna tank farm facility upgrade project. The local Target Engineering Construction Company was the low bidder at AED 248.5 million ($68 million), when prices were submitted in April by four companies. Its offer was just 1.5 per cent lower than the next quote of AED 252 million ($69 million)
  • Fresh prices in for Dubai Tower

    Revised prices were submitted on 10 June by the three bidders for the main package on the Dubai Tower project. The bidders for the estimated $250 million contract are a joint venture of the UAE's Al-Habtoor Engineering Enterpriseswith the local Aljaber Engineering, Athens-based Consolidated Contractors International Company (CCC)and Lebanon's Arabian Construction Company (ACC). In the repricing, bidders were allowed to propose their optimum complet
  • Fresh prices in for Dubai Tower

    Revised prices were submitted on 10 June by the three bidders for the main package on the Dubai Tower project. The bidders for the estimated $250 million contract are a joint venture of the UAE's Al-Habtoor Engineering Enterpriseswith the local Aljaber Engineering, Athens-based Consolidated Contractors International Company (CCC)and Lebanon's Arabian Construction Company (ACC). In the repricing, bidders were allowed to propose their optimum complet
  • Frontrunner Rafsanjani set to alter relations with West

    The race for the Iranian presidency is tight. The election on 17 June is likely to go to an unprecedented run-off round, where the leading candidate will face his nearest rival. Pragmatist and moderate conservative Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani is the favourite to win by just a few points, but a late reformist surge in the first ballot is not out of the question. This would push Mostafa Moin, who has pledged to tackle human rights abuses, ahead of the field of seven candidates. Pre-election polls
  • Gaza talks breakdown as spectre of pullout violence rises

    Talks between Palestinian and Israeli officials concerning Tel Aviv's planned withdrawal from Gaza in August have ended in deadlock, Israeli minister without portfolio Haim Ramon said on 7 June. The two parties failed to agree on the handover of maps detailing settlements under Israeli control and military positions during the pullout. 'The Palestinians wanted more details and refused to take on board those we were ready to supply,' Ramon said. 'There are particulars that we did not communi
  • GCC exports to boom, says Sabic

    Total petrochemical exports from the GCC will grow to about 48 million tonnes in 2008 from 16.6 million tonnes in 2004 and a forecast 18.4 million this year, the president of Arabian Petrochemical Company (Petrokemya)Abdullah Saad al-Rabeeah said on 7 June in the keynote address to MEED's Gulf Petrochemicals 2005 conference in Bahrain. 'More is going to be done in Gulf petrochemicals in the years up to 2010 than has happened in the past 30 years,' Al-Rabeeah said. In his presentation
  • GIC EMTN priced

    Euro medium-term note (EMTN) programmes are increasing in popularity among Gulf financial institutions as a means of diversifying funding sources, with an issue by Gulf Investment Corporation (GIC)priced on 8 June and a string of other financial institutions planning to use the instrument.
  • Global reach for rebranded Jumeirah

    Local hospitality groupn Jumeirah International (JI), a subsidiary of Dubai Holding, is aiming to increase its hotel portfolio to 40 properties by 2010, the company's chief executive officer (CEO) Gerald Lawless said on 21 June. 'We are closing in on a number of projects, but are not close enough to say where just yet,' said Lawless.
  • Global reach for rebranded Jumeirah

    Local hospitality groupn Jumeirah International (JI), a subsidiary of Dubai Holding, is aiming to increase its hotel portfolio to 40 properties by 2010, the company's chief executive officer (CEO) Gerald Lawless said on 21 June. 'We are closing in on a number of projects, but are not close enough to say where just yet,' said Lawless.
  • Goldman Sachs to advise on JT sale

    Goldman Sachshas been appointed to advise the government on the sale of its remaining 41.5 per cent stake in Jordan Telecom (JT). The Executive Privatisation Commission has prepared the terms of reference for the financial consultant. JT officials say the bank was chosen from among a shortlist of bidders including Citigroupand Deutsche Bank(MEED 18:2:05).
  • Groups call for investigation into demonstration violence

    The Egyptian Journalists' Union demanded the resignation of Interior Minister Habib al-Adli on 28 May, after security services allegedly mistreated demonstrators protesting against the government during the national referendum on 25 May. Witnesses said that President Mubarak's National Democratic Party supporters attacked protesters outside the Journalists' Union building and chased and attacked them elsewhere in Cairo. The Egyptian Organisation for Human Rights demanded an investigation in
  • Hamas ready for talks with West but will not disarm

    Hamas' West Bank spokesman Mohammed Ghazal said on 8 June that the militant organisation is ready to talk with Washington and Europe but will not disarm. 'We are interested in the dialogue,' Ghazal said. 'But we are not able to meet their conditions now, before resolving our national cause,' he said. Hamas will disarm when a Palestinian state is established, he said. 'If they help us get back our rights, we will immediately stop our attacks and military activity,' he said.UK
  • Hariri claims electoral victory

    The opposition alliance led by Saad Hariri claimed victory in Lebanese parliamentary elections on 19 June after unofficial results for the fourth and final round showed his bloc had won a majority in parliament. 'The almost final results show that the people has had its say,' Hariri said. 'It has said it wants change and that's what we called for.'In the first three rounds of voting, Hariri's anti-Syria alliance won 44 out of 128 seats. Christian and former civil war leader M
  • Hawiyah gas plant expansion goes to tender

    The invitation to bid (ITB) documents were released on 10 June by Saudi Aramco forthe lump-sum turnkey (LSTK) contract to expand the existing Hawiyah gas treatment plant. The contract is the last to be tendered under the Hawiyah natural gas liquids (NGL) recovery programme (MEED 27:5:05).
  • Hawiyah gas plant tender to come in June

    Saudi Aramcois due to release invitation to bid (ITB) documents in the second week of June for the estimated $300 million-400 million contract to expand the existing Hawiyah gas plant. The project is part of Aramco's Hawiyah natural gas liquids (NGL) recovery programme, for which several main contracts were awarded in March (MEED 26:11:04).
  • Health of King Fahd improves

    Saudi Interior Minister Prince Nayef said on 29 May that King Fahd's condition was improving following his admittance into hospital on 27 May for medical tests. 'Thank God his health is steadily improving,' said Prince Nayef. The king was reported to be suffering from a high fever, pneumonia and respiratory complications brought on by water on his lungs. A statement issued by the royal household on 28 May said: 'The necessary medical tests were carried out and they all showed that his healt
  • Hezbollah coalition sweeps seats in south Lebanon

    An alliance led by Hezbollah won all 17 parliamentary seats in south Lebanon in the second round of legislative elections on 5 June, in addition to six seats that were uncontested. Hezbollah and Amal won 80 per cent of the vote with a turnout of 45 per cent. The list was comprised of 14 Shias, three Sunnis, two Maronite Christians, two Greek Catholics, a Greek Orthodox candidate and a Druze ( MEED 29:5:05).
  • HHI bids low for massive crude export facilities

    South Korea's Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI) is low bidder at KD 362 million ($1,248 million) for the retendered Ahmadi crude export facilities project following the opening of bids on 5 June. A consortium of Spain's Tecnicas Reunidas, Italy's Saipemand Turkey's Tekfenis the only other bidder, pricing the job at KD 455 million ($1,568 million) some 25 per cent higher than HHI's offer. The client, Kuwait Oil Company (KOC), is expected to
  • Huwaila oil field bids go to the wire

    A close contest is in store for the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract to install new facilities at the onshore Huwaila field in Abu Dhabi. The local Matrix Engineering & Lead Contracting & Tradinghas submitted a low bid of about $24 million, followed by Galfar Engineering & Contracting Emirates, also local, at $25 million. The only other bidder for the Abu Dhabi Company for Onshore Oil Operations (Adco) contract is India's Punj L
  • Hyundai scoops more tanker deals

    South Korea's Hyundai Mipo Dockyard Company (HMPD), a subsidiary of Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI), has received an order from the local Gulf Navigation Groupto supply four 46,000-dwt tankers. Under the estimated $217 million deal, Hyundai will begin delivering the vessels in April 2009. In the last six months HMPD has received orders for 21 tankers worth $1,000 million from Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the UAE.
  • ICC launches investigation into Darfur atrocities

    The International Criminal Court (ICC) at The Hague opened a formal investigation on 6 June into suspected atrocities committed in the Darfur region of Sudan. 'The investigation will be impartial and independent, focusing on the individuals who bear the greatest criminal responsibility for crimes committed in Darfur,' a statement released by the ICC said. In April, the UN submitted a list of 51 suspected war criminals to the ICC believed to name government and army officials, militia leader
  • If Washington unfreezes assets, we can talk, says Rafsanjani

    Presidential candidate Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani said in an article published in Jomhuri Islami newspaper on 8 June that he would be prepared to enter into negotiations with Washington if the US indicated its willingness to resume relations by unfreezing Iranian assets. 'As I have said before, a goodwill gesture on the part of the United States would be for them to unblock our assets,' Rafsanjani said. 'If such a gesture was made, we could enter into negotiations.' He said Washington had
  • Imperial project reigns

    Five companies submitted bids on 19 June to Abu Dhabi-based ALDAR Propertiesfor the proposed diabetes centre to be built in the capital. The bidders are Al-Hamed Development & Construction, Al-Habtoor Engineering Enterprises, Al-Faraa Contracting and Al-Geeco, all local, and Saudi Oger. The seven-month contract is worth about AED 35 million ($9 million). Called Imperial College London Diabetes Centre, the project involves th
  • Imperial project reigns

    Five companies submitted bids on 19 June to Abu Dhabi-based ALDAR Propertiesfor the proposed diabetes centre to be built in the capital. The bidders are Al-Hamed Development & Construction, Al-Habtoor Engineering Enterprises, Al-Faraa Contracting and Al-Geeco, all local, and Saudi Oger. The seven-month contract is worth about AED 35 million ($9 million). Called Imperial College London Diabetes Centre, the project involves th
  • Indians agree LNG sales deal and head upstream

    National Iranian Gas Export Company (NIGEC)signed on 13 June a 25-year sales and purchase agreement with an Indian consortium for the supply of 5 million tonnes a year (t/y) of liquefied natural gas (LNG). The deal also involves granting upstream gas rights to feed the LNG project and oil concessions as a sweetener on gas pricing (MEED 27:5:05).
  • Indians scoop Algiers refinery upgrade

    Engineers India Limited (EIL)has been awarded the contract for the project management consultancy (PMC) and front-end engineering and design (FEED) work on the rehabilitation and upgrade of the Algiers refinery. EIL submitted a commercial bid of Eur 2.3 million ($2.8 million), compared to the Eur 3.4 million ($4.1 million) bid of the other shortlisted company, the Italian office of Paris-based Technip. The client is Naftec, the refining subsidiary of state energy c
  • Institute to foster democratic progress

    Bahrain's ruler Sheikh Hamad al-Khalifa has announced the establishment of the Institute for Political Development to promote political awareness and a culture of democracy, Al-Khaleej newspaper reported on 8 June. The institute will provide training to municipal and Shoura council members and public and private sector workers on constitutional and legal matters.
  • Insurance: Looking to see clearly

    Reform of the kingdom's insurance sector has been eagerly awaited, but Riyadh appears to be getting cold feet. Ironically for an industry whose purpose is to guard against life's uncertainties, the status of the kingdom's insurance sector is opaque even to those working closely with it. 'There is very little transparency in the process,' says a Riyadh-based lawyer. 'Everyone is confused,' agrees a London-based broker.
  • Insurgents captured, others ready to lay down arms

    Iraqi government spokesman Leith Kubba said on 7 June that almost 900 people have been arrested during Operation Lightening launched two weeks ago. More than 600 mobile and close to 200 permanent checkpoints have been established around Baghdad to prevent insurgent infiltrations. He said the operation had expanded beyond Baghdad to include the 'triangle of death' south of the city and north to Mosul. 'Despite a tangible improvement in the situation in Baghdad, we must not have a false sense
  • Interconnection study awarded

    Belgium's Tractebel Engineeringhas been formally awarded the contract by Kuwait-based Arab Fund for Economic & Social Development (AFESD) to conduct a feasibility study into the interconnection of the electricity grids of Yemen and southern Saudi Arabia. Italy's Cesi is the subconsultant. Data collection is due to start in September. The consultancy entails an economic feasibility study examining the likelihood of power exchange and a technical feasibility study on the me
  • Interest sought in Mosul 400-kV work

    The Project & Contracting Office has issued a presolicitation notice for the expansion and rehabilitation of a 400-kV substation at Mosul. Interested companies have until 1 July to respond to the notice for the one-year contract, which is valued at more than $10 million.
  • Interview: Hamood Sangour al-Zadjali: A cautious approach

    The sultanate's banking sector has been hitting the headlines over the past year but the less-told story is one of gradually strengthening fundamentals, as Central Bank of Oman (CBO) executive president Hamood Sangour al-Zadjali explains
  • Iranian elections too close to call

    Iranian voters went to the polls on 17 June to elect a new president. The election was the closest since the Islamic revolution in 1979 and the favourite, former president Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani faced stiff competition from reformist Mustafa Moin and conservative Mohammed Baqer Qalibaf. Results were due on 18 June. Polls indicated that no candidate would win 50 per cent of the vote, forcing a run-off round between the top two contenders (
  • Iraqis will defeat insurgency, says Rumsfeld

    Iraqis and not US-led forces will end the insurgency, US Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said on 14 June. 'This insurgency is going to be defeated not by the coalition - it's going to be defeated by the Iraqi people and by the Iraqi security forces, and that is going to happen as the Iraqi people begin to believe they've got a future in that country,' Rumsfeld said. Washington has shifted its focus from fighting the insurgency to building Iraqi security forces, he said.Secu
  • IRISL targets major fleet expansion

    Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines (IRISL)is preparing to issue a major international tender in late 2005 for the first contract under its planned 54-vessel acquisition programme. Another acquisition programme, involving 36 vessels, is under way with 16 shipbuilding contracts already awarded to domestic shipyards and 20 placed under memoranda of understanding with foreign yards. The shipping line is undertaking the rapid expansion programme to meet higher exports of petrochemicals an
  • Islamic Malaysia Index to attract Gulf investment

    Malaysia's RHB Securities and Dow Jones Indexes launched the Islamic Malaysia Index on 23 June to draw investment from GCC states. The Kuala Lumpur Sharia Index already operates in Malaysia, but the new listing meets Gulf nations' interpretation of Islamic financial law, Lebanon's Daily Star reported. '[Kuala Lumpur] is going to be the springboard for Gulf money for not only here, but into the region,' said Rushdi Siddiqui, global director of the Dow Jones Islamic Index Group.
  • Islamists demonstrate against alleged US Quran abuse

    Demonstrators rallied on 27 May in Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon and Sudan demanding an apology from Washington for the alleged desecration of the Quran by prison interrogators at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Newsweek reported mishandling of the Quran in an article that the magazine later retracted. More than 12,000 Islamists and followers of the banned Muslim Brotherhood gathered at a meeting in Alexandria. Police said they arrested 12 of the event's organisers. In Cairo, about 1,000 demo
  • Islamists suspected of bomb attack

    Algerian press reported on 8 June that the militant Islamist Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat (SGPC) planted a bomb near the village of Ain Rich, 400 kilometres south of Algiers, that exploded on 7 June and killed 13 communal guards. The guards were travelling in a lorry on their way to a security operation when the bomb detonated near their vehicle. No member of the SGPC was spotted at the scene and newspaper reports suggested the bomb might have been planted some time ago when Isla
  • Italcementi boosts its regional presence

    Italian cement producer and distributor Italcementi has announced the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Egyptian private equity firm Citadel Capitalfor the right to acquire additional equity in Egypt's ASEC Cement Group. The deal came just two weeks after it signed a framework agreement with Saudi Arabia's Arabian Cement Company (ACC) to co-operate on the development of new projects in the kingdom and elsewhere in the region. Ital
  • ITB imminent for Abadan refinery upgrade

    An invitation to bid (ITB) is to be launched soon for the expansion and upgrade of Abadan refinery, the oldest in the Middle East. Other National Iranian Oil Refining & Distribution Company (NIORDC)projects are now moving forward include the Arak refinery project, for which a shortlist of qualified contractors is to be completed by the end of June (MEED 8:4:05).
  • Jaafari wants US troops to leave Iraq

    Iraqi's Prime Minister Ibrahim Jaafari wants US troops to leave Iraq, but would not set a date for the withdrawal, US daily the Washington Post reported on 24 June. Jaafari was in Washington for talks with US President Bush.'We would like to see the withdrawal of American forces as quickly as possible, because the presence of any foreign troops on our land means there is a weakness and we cannot by ourselves control the security situation,' Jaafari said. He said he wanted to
  • JAL wins Gulf Farabi package

    The local JAL Internationalhas been awarded the electrical, instrumentation and telecoms package on the Gulf Farabi Petrochemicals Company project at Jubail. The contract, valued at an estimated $5.5 million, is due to be completed in February 2006. Canada's SNC Lavalinis the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contractor on the $325 million project, which calls for the construction of a plant with capacity of 120,000 tonnes-a-year (t/y) of normal
  • JAPAN BANK FOR INTERNATIONAL CO-OPERATION: Proven investment partner

    April 2005 saw financial close reached on the Taweelah B independent water and power project (IWPP), a groundbreaking scheme for several reasons. Not only is it the region's biggest ever private power project, it also attracted a massive $1,200 million financing tranche from Japan Bank for International Co-operation (JBIC). One of the Japanese government-funded institution's largest project finance investments, the deal is emblematic of JBIC's rapidly growing involvement in the region.
  • Jazeera Airways secures financing

    Newly established local carrier Jazeera Airwaysannounced on 4 June the signing of financing agreements with DVB Bank, Natexis Banques Populairesand Kuwait Finance House(KFH)for the purchase of its first four aircraft on order from Europe's Airbus. Under the terms of the first Sharia-compliant murabaha facility agreement, Natexis and KFH will finance 70 per cent of the $25 million pre-delivery payment for the four A320 aircraft on
  • Jebel Ali terminal bids in

    Evaluation of bids is under way at Dubai's Ports, Customs & Free Zone Corporation for the quay wall package on stage 1 of the new Jebel Ali container terminal. Bidders for the estimated $80 million-100 million contract include Geneva-registered Archirodon Construction (Overseas), the local/Belgian Bel Hasa Six Construct, the local/UK Dutco Balfour Beatty, South Korea's Hyundai Engineering & Construction, India's Larsen & Toubro, South A
  • Jebel Ali terminal bids in

    Evaluation of bids is under way at Dubai's Ports, Customs & Free Zone Corporation for the quay wall package on stage 1 of the new Jebel Ali container terminal. Bidders for the estimated $80 million-100 million contract include Geneva-registered Archirodon Construction (Overseas), the local/Belgian Bel Hasa Six Construct, the local/UK Dutco Balfour Beatty, South Korea's Hyundai Engineering & Construction, India's Larsen & Toubro, South A
  • JGC/KBR in line for Skikda LNG

    A consortium of Japan's JGC Corporationand the US' Kellogg Brown & Root (KBR)is understood to be in line to take the $600 million-700 million engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract on the Skikda liquefied natural gas (LNG) plant. The group is the only remaining prequalifier, following the withdrawal of the Paris-based Technip and US-based Foster Wheelerteam from the bidding process in April. There had been speculation that the con
  • Joined-up thinking

    Saudi Arabia has long been a transportation black spot, but one man is driving plans to make the kingdom a land corridor and transhipment hub. Edmund O'Sullivan reports
  • Jordanian finance minister resigns

    Jordan's Finance Minister Bassem Awadallah resigned on 16 June in the face of public criticism over economic reforms. Parliamentary demands that Awadallah step down led to a clash with Prime Minister Adnan Badran in early May. Awadallah was appointed to the cabinet in early April. He was ousted as planning minister from the previous cabinet in February. Hinting at a possible cabinet reshuffle, King Abdullah said in a letter to Badran that he must 'find people who have the qualities that wil
  • June deadline for Aghajari partnerships

    The three bidders for the Aghajari gas reinjection contract have been given until 20 June to bring in an international contractor to provide project management services. However, there appears to be little interest among international contractors to carry out the work because they would have to take on joint and several liability on the contract. The client is National Iranian Southern Oil Company (NISOC - MEED 20:5:05).
  • Kawther pipeline tendered

    Petroleum Development Oman (PDO) issued tender documents on 21 June for the pipelines package on the Al-Kawther gas-gathering project. Seven companies have been invited to submit technical bids by 6 August. The invitees are Russia's Stroytransgaz, UAE-based Dodsal, India's Punj Lloyd, Athens-based Consolidated Contractors International Company (CCC), US-based Willbros Group, Turkey's Tekfen and Italy's Saipem
  • KEOIC appointed for mixed-use development

    The local office of KEO International Consultants (KEOIC)has been appointed project and construction manager on an estimated QR 600 million ($165 million) mixed-use development planned by Qatar Real Estate Investment Company (QREIC)at Al-Sadd in central Doha. Under its contract, KEOIC will also provide design management and marketing consultancy services for the project, which will comprise commercial, office and residential space.
  • KEOIC appointed for mixed-use development

    The local office of KEO International Consultants (KEOIC)has been appointed project and construction manager on an estimated QR 600 million ($165 million) mixed-use development planned by Qatar Real Estate Investment Company (QREIC)at Al-Sadd in central Doha. Under its contract, KEOIC will also provide design management and marketing consultancy services for the project, which will comprise commercial, office and residential space.
  • KGL signs crane MoU

    KGL Ports International, part of Kuwait & Gulf Link Transport Company (KGL), has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Finland's KCI Konecranescovering a strategic partnership. The MoU involves technology transfer and technical support relating to port handling equipment and in particular ship-to-shore cranes. KGL has recently signed an MoU with Egypt's Damietta Port Authority to build a new cargo terminal at the port and is bidding for port management co
  • Khartoum bombs Eastern rebels

    The Sudanese airforce dropped bombs on rebel positions in eastern Sudan for the second day running on 24 June, a spokesman for the Eastern Front rebel group reported. Salah Barqueen said the bombings occurred in the Barka Valley near the town of Tokar, south of Port Sudan on the Red Sea. 'They are using the same [means] as they used in Darfur,' Barqueen said in reference to the conflict between rebel factions and Khartoum there. 'Still the bombing is going on. You know why this happened - t
  • Khatami warns of election dirty tricks

    Outgoing President Khatami warned on 16 June of election interference as campaigning drew to a close in the presidential polls, which takes place on 17 June. This included the 'disruption of gatherings, beatings, illegal pamphlets and spreading lies to ruin candidates' reputations regardless of political inclination,' Khatami said. Presidential favourite Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani claimed that an opponent had launched a dirty tricks campaign against him.Rafsanjani leads a f
  • King Fahd gravely ill

    King Fahd is on a respirator to help with his breathing and remains in hospital suffering from pneumonia, Reuters reported on 17 June. The king was admitted to hospital on 27 May with water on his lungs. The news agency reported that the royal family has delayed its annual summer move from Riyadh to Jeddah because of the king's poor health ( MEED 29:5:05).
  • King Fahd taken to hospital for tests

    Saudi Arabia's King Fahd was admitted to hospital for medical tests on 27 May, according to a statement from the Royal Court quoted by the Saudi Press Agency.
  • Kirkuk bank blast kills 22

    A suicide bombing in the northern oil city of Kirkuk has killed 22 people and injured 50 others, including 10 children. Most of the victims were civil servants queuing outside a branch of the state-run Al-Rafidain Bank to get their salaries or pensions. The bomber is believed to have walked up to the queue with up to 66lbs of explosives hidden under his clothes. The city has been the focus of intense ethnic rivalry since the removal from power of former president Saddam Husse
  • KNPC fires up LPG expansion

    State refinery operator Kuwait National Petroleum Company (KNPC)is firming up plans to build a fourth liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) train at its Mina al-Ahmadi refinery. The US' Fluor Corporationhas completed pre-front-end engineering and design (FEED) work on the train as part of its umbrella FEED contract covering the revamp of KNPC's three refineries, and the client is now considering whether to tender the FEED contract competitively. The train is expected to have a ca
  • KNPC launches refinery upgrade

    State-owned refinery operator Kuwait National Petroleum Company (KNPC)has launched its estimated $3,500 million refineries upgrade programme, inviting international contractors to submit expressions of interest (EoIs) by the end of June for a contract to upgrade the tank farms at its three refineries. Invitations to bid (ITB) for the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract are due to be issued in early July, with the bid submission deadline scheduled for late August.
  • KOC renews IOC TSAs

    The UK's BPhas been awarded a KD 35 million ($121 million) one-year extension to its technical services agreement (TSA) with state upstream oil operator Kuwait Oil Company (KOC). Under the terms of the agreement, BP will provide technical support and strategic planning to KOC as well as advise on health and safety issues and on oil and gas production from the state's northern oil fields.
  • Kurds clash with police in hometown of dead cleric

    Hundreds of Syrian Kurds clashed with police on 5 June in the town of Kameshli, where Kurdish cleric Sheikh Mohammed Maashouq al-Khaznawi was buried on 1 June. The protest was organised by Kurdish parties Yikiti and the Azadi Kurdish Party in Syria to demand an investigation of Al-Khaznawi's death. Kurdish politicians have said the authorities killed the cleric. Police fired tear gas on the crowds and some of the demonstrators were reported to have opened fire on the security forces. The au
  • Kuwaiti crown prince hospitalised

    Crown Prince Sheikh Saad al-Abdulla al-Sabah was taken into hospital on 9 June with a blood condition. 'The Deputy Emir and Crown Prince Sheikh al-Abdulla al-Sabah was admitted to hospital on Thursday as he suffered an indisposition caused by a high level of blood glucose,' the state news agency KUNA reported. Sheikh Saad is second in command to the emir, who travelled to the US in May for medical treatment. Many of the day-to-day duties of the ruler are handled by Prime Minister Sheikh Sab
  • Kuwaiti Shia exclusion threatens national unity

    The head of the Shia Scholars' Congregation in Kuwait Mohammed Baqer al-Muhri said on 8 June that Shia exclusion from political posts could undermine national unity. 'We noticed a deliberate exclusion of a large sect in Kuwait, contrary to the established norms. The groups feels it is unjustly treated by this exclusion from the cabinet and municipality,' Al-Muhri said. His remarks followed the appointment of six remaining members to the municipal council, none of which were Shia. The other
  • Leading reformist president candidate warns against vote boycott

    Leading reformist candidate and former higher education minister Mostafa Moin urged voters on 7 June to cast their ballots during 17 June presidential elections. 'If you have come to the conclusion that you have to boycott the election you would lose your chance to have any say in deciding your fate,' Moin said. 'The way would be paved for the emergence of the black era of a totalitarian system,' he said. Low voter turnout favours conservative candidates, whose supporters traditionally vote
  • Lebanese intellectuals call for Syrian political reform

    A group of Lebanese intellectuals and professionals published a petition on 27 May calling for an end to human rights abuses in Syria and the detention of eight political activists. The activists, who are board members of the Jamal Atasi Forum, were arrested on 24 May. 'We strongly denounce the political arrests in Syria, and the continued violations of free speech, opinion and gathering, which are guaranteed by the international declaration of human rights,' the petition said. 'We call for
  • Loans agreed for Cairo power plants

    Cairo's plans to launch three new power plants in the next 12 months have taken a major step forward following the approval by three of the principal funding organisations of loans for the projects totalling about $400 million.
  • Local/South African JV wins AX 101

    Dubai's Department of Civil Aviation (DCA) has awarded the local Al-Naboodah Contractingwith South Africa's Group 5the estimated AED 500 million ($135 million) AX 101 cargo terminal package on the new airport development. The client is also expected to make an award by August for the extension of the existing terminal 2, which will be one of the last major awards on the estimated $4,200 million expansion of Dubai International Airport (MEED 4:2:05).
  • Local/South African JV wins AX 101

    Dubai's Department of Civil Aviation (DCA) has awarded the local Al-Naboodah Contractingwith South Africa's Group 5the estimated AED 500 million ($135 million) AX 101 cargo terminal package on the new airport development. The client is also expected to make an award by August for the extension of the existing terminal 2, which will be one of the last major awards on the estimated $4,200 million expansion of Dubai International Airport (MEED 4:2:05).
  • Locals sign for South Pars 17-18

    Pars Oil & Gas Company (POGC)signed up a local consortium on 12 June for the $2,500 million engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract on the development of South Pars phases 17-18. The consortium is led by minority shareholder Petroparsand includes Oil Industries Engineering Company (OIEC)and Iran Offshore Engineering and Construction (IOEC - MEED 3:6:05).
  • Low poll turnout as opposition calls for boycott

    Egyptians voted on 25 May in a referendum on constitutional change that would permit multi-candidate elections, amid calls from opposition groups for a boycott of the polls. Under the amendment, opposition groups will be able to present candidates for the presidency but strict conditions will be imposed on their selection. Nominees must have backing from at least 65 members of the 454-strong parliament, which is dominated by the ruling National Democratic Party (NDP).
  • Maglev rail study planned

    The Qatari government has appointed Germany's Transrapid Internationalto carry out a study on the feasibility of setting up a high-speed magnetic levitation (maglev) rail line in the Gulf in two phases. Under the study, Transrapid, a German joint venture between ThyssenKrupp and Siemens, will examine the feasibility of building a 160-kilometre-long connection between Qatar and Bahrain via a bridge, which would constitute the first phase of the project. Phase 2
  • Major facelift for Mazzar

    The Municipal : Rural Affairs Ministry (M&RAM) has invited companies to submit bids by 16 July for a contract involving a major facelift of its complex in Riyadh's Mazzar area. Worth SR 500 million ($133 million), the project involves the construction of two 13-storey offices, an additional floor to the ministerial building, a four-level car park and related facilities. The total built-up area will be 62,000 square metres; the project will take 18-24 months to complete. The design consultant is
  • Major facelift for Mazzar

    The Municipal : Rural Affairs Ministry (M&RAM) has invited companies to submit bids by 16 July for a contract involving a major facelift of its complex in Riyadh's Mazzar area. Worth SR 500 million ($133 million), the project involves the construction of two 13-storey offices, an additional floor to the ministerial building, a four-level car park and related facilities. The total built-up area will be 62,000 square metres; the project will take 18-24 months to complete. The design consultant is
  • Medoil explores El-Louza

    Medoil, the UK-listed exploration company set up to compete for oil and gas assets in the Mediterranean basin, has been awarded a prospecting permit and exploration and production sharing contract on the offshore El-Louza block. The contract was won in conjunction with Norway's TGS-NOPEC, which holds a 5 per cent interest but is expected to cover a larger proportion of the costs. The two-year prospecting contract gives the group the exclusive rights to enter into a seven-year
  • MEF lays Sports City foundations

    The local Middle East Foundations (MEF)has started mobilising on a three-month piling contract at Dubai Sports City (DSC). MEF will sink 1,500 piles for the cricket and multi-purpose outdoor stadia. Germany's Architekten von Gerkan, Marg & Partners (GMP)is the architect and designer for the estimated $400 million stadia developments. Plans call for the construction of a multi-purpose indoor and outdoor stadium, a cricket stadium, an indoor arena and an outdoor hockey fiel
  • MEF lays Sports City foundations

    The local Middle East Foundations (MEF)has started mobilising on a three-month piling contract at Dubai Sports City (DSC). MEF will sink 1,500 piles for the cricket and multi-purpose outdoor stadia. Germany's Architekten von Gerkan, Marg & Partners (GMP)is the architect and designer for the estimated $400 million stadia developments. Plans call for the construction of a multi-purpose indoor and outdoor stadium, a cricket stadium, an indoor arena and an outdoor hockey fiel
  • MEG Worley to carry out new Qarn Alam FEED

    Canada's MEG Worleyhas been awarded the front-end engineering and design (FEED) contract by Petroleum Development Omanon the estimated $300 million Qarn Alam steam injection project, updating previous FEED studies carried out by the same company to take account of an enhanced scope of works. Studies are due to be completed in the third quarter, with a tender for the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract to be issued in early 2006, an award by the end of
  • MESC and Rampco take HDPE plant

    A partnership of Japan's Mitsui Engineering & Shipbuilding Company (MESC)and the local Rampcohave been awarded the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract for a high-density polyethylene (HDPE) plant being built by a Japanese/Thai/local joint venture (MEED 13:5:05). The plant, located in Assaluyeh, will have capacity of 300,000 tonnes a year (t/y). MESC will carry out the engineering and international procurement work while Rampco will take charge of cons
  • Midmac lands Texas A&M college

    The local Midmac Contractinghas been selected for the contract to build the Texas A&M College of Engineering at Education City. Bids are under evaluation for two other major construction packages at Education City, covering the convention centre and the Science & Technology Park (STP) projects. Qatar Petroleumis managing the project on behalf of the client, the Qatar Foundation for Education, Science & Community Development (QF - MEED 4:3:05).
  • Midmac lands Texas A&M college

    The local Midmac Contractinghas been selected for the contract to build the Texas A&M College of Engineering at Education City. Bids are under evaluation for two other major construction packages at Education City, covering the convention centre and the Science & Technology Park (STP) projects. Qatar Petroleumis managing the project on behalf of the client, the Qatar Foundation for Education, Science & Community Development (QF - MEED 4:3:05).
  • Mikati announces economic plan

    Interim Lebanese Prime Minister Najib Mikati said on 23 June that the new government should take advantage of international support to implement economic reform. Internal political disagreements have contributed to the failure of several reform strategies, he said, including the Paris II agreement. 'The country's economic development is hampered by political conflicts and its politicians' desires to serve their own interests at the expanse of national ones,' he said.Mikati an
  • Mitsubishi takes Ar-Razi methanol

    Saudi Methanol Company (Ar-Razi)has awarded the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract to build a new methanol plant at Jubail to Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI)of Japan. The announcement of the award on 5 June came only days after final clarification meetings were held between the client and the two bidders - MHI and Germany's Lurgi(MEED 27:5:05).
  • More Burj hotels awarded

    The local/South African Al-Jaber Grinaker-LTA has been awarded an estimated $65 million contract to carry out the hotels A and B package on the Burj Dubai development. The award coincided with the client, the local Emaar Properties, releasing another hotel tender on the development, covering the lake hotel main package (MEED 27:5:05).
  • More Burj hotels awarded

    The local/South African Al-Jaber Grinaker-LTA has been awarded an estimated $65 million contract to carry out the hotels A and B package on the Burj Dubai development. The award coincided with the client, the local Emaar Properties, releasing another hotel tender on the development, covering the lake hotel main package (MEED 27:5:05).
  • More Hawiyah work hits the market

    Invitation to bid (ITB) documents are due to be released in early February by Saudi Aramco for the estimated $220 million project to expand the existing Hawiyah gas plant. Contractors responded to a solicitation of interest for the project's lump-sum turnkey (LSTK) contract on 17 December. The project is part of Aramco's estimated $1,700 million Hawiyah natural gas liquids (NGL) recovery programme (MEED 26:11:04).
  • MoU signed for gas pipeline to Gaza

    A consortium led by the UK's BG Group and the Palestinian Investment Fund have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) for the construction of a pipeline from the Noah South extension - also known as the Border field - of the Gaza Marine offshore gas field. Tenders have been issued for on and offshore development work, which estimated to cost $100 million and is expected to be funded by the World Bank (MEED 30:11:01).
  • MPA gets ready for action

    The bid deadlines for the development of Failaka island and the first-phase development of the Bubiyan seaport project have been extended until the autumn. The nine prequalified groups for the estimated $3,300 million development of Failaka have been given three extra months until 2 October to submit their proposals, while the 19 companies and groups prequalified for the estimated $200 million first phase of the $1,200 million Bubiyan port scheme now have until 24 September to submit offers, fol
  • MPA gets ready for action

    The bid deadlines for the development of Failaka island and the first-phase development of the Bubiyan seaport project have been extended until the autumn. The nine prequalified groups for the estimated $3,300 million development of Failaka have been given three extra months until 2 October to submit their proposals, while the 19 companies and groups prequalified for the estimated $200 million first phase of the $1,200 million Bubiyan port scheme now have until 24 September to submit offers, fol
  • MPW lets capital ring-road job

    A local/Greek joint venture of Copri Construction Enterprises and AKTORhas been awarded the long-awaited phase 1 package on the first ring-road upgrade project in Kuwait City.The group was widely expected to win the contract after submitting a low bid of KD 28.9 million ($99.6 million) last October. The scheme, the first of three packages on the first ring-road modernisation programme, calls for the upgrade of 2.5 kilometres of carriageway, 10 bridges and diversion of th
  • MPW lets capital ring-road job

    A local/Greek joint venture of Copri Construction Enterprises and AKTORhas been awarded the long-awaited phase 1 package on the first ring-road upgrade project in Kuwait City.The group was widely expected to win the contract after submitting a low bid of KD 28.9 million ($99.6 million) last October. The scheme, the first of three packages on the first ring-road modernisation programme, calls for the upgrade of 2.5 kilometres of carriageway, 10 bridges and diversion of th
  • Mubadala and Shell tie the knot

    Abu Dhabi government-owned Mubadala Development Companysigned on 12 June a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Royal Dutch/Shell Group to form a strategic alliance. The alliance will initially focus on energy opportunities in the Middle East and North Africa, excluding Abu Dhabi. Mubadala has developed a close relationship over the past three years with the US' Occidental Petroleum, having worked together as partners on the Dolphin gas project, explorat
  • Namvaran bids low on NF3

    A team of the local Namvaranand Spain's Tecnicas Reunidashas submitted the lowest price for the third natural gas fractionation (NF3) project at Bandar Imam. The client, National Petrochemical Company (NPC), will now examine all four bids to ensure they comply with tender regulations before inviting a bidder to enter contract negotiations (MEED 18:2:05).
  • NCC awarded SEC contracts

    Saudi Electricity Company (SEC) has awarded two supply and installation contracts to the local National Contracting Company (NCC),worth a total of SR 54 million ($14 million), for transmission and distribution (T&D) works in the kingdom. The larger of the two contracts, worth SR 28 million ($7.5 million), is for a 35-kilometre, 132-kV double-circuit overhead transmission line (OHTL) to be installed between Jizan and Sabya in the southern region. The second contract, worth SR 2
  • NDIA runway bids opened

    The joint venture of the UK's Balfour Beatty (BB)and Athens-based Consolidated Contractors International Company (CCC)is the clear low bidder for the airfield paving/road tunnel package on the New Doha International Airport (NDIA) project, after prices were opened on 16 June by the NDIA Steering Committee.
  • NDIA runway bids opened

    The joint venture of the UK's Balfour Beatty (BB)and Athens-based Consolidated Contractors International Company (CCC)is the clear low bidder for the airfield paving/road tunnel package on the New Doha International Airport (NDIA) project, after prices were opened on 16 June by the NDIA Steering Committee.
  • Nearly two million Syrians live in poverty

    One in ten Syrians live under the poverty line, Damascus' official news agency Sana reported on 9 June. The report said that the Statistics Central Bureau, the State Planning Commission and the UN Development Programme conducted a study that found 10.4 per cent of Syrians, about 1.8 million people, live on under $2 a day and 0.3 per cent, about 54,000 people, live on less than $1 a day. Unemployment stands at a national average of 8.2 per cent but rises to 12 per cent amongst the poor.
  • New appointments announced for QFCRA

    The Qatar Financial Centre Regulatory Authority (QFCRA) announced on 12 June the appointment of Jamie Orchard as chief operating officer and managing director of legal regulatory affairs, and Jay Perumal as chief financial officer. Both appointments are effective immediately. Both men have come from the Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA).
  • New foreign subcontractors sought for South Pars 15-16

    Foreign contractors have been approached by Iran Marine Industries Company (Sadra)and Khatam-ol-Anbia (Ghorb), both local, to undertake subcontract work on the South Pars 15-16 development project. The move came after Norway's Aker Kvaernerwithdrew from the consortium, which has been negotiating the $2,000 million project after winning a tender last year (MEED 3:6:05).
  • New Gaza IPP aims to supply the West Bank and Israel

    Palestine Electric Company(PEC)has unveiled plans to build a 1,000-MW independent power project (IPP) in northern Gaza to supply electricity to the West Bank and Israeli business. Gaza Power Generating Company(GPGC), which operates PEC's existing IPP, is in initial talks about the project with a number of Israeli firms.
  • New head for Batelco

    Peter Kaliaropoulos is to replace Tony Hart as chief executive officer of Bahrain Telecommunications Company (Batelco). Kaliaropoulos joins the company from SingTel Optus Businessin Australia.
  • New high-rises planned in Riyadh

    The local Saudi Consolidated Engineering Company (Khatib & Alami) has been awarded two contracts covering design, supervision and construction management of two office towers and a mixed-use high-rise to be built on King Fahd Street in Riyadh. The largest project, worth SR 120 million ($32 million), involves the construction of a 20-storey office building, including a car park. Design work is targeted to be complete by February 2006. The construction period will be two years. The sec
  • New high-rises planned in Riyadh

    The local Saudi Consolidated Engineering Company (Khatib & Alami) has been awarded two contracts covering design, supervision and construction management of two office towers and a mixed-use high-rise to be built on King Fahd Street in Riyadh. The largest project, worth SR 120 million ($32 million), involves the construction of a 20-storey office building, including a car park. Design work is targeted to be complete by February 2006. The construction period will be two years. The sec
  • New look for NCB

    Work is under way on the contract to construct a new regional office building for The National Commercial Bank (NCB) on Al-Mather Street in Riyadh. The local Nesma & Alfadl Contracting Company is carrying out works under a SR 160 million ($42 million) contract, which calls for the construction of a 13-storey building and related facilities. The project is due to be completed by mid-2006. The local Zuhair al-Fayez & Partnership is the architect.
  • New look for NCB

    Work is under way on the contract to construct a new regional office building for The National Commercial Bank (NCB) on Al-Mather Street in Riyadh. The local Nesma & Alfadl Contracting Company is carrying out works under a SR 160 million ($42 million) contract, which calls for the construction of a 13-storey building and related facilities. The project is due to be completed by mid-2006. The local Zuhair al-Fayez & Partnership is the architect.
  • New manager for NCB

    Abdul Kareem Abu al-Nasr has been named general manager at The National Commercial Bank (NCB). He takes over from Abdulhadi Shayif who resigned from the job two days earlier stating personal reasons. Shayif was general manager at NCB since 1999.
  • New MENA fund launched

    Arab Bankand its subsidiary, Atlas Investment Group, launched a $100 million investment fund on 13 June to invest in the region. The Middle East & North Africa (MENA) fund will be an open-ended mutual fund managed by Atlas. The fund plans to invest in 12 regional equity and fixed-income markets. Arab Bank will provide initial capital of $5 million.
  • New prices called for Kurdistan LDPE

    National Petrochemical Company (NPC)has requested bidders to submit revised prices for the Kurdistan low-density polyethylene (LDPE) plant, planned along the western ethylene pipeline. Only a few million dollars separated the three lowest bids when prices were opened in mid-June (MEED 29:4:05).
  • New project announced for Reem island

    Recently-incorporated Abu Dhabi-based Reem Investmentsannounced on 4 June a new AED 20,000 million ($5,450 million) residential project on Reem Island, northeast of the capital. Prequalification has also been launched by the local Tamouh Investmentsfor the first phase development of another section of the island.
  • New project announced for Reem island

    Recently-incorporated Abu Dhabi-based Reem Investmentsannounced on 4 June a new AED 20,000 million ($5,450 million) residential project on Reem Island, northeast of the capital. Prequalification has also been launched by the local Tamouh Investmentsfor the first phase development of another section of the island.
  • New tanks planned at Mesaieed

    Qatar Petroleum has invited companies to submit bids by 10 July for a contract involving the construction of five storage tanks and associated systems at the Mesaieed refinery. The engineering, procurement, installation and commissioning (EPIC) contract is worth about $30 million and will take about nine months to complete. The tanks will be for the storage of jet fuel and fuel oil. About 18 companies attended the site visit, although it is expected that six-eight will participate in the
  • NIOC awards two blocks for E&P

    National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC)has awarded two oil blocks on a buyback basis for exploration and development to Thai and Chinese companies. The blocks were tendered in 2004 according to a new formula that aimed to reduce risk for investors (MEED 18:2:05). China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC)was awarded the Kouh-Dasht block in Lurestan Province, and will spend $18 million-51 million over the 10-year development term, which can be increased to 25 years to recover inve
  • NIOC hopes to be third time lucky on Kharg NGL

    The Kharg Island natural gas liquids (NGL) project is being retendered again after National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC)decided that the existing tender process was invalid without a third bidder. The project cost, estimated at $1,350 million, is expected to rise further due to higher steel prices and issues with the front-end engineering and design (FEED - see Tenders; MEED 27:5:05).
  • NSCC gets Pearl piling

    The local United Development Company (UDC)has awarded an estimated QR 100 million ($27 million) contract to Abu Dhabi-based NSCC to carry out major piling work on the Pearl-Qatar island development. The 12-month contract calls for the sinking of 10,000 piles. The work covers one tower, retail facilities and townhouses. Bids for the main contract on the first batch of two towers are due by the end of June after 22 companies were prequalified. The package covers two high-ri
  • NSCC gets Pearl piling

    The local United Development Company (UDC)has awarded an estimated QR 100 million ($27 million) contract to Abu Dhabi-based NSCC to carry out major piling work on the Pearl-Qatar island development. The 12-month contract calls for the sinking of 10,000 piles. The work covers one tower, retail facilities and townhouses. Bids for the main contract on the first batch of two towers are due by the end of June after 22 companies were prequalified. The package covers two high-ri
  • Oger wins office, clinic contracts

    Saudi Oger has been awarded two contracts worth an estimated SR 1,100 million ($295 million) for the construction of clinics and a major new office building in the kingdom. The larger of the two contracts, worth an estimated SR 600 million ($160 million), involves the construction of 150 medical centres across the kingdom. Seventy clinics will be located in the Western Region; 24 centres in the Central Region; 23 in the Eastern Province; 18 in the Northern Region; and 15 in the northern b
  • Oger wins office, clinic contracts

    Saudi Oger has been awarded two contracts worth an estimated SR 1,100 million ($295 million) for the construction of clinics and a major new office building in the kingdom. The larger of the two contracts, worth an estimated SR 600 million ($160 million), involves the construction of 150 medical centres across the kingdom. Seventy clinics will be located in the Western Region; 24 centres in the Central Region; 23 in the Eastern Province; 18 in the Northern Region; and 15 in the northern b
  • Oil & Gas: Turning back the tide

    It has been a year of mixed fortunes for Petroleum Development Oman (PDO). The company produces about 90 per cent of the sultanate's oil from the block 6 concession that covers most of the country. In December, PDO's main foreign shareholder, the Royal Dutch/Shell Group, signed an agreement with the government extending the concession by 40 years to 2044. The move was designed to provide the necessary security for Shell to invest in costly enhanced oil recovery (EOR) schemes aimed at stemming de
  • Oil price hits record high but demand stays strong

    The oil price spiked to nearly $60 a barrel on 24 June, almost 40 per cent higher than prices at the beginning of 2005. US crude futures hit $59.88 a barrel and London Brent crude rose to $58.39 a barrel but demand for oil remained strong. Tight refining capacity is likely to sustain the price. Distillate demand was almost 7 per cent higher than a year ago, while the demand for gasoline was up 2.5 per cent on 2004.OPEC president Sheikh Ahmad al-Fahad al-Sabah said on Monday t
  • Oil prices reach fresh highs Regional

    Oil prices reached new highs following OPEC's mid-June meeting, failing to react to the group's pledge to increase theoretical supply by 500,000 barrels a day (b/d) with effect from 1 July. Concerns about stretched spare capacity were pointed up by the effects of threatened supply disruptions in Norway and Nigeria. Spot Brent was trading at $56.11 a barrel on 22 June, compared with $53.52 a barrel a week earlier. On 20 June, prices approached $60 a barrel, but fell back when supply threats reced
  • Old ghosts haunt election

    Lebanon's main opposition anti-Syrian alliance won all 28 seats in the fourth and final round of polling on 19 June, clinching a narrow majority in parliament. The opposition, led by Saad Hariri, will have 72 seats in the 128-seat legislative body. 'We bow to the will of the people,' said former interior minister Suleiman Franjieh, who supported the rival grouping led by former Christian rebel general Michel Aoun, which scored some notable successes in the third round.
  • OMAN

    Tender no 101/2005. Designing and building of an airstrip in the Al-Wusta region for the Transport & Communications Ministry.
  • OMAN

    Tender no 101/2005. Designing and building of an airstrip in the Al-Wusta region for the Transport & Communications Ministry.
  • OMAN

    Tender no 101/2005. Designing and building of an airstrip in the Al-Wusta region for the Transport & Communications Ministry.
  • Omantel IPO kicks off

    Shares in Oman Telecommunications Company (Omantel)went on sale on 11 June, with subscription open until 10 July. On offer are 225 million shares priced at RO 1.28 ($3.28), making the initial public offering (IPO) the largest ever in the sultanate. The sale is only open to nationals. HSBCis financial adviser and Bank Muscatis lead manager. A sultani decree in April paved the way for the long-awaited share offering (MEED 6:5:05).
  • OOC, NPC consider JVs

    Oman Oil Company (OOC) is conducting a feasibility study into the possible construction of a polyvinyl chloride (PVC) plant downstream from its ethylene dichloride (EDC) plant at Sohar. The project would be carried out in joint venture with Iran's National Petrochemical Company (NPC), which is also a shareholder in the EDC plant. OOC and NPC are also considering tie-ups for petrochemicals projects at Bandar Assaluyeh in Iran.
  • OPEC cannot guarantee stable oil prices

    The London-based Centre for Global Energy Studies (CGES) reported in its monthly bulletin published on 20 June that OPEC cannot ensure the oil price. 'OPEC has lost credibility as a guarantor of stable oil prices and its claims that it is doing all it can to ease oil prices are starting to sound rather hollow,' the report said. 'OPEC members seem comfortable in testing the limits to which they can push oil prices without triggering a reaction from consumers,' the report said. Only Saudi Ara
  • OPEC output quota increases, but oil price remains high

    Oil prices are set to remain above $55 a barrel despite OPEC's decision on 15 June to increase output. 'The problem is not a problem of supply, it's a problem of refining,' said Libyan Energy Minister Fathi bin Shatwan. He spoke after an OPEC meeting during which the cartel raised its official production quota by 500,000 barrels a day (b/d) to 28 million b/d. Actual production already exceeds 28 million b/d and the quota change is unlikely to impact supply. 'Supply is already ahead of deman
  • OPEC raises output ceiling

    Oil prices rose in the third week of June, failing to respond to the decision of OPEC ministers at their 15 June meeting in Vienna to increase production. The raise was widely disregarded as being cosmetic, since the new ceiling of 28 million barrels a day (b/d) - a 500,000-b/d increase - stops short of what the group is already producing. Spot Brent was trading at $53.52 a barrel on 15 June, compared with $50.34 a barrel a week earlier.
  • Operation Spear targets Anbar insurgents

    US forces launched Operation Spear on 17 June using air power, tanks and amphibious assault units against insurgents around Karabila in Anbar province. F16 fighter planes dropped nine 500-Ib bombs on insurgent positions near Qaim on the Syrian border. 'Operation Spear: began in the early morning hours with the objectives of rooting out insurgents and foreign fighters and disrupting insurgent support systems in and around Karabila,' US marine Captain Jeffrey Pool said. About 1,000 troops too
  • Opposition demands removal of Lahoud

    The anti-Syrian opposition on 23 June demanded the resignation of President Lahoud. The coalition said that his removal would end the violence in Lebanon. 'The president is providing protection for the existing political security system and is responsible for its acts,' the opposition said in a statement. 'The president's departure would be a main path to law and justice,' the statement said. The coalition met to discuss the formation of a new government following parliamentary elections an
  • Opposition politician not allowed to leave Egypt

    The Egyptian authorities stopped opposition politician Ayman Nour leaving the country on 22 June to address the European parliament. 'This is unconstitutional and it is politically motivated,' said Nour, who leads Al-Ghad party. Nour intends to stand against President Mubarak in September's presidential elections but he will stand trial at the end of June charged with forging signatures on his party's registration documents. A conviction would disqualify him from the poll (
  • Opposition presidential candidate seeks limited term

    The only declared candidate in Egypt's upcoming presidential elections, Ayman Nour, of the opposition Ghad party, announced on 7 June that he will seek a term of two years to implement political reforms if elected. 'Ayman Nour, the Ghad presidential candidate, announced his plan for a transition period of two years, during which full democratic transformation [will be] achieved by building necessary institutions and restoring civil liberties,' said senior Ghad party official Wael Nawara. 'I
  • Oxy signs Mukhaizna PSA with Muscat

    The government on 21 June signed a production sharing agreement (PSA) and joint operating agreement with the consortium led by the US' Occidental Petroleum for the development of the Mukhaizna field, including implementation of the estimated $2,000 million thermal injection enhanced oil recovery (EOR) scheme in the area. The field was previously part of the block 6 concession of Petroleum Development Oman (PDO), in which the government and the Royal Dutch/Shell Gr
  • PA releases Islamic Jihad prisoners

    The Palestinian Authority (PA) freed on 9 June two of nine Islamic Jihad militants jailed in February for involvement in a suicide bomb attack in Tel Aviv that killed five Israelis. The nine had been held without charge in prison in Jericho but their relatives said they denied any link to the bombing. The men were released on condition they remain in the West Bank. During a meeting with Islamic Jihad leaders in Gaza, PA President Mahmoud Abbas agreed to the release of all nine prisoners and
  • PA to take control of Jenin

    Tel Aviv and the Palestinian Authority (PA) have reached a deal to transfer the West Bank town of Jenin to Palestinian control, PA Interior Ministry spokesman Tawfiq Abu-Khoussa said on 15 June. 'It's an agreement in principle,' he said. 'It was agreed that the Israelis will hand over the city of Jenin before the withdrawal [from four neighbouring settlements],' Abu-Khoussa said. Palestinian security forces will take over policing when Israeli troops leave.Jenin was not among
  • Palestinian lawyers demand law and order

    More than 100 Palestinian lawyers and judges demonstrated in Ramallah on 16 June against spiralling lawlessness in the Occupied Territories. The lawyers marched to Palestinian Prime Minister Ahmed Qurei's office demanding that he talk with them. The recent abduction of a lawyer by gunmen prompted the protest. The lawyers blame the Palestinian Authority for not doing enough to stop militant attacks on courts. 'Our action today is to protest against the continuous attacks against lawyers and
  • Palladium goes to Ascon

    The local Associated Constructions & Investments (Ascon) is the latest firm to win work on the Jumeirah Lake Towers (JLT) development. It has been awarded the estimated AED 122 million ($33 million) contract to build the Palladium tower. The project calls for the construction of a 34-storey mixed-use tower with a built-up area of about 46,450 square metres. The local DAR Consultis the consultant; local property developer ETA-Staris the client.
  • Palladium goes to Ascon

    The local Associated Constructions & Investments (Ascon) is the latest firm to win work on the Jumeirah Lake Towers (JLT) development. It has been awarded the estimated AED 122 million ($33 million) contract to build the Palladium tower. The project calls for the construction of a 34-storey mixed-use tower with a built-up area of about 46,450 square metres. The local DAR Consultis the consultant; local property developer ETA-Staris the client.
  • Partial recount in face of vote rigging accusations

    Iranian officials agreed on 20 June to recount the votes from 100 ballot boxes in Tehran, Isfahan, Qom and Mashad following opposition accusations of vote rigging. 'The Guardian Council deems it necessary to recount some votes: for a more careful study of the results,' Iranian state television reported. Defeated reformist candidate Mostafa Moin demanded a delay to the run-off round between moderate conservative Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani and hardline Tehran mayor Mahmoud Ahmadinejad until
  • PCL to build high

    India's Progressive Constructions (PCL) has been awarded two separate five-year contracts worth a total of SR 400 million ($106 million) for the construction of two concrete dams to be located at Hail and Rabigh in the Southern and Western regions respectively. Both the dams will be about 95 metres high and 384 metres wide. About 1.4 million cubic metres of concrete will be required to build the dams, each of which will have a maximum storage volume of 254 million cubic metres of rai
  • Peremba dives for Oceana

    Malaysia's Peremba Constructionhas been awarded a further AED 256 million ($70 million) of contract work on the Oceana hotel and luxury apartment development located on the trunk of Palm Jumeirah. The Malaysian contractor is already on site having been awarded in early 2005 the excavation and pilings package, worth AED 58 million ($16 million - MEED 11:3:05).
  • Peremba dives for Oceana

    Malaysia's Peremba Constructionhas been awarded a further AED 256 million ($70 million) of contract work on the Oceana hotel and luxury apartment development located on the trunk of Palm Jumeirah. The Malaysian contractor is already on site having been awarded in early 2005 the excavation and pilings package, worth AED 58 million ($16 million - MEED 11:3:05).
  • Peres says Tel Aviv must leave more West Bank settlements

    Tel Aviv must withdraw from more settlements in the West Bank after it evacuates Gaza, Israel's Deputy Prime Minister Shimon Peres said on 27 May. 'Facts will not allow Israel to rest on its laurels after the Gaza pullout, we must evacuate other settlements,' he said. 'It's inconceivable that all settlements remain,' Peres said. His remarks came a day after US President Bush said Tel Aviv must dismantle settlements in the West Bank.Most Israeli settler families are prepared t
  • Petrochemicals: The rocky road to success

    Since the establishment of Saudi Basic Industries Corporation (Sabic) 30 years ago, the Saudi petrochemicals industry has come a long way through difficult times. Today, Sabic is a truly global player, having established itself as the world's third-largest polyethylene (PE) producer and the fourth-largest polymer producer. By 2008, the company plans to produce 60 million tonnes a year (t/y) of products, up from 43 million t/y at the end of 2004, making it the biggest producer in the region.
  • Pets deals approach market

    The market sounding exercise concluded on 17 June for the financing of the Rabigh integrated refining and petrochemicals development, a 50:50 joint venture between Saudi Aramcoand Japan's Sumitomo Chemical Company, with early indications suggesting that the sponsors received a strong response. The overall size of the debt package is likely to be about $5,500 million, reflecting engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) costs increases, which have pushed the price tag up to $8
  • PIC/Dow sign up for QP cracker

    Kuwait's Petrochemical Industries Company (PIC) and the US' Dow Chemical Company havesigned a letter of intent with Qatar Petroleum(QP)to carry out a pre-feasibility study to build another major petrochemical complex at Ras Laffan. The project, which will centre on a 1.2 million-1.6 million-tonne-a-year (t/y) ethane cracker, is the third olefins complex planned at the northern industrial city (MEED 20:5:05).
  • Plastics: Extra points for conversion

    Abdulwahab al-Sadoun, director-general of the energy sector since the end of 2004 at the Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority (SAGIA), the foreign investment promotion and authorisation body, is leading the kingdom's plastics drive. Al-Sadoun has extensive industry experience, having worked at Saudi Basic Industries Corporation (Sabic), as director at the Doha-based Gulf Organisation for Industrial Consulting (GOIC), at Al-Sharq Plastic Industries in Riyadh and then as private consultant.
  • PMC ITB due for KFH pets complex

    An invitation to bid (ITB) for the project management consultancy (PMC) contract on the integrated petrochemicals, power and water complex planned by Kuwait Finance House (KFH)is due to be released in August. The project sponsors are also considering an expansion to the project which would see the addition of polyvinyl chloride (PVC) and vinyl chloride monomer (VCM) capacity. KFH is planning to take a 10 per cent equity stake in the scheme, which will be about 70 per cent debt financ
  • Police battle with bombing suspects in Sinai

    Egyptian police clashed with gunmen on 17 June in the Sinai peninsula leaving one assailant dead and three policemen wounded. Security forces were looking for suspects in the Taba Hilton bombing of October 2004, which killed 34 people. They met armed resistance from the suspects and the Bedouin tribes protecting them and a gun battle ensued.
  • Preferred bidder selected on Rabigh IWSPP

    The consortium led by Japan's Marubeni Corporationwas selected in early June as the preferred bidder on the captive independent water, steam and power project (IWSPP) to serve the $4,300 million integrated refinery and petrochemicals complex at Rabigh. The selection paves the way for the consortium to begin negotiations with the joint sponsors on the project, Saudi Aramcoand Japan's Sumitomo Chemical Company(MEED 24:12:04).
  • Preferred bidders named for water conveyor

    Local firms are frontrunners for two large-scale contracts being tendered by the Saline Water Conversion Corporation (SWCC) under its programme to install a major water transmission system in the western region. The conveyor will distribute water produced at the existing Shouaiba desalination complex and the planned Shouaiba independent water and power project (IWPP). Another large-scale water transmission system related to the Shuqaiq IWPP is expected to go for tender in the first quarter of 20
  • Preparing for change

    Domestic politics rarely grabs the front pages of the local newspapers. Seditious plots and weapons hoards, never. So residents were surprised in early May to find their morning coffee accompanied by not only an article but an entire supplement dedicated to the conviction of 30 men - many belonging to prominent families - accused of planning the violent overthrow of Sultan Qaboos' 34-year-old regime.
  • Prequals due for Wave dredging

    Applications for prequalification have been invited by the end of June for the first dredging and reclamation contract on the $800 million Wave resort project by the client, a joint venture between government-owned Waterfront Investments and Dubai-based Majid al-Futtaim Investments. The contract is expected to call for dredging of about 5 million cubic metres of material, some of which may be used to raise the level of the existing land. The US' Turner Constructio
  • Prequals due for Wave dredging

    Applications for prequalification have been invited by the end of June for the first dredging and reclamation contract on the $800 million Wave resort project by the client, a joint venture between government-owned Waterfront Investments and Dubai-based Majid al-Futtaim Investments. The contract is expected to call for dredging of about 5 million cubic metres of material, some of which may be used to raise the level of the existing land. The US' Turner Constructio
  • Prequals in for KJO work

    Prequalifications have been submitted to Al-Khafji Joint Operations (KJO)for the detailed engineering, procurement, construction, installation and commissioning (EPCIC) contract covering the construction of a new offshore wellhead platform in the Divided Zone (DZ). A tender is due to be issued by the end of June and will be followed by a two-month bidding period (MEED 13:5:05).
  • Prequals invited for Wadi Dayqah dam

    Applications for prequalification have been invited by 11 July for the contract to construct the Wadi Dayqah dam and associated water supply system. The client is the Ministry of Regional Municipalities, Environment & Water Resources (MEED 15:10:04).
  • Prequals invited for wind farm work

    State power company Office National de l'Electricite (ONE) has issued a prequalification notice inviting international companies to apply by 29 June for a contract to build a 140-MW wind farm near Tangier. ONE is expected to take two-three months evaluating prequalification applications before issuing a tender for the estimated MD 1,800 project ($209 million) engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract in the autumn. The scheme calls for the construction of over 160 wind turbines, e
  • Presidential race tightens, second round likely

    The race to be Iran's next president narrowed as campaigning drew to a close on 15 June. Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani is the favourite to win the closest election in Iran's history. Opinion polls put public support for Rafsanjani at just under 50 per cent, meaning none of the eight candidates has sufficient backing to win outright. The vote will probably go to a second, unprecedented round, where Rafsanjani will go head to head with his nearest rival. Reformist candidate Mostafa Moin or con
  • Prices awaited for last AGD package

    Final prices are due to be submitted by late June to Abu Dhabi Gas Industries Company (Gasco) for package 3 on the third phase of the onshore gas development (OGD-3) and phase 2 of the Asab gas development (AGD-2) project. Two of the five original companies - Paris-based Technip and US-based Bechtel- have been invited to submit new prices for the estimated $900 million contract. The other bidders were Italy's Snamprogetti, and JGC Corporati
  • Prices due for RasGas III platforms

    A deadline of 21 July has been set for two fabricators - Jebel Ali-based J Ray McDermott Middle Eastand Abu Dhabi's National Petroleum Construction Company (NPCC)- to submit commercial bids for the main upstream package on the RasGas III integrated project. However, the client - RasGas II, a 70:30 venture between Qatar Petroleumand the US' ExxonMobil Corporation- has indicated that it may bring forward the deadline to the end of June. Estimated to
  • Prices rise ahead of OPEC meeting oil prices

    Oil prices rose by close to $1 a barrel in the first week of June as the next OPEC meeting loomed and crude inventories fell for the second week running. However, indications from OPEC members suggested that the headline news for consumers was likely to be positive, even if there would be no material impact on output. Spot Brent was trading at $50.34 a barrel on 9 June, compared with $49.48 a barrel a week earlier.
  • Prince Saud rebuffs criticism from Rice

    Minister of Foreign Affairs Prince Saud al-Faisal said on 21 June that it was up to Saudis to decide how the country should reform. He was responding to remarks made by US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, who criticised Riyadh for the imprisonment of three activists charged with demanding constitutional monarchy in Saudi Arabia. 'The assessment that is important for any country in the development of its political reform is the judgement of its own people,' Prince Saud said. He said in r
  • Project Kuwait takes step forward

    The parliamentary economic & finance committee recommended on 8 June to the National Assembly (parliament) the draft enabling law for the state's landmark upstream oil initiative, Project Kuwait. Legislators have until 29 June to vote on the bill before the summer recess. The enabling law has been sent to members with a number of changes to the original draft which was first submitted to parliament in January. The bill now only covers the four northern oil fields and the use of agents or brokers
  • Project Kuwait vote may be delayed

    The National Assembly (parliament) is looking increasingly unlikely to vote on Project Kuwait's enabling law before the summer recess. Speaking to MEED at parliament on 12 June, former speaker and member of parliament Ahmed Sadoon said that legislators had still not received the official report from the economy and finance committee. 'We are still waiting for the report and cannot act until we do so,' Sadoon said.
  • Putting down new roots

    California-based Chevron Corporation has plenty of reasons to celebrate. Not only was 2004 the year of its 125th anniversary, but it also turned out to be its most successful ever. Boosted by oil prices averaging more than $40 a barrel, Chevron recorded a net income of $13,300 million last year, up 84 per cent on 2003. And days after posting the record result in late March, the oil super major made it into the headlines again, this time for announcing the acquisition of Unocal, a US independent
  • PWC wins DLA mega deal

    Kuwait's PWC Logisticshas been awarded a subsistence prime vendor contract, worth up to $14,000 million, to supply food to US forces in the region over a period of five years.
  • Qasco, Danieli sign smelter work

    Italy's Danieli & Companysigned on 5 June the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract, worth about Eur 100 million ($123 million), to supply and install a 600,000-tonne-a-year (t/y) meltshop at the Mesaieed steel complexowned and operated by Qatar Steel Company (Qasco). The project will increase meltshop capacity by 50 per cent to 1.5 million t/y. Danieli has appointed Belgium's Six Constructfor the civils package. The contract is the third o
  • Qatar Airways finds its Paris match

    Qatar Airways (QA) stole the limelight at the Paris Air Show on 13 June with the announcement of orders worth $15,200 million. Toulouse-based Airbus took the lion's share after beating off rival, The Boeing Company of the US, to supply60 A350 wide-bodied aircraft valued at $10,600 million. Deliveries will begin in 2010 running through to 2015. General Electricof the US will provide its GEnx engines for all the aircraft in a deal worth $300 million (MEED
  • Qatar Airways splits order between Airbus and Boeing

    Qatar Airways has ordered planes worth $15,200 million from both Airbus and Boeing, the company announced on 13 June. The order will double the size of the airline's current fleet of 40 Airbus aircraft. The company was considering buying Boeing 787s but has opted instead for 60 Airbus A350s at a cost of $10,600 million. It will also buy 20 777s worth $4,600 million.Qatar Airways will take delivery of the Airbus A350s over the course of five years starting in mid-2010. The pla
  • Qatar to adopt first constitution

    Doha will adopt its first constitution on 9 June, which allows for freedom of speech, press and of assembly and establishes the sharia as the basis of all legislation. The document, which cannot be amended for ten years after it is signed, does not permit the establishment of political parties but allows the election of 45 members of parliament. The emir will appoint the remaining 15 members. The document outlines the separation of powers between the legislative, executive and judiciary, an
  • Qatargas II syndication flies

    Syndication has closed on the Qatar Liquefied Gas Company II (Qatargas II)debt package, with a total of about $550 million raised. It is understood that the mandated lead arrangers (MLAs) will not be scaled back pro rata from their existing commitments - of $89 million after Italy's SACE export credit agency came in with $400 million - but according to banks' individual wishes. The debt package is worth $3,600 million and Royal Bank of Scotlandacted as financial adviser.
  • Q-Chem II, Qatofin MLAs appointed

    Mandated lead arrangers (MLAs) were sent commitment letters in early June for the debt packages on the Qatofin and Qatar Chemical Company II (Q-Chem II)projects. HSBCis advising on the $650 million Qatofin deal while Royal Bank of Scotlandis advising on the $1,200 million Q-Chem II debt, which is partially covered by the US Export-Import Bank (MEED 29:4:05).
  • Quartet calls for more Israeli-Palestinian talks

    The Quartet of the US, UN, EU and Russia called on Tel Aviv and the Palestinian Authority (PA) on 23 June to increase meetings as the date of Israel's Gaza withdrawal approached. 'Contacts between the parties should now be intensified at all levels,' the group said in a statement. The demand comes on the heels of a frosty summit between Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and PA President Mahmoud Abbas.Israel must 'take immediate steps, without endangering Israeli security: t
  • Qurei dodges Palestinian gunfire

    Palestinian gunmen fired at a building where Prime Minister Ahmed Qurei was speaking on 22 June. Qurei was not injured in the attack, but left the Balata refugee camp in the West Bank where the incident occurred amid further shooting and an explosion. 'This is the kind of chaos we do not want,' Qurei said. The shooting was the latest in an increasing number of violent events in the Occupied Territories. '[Militants] want to impose their will but we will not bend to them,' Qurei said.
  • Rabigh storage tank bidders line up

    Bids were submitted on 10 June to Saudi Aramcofor the contract to build a storage tank farm under the $4,300 million programme to upgrade the kingdom's biggest refinery at Rabigh and turn it into a world-scale integrated refining and petrochemicals complex. Three companies - France's Entrepose, with Malaysia's KNM Process Systems; Whessoe Oil & Gasof the UK; and Italy's Saipem- are understood to have participated in the tender, called
  • Rafsanjani promises stock options to Iranian families

    Presidential hopeful Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani promised to give every Iranian family shares in privatised state companies as campaigning in the second round of Iranian presidential elections drew to a close on 23 June. Rafsanjani said he would give families IR 100 million ($11,000) in stock options and introduce unemployment benefit of 1.5 million IR ($165) a month. 'Rafsanjani has the power, expertise and experience to make this plan come true and has accepted its risk,' said Tehran sto
  • RasGas finance nears

    The bank tranche of the financing for Ras Laffan Liquefied Natural Gas Company II (RasGas II)to fund its RasGas III project is expected to come to market by the end of June. RasGas II, a 70:30 joint venture between Qatar Petroleumand the US' ExxonMobil Corporation, is looking for a total of about $3,000 million in finance, to be split between a bank and a bond tranche - on which Goldman Sachsand Lehman Brothersare advising. The exact di
  • RasGas II bank bids due

    The local/US Ras Laffan Liquefied Natural Gas Company II (RasGas II)held clarification meetings on 20-24 June in London for the bank tranche on the integrated RasGas III project. Subscription to a bond issue, lead managed by Lehman Brothersand Goldman Sachs, is due to begin in mid-July (MEED 20:5:05).
  • RasGas shuffles offplots

    Seven groups of companies have submitted prequalifications for a contract to build a major common condensate and liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) storage and loading facilities at the Ras Laffan port. The groups are an Italian team of Saipem with Snamprogetti; UAE-based Petrofac International,with the US' Chicago Bridge & Iron (CB&I); South Korea's Hyundai Heavy Industries; Oslo-based Aker Kvaerner; Italy-based Techint
  • Reaffirming an old commitment

    What is BP's view of Egypt's future as an oil producer?
  • Refinery contract signed

    The South Korean consortium led by GS Engineering & Constructionand including Daewoo Engineering & Construction Companysigned on 20 June the contract to build the Laffan condensate refinery. The group was selected in April for the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract, valued at more than $600 million. The 42-month contract calls for the construction of a 146,000-barrel-a-day refinery, which will be operated by Qatar Liquefied Gas Company (Qatar
  • Regional producers' club moves closer

    Plans for the establishment of the Gulf Petrochemical Producers Association (GPCA) are moving ahead with its creation expected by the end of the year, Hamad al-Terkait, president and chief executive of Kuwait's Equate Petrochemical Company, told MEED's Gulf Petrochemicals 2005 conference in Bahrain on 8 June. Similar to the European Petrochemicals Association (EPCA), the body will be a non-profit-making organisation created to exchange information between upstream petrochemical produ
  • Revised prices due for new towns dredging

    Three of the five bidders for the North Bahrain New Towns dredging and reclamation contract have been invited to submit revised prices in late June by the client, the Works & Housing Ministry. They are Belgium's Dredging International, and Van Oordand Royal Boskalis Westminster, both of the Netherlands. Boskalis was low bidder at BD 79.8 million ($210 million) when bids were opened in February, but all bids came in over budget. The contract calls for the dredg
  • Revised prices due for new towns dredging

    Three of the five bidders for the North Bahrain New Towns dredging and reclamation contract have been invited to submit revised prices in late June by the client, the Works & Housing Ministry. They are Belgium's Dredging International, and Van Oordand Royal Boskalis Westminster, both of the Netherlands. Boskalis was low bidder at BD 79.8 million ($210 million) when bids were opened in February, but all bids came in over budget. The contract calls for the dredg
  • RFP released on Almanakher IPP

    The request for proposals (RFP) document has been released for the state's first independent power project (IPP), with qualified developers given until 7 October to submit proposals for the 280-400-MW combined cycle scheme at Almanakher. The Energy & Mineral Resources Ministry is overseeing the IPP, which is known as the Amman East power project (MEED 8:4:05).
  • Rice pushes for free and fair Egyptian elections

    Egypt's presidential elections in September must be fair and monitored by international observers, US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said on 20 June. She criticised Cairo for its continued use of the emergency law, arbitrary justice and violence against peaceful demonstrators, but said the introduction of multi-candidate elections was encouraging. 'President Mubarak has unlocked the door for change. But now, the Egyptian government must put its faith in its own people,' Rice told an au
  • Rice starts regional peace and democracy tour

    US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice on 17 June embarked on her first major tour of the Middle East since taking office. She will visit the West Bank, Israel, Jordan, Egypt and Saudi Arabia. Rice will meet Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon at different meetings to discuss Tel Aviv's withdrawal from Gaza and the peace process. She is also likely to bring up with Sharon Tel Aviv's sale of military equipment to China, which has strained US-
  • Ritz Carlton package out

    The main construction package has been issued for tender on the estimated $180 million Ritz Carlton and apartment project at the Dubai International Financial Centre. Prequalifiers have been given until 20 July to bid for the design and build contract. The client is the local Union Properties(MEED 13:5:05).
  • Ritz Carlton package out

    The main construction package has been issued for tender on the estimated $180 million Ritz Carlton and apartment project at the Dubai International Financial Centre. Prequalifiers have been given until 20 July to bid for the design and build contract. The client is the local Union Properties(MEED 13:5:05).
  • Rohani reassures Gulf over Iranian nuclear plans

    Iran's chief nuclear negotiator Hassan Rohani reassured states in the Gulf on 7 June that Tehran's nuclear ambitions are peaceful. 'The aim of our visit to some states in the region has several purposes, one of which is to clarify the picture to our friends about the progress of Iran's nuclear programme,' Rohani said on a visit to the UAE as part of a regional tour. 'We explained that the Iranian nuclear programme was in line with international laws and that Iran would produce nuclear energ
  • Sabic moves on YanSab IPO

    Saudi Basic Industries Corporation (Sabic) has released further details of the planned initial public offering (IPO) in its new olefins complex to be built at Yanbu. The company is now preparing to set up a joint stock company with a fully paid-up capital of SR 5,625 million ($1,500 million) and to operate under the name YanSab (MEED 13:5:05).
  • Sadat nephew will run for president

    Talaat Sadat, the nephew of assassinated Egyptian president Anwar Sadat, announced on 16 June that he would run for president in Egypt's September elections. Talaat is an opposition member of parliament for the Al-Ahrar party.President Mubarak will run for a fifth term in office, according to his spokesman Soleiman Awad. Mubarak will announce his candidacy once the constitutional court approves Egypt's new electoral law. The constitutional amendment allows for multi-candidate
  • Saddam could face execution

    Iraq's Prime Minister Ibrahim Jaafari said on 9 June that former Iraqi president Saddam Hussein might well be put to death if convicted of the charges against him. 'We think that every crime has a proportionate punishment, but there can be no execution without proving the crime,' Jaafari said. Saddam's Jordan-based lawyers said that they have yet to be supplied with the charges against their client. Spokesman for legal team Issam Ghazzawi said the proper channel for the issuing of charges w
  • Saddam interrogation tape released

    The Iraqi Special Tribunal released a videotape on 13 June that showed one of its judges questioning Saddam Hussein. Judge Raed al-Juhi interrogated the former president about the massacre of Shia villagers in Dujail in 1982. Saddam is accused of ordering revenge killings in the village after some residents allegedly tried to assassinate him. The tribunal has yet to set a date for the trial of the former Baathist leader. The date depends on the completion of the tribunal's in
  • Saddam publishes third novel

    Jordanian daily Al-Arab al-Yawm reported on 23 June that a novel written by former Iraqi president Saddam Hussein will be published by the end of June. The book, entitled Damned One, Get Out of Here, is Saddam's third work of fiction. It tells the story of an Arab warrior who defeats a man called Haskeen who plans to overthrow the ruler of a town. The warrior prevails with the help of the ruler's daughter. The book carries a message from Saddam's daughter Raghad praising her father, but Sad
  • Saddam to face just 12 charges

    Iraqi government spokesman Leith Kubba said on 5 June that former president Saddam Hussein will face only 12 charges when he goes to trial, although there are a possible 500 cases against him. 'We are completely confident that the 12 fully documented charges that have been brought against him are more than sufficient to ensure he receives the maximum sentence,' Kubba said. Saddam will face the death penalty if convicted of the charges, which are linked to the chemical attack on the Kurdish
  • SAGIA eases path to the kingdom

    The Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority (SAGIA) is on the verge of introducing a host of new measures aimed at improving the investment climate for foreign investors. Speaking on the sidelines of MEED's Gulf Petrochemicals 2005 conference, Abdulwahab al-Sadoun, director-general of SAGIA's energy department, said that 17 agreements had been signed with government institutions including the foreign, labour and interior ministries. The primary focus of the new measures will be to ease visa r
  • Sahara evaluates PDH/PP offers

    Bid evaluation is ongoing at the local Sahara Petrochemical Companyfollowing the submission of commercial offers for the contract to build its polypropylene (PP) and propane dehydrogenation (PDH) plant in Jubail from three groups of companies in mid-June. The bidders are: US-based Shaw International, with Taiwan's CTCI; Italy's Tecnimont, with South Korea's Daelim Industrial Company; and a German team of Lurgiand Uhd
  • Saih Rawl prequals pending

    Petroleum Development Oman (PDO)has invited applications for prequalification by mid-July for an estimated $350 million-400 million combined front-end engineering and design (FEED) and engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract on the Saih Rawl gas depletion project. A tender is likely to be issued by the end of November, with technical bids due by March 2006. The scope of works includes installation of new inlet separators, condensate recovery separators and a new condensat
  • Salalah Free Zone: Worth the wait

    Beside the bustling Salalah port and container terminal lies a sprawling expanse of rather barren land, punctuated by spiky coastal shrubbery
  • SAMA buys JP Morgan's GIB stake

    The Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency (SAMA - central bank) has acquired a 5.3 per cent stake in Gulf International Bank (GIB) from JP Morgan, taking its total stake to 27.5 per cent.
  • Samir job let

    The long-awaited $614 million engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract for the phase 1 rehabilitation of Mohammedia refinery has been awarded as expected to the Italian-Turkish consortium of Snamprogetti and Tekfen. The supervision contract, worth MD 127 million ($14.4 million), will be carried out by US-based Foster Wheeler, which will form a project team with engineers from the client, Societe Anonyme Marocaine de l'Industrie du Raffi
  • Saudi Offset Limited Partnership: Partnership working sets the pace

    James Greenberg and Uwe Jahnke are familiar names to fellow defence contractors and entrepreneurs in the Middle East. As co-founders in 1995 of DevCorp, a $2.2 million Bahrain-registered venture development and investment boutique, they have provided strategic assistance to companies with offset obligations in Saudi Arabia.
  • Saudi Oger takes pension fund building

    Saudi Oger has started work on a SR 506 million ($135 million) contract to build a major new office facility on Dhabab Street in Riyadh. The pension fund investment contract will involve the construction of two buildings with basement parking in a built-up area totalling 210,000 square metres. The facilities are due to be completed by early 2007. The client is the local General Organisation for Retirement..
  • Saudi Oger takes pension fund building

    Saudi Oger has started work on a SR 506 million ($135 million) contract to build a major new office facility on Dhabab Street in Riyadh. The pension fund investment contract will involve the construction of two buildings with basement parking in a built-up area totalling 210,000 square metres. The facilities are due to be completed by early 2007. The client is the local General Organisation for Retirement..
  • Saudi Oger: Branching out from the kingdom

    It has been the best of times and the worst of times for Saudi Oger. The company is still recovering from the assassination in February of its founder Rafiq Hariri, the former Lebanese prime minister who built his fortune in Saudi Arabia and with it the fortunes of the kingdom's leading civil contractor.
  • Saudi police shoot murder suspects

    Security forces shot dead two men on 21 June suspected of killing the head of Makkha's police investigations department, Major Mubarak Falah al-Sawwat. Police stopped the suspects on the Mecca-Jeddah road and a gun battle broke out, during which the two men were killed and three security force officers were injured.
  • Saudi police shoot murder suspects

    Security forces shot dead two men on 21 June suspected of killing the head of Mecca's police investigations department, Major Mubarak Falah al-Sawwat. Police stopped the suspects on the Mecca-Jeddah road and a gun battle broke out, during which the two men were killed and three security force officers were injured.
  • Second counter-insurgency offensive launched in Anbar

    US forces launched Operation Dagger on 18 June to search for insurgent arms caches in Anbar province in western Iraq. More than 1,000 troops participated in the operation, which targeted an insurgent base northwest of Baghdad. It is the second major offensive launched by US forces in the region in two days. US military sources reported that troops had killed about 50 insurgents and captured around 100 more in Operation Spear, which began on 17 June (
  • Second Parsian gas phase out in the summer

    A second phase of the Parsian gas plant project at Shanul, Homa and Varavi is to be put to tender in the summer, contractors in Tehran say. The new phase will have the same capacity as its predecessor, for which engineering and procurement (EP) contracts were awarded last year (MEED 29:4:05).
  • Security personnel carrying out attacks, says Qurei

    Palestinian security personnel are responsible for some attacks on the local population, Palestinian Prime Minister Ahmed Qurei said on 14 June. Qurei threatened to stop all government activity unless commanders brought the violence to an end. 'We are calling on our brothers in the security services to take the necessary measures to deter those who are carrying out attacks at will against our citizens,' Qurei said after a weekly cabinet meeting. 'If this continues, the government will suspe
  • Settler anarchy in Gaza likely

    Israel's attorney-general Menachem Mazuz warned on 24 June of anarchy when Tel Aviv withdraws from Gaza. 'The transition from violent protest to complete anarchy could be not only quick, but completely uncontrollable,' Mazuz said in an interview published in Israeli Makor Rishon newspaper. Mazuz said he understood the feelings of Israeli settlers forcibly evacuated from their homes but hoped protesters 'realise when they are going to far'. 'These are people whose world has been destroyed,'
  • Shias and Kurds reach deal with Sunnis over constitutional role

    Sunni Arabs will have 15 seats on Iraq's constitutional drafting committee and 10 consultative posts in a deal reached between Sunni representatives and the Shia United Iraqi Alliance and Kurdish bloc on 16 June. 'This solution was a compromise after Sunni Arabs were adamant about having 25 members in the committee,' said Shia committee delegate and MP Jawad al-Maliky. 'The consultants will not have a big role,' he said.Sunni Arabs, who largely boycotted parliamentary electio
  • Shuqaiq RFQ out, Shouaiba moves

    The request for qualification (RFQ) document has been issued to local and international companies for the Shuqaiq independent water and power project (IWPP). The release coincided with the Water & Electricity Company (WEC)entering contractual negotiations with the sole bidder for the Shouaiba IWPP, after clarification meetings were completed with the local/Malaysian consortium of ACWApower, Malakoff Berhadand Tenaga Nasional Berhad(MEED 25:3:05).
  • Sidpec sale closes early

    Trading in Sidi Krier Petrochemicals Company (Sidpec)shares began on the Cairo & Alexandria Stock Exchanges (CASE) in the third week of June after the successful completion of the secondary offering of a 20 per cent government holding in the company. Lead managers EFG-Hermesand National Bank of Egypt (NBE)closed the share sale early, with the 20 million shares on offer oversubscribed 3.5 times. The sale was split into two tranches. The first, a public offering of 12 million
  • Sipchem, Helm Arabia sign JV agreement

    Saudi International Petrochemical Company (Sipchem)on 5 June announced that it had signed a joint venture agreement with the local/European Helm Arabiaon setting up an estimated $720 million acetic acid and vinyl acetate monomer (VAM) complex at Jubail. The development comes amid plans by Sipchem to launch an initial public offering (IPO) by the end of the year (MEED 4:3:05).
  • Six in line for Conveyor 800

    A shortlist of six international consortia, including Kuwaiti, Turkish and French firms has been drawn up for the $200 million Conveyor 800 project on the Litani river. Prequalified companies will be eligible to bid for three separate construction packages. Officials involved in the project say that the tender documents for the first contract have been ready for the last few weeks but that the tender is yet to be issued. It is understood that tenders for all three contracts are likely to be issu
  • Skikda PMC awarded

    A group of Canada's SNC Lavalinand the US' Black & Veatch has been awarded the five-year project management consultancy (PMC) contract on the construction of the estimated $600 million-700 million new liquefied natural gas (LNG) train at Skikda. Under the terms of the contract, the consortium will supervise the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract on the 4.5 million-tonne-a-year train. A team of Japan's JGC Corporationand the US' Ke
  • SNDP stake up for grabs

    Tunis has invited investors to submit applications for prequalification by 2 July to take a 35 per cent strategic stake in state-owned Societe Nationale de Distribution des Petroles (SNDP). Shares will be offered to a strategic investor in the oil and/or gas sector, either alone or at the head of a consortium. Tender documents will be issued to prequalifiers by 11 July, after which they will be invited to conduct due diligence. Completion of the sale is expected in November. A consor
  • SOC sets bid deadlines

    State-owned Sirte Oil Company (SOC) has invited more than 20 companies to make presentations of their capabilities on 15 July for the two engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contracts involving construction of the Melitah-Tripoli gas pipeline and completion of the Khoms-Tripoli gas pipeline. Commercial bids are due to be submitted on 11 August for both schemes, which are worth a total of about $270 million. The larger of the two contracts - worth $170 million - is the Kho
  • Stars shine on Sharjah

    An award is expected imminently for the advanced earthworks package on the Stars Islands development in Sharjah. The project, which is located off the emirate's coastline near the Hamriya Free Zone, will comprise residential and leisure facilities including 2,500 villas, hotels, offices and commercial zones. The scope of work covers an area of about 400 hectares with some inland dredging and reclamation works. The developer is Saudi Arabia's Al-Hanoo Holding Company, which is also co
  • Stars shine on Sharjah

    An award is expected imminently for the advanced earthworks package on the Stars Islands development in Sharjah. The project, which is located off the emirate's coastline near the Hamriya Free Zone, will comprise residential and leisure facilities including 2,500 villas, hotels, offices and commercial zones. The scope of work covers an area of about 400 hectares with some inland dredging and reclamation works. The developer is Saudi Arabia's Al-Hanoo Holding Company, which is also co
  • Steady growth on the BSE

    rading is still thin but an IPO on the horizon promises some excitement. Clare Dunkley reports
  • Stone & Webster wins PMS

    The UK office of Stone & Webster, part of the US' Shaw International, has been awarded the four-year project management services (PMS) contract covering the modernisation and rehabilitation of the Skikda CP1K plastics and the Arzew methanol and resin complexes. The client is Entreprise Nationale d'Industrie Petrochimique (ENIP), the petrochemicals arm of state energy company Sonatrach.
  • Studies begin for new ADNOC HQ

    US-based Hellmuth, Obata & Kassabaum (HOK)has been appointed masterplan consultant for the new Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) headquarter project. The masterplan is expected to take about nine months to complete. The client is ADNOC.
  • Studies begin for new ADNOC HQ

    US-based Hellmuth, Obata & Kassabaum (HOK)has been appointed masterplan consultant for the new Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) headquarter project. The masterplan is expected to take about nine months to complete. The client is ADNOC.
  • Suicide bomber kills 20

    A suicide bomber killed more than 20 policemen when he drove his car laden with explosives into a group of traffic police recruits in Irbil on 20 June. More than 100 people were injured in the attack, which occurred on the same day as a car bomb and grenade assault on a police station in the Baya area of Baghdad. On 19 June, a suicide bomber killed 23 people in an attack on a restaurant popular with Iraqi soldiers and police officers near a checkpoint in Baghdad (
  • Sultan Qaboos pardons Islamists

    Sultan Qaboos pardoned 31 Ibadi Islamists on 9 June convicted of being members of a banned organisation and plotting to overthrow the government. The men were sentenced in May to between one and 20 years in prison for stockpiling weapons and seeking to recruit members to join their scheme to install an imamate. The defendants could not appeal their verdict but were allowed to seek a pardon from the sultan. Hundreds of supporters marched in Muscat to demand the men's acquittal (
  • Summer date for IWP RFP

    The request for proposals (RFP) for the Sharqiyah independent water project (IWP) is expected to be released in the second half of July, say officials involved in the project. The facility is likely to have capacity of 10 million-15 million gallons a day. The advisory team comprises Bank Muscat, Denton Wilde Sapte and the UK's Mott Macdonald (MEED 13:5:05).
  • Summit bears no fruit for Palestinians

    Palestinian officials expressed disappointment after a meeting between Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas on 21 June. 'This was a difficult meeting,' said Palestinian Prime Minister Ahmed Qurei. 'There were no positive answers to the issues we raised,' he said. Israeli officials said Sharon offered to transfer Bethlehem and Qalqilya to PA control if Abbas quelled militant violence. He also said he would allow 26,000 Palestini
  • Sunnis want bigger role in constitution drafting

    Adnan Dulaimi, the leader of the Sunni waqf, said on 8 June that the number of seats offered to Sunnis on the committee established to draft a new Iraqi constitution should be doubled. 'We will propose 40 names from which we would like to see 25 selected and in case of disagreement we will propose a compromise,' Dulaimi told a meeting of 150 Sunni representatives gathered to discuss Sunni participation in the drafting process. 'If our list is blocked, we will suspend our participation,' he
  • Surouh IPO soars

    The initial public offering (IPO) of shares in Abu Dhabi-based Surouh Real Estate Companyclosed on 6 June about 175 times oversubscribed. The greenfield company offered AED 1,375 million ($374.7 million) worth of shares priced at AED 1 ($0.27). First Gulf Bankand The National Investor were the lead managers. Surouh is developing the Al-Reem (Abu Shuoom) island, northeast of the capital (MEED 20:5:05).
  • Syria to relax emergency laws

    The Baath Party voted to relax emergency laws during its congress, which ended on 9 June. The party will present parliament with a recommendation to 'revise the emergency law and limit its application to crimes that threaten state security,' Expatriates Minister and conference spokeswoman Buthaina Shaaban said. This will allow for the formation of political parties, as long as they are not based on ethnic or religious lines, revision of the electoral law and amendment of the publications la
  • Syrian activists demand political openness

    More than 200 opposition politicians and intellectuals signed a letter on 8 June calling for increased political openness and the release of activists arrested in 2001. The letter demanded human rights advocates Ali Abdullah and Mohammed Raadoun be freed, asked for information about missing people and called for the safe return of political exiles. The letter was issued on the third day of the Baath Party conference in Damascus. It referred to the 'Damascus Spring,' a period of time shortly
  • Syrian hard-line vice-president resigns

    Syrian Vice-President Abdul Halim Khaddam announced on 6 June that he intends to resign from the government and the Baath Party for health reasons. Khaddam has been involved in government for 40 years and served under President Asad's father, Hafiz, as minister of foreign affairs and deputy prime minister before being promoted to vice-president in the 1980s. The announcement was made during the first day of a Baath Party conference in Damascus. Khaddam was seen to be the force behind Damasc
  • Talabani supports Badr Brigades

    Iraq's Kurdish president Jalal Talabani expressed support on 8 June for the Shia Badr Brigades, the military wing of the Supreme Council of the Islamic Republic in Iraq (Sciri). 'May those who describe the heroes of Badr and their Kurdish brothers as militia be doomed to failure,' Talabani said with reference to Kurdish Peshmerga fighters. He was speaking at a conference to celebrate the second anniversary of the Badr Brigade's emergence into the political realm. 'You and your brothers are
  • Talabani ups Sunni representation in constitution drafting

    President Talabani agreed on 9 June to give Sunni representatives 25 seats on the 80-member constitutional drafting committee. The move followed Sunni demands for further representation. 'We decided to include 25 Sunni members on the constitutional drafting commission with full rights like the other members elected by parliament,' Talabani said. Sunnis constitute 20 per cent of Iraq's population but were initially offered 13 seats on the committee, which has until 15 August to prepare a new
  • Tamdeen goes shopping

    Tamdeen Shopping Centre Development Company (TSCD), a subsidiary of the local Tamdeen Real Estate Company, has launched two new mall projects, to be built at a cost of more than KD 150 million ($517 million).
  • Tamdeen goes shopping

    Tamdeen Shopping Centre Development Company (TSCD), a subsidiary of the local Tamdeen Real Estate Company, has launched two new mall projects, to be built at a cost of more than KD 150 million ($517 million).
  • Tamlik moves on JIBC

    Local property developer Tamlik is scheduled to issue a detailed design consultancy tender by September for its landmark Jeddah International Business Centre (JIBC) project. 'We plan to invite at least five international and local companies [to bid],' general manager Zuhair Hamzah says.
  • Tamlik moves on JIBC

    Local property developer Tamlik is scheduled to issue a detailed design consultancy tender by September for its landmark Jeddah International Business Centre (JIBC) project. 'We plan to invite at least five international and local companies [to bid],' general manager Zuhair Hamzah says.
  • TangMed sails on

    The Tangier Mediterranean Special Agency (TMSA) has entered into negotiations with two consortia for the 30-year concession to operate the second container terminal on the Tangier-Mediterranean (TangMed) port project. The shortlisted groups are: the German/Italian port operator Eurogate-Contship, with the local Comanav, MSCof Switzerland and France's CMA CGM; and Hong Kong-based operator Hutchisonwith the local IMTC(MEED 1:4
  • Tank bids due

    Bids have been invited by 28 June for the contract to construct six water storage tanks, three at Hidd and three at Salmabad, plus associated piping and civil works. The job is worth an estimated $50 million-60 million and the client is the Ministry of Electricity & Water.
  • Tata invests in IMIDRO plans

    India's Tata Steelsigned on 12 June joint venture agreements with Iranian Mines & Mining Industries Development & Renovation Organisation (IMIDRO)to invest up to $1,100 million in three steel plants and to explore for iron ore deposits. The deal came in the same week that Tehran and New Delhi reached agreement on the supply of 5 million tonnes a year (t/y) of Iranian gas (see Oil & Gas).
  • Tekfen wins tank farm work

    Turkey's Tekfen is understood to have received a letter of intent (LoI) for the directly tendered engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract to build eight crude storage tanks at Ahmadi.
  • Tel Aviv arrests Palestinian militants before summit

    Israeli security forces arrested more than 50 Islamic Jihad militants in the West Bank in the early hours of 21 June ahead of a summit meeting between Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. Most of the suspected militants were detained in Hebron and Bethlehem and the rest in Ramallah, Qalqilya and Jenin. Islamic Jihad fighters killed two Israelis on 19 and 20 June (
  • Tel Aviv launches air strike in Gaza

    Israeli military aircraft fired three missiles at Jabaliya refugee camp in Gaza on 30 May. An Israeli military source told Reuters that the air strike targeted a group of militants about to launch a mortar attack. Violence in the area has escalated in recent weeks and placed a strain on the informal ceasefire between Tel Aviv and Palestinian militants, in place since February (MEED 27:5:05
  • Tel Aviv puts the brakes on demolition plans

    Tel Aviv backed away on 9 June from plans to demolish 88 Palestinian homes in the Silwan neighbourhood of East Jerusalem in response to protests by Israeli activists. The Jerusalem municipality had said the houses were built illegally on an archaeological site and designated green space and initiated court proceedings to evict the residents. A spokesman for the municipality said it will now establish a joint committee with the residents to reach a compromise that involves allocating them al
  • Tel Aviv targets militants again

    Tel Aviv resumed on 21 July its policy of targeted killings of Palestinian militants when it launched a missile from an unmanned drone at an Islamic Jihad activist in Gaza. Public Security Minister Gideon Ezra confirmed the policy reversal on Israeli Army radio. 'There was an attempt in Gaza to intercept an [Islamic Jihad] activist: it was unsuccessful,' he said. 'An opportunity presented itself. Any means to neutralise the organisation are relevant and possible,' he said. Israel halted pol
  • Tel Aviv to build Gaza sea wall

    Tel Aviv will build a sea barrier that extends out from Israel's land border with Gaza, Israeli military officials said on 17 June. Tel Aviv says that the barrier, which will stretch almost a kilometre into the Mediterranean, will deter Palestinian militants from launching attacks from the sea once Israel has withdrawn from Gaza. The first 150 metres of the fence will be made of concrete pilings buried in the seabed. The rest will be a floating barrier with electronic sensors and radar. Con
  • Tender due for Deira hotel

    Jordan's Med Designis due to complete design work by November for a new five-star hotel to be built in the Port Saeed area of Deira. To be called Al-Huda hotel, the project will involve the construction of a 14-storey building offering a total of 440 rooms, a car park and related facilities, with a total built-up area of 39,432 square metres. The scheme is estimated to cost SR 265 million ($70 million) and will take 18 months to complete. The client is Jeddah-based Al-Tajamua
  • Tender due for Deira hotel

    Jordan's Med Designis due to complete design work by November for a new five-star hotel to be built in the Port Saeed area of Deira. To be called Al-Huda hotel, the project will involve the construction of a 14-storey building offering a total of 440 rooms, a car park and related facilities, with a total built-up area of 39,432 square metres. The scheme is estimated to cost SR 265 million ($70 million) and will take 18 months to complete. The client is Jeddah-based Al-Tajamua
  • Tender issued for new desal plant

    The Ministry of Energy has invited nine prequalified local and international contractors to bid by 28 August for the contract to build a 30 million-gallon-a-day (g/d) reverse osmosis (RO) seawater desalination plant at Shuwaikh. The client is expected to award the estimated KD 50 million ($172 million) engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract by the end of the year. Construction will take about two years.
  • Tender out for CBK work

    The Central Bank of Kuwait (CBK) has invited five local contractors to bid by 5 July for the site preparation contract on its estimated KD 30 million ($103.4 million) new headquarters on Gulf street in the heart of the capital. The project calls for the construction of a 40-storey triangular-shaped tower. The truncated tower will be topped by a glass viewing platform, which will be lit to form a beacon at night. A tender for the main construction package is expected in the autumn. A US/local tea
  • Tender out for CBK work

    The Central Bank of Kuwait (CBK) has invited five local contractors to bid by 5 July for the site preparation contract on its estimated KD 30 million ($103.4 million) new headquarters on Gulf street in the heart of the capital. The project calls for the construction of a 40-storey triangular-shaped tower. The truncated tower will be topped by a glass viewing platform, which will be lit to form a beacon at night. A tender for the main construction package is expected in the autumn. A US/local tea
  • Tendering accelerates on Ras Abu Fontas B2

    Qatar Electricity & Water Company (QEWC)has begun evaluating consultancy bids and is preparing to receive contractor bids for the proposed B2 project, which involves the installation of 500 MW and 20 million gallons a day of new capacity at the existing Ras Abu Fontas (RAF) station. The project is to be implemented on a fast-track basis, with all the new capacity due to come on stream in April 2007 (MEED 25:3:05).
  • Tenders launched for Lusail development

    The Qatari Diar Real Estate Investment Companyhas issued the first two tenders on its multi-billion dollar Lusail mixed-use development, formerly known as the North Beach resort. International contractors have until 1 August to bid for the initial marine, earthworks and site preparation contract, while international consultants are invited to submit proposals by 25 July for the pre and post-contract consultancy and quantity surveying services. The tenders were released shortly after
  • Tenders launched for Lusail development

    The Qatari Diar Real Estate Investment Companyhas issued the first two tenders on its multi-billion dollar Lusail mixed-use development, formerly known as the North Beach resort. International contractors have until 1 August to bid for the initial marine, earthworks and site preparation contract, while international consultants are invited to submit proposals by 25 July for the pre and post-contract consultancy and quantity surveying services. The tenders were released shortly after
  • The Gulf is booming but it's time for tough decisions

    The oil price once more entered uncharted territory on 18 June and edged ever closer to the psychologically significant $60-a-barrel barrier.
  • The strange case of the disappearing Saudi hyphen

    I was chatting last week to a Saudi Arabian business acquaintance. After we caught up with each other's news, he held up his green, standard-issue Saudi passport and sighed.
  • The wings and the spear

    Few investment banks have websites detailing the history of thoroughbred horses. The site of recently created Unicorn Investment Bank (UIB) is an exception, helpfully informing visitors that all such animals are descended from three lines of Arabian stallions, brought to Europe from the Middle East in the seventeenth century. Customers of the debut full-service international Islamic bank seeking sharia-compliant finance are set to become increasingly familiar with the mythical beasts.
  • Things can only get better

    Investors in the Kuwait Stock Exchange (KSE) have never had it so good. After a slight dip in January, the bourse reached new heights in early April, topping 8,000 points for the first time. Up 26 per cent since the beginning of the year, it is clear that investors are in bullish mood.
  • Three bid for Abu Dhabi IRP tanks

    Three companies - US-based Chicago Bridge & Iron Company (CB&I), Italy's Belleli and India's IOTL- have submitted bids to Dubai-based Dodsalfor the tank subcontract on the inter-refinery pipelines (IRP) project in Abu Dhabi. Estimated to be worth $30 million, it involves the construction of 14 storage tanks, spheres and slop tanks. Dodsal is the main engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contractor for the scheme under a $399 million orde
  • Three bid for green diesel project

    Commercial bids were submitted in mid-June to Abu Dhabi Oil Refining Company (Takreer)for the contract to provide project management consultancy (PMC) services for the sulphur-free gas-oil (SFGO) project at Ruwais. The bidders include WorleyParsons of Australia, the US/Canadian VECOand US-based Mustang Engineering (MEED 20:5:05). Known as the green diesel project, the scheme calls for the construction of a 37,000-barrel-a-day (b/d) hydrocracker and
  • Three line up for Gaza desal

    The US Agency for International Development (USAID) has issued a request for proposals for companies to bid for the $60 million contract to design, build and operate a desalination plant in the Gaza Strip. Offers are scheduled to be submitted on 12 November, but sources close to the project anticipate an extension in the closing date (MEED 1:8:03).
  • Timespan expanded for Durrat bridges

    The bid deadline for the contract to build the bridges linking the various parts of the Durrat al-Bahrain resort has been extended to 21 June by the client, Kuwait Finance Housein joint venture with the government. Six companies are prequalified for the contract, which is estimated to be worth in excess of $50 million and covers 18 bridges (MEED 6:5:05).
  • Timespan expanded for Durrat bridges

    The bid deadline for the contract to build the bridges linking the various parts of the Durrat al-Bahrain resort has been extended to 21 June by the client, Kuwait Finance Housein joint venture with the government. Six companies are prequalified for the contract, which is estimated to be worth in excess of $50 million and covers 18 bridges (MEED 6:5:05).
  • Too busy making money

    GCC banks had another record year in 2004, MEED's annual survey of Gulf bank results shows, while the announcement of hefty quarterly hikes in profits and assets has become so routine as to be barely worth reporting. Many of the region's larger and more dynamic institutions are taking advantage of soaring private sector and government investment by diversifying income streams - developing more sophisticated capabilities in investment banking, advisory work and structured finance. But for yet ano
  • Towards an OPEC for Gulf petrochemicals

    In a further sign of the rise of the Gulf economy, more than 200 top executives from world plastics flocked to Bahrain at the start of June to attend the first MEED Gulf Petrochemicals conference.
  • Trident appoints PB as in-house PMC

    Hong Kong-based TridentInternational Holdings (TIH)has signed an agreement with the US' Parsons Brinckerhoff (PB)for the provision of project management services. Under the terms of the agreement, PB will act as project management consultant (PMC) on all of Trident's developments on the Dubai Marina waterfront scheme, including the $25 million Waterfront tower and the estimated $120 million Marinascape tower (MEED 16:7:04).
  • Trident appoints PB as in-house PMC

    Hong Kong-based TridentInternational Holdings (TIH)has signed an agreement with the US' Parsons Brinckerhoff (PB)for the provision of project management services. Under the terms of the agreement, PB will act as project management consultant (PMC) on all of Trident's developments on the Dubai Marina waterfront scheme, including the $25 million Waterfront tower and the estimated $120 million Marinascape tower (MEED 16:7:04).
  • Tripoli plans new licensing round

    National Oil Corporation (NOC)will launch on 2 October its second oil and gas exploration round of 2005, say sources in Tripoli. The details of the round are yet to be finalised although the number of contracts to be offered is expected to be similar to the current licensing round, which includes licences for 17 areas covering 44 blocks. The new round will be launched at the same time as licences are awarded under the current round and it will use NOC's fourth exploration and production s
  • Truck bomb killed Hariri

    Former Lebanese prime minister Rafiq Hariri was killed by a bomb planted in a pick-up truck, the head of the UN probe into Hariri's assassination said on 17 June. Detlev Mehlis asked any members of the Lebanese public with information on the 1995 white Mitsubishi Cantor to come forward and present it to the investigation, which started its work on 17 June. 'The explosion was beyond any reasonable doubt above ground,' Mehlis said, dismissing speculation that a device had been buried in the r
  • Tunis issues eurobond

    Tunis has issued a Eur 400 million ($483.9 million) eurobond, which carries a coupon of 4.5 per cent and is priced at 107 basis points over mid-swaps. The deal is understood to have been oversubscribed more than five and a half times from the initial target of Eur 300 million ($363 million).
  • Two in for Jebel Ali refinery expansion

    Two companies - Paris-based Technip and the local Petrofac International - submitted bids on 9 June to ENOC Processing Company (EPCL)for the main contract on its $350 million Jebel Ali condensate refinery expansion project (MEED 18:2:05).
  • Two women appointed to Kuwaiti municipal council

    The Kuwaiti cabinet announced on 5 June that is has named two women to serve on the 16-member municipal council. Fatima al-Sabah is an assistant under secretary at the Emiri diwan, or ruler's court, and a member of the ruling family. Fawzia al-Bahr is an engineer. Their names will go forward to the emir for ratification. Ten of the council members were elected on 2 June and the emir will appoint the other six (
  • U2 spy plane crashes in UAE

    A US Air Force U2 spy plane crashed on 22 June trying to land at Dhafra airbase near Abu Dhabi. The pilot was killed. The US Air Force has launched an investigation into the incident to determine the cause. The plane was returning from an Operation Enduring Freedom mission, which usually refers to US activities in Afghanistan. US forces have been battling Taliban fighters near the borders with Afghanistan and Pakistan and surveying the area for Al-Qaeda members, including the group's leader
  • UAE-Saudi dispute over border oil flares up

    UAE President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed al-Nahyan and Saudi Interior Minister Prince Nayef bin Abdul-Aziz discussed on 14 June oil fields on their two countries' common border. An unnamed official said UAE Foreign Affairs Minister Sheikh Hamdan bin Zayed al-Nahyan and Prince Nayef have been given responsibility for resolving a dispute about the border fields that dates back to the 1970s. Prince Nayef played down reports of a flare-up in the border row. The two countries signed
  • UN interrogates Lebanese security head

    The UN team investigating the murder of former prime minister Rafiq Hariri searched the office and home of security chief Mustafa Hamdan on 21 June. The team's head Detlev Mehlis interviewed Hamdan, who is chief of the presidential guard, after President Lahoud gave permission. Hamdan is the only security chief to remain in office following the opposition's demands that all six intelligence and security heads resign (
  • UN wants to review munitions plant

    The UN's International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) wants its inspectors to return to the munitions factory at Parchin, said IAEA head Mohammed el-Baradei on 14 June. Washington believes that Tehran may have used the site to test explosive parts of a nuclear bomb. The agency visited the plant, which is close to Tehran, in January. But, El-Baradei said, the information Tehran provided about its nuclear programme was 'not yet sufficient to answer several remaining questions'. El-Baradei intend
  • UNEC takes DSO headquarters

    The local United Engineering Construction (UNEC)has been awarded an estimated AED 210 million ($57 million) contract to construct the headquarters building on the Dubai Silicon Oasis (DSO) development. The 14.5-month contract calls for the construction of a basement and ground storey structure, on top of which will be two 10-storey towers. The headquarters contract is the latest award on the $1,300 million DSO project at Nad al-Sheba, which aims to attract global technology companies
  • UNEC takes DSO headquarters

    The local United Engineering Construction (UNEC)has been awarded an estimated AED 210 million ($57 million) contract to construct the headquarters building on the Dubai Silicon Oasis (DSO) development. The 14.5-month contract calls for the construction of a basement and ground storey structure, on top of which will be two 10-storey towers. The headquarters contract is the latest award on the $1,300 million DSO project at Nad al-Sheba, which aims to attract global technology companies
  • US forces get a lift from PWC

    Kuwait's PWC Logisticshas been awarded a five-year contract, worth up to $1,500 million, to provide heavy lift transportation services to US forces in the region. The award came just three weeks after PWC won a prime vendor contract, worth up to $14,000 million, to deliver food to the US military (MEED 10:6:05).
  • US should join in nuclear negotiations, Rafsanjani says

    Presidential favourite Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani told AFP on 10 June that a deal with the EU over Iran's nuclear programme is possible. 'We can reach an accord, but I cannot predict when that will happen,' Rafsanjani said. 'We are against the negotiations being dragged out for no reason. The negotiations can continue longer on the condition that we can resume our [uranium enrichment] activities in Isfahan,' he said.Rafsanjani said it would be a good thing if Washington joi
  • US troops find insurgent hideout

    US troops found a large underground complex used by insurgents and an arms cache on 5 June in an abandoned quarry in near the town of Karma in Anbar province. The complex of bunkers, which contained a store of weapons, uniforms, night vision goggles, mobile telephones and included living quarters and a kitchen, was found using information gathered from locals and detainees.Baghdad announced the arrest of Mutlaq Mahmoud Mutlaq Abdullah, also known as Abu Raad, in Mosul. Abdull
  • USAID awards support work

    The US' International Business & Technical Consultants (IBTCI)has been awarded a $24.9 million contract to provide professional, administrative and management support services to the US Agency for International Development (USAID). Under the terms of the three-year contract, IBTCI will provide USAID's Iraq operations with long and short-term technical and advisory services, data analysis, and reports for the monitoring and evaluation of USAID's activities in the country.
  • Veolia, Booz win consultancy work

    The Ministry of Water & Electricity has awarded two contracts to France's Veolia Environnementand the US' Booz Allen Hamilton to audit water distribution in Riyadh and examine the participation of the private sector in the water sector. Under the terms of its $5 million contract, Veolia will carry out a wholesale audit of the capital's water network including its storage, distribution, collection and metering systems. According to the ministry, up to 40 per cent of water
  • Violence at Haram Al-Sharif

    Israeli police clashed with Palestinians in Haram al-Sharif on 6 June, the date which marks the Israeli capture of East Jerusalem and known in Israel as Jerusalem Day. Hundreds of Palestinians threw stones at a group of Jewish visitors on a tour of the mosque complex and Israeli police threw stun grenades to disperse the crowd. Two visitors were lightly injured and one Palestinian was arrested. Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said Jewish visitors should not have been allowed i
  • Wade reaches for the Stars

    The local Wade Adams Contractinghas been awarded the advanced earthworks grading package on the Stars Islands development in Sharjah. The six-month contract calls for the excavation of about 400 hectares of land. The project, which is located near the Hamriya Free Zone, will comprise residential and leisure facilities including 2,500 villas, hotels, offices and commercial zones. The scope of works will include dredging to create internal canals and islands similar to the Jumeirah Isl
  • Wade reaches for the Stars

    The local Wade Adams Contractinghas been awarded the advanced earthworks grading package on the Stars Islands development in Sharjah. The six-month contract calls for the excavation of about 400 hectares of land. The project, which is located near the Hamriya Free Zone, will comprise residential and leisure facilities including 2,500 villas, hotels, offices and commercial zones. The scope of works will include dredging to create internal canals and islands similar to the Jumeirah Isl
  • Washington rescinds call for expanded Hariri investigation

    Washington on 8 June dropped its demand that the UN Security Council expand its investigation into the murder of former Lebanese prime minister Rafiq Hariri to include an inquiry into the death of anti-Syria journalist Samir Qassir. Qassir was killed on 2 June by a bomb planted in his car. A new inquiry would require the UN Security Council to issue a further resolution. Beirut has indicated that it will conduct its own investigation into Qassir's murder with help from the FBI and French po
  • Washington says Damascus linked to Hawi murder

    Washington indicated on 21 June that it believed Damascus had a role in the murder of anti-Syria activist George Hawi. 'There is a context and an atmosphere of instability. Syria's activities are part of that context and are part of that atmosphere and they need to knock it off,' US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said. Syria's 'military forces, their visible forces have gone, but they clearly are still acting in Lebanon and are not a stabilising force there,' she said. 'They have got t
  • Wastewater pipeline deadline extended

    Local and international contractors have been given until 22 December to submit bids to the Palestinian Water Authority for the construction of an eight-kilometre pressure pipeline through Gaza, after the deadline was extended from 8 December (MEED 19:11:04). The pipeline forms part of the World Bank-funded North Gaza sewage treatment project. The ductile iron pressure pipeline will connect the New Terminal Pumping Station to the New Northern Gaza Wastewater Treatment Plant site, and a further p
  • Wife of civil war leader seeks parliamentary seat

    The wife of jailed former civil war leader Samir Geagea, Sitrida Geagea, announced on 8 June that she would run for a seat in parliament. She will stand for election in northern Lebanon in the fourth and final round of legislative polls. 'We are united in the house of Samir Geagea to prove to [the Syrian] regime, which thought it could put out the flame of the struggle by dissolving the LF [Lebanese Forces], that the party is still here,' Sitrida said. Samir Geagea has been in prison since
  • Wolfowitz: States should do more to help Darfur

    The international community can do more to help the situation in Darfur, said new World Bank president Paul Wolfowitz on 16 June. He said the bank had a role to play in the reconstruction of the war-torn region of Sudan, which he described as a 'post-genocide situation'. 'The international community is doing more [in Darfur] than in some cases in the past and that is a good thing,' Wolfowitz said in reference to the failure of the international community to halt the genocide in Rwanda in 19
  • Women in business: Business behind the veil

    Women entrepreneurs are emerging as an economic force to be reckoned with in the kingdom. Encouraged by government-sponsored initiatives and the Saudisation of the workforce, women are turning gender-based obstacles into business advantages. Catering to female markets, the growing number of businesses owned and run by women in Saudi Arabia provide jobs for other women in an economy feeling the pinch of low female participation.
  • World Bank to finance economic programme

    The World Bank at the end of May agreed to provide $1,200 million in loan financing to Rabat over a four-year period to help accelerate economic growth and job creation and to widen access to basic services for the kingdom's poor. The loan, which will provide $300 million a year, was agreed a week after the government unveiled a major plan to improve the country's slums, seen as recruiting grounds for radical Islam.
  • Yanbu to get major facelift

    The local Al-Jazeera Engineers & Consultants has been awarded a SR 17 million ($4.5 million) contract to provide design consultancy and construction management services for phase 1 of the Yanbu industrial city development. The scheme is expected to cost at least SR 1,500 million ($400 million) and will involve construction of major infrastructure facilities over 200 hectares at the industrial city. The phase 1 development will involve the construction of about 30 parks, schools for s
  • Yanbu to get major facelift

    The local Al-Jazeera Engineers & Consultants has been awarded a SR 17 million ($4.5 million) contract to provide design consultancy and construction management services for phase 1 of the Yanbu industrial city development. The scheme is expected to cost at least SR 1,500 million ($400 million) and will involve construction of major infrastructure facilities over 200 hectares at the industrial city. The phase 1 development will involve the construction of about 30 parks, schools for s
  • YanSab HDPE FEED starts

    Germany's Uhde has started work on the front-end engineering and design (FEED) for the high-density polyethylene (HDPE) units planned by Saudi Basic Industries Corporation (Sabic)as part of its YanSab olefins complex at Yanbu (MEED 17:6:05).
  • Yemeni-Saudi Cement moves ahead on Batis plant

    The privately owned Yemeni-Saudi Cement Companyis expected to make an award for the construction of the Batis cement plant by the end of July. The company is in final negotiations with a team of Germany's Polysiusand Athens-based Consolidated Contractors International Company (CCC).
  • Zamil mulls more petrochemicals plans

    The local AH Al-Zamil Group is looking to expand its activities in the petrochemicals industry by launching a number of new initiatives, the group's general manager for corporate business development, Osama Abdul Aziz al-Zamil, told MEED on the sidelines of the Gulf Petrochemicals 2005 conference in Bahrain on 7-8 June.

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