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MEED
March 2005

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  • Abbas meets Mubarak

    Palestinian president Abbas met Egyptian President Mubarak on 3 March at Sharm el-Sheikh in Egypt.A spokesman at the meeting said: 'Abbas asked the president to continue his contacts to convince the Israelis to resume their contacts with the Palestinians in order to fully implement the undertakings reached [at the Israeli-Palestinian summit] in Sharm el-Sheikh,' where a truce was signed ending the Palestinian intifada (MEED 8:2:05).
  • Abbas set to meet Palestinian groups

    Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas will meet the main Palestinian factions in Cairo on 15 March for three days of talks in an attempt to persuade them to reach a ceasefire agreement with Israel.Hamas and Islamic Jihad are among the groups who will attend. According to London daily Asharq al-Awsat, Abbas is expected to tell the various factions that the right of return for refugees should be viewed 'realistically' and that not all Palestinian exiles will return to t
  • ABC posts rising profits

    Arab Banking Corporation (ABC)has posted a net profit of $579 million for 2004, in headline figures published on 2 March. The board of directors has recommended a final dividend of 5 per cent. The earnings figure is inflated by the booking early in the year of the sale of two overseas assets, Hong Kong-based International Bank of Asiaand Spain's Banco Atlantico. Profits in 2003 were $120 million. Net profit excluding the contributions of the two subsidiaries was up
  • ABM goes green

    The local Al-Basti & Muktha (ABM)is the latest firm to win work on the Jumeirah Lake Towers (JLT) development. It has been awarded the estimated $110 million contract to build the three-tower Green Lakes project. ABM will be assisted by Bilt Middle East on mechanical, electrical and plumbing (MEP) and by the local Middle East Foundationsfor the piling and excavation works. The 24-month contract calls for the construction of three 39-storey residential towers w
  • ABM goes green

    The local Al-Basti & Muktha (ABM)is the latest firm to win work on the Jumeirah Lake Towers (JLT) development. It has been awarded the estimated $110 million contract to build the three-tower Green Lakes project. ABM will be assisted by Bilt Middle East on mechanical, electrical and plumbing (MEP) and by the local Middle East Foundationsfor the piling and excavation works. The 24-month contract calls for the construction of three 39-storey residential towers w
  • Abu Dhabi fast-tracks airport awards

    The Supervision Committee for the Expansion of Abu Dhabi International Airport (Scadia) has awarded the first two construction contracts on its airport expansion programme. The contracts, both fast-track, cover the construction of new aircraft stands and an extension of the existing terminal building (MEED 4:3:05).
  • Abu Dhabi fast-tracks airport awards

    The Supervision Committee for the Expansion of Abu Dhabi International Airport (Scadia) has awarded the first two construction contracts on its airport expansion programme. The contracts, both fast-track, cover the construction of new aircraft stands and an extension of the existing terminal building (MEED 4:3:05).
  • Abu Dhabi plant still a possibility for VW

    Negotiations are still ongoing between German car giant Volkswagen (VW) and Abu Dhabi-based General Holding Company (GHC)about setting up one or more joint venture plants in Abu Dhabi's Mussafah industrial estate, according to a senior GHC official. The companies are exploring possibilities to set up a joint venture truck assembly plant, with initial manufacturing capacity of 1,000 trucks a year from 2006, gradually rising to 3,000 trucks. VW and GHC are also looking into
  • Abu Mazen urges factions to stay on-side

    As negotiations continue between the Palestinian Authority (PA) and Tel Aviv over the Gaza disengagement plan and the handover of five West Bank towns to Palestinian control, the spotlight has switched to ongoing negotiations between the main Palestinian factions.
  • Abuja proposes African war crimes tribunal for Darfur

    Nigeria proposed on 17 March an African-run tribunal to hear allegations of war crimes in the Darfur region in western Sudan. The proposal was designed to break the deadlock in the UN Security Council over the refusal of the US to allow war crime suspects to be tried at the International Criminal Court (ICC) in the Hague, which countries such as the UK and France favour.Khartoum previously rejected a call from UN human rights commissioner Louise Arbour on 18 February for Darf
  • ACC scoops Emirates HQ

    Lebanon's Arabian Construction Companywas awarded on 19 March the estimated AED 530 million ($146 million) main contract on the new headquarters project for Dubai-based Emirates. The award follows a repricing exercise in which three companies submitted revised offers in early March. The other two companies to participate in the repricing were Turkey's Tepe Akfen Ventures (TAV) and the local/Cypriot National Wheel J&P (MEED 18:3:05). The 18-month co
  • ACC scoops Emirates HQ

    Lebanon's Arabian Construction Companywas awarded on 19 March the estimated AED 530 million ($146 million) main contract on the new headquarters project for Dubai-based Emirates. The award follows a repricing exercise in which three companies submitted revised offers in early March. The other two companies to participate in the repricing were Turkey's Tepe Akfen Ventures (TAV) and the local/Cypriot National Wheel J&P (MEED 18:3:05). The 18-month co
  • ADB approves power loan

    The African Development Bank in early March approved a four-year Eur 136.5 million ($183.1 million) loan to Rabat to finance construction of the Ain Beni Mathar solar/thermal combined cycle power plant. The remainder of the funding for the long-awaited project will come from the Global Environment Fund and the Office National de l'Electricite (ONE). The plant will have capacity of 200-250 MW. Germany's Fichtneris the consultant (MEED 29:10:04).
  • ADIB sukuk on hold

    Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank (ADIB)has put on hold its plans for a sukuk issue, which had been expected to be worth $200 million. 'ADIB has found alternative means to ease liquidity management problems,' says a banker involved in the deal, which was to have been lead arranged by Barclays Capitaland HSBC(MEED 11:6:04).
  • ADIC joins Etihad deal

    Abu Dhabi Investment Company (ADIC)has joined the mandated lead arranger (MLA) group on the $500 million syndicated borrowing by Abu Dhabi-based Etihad Airways, and Union National Bankis expected to do so imminently. National Bank of Abu Dhabi (NBAD)is the structuring agent and already on board as MLAs are Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank, First Gulf Bank, HSBCand NBAD. The 12-year facility will be used to part-finance the a
  • ADWEA lets contract for Al-Wathba pipeline

    The local Al-Jaber Energy Services has been awarded a contract worth an estimated AED 185 million ($50 million) covering the Al-Wathba pipeline project in Abu Dhabi emirate. The engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract covers the supply and installation of a 40-kilometre water pipeline and a pumping station at Mussafah. The client is Abu Dhabi Water & Electricity Authority (ADWEA), which in early March notified contractors of the cancellation of the Jebel Dhanna to Si
  • ADWEA targets Fujairah as next IWPP

    Abu Dhabi Water & Electricity Authority (ADWEA) has confirmed that its next independent water and power project (IWPP) will be the acquisition and expansion of the Fujairah power and desalination complex, after agreement was reached to take over the project from fellow Abu Dhabi government-owned Union Water & Electricity Company (UWEC). The brownfield IWPP will be implemented according to the standard ADWEA model, which involves a foreign developer taking a 40 per cent stake in a new
  • AES Arabia wins Aramco jobs

    AES Arabia, a local affiliate of the US' American Engineering Services, is pressing ahead with work on two contracts awarded recently by Saudi Aramco on a programme to replace water treatment facilities at two plants in Abqaiq and Jubail. Under the contracts, worth a total of SR 40 million ($11 million), AES Arabia will install reverse osmosis (RO) skids and demineralising and other related equipment to generate the required quantity and quality of drinking water a
  • Agreement reached over Tulkarem

    Tel Aviv and Palestinian officials reached agreement on 21 March over the scheduled Israeli withdrawal from the West Bank town of Tulkarem.Negotiations were delayed because contrary to Palestinian demands Israel had refused to hand back a number of surrounding villages, saying that the militants who carried out a suicide bombing in Tel Aviv on 26 February were operating from the area (MEED 26:2:05).Said Abu Fasha, commander of Palestinian security forces in Tul
  • Ahmadiah mobilises for Fahaheel job

    The local Ahmadiah Contracting & Trading Companyhas started mobilising on a KD 6 million ($21 million) contract to build the Rotana hotel in Fahaheel. The five-star complex will have 200 rooms and cover a built-up area of 27,000 square metres. Construction is expected to take about 16 months. The local Option Oneis the design consultant. Tamdeen Real Estate, also local, is the developer. There have been numerous hotel developments over the last 12 months as oc
  • Ahmadiah mobilises for Fahaheel job

    The local Ahmadiah Contracting & Trading Companyhas started mobilising on a KD 6 million ($21 million) contract to build the Rotana hotel in Fahaheel. The five-star complex will have 200 rooms and cover a built-up area of 27,000 square metres. Construction is expected to take about 16 months. The local Option Oneis the design consultant. Tamdeen Real Estate, also local, is the developer. There have been numerous hotel developments over the last 12 months as oc
  • AKER KVAERNER: Changing priorities

    It is an all-too familiar tale among engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contractors. Rapid expansion in the early 1990s followed by equally rapid retrenchment led to mounting losses on big-ticket EPC contracts. By the end of the decade, a fire-sale of non-core assets was under way, but it was not enough to stem the financial haemorrhaging. A new shareholder subsequently came in, a cash injection was approved and a debt rescheduling programme was launched. And the restructuring paid
  • Al-Bilad Bank launches IPO

    The initial public offering (IPO) of shares in Al-Bilad Bank, the second transaction under the auspices of the Capital Markets Authority (CMA), was launched on 21 February. The Al-Bilad IPO will be open for two weeks until 9 March and pave the way for the establishment of the kingdom's 11th commercial bank. The fully Islamic bank has been formed by the merger of eight local foreign exchange houses and plans to raise 50 per cent of its capital, or SR 1,500 million ($400 million), from
  • Albion project goes for rebid

    Dubai-based Nakheelis now expecting revised bids for package 9 on the estimated $1,900 million International City development by 3 April. The estimated $70 million project calls for the construction of about 30 English-themed villas. The consultant is Lebanon's Associated Consulting Engineers (ACE) International (MEED 4:3:05).
  • Albion project goes for rebid

    Dubai-based Nakheelis now expecting revised bids for package 9 on the estimated $1,900 million International City development by 3 April. The estimated $70 million project calls for the construction of about 30 English-themed villas. The consultant is Lebanon's Associated Consulting Engineers (ACE) International (MEED 4:3:05).
  • ALDAR closes in on souk consultant

    The local ALDAR Propertiesis close to selecting a consultant for its estimated AED 1,200 million ($326 million) redevelopment of Abu Dhabi's central market. Demolition of the current premises is scheduled to begin in early March, after the client awarded the demolition package in mid-February.
  • ALDAR closes in on souk consultant

    The local ALDAR Propertiesis close to selecting a consultant for its estimated AED 1,200 million ($326 million) redevelopment of Abu Dhabi's central market. Demolition of the current premises is scheduled to begin in early March, after the client awarded the demolition package in mid-February.
  • Al-Habtoor awarded Dubailand villas

    The local Al-Habtoor Engineering Enterpriseshas been awarded an estimated AED 200 million ($54 million) contract to build residential villas in the Dubailand development. The contract calls for the construction of 165 villas comprising two, three or four bedrooms. The project is due to be completed by 2007 and is part of The Villa development being promoted by Dubai Properties. The local DAR Consultis the consultant. Located along the Emirates Road, near the G
  • Al-Habtoor awarded Dubailand villas

    The local Al-Habtoor Engineering Enterpriseshas been awarded an estimated AED 200 million ($54 million) contract to build residential villas in the Dubailand development. The contract calls for the construction of 165 villas comprising two, three or four bedrooms. The project is due to be completed by 2007 and is part of The Villa development being promoted by Dubai Properties. The local DAR Consultis the consultant. Located along the Emirates Road, near the G
  • Al-Habtoor/STFA wins Business Bay work

    The local/Turkish joint venture of Al-Habtoor Engineering Enterprisesand STFA Soil Grouphas been awarded the AED 80 million ($22 million) foundations package for the construction of 11 30-40-storey towers in Business Bay. The work is scheduled to be completed in six months with a tender for the main structural package expected by the end of the second quarter. The local DAR Consultis the consultant on the development. The client is the local Dubai Technology,
  • Al-Habtoor/STFA wins Business Bay work

    The local/Turkish joint venture of Al-Habtoor Engineering Enterprisesand STFA Soil Grouphas been awarded the AED 80 million ($22 million) foundations package for the construction of 11 30-40-storey towers in Business Bay. The work is scheduled to be completed in six months with a tender for the main structural package expected by the end of the second quarter. The local DAR Consultis the consultant on the development. The client is the local Dubai Technology,
  • Al-Khalifa Sports City bids invited

    Bids have been invited by 22 March for the estimated BD 7 million ($18.4 million) main construction contract on the Sheikh Khalifa bin Salman al-Khalifa sports city, which will replace the existing stadium in Isa Town. The complex will comprise a 3,580-seater stadium, a multi-purpose sports hall with capacity for 2,500 spectators, tennis courts and an Olympic-size swimming pool. Germany's Tilkedrew up the detailed designs for the client, the Ministry of Works & Housing (MEED 16:4:04)
  • Al-Khalifa Sports City bids invited

    Bids have been invited by 22 March for the estimated BD 7 million ($18.4 million) main construction contract on the Sheikh Khalifa bin Salman al-Khalifa sports city, which will replace the existing stadium in Isa Town. The complex will comprise a 3,580-seater stadium, a multi-purpose sports hall with capacity for 2,500 spectators, tennis courts and an Olympic-size swimming pool. Germany's Tilkedrew up the detailed designs for the client, the Ministry of Works & Housing (MEED 16:4:04)
  • Al-Moqbel unveils new Cairo development

    Saudi Arabia's Al-Moqbel Company for Real Estate Investmentshas unveiled plans for an estimated $64 million residential development in Cairo. The development involves the construction of four 17-storey residential and hotel towers on land which Al-Moqbel has bought on the city's Maadi corniche. The company is understood to be negotiating the two-year construction contract with a local company.
  • Al-Moqbel unveils new Cairo development

    Saudi Arabia's Al-Moqbel Company for Real Estate Investmentshas unveiled plans for an estimated $64 million residential development in Cairo. The development involves the construction of four 17-storey residential and hotel towers on land which Al-Moqbel has bought on the city's Maadi corniche. The company is understood to be negotiating the two-year construction contract with a local company.
  • Almost everyone loses in a no-blame assassination culture

    More than two weeks after the murder of former Lebanese prime minister Rafiq Hariri in broad daylight in the centre of Beirut, no one has been arrested, let alone charged, for an atrocity that even the most senior Western diplomats are saying is the handiwork of dark forces within Syrian intelligence. The failure to lay hands on those behind what many believe to be the most blatant political assassination for more than a decade compounds the feeling of deja vu among students of Lebanon and the r
  • Al-Seef resort tendered

    Contractors have been invited to bid by the end of April for the main contract to build the estimated $50 million Al-Seef Hotel & Resort on Palm Jumeirah in Dubai. The project, which will have a built-up area of about 500,000 square feet, will comprise 20 villas, 21 suites and 101 rooms as well as leisure and entertainment facilities. The local ARC International Engineering Consultants is the consultant. The client is the local Al-Fattan Properties.
  • Al-Seef resort tendered

    Contractors have been invited to bid by the end of April for the main contract to build the estimated $50 million Al-Seef Hotel & Resort on Palm Jumeirah in Dubai. The project, which will have a built-up area of about 500,000 square feet, will comprise 20 villas, 21 suites and 101 rooms as well as leisure and entertainment facilities. The local ARC International Engineering Consultants is the consultant. The client is the local Al-Fattan Properties.
  • Alstom wins more Shouaiba work

    A team of France's Alstom and Saudi Archirodonhas been awarded a Eur 627 million ($841.8 million) turnkey contract to install three 400-MW turbines at the Shouaiba power plant in the western region, increasing total output to more than 4,400 MW. Alstom will design, supply, install and commission the units while Archirodon will carry out the civils work. The same consortium installed the previous eight units at the plant (MEED 9:4:04).
  • Al-Wasit turbine awarded

    The UK's Rolls-Royce Internationalhas received a letter of intent for the aero-derivatives project at Al-Wasit power station in Sharjah. The estimated $90 million engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract calls for the installation of four 40-MW turbines with total capacity of 148 MW. The client, Sharjah Electricity & Water Authority, is also expected to award another major EPC contract at Al-Wasit, covering the combined cycle conversion scheme. Three international con
  • Amman prepares to modernise refinery sector

    The Energy & Mineral Resources Ministry will release in April the terms of reference (TOR) for an advisory contract on the planned $700 million modernisation and expansion of Zarqa refinery - a central part of the government's wide-ranging plan to overhaul the kingdom's energy sector (MEED 25:2:05, Briefing).
  • Amman promotes peace initiative ahead of Arab summit

    Amman has put forward a proposal to resurrect a peace plan with Israel ahead of the upcoming Arab League summit on 22-23 March. The plan reaffirms the Arab commitment to peace with Israel in return for the land Arabs lost to the Jewish state in the 1967 war. According to press reports, Amman has been under pressure from several Arab governments, including Lebanon, Sudan, Syria and Yemen, to amend its proposal. Nine of the League's 22 members expressed their res
  • Amman, Damascus sign accord

    Amman and Damascus signed an agreement on 1 March settling a long-standing border dispute between the two states. Syria will retain 125 square kilometres of territory in Jordan and Amman will be given an equivalent size area in the border zone between the two countries. Speaking to journalists, Jordanian Interior Minister Samir al-Habashneh said the dispute was 'a recurrent thorn in our side. The agreement will bolster trust between our two countries'.Amman had previously com
  • Amman, Tel Aviv to hold talks

    Jordanian Foreign Affairs Minister Hani Mulki is due to visit Israel on 5 March to meet Israeli counterpart Silvan Shalom for talks on reviving bilateral relations between the two states.Mulki will also meet Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon on 6 March. The meetings will focus on security co-operation following Tel Aviv's decision to withdraw from four settlements in the northern West Bank later this year.Speaking to journalists, Mulki said: 'I will try to pe
  • ANB takes syndicated loan

    Arab National Bank (ANB)has joined the growing list of banks in the kingdom issuing debt instruments, closing a three-year syndicated borrowing. The facility was increased in size to $350 million from $250 million due to subscription in excess of $500 million, coming from a broad range of local, regional and international banks.
  • Annan demands Darfur resolution

    UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan on 9 March urged the Security Council to pass a resolution imposing sanctions on those blocking peace moves in Darfur.Annan summoned the Security Council ambassadors because he said: 'We keep getting reports which show that the killing, raping and burning are still going on [in Darfur].' Efforts on the humanitarian and security side 'go in the right direction' but 'are not enough', he added.More than 100,000 people are thought to
  • Annan hopeful about a Middle East peace agreement

    UN Secretary General Kofi Annan on 14 March met Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah.The talks, held a day after a meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, focused on Annan's promotion of the stalled peace roadmap plan. The plan includes calls for an end to Palestinian violence and the dismantling of Israeli outposts built after 2001. Annan said: 'I think that the possible developments give us a chance to re-energise the [peace] process.'
  • ANRT offers fixed-line licences

    Telecoms regulator Agence Nationale de Reglementation des Telecommunications (ANRT) has invited applications for three new types of telecoms licence. Tender documents are available from 24 February. The licences cover the local loop, with a maximum of two licences available for each region, two licences for the national backbone and two international gateway licences. The kingdom already has two mobile providers, following the sale in 1999 of the first private GSM licence to Meditel.
  • Apicorp syndication launched

    Syndication was launched on 14 March of a $200 million syndicated loan for Arab Petroleum Investments Corporation (Apicorp), to refinance a loan of the same size signed in July 2000. The mandated lead arrangers (MLAs) are Arab Banking Corporation, Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi (BTM), BNP Paribas, Calyon, Gulf International Bank, Mizuho Financial Group, Standard Chartered Bank (SCB)and Sumitomo-Mitsui Banking C
  • Aprons award close to being tied up

    The award of the first major construction package on the Abu Dhabi International Airport expansion project was imminent in late February, after five contractors submitted bids on 22 February. The local/Belgian Six Construct Abu Dhabiis the low bidder for the estimated $25 million-30 million contract. The seven-month contract involves the construction of nine aprons, taxiway modifications, drainage and airfield lighting. The consultant is the UK's Halcrow. The project mana
  • Aprons award close to being tied up

    The award of the first major construction package on the Abu Dhabi International Airport expansion project was imminent in late February, after five contractors submitted bids on 22 February. The local/Belgian Six Construct Abu Dhabiis the low bidder for the estimated $25 million-30 million contract. The seven-month contract involves the construction of nine aprons, taxiway modifications, drainage and airfield lighting. The consultant is the UK's Halcrow. The project mana
  • Arab leaders throw out Jordanian peace plan

    Arab League puts on a dispirited anniversary performance
  • Arab League to push for peace

    Jordanian King Abdullah announced on 7 March that the Arab League will resurrect its proposals for a comprehensive Middle East peace at a summit in Algiers later in March.Abdullah said the plan envisages an Israeli withdrawal from the West Bank while offering a 'just' solution to Palestinian demands for a right of return. A settlement for the West Bank was critical: 'The way things are moving in the West Bank, in a year or two we may not have a viable [Palestinian] state to t
  • Arabtec takes more work on Dubai Pearl development

    The local Arabtec Construction has been awarded the main construction package for two towers on the Dubai Pearl development. Arabtec is already working on the construction of the 287-metre Moevenpick Hotels & Resortstower within the Pearl. Canada's NORR Group Consultants International is the consultant for the hotel (MEED 15:10:04).
  • Arabtec takes more work on Dubai Pearl development

    The local Arabtec Construction has been awarded the main construction package for two towers on the Dubai Pearl development. Arabtec is already working on the construction of the 287-metre Moevenpick Hotels & Resortstower within the Pearl. Canada's NORR Group Consultants International is the consultant for the hotel (MEED 15:10:04).
  • Aramco aims to integrate refineries

    Saudi Aramco is studying converting another two of its domestic refineries into integrated refining and petrochemical complexes, similar to the one presently being planned at Rabigh, the site of the kingdom's largest refinery. If approved, Aramco could spend up to $10,000 million on projects aimed at reducing costs and increasing efficiency, said Khalid al-Hamid, co-ordinator of the facilities planning department at Aramco, at the Refining & Petrochemicals in the Middle East conference or
  • Aramco awards bulk plant packages

    Saudi Aramco has awarded five contracts worth more than $100 million covering the expansion and upgrade of 12 bulk plants across the kingdom.
  • Aramco invites Rabigh storage tank bids

    Saudi Aramco has invited prequalified companies to submit bids by 31 May for the contract to build a storage tank farm as part of its $4,300 million programme to turn the kingdom's biggest refinery at Rabigh into a world-scale integrated refining and petrochemical complex (MEED 18:2:05).
  • Aramco lets billion-dollar contracts on Hawiyah NGL programme

    Saudi Aramco has selected three contractors to build a major natural gas liquids (NGL) plant at Hawiyah and expand the Juaymah gas fractionation plant. Both projects are being tendered under Aramco's Hawiyah NGL recovery programme (MEED 18:2:05).
  • Aramco signs contracts worth around $5bn

    Saudi Aramco on 16 March signed contracts worth up to $5,000 million covering the 500,000-barrel-a-day (b/d) Abu Hadriyah, Fadhili and Khursaniyah (AFK) oil field development and the Hawiyah natural gas liquids (NGL) recovery programme. With the contracts awarded, Aramco will now turn its attention to other large-scale projects as part of the programme to raise targeted crude capacity to 12.5 million b/d by the end of the decade (MEED 11:3:05).
  • Arig profits soar

    The Arab Insurance Group (Arig) has reported a tripling of profits for 2004 to $26.5 million from $7.9 million in 2003. The board has approved the establishment of an Islamic reinsurance business. Underwriting profitability climbed to $43.2 million from $10.1 million and gross premiums written rose by 12 per cent to $261.7 million. The book value per share rose to $1.13, from $0.88 at the end of 2003. Arig completed a rights issue in early January to take paid-up capital to $200 mill
  • Aromatics deadline pushed back

    The bid deadline for the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract covering the planned aromatics plant has again been postponed by two weeks to 17 April. Five groups - ChiyodaCorporationand JGCCorporation, both of Japan, South Korea's LG Engineering & Construction, Paris-based Technip, and a Korean/Italian joint venture of SK Engineering & Constructionand Tecnimont- are prequalified for the esti
  • Arrest tests Mubarak's democratic credentials

    Less than two weeks after receiving widespread praise for allowing multiple candidates to stand in presidential elections later this year, President Mubarak's democratic credentials are being questioned by opponents who see the detention of opposition party leader Ayman Nour as evidence that Mubarak is not truly committed to substantial change.
  • Asab at forefront of development plans

    Paris-based Technip,with its wholly-owned subsidiary Genesis Oil & Gas Consultants, is the frontrunner for a contract to carry out a conceptual study and masterplan for the development of the onshore Asab field in Abu Dhabi emirate. The study will include an assessment of the surface production facilities and recommendations on how they should be expanded, taking into account a rising water cut and gas lift requirements as well as an increase in oil production capacity of
  • Asad promises to withdraw

    Syrian President Asad said on 1 March that his troops will leave Lebanon completely 'in the next few months'. Speaking to Time magazine about the withdrawal of Damascus' 14,000 troops, Asad said: 'I could not say we could do it in two months because I have not had the meeting with the army people. They may say it will take six months.'UN envoy Terji Roed-Larsen is due to return to Damascus in March to hold talks on the withdrawal (MEED 8:2:05).
  • Asad will address parliament

    Syrian President Asad is expected to announce a Syrian withdrawal from Lebanon on 5 March in the People's Assembly in Damascus.The Syrian official news agency SANA reported Asad would address parliament in order to 'deal with standing political developments'. The previously unscheduled speech comes after growing international pressure on Damascus (MEED 3:3:05).
  • Asdaf Islands project launched

    The UK's Scott Wilsonhas been awarded a masterplanning contract on a major new mixed-use development, to be located on reclaimed land close to Amwaj Islands off the coast of Muharraq. The client is Dala Property Development Company, led by local businessman Saud Kanoo, who is also chairman of Ossis Property Developers- the company behind Amwaj.
  • Asdaf Islands project launched

    The UK's Scott Wilsonhas been awarded a masterplanning contract on a major new mixed-use development, to be located on reclaimed land close to Amwaj Islands off the coast of Muharraq. The client is Dala Property Development Company, led by local businessman Saud Kanoo, who is also chairman of Ossis Property Developers- the company behind Amwaj.
  • Ashghal issues more expressway work for bid

    The third package on the Doha expressway project has been issued for bid by the Public Works Authority (Ashghal). Companies have been given until 5 April to submit bids for the package, which covers the Al-Amir street and interchanges works. Tendering for the first and second packages is well under way on the project, for which designs have been prepared by the US' Parsons International(MEED 28:1:05). Ashghal has begun technical bid evaluation for the first package on the North road
  • Ashghal issues more expressway work for bid

    The third package on the Doha expressway project has been issued for bid by the Public Works Authority (Ashghal). Companies have been given until 5 April to submit bids for the package, which covers the Al-Amir street and interchanges works. Tendering for the first and second packages is well under way on the project, for which designs have been prepared by the US' Parsons International(MEED 28:1:05). Ashghal has begun technical bid evaluation for the first package on the North road
  • Atkins taken on board for Al-Durrah

    The UK's Atkins has taken over as design consultant for a proposed new high-rise in Dubai. Called Al-Durrah Tower, the 360-metre-high building will be located adjacent to the Fairmont Hotel on Sheikh Zayed highway. It will entail the construction of an 80-storey mixed-use tower with a total built-up area of 130,000 square metres, a car park and related facilities. The complex will offer 700 one-three-bedroom apartments and three floors of office space. The project is estimated to cos
  • Atkins taken on board for Al-Durrah

    The UK's Atkins has taken over as design consultant for a proposed new high-rise in Dubai. Called Al-Durrah Tower, the 360-metre-high building will be located adjacent to the Fairmont Hotel on Sheikh Zayed highway. It will entail the construction of an 80-storey mixed-use tower with a total built-up area of 130,000 square metres, a car park and related facilities. The complex will offer 700 one-three-bedroom apartments and three floors of office space. The project is estimated to cos
  • Atkins to design tower

    The UK's Atkins has been appointed design consultant for an office tower complex in Riyadh. The mixed-use facility will consist of an office tower and a shopping mall. The proposed office tower, standing at 352 metres, will be the tallest high-rise in the kingdom. A seven-star hotel is also planned on the development. The client is an unidentified investor.
  • Atkins to design tower

    The UK's Atkins has been appointed design consultant for an office tower complex in Riyadh. The mixed-use facility will consist of an office tower and a shopping mall. The proposed office tower, standing at 352 metres, will be the tallest high-rise in the kingdom. A seven-star hotel is also planned on the development. The client is an unidentified investor.
  • Atlantis loan syndication launched

    General syndication has been launched of a $700 million borrowing to part-fund the Atlantis development on Palm Jumeirah. The limited-recourse loan is among the largest ever for a local real estate project.
  • AUB profits surge

    Ahli United Bank (AUB)has reported a 22 per cent increase in net profits in 2004 to $106.5 million. The board has recommended a dividend of $0.027 a share, up from $0.024 the previous year. Total assets rose to $8,100 million, up from $6,270 million at the end of 2003, while operating income climbed by 24.4 per cent to $243 million. Interest income climbed to 11.5 per cent and fee earnings increased by 38 per cent to $101.6 million. The year was an important one in AUB's drive to become a
  • Australia and UAE to begin FTA talks

    Trade delegations from Australia and the UAE are set to begin free trade agreement (FTA) talks on 15 March.The five-day talks will focus on trade issues relating to commodities and services as well as the Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) agreement. The aim, according to UAE assistant under-secretary for economic affairs & international cooperation Abdulah Ahmad al-Saleh, is to give each country an insight into the other's economy and the potential
  • Australia and UAE to begin FTA talks

    Trade delegations from Australia and the UAE are set to begin free trade agreement (FTA) talks on 15 March.The talks will focus on trade issues relating to commodities and services as well as the Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) agreement. The aim, according to UAE assistant under-secretary for economic affairs & international cooperation Abdulah Ahmad al-Saleh, is to give each country an insight into the other's economy and the potential they off
  • Australia: UAE is a launchpad for Middle East markets

    Australia and the UAE agreed on 17 March to begin negotiations on a free trade agreement (FTA), scheduled to be completed by 2006. The announcement followed two days of talks.Australian Trade Minister Mark Vaile said: 'Australian exporters can expect big gains and opportunities from a prospective FTA with the UAE, [which] is a regional financial and transportation hub - the Singapore of the Middle East, if you like - and a launchpad into the Gulf and Middle East markets.'
  • Award approaches on Laffan refinery project

    Competition for the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract on the Ras Laffan condensate refinery project has narrowed to two bidders after Spain's Tecnicas Reunidasand South Korea's LG Engineering & Constructionwere invited to submit final bid proposals. The award of the contract, now valued at about $700 million, is expected by the end of March. The 146,000-barrel-a-day (b/d) refinery will process rising volumes of North field condensate. The client is
  • Award nears for West Bay substations

    Qatar General Electricity & Water Corporation (Kahramaa) is close to awarding a consultancy contract for nine substations in the West Bay area. Three firms are competing for the award, with the frontrunners being Germany's Fichtnerand the UK's Mott MacDonald. The substations will range in size from 200 kV to 33/11 kV.
  • Award nears on Emirates HQ

    An award was imminent in mid-March for the main contract on the new headquarters project for Dubai-based Emirates, following the submission of revised prices.Three companies submitted fresh prices, with Turkey's Tepe Akfen Ventures (TAV) offering a low bid of about AED 525 million ($143 million). Its price is about 1 per cent less than the next lowest price of AED 530 million ($146 million), submitted by Lebanon's Arabian Construction Company. A third offer of
  • Award nears on Emirates HQ

    An award was imminent in mid-March for the main contract on the new headquarters project for Dubai-based Emirates, following the submission of revised prices.Three companies submitted fresh prices, with Turkey's Tepe Akfen Ventures (TAV) offering a low bid of about AED 525 million ($143 million). Its price is about 1 per cent less than the next lowest price of AED 530 million ($146 million), submitted by Lebanon's Arabian Construction Company. A third offer of
  • Badr Brigade role refused by Tel Aviv

    Tel Aviv rebuffed a suggestion by Amman on 6 March to allow the Palestinian Badr Brigade, trained by Jordan, to take up security duties in the West Bank.According to press reports, Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon rejected the offer telling Jordanian Foreign Affairs Minister Hani Mulki that the Brigade was 'not trained in fighting terror.' Tel Aviv would, however, support the training of Palestinian security forces in Jordan, he added.The possible deployment
  • Baghdad appoints Paris Club reps

    The Ministry of Finance and the Central Bank of Iraq (CBI) have appointed four advisers to the Paris Club. They are: Finance Minister Adil Mehdi; Finance Ministry undersecretary Aziz Jaafer; CBI governor Sinan al-Shabibi; and CBI head of research Mudhir Saleh. Late last year, the 19-member Paris Club of sovereign international lenders announced it would write off 80 per cent of the $39,000 million owed by Baghdad. The four advisers will represent Iraq at the next round of Paris Club talks, which
  • Baghdad car bombs kill five

    Two car bombs exploded on 3 March at a police checkpoint outside the Interior Ministry in Baghdad, killing five people.The violence follows two car bombs that killed 13 Iraqi soldiers in the capital on 2 March and two days after gunmen killed a judge and a lawyer working for the Iraqi tribunal set up to try former president Saddam Hussein (MEED 1:2:05).
  • Baghdad says BOO

    Baghdad has made its first step into private power in early March after it announced that it had signed off the country's first independent power project (IPP). The Electricity Ministry awarded an unidentified company a 10-year concession to develop a 200-MW single cycle power plant at Chamchamal in the Kurdish region on a build-own-operate (BOO) basis. The successful firm, which is understood not to be a mainstream developer, will have both the feedstock supply and power purchase agreements gua
  • Baghdad sets date for first assembly session

    Interim Deputy Prime Minister Barham Saleh said on 5 March that the transitional national assembly would hold its first session on 16 March.Speaking to journalists, Saleh said 'We are agreed that the first session of parliament will take place on 16 March, the anniversary of the chemical bombing of the Kurdish town of Halabja by the former regime of Saddam Hussein on 16 March 1988.' The attack on the Kurds was one of the worst atrocities committed by the former regime.
  • Baghdad to allow foreign investment in ISX

    The Finance Ministry and the Central Bank of Iraq are understood to have approved new regulations allowing international companies and individuals to invest in the Iraq Stock Exchange (ISX - see Capital Markets, page 54). International investors will now be able to purchase up to 49 per cent of shares in listed firms. The injection of capital in the ISX is expected to provide a boost to local firms which have been struggling to prosper in the difficult economic environment.
  • Baghdad, Amman recall envoys over Hilla bombing

    Baghdad recalled its ambassador to Jordan on 21 March following Amman's decision to withdraw its charge d'affaires on 20 March.Both diplomats have been called back for 'consultations' following a protest on 19 March in which Shia demonstrators raised an Iraqi flag over the Jordanian embassy in Baghdad. The protesters believe Amman had a role in a suicide bombing in Hilla, south of Baghdad, on 28 February (MEED 28:2:05).Asked about Amman's withdrawal of its char
  • Banks bite DPA bullet

    Dubai Ports Authority (DPA)has signed a $1,650 million three-year bullet facility to finance its acquisition of the global port assets of US-based CSX Corporation. Deutsche Bankacted as financial adviser and bookrunner on the deal, with 17 banks joining as additional mandated lead arrangers (MLAs) and a further 44 banks joining at syndication.
  • Banks sounded out on Yemen LNG finance

    Banks have been asked by financial adviser Citigroup to submit initial expressions of interest in participating in the financing of the Yemen LNG (YLNG)project by the end of March. More than 100 invitees, most of them bankers, attended a Citigroup-hosted briefing on the project and its financing structure in London on 18 March (see Briefing, page 6).
  • Banks work on ELNG debt

    A group of banks have been appointed by Egyptian LNG (ELNG) to carry out preliminary work on arranging the financing for its second liquefied natural gas (LNG) train at Idku, ahead of the formal invitation to banks to join the mandated lead arranger (MLA) group. They include Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi, Calyon, HSBCand Standard Chartered Bank. The financing facility is likely to be worth about $800 million and have a tenor of 15 years. The
  • Baqubah attacks kill Iraqi troops

    Insurgents killed at least 10 Iraqi soldiers on 7 March in Baqubah, northeast of Baghdad. According to press reports, the separate incidents included a mortar attack on an army checkpoint in the Al-Muradiyah area of the town, a car bomb detonated in Al-Mualimeen and a suicide car bomber who targeted a police convoy heading for the scene of the clashes.The violence follows similar attacks on Iraqi troops and police in Baghdad on 3 March (MEED 3:3:05).
  • Batelco invests in broadband

    Bahrain Telecommunications Company (Batelco) has announced plans to invest BD 21 million ($55.1 million) over the next three-five years in improving internet infrastructure, rolling out Wi-Fi services and developing multi-protocol label switching (MPLS) services, under an initiative called Broadband Bahrain.
  • Beauty parades held for YanSab advisory

    Negotiations are under way between Saudi Basic Industries Corporation (Sabic)and shortlisted banks for the financial advisory mandate on the proposed Yanbu olefins complex, known as YanSab. An award is expected by the end of March. Among the shortlisted banks are ABN Amrowith Saudi Hollandi Bank, BNP Paribaswith Samba Financial Group, Calyonwith Banque Saudi Fransi, HSBCwith local affiliate Sa
  • Bechtel is preferred bidder for Sohar smelter

    The US' Bechtelhas been officially named as preferred bidder by Sohar Aluminium Company (SAC)for the engineering, procurement and construction management (EPCM) contract on its planned smelter at Sohar. Negotiations are expected to be concluded in about a month. The other bidder is a team of Canada's SNC Lavalinand South Africa's Murray & Roberts Engineering Solutions. SAC is a joint venture of Oman Oil Company, Abu Dhabi Water & Electr
  • Beirut forming new government

    Lebanese President Lahoud began talks on 9 March to form a new government. Press reports indicate that Lahoud is expected to name a pro-Syrian prime minister. Opposition parties are not taking part in the talks.Under the Lebanese constitution, Lahoud must hold talks with all parliamentary groups to hear their nominations before reaching a decision on a candidate with the most support. The talks follow the Hezbollah-organised rally in Beirut on 8 March in support of Damascus a
  • Beirut rally supports Damascus

    A rally in Beirut on 8 March organised by Hezbollah supported Damascus' role in the country and called for an end to western interference in Lebanese affairs.Pro-Syria protestors gathered near the Martyr's Square area of the capital, where anti-government and anti-Damascus demonstrators have been holding their protests (MEED 6:3:05).The show of support for Damascus, the first reaction to opposition protests, followed the recent Syrian troop withdrawals to easte
  • Bid extension for Burj Dubai hotels

    Dubai-based Emaar Propertieshas extended the bid deadline to 28 March for the contract to build two 400-room hotels, known as Hotels A & B, at the Burj Dubai development. Prospective bidders include: Al-Basti & Muktha (ABM), Associated Constructions & Investments (Ascon), Dubai Contracting Company (DCC)and Khansaheb Civil Engineering, all local; Lebanon's Arabian Construction Company (ACC); the local/South African Al
  • Bid extension for Burj Dubai hotels

    Dubai-based Emaar Propertieshas extended the bid deadline to 28 March for the contract to build two 400-room hotels, known as Hotels A & B, at the Burj Dubai development. Prospective bidders include: Al-Basti & Muktha (ABM), Associated Constructions & Investments (Ascon), Dubai Contracting Company (DCC)and Khansaheb Civil Engineering, all local; Lebanon's Arabian Construction Company (ACC); the local/South African Al
  • Bidders line up for new Mubadala project

    Bids are due to be submitted by 5 March, following a 30-day extension, for the contract to build a new low-rise office building for the local Mubadala Developmentand the Environmental Research & Wildlife Development Agency (ERWDA) in Abu Dhabi. (MEED 17:12:04). Eleven companies are prequalified to bid for the estimated AED 295 million ($80 million) project. The 23-month contract covers piling, foundations, superstructure, finishes and mechanical, electrical and plumbing (MEP) works,
  • Bidders line up for new Mubadala project

    Bids are due to be submitted by 5 March, following a 30-day extension, for the contract to build a new low-rise office building for the local Mubadala Developmentand the Environmental Research & Wildlife Development Agency (ERWDA) in Abu Dhabi. (MEED 17:12:04). Eleven companies are prequalified to bid for the estimated AED 295 million ($80 million) project. The 23-month contract covers piling, foundations, superstructure, finishes and mechanical, electrical and plumbing (MEP) works,
  • Bidders line up for Sharq PE and EG

    International contractors submitted technical proposals in mid-March to Jubail-based Eastern Petrochemical Company (Sharq)for the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contracts to build polyethylene (PE) and ethylene glycol (EG) units at the company's existing complex (MEED 24:12:04).
  • Bidders prepare for YLNG pipeline

    Yemen LNG (YLNG)has invited prequalified groups to submit technical bids by 29 April for the pipeline package on its proposed grassroots liquefied natural gas (LNG) project. Commercial offers are due to be submitted by mid-June. The pipeline package is one of two engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contracts being tendered on the estimated $3,000 million project. The client has also appointed Citigroup as financial adviser (MEED 25:2:05).
  • Bidding hots up on LPG plant tender

    Marib Gas Company (MGC) is evaluating technical bids from four international firms for the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract to build its liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) plant at Marib. MGC, a joint venture of National Yemen Gas Companyand Midgas Group- a consortium of private UAE-based investors, is also planning to issue in March a tender for the construction of an LPG export terminal at Salif, on the Red Sea coast.
  • Bidding kicks off on Yemen LNG project

    Yemen LNG (YLNG) has issued tenders for the two major engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contracts on its grassroots liquefied natural gas (LNG) and associated facilities project, to be located at Bal Haf on the southern coast (MEED 18:2:05).
  • Bids due for airport consultancy

    About 13 consultants are expected to bid by the revised 22 March deadline for the consultancy contract on the expansion of Bahrain International Airport, out of the 17 firms prequalified by the Works & Housing Ministry, working on the project in co-operation with the Civil Aviation Authority. Beirut-based Dar al-Handasah (Shair & Partners), the UK's Mott MacDonald, France's Sofreavia and the US' Parsons Internationalhave declined to bid. The BD 50
  • Bids due for airport consultancy

    About 13 consultants are expected to bid by the revised 22 March deadline for the consultancy contract on the expansion of Bahrain International Airport, out of the 17 firms prequalified by the Works & Housing Ministry, working on the project in co-operation with the Civil Aviation Authority. Beirut-based Dar al-Handasah (Shair & Partners), the UK's Mott MacDonald, France's Sofreavia and the US' Parsons Internationalhave declined to bid. The BD 50
  • Bids due for Dubai pumping station

    Dubai Electricity & Water Authority (DEWA) has invited companies to submit bids by 24 April for a contract covering the construction of a 30 million-gallon-a-day pumping station along the Jebel Ali-Habab road in the emirate. The contract includes tank surge protection systems and related electro-mechanical works.
  • Bids due for GNPOC HQ

    Bids have been invited by 10 April for the main construction contract on the project to build an 18-storey corporate headquarters in Khartoum for Greater Nile Petroleum Operating Company (GNPOC). The work excludes finishing, furnishing and exteriors (FF&E). The building will be located on 10,000 square metres of land in the Al-Mogren area, at the confluence of the Blue and White Nile rivers. Completion is due in January 2007. KEO International Consultantsis the project an
  • Bids due for GNPOC HQ

    Bids have been invited by 10 April for the main construction contract on the project to build an 18-storey corporate headquarters in Khartoum for Greater Nile Petroleum Operating Company (GNPOC). The work excludes finishing, furnishing and exteriors (FF&E). The building will be located on 10,000 square metres of land in the Al-Mogren area, at the confluence of the Blue and White Nile rivers. Completion is due in January 2007. KEO International Consultantsis the project an
  • Bids in for 220-kV project

    Bids have been opened for three contracts on the project to install three new 220-kV substations serving the Bahrain Financial Harbour, Seef and Sitra. France's Nexans is low bidder for the cabling package, with the cheaper of its two submitted options coming in at Eur 19.6 million ($25.8 million) plus BD 1 million ($2.5 million), 2.7 per cent lower than the next lowest bid from South Korea's Taihan Electric Wire Company. Japan's Sumitomo Corporationis low bid
  • Bids in for advisory

    Banco Santanderis frontrunner for the contract to advise the government on the sale of a stake in Algerie Telecom, having emerged as low bidder when prices were opened in mid-March. Five banks were competing for the contract, but BNP Paribas- to the surprise of the other bidders - was eliminated on technical grounds.
  • Bids in for airport advice

    Bids were opened on 23 March for the design and construction supervision contract on the expansion of Bahrain International Airport, with an unexpectedly small number of the 17 companies prequalified by the Works & Housing Ministry opting to submit offers. According to the Tender Board, France's Aeroports de Paris is low bidder at BD 2.7 million ($7.1 million), 36 per cent lower than the next best price from the UK's Atkins. The other bidders are: UK-based Jacobs/
  • Bids in for airport advice

    Bids were opened on 23 March for the design and construction supervision contract on the expansion of Bahrain International Airport, with an unexpectedly small number of the 17 companies prequalified by the Works & Housing Ministry opting to submit offers. According to the Tender Board, France's Aeroports de Paris is low bidder at BD 2.7 million ($7.1 million), 36 per cent lower than the next best price from the UK's Atkins. The other bidders are: UK-based Jacobs/
  • Bids in for Arvand MEG

    Contractor bids are under evaluation for the mono-ethylene glycol (MEG) unit planned at the Arvand Petrochemical Company complex, known as olefins 8, in Bandar Imam. The contract is expected to be worth $300 million-350 million (MEED 18:2:05).
  • Bids in for Mubadala project

    At least seven companies are understood to have submitted bids on 11 March for an estimated $80 million contract to build a low-rise office building for the local Mubadala Development Company and the Environment Research & Wildlife Development Agency (ERWDA) in Abu Dhabi (MEED 25:2:05).
  • Bids in for Mubadala project

    At least seven companies are understood to have submitted bids on 11 March for an estimated $80 million contract to build a low-rise office building for the local Mubadala Development Company and the Environment Research & Wildlife Development Agency (ERWDA) in Abu Dhabi (MEED 25:2:05).
  • Bids in for Olefins II

    Two international contractors - Paris-based Technipand South Korea's SK Engineering & Construction- submitted bids on 17 March for the contract to build an 850,000-tonne-a-year ethane cracker on the Olefins II project, the first package on the estimated $1,500 million petrochemicals complex. The bid envelopes have been sent to the Dutch office of the project management consultant (PMC), the US' Fluor Corporation. An award is expected by the end of the second q
  • Bids in for Seef mall expansion

    Bids have been submitted for the main construction contract on the BD 5 million-6 million ($13 million-16 million) project to expand Seef mall. However, an award is likely to be some way off as bids are understood to have come in substantially over budget. The scheme calls for the expansion of the mall by about a third. The local Hisham Abdulrahman Jaffer (HAJ)is the project manager and quantity surveyor for the client, Seef Properties(MEED 13:2:04).
  • Bids in for Seef mall expansion

    Bids have been submitted for the main construction contract on the BD 5 million-6 million ($13 million-16 million) project to expand Seef mall. However, an award is likely to be some way off as bids are understood to have come in substantially over budget. The scheme calls for the expansion of the mall by about a third. The local Hisham Abdulrahman Jaffer (HAJ)is the project manager and quantity surveyor for the client, Seef Properties(MEED 13:2:04).
  • Bids in for Sohar advisories

    Bids have been submitted for the financial and legal advisory mandates on the planned ethylene dichloride (EDC) and caustic soda plant at Sohar, being developed by Oman Oil Companywith South Korea's LG Internationaland Iran's National Petrochemical Company. The project company, called Liwa Petrochemical Company, has now been formed following signature of a shareholders' agreement in November (MEED 12:11:04).
  • Bids in for Texas A&M

    Bids are under evaluation at Qatar Petroleum (QP)for the contract to build the Texas A&M College of Engineering at Education City. About five local and international contractors are competing for the estimated $120 million award, which calls for the construction of a campus, over a built-up area of 53,000 square metres, comprising laboratories, classrooms, lecture halls, a library and a car park. Bids are due to be submitted on 13 March for a larger contract at Education City, coveri
  • Bids in for Texas A&M

    Bids are under evaluation at Qatar Petroleum (QP)for the contract to build the Texas A&M College of Engineering at Education City. About five local and international contractors are competing for the estimated $120 million award, which calls for the construction of a campus, over a built-up area of 53,000 square metres, comprising laboratories, classrooms, lecture halls, a library and a car park. Bids are due to be submitted on 13 March for a larger contract at Education City, coveri
  • Bids invited for IWP advisory

    Bids are due in late February for the technical advisory contract on the sultanate's first independent water project (IWP), serving the Sharqiyah region. The financial advisory mandate was awarded to Bank Muscatin December. The planned facility will have capacity of 10 million-15 million gallons a day and will use reverse osmosis (RO) technology. The client is the National Economy Ministry (MEED 24:12:04).
  • Bids opened for Seeb wastewater advisory

    Bids were opened on 14 March for the concept, preliminary and detailed design and construction supervision contract on the Seeb catchment collection and treated water redistribution networks and sewage treatment plants, part of the second phase of the Muscat Wastewater project. According to the Tender Board, Belgrade-based Energoprojekt is low bidder at RO 2.6 million ($6.7 million), 9.2 per cent lower than the next lowest price from the local Al-Abraj Consulting Engineers
  • Bids studied for convention centre/college contracts

    Bids were submitted in mid-March for the convention centre package on the Education City development in Doha. The bidders include Austria's Strabag, Cyprus-based Joannou & Paraskevaides (J&P Overseas) and Six Construct of Belgium (MEED 10:12:04).
  • Bids studied for convention centre/college contracts

    Bids were submitted in mid-March for the convention centre package on the Education City development in Doha. The bidders include Austria's Strabag, Cyprus-based Joannou & Paraskevaides (J&P Overseas) and Six Construct of Belgium (MEED 10:12:04).
  • Big plans for Kish and Qeshm airports

    Kish Free Zone Organisationand Qeshm Free Authority have issued tenders for development of the airports on their respective islands on a build-operate-transfer (BOT) basis (MEED 12:9:03).
  • BMA issues sukuk

    The Bahrain Monetary Agency (BMA - central bank) has issued a BD 30 million ($78 million) sukuk al-ijara, which closed more than 50 per cent oversubscribed. The five-year paper carries an annual rental return of 4.5 per cent and takes out a three-year issue due on 27 February - the BMA's first sukuk in a programme now worth $1,210 million.
  • BMI takes over Riyadh route

    UK airline BMI declared on 10 March that it is to launch a three times-a-week return service between London and Riyadh. The carrier will be the only UK airline to Saudi Arabia from the UK following British Airways' (BA) decision to suspend all of its flights to the kingdom from 27 March.Although BA has suspended 34 routes worldwide since the 11 September 2001 terrorist attacks in the US, Saudi Arabia is the only country in the Middle East to be cut from its net
  • Bomb blast shatters Doha calm

    One of the most placid Gulf states received an unexpected shock on 19 March when a car bomb exploded outside the Doha Players Theatre during a production of Shakespeare's Twelfth Night. One British national, Jonathan Adams, was killed and at least 12 others were injured in the blast.
  • Bomber kills four in Tel Aviv

    A suicide bomber killed four people on 26 February in an attack on a nightclub in Tel Aviv. Following the bombing, Israeli troops and Palestinian police arrested seven people. Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas has promised to punish those responsible. 'The Palestinian people will not stand silent in the face of this act of sabotage,' he said.This was the first attack since the signing of an Israeli-Palestinian truce at the Sharm el-Sheikh summit on 8 February (MEED 8:2:05).
  • Borouge debottlenecking done, more to come

    Debottlenecking work has been completed at Abu Dhabi Polymers Company (Borouge), raising polyethylene (PE) capacity at the Ruwais-based petrochemicals complex by 130,000 tonnes a year (t/y) to 580,000 t/y. Borouge - a joint venture between Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC)and Copenhagen-based Boralis- is planning a far larger phase 3 expansion at the site (MEED 18:2:05).
  • BOT problems highlighted

    The government must do more to help private investors if it wishes to push ahead with its ambitious build-operate-transfer (BOT) plans, according to local companies speaking at a two-day conference held to discuss the issue in February. The private sector voiced concerns about legislation governing the BOT model and excessive bureaucracy, while the government promised it would do more to improve co-ordination both within its own ministries and with local firms.
  • BOT problems highlighted

    The government must do more to help private investors if it wishes to push ahead with its ambitious build-operate-transfer (BOT) plans, according to local companies speaking at a two-day conference held to discuss the issue in February. The private sector voiced concerns about legislation governing the BOT model and excessive bureaucracy, while the government promised it would do more to improve co-ordination both within its own ministries and with local firms.
  • Bu Haleeba wins Burj business park

    The local Bu Haleeba Contracting Companyhas been awarded the estimated $80 million contract to build the first of three phases in the business park within the Burj Dubai development. The project, which will be located close to the entrance to Downtown Dubai, centres on the construction of a commercial development, covering a built-up area of 1.2 million square feet. The scope of works covers luxury offices, towers, a podium and associated landscaping. The local Dar Consult
  • Bu Haleeba wins Burj business park

    The local Bu Haleeba Contracting Companyhas been awarded the estimated $80 million contract to build the first of three phases in the business park within the Burj Dubai development. The project, which will be located close to the entrance to Downtown Dubai, centres on the construction of a commercial development, covering a built-up area of 1.2 million square feet. The scope of works covers luxury offices, towers, a podium and associated landscaping. The local Dar Consult
  • Budget approved

    The cabinet on 21 February approved the 2005 federal budget. Both expenditure and revenues are put at AED 22,700 million ($6,185 million), with spending cut by 4.9 per cent and income expected to rise by 4.5 per cent on the 2004 projection. Primary and secondary education account for the largest portion of spending, at 39 per cent, followed by health with 10 per cent.
  • Bush willing to help EU over Iran

    US President Bush said on 4 March that he was willing to help the EU in its negotiations with Tehran.The EU plan, led by the UK, France and Germany, aims to offer Tehran economic and trade incentives in exchange for abandoning its nuclear programme.Speaking to journalists, Bush said: 'I have told our European friends who are handling the negotiations on behalf of the rest of the world that we want to help make sure the process goes forward, and we're looking at
  • Bush: Authoritarian rule should end

    US President Bush on 8 March said in a speech to the National Defence University in Washington that authoritarian rule in the Middle East should end.Bush stated that US policy would no longer support authoritarian regimes in the region. 'By now it should be clear that authoritarian rule is not the wave of the future. It is the last gasp of a discredited past,' he said.Focusing on Lebanon, Bush demanded that 'all Syrian military forces and intelligence personnel
  • Bush: Hezbollah must disarm

    US President Bush on 16 March called for Hezbollah to make it clear that they are not a terrorist group by disarming. Meeting with Jordanian King Abdullah in Washington, Bush said: 'I would hope that Hezbollah would prove that they're not [terrorists] by laying down arms and not threatening peace. One of our concerns is that Hezbollah may try to derail the peace process between Israel and the Palestinians.'The call follows a Hezbollah-organised pro-Syrian rally
  • Bushehr port job awarded

    A team led by the local Hamoon has received a letter of award for the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract on the Bushehr commercial port development. Hamoon was low bidder at $72.2 million in a consortium with Japan's Penta-Ocean Construction Companyand the UK's HR Wallingford when prices were submitted at the end of January. However, it is understood that both foreign partners in the original bidding group are likely to be replaced (MEED
  • Bushehr port job awarded

    A team led by the local Hamoon has received a letter of award for the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract on the Bushehr commercial port development. Hamoon was low bidder at $72.2 million in a consortium with Japan's Penta-Ocean Construction Companyand the UK's HR Wallingford when prices were submitted at the end of January. However, it is understood that both foreign partners in the original bidding group are likely to be replaced (MEED
  • Bypass award nears

    Dubai Municipality is close to awarding the contract for the study, design and construction supervision of its project to widen the Dubai bypass. The project will see the highway upgraded to a four-lane dual-carriageway from the Dubai-Sharjah border to the Dubai-Abu Dhabi border via Al-Ain. The upgrade will be carried out in four phases and is scheduled to be completed by 2007. The first phase will comprise a 25-kilometre dual-lane carriageway linking Dubai and Al-Ain with Jebel Ali-Lehbab. The
  • Bypass award nears

    Dubai Municipality is close to awarding the contract for the study, design and construction supervision of its project to widen the Dubai bypass. The project will see the highway upgraded to a four-lane dual-carriageway from the Dubai-Sharjah border to the Dubai-Abu Dhabi border via Al-Ain. The upgrade will be carried out in four phases and is scheduled to be completed by 2007. The first phase will comprise a 25-kilometre dual-lane carriageway linking Dubai and Al-Ain with Jebel Ali-Lehbab. The
  • Cairo, Tel Aviv discuss disengagement

    Israeli Defence Minister Shaul Mofaz met Egyptian President Mubarak on 10 March in Sharm el-Sheikh in Egypt to discuss Tel Aviv's scheduled withdrawal from Gaza.Mubarak said he expected a full Israeli pullback from the Gaza Strip to be co-ordinated with the Palestinian Authority (PA) and not a unilateral move. He also urged Israel to hand over security control of West Bank towns Qalqilya, Ramallah and Bethlehem as well as Jericho and Tulkarem to the PA. Tel Aviv should adhere
  • Calyon: Smooth fusion

    Created in May 2004 out of the merger of the corporate and investment banking divisions of Credit Agricole Group, called Credit Agricole Indosuez (CAI), and Credit Lyonnais (CL), Calyon is a relatively new name in the Middle East financial world. But the bank's roots in the region are deep. And, if the management have their way, the ties are set to expand and strengthen in the years to come.
  • Capital Plaza PMC up for grabs

    Bids have been submitted by at least four companies for the project management consultancy (PMC) contract on the Capital Plaza project in Abu Dhabi. Bidders are understood to include Australia's Bovis Lend Lease, CRSS International- a subsidiary of the US' Jacobs Engineering Group, Turner Construction International, also of the US, and the UK's EC Harris. The estimated AED 750 million ($200 million) development entails construction of f
  • Capital Plaza PMC up for grabs

    Bids have been submitted by at least four companies for the project management consultancy (PMC) contract on the Capital Plaza project in Abu Dhabi. Bidders are understood to include Australia's Bovis Lend Lease, CRSS International- a subsidiary of the US' Jacobs Engineering Group, Turner Construction International, also of the US, and the UK's EC Harris. The estimated AED 750 million ($200 million) development entails construction of f
  • Car bomb kills more than 115

    At least 115 people were killed on 28 February in a car bomb attack in Hilla, south of Baghdad, in one of the deadliest bombings since the fall of Saddam Hussein.The attack came as interim Prime Minister Iyad Allawi acknowledged that Iraqi security forces were still unable to take on the insurgency without the help of US-led troops.
  • CARNEGIE MELLON: Bringing robotics to Doha

    As the camel-racing season draws to a close, there's a buzz surrounding the tracks in Doha. This time next year the teenage boys from the Indian sub-continent will no longer be riding and in their place will be an army of robotic jockeys. Backed by the emir, the country's scientific club is gearing up to unveil the first robots by April. Mention the event to Chuck Thorpe, dean of Carnegie Mellon Qatar (CMQ) and its number one roboticist, and his face lights up.
  • CB&I wins second-phase terminal contract

    US-based Chicago Bridge & Iron (CB&I) has been awarded the estimated $325 million second-phase engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract for the UK gas receiving terminal on the Qatar Liquefied Gas Company II (Qatargas II) integrated liquefied natural gas (LNG) project. The lump-sum turnkey (LSTK) contract calls for a doubling of the facility's regassification and send-out capacity, refurbishment of a second loading berth on the existing jetty, construction
  • CBK stages new bond issue

    National Bank of Kuwait (NBK) and the local Securities Group successfully closed on 17 February a KD 60 million ($199 million) bond issue for Commercial Bank of Kuwait (CBK). 'The [Kuwait] market is very liquid and the issue was oversubscribed,' says an NBK official. The issue was subscribed to by high-net worth individuals and institutions, primarily local. The bonds will mature in three years and were issued in three tranches each of KD 20 million ($66 million).
  • CBO plans bond issues

    The Central Bank of Oman (CBO) is planning to issue sovereign local currency bonds worth RO 60 million ($154 million) during 2005, CBO executive president Hamoud Sangour al-Zadjali announced in early March. One tranche will be launched in the first half of the year and the second in the latter half. The last issue of the so-called development bonds was in December (MEED 19:11:04). Capital Intelligencein late February raised Muscat's long and short-term foreign currency ratings to BBB
  • CCC wins Kahramaa pipeline

    Athens-based Consolidated Contractors International Company (CCC)has been awarded the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract by the Qatar General Electricity & Water Corporation (Kahramaa) to build the water transmission network serving the state's second independent water and power project (IWPP) at Ras Laffan. The 30-month contract, valued at up to $160 million, calls for the installation of about 88 kilometres of pipeline. In addition to installing the pipeline,
  • Cegelec bids low for Gasco project

    Abu Dhabi Gas Industries Company (Gasco)is evaluating bids for a contract to supply and install a new integrated control system (ICS) for the onshore Bab and Asab oil fields in Abu Dhabi. France's Cegelec has submitted a low bid of $73 million, followed by the local UTS Kentz at $75 million and Paris-based Technipat $78 million. Three companies priced the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract. The ICS project includes the replacement
  • Cement plans evolve

    The race has narrowed to two, understood to be a Chinese and a French bidder, for the contract to expand capacity at the Bajil cement factory to 800,000 tonnes a year (t/y) from 600,000 t/y. The client, the General Cement Authority, and the consultant, the UK's Cement Consultancy Associates, are seeking technical clarifications from the bidders. An award is expected by the end of April. Germany's Intec, which was recently awarded the consultancy contract on the upgrade of
  • CFC loan flies

    Syndication has closed of the $110 million borrowing by Kuwait's Commercial Facilities Company (CFC), lead arranged by Arab Banking Corporation (ABC). Some $200 million was raised during general syndication, and it is expected that the facility will be increased in size. It was already raised to $110 million from $100 million at the senior stage, when Abu Dhabi Investment Company, Commercial Bank of Qatar, Emirates Bankand Natio
  • Chinese firms win Algerie Telecom work

    ATM Mobilis, the mobile operator owned by state-owned Algerie Telecom, has awarded contracts to ZTE Corporationand Huawei Technologies, both of China, to upgrade its network in 15 provinces in the west, affecting about 1.2 million subscribers.
  • Closure nears on Etihad Airways finance

    Documentation is being finalised on an estimated $500 million syndicated borrowing by Abu Dhabi-based Etihad Airwaysto part-finance the acquisition of five 777-300ER long-haul aircraft from The Boeing Company of the US. The purchase agreement was signed in September (MEED 17:9:04).
  • Co-arrangers selected for IDB EMTN

    The Islamic Development Bank (IDB) has appointed BNP Paribasand Gulf International Bank (GIB)as co-arrangers for the first drawdown of its euro medium-term note (EMTN) programme and is finalising documentation for the offering circular with legal adviser Clifford Chance. Roadshows are due to kick off in April with a view to finalising the issue before the IDB's June board meeting and the summer lull.
  • Combined Group wins township work

    The local Combined Grouphas been formally awarded the contract to design and build infrastructure works for sector B on the Jaber al-Ahmed township project, covering plots for 1,220 houses. The company was low bidder at KD 18.8 million ($64.8 million) when offers were submitted in December. The client is the Ministry of Public Works (MEED 10:12:04).
  • Combined Group wins township work

    The local Combined Grouphas been formally awarded the contract to design and build infrastructure works for sector B on the Jaber al-Ahmed township project, covering plots for 1,220 houses. The company was low bidder at KD 18.8 million ($64.8 million) when offers were submitted in December. The client is the Ministry of Public Works (MEED 10:12:04).
  • Concorde ready for JLT lift-off

    The local NSCChas been awarded the five-month foundations and enabling package on the estimated AED 294 million ($80 million) Concorde Tower project in the Jumeirah Lake Towers development in Dubai. The project calls for the construction of a 45-storey residential tower with associated leisure facilities. The lead consultant is the local Arif & Bintoak. The UK's Hyder Consultingis the structural engineering consultant. New York-based 32Groupis the
  • Concorde ready for JLT lift-off

    The local NSCChas been awarded the five-month foundations and enabling package on the estimated AED 294 million ($80 million) Concorde Tower project in the Jumeirah Lake Towers development in Dubai. The project calls for the construction of a 45-storey residential tower with associated leisure facilities. The lead consultant is the local Arif & Bintoak. The UK's Hyder Consultingis the structural engineering consultant. New York-based 32Groupis the
  • Construction fund launched

    The UK's MerchantBridgehas launched a $50 million fund to finance the manufacture and supply of construction materials in Iraq. The five-year MB Iraq Construction Materials Fund will invest in companies in sectors where demand is expected to be high and supplies limited or uneconomical to import. The first tranche of the fund closed on 10 February having received commitments of about $25 million from local and regional investors. The initial investment will be used on four projects c
  • Consultancy tender out for H station

    Another major expansion of the H station plant at Al-Aweer is on the cards after Dubai Electricity & Water Authority (DEWA) invited consultants to submit bids by 19 March for the phase 3 consultancy contract. The project is expected to involve the installation of about 750 MW of new generating capacity, the construction of a new 400/132-kV substation and associated works. The phase 2 expansion of H station, covering the installation of 400 MW of additional capacity, is under way after a consorti
  • Contractors beeline for PDO pipeline

    Up to seven companiesresponded to the initial query by the 2 March deadline for the pipelines package on the Al-Kawther gas gathering project. The companies include Russia's Stroytransgaz, UAE-based Dodsal, India's Punj Lloyd, Athens-based Consolidated Contractors International Company (CCC) and US-based Willbros Group. The client, Petroleum Development Oman (PDO), is expected to issue a tender for the contract by the end of
  • Contractors selected for AFK development

    Saudi Aramco has issued two pre-award letters to Italy's Snamprogetti and a joint venture of Paris-based Technipwith US-based Bechtelon the programme to develop the onshore Abu Hadriyah, Fadhili and Khursaniyah (AFK) oil fields in the Eastern Province. The two hybrid front-end engineering and design (FEED)-cum-engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contracts will be carried out on a reimbursable and lump-sum turnkey (LSTK) basis. The fast-track
  • correction

    The MENA: Power Requirements table published in the MEED Power Special Report on 4 March contained some inaccuracies in the UAE section and subsequently in the totals line. A corrected version is published below.
  • Correction

    The owners of the country's first independent power project (IPP) are Japan's Marubeni Corporation and the US' BTU Power Company, and weaknesses exist in the government electricity - not gas - grid, and not as stated in MEED 11:2:05.
  • Costain goes low for Bid Boland gas plant

    A consortium of the UK's Costainand the local SazehConsultand Jahanparssubmitted the lowest bid for package A, the plant contract, on the Bid Boland gas project. The lowest price for package B, comprising the pipelines and storage tanks, came in from the UK's CB&I John Brownin partnership with the local Tehran Jonoob(MEED 4:2:05).
  • Council approves Mubarak reform

    Egypt's Shoura Council on 5 March approved a constitutional amendment allowing the country to hold its first multi-candidate elections. Shura Council speaker Safwat al-Sherif announced the amendment to article 76 of the constitution, which deals with the election of the president.The move followed Egyptian President Mubarak's surprise decision on 26 February to ask parliament to amend the constitution to allow multiple candidates to compete in upcoming presidential elections
  • Damac: Taking on the big players

    When the first phase of Dubai Marina opened in 2004, some visitors began comparing it to the Cote d'Azur. Cafes and restaurants bustle with life, fountains feature in what resembles a town square and the ultra-luxurious yachts moored in the artificial marina add a little more to the glitz and glamour. The surrounding area, however, is a forest of towers. Unlike the neighbouring Jumeirah Lake Towers (JLT), which has capped the height of all buildings at around 140 metres, Dubai Marina houses all
  • Damascus begins troop pullback

    Syrian troops in Lebanon on 8 March began to move eastwards to the Lebanese-Syrian border. The move followed a meeting in Damascus on 7 March between Lebanese President Lahoud and Syrian President Asad to discuss plans for the withdrawal.Reports indicate that the talks revolved around how many soldiers will be moving in the first phase and when the second will begin and end. Addressing the Syrian parliament on 5 March, Asad said: 'As an extension of measures already taken: we
  • Damascus mulls options for refinery projects

    The Petroleum & Mineral Resources Ministry is holding discussions with several organisations about the financing of a new $1,500 million refinery at Deir al-Zor, following the completion of a 12-month feasibility study in January.
  • Damascus to begin troop pullback

    Lebanese President Lahoud and Syrian President Asad met in Damascus on 7 March to discuss plans for the withdrawal of Syrian troops from Lebanon.Reports indicate that the talks revolved around how many soldiers will be moving in the first phase and when the second will begin and end. Addressing the Syrian parliament on 5 March, Asad said: 'As an extension of measures already taken: we will withdraw our forces stationed in Lebanon to the Bekaa valley and then to the border.'
  • Damietta to expand

    Kuwait & Gulf Link Transport Companyhas signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Damietta Port Authority to carry out a six-month feasibility study into a planned expansion of the container terminal at the port. The port was recently selected to be the first electronically-operated port in the country and a $33 million upgrade of its facilities was completed in December.
  • Danes win pipeline job

    Denmark's Ramboll has been awarded the consultancy contract on the project to build a gas pipeline linking Safir to Marib before splitting into two branches running to Aden and Hodaidah. The five-month contract calls for the company to conduct a feasibility study, draw up conceptual designs and prepare tender documents, with a tender for construction to be issued around August. Costing an estimated $450 million-500 million, the 565-kilometre pipeline will supply natural gas to the pl
  • Danes withdraw from Khor al-Zubair

    Denmark's Maerskhas pulled out of the operation and management of Khor al-Zubair port. No official reason has been given, although conflicting reports have raised various issues, ranging from rioting and non-payment to staff safety.
  • Danish firm wins formaldehyde job

    Denmark's Haldor Topsoehas been awarded a contract to supply technology and carry out engineering services at a Jubail-based formaldehyde plant for Saudi Formaldehyde Chemical Company (SFCC). Under the 10-month contract, the Danish firm will supply the licence, catalysts, control system and related equipment to SFCC in addition to carrying out all engineering works. Haldor Topsoe will install a single reactor with capacity to produce 200,000 tonnes a day (t/d) of 37 per c
  • Dar al-Handasah shapes Al-Qasr development

    Beirut-based Dar al-Handasah (Shair & Partners) is due to complete by June the final design for the Al-Qasr mixed-use scheme at Suwaidi, south of Riyadh (MEED 3:12:04). Local property developer Dar al-Arkan Real Estate Development Company is the client on the major residential and commercial development, which will be built over an area of 816,000 square metres.
  • Dar al-Handasah shapes Al-Qasr development

    Beirut-based Dar al-Handasah (Shair & Partners) is due to complete by June the final design for the Al-Qasr mixed-use scheme at Suwaidi, south of Riyadh (MEED 3:12:04). Local property developer Dar al-Arkan Real Estate Development Company is the client on the major residential and commercial development, which will be built over an area of 816,000 square metres.
  • Darfur crisis is being contained says UN

    The UN's head emergency relief, Jan Egeland, said on 7 March that the crisis in Darfur was being contained.Egeland praised the effort of aid workers but said the same kind of will was needed to end the violence. 'The international community is now set up to send massive humanitarian assistance anywhere in the world and very quickly: but it cannot deploy a proper observer force in half a year,' he said.The UN Security Council is scheduled to discuss whether Khar
  • Darfur: at least 180,000 deaths in 18 months

    UN emergency relief co-ordinator Jan Egeland said on 15 March that at least 180,000 people have died in the conflict in Darfur in western Sudan.Speaking to Journalists, Egeland said that earlier estimates of 70,000 casualties were too low: 'Is it three times that? Is it five times that? I don't know but it is several times the number of 70,000 that have died altogether.'His comments follow a demand from UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan on 9 March urging the Secu
  • Designers prepare for Al-Ain campus

    Prequalified firms have been invited to submit design proposals by mid-March for the construction of a new campus at the UAE University in Al-Ain. The latest tender follows the appointment of Australia's Bovis Lend Leaseto provide project management services for the design and procurement phases. The client, Mubadala Development Company, will develop a 280,000-square-metre campus on a build-own-operate-transfer (BOOT) basis at an estimated cost of $300 million-400 millio
  • Designers prepare for Al-Ain campus

    Prequalified firms have been invited to submit design proposals by mid-March for the construction of a new campus at the UAE University in Al-Ain. The latest tender follows the appointment of Australia's Bovis Lend Leaseto provide project management services for the design and procurement phases. The client, Mubadala Development Company, will develop a 280,000-square-metre campus on a build-own-operate-transfer (BOOT) basis at an estimated cost of $300 million-400 millio
  • Developer sought for Maan Industrial Estate

    Jordan Industrial Estates Corporation (JIEC)has invited bids by 10 March for the rights to develop the first phase of Maan Industrial Estate (MIE), 200 kilometres south of Amman. The winner will lease the 69.9-hectare area and obtain the rights to manage, maintain and operate the estate on a long-term concessionary basis. The developer may also sell MIE land under a proposed profit-sharing agreement (see Tenders). The authority has submitted an application for Qualified Industrial Zone (Q
  • DEWA issues further substation work

    Dubai Electricity & Water Authority (DEWA) has issued another major substation tender calling for the construction of nine 132/11 kV-substations and associated 132-kV cabling works. Interested contractors have until 26 April to submit bids. In early February, the utility signed two contracts, totalling AED 495 million ($134 million), with Siemens Pakistan and the local Emirates Electrical Engineering for the supply and installation of nine 132-kV substations (MEED 4:2:05)
  • DFSA ties Knott

    David Knott has been appointed chief executive officer (CEO) of the Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA), established to regulate Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC). Knott, who left the Australian Securities & Investments Commission at the end of 2003, will begin his new position in June. He will replace David King, who has been the DFSA's acting chief executive since the DIFC controversially dismissed two top officials last summer (MEED 17:12:04).
  • Dhabi takes more International City work

    The local Dhabi Contracting Companyhas been awarded its second contract on the residential district of the estimated $1,900 million International City development in Dubai. Valued at AED 242 million ($68 million), package 8 calls for the construction of 29 residential villas in an English style. The work is scheduled to be completed by July 2006. Dhabi is already working on package 11. The client, Nakheel, has also retendered package 9, which calls for more English-themed villas with
  • Dhabi takes more International City work

    The local Dhabi Contracting Companyhas been awarded its second contract on the residential district of the estimated $1,900 million International City development in Dubai. Valued at AED 242 million ($68 million), package 8 calls for the construction of 29 residential villas in an English style. The work is scheduled to be completed by July 2006. Dhabi is already working on package 11. The client, Nakheel, has also retendered package 9, which calls for more English-themed villas with
  • Dhofar power IPO launched

    Subscription opened on 15 March to the initial public offering (IPO) of shares in Dhofar Power Company (DPC), with investors given a month to sign up. Bank Muscatis acting as financial adviser and lead manager on the issue.
  • DIB launches in Pakistan

    Dubai Islamic Bank (DIB) has established a wholly owned subsidiary in Pakistan, called DIB Pakistan. In-principle approval has been granted by the central bank, State Bank of Pakistan, which is aiming to develop the country's sharia-compliant financial industry. The government recently launched its debut $600 million sukuk issue, on which DIB acted as a co-manager. The move forms part of a strengthening of ties between the GCC and Asian Islamic financial industries. Ku
  • DIC acquires Tussauds Group

    Dubai International Capital (DIC), the investment arm of Dubai Holding, has acquired The Tussauds Group, a major global operator of tourist attractions, in a deal worth AED 5,000 million ($1,362 million). HSBC, which has an ongoing mandate to bring potential investment targets to DIC's attention, advised on the transaction.
  • DIFC activity set to soar

    Work on several major tower projects within Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) is taking shape. Tender documents for the substructure package on the estimated AED 680 million ($185 million) Ritz Carltonhotel and apartment project are due to be issued in the second half of February after expressions of interest (Eols) were received in early January. At least six contractors are expected to bid.
  • DIFC activity set to soar

    Work on several major tower projects within Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) is taking shape. Tender documents for the substructure package on the estimated AED 680 million ($185 million) Ritz Carltonhotel and apartment project are due to be issued in the second half of February after expressions of interest (Eols) were received in early January. At least six contractors are expected to bid.
  • Dodsal bids low for IRP EPC

    Dubai-based Dodsal submitted a low bid of $399 million on 7 March for the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract on the inter-refineries pipeline (IRP) project in Abu Dhabi emirate. Its revised offer is about 6 per cent lower than the next price of $425 million submitted by Paris-based Technip, the original low bidder. Four companies participated in the repricing exercise (MEED 25:2:05).
  • DOHA AIRPORT: No longer pie in the sky

    Those who swore Doha would never see a new international airport are having to think again. The past four months have dispelled any lingering doubts about the fate of the estimated $2,500 million project, with more than $500 million worth of contracts awarded. And there is much more to come as the client, the New Doha International Airport (NDIA) Steering Committee, and its engineering, procurement and construction management (EPCM) contractor, the US' Bechtel, race to meet the late-2008 deadlin
  • Doha ramps up its gas investment

    The scale of Qatar's gas export ambitions was further underlined at the early-March Doha Natural Gas conference, with a host of agreements being signed between Qatar Petroleum (QP)and international oil companies for new liquefied natural gas (LNG) and gas-to-liquids (GTL) capacity. The largest deals involved the Royal Dutch/Shell Groupsigning up for the Qatar Liquefied Gas Company 4 (Qatargas 4)project, France's Totalacquiring an equity stake in th
  • Doha west tender issued

    The Public Works Authority (Ashghal) has issued the tender for the design, build and 10-year operation of the Doha west sewage treatment plant expansion project. The nine prequalified groups have been given until 16 May to bid for the estimated $150 million project, although the prequalification documents had stated they would be given six months to prepare bids instead of just two. A final award for the contract, which has a bid bond of QR 29 million ($8 million), is expected in November. The 3
  • Dornier studies GCC rail

    An all-German consortium comprising Dornier Consulting, DE Consult and German Corporation for Technical Co-operation (GTZ) is pressing ahead with a preliminary study evaluating options for setting up a regional rail link. The study will look into the potential for cargo and transport services in the region, and alternative rail corridor options in the UAE as part of a larger scheme aimed at linking Bahrain via Qatar with the federation. The different rail technologies bei
  • Dozen keen on tanker finance

    Bids have been submitted from about 12 potential mandated lead arrangers (MLAs) for a financing package for two liquefied natural gas (LNG) tankers, under construction by South Korea's Samsung Heavy Industries, which will serve the Qalhat LNG project. The size of the commercial debt tranche of the estimated $240 million facility will depend on whether an export credits tranche, backed by Export-Import Bank of Korea (Kexim), is included. The ships will be chartered by
  • DPI sails into Fujairah

    Dubai Ports International (DPI), the overseas arm of Dubai Ports Authority (DPA), has signed a 30-year concession agreement to operate and develop the container terminal at the Fujairah port. The agreement also includes an option to extend the concession by a further 20 years.
  • Dry docks project hits the buffers

    Plans to build a new shipbuilding facility, known as Safina, at the Dubai dry docks are being reassessed pending a redesign and possible downsizing. Contractors had been given until 27 April to bid for the construction contract, but have been informed that tendering is now on hold. The scheme, which was the final part of the estimated $200 million expansion of the docks, comprised offshore and onshore elements and was aimed at enabling the shipyard to build 60-metre-wide vessels with an alongsid
  • Dubai Holding takes Global stake

    Dubai Holding (DH)has acquired a 5 per cent stake in Kuwait-based Global Investment House(GIH). The announcement comes as GIH looks to widen its investment range in the UAE. The move is also the latest in DH's plans to merge and acquire assets abroad. Its investment arm, Dubai International Capital, recently announced the purchase of The Tussauds Group(see page 22; MEED 4:2:05).
  • Dubai Investments floats into action

    Dubai Investments (DI)is expecting to issue a tender to specialised contractors for a float glass plant by the middle of the year. The estimated AED 735 million ($200 million) Emirates Float Glassplant will cover an area of about 200,000 square metres located in Abu Dhabi's Mussafah industrial area. The scheme will have capacity to produce 160,000 tonnes a year of architectural and automotive glass converted from sand and raw materials into glass sheets. The plant will include
  • Dubai Sports City kicks off

    Contractors have been invited bid by 30 March for the advanced grading contract on the entire Dubai Sports City (DSC) project. The three-month contract, covering 50 million square feet, is the first of a series of tenders due to be issued over the coming months (MEED 14:1:05).
  • Dubai Sports City kicks off

    Contractors have been invited bid by 30 March for the advanced grading contract on the entire Dubai Sports City (DSC) project. The three-month contract, covering 50 million square feet, is the first of a series of tenders due to be issued over the coming months (MEED 14:1:05).
  • Dubai Tower goes for bid

    Tender documents were released in early March for the main package on the Dubai Tower, set to be the tallest building in Doha. Prequalifiers have been given until 11 April to bid for the landmark contract, which calls for the construction of an 80-storey tower, about 400 metres high. The client is Dubai International Properties(MEED 14:1:05).
  • Dubai Tower goes for bid

    Tender documents were released in early March for the main package on the Dubai Tower, set to be the tallest building in Doha. Prequalifiers have been given until 11 April to bid for the landmark contract, which calls for the construction of an 80-storey tower, about 400 metres high. The client is Dubai International Properties(MEED 14:1:05).
  • Dubai-Abu Dhabi outer bypass gets into gear

    Dubai Municipality is close to awarding the contract for the study, design and construction supervision of three more phases on its programme to widen the Dubai-Abu Dhabi outer bypass via Al-Ain. US-based Wilbur Smith Associateshas the contract for phase 3 and is the frontrunner for the other phases.
  • Dubai's tall story continues

    Work on a raft of new Dubai towers, worth more than $600 million, is set to move into full swing over the coming months after developers announced a series of projects and issued more tenders for developments in Jumeirah Lake Towers (JLT) and Dubai Marina. The new projects include:
  • Dubai's tall story continues

    Work on a raft of new Dubai towers, worth more than $600 million, is set to move into full swing over the coming months after developers announced a series of projects and issued more tenders for developments in Jumeirah Lake Towers (JLT) and Dubai Marina. The new projects include:
  • Duqm port development scope expands

    Plans for the development of a port at Duqm in the Al-Wusta peninsula are expanding, with the scope now including an airport, a township and leisure facilities. The project also received a boost after South Korea's Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering expressed interest in operating a ship repair yard at the port, which might later be expanded to include a shipbuilding capability.
  • Duqm port development scope expands

    Plans for the development of a port at Duqm in the Al-Wusta peninsula are expanding, with the scope now including an airport, a township and leisure facilities. The project also received a boost after South Korea's Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering expressed interest in operating a ship repair yard at the port, which might later be expanded to include a shipbuilding capability.
  • Dutco bids low for Dubai Marina interchange

    The local/UK Dutco Balfour Beatty has submitted a low bid for the fifth interchange reconstruction project on Sheikh Zayed highway in Dubai. Its offer of AED 277.7 million ($75 million) is about 3 per cent lower than the next price of AED 284 million ($77 million) submitted by a local team of Al-Naboodah Contracting with Bin Hafeez General Contracting & Transport Establishment. Three companies have priced the 20-month contract, which calls for the construction
  • Dutco bids low for Dubai Marina interchange

    The local/UK Dutco Balfour Beatty has submitted a low bid for the fifth interchange reconstruction project on Sheikh Zayed highway in Dubai. Its offer of AED 277.7 million ($75 million) is about 3 per cent lower than the next price of AED 284 million ($77 million) submitted by a local team of Al-Naboodah Contracting with Bin Hafeez General Contracting & Transport Establishment. Three companies have priced the 20-month contract, which calls for the construction
  • Eastern Province elections held

    Voters in Saudi Arabia's Eastern Province went to the polls on 3 March in the second stage of the country's landmark municipal elections.The Eastern Province is where most of the kingdom's Shia minority lives. The Azir, Baha, Jizan and Najran regions are also holding elections aimed at electing half of the members of the country's 178 municipal councils. The rest will be appointed. The Election Commission has employed more than 400 officials to monitor elections at 222 pollin
  • ECHEM holds talks with contractors on Alex LAB

    Egyptian Petrochemicals Holding Company (ECHEM) is understood to be in talks with three international contractors - Canada's SNC Lavalin, South Korea's LG Engineering & Construction and Paris-based Technip- on the development of its estimated $200 million-300 million linear alkyl benzene (LAB) scheme near Alexandria. The state-owned firm is considering the financial and technology proposals put forward by the three, and is expected to make a final decis
  • ECONOMY: Getting stuck in a good groove

    The Qatari economy is beginning to sound like a scratched record. Every year, the latest macro-economic data comes out from the Planning Council, and each time the figures dance to the same old tune: double-digit economic growth, surging exports and a handsome government surplus. Indeed, the only worrying notes are a runaway stock market and a rapid rise in inflation, both fuelled by the rampant growth.
  • EDUCATION CITY: Developing a meritocracy

    Everything is about to change in Qatar’s education system. No longer will a degree be a foregone conclusion for any student signing up to a university course. And neither will graduates be able to simply walk into well-paid jobs without proving they are up to the mark.
  • Egypt: A revival of interest

    After years of stagnation, the Egyptian property market is enjoying something of a revival. According to government figures, investment in real estate in 2004 leapt by 45 per cent on the previous year. Estate agents say the volume of residential property sold has risen by about 20-25 per cent over the same period. 'After many years of poor performance we are on the verge of a boom,' says Ahmed Sabbour, managing director of Al-Ahli Real Estate Development Company.
  • Egyptian foreign minister scorns Bush democracy claim

    Egyptian Foreign Affairs Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit said on 10 March that US President Bush was wrong to assume that democracy was gaining ground in the Middle East as a result of US policies.Speaking to the Washington Post, Gheit said: 'What model are we talking about in Iraq? Bombs are exploding everywhere and Iraqis are killed every day.' Commenting on US pressure for Cairo to reform, he added that the agenda 'will be set by Egypt and the Egyptian people and only the Egypt
  • EIL scoops Skikda refinery work

    Engineers India Limited (EIL)has been awarded a $17 million contract for the project management consultancy (PMC) and front-end engineering and design (FEED) work on the rehabilitation and upgrade of Skikda refinery. EIL submitted the low bid when envelopes were opened in mid-February. The client is Naftec, the refining subsidiary of state energy company Sonatrach.
  • Emaar enters Palestine

    Dubai-based real estate developer Emaar Propertiescreated on 18 February a new company to build infrastructure and develop mixed-use residential and commercial projects in Gaza and the West Bank. In a separate development, Emaar chairman Mohammed Alabbar met Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and deputy prime minister Shimon Peres to discuss the possibility of buying houses evacuated by Jewish settlers in the Gaza Strip. The talks are the highest-level contacts between the UAE and I
  • Emaar enters Palestine

    Dubai-based real estate developer Emaar Propertiescreated on 18 February a new company to build infrastructure and develop mixed-use residential and commercial projects in Gaza and the West Bank. In a separate development, Emaar chairman Mohammed Alabbar met Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and deputy prime minister Shimon Peres to discuss the possibility of buying houses evacuated by Jewish settlers in the Gaza Strip. The talks are the highest-level contacts between the UAE and I
  • Emirates Islamic in hospital deal

    Emirates Islamic Bank (EIB), the recently-established Islamic subsidiary of Emirates Bank, and Kuwait's International Leasing & Investment Companyhave arranged a $22.5 million financing for Al-Mowasat Hospital, Kuwait's first private hospital. The borrowing is structured as a leasing contract expiring in 2009 and will fund expansion of the hospital. The Arab Investment Company, Amlak Finance, Sharjah Islamic Bank- formerly Nation
  • Emirates seals financing deal

    Dubai-based Emirateshas signed an agreement with the US' Export-Import Bank (Eximbank) for the financing of several General Electric (GE)and Rolls Royce (RR)engines to power new aircraft, including 30 777-300s from The Boeing Companyof the US. The deal covers seven GE90 engines valued at AED 473 million ($129 million) over five years and 15 RR engines with an estimated total value of AED 404 million ($110 million) over eight years. Royal B
  • EoIs in for olefins

    Expressions of interest (EoIs) have been submitted for a contract to conduct a feasibility study into the planned olefins complex at Sohar being developed by Oman Petrochemical Industries Company, a joint venture formed in late 2004 between the government, Oman Oil Companyand the US' Dow Chemical Company(MEED 15:10:04).
  • Eols sought for JLT tower

    Invited contractors have been requested to submit expressions of interest (Eols) by 5 March for the 20-month main construction package on the estimated $150 million DMCC Al-Mas tower at the Jumeirah Lake Towers (JLT) development in Dubai. The tower, the tender for which is due to be issued in the second half of March, will be the development's tallest building at about 350 metres and will house the headquarters of the Dubai Metals & Commodities Centre (DMCC - MEED 11:2:05).
  • Eols sought for JLT tower

    Invited contractors have been requested to submit expressions of interest (Eols) by 5 March for the 20-month main construction package on the estimated $150 million DMCC Al-Mas tower at the Jumeirah Lake Towers (JLT) development in Dubai. The tower, the tender for which is due to be issued in the second half of March, will be the development's tallest building at about 350 metres and will house the headquarters of the Dubai Metals & Commodities Centre (DMCC - MEED 11:2:05).
  • Etihad rolls on

    The UK's Rolls Roycesigned in mid-February a $950 million contract with Abu Dhabi-based Etihad Airwaysto supply engines to its growing fleet. Rolls will provide Trent 700 engines for 12 A330-200s and Trent 900 engines to power four new A380s, which are on order from Europe's Airbus. Abu Dhabi-based Gulf Aircraft Maintenance Company (Gamco)also signed a 10-year maintenance agreement for the aircraft (MEED 4:2:05).
  • Etisalat creates global entity

    Emirates Telecommunications Corporation (Etisalat)is set to broaden its sphere of influence after creating Etisalat Internationalto manage all global investments and operations. Obaid Saeed bin Mishar has been appointed chief operating officer. The company is bidding on several projects after its success in securing the second GSM licence in Saudi Arabia. It is prequalified for Pakistan's fixed-line and GSM licences and has teamed up with Dubai Islamic Bankand a pr
  • Ettihad Etisalat seeks fresh finance

    Beauty parades were staged in mid-March by three teams of bidders for the advisory mandate on the longer-tenor financing for Ettihad Etisalat, the consortium led by Emirates Telecommunications Corporation (Etisalat)which holds the kingdom's second GSM licence. The loan would take out the $2,350 million one-year bridge facility arranged in 2004 (MEED 20:8:04).
  • EU pledges support to Palestinians

    The EU on 3 March promised political and economic aid to the Palestinians and called for an end to violence.Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas held talks with EU foreign affairs chief Javier Solana and European Commission president Jose Manuel Barroso. The EU confirmed it would provide more than Eur 228 million ($300 million) to the Palestinian Authority.Speaking to journalists, Solana said: 'The EU is going to be behind the Palestinian people for the realisation
  • Europeans in line to hit the North

    A consortium led by Germany's Siemensand comprising Italy's AnsaldoEnergiaand Belgrade-based Energoprojekt has received a letter of intent for a turnkey contract to complete the construction of the 1,400-MW Al-Shamal power plant near Mosul. The estimated Eur 700 million ($935 million) contract is likely to be signed once letters of credit have been opened and the necessary security guarantees have been reached. The client is the Electricity Ministry.
  • Exploration awards imminent

    The award of three licences to explore for oil in the Western Desert is imminent following the completion of bid evaluations by Egyptian General Petroleum Corporation (EGPC). Sources in Cairo say EGPC has submitted the names of its preferred bidders to the government for review and contract awards are expected by 11 March.
  • Explosion kills two

    An explosion on 23 March killed two people in the coastal area of Kaslik, 12 miles north of Beirut, an anti-Syrian Christian heartland. The bombing, the second in a commercial Christian area in five days, looks set to widen a political rift between Lebanon and Syria following last month's killing of former prime minister Rafiq Hariri (MEED 14:2:05). 'It has become clear to everyone that the security regime and its collaborators are responsible for terrorising t
  • Expressway gets funds

    The government has approved the funding for the southern expressway project creating a partial ring-road around Muscat, paving the way for the award of the main contract. The local Galfar Engineering & Contractingemerged in November as low bidder both for the single package entailing construction of the entire 56-kilometre highway and for each of the six options covering partial building of the road. However, more recent discussions have centred on either a single contract or two pac
  • Expressway gets funds

    The government has approved the funding for the southern expressway project creating a partial ring-road around Muscat, paving the way for the award of the main contract. The local Galfar Engineering & Contractingemerged in November as low bidder both for the single package entailing construction of the entire 56-kilometre highway and for each of the six options covering partial building of the road. However, more recent discussions have centred on either a single contract or two pac
  • Failaka deadline extended

    The bid deadline has been extended by three months to 29 June for the estimated $3,320 million contract to develop tourism infrastructure on Failaka island. The extension was requested by all nine prequalified groups and was widely expected. The shortlisted firms have expressed concerns over the 20-year build-operate-transfer (BOT) concession, which they claim is financially unviable as it stands. Following a pre-tender meeting in early February, the client, the Divided Zone Agreements & Kuwaiti
  • Failaka deadline extended

    The bid deadline has been extended by three months to 29 June for the estimated $3,320 million contract to develop tourism infrastructure on Failaka island. The extension was requested by all nine prequalified groups and was widely expected. The shortlisted firms have expressed concerns over the 20-year build-operate-transfer (BOT) concession, which they claim is financially unviable as it stands. Following a pre-tender meeting in early February, the client, the Divided Zone Agreements & Kuwaiti
  • Falcon swoops on Alcatel

    France's Alcatel has been awarded the turnkey contract by London-based FLAG Telecomto install the Falcon submarine link, which will create a seamless broadband link in the Gulf and will eventually stretch from Egypt to India. The multi-terabit fibre-optic cable will be installed in several simultaneous sections. Start-up of services is due in the fourth quarter. Alcatel, which won the contract against competition from about seven suppliers, will be responsible for install
  • Faregh gas plant project moves ahead

    National Oil Corporationsubsidiary Waha Oil Company (WOC) is due to complete by mid-April technical evaluation of bids for the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract covering the second-phase development of the Faregh field. Five international companies submitted bids in September 2003 (MEED 19:9:03).
  • Fatah supports Abbas

    Fatah, the largest political grouping in the Palestian Authority, renewed its support for a ceasefire with Israel ahead of the US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice's scheduled talks with Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas.Fatah's Revolutionary Council said on 6 February that its militias would stop attacking Israeli civilians inside Israel and that it was prepared to accept a mutual ceasefire in the Occupied Territories. A summit scheduled for 8 February with Israeli Prime Mi
  • FEED starts on Doha pipeline network

    Tebodinof the Netherlands has started work on the front-end engineering and design (FEED) package for the Doha urban pipe relocation project. The eight-month contract involves drawing up basic engineering for an estimated 70-kilometre pipeline network, which will run from station B to station W1 on the outskirts of Doha, and the decommissioning of existing pipelines. The client is Qatar Petroleum(MEED 29:10:04).
  • Field awards near

    State Company for Oil Projects (SCOP) has completed evaluation of final commercial offers for two engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contracts to raise crude production capacity at the Hamrin and Subba-Luhais fields. A final award for the Hamrin contract is expected once the new transitional government has been formed. The award covering the Subba-Luhais work will be made shortly after (MEED 14:1:05).
  • FIIB rebrands as Arcapita

    Bahrain-based First Islamic Investment Bank (FIIB)has changed its name to Arcapita, effective 15 March. The rebranding covers both FIIB and its subsidiaries US-based Crescent Capital Investments and UK-based Crescent Capital Investments(Europe). 'We believe that a strong unified brand will allow us to build on our established relationship with our shareholders, investors and business partners and build on our track record of delivering innov
  • Financing nears for Grand Museum project

    The Ministry of International Co-operation - a subdivision of the Foreign Affairs Ministry - and the Supreme Council of Antiquities is expected to complete by the end of April financing for the proposed Grand Egyptian Museum project. The 38,000-square-metre exhibition building, to be built close to the Great Pyramids in Giza, is estimated to cost $550 million. The government has already allocated $100 million of funds towards the project, while the remaining costs are expected to be met by $300
  • Financing nears for Grand Museum project

    The Ministry of International Co-operation - a subdivision of the Foreign Affairs Ministry - and the Supreme Council of Antiquities is expected to complete by the end of April financing for the proposed Grand Egyptian Museum project. The 38,000-square-metre exhibition building, to be built close to the Great Pyramids in Giza, is estimated to cost $550 million. The government has already allocated $100 million of funds towards the project, while the remaining costs are expected to be met by $300
  • First Bubiyan package creates strong interest

    More than 20 international and local companies and groups submitted prequalification applications in early March for the estimated KD 40 million-50 million ($138 million-172 million) contract to design and build the phase 1 infrastructure package on the estimated $1,200 million Bubiyan port project. Evaluation of applications is expected to take about two months, after which a tender will be issued. The first phase covers transport access to the port and calls for the construction of a 34-kilome
  • First Bubiyan package creates strong interest

    More than 20 international and local companies and groups submitted prequalification applications in early March for the estimated KD 40 million-50 million ($138 million-172 million) contract to design and build the phase 1 infrastructure package on the estimated $1,200 million Bubiyan port project. Evaluation of applications is expected to take about two months, after which a tender will be issued. The first phase covers transport access to the port and calls for the construction of a 34-kilome
  • Five in for advisory

    Technical evaluation is close to completion of five bank bids for the financial advisory mandate on the sale of a stake in state-owned Algerie Telecom. The public opening of financial bids by those meeting the technical conditions is due to take place by the end of the month.
  • Five in for IMPZ

    Five companies submitted bids in mid-February for the estimated AED 300 million-400 million ($82 million-109 million) main infrastructure contract on the International Media Production Zone (IMPZ) in Dubai. The 24-month contract is the first phase in the development of a 38 million-square-feet area located behind the Emirates Hill development of Emirates road. The bidders are local firms Al-Naboodah Engineering Servicesand Wade Adams Contracting, the local/UK Dutc
  • Five in for IMPZ

    Five companies submitted bids in mid-February for the estimated AED 300 million-400 million ($82 million-109 million) main infrastructure contract on the International Media Production Zone (IMPZ) in Dubai. The 24-month contract is the first phase in the development of a 38 million-square-feet area located behind the Emirates Hill development of Emirates road. The bidders are local firms Al-Naboodah Engineering Servicesand Wade Adams Contracting, the local/UK Dutc
  • Five invited for BOT job at Assaluyeh

    Iran Power Development Company (IPDC)has prequalified five international developers for the Assaluyeh build-operate-transfer (BOT) power plant and has invited them to collect tender documents. The project is the latest in a series of BOT independent power projects (IPPs) sponsored by IPDC. However, progress on another plant at Ali Abad has slowed in recent weeks amid turbine and construction pricing issues (Iran, MEED Special Report, 7:1:05, pages 29-31).
  • Five submit bids for Ruwais sulphur project

    Five companies submitted technical bids by 5 March to Abu Dhabi Oil Refining Company (Takreer)for a contract to provide project management consultancy (PMC) services on the Ruwais sulphur handling terminal (RSHT) expansion project. The bidders are: US-based Black & Veatch Oil, Gas & Chemicals; Tebodin Middle East, part of Tebodin of the Netherlands; Penspen International of the UK; the US/Canadian VECO; and Parsons E
  • Four bid for Karaj water project

    Four local companies are understood to have submitted bids for the estimated $70 million Karaj-Tehran water conveyance tunnel and treatment plant project. The facilities will be the sixth erected for Tehran. The client for the project is Tehran Regional Water Authority; the consultant is the local LAR Consulting Engineers.
  • Four bid for Umm al-Nar refinery job

    At least four companies responded by 5 March to an initial query to provide consultancy services for the addition of crude oil storage tanks at the Umm al-Nar refinery in Abu Dhabi. The companies are: Engineers India (EIL); Tebodin Middle East, part of Tebodin of the Netherlands; Mott MacDonald of the UK; and the US/Canadian VECO. The project will include the construction of new storage tanks and integration with existing facilities. T
  • Four line up for Ras Laffan cracker

    Commercial bids for the planned 1.3 million-tonne-a-year (t/y) cracker to be jointly developed at Mesaieed by Qatar Chemical Company II (Q-Chem II) and the local/French Qatofinwere opened on 21 February. A team of the US' Shaw Internationalwith Japan's JGC Corporationis understood to be the low bidder for the technology and engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract, which is estimated to be worth $700 million-800 million. The other b
  • Four Seasons set to open

    The long-awaited opening of the Four Seasons Hotel in Doha is set to take place in June, and the hotel has begun confirming reservations from the beginning of the month. Located in the West Bay Complex, the waterfront hotel comprises 232 guest rooms, a 110-berth marina, a spa and a fitness centre. The news will be welcome for travellers to the capital, who, as business booms, have been finding it increasingly difficult to find a hotel room.
  • Four Seasons set to open

    The long-awaited opening of the Four Seasons Hotel in Doha is set to take place in June, and the hotel has begun confirming reservations from the beginning of the month. Located in the West Bay Complex, the waterfront hotel comprises 232 guest rooms, a 110-berth marina, a spa and a fitness centre. The news will be welcome for travellers to the capital, who, as business booms, have been finding it increasingly difficult to find a hotel room.
  • French finally complete Suez takeover

    Ciments Francais (CF)- a subsidiary of Italy's Italcementi Group- and a consortium of local and regional investors have taken a controlling stake in Suez Cement Company (SCC), the country's biggest cement producer. The consortium in mid- March acquired a 33.4 per cent stake in the company, taking its total shareholding to about 54.2 per cent. The purchase is in line with CF's strategy to increase its production capacity in emerging markets. Suez Cement will be full
  • FTA with UAE benefits GCC, says Washington

    Washington said on 9 March that a free trade agreement (FTA) with the UAE will not threaten the GCC. Speaking to reporters following the first day of a three-day visit, assistant US Trade representative for Europe and the Mediterranean Catherine Novelli said: 'What we have set out to do through the Middle East Free Trade Area concept is to work with countries at their level and work with them to move forward as they decide that they want to move forward. We do not see this as any way threat
  • Fujairah forges tourism resort

    The local Dubai Contracting Company (DCC)has been selected to carry out the main construction contract for the Mina al-Fajer tourism resort in Fujairah. Work is scheduled to begin by the end of the year once detailed designs have been completed. Lebanon's Erga Group, which is acting as consultant on the project, is expecting to finalise detailed designs by the end of the second quarter. The project calls for the construction of a five-star low-rise luxury resort with apar
  • Fujairah forges tourism resort

    The local Dubai Contracting Company (DCC)has been selected to carry out the main construction contract for the Mina al-Fajer tourism resort in Fujairah. Work is scheduled to begin by the end of the year once detailed designs have been completed. Lebanon's Erga Group, which is acting as consultant on the project, is expecting to finalise detailed designs by the end of the second quarter. The project calls for the construction of a five-star low-rise luxury resort with apar
  • Fujairah goes vertical

    The local Al-Jaber Establishmentis set to begin work on a new high-rise building in Fujairah. The 40-storey Al-Jaber residential tower will be the emirate's tallest development. The design and build contract also includes the construction of residential apartments, associated leisure amenities and car parking facilities. The local Dewan Architects & Engineersis the consultant. Al-Jaber Group, also local, is the client.
  • Fujairah goes vertical

    The local Al-Jaber Establishmentis set to begin work on a new high-rise building in Fujairah. The 40-storey Al-Jaber residential tower will be the emirate's tallest development. The design and build contract also includes the construction of residential apartments, associated leisure amenities and car parking facilities. The local Dewan Architects & Engineersis the consultant. Al-Jaber Group, also local, is the client.
  • Further subcontract awards on Abu Dhabi grand mosque

    The Works Department has awarded 12 subcontracts worth a total of AED 536 million ($146 million) for the second-phase works on the Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan al-Nahyan mosque in Abu Dhabi (MEED 30:1:04).
  • Further subcontract awards on Abu Dhabi grand mosque

    The Works Department has awarded 12 subcontracts worth a total of AED 536 million ($146 million) for the second-phase works on the Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan al-Nahyan mosque in Abu Dhabi (MEED 30:1:04).
  • GAE prequals in

    Five companies - Australia's WorleyParsons, the Italian office of Paris-based Technipand Foster Wheeler, Jacobs Engineeringand Bechtel, all US-based - submitted prequalifications by 22 March to Abu Dhabi Oil Refining Company (Takreer)for a contract to carry out a feasibility study on its planned world-scale aromatics complex at Ruwais. Called the gasoline and aromatics expansion (GAE) project, it will involve the production
  • GCC bank reporting season kicks off

    The first trickle of full-year 2004 results is leaking out from Gulf banks, and the trend towards strong increases in profitability continues, following a year of strong retail and corporate credit demand, healthy macroeconomic growth and high liquidity.
  • GCC property laws: Assessing the pace of change

    The relaxation of foreign property ownership laws in Oman was the most recent move to liberalise the housing sector in the GCC. Some states have been quick to open up, while others have lagged behind.
  • GE signs up for Ajman power plant

    The US' GE Power Systemshas been awarded an estimated $180 million contract from the Federal Electricity & Water Authority (FEWA) to build a 750-MW open cycle power station at Al-Zahra in Ajman emirate. One other company, Germany's Siemens, bid for the contract, which was originally tendered as an equipment supply package only, but was subsequently expanded to include installation. GE will supply and install six 9E gas turbines under the three-year contract. The project w
  • Germans and Chinese compete for metro work

    Germany's Siemensand China's CTICare competing to become the main foreign partner of Rail Transportation Industry Company (Rtico)for the development of Tehran's metro line 3. China North Industries Company (Norinco)has already finalised the $680 million contract for the development of line 4 with the client, Tehran Urban & Suburban Rail Company (TUSRC). Rtico's foreign partner will accept joint and several liability for the project, of
  • GIB has the gift of the gab

    Gulf International Bank (GIB) retained its mantle as the dominant regional structured finance player, coming first in the annual MEED league table of GCC banks for the fourth consecutive year. More impressive than the extent of its lending - since the 2004 rankings are heavily influenced by a small number of big-ticket deals - is the number of its lead arranging mandates. GIB acted as a mandated lead arranger (MLA) on eight transactions last year, twice the deal flow of its nearest rivals. A reg
  • GIB seeks massive loan

    Gulf International Bank (GIB)is talking to banks interested in joining the mandated lead arranger (MLA) group on a $750 million, five-year syndicated loan. About 12 banks are understood to have been approached and an eight-10-strong group of banks is likely to be mandated. 'In spite of the size of the facility - even bigger than the recent [$600 million] Samba [Financial Group] borrowing - GIB will probably get it, and with a tight pricing,' says a banker looking at the deal.
  • Good response to Almanakher IPP tender

    At least 10 companies in late February registered interest in bidding for the contract to develop Jordan's first independent power project (IPP) - a 280-400-MW combined cycle power plant at Almanakher, near Amman. The winner of the 25-year, build-own-operate (BOO) contract will also be responsible for all support facilities (MEED 14:1:05).
  • Group 3 plans Palm Oasis

    Abu Dhabi-based Group 3 Engineering Contractorshas been awarded the 21-month contract to build the Palm Oasis residential complex in the capital. Located on Airport road, the project calls for the construction of 103 villas, a community centre and associated leisure facilities. Total project costs are estimated at about AED 127 million ($35 million). The local Dewan Architects & Engineers is the consultant. The client is a local private investor.
  • Group 3 plans Palm Oasis

    Abu Dhabi-based Group 3 Engineering Contractorshas been awarded the 21-month contract to build the Palm Oasis residential complex in the capital. Located on Airport road, the project calls for the construction of 103 villas, a community centre and associated leisure facilities. Total project costs are estimated at about AED 127 million ($35 million). The local Dewan Architects & Engineers is the consultant. The client is a local private investor.
  • Gulf investors plan European bank

    The shareholding structure is close to being finalised for a planned Islamic investment bank, ahead of a licence application to the UK regulator, the Finance Services Authority (FSA). It is likely to be called - if approved - European Islamic Investment Bank. The model being followed is very close to that used during the formation of Islamic Bank of Britain (IBB), which in 2004 became the first sharia-compliant institution to be granted a licence in the UK. Bahrain-based Isla
  • Gulf Petrochemicals 2005 Discovering the potential for growth in the heart of the global petrochemicals industry 7th & 8th June 2005, The Diplomat Radisson SAS Hotel, Kingdom of Bahrain

    Gulf Petrochemicals 2005 will once again be the unmissable industry event of the year. The Gulf is quickly establishing itself as the core of global petrochemical development and now is the ideal time to take your place in the advancement and growth of this exciting region. MEED is delighted to offer you a comprehensive programme that is filled with an impressive line-up of leading speakers from regional and internat
  • Hamas enters parliamentary elections

    Hamas announced on 12 March that it would take part in Palestinian parliamentary elections scheduled for July. Hamas spokesman Mohammad Ghazal said: 'Hamas has decided to take part in the Palestinian Legislative Council election this summer.'The expected decision shows the group is intent on entering mainstream politics. Hamas refused to take part in the first Palestinian elections at the height of the Oslo peace process in 1996 and suffered a loss of political influence as a
  • Healthy look for DHCC

    Work on the second phase of the Dubai Healthcare City (DHCC) development is in full swing after several contracts and new developments were announced in mid-March.
  • Healthy look for DHCC

    Work on the second phase of the Dubai Healthcare City (DHCC) development is in full swing after several contracts and new developments were announced in mid-March.
  • Hezbollah supports Damascus

    Hezbollah leader Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah called on 6 March for protests in support of Damascus and against international interference in Lebanese affairs.The protests, reports indicate, will not only denounce international pressure on Damascus but are also designed to show support for resistance movements and counter any possible attempts at peace with Israel.Although Hezbollah had previously remained silent after the assassination of former prime minister Rafi
  • High and mighty

    Any hopes of a respite for oil consumers have been shortlived. A steep decline around the turn of the year appeared briefly to herald prices that, if still far from comfortable, were a little less painful than during 2004. But it was not to be. The benchmark WTI US crude has returned to levels above or in the region of $50 a barrel, while the OPEC basket price leapt by close to $5 in January alone. And it is increasingly difficult to find punters willing to bet on a 2005 average of less than $40
  • Honeywell takes Pearl GTL FEED

    Honeywell Process Solutions, part of the US' Honeywell, has been awarded a contract to carry out the front-end engineering and design (FEED) for the plant automation element on the Pearl GTL project in Ras Laffan. The contract, which will take about a year to complete, will include both on- and offshore packages on the project. The integrated GTL project, being developed by the Royal/Dutch Shell Group, will comprise two 70,000-barrel-a-day trains. The first train i
  • Hoodoil ties up loose ends

    Hoodoil, part of the local Natco, is due to finalise by the end of March details of the front-end engineering and design (FEED) work for the Ras Issa oil refinery project on the Red Sea. The FEED package was carried out by US-based Chicago Bridge & Iron Company (CB&I). The next stage in the project implementation will be the issue of a solicitation of interest for the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract. Estimated to be worth $250 million-300 m
  • Hotel prequals invited in West Bay

    Prequalification has been invited by the end of March for the construction of a major new mixed-use development in West Bay. The development will house a 320-room hotel, to be managed by Geneva-based Kempinski Hotels & Resorts, 200 luxury apartments and a marina. It will comprise a 160-metre-high hotel tower and two 33-floor apartment towers, with a total built-up area of 120,000 square metres. Under the fast-track schedule, the 22-month main contract is due to be awarded by July, th
  • Hotel prequals invited in West Bay

    Prequalification has been invited by the end of March for the construction of a major new mixed-use development in West Bay. The development will house a 320-room hotel, to be managed by Geneva-based Kempinski Hotels & Resorts, 200 luxury apartments and a marina. It will comprise a 160-metre-high hotel tower and two 33-floor apartment towers, with a total built-up area of 120,000 square metres. Under the fast-track schedule, the 22-month main contract is due to be awarded by July, th
  • Hotels out to bid on Burj Dubai

    Contractors have been invited to bid by 14 March for the contract to build two 400-room hotels, known as Hotels A and B, at the Burj Dubai development. Awards are also imminent for other packages on the scheme.
  • Hotels out to bid on Burj Dubai

    Contractors have been invited to bid by 14 March for the contract to build two 400-room hotels, known as Hotels A and B, at the Burj Dubai development. Awards are also imminent for other packages on the scheme.
  • HSBC leads in corporate credit arranging

    HSBC extended its lead at the top of the financial institution (FI) loans and regional bond arrangers table, doing eight deals with a total value more than double that of its nearest competitor, Citigroup. The bank's wide structuring capabilities, extending from simple syndicated borrowings through to the burgeoning sukuk market and the increasingly fashionable euro medium-term note (EMTN) programmes met with a strong pick-up in demand for all three types of instrument, which saw deal flow surge
  • HSBC scores a hat-trick

    HSBC tops the MEED league table of international banks active in the GCC project-related and asset-backed finance market in 2004 for the third year running, participating at a senior level in a total of nine deals with commitments worth close to $1,000 million. The success was also well diversified, with transactions in every market but Kuwait - where there were none to do - and across the sectors, including the first private power deal in Bahrain. The bank enjoys the advantage of its affiliatio
  • Huge attendance at latest anti-Syria protest

    Thousands of Lebanese rallied on 14 March in Beirut in protest against the continuing presence of Syrian forces in Lebanon.According to reports, more than 800,000 people gathered in Martyr's Square demanding an international inquiry into the death of former Lebanese prime minister Rafiq Hariri, and a full Syrian pullout. The numbers surpassed a Hezbollah-organised rally in support of Damascus on 8 March (MEED 8:3:05).
  • Hutchison to develop Alexandria, Dakahliya

    Hong Kong-based Hutchison Port Holdings (HPH) has signed contracts to develop and manage Dakahliya and Alexandria container terminals in co-operation with Alexandria Port Authority. HPH plans to convert the two cargo ports into modern container terminals. Both ports will have alongside depths of 12 metres with quay wall lengths of 380 metres at Alexandria and 560 metres at Dakahliya. The duration of the contracts is 25 years. The development follows the recent signing of a memorandum
  • IAEA meets to discuss Iran

    The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) is meeting in Vienna to discuss Iran's controversial nuclear programme. The talks follow the recent signing of an agreement between Moscow and Tehran which will see Russia supply fuel to Iran's first nuclear reactor.The IAEA is also set to discuss who will become the next director-general of the agency. Mohammad el-Baradei is seeking a third term but faces opposition from US politicians who accuse him of having been too soft on Ir
  • IBM: Maximising IT

    Whenever oil and gas are mentioned, the usual images that spring to mind are of pipelines and flares, wildcat wells in the desert and offshore rigs. As appropriate as these scenes are, the hydrocarbons sector today could just as easily be represented by ranks of workers sitting in front of computer screens. As in most other sectors, IT plays an increasingly important role in simplifying procedures in the oil industry and ensuring it runs smoothly.
  • Ibn Zahr PMC under evaluation

    Four US-based firms - Jacobs Engineering, Fluor Corporation, Foster Wheelerand Parsons Corporation- are understood to have submitted bids on 8 March for the contract to carry out project management consultancy (PMC) services to Saudi European Petrochemical Company (Ibn Zahr)on its planned propane dehydrogenation (PDH) and polypropylene (PP) project at its existing complex in Jubail. It is understood that Ibn Zahr has yet to select a tec
  • IFC funds block 5 development

    The International Finance Corporation (IFC), the private sector lending arm of the World Bank, has extended a $40 million loan to fund development of the Mazoon field, operated by Daleel Petroleum Company, a joint venture between the local Petrogasand China National Petroleum Companyin the north of the sultanate. Daleel plans to boost output from the block to some 30,000 barrels a day (b/d) by the end of the decade, entailing expenditure of about $300 million,
  • IMF and World Bank will visit Bahrain

    The IMF and the World Bank are due to visit Bahrain in April, Bahrain Monetary Agency (BMA - central bank) governor Rasheed al-Maraj said on 2 March. They will assist in a Financial Sector Assessment Programme (FSAP) being undertaken by the BMA.The FSAP will identify the strengths and weaknesses of the kingdom's financial systems. Speaking to journalists, Al-Maraj said: 'Undertaking the FSAP is a demonstration of the commitment of the government of Bahrain to greater transpar
  • IMF commends reform

    Rabat was commended for its trade liberalisation policy - culminating in a free trade agreement (FTA) with the US in 2004 - but was urged to accelerate structural reform in order to enjoy the full fruits of greater openness by IMF managing director Rodrigo de Rato, during a visit to the kingdom in late February. He also encouraged the Maghreb countries to increase integration to attract private investment and establish a regional market, and warned that in spite of Morocco's macroeconomic stabil
  • IMF finds piecemeal approach to reforms

    Tripoli has been forced to adopt a piecemeal, non-transparent approach to economic reform by its own centralised and bureaucratic government structures, the IMF said in its latest Article IV consultations, published on 8 March.
  • Impetus builds behind the peace process

    Israel optimistic about relations with Arab neighbours
  • Interview: Omar bin Sulaiman, DIFC: Centre of excellence

    What is the current status of DIFC?
  • Investor sought for Ras al-Hadd resort

    Discussions are ongoing with potential investors to develop a tourist resort at Ras al-Hadd, following the completion of a masterplan by Beirut-based Dar al-Handasah (Shair & Partners). An appointment of a consultant is close to being finalised to draw up detailed designs for the infrastructure.
  • Investor sought for Ras al-Hadd resort

    Discussions are ongoing with potential investors to develop a tourist resort at Ras al-Hadd, following the completion of a masterplan by Beirut-based Dar al-Handasah (Shair & Partners). An appointment of a consultant is close to being finalised to draw up detailed designs for the infrastructure.
  • Investors calm but confident

    The Muscat Securities Market (MSM) is having a good year so far, even if investor sentiment is far more muted than in most Gulf markets. The benchmark MSM index is up by more than 15 per cent since the start of the year and with new listings and initial public offerings (IPOs) in the pipeline, the prospects are positive. Mileage remains in the biggest business story of the past six months - the on-off marriage of the sultanate's two largest banks.
  • IOCs sounded out for mega refinery

    Preparations are under way at Saudi Aramcoto build the first grassroots refinery for almost 20 years. Aramco is understood to have approached several international oil companies (IOCs) to assess their interest in participating in the large-scale export refinery project, which is planned at the Red Sea city of Yanbu, about 350 kilometres north of Jeddah. The project, which is still at an early stage of development, is part of a larger programme for the kingdom's refinery sector being
  • IPDC plans new coal plant for Tabas

    Iran Power Development Company (IPDC)is evaluating bids for a greenfield coal-fired power plant at Tabas in the east. Three bids have been received for the project and a tender winner will be selected early in the new Iranian year starting on 21 March.
  • IPO looms in oil field services company

    An initial public offering (IPO) is due to be launched in early April of shares in a greenfield oil and gas services company, called Aabar Petroleum Investments Company.
  • Iran signs gas supply MoUs with Kuwait, Oman

    National Iranian Gas Export Company (NIGEC)signed two initial agreements on 15 March for the export of natural gas via pipelines to Kuwait and Oman. Both deals are for 25 years (MEED 30:4:04).
  • Iran tenders earthquake planning

    Iran is moving to improve its earthquake planning following the December 2003 Bam tremor that killed more than 30,000 people and the smaller quake in late February which killed more than 500 people in villages near Zarand in the northern Kerman province. Tehran has requested consultancy services for a risk and vulnerability assessment at provincial level and a study of the local construction industry focusing on seismic engineering capabilities. The closing date is 29 March.
  • Iran tenders earthquake planning

    Iran is moving to improve its earthquake planning following the December 2003 Bam tremor that killed more than 30,000 people and the smaller quake in late February which killed more than 500 people in villages near Zarand in the northern Kerman province. Tehran has requested consultancy services for a risk and vulnerability assessment at provincial level and a study of the local construction industry focusing on seismic engineering capabilities. The closing date is 29 March.
  • Iraqi government forces capture insurgent camp

    Iraqi security forces seized control on 23 March of an insurgent training camp at Lake Tharthar, 100 miles northwest of Baghdad. At least six government troops and up to 45 insurgents were killed in the fighting. Iraqi army commander Lieutenant-Colonel Sarmad Hassan Kamel said most of the insurgents were Syrians and Saudi Arabians. The attack comes three days after a US ambush killed 26 insurgents south of Baghdad.
  • Iraqi government talks breakdown

    Talks between the Shia United Iraqi Alliance (UIA) and the Kurdish coalition in Erbil over the formation of a new Iraqi government broke down on 13 March.Speaking to journalists, interim parliamentary speaker Fouad Massoum said: 'The talks will continue and there are some important points that deserve more discussion.' Debate is set to resume on 16 March when the new Iraqi National Assembly holds its opening session.The two sides appeared to have reached an acc
  • Iraqi police chief killed

    Gunmen on 10 March killed the chief of Salhiya police station and two other officers in Baghdad. The insurgents posed as police and set up a fake checkpoint. Police and Iraqi troops have been frequently targeted by gunmen. The killing comes a day after a suicide car bombing killed three people in the capital.
  • Is this the last chance for Project Kuwait?

    April is, as they say in the north, the cruellest month. In nature, it can usher in a final fatal storm just as hope is budding in the hearts of those that survived winter. For Project Kuwait, April 2005 will be important, even decisive. It has survived withering blasts of criticism from the government's opponents in the national assembly (parliament). Three oil ministers have tried and failed to get parliamentary blessing for the scheme. And yet it persists, albeit in a revised form. Almost eve
  • Isarelis close Gaza and West Bank

    The Israeli army has once again imposed a complete closure of the Gaza Strip and West Bank, preventing any Palestinians from entering Israel. They cited an intensified threat of terrorist activity. There have been various violent incidents in recent days. On 9 February, three Palestinians blew themselves up near an Israeli army checkpoint in the southern Gaza strip, prompting the Israelis to close off the main north-south Gaza thoroughfare. The following day, Israeli troops shot dead allege
  • Islamic banking: Principle grows profit

    Islamic banking is nothing exotic in the UAE. The two stalwart local institutions have been operating for decades without any of the licensing ambiguity experienced elsewhere. Yet with two conversions in the past year, the major conventional banks scrambling to open sharia-compliant windows and existing Islamic banks becoming increasingly sophisticated in their offerings, the sector's recent rise is grabbing the banking limelight.
  • Islamic windows open

    Union National Bank (UNB) and First Gulf Bankhave lodged applications with the Central Bank of the UAE to establish Islamic windows, while National Bank of Dubaiand National Bank of Abu Dhabiare considering doing so. The moves follow approval in late 2004 for Mashreqbank to establish sharia-compliant operations (see Special Report, pages 46-48).
  • Israeli budget passed, proposal made on Gaza disengagement

    Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon won a key vote on 23 March on the 2005 budget, which he must push through parliament to avoid automatic elections that would threaten the Gaza disengagement plan.A compromise was reached when Likud party rebels agreed to back the 2005 budget in return for pro-Sharon Likud MPs in the Knesset's constitution, law and Justice committee backing a proposal to hold a referendum on the Gaza plan. The committee voted nine-eight in fav
  • ISX thrives on elections, relocation

    The first two months of the year have been promising for the fledgling Iraq Stock Exchange (ISX). After a two-week suspension over the new year to settle financial accounts, the bourse reopened for business on 9 January in optimistic mood. Helped by a move to a new temporary location in the Al-Arafat district of Baghdad and by the relatively smooth elections on 31 January, investors have been steadily growing in confidence.
  • Italians take three out of nine in licensing round

    Egyptian General Petroleum Corporation (EGPC)has awarded nine exploration and production sharing agreements (EPSAs) to six international oil companies (IOCs) following the opening of bids on its first licensing round of 2004. Italy's Eniscored the biggest success, with its local subsidiary IEOCExplorationtaking three blocks, while the US' Devon Energytook two blocks.
  • IWP legal selection nears

    Denton Wilde Sapteis understood to have received a conditional letter of award for the legal advisory mandate on the Sharqiyah independent water project (IWP), the first in the sultanate. A formal award is expected by the end of March. Bids are also due in mid-March for the technical advisory contract on the scheme, which calls for construction of a plant with capacity of 10 million-15 million gallons a day using reverse osmosis (RO) technology. Bank Muscatis the financial adv
  • Jaafari seeks Kurdish support

    The Shia United Iraqi Alliance (UIA) prime minister-designate Ibrahim Jaafari on 2 March met Kurdish Democratic Party (KDP) leader Massoud Barzani in Salahuddin near Irbil, in northern Iraq.Negotiations are expected to focus on attempts to form a new government. Speaking to journalists, Barzani said: 'We decided to continue the negotiations and create an Iraqi government of national unity in which Arab Sunnis should play a role.' Jaafari is due to visit Jalal Talabani, the le
  • Jaafari set to manage transition

    Whoever assumes the mantle of Iraq's political leadership faces a range of pressing economic issues. The transitional government will have to deal with the legacy of chronic under-investment in essential services, unemployment and disrupted oil supplies. Then there are the added problems of the insurgency and smuggling, both of which undermine structural change and add to the cost of doing business in Iraq.
  • Jebel Ali free zone expansion takes shape

    At least four companies submitted bids on 13 March for the estimated $50 million preparatory earthworks and road infrastructure contract for the expansion of the southern sector of Jebel Ali Free Zone. The 12-month contract, which has been divided into two phases, calls for the excavation and disposal of about 8 million cubic metres of rock. The largest phase, estimated at $28 million, will see construction of 40 kilometres of road, while the smaller phase, valued at $22 million, will see constr
  • Jebel Ali free zone expansion takes shape

    At least four companies submitted bids on 13 March for the estimated $50 million preparatory earthworks and road infrastructure contract for the expansion of the southern sector of Jebel Ali Free Zone. The 12-month contract, which has been divided into two phases, calls for the excavation and disposal of about 8 million cubic metres of rock. The largest phase, estimated at $28 million, will see construction of 40 kilometres of road, while the smaller phase, valued at $22 million, will see constr
  • Jet fuel pipeline awarded

    A local/Australian team of Dutco McConnell Dowell has been formally awarded an estimated AED 86 million ($23 million) engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract to supply and install a 58-kilometre-long, 12-inch-diameter jet fuel pipeline from Emdad's storage facility at Jebel Ali free zone to Dubai International Airport. The 11-month contract is due to be completed in early 2006. The UK's Mott MacDonald has carried out the front-end engineering
  • Jordan Minister visits Israel

    Jordanian Foreign Affairs Minister Hani Mulki held talks on 5 March in Israel and the Occupied Territories.Mulki met Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli Foreign Affairs Minister Silvan Shalom. The meetings, the first in four years, revolved around measures agreed upon at the Sharm el-Sheikh summit on 8 February.Talks with Tel Aviv will focus on Jordanian prisoners held in Israeli jails, bringing the 1994 peace treaty back into action and Amman's positi
  • JPRC plans $700 million refinery expansion

    Jordan Petroleum Refinery Company (JPRC)is to invite consultants to bids for the front-end engineering and design (FEED) for a $700 million upgrade and expansion of its refinery at Zarqa, by the end of 2004.
  • July RFP release for next IWPP

    The request for proposals (RFP) is due to be issued in July for the sultanate's next independent water and power project (IWPP), Oman Power & Water Procurement Companychief executive Robert Bryniak told the Second MEED Power & Water conference in Abu Dhabi on 22 March. Under the schedule, qualified developers will be given five months to bid for the IWPP, with project closure scheduled for the end of the first quarter of 2006.
  • Jumblatt: Lahoud departure not a priority

    Lebanese opposition leader Walid Jumblatt met Egyptian President Mubarak in Cairo on 21 March and said that removing pro-Syrian Lebanese President Lahoud was 'not a priority now'.It was more important, he said, to prepare for the upcoming Lebanese elections in May and to seek a clearly defined timetable for the withdrawal of Syrian troops. 'We will see what will happen in the future for Mr Lahoud.'Jumblatt's meeting with Mubarak follows the Egyptian president's
  • Kahramaa sets outplans

    Just weeks after the key project agreements were signed for the second independent water and power project (IWPP) at Ras Laffan, a new round of capacity additions is rapidly taking shape at Qatar General Electricity & Water Corporation (Kahramaa). Two major projects are planned, covering an expansion of the existing Ras Abu Fontas B (RAF B1) co-generation plant and the construction of a new IWPP, known as facility B, at either Mesaieed or Doha.
  • Karachi eyes Qatari LNG

    Karachi-based Sui Southern Gas Company (SSGC) has invited international consultants to submit technical and commercial bids by 2 May for a concession to build Pakistan's first liquefied natural gas (LNG) receiving terminal. SSGC is mulling an option to import LNG from Qatar. A technical committee set up between Qatar Petroleum (QP)and Pakistan's Petroleum & Natural Resources Ministry is due to hold its first meeting in Doha by the end of March on the options for supplying
  • KBR-led consortium unveils Suez ammonia plant

    A local/US consortium has unveiled plans to develop the country's biggest ammonia plant in the Gulf of Suez. The 2,000-tonne-a-day-capacity anhydrous ammonia plant is to be built in the Suez Industrial Zone near the Red Sea port of Ain el-Sokhna by Egypt Basic Industries Company (EBIC), a project company comprising the US' Kellogg Brown & Root (KBR), PSK Holdingsand Orascom Construction Industries, both local, and state-owned Egyptian Gener
  • Keeping an eye on the bubble

    Investors in the Qatari stock market have been faced with the most difficult of questions: when a market is booming, when is the best time to exit? Just a few months ago it was a strategic question - stock prices were rising and valuations were beginning to look stretched even as the spectacular development of the local economy continued. The canny players were thinking about managing their profit taking, but there was time to think.
  • Keeping the old, embracing the new

    At the stone-laying ceremony for the $12,800 million Qatar Liquefied Gas Company II (Qatargas II) project on 27 February, Second Deputy Prime Minister and Energy & Industry Minister Abdulla bin Hamad al-Attiya was asked what was driving Qatar's ever expanding gas development programme. 'We believe that if we stop, we may have a problem as others may take the market,' Al-Attiya replied.
  • KGOC: A well tended garden

    Step into the office of Kuwait Gulf Oil Company (KGOC) chairman and managing director Abdelhadi al-Awwad, and for a brief moment you step into another world. There, enclosed behind glass walls, lies an immaculately tended garden, complete with a running stream. 'Many of my predecessors enjoyed this garden,' says Al-Awwad. 'We have all spent time in it, contemplating our decisions.'
  • Khafji gets busy

    Khafji Joint Operations (KJO), the 50:50 joint venture between Kuwait Gulf Oil Company (KGOC) and Saudi Arabia's Aramco Gulf Operations (AGOC), has launched three projects aimed at maintaining and increasing oil output at its Divided Zone offshore concession.
  • Khartoum refuses to send war criminals abroad for trial

    The Sudanese government will not send its citizens or officials suspected of Darfur war crimes charges to any international court.Sudan's first vice-president, Ali Osman Mohammed Taha, speaking in the Darfur capital of Fasher to state run news agency Taha, said that anyone found to have committed human rights-related crimes would be dealt with by Sudanese authorities. 'What is being reported about a trial of some individuals or officials in courts outside the S
  • King Abdullah will not attend Arab summit

    Arab leaders opened a two-day summit in Algiers on 22 March but Jordanian King Abdullah will not be attending despite having sponsored a peace proposal to be discussed at the meeting.Prior to the summit, the Jordanian peace proposal had to be watered down after nine of the League's 22 members had expressed reservations over the dropping of specific references to Israel's return of land as part of any full normalisation with Arab states. Commenting on the obstin
  • KNPC pushes ahead with refinery plans

    State refinery operator Kuwait National Petroleum Company (KNPC)is pushing ahead with plans to modernise its Mina Abdulla and Mina Ahmadi refineries and to build a new complex at Shuaiba.
  • KOC issues flowlines work

    State-owned upstream operator Kuwait Oil Company (KOC)has invited 19 local contractors to bid by 17 April for three contracts totalling KD 40 million-60 million ($137 million-207 million) to build and upgrade flowlines and associated works in its oil fields.
  • KPI signs MoUs for overseas opportunities

    Kuwait Petroleum International (KPI), the retail and marketing division of Kuwait Petroleum Corporation (KPC), has signed two memoranda of understanding (MoUs) with the Royal Dutch/Shell Groupand BPto explore downstream investment opportunities overseas.
  • Kurds to play kingmakers

    Kurdish leader Masoud Barzani, head of the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP), said on 25 February that Kurdish parties had not yet decided who to back in the contest for Iraq's new prime minister.The Kurdish coalition comprising the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) and the KDP is in an influential position having gained 25 per cent of the vote in the January elections, giving it 75 seats in the new national assembly.Iraqi interim Prime Minister Iyad Allawi met
  • KUWAIT

    Tender no RFQ/939518. Supply of a nickel molidum auxiliary agent for unit H-OIL at Kuwait National Petroleum Company's Shuaiba refinery. Bid bond is 2.5 per cent of tender price.
  • KUWAIT

    Tender no RFQ/939518. Supply of a nickel molidum auxiliary agent for unit H-OIL at Kuwait National Petroleum Company's Shuaiba refinery. Bid bond is 2.5 per cent of tender price.
  • KUWAIT

    Tender no RFQ/939518. Supply of a nickel molidum auxiliary agent for unit H-OIL at Kuwait National Petroleum Company's Shuaiba refinery. Bid bond is 2.5 per cent of tender price.
  • KUWAIT

    Tender no HS/S/93. (Open to prequalified contractors only.) Management, operation and maintenance of main pumping stations, lifting substations and associated centrifugal and gravity lines at the first area for the Public Works Ministry. Bid bond is 5 per cent of tender price. A pre-bid meeting will take place on 28 March.
  • KUWAIT

    Tender no HS/S/93. (Open to prequalified contractors only.) Management, operation and maintenance of main pumping stations, lifting substations and associated centrifugal and gravity lines at the first area for the Public Works Ministry. Bid bond is 5 per cent of tender price. A pre-bid meeting will take place on 28 March.
  • KUWAIT

    Tender no HS/S/93. (Open to prequalified contractors only.) Management, operation and maintenance of main pumping stations, lifting substations and associated centrifugal and gravity lines at the first area for the Public Works Ministry. Bid bond is 5 per cent of tender price. A pre-bid meeting will take place on 28 March.
  • Kuwaiti parliament debates women vote

    The National Assembly on 7 March debated a law on women's rights while several hundred people held protests outside the parliament building. The bill, approved by the cabinet last May, will amend article one of the 1962 electoral law limiting participation to male citizens and bring it into line with the constitution, which calls for gender equality (MEED 23:2:05).According to reports, Prime Minister Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmed al-Sabah has emphasized that the government will 'purs
  • Kuwaiti-led consortium plans Bahrain-Qatar pipeline

    A consortium of Kuwait Finance House (KFH), Kuwait Foreign Petroleum Exploration Company (Kufpec), Petrocanada and Malaysia's Petronas is considering plans to build a gas pipeline linking Qatar and Bahrain, contingent on securing an agreement with Doha for an upstream concession. The gas would serve KFH's planned integrated petrochemicals, power and water complex in Bahrain as well as supplying surplus fuel to meet other requirements in the kingdom
  • Latest licensing round delayed as Tripoli mulls EPSA-4 terms

    National Oil Corporation (NOC)has postponed a new oil and gas exploration licensing round in order to review the terms of its EPSA-4 contract structure. Sources in Tripoli say the new round, which Prime Minister Shukri Ghanem said in early February would be launched in March, will be delayed by at least three months (MEED 14:2:05, Cover Story).
  • Launching an LNG industry

    Sceptics doubted that the Yemen LNG (YLNG) project would ever leave the drawing board, and with negotiations ongoing between shareholders and potential offtakers since 1996, they could be forgiven. However, the doubts are receding. With three offtake agreements signed in February, shipping and construction tenders issued and financing arrangements tentatively kicking off, the prospects for the project appear increasingly positive.
  • Lebanese government resigns

    The Lebanese government was forced to resign on 28 February following an opposition motion of no-confidence and huge anti-government protests.Prime Minister Omar Karami said in his announcement to parliament: 'I am keen the government will not be a hurdle in front of those who want good for this country. I declare the resignation of the government that I had the honour to head.'The statement was celebrated by at least 25,000 protesters in Martyr's Square in Bei
  • Lebanon: Shakeable foundations

    The untimely death of former prime minister and self-made property billionaire Rafiq Hariri has cast an enormous shadow over the post-civil war development of Beirut.
  • LNG ship finance: Banking on boats

    The soaring growth in the global liquefied natural gas (LNG) trade, much of it originating in the Middle East, will require billions of dollars of investment. A single 135,000-dwt vessel costs some $240 million and many of the vessels being discussed are considerably larger. A current snapshot sees Qatar Gas Transport Company (Nakilat) talking about a fleet of 70 tankers to serve the country's massive LNG ambitions, while on a smaller scale Oman is putting in place funding for four and Yemen LNG
  • LNG ship financing signed

    A $240 million agreement was signed on 8 March between Muscat, Japan Bank for International Co-operation (JBIC) and Mizuho Financial Groupto finance the acquisition of two liquefied natural gas (LNG) tankers by Oman Shipping Company (OSC)to serve the Qalhat LNG project. Mizuho lead arranged the commercial debt package, worth about $100 million, and JBIC provided the remainder. OSC will be the main shareholder in the two special purpose vehicles (SPVs) establis
  • LNG: The dash for gas

    There was a certain irony to proceedings on 27 February when the Royal Dutch/Shell Group became the latest international oil company (IOC) to sign up for a Qatari liquefied natural gas (LNG) venture. For it was the very same company that 35 years ago discovered the offshore North field. Back in 1971, gas was held in such low esteem that Shell and government officials were said to be disappointed the discovery was not oil. Indeed, it took a further 15 years for the first development work to begin
  • Local/American team wins expressway work

    The Ministry of Public Works (MPW) has selected a local/US team of Louis Berger Internationaland Pan Arab Consulting Engineers (PACE) for a 12-month consultancy contract to upgrade Jamal Abdulnasser and Jahra Streets in the centre of Kuwait City. Under the terms of the contract, the firms will undertake design studies to upgrade the roads to expressway status and improve traffic capacity at a number of junctions. The project covers about 12 kilometres of the parallel road
  • Local/American team wins expressway work

    The Ministry of Public Works (MPW) has selected a local/US team of Louis Berger Internationaland Pan Arab Consulting Engineers (PACE) for a 12-month consultancy contract to upgrade Jamal Abdulnasser and Jahra Streets in the centre of Kuwait City. Under the terms of the contract, the firms will undertake design studies to upgrade the roads to expressway status and improve traffic capacity at a number of junctions. The project covers about 12 kilometres of the parallel road
  • Locals win road contract

    The local Arabian Projects & Transporthas been awarded the RO 11.2 million ($28.7 million) contract to build the second section of the Al-Ashkhara-Shannah road, linking Al-Khuwaymah and Shannah. Austria's Strabag was awarded the first-phase contract in late 2004 for RO 4.8 million ($12.3 million) by the client, the Transport & Communications Ministry.
  • Locals win road contract

    The local Arabian Projects & Transporthas been awarded the RO 11.2 million ($28.7 million) contract to build the second section of the Al-Ashkhara-Shannah road, linking Al-Khuwaymah and Shannah. Austria's Strabag was awarded the first-phase contract in late 2004 for RO 4.8 million ($12.3 million) by the client, the Transport & Communications Ministry.
  • Logistics IPO on the way

    The initial public offering (IPO) of shares in the greenfield Arab International Logistics Companyis due to open on 3 March, arranged by The National Investor (TNI) and Shuaa Capital. TNI is also financial adviser while Shuaa is the bookrunner. A total of AED 1,000 million ($272 million) in capital will be on offer with minimum subscription reduced to 25,000 shares from 250,000, and a minimum allocation of 1,000 shares under a directive from the Economy & Plan
  • London hosts Palestinian conference

    Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas arrived in London on 1 March to attend a conference promoting international support for the Palestinian Authority (PA).The conference is being hosted by UK Prime Minister Tony Blair and will be attended by representatives of the quartet of Russia, US, EU and UN, (sponsors of the roadmap for peace), the IMF, the World Bank and a number of other Middle East and European countries.The talks will focus on strengthening the instituti
  • Long arms, deep pockets

    GCC project financiers who felt run off their feet in 2004 may soon be looking back on the year as a walk in the park. Deals with a total value in excess of $14,000 million were closed in 2004, close to double the roughly $8,000 million-worth concluded in 2003 (see table, page 26). But, as project activity reaches a frenetic pace, a conservative estimate of those set to come to market in 2005 or 2006 exceeds $40,000 million. The volume creates enormous opportunities for lenders to the region but
  • Low bidder emerges for Yanbu cracker

    Two teams bidding together for the first time in the kingdom are the low bidders for the contract to build a major mixed feedstock cracker for Saudi Basic Industries Corporation (Sabic)at its planned greenfield olefins complex at Yanbu, known as YanSab.
  • Lulu marine bids due

    Bids are due by 23 March for the marine works package on the planned BD 200 million ($526.3 million) Lulu Island resort off the coast of Manama. The contract covers quay walls and revetments and is estimated to be worth in excess of $30 million. Ten companies have been prequalified by the client, Lulu Tourism Company, which is a joint venture between the Finance & National Economy Ministry and local businessman Robert Mouawad. The consultant is the UK's Jacobs Gibb. Belgi
  • Lulu marine bids due

    Bids are due by 23 March for the marine works package on the planned BD 200 million ($526.3 million) Lulu Island resort off the coast of Manama. The contract covers quay walls and revetments and is estimated to be worth in excess of $30 million. Ten companies have been prequalified by the client, Lulu Tourism Company, which is a joint venture between the Finance & National Economy Ministry and local businessman Robert Mouawad. The consultant is the UK's Jacobs Gibb. Belgi
  • Lurgi, SocGen work on Salalah methanol

    Germany's Lurgihas been awarded the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract and Societe Generale is acting as financial adviser on the planned methanol plant at Salalah. A shareholders' agreement was signed for the project in late February (MEED 25:2:05).
  • Maaden receives phosphate study

    Saudi Arabian Mining Company (Maaden) is preparing to launch the first tender for an ammonia plant on its integrated fertiliser programme in May, according to Maaden president and chief executive officer, Abdallah al-Dabbagh. The fertiliser projects will receive feedstock from the Al-Jalamid phosphate scheme, for which Maaden in early March received the full feasibility study from a consortium comprising Canada's SNC Lavalin and the US' Jacobs Engineering Group (MEED 18:2:05).
  • Maaden unbundling to begin

    Saudi Arabian Mining Company (Maaden)is preparing to incorporate a new company comprising its gold business unit, in advance of spinning it off in late 2005 or early 2006. The incorporation is expected to be followed by the conclusion of several studies covering the Al-Jalamid phosphate and the Al-Zabirah bauxite mines and smelter projects under preparation (MEED 5:11:04).
  • Maersk to boost Al-Shaheen output

    Maersk Oil Qatar, the local subsidiary of Denmark's Maersk Oil & Gas, aims to increase production capacity from the Al-Shaheen field to 450,000 barrels a day (b/d) by 2008/09 from 240,000 b/d, Energy Minister Abdulla bin Hamad al-Attiya said on 22 February following the inauguration of a new gas gathering facility at the offshore oil concession (MEED 14:1:05). In April 2004, Maersk and Qatar Petroleumsigned a modification to the original 1992 agreement to include t
  • Major Jeddah development under way

    Local property developer Saleh al-Dorebe Group for Development & Real Estate Investment has unveiled plans for the construction of a major mixed-use waterfront facility to be built at a site south of Jeddah.
  • Major Jeddah development under way

    Local property developer Saleh al-Dorebe Group for Development & Real Estate Investment has unveiled plans for the construction of a major mixed-use waterfront facility to be built at a site south of Jeddah.
  • Manama angered by Hezbollah flags

    Bahraini Islamic Affairs Minister Sheikh Abdullah al-Khalifa met Shia clerics on 7 March to express the government's anger at the waving of Hezbollah flags and pictures depicting Iran's Grand Ayatollah Ali Khamenei during celebrations of the festival of Ashura.According to reports, Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid al-Khalifa has described the action as 'transgressions by some individuals who misused the Ashura observances to engage in activities incompatible with the significa
  • Marib power plant deal signed; more to come

    A consortium of Germany's Siemensand Saudi Arabia's Arabian Bemco Contractingis due to start infrastructure work on phase 1 of the Marib power station project, following the official signing of the $159 million contract on 3 March during German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder's visit to the country (see Last Word). The two companies are also preparing a financing proposal for the project's second phase. The client is state-owned Public Electricity Corporation (PEC - MEED 3:1
  • Marina Village bids in

    The local National Investment Corporation (NIC)is evaluating bids from 18 companies for the contract to build the estimated $75 million Marina Village 1 and Marina Village 2 residential development in Abu Dhabi. The project calls for the construction of 231 villas on the breakwater island development, overlooking Abu Dhabi corniche. Located close to the Marina Mall, the scope of works also includes construction of a mosque, substations, a golf club and associated leisure facilities.
  • Marina Village bids in

    The local National Investment Corporation (NIC)is evaluating bids from 18 companies for the contract to build the estimated $75 million Marina Village 1 and Marina Village 2 residential development in Abu Dhabi. The project calls for the construction of 231 villas on the breakwater island development, overlooking Abu Dhabi corniche. Located close to the Marina Mall, the scope of works also includes construction of a mosque, substations, a golf club and associated leisure facilities.
  • Marseilles boosts Barcelona

    The Barcelona Declaration, signed by EU foreign ministers on 27-28 November 1995, set in progress one of the grandest European initiatives. Marking the start of the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership - known as the Barcelona Process - the declaration set out the lofty aims of creating across the Mediterranean region a common area of peace and stability, social and cultural understanding and free trade. The agreement sought to bring unity to a region composed of the-then EU 15 and the so-called MEDA
  • Mashreqbank appoints arrangers for second EMTN

    Mashreqbankhas appointed a group of three banks to arrange the second drawdown of its euro medium-term note (EMTN) programme. Roadshows are scheduled to begin in Asia in mid-March, moving on to Europe the following week, with the issue due to hit the market by the end of the month.
  • Medgulf takes Ras Laffan berth work

    The local Medgulf Construction Companyhas been awarded an engineering, procurement, installation and commissioning (EPIC) contract worth QR 109 million ($30 million) for the common utilities package on the Ras Laffan liquid berth project. The 16-month contract includes installing electrical, telecommunications, firefighting and metering systems and the construction of a substation and a control building for berths 1A and 1B. Geneva-registered Archirodon Construction (Overseas
  • Middle East reform programme launched

    The OECD, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and six Arab states have approved a three-year action plan to promote public sector reform. The program establishes Arab-OECD working groups for action in six areas: civil service; the role of the judiciary and the rule of law; administrative and regulatory reform; the role of the media; public finance; and public service delivery. The six Arab countries involved are Morocco, Jordan, Lebanon, Egypt, Tuni
  • MINING INVESTMENT CODE: Digging for victory

    The new mining law provides the basis for turning the minerals sector into one of the main contributors to the domestic economy by providing a sound regulatory environment for investors. The new code offers a range of incentives such as the scrapping of advance payment and profit-sharing clauses, and the reduction of income tax liability to 20 per cent in accordance with the kingdom's income tax regime. The law also aims to provide a transparent environment which will ensure the equal treatment
  • Mining the desert

    When the government of Saudi Arabia began to make a detailed assessment of its mineral resources in the 1990s, it generated a great deal of excitement in the mining industry. Not only was the kingdom sitting on the biggest oil reserves in the world, but it now appeared that some massive deposits of metal ores and other valuable non-oil minerals were also sitting beneath the surface of the desert. A closer look at just one of these deposits, at Al-Jalamid in the north, revealed enough phosphate t
  • Ministry gets serious about water storage

    The Energy Ministry has invited 10 local grade 1 contractors to submit bids by 17 May for an estimated KD 11 million ($38 million) contract to build and maintain four 50 million-gallon-a-day (g/d) reinforced concrete water storage tanks in Al-Zour. The successful contractor will also have to install associated pumping facilities at the Al-Zour and Mina Abdullah pumping stations. A contract award is expected by the end of the third quarter. The project is aimed at increasing potable water capacit
  • Misr Bank to be sold

    Cairo is preparing to privatise state-owned Banque Misras part of its reform programme. Speaking to prospective investors in London in mid-March, Investment Minister Mahmoud Mohieldin said the sale would follow those of first Bank of Alexandriaand then Banque du Caire, which are planned before year-end. Government stakes in at least two joint venture banks will also be sold in 2005.
  • Mitsubishi group bids low for metro

    The consortium led by Japan's Mitsubishi Corporationis the low bidder for the first phase of the Dubai light rail transport (LRT) project after commercial bids from four consortia were opened on 28 February. The opening of commercial bids culminate six months of bidding for the construction contract (MEED 21:1:05).
  • Mitsubishi group bids low for metro

    The consortium led by Japan's Mitsubishi Corporationis the low bidder for the first phase of the Dubai light rail transport (LRT) project after commercial bids from four consortia were opened on 28 February. The opening of commercial bids culminate six months of bidding for the construction contract (MEED 21:1:05).
  • Mohammedia refinery financing nears

    The financing for the $550 million engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract for the phase 1 rehabilitation of the Mohammedia refinery is due to be finalised by the end of the first quarter, according to sources close to the deal. The project is to be financed on a 70:30 debt/equity basis. Letters of intent have been signed for the debt element, which is to be split into three tranches. Italy's SACE is expected to guarantee the international tranche, which is to be lead managed by
  • More rail links planned

    The Dubai government is studying several new plans to enhance its proposed rail network in the emirate. One is a high-speed non-stop underground system linking Dubai International Airport with Jebel Ali International Airport (JIA). The project, which is still in the feasibility stage, would begin servicing JIA by the end of 2006 when construction on the first phase of the airport is completed. The client is the Department of Civil Aviation (DCA). Dubai Municipality, which is currently evaluating
  • More rallies in Beirut

    Lebanese opposition protesters held a demonstration against the government on 28 February in Martyrs Square in Beirut.Calling for the government's resignation, the move came after Beirut imposed a ban on 27 February on all public demonstrations. Protestors spent the night in the square. The opposition has also declared a general strike.The Lebanese parliament is set to discuss today the opposition's motion of no-confidence in the government.
  • More time for licence bids

    The Petroleum Exploration & Production Authority has extended by a month to 15 April the bid deadline in its latest licensing round. Out for tender are blocks 7, 34, 37, 39, 55, 74 and 75 (MEED 4:2:05).
  • More time for Q-Chem II plant bidders

    The bid closing date has been extended by seven weeks for the main engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract on the Qatar Chemical Company II (Q-Chem II)ethylene derivatives complex at Mesaieed. Unpriced commercial bids are now due on 18 April with priced commercials expected on 9 June. Prospective bidders for the package, which involves the construction of a 350,000-tonne-a-year (t/y) high-density polyethylene (HDPE) unit and an alpha olefins plant of similar capacity
  • More time for roads bids

    Sharjah Municipality (SM) has extended the bid deadline to mid-April for two road projects aimed at easing traffic congestion in the city. The packages include the construction of two bridges near the National Paints roundabout on King Abdul-Aziz road and the replacement of a bridge and new interchange at King Faisal Square (MEED 4:3:05).
  • More time for roads bids

    Sharjah Municipality (SM) has extended the bid deadline to mid-April for two road projects aimed at easing traffic congestion in the city. The packages include the construction of two bridges near the National Paints roundabout on King Abdul-Aziz road and the replacement of a bridge and new interchange at King Faisal Square (MEED 4:3:05).
  • Movement at MoFNE

    Mahmood al-Kooheji, formerly head of the directorate of government shareholdings at the Ministry of Finance & National Economy (MoFNE), has been promoted to assistant undersecretary for economic affairs. He is replaced by Sheikh Mohammed bin Khalifa al-Khalifa. Al-Kooheji oversaw the smooth implementation of the kingdom's first independent power project (IPP), Al-Ezzal, in 2004 (MEED 6:8:04).
  • MPW 'will not cancel' Subiya causeway tender

    The Ministry of Public Works (MPW) has denied mounting speculation that the design-and-build tendering approach for the estimated $1,500 million Subiya causeway project will be scrapped in favour of a build-operate-transfer (BOT) model.
  • MPW 'will not cancel' Subiya causeway tender

    The Ministry of Public Works (MPW) has denied mounting speculation that the design-and-build tendering approach for the estimated $1,500 million Subiya causeway project will be scrapped in favour of a build-operate-transfer (BOT) model.
  • Mubadala signs up for Salalah methanol

    Abu Dhabi government-owned Mubadala Development Company and Oman Oil Company (OOC) have signed an agreement to develop a methanol plant in the Salalah free zone. The other investors are UK-based GTL Resourcesand Switzerland's Vitol(MEED 28:5:04).
  • Mubarak meets Asad

    Egyptian President Mubarak held talks on 15 March with Syrian President Asad in Damascus.The meeting was expected to focus on Lebanon and other regional issues such as Iraq and the Middle East peace process. Mubarak has backed a Syrian pullout from Lebanon. The visit will be followed in a week's time with an Arab League summit in Algeria (MEED 7:3:05).
  • Mubarak opens the doors to democracy

    President Mubarak in late February confirmed that he had asked the People's Assembly and upper house to amend the constitution to allow multiple candidates to stand in the upcoming presidential elections in October. 'I have asked the parliament and the Shoura Council to amend article 76 of the constitution, which deals with the election of the president,' said the 76-year-old president, who has ruled since his predecessor Anwar Sadat was assassinated in 1981.
  • Mubarak to allow competition for presidency

    Egyptian President Mubarak asked parliament on 26 February to amend the constitution to allow multiple candidates to compete in upcoming presidential elections in October.Speaking on state television, Mubarak said: 'I have asked the parliament and the Shoura Council to amend article 76 of the constitution, which deals with the election of the president.' He said he intended the amendment to allow political parties the opportunity 'to enter the presidential elections' and for
  • Muscat O&M work tendered

    Bids have been invited by 25 April for three three-year operation and maintenance (O&M) contracts covering water networks in various parts of the capital area. The first covers Muttrah, Muscat and Al-Amirat, the second covers Seeb and the third covers Al-Bawshar. The client is the Housing, Electricity & Water Ministry.
  • Naimi predicts sustained price highs oil prices

    Oil prices continued their surge in early March as the new month failed to bring spring weather and OPEC officials made bullish statements on the price outlook for the year ahead. The upward trend makes it increasingly unlikely that the producer group will opt to cut production at its forthcoming meeting. Spot Brent was trading at $51.23 on 2 March, compared to $48.26 a week earlier.
  • Nakilat IPO oversubscribed

    Subscription to shares in Qatar Gas Transportation Company (Nakilat)closed on 16 February nine and a half times oversubscribed. On offer were 240 million shares priced at QR 10 ($2.7) each. Small investors will be prioritised in share allocations. Qatar National Bankacted as lead manager on the issue, which was only open to nationals. Nakilat was established in June to own a fleet of 57-75 liquefied natural gas (LNG) carriers, which will be leased to Ras Laffan L
  • National library goes for retender

    Bidding has recommenced for the main package on the Qatar National Library project, after Qatar Petroleum (QP)issued the retender for the landmark project. Prequalifiers have been given until 3 April to submit design and build bids for the 30-month contract, valued at more than $200 million (MEED 21:1:05).
  • National library goes for retender

    Bidding has recommenced for the main package on the Qatar National Library project, after Qatar Petroleum (QP)issued the retender for the landmark project. Prequalifiers have been given until 3 April to submit design and build bids for the 30-month contract, valued at more than $200 million (MEED 21:1:05).
  • Nawras funding sealed

    A $220 million financing package was signed on 12 March between Nawras Telecom, the 70:30 joint venture between Qatar Telecom (Q-Tel)and Denmark's TDC International which was awarded the sultanate's second GSM licence in mid-2004, and a four-strong group of banks, to fund its start-up operations. Qatar National Bank (QNB) acted as financial adviser on the deal and was one of the mandated lead arrangers (MLAs) along with Bank Muscat,
  • Nawras funding sealed

    A $220 million financing package was signed on 12 March between Nawras Telecom, the 70:30 joint venture between Qatar Telecom (Q-Tel)and Denmark's TDC International which was awarded the sultanate's second GSM licence in mid-2004, and a four-strong group of banks, to fund its start-up operations. Qatar National Bank (QNB) acted as financial adviser on the deal and was one of the mandated lead arrangers (MLAs) along with Bank Muscat,
  • Nawras gets royal stamp

    A royal decree was issued on 20 February awarding the sultanate's second mobile licence to Nawras Telecom, the joint venture between Qatar Telecom and Denmark's TDC Mobile International. The company won the licence against competition from five other operators in early 2004 (MEED 18:6:04).
  • Nawras to launch services

    Nawras Telecom, the consortium led by Qatar Telecomwhich won the sultanate's second GSM licence in early 2004, plans to launch services on 16 March. The rollout follows the promulgation of a decree on 20 February formally awarding the licence (see Banking & Finance; MEED 25:2:05).
  • NBB plans Saudi launch

    National Bank of Bahrain (NBB)plans to start operations in Saudi Arabia by the end of the second quarter, chief executive officer Hassan Juma said after the bank's annual general meeting (AGM) on 28 February. NBB was granted a licence in 2002. Ali Juma also said that NBB was planning to expand further into the insurance sector and that his recent appointment as chairman of Bahrain Telecommunications Company (Batelco)would not affect his position at the bank. The AGM approved N
  • NBK buys CBI

    National Bank of Kuwait (NBK)has acquired a 75 per cent stake in Baghdad-based Credit Bank of Iraq (CBI), the first acquisition of a local bank by a foreign institution since the now-defunct US-led Coalition Provisional Authority began the licensing process for international entrants in early 2004. The International Finance Corporation (IFC), the private sector arm of the World Bank Group, will take a 10 per cent stake, with the remainder retained by the existing shareholders.
  • NBO calls off merger talks

    National Bank of Oman (NBO) on 1 March announced its withdrawal from merger talks with Bank Muscat, citing ongoing procedural delays to the process. Bank Muscat, in a letter to the Capital Markets Authority (CMA) on the same day, indicated that it was reducing its valuation of NBO following due diligence conducted by KPMGon the bank's books.
  • NDIA terminal package goes for prequalification

    The largest construction package has been issued for prequalification on the $2,500 million first phase of the New Doha International Airport (NDIA) project. For the contract, covering the passenger terminal complex, local grade A and international contractors have been invited to submit prequalifications by 28 March. The client, the NDIA Steering Committee, is also close to awarding the foundations package for the terminal. US-based Bechtelhas the engineering, procurement and constr
  • NDIA terminal package goes for prequalification

    The largest construction package has been issued for prequalification on the $2,500 million first phase of the New Doha International Airport (NDIA) project. For the contract, covering the passenger terminal complex, local grade A and international contractors have been invited to submit prequalifications by 28 March. The client, the NDIA Steering Committee, is also close to awarding the foundations package for the terminal. US-based Bechtelhas the engineering, procurement and constr
  • New board for IPIC

    President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed al-Nahyan issued a decree on 19 February reconstituting the board of directors for Abu Dhabi-based International Petroleum Investment Company (IPIC). The board is made up of Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed al-Nahyan (chairman), Mohammed Nasser al-Khalili (managing director), Mohammed Dhaen al-Hamili, Yousef Omeir bin Yousef, Khalifa Mohammed Khalifa al-Kindi, Hamad Mohammed al-Hurr al-Suwaidi, Nasser Ahmed Khalifa al-Suwaidi and Issa Mohammed Ghanem al-Suw
  • New CEO at DIB

    Saad Abdul Razak has been appointed chief executive officer (CEO) of Dubai Islamic Bank (DIB), following the resignation of Butti al-Falasy. Razak was previously deputy CEO. Al-Falasy oversaw a particularly successful year for DIB in 2004, which saw net profits soar by 97 per cent to AED 461 million ($125.6 million) and the bank's involvement in a series of landmark deals (UAE Banking, MEED Special Report, 4:3:05, pages 36-38).
  • New discovery made

    Oil Minister Bijan Zanganeh has announced the discovery of a new oil field with estimated recoverable reserves of 855 million barrels. The Ramin field is in Khouzestan province in the southwest, close to the site of the first oil discovery in the Middle East in 1908. The discovery increases Iran's recoverable reserves to 132,000 million barrels, the second largest in the world. Zanganeh also announced the discovery of a new non-associated gas field near Balal in the Gulf, with recoverable reserv
  • New Doha Airport programme shifts up a gear

    Two more contracts have been awarded on the first phase of the New Doha International Airport (NDIA) project and another construction award - covering the passenger terminal foundations package - is pending. The client, the NDIA Steering Committee, has also finalised the list of prequalifiers for the two largest construction packages so far on the programme. The $2,500 million project is being tendered in 22 packages under the supervision of the engineering, procurement and construction manageme
  • New Doha Airport programme shifts up a gear

    Two more contracts have been awarded on the first phase of the New Doha International Airport (NDIA) project and another construction award - covering the passenger terminal foundations package - is pending. The client, the NDIA Steering Committee, has also finalised the list of prequalifiers for the two largest construction packages so far on the programme. The $2,500 million project is being tendered in 22 packages under the supervision of the engineering, procurement and construction manageme
  • New Government talks continue

    The Shia United Iraqi Alliance (UIA) and the Kurdish coalition are expected to reach a deal over forming a new government in time for the first session of parliament. Kurdish leader Jalal Talabani said on 18 March that Iraq's new constitution should be agreed by August and will be based on the interim agreement that contains provisions for a federal and secular country. 'We have the TAL - transitional administrative law - which will be the main source for the new Iraqi constitution,' he said. Th
  • New Iraqi government takes shape

    At least one of the questions concerning the shape of the new Iraqi government seems to have been answered. Daawa Party leader Ibrahim Jaafari has emerged as the most likely candidate for prime minister.
  • New Iraqi government talks inconclusive

    The Shia United Iraqi Alliance (UIA) and the Kurdish coalition are expected to reach a deal over forming a new government in time for the next session of parliament on 25 or 26 March.Kurdish leader Jalal Talabani told CNN that Iraq's new constitution should be agreed by August and would be based on the interim agreement that contains provisions for a federal and secular country. 'We have the TAL - transitional administrative law - which will be the main source for the new Ira
  • New Iraqi parliament deadlocked

    Iraq's new parliament opened on 16 March in Baghdad but talks on forming a government remained unresolved.Talks have stalled due to Kurdish demands over who governs the oil-rich city of Kirkuk and the amalgamation of Kurdish militias into the Iraqi security forces insisted upon by the Shia United Iraqi Alliance (UIA). The Kurds have agreed to support UIA prime minister designate Ibrahim Jaafari, leader of the Dawa party. Kurdish leader Jalal Talabani is expected to be preside
  • New moves on Marafiq IWPP

    Three consortia planning to bid for the independent water and power project (IWPP) planned by The Power & Water Utilities Company for Jubail & Yanbu (Marafiq)have been given an additional six weeks until 16 April to submit their proposals.
  • New package out on NDIA project

    The airfield paving and road tunnel package on the New Doha International Airport (NDIA) project has been issued for bid. Seven groups of international and local contractors are prequalified to submit prices by 22 May. The design and build contract calls for the construction of a runway, taxiways, aprons, drainage and a 650-metre-long tunnel. The $2,500 million NDIA project is being carried out in 22 packages. The US' Bechtel has the engineering, procurement and construction manageme
  • New package out on NDIA project

    The airfield paving and road tunnel package on the New Doha International Airport (NDIA) project has been issued for bid. Seven groups of international and local contractors are prequalified to submit prices by 22 May. The design and build contract calls for the construction of a runway, taxiways, aprons, drainage and a 650-metre-long tunnel. The $2,500 million NDIA project is being carried out in 22 packages. The US' Bechtel has the engineering, procurement and construction manageme
  • New prices due for Tasnee olefins

    New prices are due to be submitted in mid-March to the local Tasnee Petrochemicalsfollowing clarification meetings with four teams bidding for the contract to build a mixed feedstock cracker in Jubail. The bidders on the estimated $600 million-700 million, technology supply-and-engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract are: ABB Lummus Global, with Italy's Snamprogetti; US-based Shaw International, with Taiwan's CTCI; US-b
  • New private equity fund planned

    Germany's European Corporate Management Group (ECMG)and Dubai Bank on 4 March signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to set up an Islamic buyout private equity fund to invest in German medium-sized enterprises. The final size is still being discussed but is expected to be $150 million-250 million. The MoU was signed during German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder's visit to Abu Dhabi.
  • New tax for foreign PMCs

    International project management consultancy (PMC) firms and consultants are now under an obligation to pay a new tax to the Department of Zakat & Income Tax at the Finance Ministry. Known as the withholding tax, the fee is 5-20 per cent of the total fees charged by a PMC/consultant to carry out any work in the kingdom. It covers civil, oil and gas, petrochemical and power and water projects. Engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contractors have not been brought under the purview of t
  • New tax for foreign PMCs

    International project management consultancy (PMC) firms and consultants are now under an obligation to pay a new tax to the Department of Zakat & Income Tax at the Finance Ministry. Known as the withholding tax, the fee is 5-20 per cent of the total fees charged by a PMC/consultant to carry out any work in the kingdom. It covers civil, oil and gas, petrochemical and power and water projects. Engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contractors have not been brought under the purview of t
  • New telco fund targets region

    Cayman Islands-based Al-Tawfeek Company for Investment Fundson 23 March announced the launch of a new telecommunications investment fund, incorporated in Bahrain and regulated by the Bahrain Monetary Agency (BMA). According to Al-Tawfeek, the open-ended Arab Telecommunication Fund will 'target capital of $500 million and will invest in listed and unlisted sharia-compliant equity and equity-related securities of telecommunications and related infrastructure companies established or op
  • New wind farm tender issued

    The New & Renewable Energy Authority (NREA) has issued a tender for the construction of an 80-MW wind farm at Zaafarana in the Gulf of Suez. International contractors have until 28 March to prequalify for the estimated $80 million design, construction, operation and maintenance contract, which is the fourth phase of development at the Zaafarana site. The project is being funded by Kreditanstalt fuer Wiederaufbau (KfW). In early 2004, Spain's Gamesawas awarded an $85 million contract
  • Nexans wins Dolphin umbilicals

    The last major engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) package has been placed on the first phase of the Dolphin gas pipeline project, with the award of the umbilicals package to the Norwegian office of Nexans. The contract, valued at more than $67 million, involves the manufacture, supply and installation of two umbilical cables which will connect the Dolphin offshore platforms in Qatar's North field to its gas processing plant at Ras Laffan. The other bidders were Paris-bas
  • Nine sign up for Safco debt package

    A total of nine local and regional banks have joined the club financing for Saudi Arabian Fertiliser Company (Safco). The $330 million package will be used to part finance the expansion programme under which Germany's Uhdeis adding 1.1 million tonnes a year of new urea and ammonia production capacity at the Jubail complex (MEED 24:5:04).
  • NOC studies refinery plans

    National Oil Corporation (NOC) is reviewing options to build a new refinery in the southwest of the country. The project is part of a larger scheme aimed at bringing on board joint venture partners to support NOC's efforts to upgrade and expand its refineries and petrochemical facilities.
  • Nour freed on bail

    Cairo freed on 12 March Ayman Nour, head of Egyptian liberal grouping Party of Tomorrow, who was arrested six weeks ago for allegedly forging election papers.Nour and five others were freed on bail of £E 10,000 ($1,724) each. The investigation is continuing, chief prosecutor Maher Abdel-Wahed told reporters. Police arrested Nour on 29 January and accused him of forging more than 2,000 signatures required to form his party.Washington had expressed concern over t
  • NPCC homes in on Asab gas package

    The local National Petroleum Corporation Company (NPCC)is understood to have been selected for the package 1 contract on the third phase of the onshore gas development (OGD-3) and phase 2 of the Asab gas development (AGD-2) project in Abu Dhabi. NPCC was the low bidder at $362 million in the repricing exercise held in mid-February (MEED 15:2:05).
  • OAG takes shape

    Plansto connect the onshore and offshore gas networks in Abu Dhabi emirate have moved forward with the selection of US-based Fluor Corporation for a contract to carry out the front-end engineering and design (FEED) package. Known as the alternative for offshore associated gas (OAG), the project will involve the supply and installation of a marine and land pipeline to transport gas from Das island to Habshan. The next stage in the project implementation is the appointment of a project
  • OIEC bids low for South Pars 17-18, needs partner

    A local partnership of Oil Industries Engineering & Construction (OIEC)and Iran Offshore Engineering Company (IOEC) is understood to have submitted the lowest bid at $2,045 million for the South Pars phases 17-18 development project, following the opening of bids in early March. However, it is unclear if the client, Pars Oil & Gas Company (POGC),will negotiate with the consortium, which does not have a foreign partner (MEED 18:2:05).
  • Oil at $40; $50 for 2005

    Saudi Petroleum and Mineral Resources Minister Ali Naimi said on 24 February that oil prices this year are likely to remain at $40-50 a barrel.Speaking to journalists, Naimi said that OPEC planned to alter the make up of the group's reference basket of crude oils, because the current constitution is predominantly made up of light, sweet oil, not the heavier, sour crudes which are mainly produced in the Middle East.The basket matters because its price is that re
  • Olympics set for relocation to Kuwait City

    Tender documents are being prepared for the KD 15 million ($52 million) main construction packages on a new headquarters for the Olympic Council of Asia. A tender for the excavation contract is expected in May, with tenders for the piling and construction works likely to be issued shortly after. Located in Salmiya, next to the Gulf road, the eight-storey complex will include a four-star hotel, retail outlets and a car park. Construction is expected to take at least two years. The local P
  • Olympics set for relocation to Kuwait City

    Tender documents are being prepared for the KD 15 million ($52 million) main construction packages on a new headquarters for the Olympic Council of Asia. A tender for the excavation contract is expected in May, with tenders for the piling and construction works likely to be issued shortly after. Located in Salmiya, next to the Gulf road, the eight-storey complex will include a four-star hotel, retail outlets and a car park. Construction is expected to take at least two years. The local P
  • Oman LNG considers refinancing

    Oman LNGis considering refinancing a $1,300 million facility taken out in 2002, which was itself the refinancing of a debt package signed in 1997. The possible move follows the success of the 15.5-year Qalhat LNGdeal, signed in April, which was priced very tightly at 40 basis points (bp), stepping up to 110 bp. Oman LNG's 16.5-year 2002 debt was priced at 90-140 bp. Citibankwas the financial adviser and 12 banks joined the lead arranging group (MEED 8:3:02). Oman L
  • Oman, UAE start FTA talks with Washington

    The US on 8 March began negotiations with the UAE over a free trade agreement (FTA) and is scheduled to start discussions with Oman on 12 March. 'The UAE and Oman are important strategic partners in the Middle East implementing significant economic reforms that free trade agreements with US will support and accelerate,' said acting US trade representative Peter Allegeier. Assistant US trade representative for Europe and the Mediterranean Catherine Novelli will lead the negotiating team, as she d
  • On the hunt for new markets

    With record oil revenues grabbing the headlines it has been easy to miss Saudi Arabia's other economic success story - the growth of its non-oil economy. Riyadh's non-oil sector grew by 5.7 per cent in 2004, its highest growth rate in 20 years and almost equal to the 5.9 per cent growth in the oil sector.
  • One bidding group shows up for Shouaiba IWPP

    Water & Electricity Company (WEC)and its advisers have started bid evaluation for the Shouaiba independent water and power project (IWPP), after receiving just one proposal by the 5 March deadline. According to the announced opening price, the bidder - a 50:50 local/Malaysian developer consortium made up of Acwapower Projects, Tenaga Nasional Berhadand Malakoff Berhad- has offered to supply electricity at SR 0.0895 ($0.0239) a kilowatt hour (kWh) and wa
  • ONE seeks Ouezzane power plant interest

    Office National de L'Electricite (ONE) is seeking expressions of interest by 16 March from international developers for an 800-MW power plant, located near the Al-Wahda dam in the northern region of Ouezzane. The Gazoduc Maghreb Europe pipeline will supply gas feedstock. The estimated $200 million project will be developed on a 20-year build-operate-transfer (BOT) basis, with a view to the plant being operational by 2008.
  • OOC mulls Madhya Pradesh project

    Bharat Oman Refineries (BORL), a joint venture between Oman Oil Company and Bharat Petroleum Corporation, is expected to soon take a final investment decision on its proposed new refinery at Bina in the central Indian state of Madhya Pradesh. The project has been on the drawing board since 1997, but failed to move into the development stage due to long delays in administrative approvals and tax-related issues. The Madhya Pradesh government is understood to have rec
  • OPEC lifts ceiling

    As prices hovered around $55 a barrel, OPEC took the decision to increase output during its meeting in Iran on 16 March - surprising most analysts, who had expected a quota rollover. The group also pledged a further rise if the move failed to calm the market. However, the immediate effect on prices was limited, with traders aware that the production pledge would have no material effect on output. Spot Brent was trading at $54.95 a barrel on 17 March, compared with $54.27 a barrel a week earlier.
  • OPEC mulls quota increase oil prices

    Oil prices eased marginally in the week following OPEC's pledge to boost output, but the group's decision - which only brought the quota closer in line with actual output - appeared to have little to do with the fall. With prices stubbornly above $50 a barrel, the producer group's ministers are due to discuss a further output rise before the end of the month. Spot Brent was trading at $53.87 a barrel on 23 March, compared with $54.95 a barrel a week earlier.
  • Orascom expands

    The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) has approved the development of a $300 million cement plant in the Bazian area by a consortium of Egypt's Orascom Construction Industries (OCI) and Faruk Rasool Groupand Blair Sayed Magid, both local. Construction of the 2.5 million-tonne-a-year (t/y) plant is scheduled to start during the second quarter of 2005 and is expected to take about 26 months. The Bazian project will take OCI's cement production capacity in nort
  • Orascom increases its North African presence

    Egypt's Orascom Telecomhas increased its holdings in its Algerian and Tunisian GSM subsidiaries. The acquisition on 6 March of a 23 per cent stake in Orascom Telecom Algeria (Djezzy)increases Orascom's stake in the company to 85 per cent, while the purchase on the same day of a 22 per cent stake in Orascom Telecom Tunisia (Tunisiana)increases its holding in the firm to 45 per cent.
  • Orascom share purchase stumbles

    Egypt's Orascom Telecom( OT) has filed a request for arbitration with the International Chamber of Commerce after difficulties arose regarding the acquisition of additional equity stakes in its subsidiaries. Agreements were signed on 6 March for OT's purchase of a 23.1 per cent indirect equity stake in its Algerian subsidiary Djezzyand a 22.3 per cent indirect equity stake in Tunisiana, its Tunisian subsidiary. The shares corresponding to the Djezz
  • Orsacom's profits leap

    The boom in regional construction activity has delivered a surge in profits for local construction giant Orascom Construction Industries (OCI). The company announced on 6 March a 97 per cent increase in its net income for the year ended 31 December 2004 and a 94 per cent rise in revenues. Net income for the year was £E 1,101 million ($188 million) compared to £E 558 million ($96 million) in 2003. Revenues for the same period were about £E 8,556 million ($1,468 million), up from £E 4,
  • Orsacom's profits leap

    The boom in regional construction activity has delivered a surge in profits for local construction giant Orascom Construction Industries (OCI). The company announced on 6 March a 97 per cent increase in its net income for the year ended 31 December 2004 and a 94 per cent rise in revenues. Net income for the year was £E 1,101 million ($188 million) compared to £E 558 million ($96 million) in 2003. Revenues for the same period were about £E 8,556 million ($1,468 million), up from £E 4,
  • Oslo to aid Iraqi oil industry

    Norwegian Deputy Minister of International Development Leiv Lunde said on 23 March that Oslo plans to share its oil industry experience with Iraq.'There is real interest in doing this and getting it going this year,' he said. Baghdad is seeking help in areas such as training and education for Iraqi oil officials and a regulatory structure for oil field operations and accounting.Norway's ministries of oil and finance and possibly private companies will be involv
  • OT lands fixed-line

    An Egyptian consortium of Orascom Telecomand state-owned Telecom Egypt (TE) has been awarded the country's second national and international fixed-line licence for $65 million by the regulator, L'Autorite de Regulation de la Poste & des Telecommunications (ARPT). The licence will end the monopoly of state-owned Algerie Telecom.
  • OVL signs up for offshore acreage

    India's ONGC Videsh (OVL)signed on 2 March an appraisal, development and production sharing agreement with Qatar Petroleum (QP)for the offshore Najwat Najem oil acreage. Under the agreement, OVL will take two years carrying out appraisals of the offshore structure and based on the results will develop the field, which will be connected to the Halul island terminal for processing and export. About 12 international oil companies were invited to bid for the acreage in mid-20
  • Oxy negotiates for Mukhaizna

    Negotiations are understood to be ongoing with the government over the possibility of the US' Occidental Petroleumtaking over responsibility for the Mukhaizna thermal injection enhanced oil recovery (EOR) project from Petroleum Development Oman (PDO). There is also a possibility of PDO's biggest shareholder, the Royal Dutch/Shell Group, taking direct responsibility for the scheme. An award is pending of the front-end engineering and design (FEED) contract on t
  • Oxy signs exploration agreement

    The US' Occidental Petroleum Corporationon 6 March signed contract agreements with National Oil Corporation (NOC)for nine exploration and production sharing agreements (EPSAs) awarded in the EPSA-4 licensing round in January. Occidental has a 90 per cent interest in onshore blocks 106 and 124 in the Sirte basin, blocks 131 and 163 in the Murzuq basin and block 59 in the Cyrenaica basin. Abu Dhabi government-owned Liwa Energyholds the remaining 10 per cent. Occ
  • PA announces 2005 budget

    Palestinian Finance Minister Salam Fayyad announced on 17 March the Palestinian Authority's (PA) budget for 2005.Outlining the new budget Fayyad said the PA would hire an international accountancy firm to audit its accounts as part of efforts to ensure financial transparency and accountability. A tender has been issued to six firms affiliated to the World Bank.International auditing firms, hired by the UN and US, have been advising the PA since 2003. 'A key pri
  • Palestinian factions agree to conditional ceasefire

    At a meeting in Cairo on 17 March, the main Palestinian factions, including the militant organisations Hamas and Islamic Jihad, agreed to a conditional truce with Israel.The various political groupings said they would observe an open-ended period of 'thah'diya' or 'calm' if Tel Aviv stopped its attacks and released Palestinian prisoners.Israel reacted by reiterating its position that a temporary ceasefire was not enough and that the Palestinian Authority (PA) s
  • PAMA to get new HQ

    Final design work is under way on a new headquarters for the Public Authority for Minor Affairs (PAMA). The estimated KD 18 million-20 million ($62 million-69 million) 30-storey building will be located near the fifth ring-road and will replace PAMA's existing headquarters in the Al-Sharq district of Kuwait City. A tender for the 30-month main construction package is expected by the summer. The local Pan Arab Consulting Engineers (PACE) is the design consultant. The client is the Min
  • PAMA to get new HQ

    Final design work is under way on a new headquarters for the Public Authority for Minor Affairs (PAMA). The estimated KD 18 million-20 million ($62 million-69 million) 30-storey building will be located near the fifth ring-road and will replace PAMA's existing headquarters in the Al-Sharq district of Kuwait City. A tender for the 30-month main construction package is expected by the summer. The local Pan Arab Consulting Engineers (PACE) is the design consultant. The client is the Min
  • Paris proposes UN resolution demanding Darfur cases be tried at ICC

    Paris on 24 March said it intended to seek a UN resolution referring Darfur war crimes to the International Criminal Court (ICC).The proposal may force Washington to cast a veto or accept a tribunal it opposes. The US has offered to create a UN run all-African tribunal in Tanzania. The Bush administration objects to the ICC, fearing US citizens could face politically motivated prosecutions.According to press reports, at least 10 countries support the French dra
  • Paris summit pressures Damascus

    The leaders of France, Germany, Russia and Spain demanded on 18 March that Damascus should comply fully with UN resolution 1559 calling for a Syrian withdrawal from Lebanon and that free elections should be held.In a joint statement, all leaders agreed it 'was necessary: that a government capable of acting in the interests of all Lebanese people is formed quickly. We will be attentive to make sure the electoral process runs smoothly.' They hoped independent electoral observer
  • Parliament holds debut session

    Iraqis witnessed yet another historic moment on 16 March. The country's parliament, known as the Transitional National Assembly (TNA) and elected by popular suffrage in January, met for its inaugural session in a convention centre on the banks of the Tigris. However, the gathering was chiefly ceremonial and the sense of triumph was tempered by continued wrangling over the make-up of the interim government and Kurdish rights.
  • Parliament passes landmark hydocarbons bill

    Algiers took an important step along the road to economic modernisation when parliament passed the long-awaited hydrocarbons bill on 20 March. The bill received a large majority in the National People's Assembly despite its rejection by the Parti des Travailleurs (Workers Party) and the abstention of the El-Islah party.
  • Pars LNG to move ahead

    Preliminary design work is under way at Persian LNGfor its proposed grassroots liquefied natural gas (LNG) complex and related facilities to be built near Assaluyeh, following the signing of a project framework agreement between its shareholders. However, detailed engineering design work is not likely to start within the next two years. In September, a heads of agreement (HoA) was signed between National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC), the Royal Dutch/Shell Group
  • Parsons invites bids for major prison complexes

    The US' Parsons Internationalhas issued two requests for proposals (RFPs) inviting local and international contractors to submit technical offers by 26 March for contracts to design and build two new prison facilities in the Diyala and Thi Qar governorates. Once evaluation of technical proposals is complete, shortlisted contractors will be invited to submit prices for the work. Awards are expected to be made by the end of May. The first of the two fast-track contracts covers the cons
  • Parsons invites bids for major prison complexes

    The US' Parsons Internationalhas issued two requests for proposals (RFPs) inviting local and international contractors to submit technical offers by 26 March for contracts to design and build two new prison facilities in the Diyala and Thi Qar governorates. Once evaluation of technical proposals is complete, shortlisted contractors will be invited to submit prices for the work. Awards are expected to be made by the end of May. The first of the two fast-track contracts covers the cons
  • PDO invites EoIs for Al-Kawther pipelines

    Petroleum Development Oman (PDO)has invited expressions of interest (EoIs) by 2 March for the pipelines package on the Al-Kawther gas gathering project. A tender is expected by the end of March with an award in the third quarter and completion by early 2007.
  • Peremba scoops Palm Jumeirah Oceana project

    Malaysia's Peremba Constructionhas been awarded a four-month contract to carry out piling and excavation works for the Oceana development on Palm Jumeirah. Located near the top of the palm's trunk, the project will cover a built-up area of about 40,000 square metres and comprise seven themed luxury buildings including a four-star hotel. The contract was awarded on a negotiated basis. The client, Seven Tides Developmentwith Asteco Development Management, both l
  • Peremba scoops Palm Jumeirah Oceana project

    Malaysia's Peremba Constructionhas been awarded a four-month contract to carry out piling and excavation works for the Oceana development on Palm Jumeirah. Located near the top of the palm's trunk, the project will cover a built-up area of about 40,000 square metres and comprise seven themed luxury buildings including a four-star hotel. The contract was awarded on a negotiated basis. The client, Seven Tides Developmentwith Asteco Development Management, both l
  • Petrofac wins major maintenance contract

    Petrofac Facilities Management (PFM), part of UAE-based Petrofac International, has been awarded a five-year performance-based maintenance services contract covering Kuwait Oil Company (KOC) facilities in north and west Kuwait. The $125 million deal is the first of its kind to be awarded to an international contractor in the state.
  • PIM out for Qasco debt

    The preliminary information memorandum (PIM) has been issued to banks for the commercial debt package to fund the expansion of the Qatar SteelCompany (Qasco)plant at Mesaieed. Responses from banks are due by 3 April, with financial close due by 23 April. Standard Chartered Bank- taking over a mandate held by ANZ Investment Bank- is financial adviser and Norton Roseis the legal adviser.
  • Platform prequalification out on Pearl GTL

    Prequalification is under way for the platforms package on the integrated Pearl GTL project being developed by the Royal/Dutch Shell Group. The engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) package, expected to be issued for bid in mid-May, will involve the installation of two wellhead jackets with processing topsides. A contract award is scheduled for January 2006. One other offshore package, covering pipelines, will be tendered on the estimated $5,000 million project. The first p
  • Please Rod - before you go, save BA's Saudi services

    Two princes are uniting to keep British Airways (BA) flying to Saudi Arabia, the region's largest aviation market and home for 20,000 Britons and their families.
  • PM sought for Abu Dhabi police work

    The Interior Ministry has invited five companies to submit bids by 21 March for the position of project manager for its future construction schemes in the emirate. The prequalifiers are Gibb Middle East, part of the UK's Gibb, the local office of KEO International Consultantsand Parsons International, Turner Construction International and Hill International, all of the US. A total of AED 2,500 million ($680 million) is set t
  • PM sought for Abu Dhabi police work

    The Interior Ministry has invited five companies to submit bids by 21 March for the position of project manager for its future construction schemes in the emirate. The prequalifiers are Gibb Middle East, part of the UK's Gibb, the local office of KEO International Consultantsand Parsons International, Turner Construction International and Hill International, all of the US. A total of AED 2,500 million ($680 million) is set t
  • PMD invites ethylene bids

    A fifth major cracker project has gone to tender in the kingdom with the release of invitation to bid (ITB) documents by the local Project Management & Development Company (PMD). The move comes amid reports that PMD is talking to at least two international companies to come on board as joint venture partners (MEED 19:11:04).
  • Power privatisation accelerates

    Phases 1 and 2 of the Hidd power and desalination complex are expected to be offered for sale to a private operator by the end of 2005, say government officials. The acceleration of the power privatisation programme follows the smooth implementation of the kingdom's first independent power project (IPP), Al-Ezzal, in 2004, which was won by a joint venture of Belgium's Tractebel and Kuwait's Gulf Investment Corporation. A team of Ernst & Young, Germany's
  • Power: New generation

    If 2004 was considered the best yet for the Gulf's independent power project (IPP), this year is shaping up to be even better. While last year saw four private power projects tendered, potentially five IPPs will hit the market in the next 12 months.
  • Prequals delayed for paraxylene project

    Abu Dhabi Oil Refining Company (Takreer)has extended the deadline to 22 March for companies to submit prequalifications for a contract to carry out a feasibility study on its planned world-scale aromatics complex at Ruwais. Called the aromatics and gasoline expansion project, the prospective bidders include Australia's WorleyParsons, the Italian office of Paris-based Technipand Foster Wheeler, Jacobs Engineeringand Bechtel, all U
  • Prequals due for Abu Dhabi aromatics plant

    Abu Dhabi Oil Refining Company (Takreer) has invited companies to submit prequalifications by 7 March for a contract to carry out a feasibility study for its planned world-scale aromatics complex at Ruwais. Called the aromatics and gasoline expansion project, the prospective bidders include Australia's WorleyParsons, the Italian office of Paris-based Technipand Foster Wheeler, Fluor Corporation, Jacobs Engineering, Shaw G
  • Prequals due for cogen plant

    Applications for prequalification have been invited by 18 April for a contract to build a cogeneration plant for Oman Refinery Company. The engineering, procurement, construction and commissioning (EPCC) contract includes the installation of two gas turbines, two heat recovery steam generators, a 400-tonne-a-day desalination unit and associated works. About 13 companies have so far picked up the tender documents.
  • Prequals in for GIIC expansion

    The local Gulf Industrial Investment Company (GIIC)is undertaking a project to expand iron pelletising capacity and infrastructure at its Hidd plant at a cost of more than $100 million. Applications for prequalification have been submitted for the two main engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) packages.
  • Prequals out for New Rashid hospital

    Dubai's Department of Health & Medical Services (DOHMS) has invited consultants to prequalify by 5 April for a contract to design and supervise the construction of the New Rashid Hospital, to be located beside the creek. The facility will eventually replace the existing Rashid Hospital. The estimated $80 million project calls for the construction of a 600-bed hospital, an intensive care unit, a coronary department and a burns unit. The establishment will also include a dental care centre. Work o
  • Prequals out for New Rashid hospital

    Dubai's Department of Health & Medical Services (DOHMS) has invited consultants to prequalify by 5 April for a contract to design and supervise the construction of the New Rashid Hospital, to be located beside the creek. The facility will eventually replace the existing Rashid Hospital. The estimated $80 million project calls for the construction of a 600-bed hospital, an intensive care unit, a coronary department and a burns unit. The establishment will also include a dental care centre. Work o
  • President Lahoud reappoints prime minister

    Lebanese President Lahoud reappointed on 10 March outgoing pro-Syrian prime minister Omar Karami. A majority of parliament's 128 deputies nominated Karami, forced to resign from office following opposition rallies in Beirut, on 9 March.It was unclear whether opposition parties would join the new government. Speaking to journalists, Karami said: 'We'll continue to extend our arms to them [the opposition] and wait for them. Our main concern is not forming a government but savin
  • Prices awaited for OGD-3/AGD-2 project manager role

    Abu Dhabi Gas Industries Company (Gasco)has invited four companies to submit commercial bids by 26 March for the construction project manager's role on package 3 of the third phase of the onshore gas development (OGD-3) and phase 2 of the Asab gas development (AGD-2) project. The prequalifiers are WorleyParsons of Australia, the US/Canadian VECOand Foster Wheeler and Mustang Engineering, both US-based. Technical bids were submitted in late
  • Prices hit fresh highs

    Oil prices continued their rise in the second week of March, as cold weather continued to hit the US and Europe and OPEC officials showed little appetite for raising production to dampen prices. Speculative buying by funds exacerbated the pressure. Spot Brent was trading at $54.27 a barrel on 9 March, compared with $51.23 a barrel a week earlier.
  • Prices spike as cold weather hits north oil prices

    Oil prices soared in the final week of February on a cold snap in the northern hemisphere, boosting distillate demand. Reassuring words from OPEC had little effect and a US federal holiday on 21 February delayed publication of inventory data, keeping traders in suspense. Spot Brent was trading at $48.26 a barrel on 23 February, compared with $44.48 a week earlier.
  • property law: Opening the floodgates

    Shoppers walking into any Dubai mall recently could be forgiven for thinking that they have entered a property show. The rows of stalls set up by local property developers can make the shopping trip a surreal experience. Not only is it possible to buy groceries, for a small deposit now almost anyone can come away with an apartment on a prime piece of real estate.
  • Proposals in for DCCI tower

    Five companies have submitted design proposals for a second tower for the Dubai Chamber of Commerce & Industry (DCCI) in Deira. The project calls for the construction of a landmark 24-storey building at a cost of about AED 200 million ($54 million). The bidders are: the local Dewan Architects & Engineers; the US' Gensler Associates; RMJM Internationalof the UK; Germany's Architekten von Gerkan, Marg & Partners (GMP); and an unidentified Japanese fi
  • Proposals in for DCCI tower

    Five companies have submitted design proposals for a second tower for the Dubai Chamber of Commerce & Industry (DCCI) in Deira. The project calls for the construction of a landmark 24-storey building at a cost of about AED 200 million ($54 million). The bidders are: the local Dewan Architects & Engineers; the US' Gensler Associates; RMJM Internationalof the UK; Germany's Architekten von Gerkan, Marg & Partners (GMP); and an unidentified Japanese fi
  • Protest against Damascus influence

    Tens of thousands of opposition supporters gathered on 5 December at Progressive Socialist Party leader Walid Jumblatt's headquarters to show support for his stance against Damascus' continuing influence over Lebanon. Other opposition groups also protested, amid growing cohesion among opposition politicians in rejecting the presence of the 14,000 Syrian troops based in the country. 'Fear nothing,' Jumblatt said. 'We are not alone in the world anymore, but what we need now is
  • Protestors demand return of war prisoners

    Demonstrators in Rabat on 6 March called for the return of prisoners of war held in Algeria. The Polisario Front, backed by Algiers, has held at least 400 soldiers since the end of a war with Morocco in 1975 over control of the disputed Western Sahara region.
  • Protests over website arrests

    A second demonstration was held on 1 March outside the Public Prosecutor's office in Manama against the arrest of three moderators of the discussion forum website bahrainonline.org. Ali Abdulemam, the site's owner and creator, was detained on 27 February in connection with content appearing on the website. He will remain in custody for 15 days. The general prosecutor also called Mohammed Al-Mousawi and Hussain Yousif in for questioning on 1 March. Abdulemam's family maintain
  • PWC wins logistics job for US

    The local PWC Logisticshas been awarded a logistics contract, worth up to $3,200 million, to supply basic subsistence provisions to US forces based in Iraq, Kuwait, Qatar and Afghanistan. The firm also announced on 21 February its acquisition of Singaporean-based logistics service provider Trans-Link Groupin a deal worth $35 million.
  • QAFCO: A time to expand

    There are not many fertiliser companies in the world that can undertake a $470 million project and confidently predict that the investment costs will be covered by just two years of profits. But that is just what Qatar Fertiliser Company (Qafco) is forecasting with its Qafco 4 project, after it posted record profits of $259 million in 2004. Little wonder, then, that the company - already the world's largest single-site urea producer - has its sights set on further expansion, with agreement now s
  • QASCO: Steeling for growth

    After the famine of the late 1990s, the feast finally arrived for the steel industry in 2004. Rampant demand, fuelled by a voracious Chinese economy, drove up prices and margins. While contractors complained at supply shortages and price inflation, producers worked overtime to service the most favourable market in years. 'It was a year like never before,' says Qatar Steel Company (Qasco) director and general manager Sheikh Nasser bin Hamad al-Thani. 'Whatever was produced was sold and all enjoye
  • Qatar-Pakistan to study gas import options

    A technical committee set up between Qatar Petroleum (QP) and Pakistan's Oil Ministry is due to hold its first meeting in Doha by the end of March on the options for supplying Qatari gas to Pakistan. The committee will study the volume of gas to be imported, the mode of transportation and price. The possibility of a gas pipeline to Pakistan from Qatar has been under consideration since the early 1990s. A consortium led by Sharjah-based Crescent Petroleum Company, which si
  • Rabat urged to reform

    The IMF on 1 March urged Morocco to reduce its tariffs and seek to integrate with other Maghreb countries to help establish a regional market.Speaking to journalists, IMF managing director Rodrigo Rato said he had encouraged the government to 'accelerate structural reforms to increase productivity and private investment and maximise the benefits of trade integration'. He identified the judicial system, public administration and the financial sector as priorities.
  • RAK Properties prepares IPO

    In a bid to boost the emirate's plans to develop the tourism, real estate and leisure sectors, the government of Ras al-Khaimah unveiled plans in early March to create a real estate development company. RAK Properties, which is 45 per cent owned by the government, will aim to raise capital for several new projects in the emirate through an initial public offering (IPO) of 55 per cent of the company's capital, set to open by March 30 and close on 12 April. The offering is almost certa
  • RAK Properties prepares IPO

    In a bid to boost the emirate's plans to develop the tourism, real estate and leisure sectors, the government of Ras al-Khaimah unveiled plans in early March to create a real estate development company. RAK Properties, which is 45 per cent owned by the government, will aim to raise capital for several new projects in the emirate through an initial public offering (IPO) of 55 per cent of the company's capital, set to open by March 30 and close on 12 April. The offering is almost certa
  • Ras Laffan IWPP project agreements signed

    The key project agreements, including the 25-year power and water purchase agreement (PWPA), were signed on 1 March between Qatar General Electricity & Water Corporation (Kahramaa) and the three-strong consortium awarded the state's second independent water and power project (IWPP) in September. The project company, called Q-Power, is led by Qatar Electricity & Water Company (QEWC)with a 55 per cent stake. Its partners are the UK's International Power, with 40
  • RBS and Doha cement their partnership

    The number of international investment banks hungry for GCC advisory mandates is growing, with six holding three or more mandates during 2004, compared with five in 2003. Five of the six had positions across more than one market, but for the second year running the adviser with the greatest value of projects under its belt is Qatar-focused Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS). The volume of projects planned in Qatar make the market a lucrative one to dominate and the success of the Qatar Liquefied Gas C
  • Real Estate: Hot property

    Riyadh's first municipal elections were a remarkable affair. Particularly striking was the number of young faces in the crowd, many of them self-made millionaires still in their 30s. Given the current glut of oil revenues, there are many routes to making a fortune in Saudi Arabia these days. But what almost all of these entrepreneurs had in common was a healthy real estate portfolio.
  • REFINERIES: Reacting to demand for more diversified products

    There is a new dynamic in the Middle East refinery sector. After an absence of almost two decades, grassroots refineries are now firmly back on the agenda. From Oman to Kuwait, Saudi Arabia to Libya, the regional refining industry is once again witnessing a range of worldscale projects coming to the fore - driven by strong demand, more rigorous product specifications and rising margins.
  • Refinery EPC imminent

    An engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) tender is due to be issued imminently for the Ras Issa refinery project, with contractors already having been approached about participating. US-based Chicago Bridge & Ironcarried out the front-end engineering and design (FEED) contract and the US/Canadian VECO carried out the feasibility study. The refinery is expected to have initial nameplate capacity of 30,000 barrels a day (b/d), with a subsequent expansion planned.
  • Regional network: The ghost train

    On paper, the plan for a regional rail system looks plausible. The Middle East would clearly benefit from a comprehensive system of transport corridors, linking air and sea ports and major centres of industry. Cross-border trade would increase considerably, for a start, but there are considerable economic as well as political obstacles to an integrated investment programme.
  • Regulator planned for communications sector

    Plans to launch a new telecommunications and IT regulator are close to being finalised. The new regulatory body, the Supreme Council for Telecommunications & Information Technology (SCTIT), will initially be run by the government.
  • Revamp planned of wellheads at Zakum

    Abu Dhabi Marine Operating Company (Adma-Opco) has awarded a contract to Australia's WorleyParsonsto carry out the front-end engineering and design (FEED) for proposed modifications to 41 wellhead towers at the lower Zakum oil field. WorleyParsons beat off competition from the UK's Mott MacDonald and Paris-based Technip to win the contract.
  • Rezidor SAS lands in the kingdom

    Belgium-based Rezidor SAS is launching its Park Inn hotel brand for the first time in the kingdom, with plans to open two new hotels in Riyadh and Al-Khobar by 2007. A local contractor has already started construction work on the Al-Khobar hotel, which will have 148 rooms, a lobby lounge, a restaurant, a fitness area, a pool and conference facilities. The local Gulf Consult has the contract to carry out architectural and engineering services on the estimated S
  • Rezidor SAS lands in the kingdom

    Belgium-based Rezidor SAS is launching its Park Inn hotel brand for the first time in the kingdom, with plans to open two new hotels in Riyadh and Al-Khobar by 2007. A local contractor has already started construction work on the Al-Khobar hotel, which will have 148 rooms, a lobby lounge, a restaurant, a fitness area, a pool and conference facilities. The local Gulf Consult has the contract to carry out architectural and engineering services on the estimated S
  • Rice: Damascus an obstacle to regional progress

    US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said on 2 March that Damascus' interference with the internal affairs of its neighbours was preventing change in the Middle East.Speaking at a meeting in London in support of the Palestinian Authority (PA), Rice accused Damascus of blocking Lebanese, Palestinian and Iraqi aspirations. 'We are starting to see a picture of a Syria that really is a blockage to a different kind of Middle East,' she said.Rice called for fair el
  • Riding through the storm

    The Lebanese economy has showed surprising resilience in the past year, despite a series of political shocks, including the passing of UN Security Council resolution 1559 in September, Rafiq Hariri's resignation in October and his assassination on 14 February. International rating agencies Standard & Poor's (S&P) and Moody's Investors Service have maintained their credit ratings, but they join local economists in cautioning against complacency.
  • Rikaz unveils major waterfront development

    Local real estate developer Rikaz Development & Planning announced on 10 March the launch of a SR 622 million ($166 million) real estate fund to finance the construction of a new waterfront development at Half-Moon bay, 20 kilometres south of Al-Khobar in the Eastern Province.
  • Rikaz unveils major waterfront development

    Local real estate developer Rikaz Development & Planning announced on 10 March the launch of a SR 622 million ($166 million) real estate fund to finance the construction of a new waterfront development at Half-Moon bay, 20 kilometres south of Al-Khobar in the Eastern Province.
  • Ritz substructure out to bid

    At least six companies have been invited to bid by 12 March for the substructure package on the estimated AED 680 million ($185 million) Ritz Carltonhotel and apartment project. The complex, to be centred around 12 clusters, will have about 350 hotel rooms and 120 serviced apartments. US-based Gensler Associates is the lead consultant. The project manager is a joint venture of the local Edara and APP. The local Union Properties is the d
  • Ritz substructure out to bid

    At least six companies have been invited to bid by 12 March for the substructure package on the estimated AED 680 million ($185 million) Ritz Carltonhotel and apartment project. The complex, to be centred around 12 clusters, will have about 350 hotel rooms and 120 serviced apartments. US-based Gensler Associates is the lead consultant. The project manager is a joint venture of the local Edara and APP. The local Union Properties is the d
  • Riyadh builds a local insurance industry

    Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority (Sagia) on 8 March issued 12 licences to local and international insurance companies to set up operations in the kingdom. The licensing process is part of the government's strategy to liberalise the insurance sector in line with the new insurance law issued in 2003.
  • Riyadh calls for Syrian pullout

    Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Abdullah on 3 March called on Damascus to withdraw its troops from Lebanon.Abdullah said withdrawal would help defuse the Lebanon crisis. His advice followed a visit to Riyadh by Syrian President Asad who was seeking support in the face of international pressure.According to press reports, Riyadh rejected a Syrian plea that an Arab summit to take place on 23 March in Algeria should officially ask Damascus to withdraw, giving the pull
  • Riyadh targets WTO

    A bilateral trade agreement between Riyadh and Washington will be signed by the end of 2005, allowing the kingdom to gain full World Trade Organisation (WTO) membership at the WTO's ministerial conference in Hong Kong in mid-December, Saudi officials have said.
  • Riyadh turns up the heat on BA

    Riyadh is seeking assistance from the UK government in an attempt to persuade British Airways (BA)to reverse its decision to suspend flights to the kingdom. According to sources in Riyadh, Second Deputy Prime Minister and Defence & Aviation Minister Prince Sultan raised the matter in a recent meeting with UK ambassador to Saudi Arabia Sherard Cowper-Coles. It is also understood that Riyadh has made informal requests directly to BA. Further pressure on the airline is coming from the k
  • Riyadh, Sanaa complete border demarcation

    Saudi Interior Minister Prince Nayef signed an accord on 13 March with his Yemeni counterpart Rashad al-Alimi at a meeting of the Saudi-Yemeni Joint Border Commission in Sanaa.According to press reports, Prince Nayef said of the understanding reached: 'Boosting and strengthening security is very important for us. And we will work within the Arab group for the security of the region and the Arabian Peninsula, as well as international security.'The accord conclud
  • Roadshows launched for Leaseplan

    Roadshows are due to be staged in London and Abu Dhabi in mid-March for a Eur 475 million ($627 million) borrowing to finance the acquisition of the Netherlands' Leaseplan Corporationby Abu Dhabi's state-owned Mubadala Development Company, Saudi Arabia's Olayan Groupand Germany's Volkswagen. The facility is being lead arranged by Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank, Barclays Capital, Citigroupand National Bank of A
  • Ruwais harbour goes for bid

    Abu Dhabi National Oil Companyhas invited nine prequalified contractors to submit technical bids by 24 April for the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract on the Ruwais small boat harbour project. The estimated $30 million-40 million contract calls for the construction of a quay wall, a roll-on, roll-off berth, an administration building and a helipad. Commercial bids are due on 15 May.
  • Ruwais harbour goes for bid

    Abu Dhabi National Oil Companyhas invited nine prequalified contractors to submit technical bids by 24 April for the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract on the Ruwais small boat harbour project. The estimated $30 million-40 million contract calls for the construction of a quay wall, a roll-on, roll-off berth, an administration building and a helipad. Commercial bids are due on 15 May.
  • SABB eurobond priced

    Saudi British Bank (SABB), the local affiliate of HSBC, has issued its debut eurobond, the first international bond issue by a local corporate. The size of the deal was increased to $600 million, from the $300 million-400 million originally envisaged, after subscription in excess of $1,000 million was received. HSBC lead managed the transaction.
  • Saddam judge killed

    A judge on the tribunal set up to try former president Saddam Hussein was killed on 2 March. Reports indicate that judge Barwaz Mahmoud Marwani and one of his relatives were shot dead by gunmen outside their home. The tribunal, set up in December 2003, has been delayed due to security considerations. The names of judges and prosecutors were deliberately kept secret.
  • Salalah Methanol puts the record straight correction

    The project company behind the planned Salalah methanol scheme has not appointed an engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contractor nor a financial adviser, as was stated in MEED 4:3:05. However, the company says that tender documents have been released on the technology and basic engineering package, with bids due by 30 March.
  • Salco plans new smelter for Bandar Abbas

    South Aluminium Corporation (Salco)has issued a tender for a new aluminium smelter planned at the mines and minerals economic zone in Bandar Abbas. The 300,000-tonne-a-year (t/y) smelter will be adjacent to the Almahdi smelter, which is now undergoing an expansion (Mining & Minerals, MEED Special Report, 26:11:04, pages 42-43).
  • Sanaa seeks GCC membership

    GCC Secretary General Abdulrahman al-Attiyah arrived in Sanaa on 6 March to hold talks with Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh.Speaking to journalists, Yemeni Foreign Affairs Minister Abu Bakr al-Kurbi said the talks will focus on the prospects of Sanaa's entry to the GCC. 'There are obviously issues raised by the GCC about Yemen's economy, whether it is compatible with the GCC economy, how Yemen can be economically developed in order to be on a par with the GCC countries,'
  • Sanaa, Berlin boost trade ties

    Yemen and Germany signed three economic agreements on 3 March following Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder's visit to Sanaa.Schroeder said his country would support Yemen's application to join the World Trade Organisation (WTO) and Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh said he would continue to support German efforts to gain a permanent seat on the UN Security Council.Two of the accords focus on dual taxation and seek to encourage and protect mutual investments. Under
  • Saudi awareness campaign launched

    Riyadh launched a national awareness campaign on 7 February to mobilise people against militants to coincide with a counter-terrorism conference taking place in the Saudi capital.Posters have been put up around the city and interviews have been broadcast with ex-militants talking about how they abandoned violence. Saudi Arabia has witnessed a spate of bombings and shootings blamed on Al-Qaeda linked militants since 2003. Authorities are trying to change attitud
  • Saudi Binladin starts work on Sharm airport

    Saudi Binladin Grouphas started mobilising on the expansion of Sharm el-Sheikh International Airport after it was awarded the estimated $65 million contract in mid-February. The World Bank-financed project involves construction of a terminal at Sharm airport with a total built-up area of 43,233 square metres, including six gates for international arrivals and departures, one gate for domestic flights and an air traffic observation building. Expected to be completed in mid-2006, the expand
  • Saudi Binladin starts work on Sharm airport

    Saudi Binladin Grouphas started mobilising on the expansion of Sharm el-Sheikh International Airport after it was awarded the estimated $65 million contract in mid-February. The World Bank-financed project involves construction of a terminal at Sharm airport with a total built-up area of 43,233 square metres, including six gates for international arrivals and departures, one gate for domestic flights and an air traffic observation building. Expected to be completed in mid-2006, the expand
  • Schroeder points to the new European direction in the Gulf

    Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder was in characteristically ebullient form at a conference in Abu Dhabi earlier in March about building links between Germany and the UAE. He had more than one reason to be cheerful. His visit, the final step in a Gulf tour that had already taken in Yemen and the other five states of the GCC, set a precedent, created new friends and opened the door to a partnership that will be of wider benefit to Europe and the whole region.
  • Schroeder sets off on seven-nation tour

    German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder headed for the Gulf on 28 February for a seven-nation tour focused on winning industrial contracts and supporting the training of Iraqi security forces.The trip will take in Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Yemen. Talks will also revolve around reform in the Gulf region and the Middle East peace process.
  • Schroeder welcomes Saudi rail involvement

    German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder said on 28 February that he supports German companies' involvement in Saudi Arabia's railway expansion programme. He was speaking at the Saudi-German Economic conference in Riyadh.The landbridge project involves building a 950-kilometre single-track line between Riyadh and Jeddah and one between Dammam and Jubail and making improvements to existing track between Riyadh and Dammam (MEED 18:02:05).The lines will carry both pass
  • SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY PARK: Much more than a business park

    When the UN Development Programme (UNDP) released its Best Investments: Education, Research & Development report in 2003, the document highlighted several glaring faults. The Middle East in particular was singled out for its lack of well funded and well attended science education programmes, which in turn have been directly impacting on technological achievement. As a result, the number of industrial patents registered by Arab companies or individuals was one of the lowest in the world. 'Almost
  • SEA-ME-WE job awarded

    France's Alcatel has been awarded a turnkey contract to upgrade the SEA-ME-WE3 cable, allowing the network to cope with increased data traffic created by the rollout of broadband services. Completion is scheduled by the end of 2005. The contract includes upgrading of the submarine sections of the cable and all the terrestrial stations along the route of the high-capacity, optical fibre link between South-East Asia, the Middle East and Western Europe. Alcatel and Japan's Fujit
  • SEC seeks fresh funds

    Saudi Electricity Company (SEC) has approached the mandated lead arrangers (MLAs) on its SR 6,000 million ($1,600 million) borrowing in 2004 about their interest in participating in a further SR 3,000 million-SR 3,500 million ($800 million-933 million) loan. The deal is likely to have a similar tenor, at 15 years, to the previous one, which was arranged by Arab National Bank, Banque Saudi Fransi, National Commercial Bank, Samba Financial Group
  • SEC to spin off transmission as new law looms

    Saudi Electricity Company (SEC)is gearing up to spin off its transmission business as part of a wider restructuring programme at the company and in the domestic electricity sector. According to Tariq al-Betairi, executive vice-president for power transmission at SEC, the incorporation of the company into a separate entity is now scheduled to take place in the third quarter. The spin-off is likely to be followed by the approval of a new electricity law before the end of the year.
  • Senior Iraqi official killed

    Gunmen killed on 8 March a senior immigration official in Baghdad. According to reports, Maj Gen Ghazi Mohammed, deputy director for passports at the immigration department, was due to leave for Iran to vet Iraqi refugees expelled by Saddam Hussein's regime seeking to return home. The killing was claimed by Al-Qaeda's in Iraq, led by Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. Gunmen have frequently targeted senior officials in the interim administration (MEED 1:3:05; 8:2:05).
  • Senior Mosul policeman killed; 24 insurgents dead

    Chief anti-corruption police officer Brigadier Walid Kashmoula was killed on 20 March by a suicide bomber in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul.Al-Qaeda in Iraq, led by Abu Musab Al-Zarqawi, claimed responsibility for the attack, issuing the statement that it had killed 'the apostate Walid Kashmoula, who is the top American agent'. Police and Iraqi troops have frequently been the main target of insurgents (MEED 10:3:05; 8:3:05).In a separate incident, a gun battl
  • Services firms to merge

    The boards of local services companies Renaissance Servicesand Topaz Energy & Marine (TEAM)decided on 5 March to merge their operations. The tie-up will be effected through an exchange of TEAM shares for new Renaissance shares at a swap ratio of 3.6-4.1:one, leaving TEAM shareholders with a stake of about 40 per cent in the merged entity. An independent consultant will advise on the exact ratio. The merger will create a company with net worth of about RO 50 million ($128
  • Seven prequalified for Al-Zour North

    Seven international companies and groups have received letters from the Energy Ministry confirming their prequalification for the contract to build the 2,500-MW Al-Zour North power plant. A tender for the estimated $1,800 million-2,000 million engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract is expected in April, with a bid deadline most likely in September.
  • Seven prequalified for embassy job

    Seven international contractors have been prequalified by the US State Department for four contracts to design and build a US embassy compound in Baghdad. The estimated $400 million project is composed of four separate packages covering housing, support facilities, site infrastructure and diplomatic facilities. The compound is being built to replace the existing embassy, which does not conform to the exacting criteria for US diplomatic facilities imposed after the 1998 attacks on the embassies i
  • Seven prequalified for embassy job

    Seven international contractors have been prequalified by the US State Department for four contracts to design and build a US embassy compound in Baghdad. The estimated $400 million project is composed of four separate packages covering housing, support facilities, site infrastructure and diplomatic facilities. The compound is being built to replace the existing embassy, which does not conform to the exacting criteria for US diplomatic facilities imposed after the 1998 attacks on the embassies i
  • Seventeen die in gas explosion

    A gas explosion on 26 December killed 17 people and injured at least 40 others after a residential block collapsed in eastern Algeria, local authorities said. The blast was caused by a gas leak and destroyed a five-story building on the outskirts of the city of Guelma, 340 miles east of Algiers. 'It's a big disaster. So far we have 17 people dead and the death toll could increase because a lot of individuals are in the hospital right now,' said local resident Aissani Makhlous
  • Shale for sale

    'Things are different now,' says Natural Resources Authority (NRA) director-general Maher Hijazin. 'Once, 50,000 barrels a day [b/d] was nothing to bother about, but now people are interested in far less than that.' Spurred on by high oil price forecasts, the kingdom is committed to attracting investment in upstream development. The NRA, responsible for overseeing all mineral exploitation, is preparing to send terms of reference to 26 international and local companies prequalified for the contra
  • Sharjah road revamp gets into gear

    Sharjah Municipality (SM) has invited contractors to bid by mid-March for two road projects aimed at easing traffic congestion in the city. Bids are due by 14 March for package 1. Located near the National Paints roundabout on King Abdul-Aziz road, the scope of works includes construction of two bridges and associated roadworks. The second package, for which bids are due by 19 March, centres on the construction of a new interchange and related works at King Faisal Square. The client is expecting
  • Sharjah road revamp gets into gear

    Sharjah Municipality (SM) has invited contractors to bid by mid-March for two road projects aimed at easing traffic congestion in the city. Bids are due by 14 March for package 1. Located near the National Paints roundabout on King Abdul-Aziz road, the scope of works includes construction of two bridges and associated roadworks. The second package, for which bids are due by 19 March, centres on the construction of a new interchange and related works at King Faisal Square. The client is expecting
  • Shaw Nass wins Dolphin contract

    Shaw Nass Middle East, the joint venture between the US' Shaw Group and Bahrain's AA Nass Group, confirmed the award of a pipe fabrication contract by Japan's JGC Corporationon the Dolphin gas processing plant at Ras Laffan. The venture will be responsible for the supply of about 37,000 tonnes of piping to JGC, which is the main contractor on the $1,600 million gas plant (MEED 5:12:04).
  • Shell signs up for ethane cracker

    Qatar Petroleum (QP)and Shell Chemicals, part of the Royal Dutch/Shell Group, signed on 1 March a letter of intent (LoI) for the development of a world-scale ethane cracker complex at Ras Laffan. The LoI provides for the two parties to define the technical and commercial aspects of the complex and determine the derivatives scope. Shell said that the project would be completed early in the next decade, with the output marketed primarily in Asia (MEED 14:1:05).
  • Shell to open new tech centre

    The Royal Dutch/Shell Group has signed a 10-year lease with the Qatar Foundation (QF) for its Qatar Shell Research & Technology Centre. Shell plans to invest up to $100 million in the facility, located in QF's Science & Technology Park in Education City. The centre's activities will initially focus on upstream and gas-to-liquids (GTL) technologies and technical services. The deal is the first tenancy agreement to be signed for the park, which is expected to open in early
  • Shia parties strengthen lead

    The Shia United Iraqi Alliance has more than twice the votes of the second-placed Kurdish alliance after the elections in Iraq last week. The Shia alliance took the lead in polls in the province of Salahuddin, which includes the majority Sunni cities of Samarra and Tikrit. However, officials have confirmed irregularities in Mosul, saying more than 15,000 people were denied a vote.Commission official Izzedine al-Mahmoudi reported that some people in the northern
  • Shia-Kurd deal struck

    The Shia United Iraqi Alliance (UIA) and the Kurdish coalition struck an accord on 10 March allowing a new government to be formed in time for the convening of a new Iraqi national assembly on 16 March.In return for Kurdish support for UIA prime minister designate Ibrahim al-Jaafari, the new government will discuss the return of at least 100,000 Kurds to the city of Kirkuk and negotiate the redrawing of existing Kurdish regions to include the city in Iraq's new constitution.
  • Siemens signs Jahra X

    Germany's Siemens has been formally awarded the contract, worth KD 25.8 million ($90 million), to supply and install the 300/132/11-kV Jahra X substation. Siemens was widely expected to win the work after it received a letter of intimation from the client, the Ministry of Energy, last September (MEED 17:9:04; 21:5:04).
  • Siemens venture close to winning Deir Ali

    A German joint venture of Siemens and Kochis understood to be close to being awarded an engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract worth Eur 397 million ($522 million) to build the 750-MW combined cycle power plant at Deir Ali. The client is the Public Establishment of Electricity for Generation & Transmission (PEEGT). The estimated 30-month contract calls for the supply and installation of two 250-MW gas turbines and a 250-MW steam turbine (MEED 13:8:04).
  • Significant breakthrough in Hamma financing

    The search for financing for the Hamma desalination plant received a boost in mid-February when the US' Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) approved up to $200 million in financing for the 200,000-cubic-metre-a-day (cm/d) facility. The limited-recourse debt is subject to completion of the final project and loan agreements, which is expected by the end of the second quarter.
  • Six shortlisted for Blue Pearl tower

    Six groups have been prequalified for the main construction contract on a 47-storey tower, called the Blue Pearl, in central Manama, close to the Sheraton Hotel and the planned Bahrain World Trade Centre towers. The client is a member of the royal family.
  • Six shortlisted for Blue Pearl tower

    Six groups have been prequalified for the main construction contract on a 47-storey tower, called the Blue Pearl, in central Manama, close to the Sheraton Hotel and the planned Bahrain World Trade Centre towers. The client is a member of the royal family.
  • Sixth licensing round extended

    The Energy & Mines Ministry and state energy company Sonatrachhave extended the deadline for bids on the sixth international licensing round to 9 April, with awards to be made the next day. Bids for the exploration and appraisal of acreage in 10 oil and gas blocks, covering almost 100,000 square kilometres, were due on 19 March. About 60 companies are expected to bid (MEED 18:02:05).
  • Slaking a growing thirst

    In a region as arid as the Middle East and North Africa, conservation of water and careful management of this precious resource are essential. The Arab states have gained a reputation for both prudence and innovation, from reclaiming agricultural land from the desert along the Nile, to developing new techniques of drip-fed irrigation for Saudi Arabian dairy farms.
  • Smelter financing approaches

    Banks have been sounded out about participating in the debt financing package for Sohar Aluminium Company (SAC), the project company behind the planned aluminium smelter at Sohar. A formal invitation is expected in about two months. An award is also close on the engineering, procurement and construction management (EPCM) contract (MEED 18:2:05, Industry).
  • Snamprogetti awarded package on major Abu Dhabi work at Ruwais

    Abu Dhabi Gas Industries Company (Gasco) announced on 2 March that it had issued a letter of award, valued at $1,427 million, to Italy's Snamprogetti for package four on the third phase of the onshore gas development (OGD-3) and phase 2 of the Asab gas development (AGD-2) project. The award of the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract came after the Italian contractor, the contract's original low bidder, participated in two repricing exercises in February. T
  • SocGen wins ammonia advisory

    Societe Generale (SocGen) has been appointed financial adviser to Egypt Basic Industries Company (EBIC) for its planned ammonia plant in the Suez Industrial Zone, near the port of Ain el-Sokhna. A group of mandated lead arrangers (MLAs) is due to be appointed imminently on the debt package, which will be made up of a $229.8 million export credits tranche backed by the US' Export-Import Bank (Eximbank) and a $107 million commercial tranche. Financial close is scheduled during t
  • Sonatrach shows Galsi intentions

    State energy company Sonatrachhas signed a letter of intent (LoI) with Italy's Edisonto supply 4 billion cubic metres a year (bcm/y) of natural gas through the planned 900-kilometre Galsi pipeline to Italy. The agreement is one of at least 10 such LoIs signed by Sonatrach. The pipeline is expected to come on stream in 2009-10 with capacity of about 8 bcm/y and has the potential to be expanded at a later date. Sonatrach holds the largest stake in the project company, at 36
  • Sound progress at Sipchem

    Saudi International Petrochemical Company (Sipchem)is pressing ahead with plans to carry out its phase 2 and phase 3 expansions, which are due to be completed by 2010 at a cost of up to $3,500 million, according to Abdullatif Bhairi, Sipchem's vice-president for planning and project development, who was speaking at the MEED Major New Project Opportunities in the Eastern Province conference in Bahrain on 1 March (MEED 21:1:05).
  • South East Asians fancy Sadaf styrene

    Two companies submitted technical bids on 14 March for the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract to build a major styrene plant for Saudi Petrochemical Company (Sadaf)at Jubail. Taiwan's CTCIand South Korea's Daelim Industrial Companysubmitted offers for the planned 600,000-tonne-a-year (t/y) styrene unit, which is to be completed in 2007. Commercial offers are due in mid-April. US-based ABB Lummus Globalis carrying out basic eng
  • Spring syndications market hots up

    Activity in the regional syndications market is growing after a slow start to the year, with a host of deals approaching the market or reaching closure. Arab Banking Corporation (ABC)and Standard Chartered Bank (ABC)are particularly active on the arranging side.
  • Stadium project kicks off

    A team of the local Dewan Architects & Engineersand the UK's AFLhas been selected as consultant for the redevelopment of Abu Dhabi's Al-Jazeera football stadium. The project calls for the reconstruction of the single-tier stands into a multi-tiered stadium in the same style as UK soccer stadia. The scheme will increase the ground's capacity to about 35,000 from about 20,000. The scope of works also comprises construction of two residential towers with about 17 storeys at
  • Stadium project kicks off

    A team of the local Dewan Architects & Engineersand the UK's AFLhas been selected as consultant for the redevelopment of Abu Dhabi's Al-Jazeera football stadium. The project calls for the reconstruction of the single-tier stands into a multi-tiered stadium in the same style as UK soccer stadia. The scheme will increase the ground's capacity to about 35,000 from about 20,000. The scope of works also comprises construction of two residential towers with about 17 storeys at
  • Standard Bank, GIB launch GCC Energy Fund

    Standard Bank London (SBL), the wholly owned investment-banking subsidiary of South Africa's Standard Bank Group, and Gulf International Bank (GIB) hasannounced the launch of a $300 million fund to invest in energy and energy-related projects in the Middle East and North Africa. Dubai-based Emirates National Oil Company (ENOC) is a co-sponsor and investor in the fund. Called the GCC Energy Fund, the Cayman Islands-registered facility will target regiona
  • Star Cement raises capacity

    Star Cement Bahrain, a subsidiary of the UAE's Star Cement, is planning to invest $25 million in more than doubling capacity at its Hidd plant to 1.2 million tonnes a year (t/y) from 500,000 t/y. Tenders are due to be floated imminently to carry out the expansion. Star Cement, which also has plants in the UAE and Sudan, recently acquired Hyundai Tiger Cement Bahrain.
  • Start restarts

    Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority has extended the bid deadline to 16 March for the project management consultancy (PMC) contract to carry out the overall infrastructure development on the Start project, which covers the development of Saadiyat island. The infrastructure works comprise site preparation, earthworks, roads, bridges, water and electricity grids and possibly a light rail system linking the island with the mainland. Prospective bidders include: Canada's Cansult; Halcrow
  • Start restarts

    Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority has extended the bid deadline to 16 March for the project management consultancy (PMC) contract to carry out the overall infrastructure development on the Start project, which covers the development of Saadiyat island. The infrastructure works comprise site preparation, earthworks, roads, bridges, water and electricity grids and possibly a light rail system linking the island with the mainland. Prospective bidders include: Canada's Cansult; Halcrow
  • Storage tank tender delayed

    The bid deadline has been postponed to 9 April for a directly-tendered engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract to build eight crude storage tanks at Ahmadi. Two international contractors - the US' Chicago Bridge & Iron (CB&I) and Turkey's Tekfen- are preparing offers for the estimated $150 million-200 million fast-track scheme, which covers the construction of eight crude storage tanks with capacity of 4.9 million barrels. The project is a smaller version
  • Strong New Year for oil prices

    Oil prices entered the new year some $10 a barrel above their level at the start of 2004, with Riyadh's resolution to adhere to output cuts and terrorist attacks in the Saudi capital helping to support the market. Fears about US winter heating oil stocks are also contributing to the bullish mood. Spot Brent was trading at $40.09 a barrel on 5 January.
  • Strong response to Bank Mellat loan

    Thirteen banks joined at syndication the $240 million, five-year borrowing for Bank Mellat, lead arranged by Arab Banking Corporation. The facility is guaranteed by the Economy & Finance Ministry and will be used to fund urban rehabilitation projects. Tickets of $25 million, $15 million and $10 million were offered, paying fees of 100 basis points (bp), 85 bp and 75 bp during syndication, which closed in mid-February (MEED 18:2:05).
  • Subiya phase 3 awarded

    South Korea's Doosan Heavy Industries & Construction Companyhas been approved by the Central Tenders Committee for the contract to build the third-phase expansion of the Subiya desalination complex. Doosan was low bidder, at KD 76.2 million ($262.8 million), for the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract when bids were submitted in early January. The company's offer was more than 20 per cent lower than the next best price of KD 92 million ($317 million) offered by i
  • Success continues for Orascom

    Orascom Telecom ( OT)has seen an 89 per cent year-on-year increase in subscribers to 14.5 million and an increase in revenues of 93 per cent to £E 12,502 million ($2,156 million), according to full-year 2004 results released on 20 March. Net income reached £E 2,021 million ($348 million) from £E 712 million ($183 million) in 2003, and earnings per share almost tripled in the same period, from £E 6.51 ($1.12) to £E 18.44 ($3.18). In Algeria, OT subsidiary Djezzyadde
  • Suicide attack kills 27

    Suicide bombers killed at least 27 people in attacks in Baqubah and Mosul on 7 February in the worst bloodshed since the election eight days ago. At least 15 civilians were killed and 17 wounded when a suicide car bomb exploded on 7 February outside the main police headquarters in the town of Baquba, northeast of Baghdad. The bomber initially attempted to ram the police station but was blocked by a concrete barrier.In Mosul, 12 people died and four were wounded
  • Suicide bomber kills 47

    A suicide bomber on 10 March killed 47 people at a Shia mosque in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul.The attack follows several days of violence in which the bodies of 40 Iraqi policemen were found in the western city of Qaim and a police chief and two other policemen were killed by gunmen in Baghdad (MEED 8:3:05).
  • Suicide bomber kills one, injures 12 in Doha

    A suicide car bomber on 19 March attacked a theatre outside Doha killing one Briton and injuring 12 other people. The Qatari Interior Ministry named the suspected bomber as Omar Ahmed Abdullah Ali, an Egyptian computer programmer at Qatar Petroleum, who had been living in Doha since 1990. The bombing appears to have been a deliberate attack on Qatar's Western expatriate community.A previously unknown militant group 'Jund al-Sham Organisation' (Organisation of Soldiers of the
  • Summit adopts 2002 Saudi peace plan

    Arab leaders on 23 March voted in favour of reviving a 2002 Saudi Arabian peace plan called 'The Arab Peace Initiative' at the Arab League summit in Algiers. The plan calls on Tel Aviv to withdraw from all land occupied in 1967 in return for a normalisation of relations with Arab states.At pre-summit meetings, a Jordanian peace proposal was rejected for offering Israel a normalising of relations without first insisting it leave land occupied in 1967 (MEED 22:3:05). Instead, t
  • SWCC ponders privatisation option

    The Saline Water Conversion Corporation (SWCC) is gearing up to appoint a team of consultants to study options on how to privatise the state-owned body, which is in charge of water desalination and transmission across the kingdom. Under the programme, the privatisation of SWCC could happen within the next three years.
  • Syrian troops will leave Lebanon by May

    Syrian ambassador to the US Imad Mustapha said on 9 March that Damascus will leave Lebanon before elections in May. 'We will withdraw as soon as possible, without delay and probably a long time before the election,' Mustapha said.Damascus began withdrawing its troops on 7 March following intensive international pressure (MEED 7:3:05).
  • Taking the pulse THE INDEX

    Since its launch last summer, the HSBC-MEED Middle East Business Confidence Index (MEBCI) has risen relentlessly. The March reading of 107.53 marks another significant upward move, with the MEBCI driven up by positive developments across almost the full spectrum of its components.
  • Takreer confirms OGD-3 tankage award

    Abu Dhabi Oil Refining Company (Takreer)announced on 1 March the award of package 5 on the third phase of the onshore gas development (OGD-3) to the local National Petroleum Construction Company (NPCC). The estimated $57 million engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract, due to be completed in the third quarter of 2007, involves the building of three condensate storage tanks with total capacity of 430,000 barrels at Ruwais. NPCC was the low bidder for the contra
  • Takreer invites six to bid for RSHT project

    Abu Dhabi Oil Refining Company (Takreer)has invited six companies to submit technical bids by 26 March for the contract to provide front-end engineering and design (FEED) services on the Ruwais sulphur handling terminal (RSHT) expansion project. The prequalifiers are Parsons E&C, part of Australia's WorleyParsons, Penspen International of the UK, Italy's Snamprogettiand Mustang Engineering, Black & Veatch Oil, Gas & Chemi
  • TASI's upward trajectory to continue

    After two record years, the Saudi Arabian stock exchange shows no sign of changing direction. With shares on the Tadawul All-Share Index (TASI) up 7.4 per cent since the start of the year, the upward trend seen in 2003/04 is set to continue. Closing at 8,771.41 points on 22 February, the TASI is now heading for the 10,000 mark, driven by strong corporate results, high liquidity, attractive valuations and a healthy macroeconomic environment.
  • Technip bids low for Abu Dhabi IRP

    Paris-based Technip has submitted a low bid of about $426 million for the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract on the inter-refineries pipeline (IRP) project in Abu Dhabi emirate. Its offer is about 5 per cent cheaper than the next price of $447 million submitted by Dubai-based Dodsal(MEED 7:1:05).
  • Technip wins Arzew FEED and PMC work

    Paris-based Techniphas been awarded a 56-month contract to carry out front-end engineering and design (FEED) and project management consultancy (PMC) work on the revamp and expansion of Arzew refinery. The award comes just two weeks after Engineers India (EIL)won a similar job covering the Skikda refinery (MEED 25:2:05).
  • Technology: Levitate to accelerate

    To be able to travel the 30 kilometres between Sharjah and Dubai in a matter of minutes is a favourite fantasy of those stuck in the daily traffic jams between the two emirates. Others dream of making the trip from Dubai to Abu Dhabi in less than 30 minutes, without having to resort to the costly option of boarding a plane.
  • Tehran planning trading centre in Bahrain

    Tehran proposed on 2 March to set up a trade centre in Bahrain. The idea was put forward by an Iranian delegation currently visiting the country.A meeting was held between Shiraz Trade, Industry and Minerals Chamber of Commerce president Abu al-Fadhel Shareef and Bahrain Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCCI) president Khalid Kanoo. The BCCI issued a statement: 'The [Iranian] delegation affirmed their keenness to set up a number of joint projects, including the establishment
  • Tehran refuses IAEA extra access

    Tehran rejected a call on 2 March by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) for a repeat inspection of a military base in Parchin, 20 miles southeast of the capital.UN inspectors were allowed to visit the base in January but were kept away from several buildings. In a written statement to the IAEA, Iranian authorities said there was 'no justification for any additional visit'. According to IAEA deputy director Pierre Goldschmidt, Tehran has also refused access to the L
  • Tehran split over budget

    Debates between reformers and conservatives over the budget became heated on 8 March as each side attempted to shape the political agenda.Conservatives have pledged to increase funding to militia groups, state media, police and the Guardian Council. Reformers complain that measures such as state subsidies and high import tariffs are inflationary. The reformist government wants to raise tax revenues and reduce Tehran's dependence on oil.Government spokesman Abdo
  • Tehran warns of retaliation

    Tehran warned Washington and Tel Aviv on 7 February that it would retaliate if attacked. Speaking to journalists, Hassan Rohani, secretary-general of Iran's Supreme National Security Council, said that: 'If such an attack takes place then of course we will retaliate and we will definitely accelerate our activities to complete our fuel cycle and make nuclear fuel.' His comments came a day after US Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said intelligence estimates ind
  • Tehran, Moscow sign nuclear deal

    Moscow and Tehran signed an agreement on 27 February for Russia to supply fuel for the Iranian nuclear reactor at Bushehr.Under the scheme, Tehran must return spent nuclear fuel rods from its reactor, designed and built by Moscow. The stipulation is designed to prevent Iran using the fuel rods to manufacture nuclear weapons.The move follows intense pressure on Tehran by the EU and the US for it to give up its nuclear programme, and a recent intensification of R
  • Tel Aviv agrees to call halt to military offensives

    Tel Aviv announced on 18 March that it would no longer launch any military offensives in the West Bank and Gaza.Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon welcomed the truce called on 17 March by all the main Palestinian factions. According to press reports, Sharon said that although the Palestinian announcement was 'a positive first step' he still held that all armed groups should be disbanded by the Palestinian Authority.The Palestinian truce is open-ended and condi
  • Tel Aviv denies West Bank homes plan

    Tel Aviv on 25 February denied its plans to build 6,500 new homes in settlements in the West Bank, according to reports in an Israeli newspaper.The Israel Land Authority (ILA), headed by Deputy Prime Minster Ehud Olmert, who was reported to have been directing the scheme, said the plan was old and never received official approval. The reported scheme planned for 2,100 homes to be built in the large settlement of Maale Adumim this year. Others earmarked for new
  • Tel Aviv hands over Jericho

    Israel began to withdraw its forces from Jericho on 16 March. 'From this moment, we are resuming our control over the Jericho area,' said Palestinian General Ahmed Eid at a short ceremony on the city's outskirts. Jericho was originally scheduled to be handed over on 15 February but the move was delayed over Israeli security concerns. Agreement over the city was finally reached on 9 March following a meeting between Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli D
  • Tel Aviv set to reveal Syrian complicity

    Israel said on 28 February that it intends to explain in a meeting with foreign diplomats how Syria was responsible for the suicide bomb in Tel Aviv on 26 February.Foreign Affairs Minister Silvan Shalom will meet EU and UN ambassadors and provide proof from Israeli intelligence sources of Damascus' involvement in the attack, say government officials.Militants from the Palestinian group Islamic Jihad claimed responsibility for the bombing on 27 February. Damascu
  • Tel Aviv to hand over Jericho and Tulkarem

    Tel Aviv agreed on 9 March to hand over control of the West Bank towns of Jericho and Tulkarem. The decision followed a meeting between Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli Defence Minister Shaul Mofaz at the Gaza Strip's Erez border checkpoint. However, no agreement was reached on when and how far Israeli forces would withdraw.The handovers result from measures agreed at the Sharm el-Sheikh summit in Egypt on 8 February (MEED 8:2:05).
  • Temasol takes solar power contract

    Local firm Temasolwas awarded on 22 January a contract worth Eur 21.2 million ($27.2 million) for a solar power electrification programme for 37,000 rural households. The client is the Office National de L'Electricite (ONE), which provided Eur 17.4 million ($22.3 million) for the project, with further financial support coming from the Agence Francaise de Developpement (AFD) and technical assistance from Fonds Francais pour l'Environnement Mondial (FFEM). The project is due for comple
  • Tender due for Eppco snake pipeline

    Dubai-based Emirates Petroleum Products Company (Eppco) is due to issue a tender by mid-April for its snake pipeline system upgrade project in the emirate. The engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract will call for the supply and installation of three booster stations along the 57-kilometre main fuel supply pipeline from Jebel Ali to Dubai International Airport (DIA) and coating and hot tapping (tie-ins) of the existing line. The booster stations are planned for insta
  • Tender issued for Essa wind farm

    State power company Office National de L'Electricite (ONE) has invited companies to bid by 3 March for a contract to build a 60-MW wind farm in Essaouira province. The estimated MD 650 million ($76 million) project, located at Cap Sim, 15 kilometres south of the city, will be part-financed by a loan of Eur 50 million ($66 million) extended by Kreditanstalt fuer Wiederaufbau (KfW). The consultant is Germany's Decon. ONE is also developing a 140-MW wind farm at Tangier. A tender for th
  • Tender issued for major substation work

    The Energy Ministry has prequalified five international contractors for a contract to supply and install a 300/132/11-kV substation at Al-Siddiq West. They are: Germany's Siemens; ABB of Europe; a joint venture of AE Power Systems Corporationand Hitachi High Technologies Corporation, both of Japan; TMT & DI Corporation, also of Japan; and France's Areva T&D. Bids are due to be submitted by 17 April for the estimated KD 25 mi
  • Tender out for further Wafra telemetry work

    Saudi Arabian Texaco/ Kuwait Oil Company (KOC) joint operations has invited four international contractors to bid by 13 March for an estimated $50 million contract to supply and install a telemetry system covering the Wafra field. An award is expected in the summer once bids have been evaluated. The four invited companies are: the US' Foster Wheeler; South Korea's Daelim Industrial Company; Sharjah-based Petrofac International; and a company
  • Tender out for RasGas III ship contract

    More than 10 international ship owning companies have been invited to submit bids by the end of March for the long-term charter of 12 liquefied natural gas (LNG) vessels to serve train 6 at the Ras Laffan Liquefied Natural Gas Company (RasGas)complex. Selections are expected to take place in April, while May and June will be spent matching the shipowners up with the eight shipyards, which have already been lined up by the ship acquisition team at Qatar Liquefied Gas Company I
  • Tharwa farms out Western Desert acreage

    Local oil and gas exploration firm Tharwa Petroleum Company has farmed out 55 per cent of its interest in four blocks in the Western Desert to Shell Egypt and Malaysia's Petronas. Under the agreement, Shell and Petronas will hold 30 and 25 per cent shares respectively, with the remaining 45 per cent being held by Tharwa, which will also continue to be the operator of the oil blocks (MEED 14:8:04).
  • The birth of a gas shipping giant

    It is easy to miss the offices of Qatar Gas Transport Company (QGTC - Nakilat). Tucked away on a side street just off the E ring-road, they are housed in a two-storey villa on the outskirts of Doha. Were it not for the brass plate on the wall or the security guard who stands to attention and salutes all visitors, the building could be mistaken for just another family home.
  • The Divided Zone explained

    The Divided Zone covers an area of some 6,200 square miles divided equally between Kuwait and Saudi Arabia in accordance with agreements dating as far back as the 1920s. It is split into four sections - two offshore and two onshore - with Kuwait and Saudi Arabia each administrating their half of the zone. The Divided Zone's total production capacity of about 580,000 barrels a day (b/d) is split evenly between the two. The partitioned area contains an estimated 5,000 million barrels of oil reserv
  • The Hijaz railway: Reviving the legend

    The Hijaz railway has seen better days. Sitting in the sidings at Amman station are coaches recognisable from the silent movie era. Elsewhere, abandoned steam locomotives sit in the open, their wheels rusted solid to the narrow-gauge track and weeds growing in their boilers. The few remaining trains that make the journey north to Damascus use a mixture of old Soviet rolling stock and antique wooden carriages. In the passenger cars, many of the outer doors are missing.
  • The Maghreb: Concentrating on viable developments

    While much attention has been paid recently to the greenfield mega-rail projects in the Gulf, it is in the Maghreb where most regional rail activity has actually been taking place. Algeria has the third largest rail system in the Middle East, behind Egypt and Iran. Its 4,290 kilometres of track are more than the combined total of the other Maghreb nations. By comparison, Tunisia has 1,920 kilometres of railway while Morocco has 1,760 kilometres of track. Libya has no rail system at all.
  • The man behind the toll plan

    It is perhaps appropriate that the headquarters of Dubai Municipality (DM) lie in the heart of Deira. As the oldest part of Dubai, it demonstrates some of the main issues troubling the city's rapid development. While traditional dhows and abras line up along the creek, only a few yards away is the familiar site of bumper-to-bumper traffic inching at a snail's pace along the Bani Yas Road. And at the heart of the traffic jam lies the office of Qassim Sultan, DM's director-general.
  • The projects boom tests the mettle of the construction industry

    Delegates at the MEED Major Project Developments in Dubai conference in mid-March heard that $100,000 million will be invested in Dubai capital schemes by 2020. Some believe the figure could be 50 per cent higher.
  • Thorpe switches to Doha from Dubai

    Phillip Thorpe has been appointed chairman and chief executive officer (CEO) of the Qatar Financial Centre Regulatory Authority (QFCRA), established to regulate the Qatar Financial Centre (QFC), which was launched in January to provide a hub for financial services providers in the country (MEED 21:1:05, Cover Story). Thorpe was CEO of Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) before being controversially dismissed in June. He also served for four years as managing director of the UK's Financia
  • Three bid for ACT

    Dubai Ports International, International, Container Terminal Services (ICTS)of the Philippines and Kuwait & Gulf Link Transport Companyhave submitted bids for the concession to operate and manage Aden Container Terminal (ACT). Technical evaluation is under way by the government, working with the World Bank's Port Cities Development Programme and Rotterdam Maritime Group of the Netherlands. Nine bidders were shortlisted in December for the c
  • Three teams fight for Shiraz fertiliser

    Three bids have been submitted for the Shiraz Fertiliser Company (SFC) urea and ammonia expansion project, expected to be worth $200 million. The engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) bidders are: Japan's Kawasaki Heavy Industries (KHI), with the local Nargan; Italy's Snamprogetti, with the local Energy Industries Engineering & Design; and Japan's Toyo Engineering, with Switzerland's Ammonia Casaleand t
  • Top Zarkawi aide caught

    The Iraqi government said on 25 February that it had captured Talib Mikhlif Arsan Walman al-Dulaymi, also known as Abu Qutaybah, a lieutenant of Iraqi insurgent leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi.Reports say Qutaybah was arrested on 20 February in Anah, northwest of Baghdad and about 60 kilometres from the border with Syria. 'Abu Qutaybah was responsible for determining who, when and how terrorist network leaders would meet with Zarqawi, [he] filled the role of key li
  • Tourism: back in business

    What is Kuwait doing to develop a tourism sector?
  • Trident takes off at Jebel Ali

    Abu Dhabi-based Trident Transport Companyhas been awarded the 12-month contract to carry out ground levelling and preparatory earthworks for the first phase of the proposed Jebel Ali International (JAI) airport, Dubai Logistics City (DLC) and Airport City development. The contract, which is the first to be awarded on the project, calls for the excavation and disposal of 21 million cubic metres of rock. At least 10 companies were invited to bid for the estimated $30 million contract (
  • Trident takes off at Jebel Ali

    Abu Dhabi-based Trident Transport Companyhas been awarded the 12-month contract to carry out ground levelling and preparatory earthworks for the first phase of the proposed Jebel Ali International (JAI) airport, Dubai Logistics City (DLC) and Airport City development. The contract, which is the first to be awarded on the project, calls for the excavation and disposal of 21 million cubic metres of rock. At least 10 companies were invited to bid for the estimated $30 million contract (
  • Tunis bourse fails to excite investors

    The Tunis Stock Exchange (TSE) has had a poor start to the year, failing to pick up from an equally disappointing 2004, which saw both the Tunindex and the BVMT perform the worst of any indexes in the Middle East and North Africa. But cheap valuations offer good profits potential for investors. And 2005 could finally see the long-awaited public sale of shares in state-owned Tunisie Telecom, which would have a massive impact on the local stock market.
  • Turks take mall contract

    Turkey's Tepe Akfen Ventures (TAV)has been awarded the main contract to build a shopping mall on Sheikh Zayed highway. The mall, located next to a branch of Spinneys, will have a built-up area of about 500,000 square feet and primarily sell electrical equipment. The project will be completed by 2006. The local National Engineering Bureauis the consultant.
  • Turks take mall contract

    Turkey's Tepe Akfen Ventures (TAV)has been awarded the main contract to build a shopping mall on Sheikh Zayed highway. The mall, located next to a branch of Spinneys, will have a built-up area of about 500,000 square feet and primarily sell electrical equipment. The project will be completed by 2006. The local National Engineering Bureauis the consultant.
  • Turner appointed PM for housing scheme

    Turner Arabia, part of the US' Turner Construction International, has been appointed programme manager for a proposed major housing development in the kingdom. Besides the selection of multiple consultants on the proposed development, Turner's role will include project and construction management.
  • Turner appointed PM for housing scheme

    Turner Arabia, part of the US' Turner Construction International, has been appointed programme manager for a proposed major housing development in the kingdom. Besides the selection of multiple consultants on the proposed development, Turner's role will include project and construction management.
  • Twelve sign up for Galsi gas

    State energy company Sonatrachhas signed a total of 12 letters of intent (LoIs) for the sale of natural gas through the Algeria-Italy Galsi pipeline. Agreements have been signed with: Edison, Enel, Eos Energia, Hera, Blugas, Elettrogas, Erogasmet, Exergiaand Worldenergy, all of Italy; Switzerland's Elektrizitaets-Gesellschaft Laufenburg; Gaz de France; a
  • UAE

    Tender no 23H/2005. Carrying out civil and electro-mechanical maintenance works at Etisalat buildings throughout the UAE. The number of sites is over 1,500 and each may accommodate more than one building or have only GSM shelters. The scope of works also includes minor works in private commercial buildings housing telecommunications equipment. Bid bond is AED 200,000.
  • UAE

    Tender no 23H/2005. Carrying out civil and electro-mechanical maintenance works at Etisalat buildings throughout the UAE. The number of sites is over 1,500 and each may accommodate more than one building or have only GSM shelters. The scope of works also includes minor works in private commercial buildings housing telecommunications equipment. Bid bond is AED 200,000.
  • UAE

    Tender no 23H/2005. Carrying out civil and electro-mechanical maintenance works at Etisalat buildings throughout the UAE. The number of sites is over 1,500 and each may accommodate more than one building or have only GSM shelters. The scope of works also includes minor works in private commercial buildings housing telecommunications equipment. Bid bond is AED 200,000.
  • UAE Banking: Enjoying the moment

    Assemble a group of bankers in the UAE for a discussion of the sector, and the preoccupations are almost uniform. Most are looking at expanding abroad as licences gradually become available in previously closed markets. Virtually all talk of plans to move into higher-end investment banking, enhance their Islamic offerings and develop mortgages. And they discuss sagely the need for consolidation in the overcrowded Emirati banking market. But the discussions are leisurely. With local banks posting
  • UAE mortgages: Loans for homes

    Talk to financial institutions in the UAE about the areas of greatest potential and one that comes up constantly is mortgage lending. Given the staggering volume of real estate projects under way, mainly in Dubai, their prediction is not surprising.
  • UK firm to assist Qatargas II team

    The UK's Wavespec has been appointed to provide specialist engineering staff to the Qatar Liquefied Gas Company II (Qatargas II)integrated liquefied natural gas (LNG) project. The personnel will carry out studies on future shipping requirements and shipping systems and will prepare technical specifications for the necessary LNG tankers to serve future projects (see Cover Story).
  • UN approves compensation for Kuwait invasion

    A UN panel overseeing compensation for victims of Iraq's 1990 invasion of Kuwait approved on 11 March new awards worth $265 million to families who died in Iraqi detention.Spokesman for the Commission, Joe Sills said that the panel awarded a total of $161 million in claims from families of 602 people who died in Iraqi custody. Most of the families were Kuwaiti but claims were also filed by around 30 families of citizens of Saudi Arabia, Syria, Iran, Jordan and India. Iraqi oi
  • UN envoy meets Asad

    UN envoy Terje Roed-Larsen met Syrian President Asad in Aleppo on 12 March.Asad promised to give the UN a timetable in late March for the full withdrawal of its 14,000 troops from Lebanon. Roed-Larsen said Syria would comply with UN resolution 1559 and outlined the stages of its phased withdrawal (MEED 16:2:05). 'The first stage will see the relocation of all military forces and intelligence apparatus to the Bekaa valley by the end of March: a significant numbe
  • US incentives fail to persuade Iran

    Tehran indicated on 12 March, in response to a US shift in policy, that economic incentives would not persuade it to give up its nuclear enrichment programme. Iranian Foreign Affairs spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi said: 'The remedying of some of the faults and the addressing [of] some of the restrictions that were imposed on the Islamic republic of Iran without any cause will not prevent Iran from getting its legitimate right.' His comments followed US President Bush's signalling
  • Wade takes DSO infrastructure

    The local Wade Adams Contractinghas been awarded the estimated AED 250 million ($68 million) main infrastructure contract on the Dubai Silicon Oasis (DSO) development. The contract involves grading, roadworks, telecommunications infrastructure, potable water, sanitary and drainage systems at the DSO site, which covers an area of about 400 hectares.
  • Wade takes DSO infrastructure

    The local Wade Adams Contractinghas been awarded the estimated AED 250 million ($68 million) main infrastructure contract on the Dubai Silicon Oasis (DSO) development. The contract involves grading, roadworks, telecommunications infrastructure, potable water, sanitary and drainage systems at the DSO site, which covers an area of about 400 hectares.
  • Wafra telemetry system deadline extended

    The bid deadline has been extended by two weeks to the end of March for an estimated $50 million contract to supply and install a telemetry system covering the onshore Wafra field in the Divided Zone. The extension is to allow several new companies to participate in the tender process. South Korea's Hyundai Engineering & Construction,Europe's ABBand Spain's Tecnicas Reunidashave been invited to join UAE-based Petrofac International and a company id
  • WEC tenders Shuqaiq as Shouaiba study continues

    Water & Electricity Company (WEC)is moving ahead swiftly with its independent water and power project (IWPP) programme. Expressions of interest (EoIs) for a second project at Shuqaiq are to be submitted from 2 April and request for prequalification documents are due to be issued later in the second quarter. The EoI notice comes less than two weeks after WEC and its advisers received only one proposal for the development of the kingdom's first non-captive IWPP at Shouaiba (MEED 11:3:05).
  • Western pipeline projects get under way

    Technical proposals are due on 26 March for the first two plants planned along the western ethylene pipeline route. About six bidders are expected to participate in the tender which calls for the construction of two high-density polyethylene/low-density polyethylene (HDPE/LDPE) swing plants at the Lurestan Petrochemical Company (LPC)and Mahabad Petrochemical Company (MPC)complexes (MEED 19:12:04).
  • Woods Bagot bags maritime work

    Australia's Woods Bagothas been awarded a contract to provide architectural guidelines and carry out conceptual work on the Dubai Maritime City (DMC) project. The project will involve the construction of facilities to serve the marine industry. A team of Geneva-registered Archirodon Construction (Overseas)and Ballast Ham Dredgingof the Netherlands is executing the breakwater and land reclamation work. Australia's GHD is the masterplan consultant; t
  • Woods Bagot bags maritime work

    Australia's Woods Bagothas been awarded a contract to provide architectural guidelines and carry out conceptual work on the Dubai Maritime City (DMC) project. The project will involve the construction of facilities to serve the marine industry. A team of Geneva-registered Archirodon Construction (Overseas)and Ballast Ham Dredgingof the Netherlands is executing the breakwater and land reclamation work. Australia's GHD is the masterplan consultant; t
  • Work starts onQasco expansion

    Japan's Kobe Steelhas started construction of the planned 1.5 million-tonne-a-year (t/y) direct reduction iron (DRI) plant, while awards are close for the two other main contracts under the $550 million Qatar Steel Company (Qasco)expansion programme at Mesaieed (MEED 12:11:04). 'We hope to announce the awards of the 500,000-t/y meltshop and 700,000-t/y rolling mill packages in two-three months,' Qasco director and general manager Sheikh Nasser bin Hamad al-Thani told MEED
  • Zadco plans new pipeline

    JP Kenny,part of the UK's Wood Group, has announced the award of a contract to carry out a conceptual study for the proposed replacement of a crude oil pipeline in offshore Abu Dhabi. Placed by Zakum Development Company (Zadco), the contract will involve site survey and data collection, optimisation studies, health safety and environment, risk assessment and value engineering. The 60-kilometre-long, 42-inch-diameter Zakum main oil line (MOL) has been in operation s
  • Zadco receives bids for Satah full-field PMC

    Technical bids were submitted on 7 March for a contract to provide project management consultancy (PMC) services on the proposed Satah full-field development project. The bidders include UK's Mott MacDonald, Parsons E&C- part of Australia's WorleyParsons- and the US/Canadian VECO. The scheme involves the reinjection of 10 million cubic feet a day of associated gas to maintain reservoir pressure and will entail the installation of a gas treatment un
  • Zadco set to issueSatah field work

    Zakum Development Company (Zadco) is due to issue a tender for the front-end engineering and design (FEED) package on the proposed Satah full-field development project in Abu Dhabi. The scheme involves the reinjection of 10 million cubic feet a day of associated gas to maintain reservoir pressure and will entail the installation of a gas treatment unit, separators and compressors at the onshore Arzana site. Four companies submitted technical bids in early March for a contract to provide p
  • Zedan sees electricity law by year-end

    A new law governing the kingdom's electricity sector is expected to be approved before the end of the year, according to Fareed Zedan, governor of the Electricity & Co-generation Regulatory Authority (ECRA). 'We will see the law approved at the beginning of the fourth quarter,' Zedan said on the sidelines of the Second MEED Power & Water conference in Abu Dhabi on 21 March. The final draft of the new electricity law has already been completed and will now need to be approved by royal decree. The
  • Zueitina bids due

    Prequalified contractors are preparing to submit bids in mid-March for two contracts on a major new gas pipeline project planned by the local Zueitina Oil Company. Awards on both packages are expected in the second half.
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