By continuing to use the site you agree to our Privacy & Cookies policy

MEED
May 2005

View all stories from this issue.

  • 17 in for first Bubiyan work

    The Mega Projects Agency (MPA), part of the Ministry of Public Works (MPW), has invited 17 prequalified companies to submit bids by 24 July for the design and build contract covering the phase 1 infrastructure works on the Bubiyan sea port project (MEED 8:4:05).
  • 17 in for first Bubiyan work

    The Mega Projects Agency (MPA), part of the Ministry of Public Works (MPW), has invited 17 prequalified companies to submit bids by 24 July for the design and build contract covering the phase 1 infrastructure works on the Bubiyan sea port project (MEED 8:4:05).
  • Aabar IPO breaks previous records

    Abu Dhabi-based Aabar Petroleum Investments Companyclosed its initial public offering (IPO) on 23 April nearly 800 times oversubscribed. The offering received total subscriptions worth AED 394,000 million ($107,000 million). The IPO, covering 495 million shares priced at AED 1 ($0.27) each, had been split into two tranches. Tranche A, which covered 170 million shares, was open to individual investors, while the remaining 325 million shares under tranche B were open to individuals and
  • Abbas to ask for US aid, Tokyo gives $100 million

    Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas said on 17 May that he would ask Washington for financial aid when he meets US President Bush at the end of May. 'During my visit to the US I will ask for economic assistance as well as political support,' Abbas told reporters during a visit to Tokyo. 'In the past, America has not provided direct aid, so I intend to ask [for it]. Our government's economic and financial institutions now have the ability to deal with direct aid,' Abbas said.
  • Abbas to quiz Bush on roadmap

    Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said on 21 May that he would ask US President Bush for details on Washington's peace plan following Tel Aviv's withdrawal from Gaza. 'We will ask Bush for a clear American position over the implementation of the roadmap after the withdrawal from Gaza,' he said. Abbas is due to meet with Bush in Washington at 26 May. 'We want him to give us political and economic support that was promised by Congress because our people are in dire need of it,' Ab
  • Abu Dhabi double for Cegelec

    France's Cegelec has been awarded two engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contracts in the Abu Dhabi oil sector. The first, estimated to be worth $73 million, covers the supply and installation of a new integrated control system (ICS) for the onshore Bab and Asab oil fields. Placed by Abu Dhabi Gas Industries Company (Gasco), the ICS project includes the replacement of existing pneumatic systems with a distributed control system. The UK's Mott MacDonal
  • Abu Dhabi drives industrial investment

    Abu Dhabi-based Elite Holding hasannounced the launch of two mixed use projects in the emirate, at a total investment of at least $2,300 million. Elite is a local joint venture between Four Directions Group and Bin Salem Group (MEED 1:10:04). The larger of the two projects - the estimated $2,000 million AutoPolis scheme - calls for the construction of a complex over 1.2 square kilometres to serve the automobile industry. The facility will have two zones: Autov
  • Abu Dhabi IPOs approach

    The biggest initial public offering (IPO) in the UAE's history is due to be launched on 22 May, when AED 1,375 million ($374.7 million)-worth of shares in Abu Dhabi-based Surouh Real Estate Companywill go on sale priced at AED 1 ($0.27). The National Investor and First Gulf Bankare arranging the share issue, which covers 55 per cent of the firm's capital. Surouh is developing the Al-reem (Abu Shuoom) island, northeast of the capital (MEED 1:4:05).
  • Abu Dhabi to expand Al-Jazira stadium

    The Municipalities & Agriculture Department/Works (MADW) received expressions of interest on 17 May for the proposed redevelopment of Abu Dhabi's Al-Jazira football stadium. The project calls for the reconstruction of the single-tier stands into a multi-tiered stadium. The scheme will double the ground's capacity to about 40,000. The scope of works also comprises construction of two residential towers with about 17 storeys at one end of the stadium. The design and build contract will be fast-tra
  • Abu Dhabi to expand Al-Jazira stadium

    The Municipalities & Agriculture Department/Works (MADW) received expressions of interest on 17 May for the proposed redevelopment of Abu Dhabi's Al-Jazira football stadium. The project calls for the reconstruction of the single-tier stands into a multi-tiered stadium. The scheme will double the ground's capacity to about 40,000. The scope of works also comprises construction of two residential towers with about 17 storeys at one end of the stadium. The design and build contract will be fast-tra
  • Aden concession goes to second round

    Sanaa has requested a second round of bidding from the three companies that originally submitted bids for the concession to operate and manage Aden Container Terminal (ACT) in March. Dubai Ports International, International Container Terminal Services (ICTS)of the Philippines and Kuwait & Gulf Link Ports International have until the end of May to submit their revised proposals. No reason has been given by the government for the request. The concession agreemen
  • ADWEA kicks off developer selection for Fujairah IWPP

    Abu Dhabi Water & Electricity Authority (ADWEA) started in mid-May the process of selecting an international partner for its sixth independent water and power project (IWPP) by inviting developers to express interest in the Fujairah IWPP by 31 May. The project, which was transferred in early 2005 to the utility from fellow Abu Dhabi government-owned Union Water & Electricity Company (UWEC), will be structured along the ADWEA model, which provides for an international developer to tak
  • Ain Beni Mathar tender nears

    A tender is expected to be issued by the end of May for the procurement, construction, operation and maintenance contract on the kingdom's first solar/thermal plant in the northeastern city of Ain Beni Mathar. Four companies have been shortlisted for the estimated Eur 200 million ($261 million) Office National de l'Electricite (ONE) contract, which calls for a combined cycle plant with capacity of 200-250 MW, including a 30-MW solar power element. Tender documents are under review by the World B
  • Airports consultancy signed

    A team of Denmark's COWI and the local Larsen Architects & Consulting Engineerssigned on 8 May the design and construction supervision contract for the expansion of Seeb International Airport and Salalah airport. Design work is due to take about one and a half years and project completion is scheduled for 2008. A decision is understood to have been taken to build new terminals at both airports, rather than expanding existing facilities. The breakdown in late 2004 of a pri
  • Airports consultancy signed

    A team of Denmark's COWI and the local Larsen Architects & Consulting Engineerssigned on 8 May the design and construction supervision contract for the expansion of Seeb International Airport and Salalah airport. Design work is due to take about one and a half years and project completion is scheduled for 2008. A decision is understood to have been taken to build new terminals at both airports, rather than expanding existing facilities. The breakdown in late 2004 of a pri
  • Akaria gets education HQ contract

    The local Akariahas been awarded a 16-month, $23 million contract to build the Ministry of Education & Higher Education building in Beirut's Habib Abo Shahla Square. The consultant is the local Design Supervision Group (DSG). The building will consist of 16 storeys with three additional underground parking and storage levels. The total built-up area will be 32,000 square metres.
  • Akaria gets education HQ contract

    The local Akariahas been awarded a 16-month, $23 million contract to build the Ministry of Education & Higher Education building in Beirut's Habib Abo Shahla Square. The consultant is the local Design Supervision Group (DSG). The building will consist of 16 storeys with three additional underground parking and storage levels. The total built-up area will be 32,000 square metres.
  • Aker Kvaerner takes South Pars 9-10 PMC

    Norway's Aker Kvaernerand the local Hirbodanhave signed a $25 million project management consultancy (PMC) contract with Pars Oil & Gas Company (POGC)for South Pars phases 9-10. The phases are now under construction by a consortium of South Korea's GS Engineering & Construction, formerly LG Engineering & Construction, Oil Industries Engineering Company (OIEC)and Iranian Offshore Engineering & Construction Company (IOECC). Th
  • Algiers needs international help to clear border of mines

    Algiers called on the international community on 8 May to assist in the removal of landmines laid by France along Algeria's borders with Morocco and Tunisia during the Algerian war of independence. 'We cannot detect anti-personnel mines with the technical means at our disposal,' Junior Interior Minister Dahou Ould Kablia told a conference on mines hosted by Algiers. Algiers maintains that there are three million mines left to clear.
  • Algiers wants France to admit 1945 massacres

    President Bouteflika called on Paris on 7 May to admit the killing of 45,000 Algerians during anti-French protests in May 1945. 'The Algerian people have always been waiting for France to admit the acts perpetrated during the colonisation period and the liberation war to pave the way for broader and new friendship and co-operation prospects,' Bouteflika said in a speech. He was speaking at a commemoration event in Setif, where French forces launched an air and ground assault on pro-independ
  • Al-Hani bids low for national library

    The local Al-Hani Construction & Trading Company has submitted a low bid of KD 12.8 million ($42 million) for the construction of a new national library on Arabian Gulf street. Its offer is about 3 per cent lower than the next price of KD 13.2 million ($44 million) submitted by Real Estate Construction & Fabrication (Recafco), also local.Ten local companiespriced the 30-month contract by the 24 April deadline (MEED 18:2:05).
  • Al-Hani bids low for national library

    The local Al-Hani Construction & Trading Company has submitted a low bid of KD 12.8 million ($42 million) for the construction of a new national library on Arabian Gulf street. Its offer is about 3 per cent lower than the next price of KD 13.2 million ($44 million) submitted by Real Estate Construction & Fabrication (Recafco), also local.Ten local companiespriced the 30-month contract by the 24 April deadline (MEED 18:2:05).
  • All change for Marafiq IWPP

    The Power & Water Utilities Company for Jubail & Yanbu (Marafiq)issued a major addendum on 11 May, significantly altering the project scope and schedule for its Jubail independent water and power project (IWPP).
  • Allawi to form shadow cabinet

    Hussein al-Sadr, a member of former prime minister Iyad Allawi's Iraqi List and National Assembly deputy, said on 19 May that Allawi's coalition would establish a shadow cabinet. The list largely represents Shia secularists and came third in January elections but failed to obtain a seat in the new cabinet following intense negotiations about its request for four cabinet posts and a deputy premier position. The shadow cabinet will evaluate and critique the government led by Prime Minister Ib
  • Alleged militants face torture in Egypt

    Suspected Islamist militants sent back to Egypt face torture and serious mistreatment by the authorities, says a report issued on 11 May by Human Rights Watch. Cairo holds suspects in solitary confinement and often does not disclose their whereabouts, says the report, entitled Black Hole: the fate of Islamists rendered to Egypt. The report identifies 60 nationals returned to Egypt since 1994 and examines seven cases in detail.'Egypt's terrible record of torturing prisoners me
  • Al-RAJHI BANKING & INVESTMENT CORPORATION:Big-ticket territory

    Its core retail market under pressure from ambitious rivals, Saudi Arabia's most consistently profitable financial institution is preparing initiatives designed to bolster its position as one of the kingdom's favourite banks and write its name on some of the big-ticket corporate finance deals that will hit the market in the next five years.
  • Al-Uloum returns to the ministry

    Ibrahim Mohammed Bahr al-Uloum was appointed Oil Minister in the new transitional government on 8 May, taking over from the temporary incumbent Ahmed Chalabi. Al-Uloum, who was previously oil minister from September 2003 to June 2004, made boosting oil output his immediate priority following his nomination by transitional Prime Minister Ibrahim Jaafari. 'We will work towards increasing production with the aim of reaching previous output levels,' he told reporters. Al-Uloum, a Shia, was widely ti
  • Al-Zarqawi wounded, says terrorist website

    Al-Qaeda in Iraq published an internet statement on 24 May that urged followers to pray for Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, who it said had been wounded. 'Pray for the healing of our Sheikh Abu Musab al-Zarqawi from an injury he suffered in the path of God,' the statement said. Lieutenant Colonel Steve Boylan, a spokesman for the US forces in Iraq, said: 'We have no information on whether [Al-Zarqawi] is wounded or what the state of his health is. He's still our number one target to be
  • AMA closes in on port infrastructure

    The local Ahmed Mansour Al-A'Ali (AMA)is understood to have been recommended to the Tender Board for the contract to build the infrastructure for the new Khalifa bin Salman port and industrial area at Hidd. AMA and Haji Hassan, also local, were the low bidders for the work when prices were opened in late December. However, AMA offered three options, ranging from BD 26.5 million-28.3 million ($69.7 million-74.5 million), and Haji Hassan is understood to be objecting to th
  • AMA closes in on port infrastructure

    The local Ahmed Mansour Al-A'Ali (AMA)is understood to have been recommended to the Tender Board for the contract to build the infrastructure for the new Khalifa bin Salman port and industrial area at Hidd. AMA and Haji Hassan, also local, were the low bidders for the work when prices were opened in late December. However, AMA offered three options, ranging from BD 26.5 million-28.3 million ($69.7 million-74.5 million), and Haji Hassan is understood to be objecting to th
  • Amman, Damascus seek closer economic ties

    New Jordanian Prime Minister Adnan Badran and Syrian President Asad discussed improving bilateral trade ties, establishing free trade zones and transport links between their two countries when they met in Damascus on 3 May.Badran met his Syrian counterpart Mohammed Najri al-Otari on 2 May. The two prime ministers discussed cross-boarder tourism, the conflict in Iraq and the Middle East peace process, including Tel Aviv's planned withdrawal from Gaza. They also signed a civil
  • An equitable solution

    Romen Mathieu, managing director of one of the first private equity funds to plan investments across the MENA countries, tells Clare Dunkley why those who say private equity can never take off in the region are wrong
  • Anatomy of a contract dispute

    The contract to build the $324 million Mubarak Television Studios was awarded in January 1997 to The Fourth Consortium (T4C), a joint venture between the Anglo/Norwegian Kvaerner Construction International (KCI), now Skanska Cementation International, and Japan's Sony Broadcast & Production Europe. The original contract covered the construction and fit-out of a six-studio facility designed by Sofratev. Under the terms of the contract, KCI was responsible for detailed designs and construction, wo
  • Another security head resigns in Beirut

    Military intelligence chief Colonel Ghassan Tufeili was asked to stand down on 16 May. His departure leaves the head of the presidential guard, General Mustapha Hamdan, as the only senior security figure to remain in post following the murder of former prime minister Rafiq Hariri. Opposition politicians have demanded that all of Lebanon's pro-Syria security chiefs resign following the assassination of Hariri, in which Damascus has been implicated.
  • Aoun in confrontation with opposition leaders

    Christian opposition leader and former prime minister Michel Aoun said on 24 May that he will form his own electoral list to contest parliamentary elections at the end of May. Aoun held talks with Druze leader Walid Jumblatt and Saad Hariri, son of the late Rafiq Hariri, on 24 May. 'We have not reached an agreement so we are heading for confrontation,' Aoun said after the meeting. Talks reportedly broke down due to Aoun's insistence that he select candidates for non-Maronite seats in the Ba
  • Aoun returns to Lebanon

    Former general and civil war Christian leader Michel Aoun returned to Beirut on 7 May after 11 years in exile in France. 'I return to you today as Lebanon has regained its freedom, sovereignty and independence,' Aoun said to crowds gathered in Martyrs' Square to cheer his arrival. Members of Aoun's Free Patriotic Movement will contest parliamentary elections at the end of the month, but Aoun has not said if he will stand. Parliament rejected on 7 May President Lahoud's proposed changes to t
  • Aoun splits with other opposition leaders

    Opposition figure and Christian leader Michel Aoun criticised other anti-Syria leaders on 18 May and said opposition unity was fragmenting in the run-up to parliamentary elections. Opposition leaders failed to arrive at a common platform from which to challenge the government, he said. 'This so-called opposition was only seasonal,' Aoun commented.Aoun and his supporters in the Free Patriotic Movement (FPM) have been excluded from the two anti-Syrian lists announced by Saad Ha
  • Aoun to stand alone in parliamentary elections

    Christian leader and former exile Michel Aoun announced on 26 May that he would stand for a parliamentary seat in upcoming elections in the mainly Christian district of Jbeil-Kesrwan, north of Beirut. Aoun said he did not wish to announce his own electoral list after failing to agree on joint slates with Druze leader Walid Jumblatt and Saad Hariri, the son of the late former prime minister Rafiq Hariri. Aoun has said that Jumblatt and Hariri refused to allow him to nominate candidates for t
  • Apicorp loan signed

    A $250 million syndicated loan for Arab Petroleum Investments Corporation (Apicorp) was signed on 27 April. The financing, which will refinance a borrowing taken out in 2000, was increased in size from $200 million due to subscription of $295 million. The mandated lead arrangers were Arab Banking Corporation, Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi (BTM), BNP Paribas, Calyon, Gulf International Bank, Mizuho Financial Group,
  • Arab Maghreb summit cancelled

    Mauritania's Foreign Affairs Minister Mohamed Vall Ould Bellal told Al-Jazeera on 24 May that the Arab Maghreb Union summit due to take place on 25-26 May had been cancelled. Morocco's King Mohamed VI announced he would not attend the first meeting of North African heads of state for more than a decade after Algiers issued a statement in support of the Polisario Front and their independence struggle in Western Sahara. Rabat maintains Western Sahara is Moroccan territory. 'The summit is post
  • ARAB NATIONAL BANK: Sitting comfortably

    Arab National Bank (ANB) is comfortably placed to enjoy the kingdom's profits and assets boom. All business lines performed well in 2004, with profits rising 52 per cent to SR 1,167 million to deliver a return on equity of 27 per cent and a return on assets of 2.1 per cent. The balance sheet, encompassing an 11 per cent capital increase of SR 2,000 million, expanded by more than 28 per cent to SR 63,336 million. The strong profit rise allowed provisions to be lifted to 20 per cent of the loan po
  • Aramco begins search for Ras Tanura partner

    Saudi Aramcois moving ahead with the estimated $6,000 million project to upgrade its refinery complex at Ras Tanura and integrate it with a large-scale petrochemicals complex. Aramco officials will travel to Japan in late May to promote the project to potential investors interested in coming on board as joint venture partners. The Ras Tanura scheme will be carried out on a model similar to the Rabigh refinery redevelopment, where Aramco has formed a 50:50 venture with Sumitomo Che
  • Aramco finds more light oil

    Saudi Aramco has announced the discovery of a new oil field in the Eastern Province. The onshore Halfa-1 well is located about 320 kilometres south of Dharan and tested at 6,000 barrels a day (b/d) of low-sulphur-content Arabian extra light crude, Aramco said on 11 May. According to test data, the well is expected to flow 'at a significantly higher rate under normal production'. The well also tested at 4.2 million cubic feet a day of gas. The discovery of light crude comes at a time of st
  • Aramco gears up for major pipeline programme

    Local and international contractors are gearing up to bid for a string of new pipeline tenders to be issued by Saudi Aramco. Among the projects being lined up is the conversion of the existing Abqaiq-Yanbu oil looped line (AY-1L) to transport sales gas, the upgrade of two offshore lines in the northern area and a second package relating to the debottlenecking of the east-west Shedgum-Yanbu (SHY-1) natural gas liquids (NGL) pipeline.
  • Aramco, Sabic to sell off equity in mega projects

    Saudi Aramco plans to sell off a major stake in its $5,000 million grassroots export refinery at Yanbu through an initial public offering (IPO) on the Saudi stock exchange. A similar transaction is being considered by Saudi Basic Industries Corporation (Sabic) for its planned new olefins complex, YanSab, at Yanbu. Both moves are aimed at distributing a greater share of the kingdom's hydrocarbons wealth to nationals through the booming local stock market (MEED 18:3:05).
  • Aramco, Shell plan refinery expansion

    Saudi Aramco Shell Refinery Company (Sasref)is understood to be mulling options to expand its existing refinery at Jubail. Under the estimated SR 1,000 million ($272 million) programme, which has yet to be approved, Sasref plans to increase capacity and improve product quality at the 305,000-barrel-a-day (b/d) refinery by adding new liquid petroleum gas (LPG), sulphur recovery and diesel hydrotreater units among other facilities. Sasref, a 50:50 joint venture between Saudi Aramco
  • AROMATICS: The next big thing

    The swathe of new olefins projects across the Gulf may be grabbing all the headlines, but another link in the petrochemicals chain is attracting unprecedented regional interest. Aromatics are gaining in prominence as producers seek to diversify their product slate, meet strong Asian demand and take advantage of readily available feedstock.
  • Aussies strike gold in Nefza

    Australia's Albidonhas announced the discovery of gold deposits at Kef el-Agueb, in the southeast corner of the Nefza exploration permit in the northwest. Limited rock chip sampling on the permit, which covers 4,160 square kilometres of sediments, volcanic rocks and granites, returned values of up to 1 gramme a tonne (g/t) of gold, with soils yielding values of up to 0.5 g/t. The strike length is at least 5 kilometres. Albidon is also prospecting on the permit for silver and other ba
  • Award close for City of Arabia piling work

    An award is imminent for the estimated $80 million piling contract on the $2,000 million City of Arabia project in the heart of the Dubailand development. The six-month contract calls for the sinking of 26,500 piles covering the 20 million-square-foot area. Bidders include Germany's Bauer, Swissboring, part of Italy's Trevi Group, and local firms Middle East Foundations and NSCC(MEED 8:10:04).
  • Award close for City of Arabia piling work

    An award is imminent for the estimated $80 million piling contract on the $2,000 million City of Arabia project in the heart of the Dubailand development. The six-month contract calls for the sinking of 26,500 piles covering the 20 million-square-foot area. Bidders include Germany's Bauer, Swissboring, part of Italy's Trevi Group, and local firms Middle East Foundations and NSCC(MEED 8:10:04).
  • Award nears forstation

    Contract awards are imminent on phase 2 of the Jebel Alipower and desalination complex in Dubai. South Korea's Hyundai Engineering & Construction Company- which submitted a low bid of AED 2,415 million ($658 million) - is understood to be the frontrunner for the power island lump-sum turnkey (LSTK) contract. For the desalination plant, Italy's Fisia Italimpiantiwas the low bidder at AED 904 million ($246 million) when prices were submitted in late 2004. The project involv
  • Awards at International City

    Local property developer Nakheelhas awarded two more contracts on the $1,900 million International City development in Dubai. Turkey's Nurol Grouphas been selected to carry out the estimated AED 300 million ($82 million) package 9. The 20-month contract calls for the construction of 29 English-themed buildings. The local Al-Sahel Contractingis also gearing up to mobilise on the Russian-themed package 10. The project calls for the construction of 34 buildings w
  • Awards at International City

    Local property developer Nakheelhas awarded two more contracts on the $1,900 million International City development in Dubai. Turkey's Nurol Grouphas been selected to carry out the estimated AED 300 million ($82 million) package 9. The 20-month contract calls for the construction of 29 English-themed buildings. The local Al-Sahel Contractingis also gearing up to mobilise on the Russian-themed package 10. The project calls for the construction of 34 buildings w
  • Awards near on highway projects

    The first contract awards are approaching on the government's $2,000 million highway upgrade programme. Bids are under evaluation at the Public Works Authority (Ashghal) for five contracts, which cover the first packages on the North and Dukhan upgrade projects and three packages on the Doha expressway scheme (Qatar, MEED Special Report, 18:3:05, page 51).
  • Awards near on highway projects

    The first contract awards are approaching on the government's $2,000 million highway upgrade programme. Bids are under evaluation at the Public Works Authority (Ashghal) for five contracts, which cover the first packages on the North and Dukhan upgrade projects and three packages on the Doha expressway scheme (Qatar, MEED Special Report, 18:3:05, page 51).
  • Badran cabinet clashes with Parliament

    Parliament threatened the government of new Prime Minister Adnan Badran on 3 May with a no-confidence vote if he did not drop Finance Minister Bassem Awadallah from his cabinet. MPs 'have clearly stated they will not vote for a confidence motion in the Badran government so long as it includes the ministerial economic team [led by Awadallah] that is considered suspect', said deputy speaker Mamduh Abbadi. Awadallah was ejected from the previous cabinet but was reinstated two months later by B
  • BANK ALBILAD : A capable aspirant

    When subscriptions closed on 9 March, the first new bank set up in Saudi Arabia for almost 30 years had secured bids for shares from more than 8 million individuals living in every part of the kingdom. While the Saudi municipal elections, the first national poll in the country's history, were making few headlines and creating little excitement, Bank Albilad had captured in an unprecedented way the people's imagination - along with their savings.
  • BANK ALJAZIRA: A change in fortunes

    On Jeddah's Khaled Bin Alwaleed street, a low-key building that is easy to miss is home to a bank that has witnessed a remarkable change in fortunes over the past decade. Bank Aljazira's turnaround strategy, launched 11 years ago, finally delivered last year, in the form of a 101 per cent profit increase. The good news came just in time for the bank's 30th anniversary.
  • Banking & Finance: Rewriting the rulebook

    Creating a financial services hub is very much flavour of the month in the Gulf, with the launch of financial centres in Dubai and Qatar and the liberalisation of Saudi Arabia's financial services market. As the stream of press releases hits the newspapers trumpeting licences granted and appointments made, there is a sense of frustration in Manama, which has been quietly developing regulatory expertise for three decades. But the Bahrain Monetary Agency (BMA - central bank) is no longer resting o
  • Banks plan borrowings, insurance ventures

    The kingdom's banks are looking at a range of borrowing options to finance expansion plans, joining a trend which has seen Saudi British Bank, the local affiliate of HSBC, issuing a eurobond, Saudi Hollandi Banklaunching a subordinated debt instrument and Arab National Bank and Banque Saudi Fransitaking syndicated loans. Bank Aljazirais planning a sukuk issue. 'We are working hard on the idea and it's likely to happen,' chie
  • Banks served double PIMs

    The preliminary information memoranda (PIMs) have been released on the debt packages for both the Qatofinand the Qatar Chemical Company II (Q-Chem II) projects. Banks have been given about five weeks to respond. Royal Bank of Scotlandis acting as financial adviser to Q-Chem II, while HSBCis advising Qatofin (MEED 8:4:05).
  • BANQUE SAUDI FRANSI: Parisian style in Riyadh

    Making a virtue of necessity, Banque Saudi Fransi has stencilled its palm logo on the metre-high Jersey barriers providing a protective shield outside its head office in the heart of Riyadh. It is a demonstration that there is still a place for French style in the heart of the Muslim kingdom.
  • Batelco picks up fixed-line

    Bahrain Telecommunications Company (Batelco)has been granted a fixed-line licence by the Telecommunications Regulatory Commission (TRC), allowing the operator to offer voice services in addition to the internet service provider (ISP) and data communications services already offered by local subsidiary Batelco Jordan. Batelco is aiming to launch services in six-seven months. The award of the licence follows approval in October by the government of the TRC's liberalisation plans
  • Ben Ali promises press freedoms

    President Ben Ali said on 3 May that he supports freedom of the press. 'We shall continue to support our national press so that it is better suited to translate the deep changes on the road to democracy and modernity in our society,' Ben Ali told a meeting of editors and reporters marking international press freedom day. Tunis will host the UN-sponsored World Summit on the Information Society in November 2005.Press censorship remains strong in Tunisia. 'There are no journalis
  • BFH sukuk launched

    Subscription opened on 17 May to the sukuk issue of Bahrain Financial Harbour Holding Company, lead arranged by Liquidity Management Centre (LMC). The five-year instrument will be worth $100 million-170 million and pays 250 basis points. The offering is due to close in late June and is being underwritten by Bahrain Islamic Bank, Dubai Islamic Bank, Emirates Islamic Bank, Gulf Finance House Commercial Bank, Islamic Developmen
  • Bidders line up for Rabigh packages

    Bids were submitted in mid-May for three main packages on the $4,300 million programme to upgrade the kingdom's biggest refinery at Rabigh and turn it into a world-scale integrated refining and petrochemicals complex. The project is being jointly developed by Saudi Aramco and Japan's Sumitomo Chemical Company(MEED 6:5:05).
  • Bidders line up for Salco smelter

    At least six groups have been prequalified by South Aluminium Corporation (Salco)to submit bids by the 12 June deadline for the engineering, procurement, construction and commissioning (EPCC) package on the Bandar Abbas smelter project (MEED 3:3:05).
  • Bidding shifts up a gear on YanSab

    International contractors submitted commercial proposals in late April for two packages tendered by Saudi Basic Industries Corporation (Sabic) as part of its programme to build the greenfield YanSab olefins complex at Yanbu (MEED 11:3:05).
  • Bids delayed for AGD-2 package

    Commercial bids are due to be submitted to Abu Dhabi Gas Industries Company (Gasco)on 17 May, following a week's extension to the deadline for package 3 on the third phase of the onshore gas development (OGD-3) and phase 2 of the Asab gas development (AGD-2). Estimated to be worth at least $400 million, the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract covers gas treatment and natural gas liquids (NGL) recovery facilities at Asab. The bidders are US-based Bechtel
  • Bids delayed for Umm Shaif

    Abu Dhabi Marine Operating Company (Adma-Opco)has extended the deadline for the submission of technical bids by two months to 13 July for the estimated $900 million engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract on the Umm Shaif gas reinjection project. Seven companies are prequalified for the contract, which will involve the supply and installation of three platforms, subsea pipelines and tie-ins and modifications to three existing wellhead towers. Australia's WorleyPar
  • Bids due for ASPEN road

    The US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) has invited companies to submit bids by 9 June for a design and build contract covering the ASPEN Road project. Estimated to be worth $30 million-35 million, the contract calls for the construction of 55 kilometres of dual-carriageway and the widening of the existing 45-kilometre road from the Kuwait border to the Tampa main supply road. The roadworks will take about six months to complete.
  • Bids due for ASPEN road

    The US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) has invited companies to submit bids by 9 June for a design and build contract covering the ASPEN Road project. Estimated to be worth $30 million-35 million, the contract calls for the construction of 55 kilometres of dual-carriageway and the widening of the existing 45-kilometre road from the Kuwait border to the Tampa main supply road. The roadworks will take about six months to complete.
  • Bids in for $1bn water conveyor

    Technical and commercial proposals were submitted to the Saline Water Conversion Corporation (SWCC) on 27 April for the estimated $1,000 million project to install a major water transmission system in the western region. A total of 10 groups submitted bids for some or all of the project's 12 packages, which cover pipe supply, pipeline construction and construction of the pumping stations. The conveyor will distribute water produced at the existing Shouaiba desalination complex and the planned Sh
  • Bids in for cement plant

    Bids have been submitted for two construction contracts with a total estimated value of $250 million for a new cement plant in Settat, 70 kilometres south of Casablanca. The client is Holcim Maroc, a subsidiary of Switzerland's Holcim.
  • Bids in for Dubai Tower

    Bid evaluation is under way for the main contract on the Dubai Tower project, located on the corniche in the West Bay area of Doha. At least three international contractors submitted bids in mid-May for the estimated $275 million contract, which involves the construction of a 400-metre tower, set to be the tallest building in Qatar. The client is Dubai International Properties(MEED 11:3:05).
  • Bids in for Dubai Tower

    Bid evaluation is under way for the main contract on the Dubai Tower project, located on the corniche in the West Bay area of Doha. At least three international contractors submitted bids in mid-May for the estimated $275 million contract, which involves the construction of a 400-metre tower, set to be the tallest building in Qatar. The client is Dubai International Properties(MEED 11:3:05).
  • Bids in for Emirates engine centre

    Five companies submitted bids on 7 May to Dubai-based airline Emiratesand General Electric (GE) of the US for the construction of a new jet engine testing facility in the emirate. The bidders include Turkey's Tepe Akfen Ventures (TAV), Punj Lloyd of India and three unidentified local companies. Estimated to be worth $35 million, the contract calls for the construction of a 6,000-square-metre building with a 13-metre cross-section chamber capable of
  • Bids in for GIIC advisory

    Bids have been submitted by four banks for the financial advisory mandate on the project under way by the local Gulf Industrial Investment Company (GIIC)to expand iron pelletising capacity at its Hidd plant. The bidders are Arab Banking Corporation (ABC), BNP Paribas, Gulf Investment Corporation- which is a shareholder in GIIC - and HSBC. Bids have been submitted by Finland's Metsoand Japan's Kobe Steelfor an eng
  • Bids in for Kahramaa consultancy work

    Bids were submitted in mid-May to Qatar General Electricity & Water Corporation (Kahramaa) for the major consultancy contract covering new power and desalination capacity across the state. About six bidding groups were looking at the tender, but it is unclear how many submitted proposals. Bidders were asked to provide a base bid, covering either the facility B independent water and power project (IWPP) or a separate IWPP to part-meet the power requirements of the proposed Mesaieed aluminium smel
  • Bids in for KOC flowlines work

    Kuwait Oil Company (KOC)is evaluating bids for three packages on its flowlines modernisation programme. The four-year contracts, which involve the supply and replacement of up to 1,400 kilometres of six-inch-diameter carbon steel pipe running from KOC's oil field wellheads to their requisite manifolds and gathering centres, are expected to be awarded in the autumn. All the submitted prices are understood to be above budget. For the first time, KOC has inserted an escalation clause into th
  • Bids in for Kurdistan LDPE

    Four companies have submitted bids to Kurdistan Petrochemical Company (KPC)for the construction of a low-density polyethylene (LDPE) unit on the western ethylene pipeline at Sanandaj. The unit will be a near replica of the LDPE plant under execution at the Amir Kabir Petrochemical Company olefins 6 complex at Bandar Imam. Clarification meetings are under way with bidders for two other polyethylene contracts, at Lurestan Petrochemical Company (LPC)and M
  • Bids in for Lulu marine works

    Five companies have submitted bids for the marine works package on the planned BD 200 million ($526.3 million) Lulu Island resort, to be located off the north coast of Manama. An award is expected in mid-late June by the client, Lulu Tourism Company. The UK's Jacobs Gibbis the consultant. The contract, estimated to be worth in excess of $30 million, covers quay walls and revetments (MEED 4:3:05).
  • Bids in for Lulu marine works

    Five companies have submitted bids for the marine works package on the planned BD 200 million ($526.3 million) Lulu Island resort, to be located off the north coast of Manama. An award is expected in mid-late June by the client, Lulu Tourism Company. The UK's Jacobs Gibbis the consultant. The contract, estimated to be worth in excess of $30 million, covers quay walls and revetments (MEED 4:3:05).
  • Bids in for Mirdif shopping centre

    Bids from at least three contractors are under evaluation for the construction of an estimated $50 million shopping complex in Dubai's Mirdif district. Bidders include Ali Moosa & Sons Contracting and Khansaheb Civil Engineering, both local, and the local/UK Dutco Balfour Beatty (DBB). The project, named Dubai Retail Park, calls for the construction of a two-storey shopping centre including a Carrefour hypermarket with a built-up area of about 40,0
  • Bids in for Mirdif shopping centre

    Bids from at least three contractors are under evaluation for the construction of an estimated $50 million shopping complex in Dubai's Mirdif district. Bidders include Ali Moosa & Sons Contracting and Khansaheb Civil Engineering, both local, and the local/UK Dutco Balfour Beatty (DBB). The project, named Dubai Retail Park, calls for the construction of a two-storey shopping centre including a Carrefour hypermarket with a built-up area of about 40,0
  • Bids in for RGD contract

    Bids were opened on 18 May for the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract on the refinery gas desulphurisation (RGD) project planned by Bahrain Petroleum Company (Bapco)as part of its refinery upgrade programme. All four companies invited to submit bids did so. Foster Wheeler Italianaoffered the lowest bid with the cheaper of its two options, at $111.8 million, 3.1 per cent lower than the single price of $115 million quoted by the US' Fluor Corpo
  • Bids in for smelter advisory

    Bids were submitted on 16 May for the financial advisory mandate on the debt package for the planned aluminium smelter at Mesaieed and beauty parades will be held on 20-21 May in London. The bidders are understood to include BNP Paribas, Calyon, Citigroup, HSBCand Standard Chartered Bank. A swift award is expected. The project company, which is a 51:49 joint venture between Qatar Petroleum (QP)and Norway's Hydro,
  • Bids invited for Durrat bridges

    Bids have been invited by 24 May for the construction of the bridges linking the various portions of the Durrat al-Baharin resort, and other elements of the scheme are moving forward.
  • Bids invited for Durrat bridges

    Bids have been invited by 24 May for the construction of the bridges linking the various portions of the Durrat al-Baharin resort, and other elements of the scheme are moving forward.
  • Bids studied for Fujairah steel

    Abu Dhabi Investment Company (ADIC)is evaluating commercial bids for the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract for its proposed steel plant in Fujairah. Estimated to be worth $300 million-350 million, the greenfield complex will have capacity of 1.2 million tonnes a year (t/y - MEED 3:9:04).
  • Bids studied for OMC tanks

    Bids were submitted on 24 April for the tank package on the Oman Methanol Company (OMC)project at Sohar. Two companies - US-based Chicago Bridge & Iron Company (CB&I) and Neumann of Germany - priced the estimated $15 million subcontract, which covers the supply and installation of 11 storage tanks of varying sizes. The client is Germany's Proman, which is carrying out the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract on the scheme. The p
  • Bids submitted for Jebel Dhanna PMC package

    Technical bids were submitted on 26 April to Abu Dhabi Oil Refining Company (Takreer) for the contract to provide project management consultancy (PMC) services for the construction of two 1 million-barrel crude oil storage tanks.
  • Bids under evaluation for new helium plant

    Technical bids are under evaluation from three companies for an estimated $80 million engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract to develop a 600 million-cubic-feet-a-year (cf/y) helium plant at Arzew. The bidders are the US' Air Products & Chemicals, Germany's Lindeand Air Liquide of France.
  • Biggest ever local IPO finally looms

    The Muscat Securities Market (MSM) is throwing off its laggard status developed in the second half of 2004, when negative investor reaction to the proposed merger of the sultanate's two biggest banks and the coming to term of the Oryx fund conspired to drive down the bourse. Positive economic and corporate news have combined more happily since January to drive up the benchmark MSM index by some 35 per cent. And investors are waiting eagerly for what will be a seminal event for the local stock ma
  • BMB shareholders approve restructuring

    An extraordinary general meeting (EGM) of shareholders in BMB Investment Bankon 11 May approved the management's planned capital restructuring and rights issue. BMB will raise $50 million through the issue of 200 million shares priced at $0.25 each. An unidentified existing shareholder has pledged to buy $33 million worth of the new shares should they not be fully subscribed by other investors. A debt-for-equity swap will raise a further $50 million. 'The total of $100 million, coupl
  • BNP Paribas' regional plans take shape

    BNP Paribasplans to open its first branch in Saudi Arabia by the end of the second quarter, having been granted a licence in mid-2004. The branch will be in Riyadh. BNP has also launched operations in Kuwait, after gaining the country's first foreign banking licence in August last year (MEED 4:6:04).
  • Borda eyes new frontiers

    Kenneth Borda has been appointed chief executive officer (CEO) for Deutsche Bank'soperations in the Middle East and North Africa, effective as of 1 May. Borda takes on the newly-created role, aimed at developing Deutsche Bank's regional presence, having been Asia-Pacific CEO for the past three years. He will be based in Dubai.
  • Bouregreg to be developed

    The government is moving ahead with plans to develop 5,000 hectares of land in the Bouregreg valley near Rabat.
  • Bouregreg to be developed

    The government is moving ahead with plans to develop 5,000 hectares of land in the Bouregreg valley near Rabat.
  • Bouteflika reshuffles his team

    President Bouteflika replaced the ministers of foreign affairs, finance and investment on 1 May and created the new post of junior Minister of Defence. Mohammed Bejaoui took over as Foreign Affairs Minister from Abdelaziz Belkhadem, who indicated in late April that he wished to resign to focus on his role as president of the National Liberation Front (FLN). Bejaoui is a judge who has served at the International Criminal Court, and is president of Algeria's judicial authority and a diplomat
  • BP extends Suez concessions

    The UK's BPhas extended two oil concessions in the Gulf of Suez: the Merged concession agreement (MCA) and South Gharib. Petroleum Minister Sameh Fahmy and BP Egyptpresident Hesham Mekawi on 9 May signed agreements to extend the MCA by 20 years and the South Gharib concession by 10 years. The modified terms of the agreements allow BP to push ahead with plans to invest about $615 million over the coming seven years in exploration and development. Production from the two co
  • BSF on borrowing bandwagon

    Banque Saudi Fransi (BSF) has appointed a five-strong group of mandated lead arrangers (MLAs) for a syndicated borrowing, following closely those by Arab National Bank (ANB) and Saudi Hollandi Bank( SHB- MEED 18:3:05).
  • Bush calls for free Egyptian elections

    In a meeting with Egyptian Prime Minister Ahmed Nazif on 18 May, US President Bush urged Cairo to hold free elections in September monitored by international observers. Bush 'is very supportive of the reforms that are taking place in Egypt,' Nazif said. 'He urged us to move ahead on political reforms and he commended President Mubarak's move to change the constitution [to allow for multi-candidate elections] and urged us to make sure that the elections will be free and fair,' he said (
  • Cabinet success crucial to Iraqi stability

    After three months of stalemate, Baghdad's Transitional National Assembly has at last approved a new cabinet. The 36-member list proposed by Prime Minister-designate Ibrahim Jaafari was passed by the 275-member parliament on 28 April, although several key posts remain vacant thanks to continuing disagreements between the country's main parties. Jaafari has until 7 May to fill the key defence, oil, electricity, human rights and industry portfolios.
  • Cairo cracks down on Muslim Brotherhood

    Muslim Brotherhood leader Issam Aryane was arrested on 6 May following mass demonstrations organised by the banned movement on 4 May. Aryane is the spokesman for the organisation's spiritual leader, Mohammed Mehdi Akef ( MEED 4:5:05). Reuters reported that police detained about 1,000 people in connection with the nationwide protests, which called for the end of Preside
  • Cairo launches TE sell-off

    Cairo is seeking an adviser to lead the part-privatisation of Telecom Egypt (TE), the state-owned, fixed-line operator. Local and international investment banks have until 29 May to submit bids for the mandate to advise the Telecommunications & Information Technology Ministry on the sale of a minority stake in TE.
  • Cairo plans Port Said refinery

    Cairo is planning to develop a 350,000-barrel-a-day grassroots refinery at Port Said, according to the Petroleum Ministry. The estimated $3,500 million project is to be developed by a special purpose project company that will be established by the ministry and financed with equity raised from a public flotation of shares. Port Said governorate is understood to have set aside a 3.5 million-square-metre plot of land for the project at the request of Petroleum Minister Sameh Fahmy. 'The new company
  • Cairo seeks help combating terrorism

    President Mubarak asked the public to help fight terrorism on 3 May, following two attacks on 1 May that targeted foreign tourists. 'We have to work hand in hand, people and government, in order to defend the stability of this safe nation confronting the elements of terrorism and extremism,' he said during a televised May Day speech. A man blew himself up and wounded four tourists as he jumped from a bridge near the Cairo Museum on 1 May. The man was wanted in connection with an explosion i
  • Cairo sends out confusing signals

    Few in Cairo's construction industry would have been surprised if on 14 February 1998 the directors of Kvaerner Construction International (KCI) had sent a Valentine's card to the Egyptian government. Three days before, the Anglo/Norwegian contractor had landed the $425 million contract to build the Mubarak pumping station, the largest facility of its type in Africa. With the contractor having just started work on another prestigious contract, the Mubarak television studios, KCI had confirmed it
  • Cairo set for new licensing round

    Egyptian General Petroleum Corporation (EGPC)will launch its first exploration licensing round of 2005 by early May. The bid round will include 15 blocks, say sources at the company. The new round follows the award in late March of three blocks in the Western Desert that were included in EGPC's second bid round of 2004. The round saw Greece's Vegasawarded the licence to explore the 1,075-square-kilometre Alam el-Shawish West concession, Ukraine's Naftogaz taking th
  • Cairo to consider multi-candidate election law

    A parliamentary committee proposed on 6 May to amend the electoral law to allow multi-candidate presidential elections. Under the new law, which is due to be presented to parliament on 10 May, a candidate must have the support of 65 of the 444 members of parliament to stand. Opposition and reform groups have criticised the planned change, noting that parliament is dominated by President Mubarak's ruling National Democratic Party and other candidates are unlikely to obtain required backing.
  • Cairo to send troops to Israeli border

    Egyptian Foreign Affairs Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit said on 22 May that Cairo is preparing to deploy troops along its border with Israel during Tel Aviv's planned withdrawal from Gaza. 'We are talking about 1,500-2,000 on the Egyptian-Israeli part of the border. On the Egyptian-Palestinian part of the border we are talking about another 750 people. That is subject to the understandings that we are trying to reach with the Israelis. We are not yet fully there,' Gheit said on the sidelines of
  • Cairo's power plans move

    Egyptian Electricity Holding Company (EEHC)will sign by the end of May two major packages on its $315 million project to build a 750-MW combined cycle power plant at Kureimat, 90 kilometres south of Cairo. The agreements cover a $60 million civil engineering contract, which has gone to the local Arab Contractors (Osman Ahmed Osman & Company), and a $15 million switchyard contract awarded to Germany's Siemens. In January, the contractor signed an estimated $100 mill
  • Cansult wins Amwal tower work

    Local finance house Amwal, formerly known as Qatar Ladies Investment Company, has announced the appointment of Canada's Cansult as project manager on its Amwal tower project in the West Bay district of Doha. The 22-storey office building will also have a multi-storey underground car park, with space for 300 vehicles. The building has been designed by the Canadian office of US architectural firm HOK. Amwal also announced in late April that it plans to increase
  • Cansult wins Amwal tower work

    Local finance house Amwal, formerly known as Qatar Ladies Investment Company, has announced the appointment of Canada's Cansult as project manager on its Amwal tower project in the West Bay district of Doha. The 22-storey office building will also have a multi-storey underground car park, with space for 300 vehicles. The building has been designed by the Canadian office of US architectural firm HOK. Amwal also announced in late April that it plans to increase
  • Catalysts of reform

    King Abdullah is hoping his new cabinet can proceed with Amman's much-vaunted reform programme far quicker than the previous administration. Tom Pepper reports
  • Causeway prequal list awaited

    The Ministry of Public Works (MPW) expects to announce the list of prequalifiers for the Subiya causeway project very soon. 'We are just awaiting final budget approval from the cabinet for the project to go ahead,' MPW's assistant under-secretary for roads and sanitary engineering Abdullateef al-Dakheel told MEED on 18 May. 'There will be five-seven prequalifiers.' Eleven joint ventures submitted prequalification applications in February for the estimated $1,500 million project. Denmark's
  • Causeway prequal list awaited

    The Ministry of Public Works (MPW) expects to announce the list of prequalifiers for the Subiya causeway project very soon. 'We are just awaiting final budget approval from the cabinet for the project to go ahead,' MPW's assistant under-secretary for roads and sanitary engineering Abdullateef al-Dakheel told MEED on 18 May. 'There will be five-seven prequalifiers.' Eleven joint ventures submitted prequalification applications in February for the estimated $1,500 million project. Denmark's
  • CBQ in talks for NBO stake

    The board of National Bank of Oman (NBO) has agreed in principle to an offer by Commercial Bank of Qatar (CBQ)to acquire a strategic stake. Under the proposal, CBQ would acquire 10 million shares at RO 4.45 ($11.41) through a private placement.
  • CCC scores big on Qatargas II and Abu Dhabi's NGL 3 expansion projects

    Athens-based Consolidated Contractors International Company (CCC)has been awarded contracts totalling an estimated $880 million for work on two of the region's biggest gas developments. The larger of the two contracts, valued at about $600 million, is for the entire construction package on the Qatargas II liquefaction plant scheme at Ras Laffan. The other, worth an estimated $280 million, is for the main onshore construction package on the Ruwais fractionation plant expansion in Abu
  • CCC wins major Hawiyah subcontract

    Athens-based Consolidated Contractors International Company (CCC)has been awarded the estimated $200 million main construction package on the greenfield Hawiyah natural gas liquids (NGL) project by Japan's JGC Corporation. Under the contract, which is expected to be completed in 30 months, CCC will carry out all civil, electrical, mechanical and instrumentation works at Hawiyah. Saudi Aramcoin March selected JGC for package one on the Hawiyah NGL project after
  • Cement plant sell-off nears

    Bids are due by 31 May for companies to take a 35 per cent stake in Algeria's state-owned cement plants in the government's latest attempt to attract private investment into the sector. A previous effort to privatise the country's ailing cement industry in 2003 failed to reach fruition, as the terms were not sufficiently appealing to investors. The state facilities are operating significantly under capacity, and are in desperate need of investment. 'The biggest stumbling block in attracting inte
  • Change of approach for Ritz tendering

    Invited contractors have responded to a solicitation of interest issued by the local Union Propertiesfor a planned design and build main tender on the estimated $180 million Ritz Carlton hotel and apartment project at Dubai International Financial Centre. The tender, expected to be issued in late May, will cover construction of 12 clusters, which will have about 350 rooms and 120 serviced apartments, and landscaping. The client had originally looked at breaking up the project into pa
  • Change of approach for Ritz tendering

    Invited contractors have responded to a solicitation of interest issued by the local Union Propertiesfor a planned design and build main tender on the estimated $180 million Ritz Carlton hotel and apartment project at Dubai International Financial Centre. The tender, expected to be issued in late May, will cover construction of 12 clusters, which will have about 350 rooms and 120 serviced apartments, and landscaping. The client had originally looked at breaking up the project into pa
  • China seeks economic co-operation with PA

    Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas met Chinese President Hu and Prime Minister Wen Jiabao on 18 May during a visit to Beijing. 'China and Palestine should further strengthen inter-governmental economic co-operation and implement agreements on economic and technical co-operation,' Wen said. 'The two countries should expand human resources development and training. China is willing to help Palestine nurture even more expert talent,' he said. The Xinhua agency reported that Abb
  • Citigroup in front for Etisalat mandate

    The team of Citigroupand Samba Financial Groupis understood to be the frontrunner for the advisory mandate on the longer-tenor financing for Ettihad Etisalat, the consortium led by Emirates Telecommunications Corporation (Etisalat)that holds the kingdom's second GSM licence. Ettihad is looking at a debt package of about $3,000 million, Islamically structured, with a tenor of eight-nine years. HSBCwith local affiliate Saudi Briti
  • Civil war vets emerge after Syrian withdrawal

    Former Lebanese army general Michel Aoun is set to make a dramatic political comeback after 15 years of exile in France, following the removal by a Beirut court of all the legal obstacles to his return to Lebanon. Magistrates at Beirut's criminal court on 4 May dropped all charges against the man who launched a war of liberation against Syrian forces in Lebanon in 1989, including usurpation of the government of former president Elias Hrawi, embezzlement of public funds and unlawful political act
  • Clerics announce Sunni mosque closure

    The Muslim Clerics Association announced a three-day closure of Baghdad's main Sunni Mosques on 20 May. 'In protest over attacks on mosques and killing of clerics, the detentions of worshippers and theft of their property, the Sunni leadership is closing mosques,' said Muayad al-Aadhami, a preacher at Abu Hanifa mosque. Sunni Muslims protested in towns outside Baghdad against US desecration of mosques. 'Political solutions are over and military solutions will start. We will d
  • Close nears on Qasco debt

    Documentation is being finalised on the debt package for the Qatar Steel Company (Qasco)expansion with the deal due to be signed by the end of May. A 17-strong group of mandated lead arrangers (MLAs) has been appointed (MEED 22:4:05).
  • Coke project agreements signed

    Kuwait National Petroleum Company (KNPC)and Kuwait Petroleum Corporation (KPC)signed on 2 May a series of agreements with the local Petroleum Coke Industries Company (PCIC) covering the development of a 350,000-tonne-a-year (t/y) private calcined coke plant in the Shuaiba industrial area.
  • Commercials in for finalAGD-2/OGD-3 project

    Five companies submitted commercial bids on 17 May to Abu Dhabi Gas Industries Company (Gasco) for package 3 on the third phase of the onshore gas development (OGD-3) and phase 2 of the Asab gas development (AGD-2). The bidders are US-based Bechtel, Snamprogetti of Italy, Paris-based Technip and Chiyoda Corporation and JGC Corporation, both of Japan. Estimated to be worth at least $400 million, the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract covers gas treatment and natural gas liqu
  • Conflicting statements about Al-Qaeda in Iraq leadership

    Al-Qaeda in Iraq denied in an internet statement published on 26 May that announced it had selected a deputy leader to co-ordinate insurgent activities. An earlier internet posting credited to the group said that Abu Hafs al-Qarni would deputise for Abu Musab al-Zarqawi while he recovered from injuries. Neither report could be verified. The Washington Post reported that Al-Zarqawi, who is rumoured to have been smuggled out of Iraq to recover, was shot during fighting near Ramadi on either 2
  • Construction: Changing the landscape

    Within sight of each other, Manama's two tallest buildings - the Bahrain Financial Harbour and the Sheraton Garden City - are racing towards the clouds. The haste is appropriate. Bahrain's construction industry is booming, with tourism projects multiplying, industrial development accelerating and infrastructure needs growing.
  • Consultant appointed for IFA project

    The local Samir Khairallah & Partners has been awarded the main consultancy contract on the estimated $75 million Al-Abadiyah Hills development overlooking Beirut. The project will have a built-up area of about 90,000 square metres. The scope of works calls for the construction of a 250-room hotel apartment with villas, townhouses and associated leisure facilities. Hawaii-based Wimberley Allison Tong & Goo (WAT&G) is the concept designer. Work is scheduled to begin in the
  • Consultant appointed for IFA project

    The local Samir Khairallah & Partners has been awarded the main consultancy contract on the estimated $75 million Al-Abadiyah Hills development overlooking Beirut. The project will have a built-up area of about 90,000 square metres. The scope of works calls for the construction of a 250-room hotel apartment with villas, townhouses and associated leisure facilities. Hawaii-based Wimberley Allison Tong & Goo (WAT&G) is the concept designer. Work is scheduled to begin in the
  • Contracts let for Adriatic terminal

    QatarPetroleum (QP), the US' ExxonMobil Corporation and Italy's Edison announced on 2 May the formal award of contracts covering the Isola di Porto Levante liquefied natural gas (LNG) regassification terminal off the coast of Italy. Oslo-based Aker Kvaerner has been awarded a $900 million engineering, procurement and construction management (EPCM) contract to build the receiving terminal, 250,000-cubic-metre LNG storage tanks and berthing/mooring
  • Cool response to Putin's peace summit proposal

    Washington and Tel Aviv have given a cool response to a proposal by Russian President Putin for a Middle East summit to be held in Moscow in the autumn. During a visit to Cairo on 27 April, the Russian president called for an international conference on the peace process in Moscow. However, White House spokesman Scott McClellan said: 'We believe there will be an appropriate time for an international conference, but we are not at that stage now and I don't expect that we will be there by the autu
  • Council members call for women to be allowed to drive

    Two Shoura Council members said Saudi women should be allowed to drive during a regular session of the council on 16 May, which discussed traffic legislation. 'We should think rationally about this matter. There is no explicit text in the Quran and Sunna that prevents a woman from driving a car. The fatwa that contained such a ban came at a different time and different world,' said Mohammed al-Zulfa. Al-Zulfa proposed fixing the age for women drivers at 40. Abudullah Bukhari said permitting
  • Court sentences Saudi reformists

    A Riyadh court on 15 May sentenced three prominent pro-democracy reformists to gaol for up to nine years. Ali al-Dumaini, Abdullah al-Hamed and Matruk al-Faleh signed petitions calling for a constitutional monarchy and were arrested along with nine other activists in March 2004. The others were released and Al-Dumaini, Al-Hamed and Al-Faleh were put on trial in August 2004, during which they refused to defend themselves because the trial was closed to relatives and observers. They received
  • Cracking times

    Saudi Basic Industries Corporation (Sabic) recently announced first-quarter profits of more than $1,000 million, results the company described as 'remarkable'. But it was probably not too surprised. For the Saudi giant and its smaller regional counterparts, market conditions could scarcely be better.
  • CRC sukuk closed

    The $100 million sukuk issue for the local Commercial Real Estate Company (CRC)has closed oversubscribed. The five-year paper was priced at 125 basis points over Libor. Liquidity Management Centre, Kuwait Finance Houseand Kuwait Financial Centreacted as arrangers and also joining the deal were Arab Insurance Group(Arig), Arab Islamic Bank, Bank Muscat International, Boubiyan Bank, Deuts
  • Crude export facilities project to go ahead

    Kuwait Oil Company (KOC)chairman and managing director Farouk al-Zanki said on 17 May that the estimated $1,000-1,500 million crude exports facility project at Ahmadi will go ahead, allaying fears that the scheme will be rebid for a third time. Speaking at the Second MEED Major New Project Opportunities in Kuwait conference, Al-Zanki said that the 4 June deadline would not be extended. There had been fears that the long-awaited engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract woul
  • Daman storms into DIFC

    The local Daman Asset Managementis the latest company to unveil plans for a major mixed use development in the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC). Named The Buildings of Daman, total project costs are estimated at about $450 million. The development will be partly financed through a $100 million private equity real estate fund.
  • Daman storms into DIFC

    The local Daman Asset Managementis the latest company to unveil plans for a major mixed use development in the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC). Named The Buildings of Daman, total project costs are estimated at about $450 million. The development will be partly financed through a $100 million private equity real estate fund.
  • Damascus and Baghdad to hold border security talks

    Iraqi Prime Minister Ibrahim Jaafari said on 20 May that Iraqi officials would visit Damascus in the near future to discuss border security. 'There are some armed groups infiltrating from Syria. We will talk about how much the Syrian government knows about these infiltrations,' he said during a visit to Ankara. 'We want to strengthen ties with all countries, primarily our neighbours, but we will never accept anything that harms our economy and security,' he said.'Syria needs
  • Damascus detains pro-reform activists

    Syrian police arrested eight members of the Jamal Atasi Forum for National Dialogue on 24 May. The forum seeks wider political participation in Syria. Nine members of its 11-person board are now in custody following the earlier arrest of Ali Abdullah for reading a speech on behalf of the banned Muslim Brotherhood at a conference organised by the forum. The authorities are expected to charge the detainees with promoting an outlawed political party. The group, named after a leading communist
  • Damascus ends co-operation with Washington

    Syrian ambassador to Washington Imad Moustapha said on 24 May that Syria had terminated military and intelligence co-operation with Washington because of unfair accusations that it was not making sufficient effort to stop insurgents crossing its border into Iraq. 'We are trying to tell the US, 'We are willing to engage with you constructively. We want a good relationship with you. But you have to stop this unfair media campaign against Syria',' Moustapha told CNN. 'We do not want to be co-o
  • Damascus on the road to reform

    Syrian ambassador to London Sami Khiyami told Reuters on 12 May that President Asad is committed to political, economic, administrative and judicial reform. 'The president has set his mind completely to reform,' Khiyami said. 'Will it take time? Of course, because a lot of things have to happen.' The first Baath Party congress since Asad assumed power in 2000 is due to take place on 6-9 June and is expected to be followed by the formation of a new government.Syrians must 'ada
  • Darfur rebels ready to resume peace talks

    The Sudan Liberation Army (SLA) and the Justice & Equality Movement (JEM) announced on 13 May that they were willing to resume peace talks with Khartoum to resolve the conflict in Sudan's Darfur province. 'We make a solemn commitment to resume as soon as possible the Abuja negotiations under the auspices of the African Union (AU) without preconditions,' the rebel movements said in a joint statement. The announcement was made after consultations with the AU in Rome. The SLA and JEM also requ
  • DBB scoops creekinterchange

    The local/UK Dutco Balfour Beatty (DBB)has been awarded the second package, covering access roads on the Deira side, on the Ras al-Khor creek crossing project in Dubai. The contract, valued at AED 299 million ($81.5 million), will take 20 months to complete. Four contractors priced the project, which involves the construction of at least 10 bridge structures and an underpass, as well providing access to the Dubai Festival City (DFC) development. The local/Belgian Bel Hasa Six
  • DBB scoops creekinterchange

    The local/UK Dutco Balfour Beatty (DBB)has been awarded the second package, covering access roads on the Deira side, on the Ras al-Khor creek crossing project in Dubai. The contract, valued at AED 299 million ($81.5 million), will take 20 months to complete. Four contractors priced the project, which involves the construction of at least 10 bridge structures and an underpass, as well providing access to the Dubai Festival City (DFC) development. The local/Belgian Bel Hasa Six
  • DCA sukuk listed

    The $1,000 million sukuk issue by Dubai's Department of Civil Aviation was listed on the Dubai Financial Market on 19 April, taking the number of debt instruments quoted on the exchange to four. The five-year issue was priced in November at 45 basis points over Libor (MEED 12:11:04).
  • DCE wins DOZ work

    Dubai Civil Engineering (DCE)has been awarded the AED 150 million ($41 million) first-phase infrastructure contract on the Dubai Outsource Zone (DOZ). The work involves the construction of seven low-level buildings and associated infrastructure work at the DOZ free zone, located next to Academic City off Emirates Road. Due to be completed in early 2006, the first-phase work will cover an area of 250,000 square feet. The client is Dubai Technology, e-Commerce & Media Free Zone Authority (T
  • DCE wins DOZ work

    Dubai Civil Engineering (DCE)has been awarded the AED 150 million ($41 million) first-phase infrastructure contract on the Dubai Outsource Zone (DOZ). The work involves the construction of seven low-level buildings and associated infrastructure work at the DOZ free zone, located next to Academic City off Emirates Road. Due to be completed in early 2006, the first-phase work will cover an area of 250,000 square feet. The client is Dubai Technology, e-Commerce & Media Free Zone Authority (T
  • Deadline extended on Oriental PP plant

    Egyptian Propylene & Polypropylene Company (EPPC), a 50:50 joint venture between the local Oriental Petrochemicals Company (OPC)and the state-owned Egyptian Petrochemicals Holding Company (ECHEM), has extended until the end of May the deadline for technical bids for its planned 400,000-tonne-a-year propylene and polypropylene (PP) complex near Port Said. The deadline for financial bids has been put back to mid-June. Three groups are prequalified for the contract: J
  • Deadline extension in Doha for Dubai Tower

    The bid closing date has been extended by a further two weeks to 16 May for the main contract on Dubai Tower, which will be the tallest building in Doha. Prequalifiers for the contract include the UAE's Al-Habtoor Engineering Enterprises, Lebanon's Arabian Construction Company, Athens-based Consolidated Contractors International Company (CCC), South Korea's Hyundai Engineering & Construction, the UK's John Laing Internationaland South A
  • Deadline extension in Doha for Dubai Tower

    The bid closing date has been extended by a further two weeks to 16 May for the main contract on Dubai Tower, which will be the tallest building in Doha. Prequalifiers for the contract include the UAE's Al-Habtoor Engineering Enterprises, Lebanon's Arabian Construction Company, Athens-based Consolidated Contractors International Company (CCC), South Korea's Hyundai Engineering & Construction, the UK's John Laing Internationaland South A
  • Deal inked for new ethylene plant

    Qatar Petroleum has signed a principle of agreement with the US' ExxonMobil Corporation to build a major petrochemical complex at Ras Laffan. Estimated to cost $2,000 million, the project will centre on the construction of a 1.6 million-tonne-a-year ethane cracker. The next stage in the project implementation will be the signing of a letter of intent between both parties. The project is targeted to start production in early 2011. In March, the Royal Dutch/Shell Group
  • DEWA moves on to M

    Dubai Electricity & Water Authority (DEWA) kicked off in early May implementation of its latest co-generation project by releasing the consultancy tender for the grassroots Jebel Ali M power and desalination complex. Consultants have been given until 31 May to bid for the project, which is one of three major schemes out to tender at DEWA as part of the utility's programme to meet soaring demand in the emirate (MEED 11:2:05).
  • Dilala IPO nears

    An initial public offering (IPO) of shares in newly established brokerage and investment company Dilalais due to be launched on 16 May, with subscription open until the end of the month. Of the company's QR 200 million ($53.4 million) capital, QR 54 million ($14.4 million) will be offered to the public and shares will be priced at QR 10 ($2.70). The nine equal shareholders in Dilala are Qatar Foundation, Qatar General Pension & Retirement Authority, Education & Health Fund, Q
  • DM looks at water option

    Dubai Municipality (DM) has invited international consultants to submit bids by 1 May for a comprehensive water-based public transport system. The contract will focus primarily at reducing traffic congestion between Dubai, Sharjah and the northern emirates through the use of water-taxi and bus services. The study will also look at linking upcoming projects off the cost of Dubai with new projects inland such as the Business Bay development. DM is also expected to award soon the nine-month contrac
  • Doha to host Group 77 and China South summit

    Doha announced on 12 May that it would host the second Group of 77 and China South summit on 15-16 June. 'Around 60 heads of state and a large number of heads of government and ministers will attend the biggest global summit to be held in the Middle East,' assistant Minister of Foreign Affairs Mohammed al-Rumaihi said. A meeting of foreign affairs ministers will precede the summit which 1,500 delegates will attend. The focus of the meeting will be 'strategic issues of concern to the South :
  • Doha West deadline extended

    The Public Works Authority (Ashghal) has extended the bid deadline by almost two months to 12 July for the design, build and 10-year operation of the Doha West sewage treatment plant expansion project. The extension was widely expected as the prequalification documents had stated that the nine prequalified bidders would be given six months to prepare bids instead of just two when they were issued in mid-March. The consultant is the UK's Hyder Consulting(MEED 18:3:05).
  • Dolphin builds its second bridge facility

    The request for proposals (RFP) has been issued for the second tranche in the bridge financing for the Dolphin gas project. Responses are due by 21 May to the client, Abu Dhabi-based Dolphin Energy.
  • Donors pledge Darfur peacekeeping funds

    International donors on 26 May pledged more than $200 million and material support after UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan urged them to fund an expanded peacekeeping force in the western Sudanese region of Darfur. At a pledging conference at African Union (AU) headquarters in Addis Ababa, Annan said organisations would end up financing a massive relief effort if fighting between rebel forces and Khartoum and Arab militias continued to limit food resources. 'If violence and fear prevent the p
  • DRBF heads for Dubai

    The Dispute Resolution Board Foundation (DRBF) will hold its fifth annual international conference in Dubai on 7-8 May 2005 followed by a two-day training workshop. DRBF is a not-for-profit, worldwide volunteer organisation of more than 600 construction industry professionals interested in promoting the avoidance and resolution of disputes on international construction projects through the effective use of DRBs.
  • DRBF heads for Dubai

    The Dispute Resolution Board Foundation (DRBF) will hold its fifth annual international conference in Dubai on 7-8 May 2005 followed by a two-day training workshop. DRBF is a not-for-profit, worldwide volunteer organisation of more than 600 construction industry professionals interested in promoting the avoidance and resolution of disputes on international construction projects through the effective use of DRBs.
  • Dredging tender nears for Asdaf Island

    The first dredging and reclamation package on the Asdaf Islands resort project, located off Muharraq close to the Amwaj Islands scheme, is due to be tendered in the third quarter, say officials close to the project. The complex will be developed in stages, eventually covering an area of 24 square kilometres, about 60 per cent of which will be reclaimed land.
  • Dredging tender nears for Asdaf Island

    The first dredging and reclamation package on the Asdaf Islands resort project, located off Muharraq close to the Amwaj Islands scheme, is due to be tendered in the third quarter, say officials close to the project. The complex will be developed in stages, eventually covering an area of 24 square kilometres, about 60 per cent of which will be reclaimed land.
  • Drydocks tender out again

    Dubai Drydockshas retendered the construction package on its Safina shipbuilding facility, inviting prequalifiers to submit quotes by 22 May. Prequalifers for the estimated $25 million contract include the local/UK Dutco Balfour Beatty, Geneva-registered Archirodon Construction (Overseas), the local/Belgium Bel Hasa Six Construct, Kier Dubai, Interbetonof the Netherlands and India's Larsen & Toubro. The Netherlands'
  • Dubai finally dives in with Dolphin

    Almost six years after initial agreement was first reached, a gas sales agreement (GSA) was finally signed on 3 May between Abu Dhabi-based Dolphin Energyand Dubai Supply Authority (Dusup) for the supply of Qatari gas to Jebel Ali. The GSA provides for the supply of up to 700 million cubic feet a day (cf/d) over a 25-year period starting in 2007. The Dusup deal is the third major GSA signed by Dolphin Energy (MEED 24:10:03).
  • Dubai gets ready to wear Versace

    A team of Australia's PTW Architectsand the US' Parsons Internationalis carrying out the masterplan for a new development in Dubai's Al-Jadaf district, next to the proposed Business Bay. Named Arabian Bays, it will be located by the existing shipyard, opposite the Dubai Festival City site on the creek. The project includes construction of a harbour, a cultural and exhibition centre, a wharf development and the estimated $700 million Palazzo Versace hotel. A joint venture
  • Dubai gets ready to wear Versace

    A team of Australia's PTW Architectsand the US' Parsons Internationalis carrying out the masterplan for a new development in Dubai's Al-Jadaf district, next to the proposed Business Bay. Named Arabian Bays, it will be located by the existing shipyard, opposite the Dubai Festival City site on the creek. The project includes construction of a harbour, a cultural and exhibition centre, a wharf development and the estimated $700 million Palazzo Versace hotel. A joint venture
  • Economic reform: Cruise control

    Pursuing economic reform in Saudi Arabia is not unlike navigating the hectic traffic of Olaya in downtown Riyadh on a bustling Thursday evening: it demands patience, persistence, a thick skin and more than a touch of audacity. And while the kingdom's decision-makers may not yet be cruising towards the faster pace of the Mecca highway, they are eyeing the turning with indicators flashing and a foot on the gas.
  • Economic reforms kick into gear

    The long-awaited new company law will be issued in the second half of the year, Economy & Planning Minister Sheikha Lubna al-Qassimi said in late April. The new law, for which the first draft has been completed, is expected to allow foreign companies to own majority interests in local companies and make important changes to capital market regulations.
  • EGAS awards new concessions

    Two months after winning three licences to explore for oil, Italy's Enihas scored another success, with the imminent award to its local subsidiary IEOC Explorationof a concession to explore for gas from the Mediterranean. The licence will be one of three awarded by Egyptian Natural Gas Holding Company (EGAS)from its 2004 bid round.
  • Egypt holds referendum on multi-candidate elections

    Egyptians voted on 25 May in a national referendum on a change to the constitution that would permit multi-candidate elections. Opposition parties called on voters to boycott the poll as they said the new electoral law imposed such strict conditions on the selection of candidates that only nominees from the ruling National Democratic Party (NDP) would be eligible to stand. Under the proposal, a candidate would need the backing of 65 of the 444 members of the NDP-dominated parliament.
  • EGYPT: Sticking to the plan

    With production from its ageing oil fields steadily declining and the economy in need of reform, the rise of gas as a global source of energy could not have come at a better time for Cairo. Egypt sits on about 62 trillion cubic feet (tcf) of proven gas reserves - equivalent to about 1 per cent of the world total - and the government is putting considerable faith in the country's unproven reserves, which are estimated at about 120 tcf.
  • Egyptian judges demand independence

    More than 2,000 Egyptian judges voted on 14 May to refuse to monitor the presidential elections in September unless guaranteed complete independence from government interference. They want to supervise all stages of the upcoming election, from the preparation of voter lists to the announcement of the results. The judges also want parliament to adopt new legislation to ensure their freedom from government control. The demands were made during a meeting of the elected judges' club in Cairo.
  • Egyptian opposition calls for referendum boycott

    Egyptian opposition groups said on 17 May that they would boycott the national referendum on multi-candidate elections to be held at the end of May. The three legal parties, the Wafd, Tagammu and the Nasserist Party, and the banned Muslim Brotherhood all called for Egyptians not to vote on an amendment to the constitution that would allow more than one candidate to stand in September presidential elections. The new law proposes that in order to run, a candidate would have to receive the sup
  • Egyptian parliament approves electoral reform

    Parliament approved on 10 May an amendment to article 76 of the Egyptian constitution to allow for multi-candidate elections. A referendum on the legal change will be held at the end of May. The Upper House passed the amendment on 8 May that the Lower House then endorsed by 405 votes to 49. Changes allow political parties to put up candidates after they have been in existence for five years and if they have 5 per cent of seats in both parliamentary chambers. Prospective candidates will need
  • Egyptian referendum on multi-candidate presidential elections announced

    The ruling National Democratic Party announced on 12 May that a referendum will be held on 25 May on multi-candidate presidential elections. Parliament endorsed a change to the electoral law on 10 May to allow more than one candidate to stand. Al-Wafd, the largest legal opposition party, said it would boycott the vote and urged all Egyptians to do the same. The Muslim Brotherhood encouraged people to vote but against the amendment. Opposition parties maintain that the new law imposes such s
  • Egyptians say yes to multi-candidate presidential elections

    Egyptians have approved in a national referendum a change to the constitution that will allow multi-candidate presidential elections, Interior Minster Habib al-Adli announced on 26 May. Opposition groups had asked voters to boycott the poll, in which Cairo said just over half of registered voters participated. Al-Adli said the vote had been 'the highest turnout ever registered in a referendum'. More than 80 per cent of voters agreed to replace the existing referendum system where voters end
  • Eight rebels and five soldiers die in renewed clashes in Yemen

    Five Yemeni soldiers and eight members of the rebel Faithful Youth organisation were killed on 5 April in renewed clashes in the northern province of Saada ( MEED 29:3:05). Twenty-six rebels and 10 soldiers died in fighting on 2 April. The army said it seized a key rebel stronghold.The rebels are followers of the Zaidi Shia cleric, Hussein al-Huthi, who was killed by gover
  • Emerald sparkles on the Palm

    Emerald Palace Group, a consortium of Ukranian and Eastern European companies, has unveiled plans to develop a new residential and hotel complex on the crescent of Palm Jumeirah. The first project, named Emerald Palace Residences, calls for the construction of 200 apartments with a built-up area of 16,500 square metres. The second development will be the Emerald Palace Hotel & Resort. Still in the design stage, the property will have a built-up area of 16,750 square metres and be located
  • Emerald sparkles on the Palm

    Emerald Palace Group, a consortium of Ukranian and Eastern European companies, has unveiled plans to develop a new residential and hotel complex on the crescent of Palm Jumeirah. The first project, named Emerald Palace Residences, calls for the construction of 200 apartments with a built-up area of 16,500 square metres. The second development will be the Emerald Palace Hotel & Resort. Still in the design stage, the property will have a built-up area of 16,750 square metres and be located
  • Emirates & Sudan Bank's private placement closed

    A private placement for Khartoum-based Emirates & Sudan Bankhas been completed, with subscription to an initial public offering (IPO) of $28.3 million worth of shares due to open in mid-May. Among the banks signing up during the placement were Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank, Dubai Islamic Bank, Sharjah Islamic Bankand the Islamic Development Bank. The bank will be the largest capitalised financial institution in Sudan (MEED 14:1:05).
  • Emirates plans new hotel

    Dubai-based carrier Emirates announced on 4 May that it plans to build a new five-star hotel in Dubai. Located on Sheikh Zayed highway, the 40-storey, 350-metre-high tower will be one of the world's tallest hotels, and one of the largest in the UAE.
  • Emirates plans new hotel

    Dubai-based carrier Emirates announced on 4 May that it plans to build a new five-star hotel in Dubai. Located on Sheikh Zayed highway, the 40-storey, 350-metre-high tower will be one of the world's tallest hotels, and one of the largest in the UAE.
  • ENOC further delays refinery bids

    ENOC Processing Company, part of Dubai-based Emirates National Oil Company (ENOC), has further extended the bid deadline to 2 June for the main contract on its Jebel Ali condensate refinery expansion project. Six international companies are prequalified to price the estimated $350 million engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract. However, not all are expected to submit an offer (MEED 8:4:05).
  • EoIs out for Arabia City

    The local I&M Galadari Grouphas invited expressions of interest (EoIs) for the main contracts on the estimated $2,000 million City of Arabia project in the heart of Dubailand. The three main construction packages cover: the Mall of Arabia, which will have a built-up area of about 520,000 square metres; Restless Planet, a 90-metre-high translucent dome with a built-up area of 42,000 square metres; and phase 1 of the Wadi Walk development, which will see construction of low-rise retail
  • EoIs out for Arabia City

    The local I&M Galadari Grouphas invited expressions of interest (EoIs) for the main contracts on the estimated $2,000 million City of Arabia project in the heart of Dubailand. The three main construction packages cover: the Mall of Arabia, which will have a built-up area of about 520,000 square metres; Restless Planet, a 90-metre-high translucent dome with a built-up area of 42,000 square metres; and phase 1 of the Wadi Walk development, which will see construction of low-rise retail
  • EPF tender nears

    At least five international contractors are understood to have submitted applications for prequalification and letters of interest by 3 May for an estimated $120 million-150 million engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) and a five-year operation and maintenance (O&M) contract for the state's first commercial heavy sour crude oil production project (MEED 29:4:05).
  • Escwa calls for increased regional integration

    The UN Economic & Social Commission for Western Asia (Escwa) convened its 23rd ministerial meeting on 9 May in Damascus. Escwa executive secretary Mervat Tallawy called for increased regional economic co-operation and agreements on road, railway and maritime corridors. Delegates to the conference were expected to sign a maritime transport co-operation agreement to cover the eastern Mediterranean. Tallawy said states need to integrate water management and energy distribution, including gas a
  • Essar steps up investment

    Site preparations and ground levelling work is under way for the first phase of the integrated steel plant project at Bandar Abbas. The 2 million-tonne-a-year (t/y) direct reduction iron (DRI) greenfield unit is being promoted by a 50:50 joint venture between India's Essar Globaland Iran's Social Security Fund (SSF).
  • EU sends stern letter to Tehran

    EU foreign ministers sent a letter to Tehran's chief nuclear negotiator, Hassan Rohani, on 12 May that said the EU will follow Washington in its demand that Tehran be referred to the UN Security Council if it resumes nuclear activities. The letter warned Tehran that any nuclear work 'would bring the negotiating process to an end'. Tehran is frustrated with the slow progress of negotiations and has warned the EU-3 (London, Berlin and Paris) that it will break the ban on uranium processing ag
  • EU to send monitoring team for Lebanese elections

    The EU announced on 5 May that it will send a team of observers to oversee parliamentary elections in Lebanon at the end of May. The 90-person mission, led by European MP Ignacio Salafranca Sanchez-Neyra, will monitor election preparations, campaigning, voting and the count in Beirut. Other groups will observe elections in the provinces. Elections will take place over four weekends starting on 29 May ( MEED 29:
  • EU, Washington united over Iran nuclear issue

    The EU and Tehran will hold renewed talks in Paris about Iran's nuclear programme, UK Foreign : Commonwealth Secretary Jack Straw said on 17 May. Discussions will address Tehran's threat to resume nuclear activities frozen since November 2005 in line with an EU-Iranian agreement. Straw said that the EU and Washington would act together if talks failed. 'There were many people around who were trying to say this would be another occasion for a 'split' between Europe and America: Those people
  • EU-Tehran nuclear talks resume but agreement unlikely

    The EU and Tehran resumed negotiations on 25 May over Iran's nuclear programme. 'Today is the final stage of the talks,' said Sirus Naseri, a senior Iranian negotiator. 'It's decision-making time,' he said. The EU has said it will refer Iran to the UN Security Council for sanctions if it goes ahead with its plan to resume nuclear work, which contravenes an agreement to suspend activities reached in November 2004. Naseri said reaching a solution to the impending crisis was unlikely. Foreign
  • Extension expected on Harweel commercials

    Commercial bids are due to be opened on 18 May by Petroleum Development Oman (PDO) for the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract on the estimated $600 million Harweel enhanced oil recovery (EOR) project. However, bidders have asked for an extension of about two months, on the grounds of major changes to the specifications, which is expected to be granted. The three teams that submitted technical bids for the contract in February are: Sharjah-based Petrofac
  • Fatah and Hamas square up

    Palestinian municipal elections took place on 5 May in the West Bank and Gaza. More than 400,000 people were expected to cast their vote for one of more than 2,500 candidates competing in the second round of local elections. Most of the voting took place in the West Bank, where 76 of the 84 municipalities went to the polls. The ballot was widely perceived to be a key test of militant group Hamas' popularity ahead of the legislative elections scheduled for July. Ruling party Fatah lost groun
  • Fatah lets members pick election candidates

    Fatah officials said on 2 May that its members would elect candidates to stand in July legislative council elections. In the past, the president has decided who will be allowed to compete in elections. 'We consider this as a correct start to rebuild on a democratic basis,' said Ahmed Deek, a senior Fatah official. Fatah primaries are due to take place on 27 May when Rawhi Fattouh, another senior Fatah official said 500,000 members are expected to vote. Younger Fatah representatives are expe
  • Fatah looks set to sweep election results

    An unofficial count on 6 May of votes cast in municipal elections held in the West Bank and Gaza on 5 May indicated that Fatah beat off a challenge to its political dominance from militant group Hamas. Most of the contested seats were in the West Bank where Fatah has a strong following. The Palestinian Election Committee said Fatah won 52 of the 84 councils holding elections and Hamas gained 24, with smaller parties taking four municipalities and four remaining undecided. An exit poll condu
  • Fatah responds to mounting Hamas pressure

    Municipal elections spark tensions between Fatah and Hamas
  • FEED out for Kermanshah upgrade

    The main front-end engineering and design (FEED) package is out to bid on the estimated $150 million upgrade of Kermanshah refinery. The project is part of a much wider expansion and upgrade of refining capacity (MEED 8:4:05).
  • Fifth bid round announced

    The Petroleum & Mineral Resources Ministry and Syrian Petroleum Company (SPC)have launched the fifth oil and gas licensing round, inviting interested companies to submit proposals by 3 October. Nine open blocks, covering a total area of 65,000 square kilometres, are included in the licensing round, which will be awarded on the basis of 25-year exploration and production sharing agreements (EPSAs). Blocks 5, 7, 9, 13, 15, 16, 19 and 21 are included in the licensing round. The EPSAs w
  • Finding promise in Palestine

    As Tel Aviv delays its disengagement from Gaza and political competition between ruling party Fatah and Hamas hots up, Palestinian businessman Munib Masri is urging investors to pour capital into the West Bank and Gaza. 'It's a promising situation,' says Masri, chairman of Palestine Development & Investment Company (Padico). 'I encourage Palestinians in the diaspora to come back and invest in Palestine. I hope they are encouraged by Padico's success.'
  • First international licensing round launched in Western Sahara

    The Saharawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR) on 17 May launched its first international licensing round for the exploration and exploitation of 12 offshore oil and gas blocks in the Aaiun basin. Bids are due by the end of the year, with negotiations set to start no earlier than 17 October. The launch follows a period of consultation during which a number of companies are understood to have expressed interest.
  • First Khurais work kicks off

    A group of US-based Jacobs Engineering, Canada's SNC Lavalinand Saudi Consulting Services( SaudConsult)is carrying out project management services (PMS) for Saudi Aramco on the planned seawater supply and injection facilities under the estimated $5,000 million Khurais onshore oil field development. The job is being implemented under an in-kingdom contract awarded to the team in February to provide PMS services on small and medium-sized
  • Five prepare for hydrogen tech

    Five international companies have been invited by Kuwait National Petroleum Company (KNPC)to submit proposals by 16 May for a contract to license proprietary hydrogen unit technology for the state's planned refinery at Shuaiba. They are: US-based Foster Wheeler; Denmark's HaldorTopsoe; Paris-based Technip; Germany's Linde; and Uhde, also of Germany. The client is expected to select the technology by the end of June (M
  • Fixed-line deadline nears

    Telecoms regulator Agence Nationale de Reglementation des Telecommunications (ANRT) has set a bid closing date of 24 May for a series of new fixed-line licences. The licences cover a local loop, with a maximum of two licences for each region, two licences for the national backbone and two international gateway licences. Companies bidding for the international licences must also bid for at least one of the other contracts. An award will be made in mid-June, with operations due to start by Septemb
  • Foreign residents want to be Saudi

    Thousands of foreign residents queued on 2 May to apply for Saudi citizenship. Recent legislation allows foreigners who have lived in the kingdom for more than 10 years to apply for naturalisation. Citizenship will be awarded on a points system taking education and profession into account as well as family links. New citizens will have to renounce their previous nationality.
  • Foreigners invited back in for Aghajari

    National Iranian Southern Oil Company (NISOC)has requested bidders for the Aghajari gas reinjection project to select foreign partners for the project on a joint and severally liable basis. The bidders have been told they have until the end of May to select foreign partners for the project, for which bids were submitted in February (MEED 8:4:05). The three original bidding groups, all led by local companies, were: Chagaleshand Kayson Group, both local, with Germany
  • Forum to address reform in Middle East

    The World Economic Forum meeting focused on political and economic reform in the Middle East opened on 20 May in Jordan. 'Reform in the Middle East is not an option, it is a necessity,' said the forum's founder and executive chairman, Klaus Schwab. 'Without such reform, the Arab world faces the prospect of not only missing out on the advantages of playing a full role in a vibrant world economy, but also failing to develop the true potential of its young and growing population.'
  • Four attend EO/EG meeting

    Four prequalified contractors attended in late April a pre-tender meeting for the ethylene oxide/ethylene glycol (EO/EG) package on the Olefins II complex. US-based FosterWheeler, Japan's Toyo Engineering Corporation, Spain's Tecnicas Reunidas, and Samsung Engineering Companyof South Korea attended the meeting at the Dutch offices of the US' Fluor Corporation. The four have until 8 July to bid for the estimated $300 million-400
  • Four take to water option

    Four international consultants have submitted bids for a comprehensive water-based public transport system in Dubai. The bidders are Australia's GHD, the UK's Maunsell Consultancy Services, France's Systra and US-based Parsons Brinckerhoff. The contract will focus primarily on reducing traffic congestion between Dubai, Sharjah and the northern emirates through the use of water-taxi and bus services. The study will also look at linking upcoming pr
  • Four take to water option

    Four international consultants have submitted bids for a comprehensive water-based public transport system in Dubai. The bidders are Australia's GHD, the UK's Maunsell Consultancy Services, France's Systra and US-based Parsons Brinckerhoff. The contract will focus primarily on reducing traffic congestion between Dubai, Sharjah and the northern emirates through the use of water-taxi and bus services. The study will also look at linking upcoming pr
  • Four up for Al-Wahda plant

    Four international groups have been prequalified by state power regulator Office National de L'Electricite (ONE) to develop the Al-Wahda power plant on a 20-year build-operate-transfer (BOT) basis. The 800-MW combined cycle plant, which will be located near the Al-Wahda dam in the northern region of Sidi Kacem, will be supplied by Algerian gas feedstock from the Gazoduc Maghreb Europe (GME) pipeline.
  • Fourth refinery will be region's largest

    Kuwait National Petroleum Company (KNPC)has confirmed that its planned refinery at Shuaiba will have crude refining capacity of 600,000 barrels a day (b/d), making it the largest in the region by some margin. 'The new facility will be built in one phase,' project manager Ahmed al-Jaimaz told MEED on 2 May. 'The increase in capacity [from the original 450,000 b/d] is to ensure that we meet our future power generation needs.'
  • Freehold law moves step closer

    The long-awaited freehold law is expected to be issued in the coming 12 months following the completion of the first draft, a top government official told the MEED Arabian Hotel & Investment conference in Dubai on 2 May. 'As I understand, the draft of the laws is done and it is now a matter of processing,' said Mubarak Hamad al-Muhairi, director-general of the Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority (ADTA).
  • Fuel costs fail to burn Emirates' profits

    Dubai-based Emirates Groupannounced on 27 April a 49 per cent increase in net profits to AED 2,600 million ($708 million) in the financial year to the end of March. Despite a sharp rise in jet fuel costs, the Emiratesairline division saw profits also climb by 49 per cent to AED 2,300 million ($637 million) and profits at its Dnatasubsidiary rise by 50 per cent to AED 260 million ($71 million). The group has announced a dividend of AED 368 million ($100 million
  • Fujairah STP project launched, finance closed

    Financial close was achieved on 10 May on the Fujairah sewage treatment plant (STP) scheme, coinciding with the project's groundbreaking ceremony. Project promoter, the local Tanqia FZC, aims to provide wastewater collection to 90 per cent of the emirate's population on completion of the first two phases by May 2008 (MEED 8:4:05).
  • Further Muslim Brotherhood arrests

    Police arrested 30 Muslim Brotherhood members on 19 May accused of planning banned demonstrations against President Mubarak's regime. More than 780 activists have been detained in the course of recent protests. Four of the group's leaders, Issam al-Aryan, Omar Darrag, Hamdi Shahin and Yasser Abduh, were arrested on 6 May accused of membership of a banned organisation. They were due to be released on 20 May but the length of their detention has been extended by 14 days. The Muslim Brotherhoo
  • Further studies for high-speed rail link

    Technical studies are under way by France's Systrato assess the feasibility of proposed improvements to the Marrakech-Agadir rail link. Systra was appointed in the first quarter to draw up a strategic masterplan and feasibility studies by the national railway authority, Office National des Chemins de Fer (ONCF). The projected improvements on the existing 240-kilometre section between Casablanca and Marrakech include doubling the track over the 190-kilometre section from Sidi el-Aidi
  • Galfar takes Ras Laffan roads contract

    The local Galfar Al-Misnad Engineering & Contracting has been awarded an estimated QR 155 million ($42 million) engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract to build new roads in Ras Laffan industrial city. Placed by Qatar Petroleum, the 18-month contract calls for the construction of about 13 kilometres of two-lane dual-carriageway and seven bridges with lengths of eight-44 metres. The contract also includes road furniture and street lighting.
  • Galfar takes Ras Laffan roads contract

    The local Galfar Al-Misnad Engineering & Contracting has been awarded an estimated QR 155 million ($42 million) engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract to build new roads in Ras Laffan industrial city. Placed by Qatar Petroleum, the 18-month contract calls for the construction of about 13 kilometres of two-lane dual-carriageway and seven bridges with lengths of eight-44 metres. The contract also includes road furniture and street lighting.
  • Galfar takes ring-road job

    The local Galfar Engineering & Contractinghas finally been awarded the RO 131.7 million ($337.7 million) contract to build a partial ring-road around Muscat, known as the southern expressway. The award follows approval of funding for the project by thegovernment in March (MEED 18:3:05).
  • Galfar takes ring-road job

    The local Galfar Engineering & Contractinghas finally been awarded the RO 131.7 million ($337.7 million) contract to build a partial ring-road around Muscat, known as the southern expressway. The award follows approval of funding for the project by thegovernment in March (MEED 18:3:05).
  • Ganope launches new licensing round

    Ganoub el-Wadi Petroleum Company (Ganope)has launched its first oil and gas licensing round of 2005. International companies have been given until 18 July to submit bids for four exploration blocks in the southern Gulf of Suez, the Eastern Desert and the Western Desert. Ganope is offering 25-year production sharing agreements following any hydrocarbon discoveries. Only one concession was awarded in Ganope's previous bid round. In February, London-based Burren Energysigned up f
  • Gas plant tender out for south Palmyra

    Syrian Gas Company (SGC)has invited contractors to submit engineering, procurement, installation and construction (EPIC) bids by 20 June to build a gas treatment plant in the southern half of the Palmyra gas reserves region, a short spur to the existing pipeline and the tie-in of three wells at North al-Faid, Abu Rabah and Qomqom, in fields west of Palmyra. Other tenders, for surveying and materials procurement, will be issued once all tender documents are updated. SGC was awarded the rig
  • Gathering momentum

    All is relative, the saying goes. Human rights organisations last year complained about the imprisonment of a prominent activist for derogatory comments about the prime minister. This year, the government and democracy campaigners have been at loggerheads over a protest march which apparently failed to obtain the appropriate government authorisation. But amid the spats, it is easy to forget that the concept of being accorded permission to stage an openly anti-government march, and many other fre
  • Gaza pullout may lead to violence but let Israel keep West Bank

    Israeli Prime Minster Ariel Sharon said on 12 May that Palestinian militants may abandon the unofficial truce in place since January after Tel Aviv withdraws from Gaza. 'It's not certain that Palestinian terrorist groups will respect the truce after our withdrawal,' he said. Israeli Defence Minister Shaul Mofaz said on 11 May that Tel Aviv's planned withdrawal from Gaza will allow Israel to retain its West Bank settlements and extend its borders. It would also allow Tel Aviv
  • Gaza withdrawal emboldens terror, says Netanyahu

    Israeli Finance Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on 11 May that Tel Aviv's planned withdrawal from Gaza would encourage terrorism. 'Disengagement fuels the inferno of terrorism,' Netanyahu told the Jerusalem Post newspaper. 'Anything that persuades the Palestinians that we are being pushed by their superior will and their acts of terror to vacate one position after another emboldens terror and pushes peace further away,' he said. 'If the Palestinians sense a pattern of unilateral withdrawal
  • GCC states must end violence against women, Amnesty says

    Amnesty International called on GCC states to end violence against women in a report titled 'GCC States: Women Deserve Better Respect and Dignity' released on 11 May. The report examines the failure of police to protect women against violence, including domestic workers, and says violence against women by family members is common in GCC countries. Female migrant workers in particular are at risk of violence from state authorities and their employers and are deprived of range of human rights
  • GFH signs up for Two Seas

    Dala Development Company, led by local businessmen Saud Kanoo and Jameel al-Matrook, has been joined by Gulf Finance House (GFH)in developing a $3,000 million project off the coast of Muharraq. The resort is now being called Two Seas rather than Asdaf Islands and will be built in the shape of a seahorse (MEED 29:4:05).
  • GFH signs up for Two Seas

    Dala Development Company, led by local businessmen Saud Kanoo and Jameel al-Matrook, has been joined by Gulf Finance House (GFH)in developing a $3,000 million project off the coast of Muharraq. The resort is now being called Two Seas rather than Asdaf Islands and will be built in the shape of a seahorse (MEED 29:4:05).
  • GHC looks into petrochemicals

    Abu Dhabi-based General Holding Company (GHC)is understood to be studying options to become involved in the petrochemicals sector with Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC). Any venture would also include a heavyweight international partner. No details have been made available on scope, product range or timeframe for a possible project. ADNOC, the source of all feedstock in Abu Dhabi, is already involved in Abu Dhabi Polymers Company (Borouge), a petrochemica
  • GIB loan signed

    A five-year borrowing for Gulf International Bank (GIB) was signed on 28 April, priced at 35 basis points over Libor.
  • Global Village tender beckons

    The infrastructure and landscaping tender for the modification and expansion of the existing Global Village site in Dubailand is expected to be issued soon. The project, which will be the first phase in creating a permanent pavilion for the site, covers landscaping and general infrastructure work. The largest portion of the contract includes modifications to the existing car park as well as electrical, sewerage and cabling work. Total project costs are estimated at about $55 million. The client
  • Global Village tender beckons

    The infrastructure and landscaping tender for the modification and expansion of the existing Global Village site in Dubailand is expected to be issued soon. The project, which will be the first phase in creating a permanent pavilion for the site, covers landscaping and general infrastructure work. The largest portion of the contract includes modifications to the existing car park as well as electrical, sewerage and cabling work. Total project costs are estimated at about $55 million. The client
  • Globeleq to join Kahrama IWPP

    The US' Globeleq is set to take a majority stake in Kahrama, the owner and developing consortium for the country's first independent water and power project (IWPP) at Arzew. It is understood that while Globeleq wants to take a 60 per cent stake in the company, the client, Algerian Energy Company (AEC), wants to take an interest of not less than 49 per cent, making a 51:49 split between the two companies the most likely solution. Kahrama is owned by the US'
  • Gold rush for DMCC sukuk

    The $200 million sukuk issue by Dubai Metals & Commodities Centre (DMCC) has closed and was priced at 60 basis points over Libor. Dubai Islamic Bankacted as lead arranger. The funds raised will be used to finance the construction of the DMCC's headquarters in the Jumeirah Lake Towers (JLT) development (MEED 15:4:05).
  • Government tries to calm sectarian conflict

    Iraq's new Defence Minister Saadoun Dulaimi said on 16 May that Iraqi troops will be banned from carrying out raids on mosques, churches and universities. 'We have received many complaints over the last days. We shouldn't be a source of fear among Iraqis,' Dulaimi said of Iraqi forces. 'We hear soldiers are raiding mosques and places of worship and terrifying civilians, children and worshippers,' he said. The Sunni Muslim Clerics Association issued a statement that accused the government of
  • GPTC silent on major contract awards

    State telecoms provider and regulator the General Post & Telecommunications Company (GPTC) is still to indicate when it plans to award three contracts, worth an estimated $1,000 million, to modernise and upgrade the country's telecoms infrastructure. At least 10 international companies submitted joint technical and financial bids for the three tenders last year, but have received no word from the client on whether the project will go ahead, leading to fears that they may have been scrapped (MEED
  • Guardians get tough on Turkcell deal

    The Guardian Council, the conservative 12-member constitutional watchdog, has announced that it will impose new security requirements on the contract to set up Iran's first private GSM network, awarded last year to a consortium led by Turkcell. The agreement has already undergone substantial changes after investigation by the Majlis (parliament) and it is far from clear whether the Turkish company will agree to go ahead with the project (MEED 4:2:05).
  • Gulf Air privatisation, profits take off

    Bahrain-based regional carrier Gulf Airhas begun the first steps to privatisation after its board gave approval to begin a feasibility study. The announcement coincided with the airline recording on 25 April profits for the first time in seven years. Gulf Air is in talks with a number of banks about the privatisation, although no advisers have so far been appointed.
  • Gulf investors behind new Sokhna refinery

    A group of local and regional investors together with the state-owned Egyptian General Petroleum Corporation (EGPC)is planning to develop a 130,000-barrel-a-day (b/d) grassroots refinery at Ain el-Sokhna near Suez. The consortium expects to establish by the end of July a project company to develop and operate the estimated $1,000 million facility, which is expected to come on stream by the end of 2008.
  • Hall exits at line 5

    The fifth potline at Aluminium Bahrain (Alba) was commissioned on 15 May, coinciding with the announcement that chief executive officer (CEO) Bruce Hall - who oversaw the expansion and the start-up of the 336-pot line in record time - is to leave the company on 30 June when his contract expires. Neither Hall's destination nor his successor are yet known. He has held the post of CEO since 2001. The $1,300 million fifth potline - the world's longest - will expand Alba's production by 3
  • Hamra & Ferdous gets higher

    The US' Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM)is close to finalising a redesign of the Hamra & Ferdous multi-purpose complex in the Sharq district. The project's main element - a high-rise commercial tower - will be increased to 70 storeys from the originally planned 40 storeys, making it the tallest inhabited structure in the state. The local Ahmadiah Contracting & Trading Company is working on the estimated KD 70 million ($241 million) scheme's other main elements - a five-st
  • Hamra & Ferdous gets higher

    The US' Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM)is close to finalising a redesign of the Hamra & Ferdous multi-purpose complex in the Sharq district. The project's main element - a high-rise commercial tower - will be increased to 70 storeys from the originally planned 40 storeys, making it the tallest inhabited structure in the state. The local Ahmadiah Contracting & Trading Company is working on the estimated KD 70 million ($241 million) scheme's other main elements - a five-st
  • Harbour house gets Saudi anchor

    Saudi businessman Khalid al-Rajhi has acquired the harbour house at Bahrain Financial Harbour (BFH) for $30 million from developer Gulf Finance House. The 12-storey office building, due for completion by the end of 2006, is under construction by Sharjah-based Al-Hamad Contracting Company as part of phase 1 of the BFH project. Contractors are awaiting a tender for infrastructure work on the first portion of the scheme (MEED 15:4:05).
  • Harbour house gets Saudi anchor

    Saudi businessman Khalid al-Rajhi has acquired the harbour house at Bahrain Financial Harbour (BFH) for $30 million from developer Gulf Finance House. The 12-storey office building, due for completion by the end of 2006, is under construction by Sharjah-based Al-Hamad Contracting Company as part of phase 1 of the BFH project. Contractors are awaiting a tender for infrastructure work on the first portion of the scheme (MEED 15:4:05).
  • Hariri's son takes helm

    Saad Rafiq Hariri, surviving son of former Lebanese prime minister Rafiq Hariri, has been appointed general manager of Saudi Oger. Saad was managing director of the company from 1994 to 1998. He is also chairman of the US' Omnia Holdingsand board member of Oger International, France's Entreprise de Travaux Internationaux, Saudi Investment Bankand Saudi Research & Marketing Group.
  • Hariri's son takes helm

    Saad Rafiq Hariri, surviving son of former Lebanese prime minister Rafiq Hariri, has been appointed general manager of Saudi Oger. Saad was managing director of the company from 1994 to 1998. He is also chairman of the US' Omnia Holdingsand board member of Oger International, France's Entreprise de Travaux Internationaux, Saudi Investment Bankand Saudi Research & Marketing Group.
  • HBK scoops pipeline work

    The local HBK Contractinghas been selected for the GPC-45 engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract issued by Qatar General Electricity & Water Corporation (Kahramaa) and is expected to sign the contract imminently. The project calls for the construction of a water transmission network in the Mesaieed area. The scope of works includes the installation of about 34 kilometres of 1,200-millimetre-diameter pipeline as well as associated reservoir work. Three other Doha-bas
  • Healthcare: A bitter pill to swallow

    A man lies bleeding on a sofa in the heart of Riyadh, hand pressed to the bullet wound in his leg. After tying a handkerchief around his knee, the German doctor straightens up and brushes down his evening dress. 'Now I will give you an injection. There is nothing more I can do.' The crowd of onlookers relax in the warm October evening, pass around the popcorn and wait to see how long it will take him to die.
  • Healthcare: The shape of things to come

    On arrival at the Saad Specialist Hospital in Al-Khobar, a patient could be forgiven for thinking he had walked into a luxury hotel rather than a hospital.
  • Hezbollah just posturing, says Tel Aviv

    Tel Aviv said on 26 May that remarks made by Hezbollah leader Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah that the Shia militia's fighters could hit Israel with 12,000 rockets was just electioneering. 'It's a threat on paper only and I don't think Hezbollah will behave irrationally,' said Israeli intelligence chief Emiram Levine. 'All of the north of occupied Palestine, its settlements, airports, seaports, fields, factories and farms, is under the feet and hands of the Islamic resistance,' Nasra
  • Hill claims DCA award

    Hill International (Middle East), part of the US' Hill International, has been awarded a contract by the Department of Civil Aviation to provide claims management consultancy services for the Dubai International Airport (DIA) expansion scheme. The contract is for three years, with a two-year option. Work is under way on a host of major packages for the estimated $4,200 million DIA expansion, which involves the construction of a new terminal and a new concourse, the upgrade of
  • Hill claims DCA award

    Hill International (Middle East), part of the US' Hill International, has been awarded a contract by the Department of Civil Aviation to provide claims management consultancy services for the Dubai International Airport (DIA) expansion scheme. The contract is for three years, with a two-year option. Work is under way on a host of major packages for the estimated $4,200 million DIA expansion, which involves the construction of a new terminal and a new concourse, the upgrade of
  • Hill in line for La Ville Contemporaire

    The US' Hill Internationalhas been selected for the post of project manager on the La Ville Contemporaire development, the codename given to three major projects planned at Ras al-Khor, at the head of Dubai creek. International firms submitted bids to Dubai Propertiesin early February for the position. The other bidders included Turner Construction International, of the US, Australia's Bovis Lend Leaseand Bahrain-based Projacs International
  • Hill in line for La Ville Contemporaire

    The US' Hill Internationalhas been selected for the post of project manager on the La Ville Contemporaire development, the codename given to three major projects planned at Ras al-Khor, at the head of Dubai creek. International firms submitted bids to Dubai Propertiesin early February for the position. The other bidders included Turner Construction International, of the US, Australia's Bovis Lend Leaseand Bahrain-based Projacs International
  • Hoteliers hungry for development

    In a bid to solve the increasing shortage of hotel room capacity throughout the region, a host of new hotel projects were announced on the first two days of the Arabian Travel Market exhibition, held in Dubai from 3-6 May. More than 1,500 international and regional companies representing the travel industry participated in the exhibition, which is the biggest of its kind in the region.
  • Hoteliers hungry for development

    In a bid to solve the increasing shortage of hotel room capacity throughout the region, a host of new hotel projects were announced on the first two days of the Arabian Travel Market exhibition, held in Dubai from 3-6 May. More than 1,500 international and regional companies representing the travel industry participated in the exhibition, which is the biggest of its kind in the region.
  • Hotels are the new boom sector as real estate wanes

    On a glorious Gulf evening at the start of May, more than 400 delegates attending the Arabian Hotel Investment conference (AHIC) organised by MEED and CB Richard Ellis boarded a super-sized catamaran and headed into the sunset for the newest tourist marvel emerging off the Arabian Gulf coast.
  • Housing Bank to get new home

    The US' NBBJhas been awarded the design contract for a new headquarters in Amman for Housing Bank for Trade & Finance. Project costs are estimated at about JD 40 million-45 million ($56.3 million-63.4 million). The project manager is Bahrain-based Projacs International.
  • Housing Bank to get new home

    The US' NBBJhas been awarded the design contract for a new headquarters in Amman for Housing Bank for Trade & Finance. Project costs are estimated at about JD 40 million-45 million ($56.3 million-63.4 million). The project manager is Bahrain-based Projacs International.
  • HSBC confirms Dar Es Salaam talks

    HSBChas finally confirmed that it is negotiating to take a majority stake in the local Dar Es Salaam Investment Bank, following earlier denials. No further details were provided by HSBC but previous reports have indicated that the international bank is looking to take a 51 per cent stake in Dar Es Salaam, which is currently owned by the Khudairy family. HSBC, along with Standard Chartered Bank (SCB)and National Bank of Kuwait (NBK), was granted one of t
  • Huawei wins Omantel contract

    Oman Telecommunications Company (Omantel)has awarded a RO 3.4 million ($8.7 million) contract to China's Huawei Technologiesto install wireless local loop technology, in order to link some 200 remote rural villages to the national network. The system will provide voice, low-speed data, fax and internet services.
  • Hyder bids low for roads advisory

    The UK's Hyder Consultingis low bidder at BD 5.3 million ($13.8 million) for the consultancy contract on the first phase of the government's roads masterplan following the opening of bids on 11 May. Hyder's offer is 4.9 per cent lower than the US' Parsons Global Servicesat BD 5.5 million ($14.5 million). The other bidders are New Zealand's Opus International Consultingat BD 5.9 million ($15.5 million) and the UK's Scott Wilsonat BD 8.5 million ($22
  • Hyder bids low for roads advisory

    The UK's Hyder Consultingis low bidder at BD 5.3 million ($13.8 million) for the consultancy contract on the first phase of the government's roads masterplan following the opening of bids on 11 May. Hyder's offer is 4.9 per cent lower than the US' Parsons Global Servicesat BD 5.5 million ($14.5 million). The other bidders are New Zealand's Opus International Consultingat BD 5.9 million ($15.5 million) and the UK's Scott Wilsonat BD 8.5 million ($22
  • Hyundai scoops more tanker deals

    South Korea's Hyundai Mipo Dockyard Company, a subsidiary of Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI), has received an order from Abu Dhabi-based Emirates Ship Investment Company (Eships), to supply five 13,000-dwt tankers. Under the estimated $125 million deal, Hyundai will begin delivering the vessels in late 2006. The new vessels are part of Eships' plans to build a fleet of small-to-medium-range chemical tankers to carry cargo within the Middle East. The company is
  • IFA rolls out plans for Palm Golden Mile

    Contractors have been invited to submit bids by mid-May to carry out the piling and excavation works on the estimated $400 million Golden Mile on Palm Jumeirah. A joint venture of the local Nakheel and Kuwait-based IFA Hotels & Resortsis developing the project (MEED 27:8:04).
  • IFA rolls out plans for Palm Golden Mile

    Contractors have been invited to submit bids by mid-May to carry out the piling and excavation works on the estimated $400 million Golden Mile on Palm Jumeirah. A joint venture of the local Nakheel and Kuwait-based IFA Hotels & Resortsis developing the project (MEED 27:8:04).
  • IFA set to list on KSE

    The local International Finance Advisers (IFA)is finalising the closed shareholding of its subsidiary IFA Hotels & Resortsand will apply to list the company on the Kuwait Stock Exchange (KSE), according to IFA chairman and managing director Jassim al-Bahar. 'We expect to list on the KSE within six months,' Al-Bahar told MEED on the sidelines of the Arabian Travel Market (ATM) exhibition in Dubai on 4 May. 'We have also applied to list on the Johannesburg stock exchange an
  • Imam Khomeini airport reopens at last

    Imam Khomeini International Airport (IKIA) was finally reopened on 30 April, almost a year after the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) closed it down on the pretext that Turkish operator Tepe Akfen Ventures (TAV)breached security grounds. However, the UK and Canada have issued a travel advisory warning that the new airport may be unsafe because of reported structural problems with the runway (MEED 19:11:04).
  • IMF praises growth

    The latest IMF Article IV consultation, released on 13 May, has painted a positive picture of the state's economic performance over the past 12 months. According to the report, real gross domestic product (GDP) grew by 8.5 per cent in both 2003 and 2004, the highest rate of growth for 15 years. Per capita income grew by 34.5 per cent over the two-year period, while inflation and unemployment remained low at less than 2 per cent and 3.5 per cent respectively in 2004.
  • Increased capacity for greenfield steel

    Ahwaz Rolling & Pipe Mills Company (ARPMC) is considering a government request to more than double the planned capacity of its greenfield steel project in Khouzestan province, and to look at new sites in the region. The company has also asked contractors to prequalify for additional technological services on the project. It has yet to issue an invitation to bid for the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) package on the plant (MEED 18:2:05).
  • Indian rope for NIOC LNG

    Indian Oil Corporation (IOC)and Gas Authority India (GAIL) are expected to sign by mid-July a heads of agreement (HoA) with National Iranian Gas Export Company (NIGEC) for the long-term purchase of at least 5 million tonnes a year (t/y) of liquefied natural gas (LNG). In January, IOC signed a framework agreement with NIGEC - which is acting on behalf of National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) -for the sale of 7.5 million t/y of LNG for 25 years. 'The HoA wi
  • Interconnection study award nears

    A team of Italy's Cesi and Belgium's Tractebel Engineeringis close to being awarded a contract to conduct a feasibility study into the interconnection of the grids of Yemen and southern Saudi Arabia. A formal award is expected by the end of June by the Arab Fund for Economic & Social Development (AFESD), which is funding the study.
  • Interest sought in Aqaba logistics projects

    Aqaba Development Corporation (ADC) has invited companies to express their interest by 14 May in two separate logistics projects in the Aqaba special economic zone (ASEZ).
  • Introduction: Expecting a surge

    Contractors came under mounting pressure in the Gulf last year. The surge in demand for skills and materials, particularly in the UAE, saw the cost of construction rise by 40-60 per cent in the 18 months leading up to December 2004, with Dubai experiencing price hikes of up to 80 per cent for key construction materials such as cement.
  • Introduction: Expecting a surge

    Contractors came under mounting pressure in the Gulf last year. The surge in demand for skills and materials, particularly in the UAE, saw the cost of construction rise by 40-60 per cent in the 18 months leading up to December 2004, with Dubai experiencing price hikes of up to 80 per cent for key construction materials such as cement.
  • Investcom to go public

    Citigroup and HSBChave been mandated to arrange an initial public offering (IPO) in Beirut-based emerging market telephony company Investcom. The share sale is likely to be done through the Dubai International Financial Exchange (DIFX) and is due to come to market before the end of the year. Investcom is understood to be looking to sell $300 million-400 million of its capital. It is currently partly owned by the Mikati Group, associated with recently ap
  • IPO looms in hospitality sector

    Plans are under way to launch by the third quarter an initial public offering (IPO) of shares in Rotana Investments, part of Abu Dhabi-based hotel chain Rotana Group. The move will make the hotelier the first hospitality stock to be floated on the UAE market. Dubai-based Shuaa Capital is advising on the IPO. The offering is expected to solicit a strong response, given the high level of liquidity in the local market, the tourism boom and current appetite for IP
  • Iran

    The local Khouzestan Steel Company (KSC) signed on 16 June a $100 million pre-export finance facility. Standard Chartered Bank was the lead mandated arranger for the 18-month loan. A total of 13 regional banks came on board as arrangers, with five banks joining as co-arrangers and four as lead managers. The loan amount was originally set at $60 million but subsequently rose by $40 million due to oversubscription. KSC - a subsidiary of Iran Mines & Mineral Industri
  • Iran and Iraq agree on security

    Iran's Minister of Foreign Affairs Kamal Kharrazi promised on 17 May that Tehran would stop insurgents crossing its border into Iraq and co-operate with Baghdad on security measures. 'We will not allow terrorists to use our lands to access Iraq,' Kharrazi said during the first visit of an Iranian official to Iraq since the fall of Saddam Hussein. 'We will watch our borders and will arrest infiltrators, because securing Iraq is securing the Islamic republic,' he said.'We need
  • IRAN: A question of liability

    No one doubts the ambition of National Petrochemical Company (NPC), which plans to double total production capacity over the next five years. But after months of political infighting, which has dogged bidding on a number of big-ticket contracts, this lofty target is beginning to look unrealistic. In its defence, the petrochemicals giant has managed to push ahead with a large number of smaller projects, but these successes cannot disguise the fact that crucial policy decisions are urgently needed
  • Iran: Bye-bye boomtown

    With domestic cement capacity set to far exceed consumption as Iran enjoys a period of rapid development, the sector is pausing for breath.
  • Iran: Bye-bye boomtown

    With domestic cement capacity set to far exceed consumption as Iran enjoys a period of rapid development, the sector is pausing for breath.
  • Iraqi government to confiscate insurgent property

    Prime Minister Ibrahim Jaafari's spokesman Leith Kubba told reporters on 17 May that the government is about to start confiscating property belonging to people accused of supporting the insurgency. The action is one of a number of measures to be implemented under the state of emergency, which was extended for a further 30 days in mid-May.Al-Qaeda posted an internet statement on 16 May that said any Sunnis that participated in the drafting of a new constitution would be infide
  • Iraqi insurgents target government officials

    Al-Qaeda in Iraq claimed responsibility on 23 May for the killing of Major General Wael Rubaie, head of operations of the National Security Ministry. Rubaie and his driver were shot as they drove through the Mansour district of Baghdad on their way to work.In a separate incident, Ali Moussa, a director-general of the Trade Ministry, was killed on 22 May with his driver when gunmen opened fire on his car as they drove to work. 'These terrorists who killed Moussa and many other
  • Irish eyes smile at Mannion appointment

    Dermot Mannion, the president of group support services at Dubai-based carrier Emirates, has been appointed the new chief executive officer (CEO) of Irish airline Aer Lingus. Mannion, who became Emirates' finance director in 1995, will take up his new position in August.
  • Isfahan loan closed

    A two-year borrowing for Isfahan Steel Company, arranged by Standard Chartered Bank, was signed in late April. The $100 million loan was heavily oversubscribed, attracting commitments of some $137.5 million, but the borrower eventually decided not to upsize the loan. Demand was well diversified, with eight regional banks, two German banks and an Indian bank joining at syndication. The facility was priced at 275 basis points over Libor (MEED 22:4:05).
  • Islamists receive sentences

    A court sentenced 31 Ibadi Islamists on 2 May convicted of plotting to overthrow the government in Oman. The men were also charged with membership of an illegal organisation and possession of weapons. Six men were sentenced to 20 years, 24 received prison sentences of seven-10 years and one was sent to jail for a year. The prosecution said the men planned to overthrow the government of Sultan Qaboos to establish an imamate. The men cannot appeal their sentence but can seek a pardon from the
  • Jaafari adviser accuses former ministers of corruption

    An adviser to new Iraqi Prime Minister Ibrahim Jaafari accused on 12 May two members of the former premier Iyad Allawi's cabinet of corruption. Juad Maliky said that former labour minister Leyla Abdul Latif had been arrested and another minister faced charges of corruption. Latif denied she had been detained or faced any allegations. The Commission for Public Integrity has demanded the arrest of former transport minister Louay Hatem Sultan al-Erris and other ministers have fled the country
  • Jaafari to discuss economy, security with Ankara

    Iraqi Prime Minister Ibrahim Jaafari will arrive in Ankara on 20 May for talks on economic and security issues, Turkish Foreign Ministry spokesman Namik Tan said on 18 May. Iraqi Oil Minister Ibrahim Mohammed Bahr al-Uloum and Water Resources Minister Latif Rashid will accompany Jaafari, who is expected to meet Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and President Sezer. Ankara is keen to be involved in reconstruction projects in Iraq but is also concerned about Turkish-b
  • Japex signs oil deal

    Japan Petroleum Exploration Company (Japex)has signed a contract with the Oil Ministry to provide technical assistance and carry out technical studies on a number of untapped oil fields across the country. Under the terms of the one-year deal, Japex will conduct studies and seismic surveys on fields in the south around Basra, in the central region around Baghdad and in northeast and western Iraq. The contract is the latest in a series of agreements signed between the ministry and internat
  • June deadline for Fujairah substation

    A revised bid closing date of 11 June has been set for the turnkey contract to build a 400-kV gas-insulated switchgear substation at the Qidfa power and desalination complex in Fujairah. Tendering of the contract, which was issued for bid last September, has suffered extensive delays as a result of changes to the scope of works. The prequalifiers are Europe's ABB, France's Areva T&D, Germany's Siemens, Austria's VA Tech T&D, Japan's Hitachi
  • Kahramaa to tender West Bay substations

    Tender documents are expected to be released in the second half of June for a major substation project in the West Bay area. Qatar General Electricity & Water Corporation (Kahramaa) has already held preliminary meetings with prospective bidders and stated that only manufacturers will be invited to bid. The project covers two 220/66/11-kV substations, seven 66/11-kV substations and extensions to three existing 220-kV substations. The consultant is the UK's Mott MacDonald(MEED 11:3:05)
  • Key ministers finally announced

    The Transitional National Assembly approved six new ministers on 8 May, almost a week after the cabinet of Prime Minister Ibrahim Jaafari was sworn in. Ibrahim Bahr al-Uloum, a Shia, was named as the new Oil Minister and Sunni Saadoun al-Dulaimi is Iraq's new Defence Minister. Two other Sunnis, Abid Mutlak al-Jubouri and Osama al-Najafi, become Deputy Prime Minister and Industry Minister respectively. Mohsen Shlash is the new Electricity Minister (
  • Key posts remain unfilled as government sworn in

    The incoming cabinet is due to be sworn in on 3 May as negotiations continue to name the oil and defence ministers as well as fill the two deputy prime minister posts. The electricity, industry and human rights portfolios have also yet to be filled. The inauguration of a partial government is expected to proceed without the ministers being appointed ( MEED 28:4:05).
  • Khafji offshore works go to bid

    Khafji Joint Operations (KJO)has released tender documents to three prequalified contractors for offshore works under its crude handling facilities expansion programme. The bid deadline for the project's onshore crude handling package has been extended. KJO is also preparing to release bid documents for a separate package covering the expansion of the onshore production facilities at the Hout field. The contracts are part of a $1,800 million, five-year investment programme for the Divided
  • Khartoum airport readies for 2008 take-off

    German consultant Dorsch Consult is pressing ahead with detailed design work on the project to build a new airport to serve Khartoum. The estimated $530 million project is being handled by the Civil Aviation Authority of Sudan. The first stage of the three-phase programme will be completed by 2008 with capacity to handle 4.5 million passengers a year. The airport will be located southwest of the capital and replace the existing one, which is situated near an urban area. The engineeri
  • Khodro and Saipa deny their roving eye

    Local car manufacturers Iran Khodroand Saipahave denied reports that they are interested in buying troubled UK producer MG Rover. Deputy managing director Mojtaba Shivapour issued a statement denying Khodro's interest. A Saipa spokesman also said it had no plans to buy Rover after earlier reports in the UK and local press said the issue had been discussed at ministerial level between the two countries. A third Iranian company, Dastaan, had been in
  • Khodro rating a month away

    Iran Khodrohopes to secure a credit rating from London-based rating agency Fitchby the end of May, allowing Iran's first corporate bond issue to go ahead. BNP Paribashas finished its first round of meetings with the Middle East's largest car manufacturer and is now going through its financial records to ensure they are complete. The proposed Eur 300 million ($391 million) bond is likely to have a coupon in the range of 6.25-7 per cent and a three-five-year tenor (M
  • King Abdullah calls for reform at forum

    King Abdullah said on 22 May that governments in the Middle East must listen to their publics' demand for political and economic reform. 'People want to move forward, they want meaningful reform, they want to see a tangible difference in their lives,' he said at the closing of the World Economic Forum held at the Dead Sea resort of Shuneh. 'We must listen to their voices and we must act,' he said. In reference to pressure from the West for change in the region, the king said that 'friends o
  • King focuses on Moroccan human development

    King Mohamed VI announced on 18 May the launch of the National Initiative for Human Development. The programme includes a slum clearance programme targeted at more than 600 rural and urban communities and expected to cost $114.3 million a year. The funds will support projects to improve inhabitants' access to essential services such as clean water, electricity and education. The move is widely interpreted as an attempt to undercut recruitment for militant Islamic organisations in impoverish
  • KJO invites applications for new wellhead platform

    Khafji Joint Operations (KJO)has invited international contractors to submit prequalification applications by 28 May for a detailed engineering, procurement, construction, installation and commissioning (EPCIC) contract covering the construction of a new offshore wellhead platform in the Divided Zone. The client says it expects to award the estimated $100 million-150 million contract in September. Project implementation will take about 15 months.
  • KNOC signs block deal

    State-owned Kuwait National Oil Corporation (KNOC) announced on 26 April the signing of a production sharing agreement (PSA) with the Ministry of Oil & Natural Resources for block 70. Located in the southwest, the oil field is estimated to hold reserves of up to 200 million barrels. KNOC will be the operator of the concession and will form a consortium with South Korean firms Samsung Corporation and Daesung Industrial Company.
  • KOC rolls out heavy crude output project

    Kuwait Oil Company (KOC) was due to receive on 30 April responses to an initial inquiry for an engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) and a five-year operation and maintenance (O&M) contract for its first commercial heavy sour crude oil production project. In 2002/03, KOC successfully tested a 5,000-barrel-a-day (b/d) heavy crude pilot project with technical assistance from the US' Parsons Engineering Corporation.
  • Koreans close in on Alex LAB work

    Egyptian Petrochemicals Holding Company (ECHEM)is close to awarding South Korea's GS Engineering & Constructionthe engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract to build a 100,000-tonne-a-year linear alkyl benzene (LAB) plant near Alexandria. Egyptian LAB (ELAB)is the project company overseeing the implementation of the $200 million-300 million scheme. GS will lead a consortium involving the local Engineering for the Petroleum & Process Industrie
  • KSC takes murabaha

    The local Khouzestan Steel Company (KSC)has signed a $30.5 million syndicated murabaha facility, guaranteed by parent company Iran Mines & Mineral Industries Development & Renovation Organisation (IMIDRO). Emirates Islamic Bankacted as lead arranger and joining at syndication were ABC Islamic Bank, Al-Baraka Islamic Bank, Amlak Finance, Emirates Bank International and Sudan's Al-Salam Bank. The funds
  • Kuwait prepares Saddam indictment

    Kuwaiti prosecutors sent a list of indictments against former president Saddam Hussein and other Iraqi officials to the Foreign Affairs Ministry on 11 May. This list will be forwarded to the Iraqi Tribunal. The charges included committing crimes against humanity relating to the disappearance of 605 people following the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait in 1990, war crimes and using armed force. The indictment said 5,733 people had been tortured by Iraqi troops in Kuwait. Ali Hassan al-Majid, who gov
  • Kuwait ruler warns against family rift

    Head of the National Guard and family elder, Sheikh Salem al-Ali al-Sabah, called for an end to family disputes and for reconciliation during a meeting of Kuwait's ruling dynasty on 9 May. 'Mutual respect should prevail within the family and no member should: attack his cousins,' Al-Siyassah newspaper reported Sheikh Salem as saying. He said he would not allow 'differences to degenerate into squabbling and attacks by family members against each other'. He asked the family to co-ordinate 'on
  • Kuwait to get new Monarch

    Tender documents are being prepared for the main construction and renovation package on a major hotel development in the heart of Kuwait City. Called the Monarch Kuwait, the 360-room luxury hotel will be composed of three main interlinked structures. The first already-existing, but unused, 12-storey building will be renovated after lying derelict since the Iraqi invasion in 1990. A new 20-storey tower will be built alongside it, while the project's third main element will house a conference cent
  • Kuwait to get new Monarch

    Tender documents are being prepared for the main construction and renovation package on a major hotel development in the heart of Kuwait City. Called the Monarch Kuwait, the 360-room luxury hotel will be composed of three main interlinked structures. The first already-existing, but unused, 12-storey building will be renovated after lying derelict since the Iraqi invasion in 1990. A new 20-storey tower will be built alongside it, while the project's third main element will house a conference cent
  • Kuwaiti court convicts insurgency supporters

    A Kuwaiti court sentenced on 8 May 24 men to three years in prison and another man to five years for offences related to supporting the insurgency in Iraq. Charges included intending to fight in Iraq, recruiting fighters and receiving weapons training. Two men were accused of plotting and financing attacks in Iraq and Kuwait and membership of a banned group. Most of the militants were arrested in 2004 in Kuwait or Syria trying to cross into Iraq. Three of the men were fined KD 3,000 ($10,34
  • Kuwaitis to fund Damietta container terminal

    A group of Kuwaiti investors has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Damietta Port Authority for a 40-year concession to build a new $1,000 million container terminal at the port. Under the terms of the agreement, Kuwait & Gulf Link Transport Company (KGL)and Aref Investments Groupwill design, build, finance and operate the new facility, which will be able to handle about 500,000 containers a year in the first phase.
  • L&T set to power Mabella

    L&T Oman, the local affiliate of India's Larsen & Toubro, has been awarded a contract worth RO 4.9 million ($13 million) to supply and install substations and cables and provide associated civil works for the Mabella transmission system project. The scope of works covers a 132/33/11-kV grid station and two 33/11-kV substations at Mabella A and B and the installation of a 40-kilometre, 33-kV underground line. The duration of the contract is 10 months. The contract was originall
  • Labour market reform: Under no illusions

    Few ministers would be relieved to hear their portfolio had been cut in half. But Majeed al-Alawi was delighted when the cabinet reshuffle split the Social Affairs & Labour Ministry in two. 'It was like a great burden lifted from my back,' says Al-Alawi, who retains the post of Labour Minister. The shake-up reflects the crucial task entrusted to the Shia former opposition member: implementing the radical reform of the labour market laid out in a study last year commissioned by the Economic Devel
  • Landmark securities issued

    Emirates National Securitisation Corporation (ENSec)has issued $350 million worth of mortgage-backed securities for Dubai-based developer Nakheel. Secured against properties on Palm Jumeirah, the funds raised will be used to finance future phases of the palm projects.
  • Leading Syrian opposition figure demands reform

    Key opposition figure Riad Turk demanded on 19 May that Damascus institute democratic reforms before they are imposed from abroad. 'The Syrian government should make changes before they are imposed from outside,' he said. Turk was speaking at a press conference attended by 150 opposition representatives and human rights activists organised by the banned communist party, the Syrian People's Democratic Party. Party leader Abdullah Hosheh called on Damascus to abolish emergency laws in force s
  • Lebanese court suspends Aoun arrest warrant

    A Lebanese court suspended a two-year-old arrest warrant for exiled former General Michel Aoun on 5 May, a day after another court dropped charges against him dating back to 1990. The 2003 warrant was issued after Aoun gave evidence at a US Congressional hearing that Damascus was responsible for the assassination of two Lebanese presidents during the Civil War. The 1990 charges included threatening state security, national unity and the constitution as well as embezzlement. Aoun plans to re
  • Local team closes in on South Pars 17-18

    A local group comprising Oil Industries Engineering Company (OIEC)and Iranian Offshore Engineering & Construction Company (IOECC) was close to receiving a letter of intent in late April for the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract on the development of South Pars phases 17-18. However, the letter was expected to stipulate a timeframe for the companies to bring in an approved foreign partner (MEED 11:3:05).
  • LOGISTICS: Access all areas

    In the space of 10 days in April, Ras Laffan Ethylene Company awarded the contract to build its worldscale ethane cracker, bids were submitted in Kuwait for the $1,300 million aromatics complex and the US' ChevronPhillips Chemical Company (CPC) received a licence from the Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority (SAGIA) to build its third olefins complex at Jubail. The flurry of activity highlighted yet again the buoyancy of the Gulf petrochemicals market and its relentless march towards becom
  • Low numbers expected to vote in Iranian elections

    Grand Ayatollah Hossein Ali Montazeri, an architect of the Islamic Revolution and key dissident figure, said on 20 May that voter turnout for June's presidential elections would be low. Power lies not with the president but with the Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, he said. 'Some figures have power, while responsibilities have been given to the president,' he said. 'That is why young Iranians do not want to cast their votes. This is why I have remained silent about this election,' Mon
  • Low turnout challenges credibility of Egyptian referendum

    Cairo failed to obtain a credible public endorsement for its new electoral law on 25 May following low voter numbers in a national referendum on the proposed constitutional amendment. Opposition parties had called for a boycott of the poll saying that the new law still excluded opposition candidates from standing for president. 'The last word is yours. I have complete trust in your will to participate to open new horizons for our political life,' President Mubarak said the day before the vo
  • Maan gets QIZ status

    Maan Industrial Estate (MIE) received Qualified Industrial Zone (QIZ) status on 11 May. Invitation to bid (ITB) documents for the rights to develop the first phase of the MIE will now be reissued either at the end of May or the beginning of June, according to Jordan Industrial Estates Corporation (JIEC). MIE is a 69.9-hectare area, 200 kilometres south of Amman. The winner will be granted rights to lease and develop the land and existing industrial facilities, including 10,000 square
  • Maan project to be retendered

    Jordan Industrial Estates Corporation (JIEC)is planning to retender the rights to develop the first phase of the Maan Industrial Estate (MIE), located 200 kilometres south of Amman. Invitation to bid (ITB) documents will be reissued in May after a lack of interest in the initial tender. The details of the contract remain the same. 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. Amman is still
  • MAF Investments: A true pan-Arab developer

    At its current rate of project execution, in a few years' time MAF will have made its mark in most Arab countries.
  • MAF Investments: A true pan-Arab developer

    At its current rate of project execution, in a few years' time MAF will have made its mark in most Arab countries.
  • Mahaboola project planned

    Local real estate developer Commercial Real Estate Company (CRC)is preparing plans for a major mixed use development in Mahaboola, near Fintas. With an estimated value of $320 million, the project is set to be the largest private sector development in the state.
  • Mahaboola project planned

    Local real estate developer Commercial Real Estate Company (CRC)is preparing plans for a major mixed use development in Mahaboola, near Fintas. With an estimated value of $320 million, the project is set to be the largest private sector development in the state.
  • Manama mulls new towns retender

    Negotiations are under way between the Works & Housing Ministry and the Netherlands’ Royal Boskalis Westminsterfor the dredging and reclamation contract on the North Bahrain New Towns (NBNT) project. Boskalis was the low bidder at BD 79.8 million ($210 million) for the contract. However, the government is also understood to be considering retendering the contract on a reduced scope of works, after all bids came in significantly over budget. The job originally called for t
  • Manama mulls new towns retender

    Negotiations are under way between the Works & Housing Ministry and the Netherlands’ Royal Boskalis Westminsterfor the dredging and reclamation contract on the North Bahrain New Towns (NBNT) project. Boskalis was the low bidder at BD 79.8 million ($210 million) for the contract. However, the government is also understood to be considering retendering the contract on a reduced scope of works, after all bids came in significantly over budget. The job originally called for t
  • Maronite bishops reject electoral law

    Lebanese Maronite Bishops issued a statement on 11 May that said using the 2000 electoral law in upcoming parliamentary elections would undermine Christian-Muslim co-operation. The law 'violates: co-existence between Christians and Muslims and does not allow for fair elections', the statement said. The 2000 law divides Lebanon into large constituencies, which Christian groups, who favour smaller voting areas, say is unrepresentative. Parliamentary speaker Nabih Berri is opposed to any chang
  • May Day moment for Qatar's new financial centre

    Doha has established another financial centre. What makes it different? And will it work?
  • Medring: One seamless ring to rule them all

    By the end of March, a consortium led by Italy's Cesi will reveal the results of its technical review into two electricity interconnections recently built between Libya and Tunisia. Should the studies decide the connection meets guidelines set out by Brussels-based Union for the Co-ordination of Transmission of Electricity (UCTE), the connection will be activated. At the flick of a switch, the national grids of all the countries from Syria in the east to Morocco in the west will constitute one 5
  • Mega Bubiyan dredging tender nears

    Prequalification is due to be launched on 5 June for the second and largest package on the $1,200 million Bubiyan sea port project. Covering dredging works, the estimated $500 million contract will involve the dredging of a 40-kilometre-long, 260-metre-wide approach channel with a depth of 14 metres. It is expected to involve some 80 million cubic metres of material, making it one of the biggest dredging contracts ever tendered in the Gulf. Tendering on the first package, covering first-phase in
  • Mega Bubiyan dredging tender nears

    Prequalification is due to be launched on 5 June for the second and largest package on the $1,200 million Bubiyan sea port project. Covering dredging works, the estimated $500 million contract will involve the dredging of a 40-kilometre-long, 260-metre-wide approach channel with a depth of 14 metres. It is expected to involve some 80 million cubic metres of material, making it one of the biggest dredging contracts ever tendered in the Gulf. Tendering on the first package, covering first-phase in
  • Melamine plan crystallises

    Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC)and Austria's AMI Agrolinz Melamine International are close to signing a joint venture agreement to build an 80,000-tonne-a-year (t/y) melamine plant at Ruwais. Details of the proposed venture were announced on 2 May after Abu Dhabi's International Petroleum Investment Company (IPIC)acquired a 50 per cent stake in AMI, a wholly owned subsidiary of Austria's OMV. IPIC already holds a 17.5 per cent stake in the Austri
  • Merowe dam: Dragon on the Nile

    Chinese contractors are well under way on the Merowe dam, one of the biggest projects under construction in the Middle East.
  • Merowe dam: Dragon on the Nile

    Chinese contractors are well under way on the Merowe dam, one of the biggest projects under construction in the Middle East.
  • Metro plans take shape

    Two companies are in the running for the estimated Eur 500 million ($647 million) Entreprise Metro d'Algiersturnkey contract for the provision of integrated systems on line 1 of the planned Algiers metro.
  • Metro project gets ready to roll

    The government announced on 18 May that it was planning to build a metro system covering Kuwait City in an attempt to alleviate growing traffic congestion. Speaking at MEED's 2nd Major New Project Opportunities in Kuwait conference, Abdullateef al-Dakheel, assistant under-secretary for roads and sanitary engineering at the Ministry of Public Works (MPW), said that a consultant would be appointed soon to carry out a full feasibility study into the project, which will be implemented in three phase
  • Midmac/Sixco joint venture awarded sports tower

    A joint venture of the local Midmac Contractingand Belgium's Six Constructhas received a letter of intent for the Sports City tower project. The award, for which the value has not been disclosed, calls for the design and construction of a 300-metre-high glass tower at the Sports City development, which will be the main venue for the 2006 Doha Asian Games. The venture will be assisted by UK consultant Arup. The client is the Sports City Project.
  • Midmac/Sixco joint venture awarded sports tower

    A joint venture of the local Midmac Contractingand Belgium's Six Constructhas received a letter of intent for the Sports City tower project. The award, for which the value has not been disclosed, calls for the design and construction of a 300-metre-high glass tower at the Sports City development, which will be the main venue for the 2006 Doha Asian Games. The venture will be assisted by UK consultant Arup. The client is the Sports City Project.
  • Misurata commercials in

    General Electricity Company of Libya( Gecol) is evaluating commercial offers from five international companies and groups for the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract on the 750-MW power plant at Misurata, about 200 kilometres east of Tripoli. They are: Hyundai Engineering & Construction Company, Daewoo Engineering & Construction Company and Doosan Heavy Industries & Construction Company, all of South Korea, the US'
  • MLAs chosen for EBIC loan

    Financial close is due by the end of May on the debt package for Egypt Basic Industries Company (EBIC)to fund its planned ammonia plant in the Suez Industrial Zone, following the appointment of a five-strong group of mandated lead arrangers (MLAs). They are: BNP Paribas, HSBC, Natexis Banques Populaires, Societe Generale (SG)and WestLB. The 15-year facility consists of a $229.8 million export credit tranche backed by the US'
  • More Burj Dubai hotel work beckons

    Bidding is approaching on the Lake hotel project at the Burj Dubai development. Local developer Emaar Propertiesreceived on 11 May expressions of interest from contractors for the main contract, which covers the construction of a 300-metre-high tower with a built-up area of 170,000 square metres. The UK's Atkinsis the consultant; South Africa's Mirage Milleis the project manager. Bids were submitted in late March for another Burj Dubai hotel package, known as
  • More Burj Dubai hotel work beckons

    Bidding is approaching on the Lake hotel project at the Burj Dubai development. Local developer Emaar Propertiesreceived on 11 May expressions of interest from contractors for the main contract, which covers the construction of a 300-metre-high tower with a built-up area of 170,000 square metres. The UK's Atkinsis the consultant; South Africa's Mirage Milleis the project manager. Bids were submitted in late March for another Burj Dubai hotel package, known as
  • More Muslim Brotherhood members arrested

    Egyptian police arrested 56 members of the Muslim Brotherhood on 17 May. The detainees were accused of belonging to an outlawed organisation and mobilising protests against President Mubarak's regime. More than 550 of the organisation's members have been arrested since the beginning of May after it launched a series of demonstrations in favour of political reform ( MEED 12:5:05).
  • More Rabigh work hits the market

    Saudi Aramcohas released another package under its $4,300 million programme to turn the kingdom's biggest refinery at Rabigh into a world-scale integrated refining and petrochemical complex. Engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contractors have been invited to prequalify by 9 May for the project to build two pipelines between Rabigh and Yanbu. Contractors are gearing up to submit offers for several other packages under the programme later in May (MEED 22:4:05).
  • More than $100 million of reconstruction funds missing

    More than $100 million allocated to rebuild Iraq cannot be accounted for, according to the US Special Inspector General for Iraqi Reconstruction audit report issued on 5 May. The money, which included revenue from Iraqi oil sales and assets seized from Saddam Hussein's regime, was managed by the US-led Coalition Provisional Authority. The report said problems with the distribution of the funds included double payment of contractors, bureaucratic errors, payments made for cancelled contracts
  • More time for bidders

    Bids are now due to be submitted in mid-May for the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract on the refinery gas desulphurisation (RGD) project, following an extension in the deadline. The estimated $120 million-150 million contract planned by Bahrain Petroleum Company (Bapco)is part of its refinery upgrade programme. Four companies - the Italian office of US-based Foster Wheeler, Paris-based Technipand Fluor Corporationand
  • More time for YLNG pipeline package

    Yemen LNG (YLNG)has extended the technical bid submission deadline to 17 June for the pipeline package on its proposed grassroots liquefied natural gas (LNG) project. The prequalifiers include: Saipemof Italy, with Athens-based Consolidated Contractors International Company (CCC); and France's AMEC Spie Capag, with A Hak Pijpleidingenof the Netherlands. The engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract covers the supply and instal
  • More villa work for Al-Habtoor

    The local Al-Habtoor Engineering Enterpriseshas received a letter of intent for the construction of another 152 residential units for The Villa project at Dubailand. The estimated $40 million contract will be completed by 2007 and have a built-up area of about 59,000 square metres. The award is Al-Habtoor's second on the development: it won in March a $54 million contract to build 165 villas. The local DAR Consultis the consultant. Dubai Propertiesis the clien
  • More villa work for Al-Habtoor

    The local Al-Habtoor Engineering Enterpriseshas received a letter of intent for the construction of another 152 residential units for The Villa project at Dubailand. The estimated $40 million contract will be completed by 2007 and have a built-up area of about 59,000 square metres. The award is Al-Habtoor's second on the development: it won in March a $54 million contract to build 165 villas. The local DAR Consultis the consultant. Dubai Propertiesis the clien
  • Moroccan hunger striker dies

    The Moroccan Human Rights Association said hunger striker Khalid Boukri died in prison on 11 May in Outita. Islamist prisoners started to refuse food on 2 May at jails in Sale, Fes, Meknes, Oujda, Outita, Marrakech and Agadir to demand their release. Hundreds of Islamist militants were detained after suicide bombings in Casablanca in May 2003, of which 2,112 were charged with offences and 903 were sentenced to prison terms. The prosecutor's office in Meknes said Boukri had digestive problem
  • Morocco: Tourists welcome

    Morocco is halfway through its nine-year programme to increase tourist numbers to 10 million by the end of the decade. Developers are pulling out all the stops to provide the necessary infrastructure.
  • Morocco: Tourists welcome

    Morocco is halfway through its nine-year programme to increase tourist numbers to 10 million by the end of the decade. Developers are pulling out all the stops to provide the necessary infrastructure.
  • Morocco's tourism plans: The new Cote d'Azur

    Plan Azur, part of Vision 201, will see the development of six new coastal resorts. MEED reports on its progress.
  • Morocco's tourism plans: The new Cote d'Azur

    Plan Azur, part of Vision 201, will see the development of six new coastal resorts. MEED reports on its progress.
  • Mott takes IWP advisory

    The UK's Mott MacDonaldhas been appointed technical adviser on the Sharqiyah independent water project (IWP), joining Denton Wilde Sapte as legal adviser and Bank Muscatas financial adviser. Kick-off meetings have begun with the government and the tendering process is due to be launched by the end of June. The project calls for construction of a plant with capacity of 10 million-15 million gallons a day using reverse osmosis (RO) technology (MEED 18:3:05)
  • MPW invites ring-road work

    The Ministry of Public Works (MPW) has invited international consultants to submit proposals by 11 June for a design contract covering the upgrade of the second and third ring-roads. Under the terms of the contract, the successful company will undertake design studies to upgrade the roads to expressway status and improve traffic capacity at a number of junctions. The work also involves studying the feasibility of building tunnels and bridges to improve traffic flow along the roads. The capital i
  • MPW invites ring-road work

    The Ministry of Public Works (MPW) has invited international consultants to submit proposals by 11 June for a design contract covering the upgrade of the second and third ring-roads. Under the terms of the contract, the successful company will undertake design studies to upgrade the roads to expressway status and improve traffic capacity at a number of junctions. The work also involves studying the feasibility of building tunnels and bridges to improve traffic flow along the roads. The capital i
  • MTC seals Celtel deal

    Kuwait's Mobile Telecommunications Company (MTC) announced on 5 May the completion of its acquisition of 85 per cent of the outstanding shares in Amsterdam-based Celtel International, a month after MTC entered into a binding agreement with Celtel to buy 100 per cent of its shares in a cash deal worth $3,400 million. The remaining 15 per cent of shares will be acquired within two years. The buy-out gives MTC control over Celtel's 13 operating networks in sub-Saharan Africa
  • Mubarak and Asad discuss Lebanon

    Egyptian President Mubarak met his Syrian counterpart Bashar Asad in Sharm el-Sheikh on 12 May and discussed the political situation in Lebanon following Damascus' April withdrawal. 'President Mubarak expressed more than once his concern for the achievement of peace and stability in Lebanon,' said the Egyptian president's spokesman, Suleiman Awad. 'Concern now should be focused on guaranteeing that Lebanon does not slide back into sectarian divisions that bring to mind an era that nobody de
  • Mushrif: Feet firmly on the ground

    Kuwait is experiencing an unprecedented construction boom. Mushrif is one of many local firms cashing in.
  • Mushrif: Feet firmly on the ground

    Kuwait is experiencing an unprecedented construction boom. Mushrif is one of many local firms cashing in.
  • Muslim Brotherhood supporters detained

    Police detained more than 200 people during nationwide demonstrations on 4 May organised by the Muslim Brotherhood. More than 1,000 people, surrounded by 3,000 police, gathered in central Cairo protesting against emergency laws and the rule of President Mubarak and calling for political reform and the implementation of sharia law. Demonstrators were arrested in Mansura, Zagazig and Fayoum as well as Tanta, Port Said and Damietta. Police blocked demonstrations from taking place in Alexandria
  • Nakheel: Time to deliver

    Nakheel has become one of the world's largest property magnates. But with little of its portfolio completed, the next 18 months will make or break the Dubai-based developer.
  • Nakheel: Time to deliver

    Nakheel has become one of the world's largest property magnates. But with little of its portfolio completed, the next 18 months will make or break the Dubai-based developer.
  • Nass Group to go public

    A private placement has been launched and is due to close on 22 May of shares in local family business Nass Group, ahead of a planned initial public offering (IPO) on the Bahrain Stock Exchange. Securities & Investment Company (Sico)is arranging the transaction. The IPO will be the first in the kingdom for eight years.
  • National Assembly delays giving Kuwaiti women the vote

    National Assembly (parliament) members are due to vote again on 3 May on a bill to allow women to vote and stand in local elections. Parliament failed to pass the legislation on 2 May as 29 conservative MPs abstained from the ballot, leaving the legislation in limbo because a minimum of 33 MPs must vote to decide its outcome. The bill was supported by 29 members and opposed by two. 'There will be another vote because parliament's decision is not a rejection but rather a postponement,' Prime
  • National Assembly gives women the vote

    Kuwait's National Assembly (parliament) voted on 16 May a change to the law to grant women full political rights. Ahead of the parliamentary session, the parliamentary committee for interior and defence affairs approved an amendment to article 1 of the electoral law to allow women to vote and stand in parliamentary and local elections. Members of parliament passed the amendment by 35 votes to 23 with one abstention. 'I congratulate the women of Kuwait for having achieved thei
  • National Kharafi bids low for KOC maintenance

    The local National Kharafihas submitted a low bid of KD 7.26 million ($25 million) for a four-year contract to provide road and mechanical services maintenance for the Kuwait Oil Company (KOC)-administered area of Ahmadi. The bid was marginally lower than the offer of KD 7.3 million ($25.2 million) submitted by the local United Gulf Construction Company (UGCC). Saad al-Boos General Trading & Contracting, also local, came in third at KD 8.6 million
  • National Kharafi bids low for KOC maintenance

    The local National Kharafihas submitted a low bid of KD 7.26 million ($25 million) for a four-year contract to provide road and mechanical services maintenance for the Kuwait Oil Company (KOC)-administered area of Ahmadi. The bid was marginally lower than the offer of KD 7.3 million ($25.2 million) submitted by the local United Gulf Construction Company (UGCC). Saad al-Boos General Trading & Contracting, also local, came in third at KD 8.6 million
  • Nematzadeh outlines new NPC strategies

    National Petrochemical Company (NPC)is planning to list two more of its subsidiaries on the Tehran Stock Exchange (TSE). 'We have already introduced one fertiliser company to the TSE and two others will be available for sale this year,' Mohammed Reza Nematzadeh, managing director of NPC, told MEED on 8 May. 'However, we now prefer to work with strategic partners from the beginning instead of completing projects and selling them on to the private sector.'
  • Nephew of Saddam arrested

    A nephew of former Iraqi president Saddam Hussein, Ayman Sabawi Ibrahim, was captured at the beginning of May near Tikrit, the Iraqi government announced on 4 May. 'Ayman Sabawi together with his brothers played a particularly active role in sustaining terrorism by providing financial support, weapons and explosives to terrorist groups,' the government said in a statement. Their father, Sabawi Ibrahim Hassan al-Tikriti, a half-brother of Saddam, was captured in February near the Syrian bord
  • New deadline for Sohar power plant

    The bid deadline has been extended by two months to 20 June for the power island package on the Sohar aluminium smelter project. More than 10 companies are understood to have been shortlisted for the contract, among them France's Alstom, the US' General Electric (GE), Doosan Heavy Industries & Construction Companyof South Korea and Germany's Siemens. Bidders for the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract have been asked to includ
  • New frontiers

    The general manager's office on the 13th floor of National Commercial Bank's monumental Jeddah head office is the command centre for one of the great Arabian business adventures. By the end of 2005, the retail network of Arab world's biggest financial institution - accounting for 20 per cent of the total assets of the entire Saudi banking system at the end of 2004 - will have become fully sharia-compliant. It is a giant step for NCB's managers, customers and shareholders, and one that underlines
  • New gas plant takes shape in central fields

    Four local companies are preparing to submit bids in late April for the project management package on a new gas plant being built by Iran Central Oil Fields Company (ICOFC). The Shanul Homa Varavi plant will have capacity of 1,300 million cubic feet a day (cf/d). Two engineering and procurement (EP) packages have already been let to Canadian companies on the project and a separate civils package is now out to bid among local firms.
  • New head for Norton Rose office

    Dominic Harvey has been appointed head of the Bahrain office of Norton Rose, replacing Carol Roberts who has retired. The law firm, which is advising on major project finance deals such as the Qatar Steel Company (Qasco)expansion debt and the recently closed Taweelah B independent water and power project (IWPP) in Abu Dhabi, is expanding its activities in the region and in 2003 opened an office in Dubai.
  • New Jebel Ali container terminal goes for bid

    Dubai's Ports, Customs & Free Zone Corporation has issued for bid among contractors stage 1 of the new Jebel Ali container terminal. Prequalifiers have been given until 11 June to price the contract, covering the construction of a quay wall. The consultant is the US' Han Padron Associates, now part of the UK's Halcrow(MEED 15:4:05).
  • New Jebel Ali container terminal goes for bid

    Dubai's Ports, Customs & Free Zone Corporation has issued for bid among contractors stage 1 of the new Jebel Ali container terminal. Prequalifiers have been given until 11 June to price the contract, covering the construction of a quay wall. The consultant is the US' Han Padron Associates, now part of the UK's Halcrow(MEED 15:4:05).
  • New real estate company formed

    A new locally-based real estate company, Saraya Jordan, has been formed. Saraya plans to invest in condominiums, leisure facilities, tourism and commercial real estate in the kingdom and will also look at real estate projects in the Aqaba special economic zone (ASEZ). Saudi Ogeris the majority stakeholder.
  • New real estate company formed

    A new locally-based real estate company, Saraya Jordan, has been formed. Saraya plans to invest in condominiums, leisure facilities, tourism and commercial real estate in the kingdom and will also look at real estate projects in the Aqaba special economic zone (ASEZ). Saudi Ogeris the majority stakeholder.
  • New refinery project to be tendered

    The Oil Ministry will issue by the end of the summer a tender for the construction of a 140,000-barrel-a-day (b/d) grassroots refinery in the central region around Baghdad. 'We will invite international companies to bid for the project on an engineering, procurement and construction [EPC] basis,' says a senior ministry official. The new refinery will be located near Baghdad, where car usage is greatest. The ministry has also been meeting international contractors and developers to discuss the po
  • NIC selects MLAs

    National Industries Group (NIC) has mandated Gulf International Bank and West LBto arrange a $100 million syndicated loan. The three-year facility is priced at 115 basis points and general syndication has been launched.
  • Nine in for King Hamad hospital project

    Bahrain
  • Nine in for King Hamad hospital project

    Bahrain
  • No delay to legislative elections

    Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said in an interview published on 13 May in London daily Asharq al-Awsat that legislative elections planned for July would not be delayed. Presidential aide Tayeb Abdel Rahim said on 12 May that there were good judicial and political reasons for postponing the vote, including the continued Israeli occupation. Hamas objects to any delay to the first legislative elections in the Occupied Territories since 1996.Abbas rejected Israeli
  • No demolition planned for settler homes

    Israeli Defence Minister Shaul Mofaz said on 11 May that demolition of settler homes following the withdrawal from Gaza was unnecessary and dangerous. 'I am not prepared: to endanger Israeli soldiers in order to destroy the houses of settlers,' he said. 'After we evacuate the settlers we would have to maintain military forces, security guards and forces to destroy the houses in the middle of enemy territory and there is not assurance that there wouldn't be terror attacks,' Mofaz told Israel
  • No Syrian military in Lebanon

    Lebanese Prime Minister Najib Mikati said on 3 May that Damascus has withdrawn all its troops and intelligence units from Lebanon. He said Syrian troops deployed along the border at Deir al-Aashayer, where residents have complained of a continued military presence, were in Syrian territory. The UN verification team sent to ensure Damascus' compliance with UN Security Council resolution 1559, which states all foreign troops must leave Lebanon, started work on 3 May. The eight-member team ins
  • Nobel laureates gather in Petra

    King Abdullah opened a two-day international gathering in Petra on 18 May, attended by the Dalai Lama. Israeli Vice-Prime Minister Shimon Peres was one of 25 Nobel prize winners who attended the meeting of 44 participants entitled 'A World in Danger'. Former US president Bill Clinton was expected to attend the gathering, which will discuss four themes: terror and peace; economic development and poverty; health and the environment; and education and the media. The meeting's recommendations w
  • NPC fails in Basell bid

    Tehran has hit out at the US after National Petrochemical Company (NPC)failed in its bid to buy Europe's Basell Polyolefins. Former owners the Royal Dutch/Shell Groupand Europe's BASFsold the polyolefins producer on 5 May to a consortium led by the US' Access Industries with US-based Chatterjee Groupfor $5,700 million (MEED 20:8:04).
  • NPC signs Assaluyeh JV agreements

    National Petrochemical Company (NPC)has announced two new petrochemical joint ventures with foreign partners. India's Sab Industrieshas taken a 55 per cent interest in Lavan Chemical Company, which will be in charge of the ammonia and urea 8 project in Assaluyeh, with the remaining shares to be held by Iranian government investors. The project will have capacity of 660,000 tonnes a year (t/y) of ammonia and 858,000 t/y of urea and is due to come on stream in 2008.
  • Oath may cause Kurdish-Shia rift

    Kurdistan Democratic Party leader Massoud Barzani said on 6 May that the removal of a mention of Iraqi federalism from the oath of office taken by the new government on 3 May is a threat to the Kurdish-Shia alliance. 'The removal of the reference to a federal Iraq is a violation of the law and a serious threat for our alliance,' Barzani said. 'I can only hope it was not intentional and that this will be corrected as soon as possible,' he added. Hussein Shahrastani, deputy speaker of the Tra
  • Oger refinances loan

    Calyon has been appointed the mandated lead arranger (MLA) on a $360 million loan for Saudi Oger. Part of the loan's proceeds will be used to refinance a $260 million borrowing taken out in 2004, arranged by Credit Agricole Indosuez - now part of Calyon. The five-year deal is aimed at obtaining improved pricing from the original loan, the main tranche of which had a margin of 125 basis points (bp) and the second portion of which was priced at 225 bp (MEED 6:2:04).
  • Olefins II PIM nears

    Financial adviser Societe Generaleis undertaking a market-sounding exercise on the financing for the $1,500 million Olefins II project. More than 50 banks are understood to be being sounded out as to the balance between conventional and Islamic finance and whether a club approach would be preferred. A preliminary information memorandum (PIM) is expected to be issued by the end of June with banks mandated by the end of July. The client is The Kuwait Olefins Company (TKOC),
  • Oman: Joining the major league

    A symbolic milestone for the sultanate’s petrochemicals industry was passed on 20 April, when the Maharshi Shivatreya tanker left Sur bound for India, loaded with the first shipment of ammonia from Oman India Fertiliser Company (Omifco).
  • Omantel IPO date set

    A date of 24 May has been set for the launch of the long-awaited initial public offering (IPO) of shares in Oman Telecommunications Company (Omantel). The offering will be the largest ever in the sultanate. About 225 million shares - 30 per cent of the operator's capital - are expected to be sold, priced at RO 1.3 ($3.3) each. The progress follows the passage of a decree in early April facilitating the path of the IPO. HSBC, Bank Muscatand Fincorpa
  • Onwards and upwards for TASI

    Year-to-date growth is in line with overall predictions for 2005. Oliver Klaus reports
  • OPEC comments keep prices strong

    Oil prices fell marginally in the second week of May, but remained close to $50 a barrel as OPEC ministers signalled reluctance to contemplate a further output increase at their meeting next month and traders worried about US gasoline supplies. Spot Brent was trading at $48.50 a barrel on 11 May.
  • OPEC forecasts calm market

    Oil prices fell in the third week of May as US stocks rose and the bearish aspects of OPEC's latest monthly report grabbed the headlines. However, more quietly, threats emerged, with Riyadh warning that its ability to lower prices was limited due to a forecast decline in non-OPEC supply in the second half of the year. Spot Brent was trading at $47.32 a barrel on 18 May compared with $48.50 a week earlier.
  • Opposition rejects multi-candidate law

    The Muslim Brotherhood and other opposition groups urged parliament on 9 May to reject proposed changes to the constitution to allow multi-candidate presidential elections. Parliament's upper house has passed the amendment, which the lower chamber will consider on 10 May. Muslim Brotherhood leader Mehdi Akef said the changes to the law had been drafted in a way that the amendment would be meaningless. The law would require prospective candidates to acquire the backing of 65 of the 444 membe
  • OT purchase problems ironed out

    Egypt's Orascom Telecom (OT) has dropped the arbitration claims made against the Palestine Investment Fund (PIF) after a successful resolution of the dispute. OT had reached agreement with PIFfor the purchase of a further 22.1 per cent stake in OT's Algerian subsidiary Djezzy and an additional 22.3 per cent share of its Tunisian subsidiary Tunisiana, but the deal subsequently ran into difficulties (MEED 25:3:05). OT has now agreed to provide compen
  • Oxy/Liwa team takes over Mukhaizna

    The US' Occidental Petroleum Companyand Abu Dhabi government-owned Liwa Petroleumhave signed a heads of agreement with the government to take over the Mukhaizna field and the $2,000 million enhanced oil recovery (EOR) project planned in the area, which will take production to 150,000 barrels a day (b/d) from about 10,000 b/d (MEED 4:3:05).
  • Palestinian legislative elections postponed

    The Palestinian Central Election Commission announced on 23 May a delay to legislative elections due on 17 July. The commission said it needs two months to prepare for the polls from the time the electoral law is ratified. The passage of a new electoral law has been held up by a dispute between Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC). Abbas has refused to sign new electoral legislation, which proposes two thirds of members of parliament ar
  • Palestinian PM slams Arab world over Jerusalem

    Palestinian Prime Minister Ahmed Qurei criticised the Arab on 11 May world for not backing up Palestinian efforts to reduce Tel Aviv's control over east Jerusalem. 'Every day, Jewish extremists make calls to overrun the Al-Aqsa mosque and all we have heard [from Arab countries] are faint-hearted words with no expression of support,' Qurei told a conference in Ramallah organised by the Religious Affairs Ministry. 'Jerusalem is in danger and the Arab world says nothing. It has not said outrig
  • Palm Deira dives into action

    Local property developer Nakheelhas countered speculation that the Palm Deira project will be downsized or even cancelled altogether by stating that it is close to awarding the main dredging package. 'We are negotiating with two companies and expect to make a decision soon,' Nakheel's executive chairman Sultan Ahmed bin Sulayem told MEED on 18 May. 'This [speculation] is nothing but a rumour and we have had it with the other Palms too.' Palm Deira is billed as the largest dredging an
  • Palm Deira dives into action

    Local property developer Nakheelhas countered speculation that the Palm Deira project will be downsized or even cancelled altogether by stating that it is close to awarding the main dredging package. 'We are negotiating with two companies and expect to make a decision soon,' Nakheel's executive chairman Sultan Ahmed bin Sulayem told MEED on 18 May. 'This [speculation] is nothing but a rumour and we have had it with the other Palms too.' Palm Deira is billed as the largest dredging an
  • Parliament consultancy awarded

    The UK's Godwin Austen & Johnston has been awarded the consultancy contract on the project to construct a new National Assembly building in Manama. Hopkins Architects, also of the UK, is drawing up designs. Further progress on the scheme awaits relocation of a sports club currently situated on the land required for the new building, which would allow the upper and lower houses to sit simultaneously.
  • Parliament consultancy awarded

    The UK's Godwin Austen & Johnston has been awarded the consultancy contract on the project to construct a new National Assembly building in Manama. Hopkins Architects, also of the UK, is drawing up designs. Further progress on the scheme awaits relocation of a sports club currently situated on the land required for the new building, which would allow the upper and lower houses to sit simultaneously.
  • Parliament disagrees about electoral law

    Lebanese Prime Minister Najib Mikati arrived in New York on 6 May for talks with UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan about Lebanon's upcoming parliamentary elections and Damascus' military withdrawal. Parliament will meet on 7 May in an attempt to reach a compromise on the electoral law, which opposition members of parliament (MPs) want amended to permit smaller constituencies and greater representation. Parliamentary speaker Nabih Berri is opposed to any attempt to throw out the
  • Parsons takes Seeb wastewater advisory

    The US' Parsons Internationalhas been awarded the RO 3.4 million ($8.7 million) contract for the concept, preliminary and detailed designs and construction supervision on the Seeb catchment collection and treated water redistribution networks and sewage treatment plants, part of the second phase of the Muscat Wastewater project. Parsons was third lowest bidder when prices were opened in March. The client is Oman Wastewater Services Company(MEED 18:3:05).
  • Pearl-Qatar tenders due soon

    The local United Development Company (UDC) is expected to issue soon several more tenders on its $2,500 million Pearl-Qatar island development in West Bay, says Nicholas Bashkiroff, the project's development director. Speaking in Dubai on 10 May at the Waterfront 2005 Dubai conference and exhibition organised by the UK's Seatrade, Bashkiroff said that the tender for the main QR 1,500 million ($412 million) infrastructure tender will be issued to prequalified contractors b
  • Pearl-Qatar tenders due soon

    The local United Development Company (UDC) is expected to issue soon several more tenders on its $2,500 million Pearl-Qatar island development in West Bay, says Nicholas Bashkiroff, the project's development director. Speaking in Dubai on 10 May at the Waterfront 2005 Dubai conference and exhibition organised by the UK's Seatrade, Bashkiroff said that the tender for the main QR 1,500 million ($412 million) infrastructure tender will be issued to prequalified contractors b
  • Peremba picks its Valentine for Melut date

    Abu Dhabi-based Valentine Maritime (Gulf)has been awarded a $15 million subcontract to install two pipelines and a single point mooring (SPM) buoy on the Melut basin field development project. Placed by Malaysia's Peremba Construction, the subcontract calls for the commissioning of a dual 36-inch-diameter two-kilometre, crude oil export pipeline and a 14-inch, 700-metre effluent water disposal line. The facilities are due to be installed by the third quarter. Peremba is c
  • Petrofac signs up for flowlines upgrade

    Kuwait Oil Company (KOC) awarded on 25 April a KD 199 million ($686 million) contract to the UAE-based Petrofac Internationalfor phase 1 works on its facilities upgrade and flowlines replacement project. A second, larger engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract under the programme is expected to be awarded to South Korea's SK Engineering & Constructionby early May (MEED 15:4:05).
  • Pets advisories awarded

    Financial advisory mandates have been awarded on both the Yanbu olefins and Tasnee cracker projects and the deals are scheduled to come to market by the end of the year.
  • PLC passes elections law that Abbas opposes

    The Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) passed an election law on 18 May previously rejected by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. The law states that two thirds of PLC members would be chosen through ballots based on electoral districts and the rest through nationwide party lists. Abbas favours changing the law to permit the election of deputies through party lists rather than being selected directly, which reinforces local loyalties and favours the old guard. Abbas can eithe
  • Plumbing a new course

    The point of no return has finally been passed on the Gulf's latest private sector wastewater project. After almost five years of planning, Fujairah ruler Sheikh Hamad bin Mohamed al-Sharqi attended on 10 May the ground-breaking ceremony for the emirate's first municipal wastewater project. With site preparation well under way and financial close achieved on the estimated $150 million scheme, local project developer Tanqia and its contractor team are on target to complete the first stage of the
  • PMC selection due for neutral zone

    Khafji Joint Operations (KJO) is evaluating commercial bids for a five-year contract to provide project management consultancy (PMC) services for all its existing and future projects in the Divided Zone (DZ). At least five companies submitted bids in mid-April. The bidders include Foster Wheeler, Fluor Corporation and Jacobs Engineering, all of the US, Australia's WorleyParsons and the UK's Amec. A selection is due by the end of June. KJO, the 50:50 joint venture between Kuwait Gulf Oil Company
  • Police arrest suspected militant in Saudi capital

    Police exchanged fire with suspected militants in a car at a checkpoint in Al-Rawabi in east Riyadh on 9 May. Police had been on the lookout for the vehicle and a gun battle started as police approached and the car's occupants opened fire. Police found explosives and weapons in a car. Two suspects were taken to hospital and a third escaped.
  • Port tender set to sail

    Qatar Petroleum (QP)is expected to release tender documents in mid-May for the dredging and reclamation contract on the Ras Laffan port expansion project. The client has completed prequalification of contractors, which involves about 60 million cubic metres of dredging and reclamation and the construction of 10 kilometres of breakwater (MEED 11:2:05).
  • Port tender set to sail

    Qatar Petroleum (QP)is expected to release tender documents in mid-May for the dredging and reclamation contract on the Ras Laffan port expansion project. The client has completed prequalification of contractors, which involves about 60 million cubic metres of dredging and reclamation and the construction of 10 kilometres of breakwater (MEED 11:2:05).
  • Posco gets Hadeed flat steel job

    Saudi Iron & Steel Company (Hadeed)on 30 April announced the award of the estimated $65 million-75 million contract to install a new flat steel paint coating line to South Korea's Posco Engineering Company. Under the deal, Posco and Daewoo International, its South Korean partner, will design, manufacture, supply and install the unit, which will have capacity to handle 120,000 tonnes a year (t/y) of flat product. Project completion is due for 2006. Italy's D
  • Power plant planned on Failaka

    The Mega Projects Agency, part of the Ministry of Public Works, plans the construction of a 100-MW cogeneration power and desalination plant on Failaka island. The project, which is expected to be tendered on a build-operate (BO) basis, is part of efforts to develop infrastructure on the island. The estimated $3,200 million Failaka island tourism project is seeking investment from the private sector for the construction of hotels, chalets and entertainment and related facilities. Nine prequalifi
  • PP9 retendered

    The contract to build the 1,200-MW PP9 power station in Riyadh will be retendered following the recent return of original bids to contractors by the client, Saudi Electricity Company (SEC). It is understood that SEC decided to retender the scheme to allow for changes to the project's scope due to revised operational requirements. Three groups - the local Arabian Bemco Contractingwith Germany's Siemens, the US' General Electricand National C
  • Prequalifiers prepare for Qatofin marine works

    Technical bids are due to be submitted on 26 May for the marine works package on the Qatofinproject at Mesaieed. Prequalifiers for the estimated $30 million engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract include Geneva-registered Archirodon Construction (Overseas), Interbetonof the Netherlands and Belgium's Six Construct. The contract involves the construction of a 150-metre quay wall, a new pumping station and a seawater intake and outfa
  • Prequals in for central market

    Local property developer ALDAR Propertiesis evaluating prequalification applications for the first package on its estimated $325 million redevelopment of Abu Dhabi's central market. The contract calls for the construction of a 1,500-metre diaphragm wall, a 70-metre-long underground tunnel and the dewatering and excavation of about 700,000 cubic metres of soil. ALDAR has appointed its own project management division to supervise the tendering and construction process. An award is also
  • Prequals in for central market

    Local property developer ALDAR Propertiesis evaluating prequalification applications for the first package on its estimated $325 million redevelopment of Abu Dhabi's central market. The contract calls for the construction of a 1,500-metre diaphragm wall, a 70-metre-long underground tunnel and the dewatering and excavation of about 700,000 cubic metres of soil. ALDAR has appointed its own project management division to supervise the tendering and construction process. An award is also
  • Prequals invited for thin tower

    Applications for prequalification have been invited by 22 May for the construction of a five-star hotel and mixed use development on Sheikh Zayed highway. The scope of works covers two plots with a total area of 20,000 square feet. The hotel will have a built-up area of 60,000 square metres and entails construction of a 513-room, 52-storey tower 200 metres in height with a width of just 18 metres. The mixed use, high-rise building next to it will have a built-up area of 56,000 square metres. Wor
  • Prequals invited for thin tower

    Applications for prequalification have been invited by 22 May for the construction of a five-star hotel and mixed use development on Sheikh Zayed highway. The scope of works covers two plots with a total area of 20,000 square feet. The hotel will have a built-up area of 60,000 square metres and entails construction of a 513-room, 52-storey tower 200 metres in height with a width of just 18 metres. The mixed use, high-rise building next to it will have a built-up area of 56,000 square metres. Wor
  • Presidential election registration opens in Iran

    Candidates started to register on 10 May for Iran's presidential elections to be held in June. More than 90 unknown candidates including women, who are not eligible to stand, were first to put themselves forward. Former president Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, who opinion polls suggest is the frontrunner, has yet to declare whether he will run for president. He faces stiff opposition from Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and the two men will meet on 11 or 12 May to discuss Rafsanjani's candidacy
  • Presidential line-up takes shape

    Hardline member of parliament (Majlis) Ahmad Tavakoli withdrew on 2 May from presidential elections in June to 'favour the designation of a single candidate' to represent the right wing, he said. Tavakoli said there was a need to 'avert the danger' of another term in office for former president and moderate conservative Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, who has indicated he may stand for president ( MEED 25:4:05).
  • Prices due for GAE study

    Abu Dhabi Oil Refining Company (Takreer)has invited commercial bids by 14 May for a contract to carry out a feasibility study on its planned world-scale aromatics complex at Ruwais. Three companies - the Italian office of Paris-based Technip,and Foster Wheelerand Mustang Engineering, both US-based - submitted technical bids in early April. Known as the gasoline and aromatics expansion (GAE) project, it will involve the production of paraxylene through n
  • Prices rise in spite of Riyadh's reassurance oil prices

    Oil prices hovered around $50 a barrel in the first week of May, with few major supply events and little market reaction to Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Abdullah's statements reassuring the market that primary crude supply is ample (see Cover Story). Nor were traders impressed by OPEC comments about the extent of group members' over-production. Spot Brent was trading at $50 a barrel on 5 May, compared with $49.38 a week earlier.
  • Private plants on parade

    Iranian Deputy Energy Minister Mohammed Ahmadian is overseeing one of the most ambitious power investment programmes in the region. He spoke to Angus McDowall
  • Privatisation: Lightening the load

    Necessity is the mother of invention, forcing Manama into the forefront of economic liberalisation in the GCC. Last year alone, it signed a landmark free trade agreement with Washington, launched a radical overhaul of its labour market and closed the kingdom's first private power project. This year, further far-reaching measures are promised as the government looks to put the private sector in the driving seat of economic development. 'The overarching plan is for the state to be a facilitator of
  • Progress report: Sheikh Zayed mosque

    Abu Dhabi's Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan II mosque project has suffered repeated delays, but work on the landmark scheme is beginning to gather steam.
  • Progress report: Sheikh Zayed mosque

    Abu Dhabi's Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan II mosque project has suffered repeated delays, but work on the landmark scheme is beginning to gather steam.
  • Projacs wins more Asian Games work

    The Doha Asian Games Organising Committee has awarded Bahrain-based Projacs Internationalthe project management services contract on the project to build 10 towers in the West Bay area of Doha. The towers will be rented from their developers to provide accommodation during the Asian Games, being staged in the capital in December 2006. Projacs will be responsible for ensuring that all the high-rises are completed in time for the event. The buildings concerned are: the 35-storey Al-Daf
  • Projacs wins more Asian Games work

    The Doha Asian Games Organising Committee has awarded Bahrain-based Projacs Internationalthe project management services contract on the project to build 10 towers in the West Bay area of Doha. The towers will be rented from their developers to provide accommodation during the Asian Games, being staged in the capital in December 2006. Projacs will be responsible for ensuring that all the high-rises are completed in time for the event. The buildings concerned are: the 35-storey Al-Daf
  • Project Kuwait set for June crunch vote

    The National Assembly (parliament) is expected to vote by the end of June on the state's landmark upstream initiative, Project Kuwait. Speaking on the sidelines of the Second MEED Major New Project Opportunities in Kuwait conference on 17 May, Hisham al-Refai, executive assistant managing director for Project Kuwait, said that the economy and finance committee will make a recommendation to parliament on 24 May, giving the legislature just over a month to pass the enabling bill before the start o
  • Project managers line up for Sohar olefins complex

    Technical and commercial bids were submitted on 25 April to Oman Petrochemical Industries Corporation (OPIC)for a contract to provide project management and engineering services on the planned olefins complex at Sohar. The bidders include Parsons International, part of Australia's WorleyParsons, and Foster Wheeler, Jacobs Engineeringand Mustang Engineering, all of the US (MEED 11:2:05).
  • Public prosecutor seeks death penalty for Islamists

    Kuwait's public prosecutor submitted a 2,000-page indictment to the court authorities on 11 May that demanded the death penalty for 20 Islamist militants. The prosecution sought prison terms for a further 15. The trial of the 35 defendants is due to start on 24 May. The accused are suspected members of the Peninsula Lions, a group believed to be affiliated to Al-Qaeda and Saudi militant group the Al-Haramain Brigades. Most of the suspects are Kuwaiti and stand charged with engaging in four
  • QA closes in on new orders

    Qatar Airways (QA)is in advanced negotiations with Europe's Airbus and The Boeing Companyof the US to purchase new aircraft. 'It is a strategic decision and we will not rush into making decisions before we are satisfied all our demands are met,' said QA chief executive officer (CEO) Akbar al-Baker at the Arabian Travel Market exhibition in Dubai on 4 May. QA is looking to conclude negotiations to purchase the Boeing 787 and Airbus A350 next-generation aircraft by t
  • Qasco lets remaining EPC steel packages

    Austria's Voest Alpine Industrieanlagenbau (VAI) and Italy's Danieli & Companyhave been awarded the two remaining engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) packages covering the expansion of Mesaieed steel complex. Under the terms of its turnkey supply contract, VAI will supply and install a rolling mill with capacity of 700,000 tonnes a year (t/y). The mill will be supplied by VAI subsidiary, Italy-based VAI Pomini, and will take about 17 months to inst
  • Qatar-Bahrain gas deal reached

    A deal for Qatar to supply Bahrain with gas has been announced following a meeting of Qatari Emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani and Bahrain's King Hamad bin Isa al-Khalifa in early May. Negotiations have been ongoing for several years on the deal and the supply agreement was originally supposed to have been part of the wider project to build a pipeline from Qatar to Kuwait, which has stalled because of tensions between Doha and Riyadh. No details have been given on planned volumes but previo
  • QFC opens for business

    Qatar Financial Centre Regulatory Authority (QFCRA) began receiving on 1 May licence applications from international institutions and multinational corporations interested in setting up in the Qatar Financial Centre (QFC). Businesses based in the QFC will be entitled to 100 per cent foreign ownership, full repatriation of profits and a three-year tax holiday. QFCRA has also launched a recruitment drive with the aim of hiring a core group of 10 officials by the end of the year. However, a spokesm
  • QNCC to build burnt lime plant

    Qatar National Cement Company (QNCC) has issued a tender inviting consultants to submit proposals by 31 May for a contract to design, engineer and supervise the construction of a 200-tonne-a-day burnt lime manufacturing plant. Under the terms of the contract, expected to be awarded by the end of the summer, the successful consultant will also be responsible for the preparation of tender documents for the main construction package, which will be tendered on a lump-sum turnkey (LSTK) basis.
  • Q-Ship awards HHI vessel order

    South Korea's Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI)has been awarded an estimated $385 million contract to build four 82,200-cubic-metre gas carriers for Qatar Shipping Company (Q-Ship). The order, the largest ever placed by Q-Ship, calls for the vessels to be delivered in the second half of 2008 and the first quarter of 2009.
  • Rafsanjani in the race for president

    Former president Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani announced on 10 May that he will stand in presidential elections on 17 June. Currently head of the Expediency Council, Rafsanjani is the favourite to take over from President Khatami. He is seen as an economic liberal and social conservative. Rafsanjani's priorities will be unemployment, social security, poverty, corruption and discrimination. His administration would 'meet the challenge of a young society', Rafsanjani said in a statement.
  • Rafsanjani keen to build bridges with the West

    Presidential hopeful Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani said on 19 May that he wants to mend relations with Washington. 'There is no doubt that the US is a superpower of the world and we cannot ignore them,' he told Reuters. 'Americans should gradually begin to adopt positive behaviour rather than doing evil. They should not expect an immediate reaction in return for their positive measures. It will take time,' Rafsanjani said.The former president and current head of the Expediency
  • Rafsanjani seeks to return to the presidency

    Former president Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, a moderate conservative who favours improved relations with the West, declared on 10 May that he would stand in June's presidential elections. His announcement comes at a time of escalating tensions between Tehran and the EU and Washington over Iran's nuclear programme. EU-Iranian talks in London broke down at the end of April and Tehran announced that it plans to resume work on its nuclear programme.
  • Railway PMC bids under evaluation

    Commercial offers are due to be opened by the end of May for the project management consultancy (PMC) on the $2,800 million minerals railway. Local and international bidders for the PMC contract are understood to include Canada's Canrail, Systraof France and Saudi Consolidated Engineering Services (Khatib & Alami) - all of which are involved in the engineering study for the project - Beirut-based Dar al-Handasah (Shair & Partners)and France's
  • Ras Laffan port tender out

    Qatar Petroleum (QP)issued in mid-May the main tender on the Ras Laffan port expansion project. Seven international companies are understood to have been prequalified to submit technical bids by 10 July and commercial bids by 31 July for the dredging and breakwater package. The contract will involve the reclamation of about 42 million cubic metres (mcm), the dredging of 18 mcm and the construction of 18 kilometres of breakwater. The expansion is being undertaken to accommodate rising gas
  • Ras Laffan port tender out

    Qatar Petroleum (QP)issued in mid-May the main tender on the Ras Laffan port expansion project. Seven international companies are understood to have been prequalified to submit technical bids by 10 July and commercial bids by 31 July for the dredging and breakwater package. The contract will involve the reclamation of about 42 million cubic metres (mcm), the dredging of 18 mcm and the construction of 18 kilometres of breakwater. The expansion is being undertaken to accommodate rising gas
  • RasGas II bond mandate awarded

    Lehman Brothers and Goldman Sachshave been appointed to arrange and underwrite a bond issue for Ras Laffan Liquefied Natural Gas Company II (RasGas II)to part finance its integrated RasGas 3 project. Lehman Brothers had already been awarded the ratings advisory mandate on the deal while Goldman Sachs was joint arranger on the $665 million bond issue by Ras Laffan Liquefied Natural Gas Company (RasGas)in March last year (MEED 3:12:04; 5:3:04).
  • Referendum on national reconciliation policy

    President Bouteflika announced on 3 May that there would be a referendum on his national reconciliation policy, which involves an amnesty for Islamic militants. 'If [the people] want reconciliation, then it will be good for us. If they want something else, they will get that,' he said.
  • Reformers allowed to run in Iranian presidential election

    The Guardian Council, the body responsible for vetting presidential nominees, re-instated two reformists on 24 May to the list of eligible candidates. Education Minister Mostafa Moin and vice-president for sports Mohsen Mehr Alizadeh were readmitted to the list, now comprised of eight candidates, after Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei urged the council to reconsider its decision to exclude them. The reformist party, the Islamic Iran Participation Front, threatened to boycott the e
  • Reformists threaten to boycott Iranian election

    Reformists threatened on 23 May to shun presidential elections in June after the Guardian Council disqualified Education Minister Mostafa Moin from standing. Moin is an outspoken reformist who promised to free political prisoners and address human rights concerns. The Guardian Council whittled the list of eligible candidates down to six from more than 1,000, leaving just one pro-reform candidate, Majlis (parliament) speaker Mehdi Karroubi, on the ballot. The council vetted all individuals w
  • Regional

    In the 18 months up to the end of 2004, contractor's profit margins in the Gulf came under mounting pressure from the rising cost of construction. The sudden increase in demand for skills and materials, particularly in Dubai, saw the cost of construction rising 40 - 60 per cent from the middle of 2003 to December 2004, with Dubai experiencing price hikes of up to 80 per cent for some key construction commodities such as cement. The global hike in steel prices driven by rising demand from China a
  • Regional

    In the 18 months up to the end of 2004, contractor's profit margins in the Gulf came under mounting pressure from the rising cost of construction. The sudden increase in demand for skills and materials, particularly in Dubai, saw the cost of construction rising 40 - 60 per cent from the middle of 2003 to December 2004, with Dubai experiencing price hikes of up to 80 per cent for some key construction commodities such as cement. The global hike in steel prices driven by rising demand from China a
  • Regional firms eye PTCL stake

    Three regional companies are prequalified to submit bids by 10 June to acquire a 26 per cent stake in Pakistan Telecommunication Company (PTCL). The prospective regional bidders are: Emirates Telecommunications Corporation (Etisalat)of the UAE, Saudi Telecomand Saudi Oger. The Privatisation Commission, which was set up by Islamabad to oversee the sell-off, shortlisted seven international companies after receiving expressions of interest from 14 fi
  • Renault drives up Somaca stake

    French car maker Renaulthas acquired a majority share in the local Societe Marocaine de Construction Automobile (Somaca) with the purchase of a 20 per cent stake owned by Itay's Fiat. The Eur 4.5 million ($5.8 million) sale takes Renault's share in Somaca to 54 per cent. The local firm currently assembles Renault's Kangoo model, producing more than 6,000 of the cars in 2004. In June, production will start at its Casablanca plant of Renault's low-cost Logan mod
  • Revised prices in for 66-kV job

    The team of France's Areva T&Dand Japan's Sumitomo Corporationhas submitted the low bid at $85.2 million for the contract to carry out the third-phase improvement of the kingdom's transmission network, following submission of revised prices in late April. The offer came in 0.9 per cent lower than that from Japan's Nissin with Emirates Trading Agency, which was the original low bidder in November. The third bidder is Europe's ABB. The co
  • RFQs invited for integrated KFH project

    Responses to a request for quotations (RFQs) are due by the end of June for the combined front-end engineering and design (FEED) and engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contracts on the integrated petrochemicals, power and water complex planned by Kuwait Finance House (KFH). The project's sponsors are also understood to be considering a plant of similar configuration in the Divided Zone between Kuwait and Saudi Arabia.
  • Rice expresses support for Sunni inclusion

    US Secretary of State Condaleezza Rice arrived in Irbil on 15 May on a surprise visit to Iraq. She met Kurdistan Democratic Party leader Massoud Barzani before travelling to Baghdad for talks with Prime Minister Ibrahim Jaafari. Rice and Jaafari discussed accelerating the training of Iraqi security forces to take on more security duties. 'We are fighting a very tough set of terrorists who are, it seems, determined to stop the progress of the Iraqi people,' Rice said.Rice arri
  • Rikaz: Heading for the waterfront

    Private developers are set to play a bigger role in Saudi Arabia's real estate sector, as a recent government report indictates a surge in demand for new housing units.
  • Rikaz: Heading for the waterfront

    Private developers are set to play a bigger role in Saudi Arabia's real estate sector, as a recent government report indictates a surge in demand for new housing units.
  • Ring-road contract award nears

    An official award is expected imminently on the long-awaited first construction package on the first ring-road project in Kuwait City. A local/Greek group of Copri Construction Enterprisesand AKTOR is frontrunner for the contract after submitting a low bid of KD 28.9 million ($99.6 million) in October. The scheme, the first of three packages on the first ring-road modernisation programme, calls for the upgrade of 2.5 kilometres of carriageway, 10 bridges and a diversion o
  • Ring-road contract award nears

    An official award is expected imminently on the long-awaited first construction package on the first ring-road project in Kuwait City. A local/Greek group of Copri Construction Enterprisesand AKTOR is frontrunner for the contract after submitting a low bid of KD 28.9 million ($99.6 million) in October. The scheme, the first of three packages on the first ring-road modernisation programme, calls for the upgrade of 2.5 kilometres of carriageway, 10 bridges and a diversion o
  • RIYAD BANK: Going places

    Riyad Bank's head office on King Abdelaziz road sits at the gateway of what remains of Riyadh's old town. Like the city after which it is named, home to more than 4 million people and growing by as much as 10 per cent a year, the bank is expanding in all directions as the Saudi economy reaches the halfway point in another year of double-digit growth.
  • Riyadh opens citizenship to doctorate holders

    The Interior Ministry's Agency for Civil Affairs in Riyadh announced on 17 May that it would start accepting applications from 23 May for citizenship from foreign nationals who hold doctorate degrees. Applications will be assessed on a points basis and individuals must have lived in Saudi Arabia for more than 10 years. Applicants need to accrue 23 points for their application to proceed to the next stage. The second round of applications will open in mid-June to people who hold masters degr
  • Riyadh raises FLAG

    London-based FLAG Telecomhas signed a landing agreement with the local Integrated Telecom Companyas part of its estimated $300 million-400 million Falcon project. The 25-year right-of-use agreement allows connectivity with the local network. ITC was awarded a data services licence by the Communications & Information Technology Commission in March. FLAG now has landing agreements with Bahrain, Egypt, Kuwait, Oman and Qatar (MEED 22:4:05).
  • Riyadh rejects torture claims

    Deputy Interior Minister Prince Ahmed said on 18 May that allegations made by three Britons that they had been tortured in gaol in Riyadh were false. 'They have never been tortured. They had lawyers and the representatives of their embassies used to visit them and their families,' he said. 'The sharia court had issued a strong verdict against them as they deserved it for their crimes.'Bindman & Partners, the lawyers representing Sandy Mitchell, Les Walker and William Sampson,
  • Riyadh tackles terrorist fundraising

    Riyadh will establish a financial intelligence agency to counter money laundering and terrorist fundraising, Reuters reported on 3 May. The unit will collect, analyse and share financial information in an attempt to limit terrorist cashflows. To date, only four countries in the region - Bahrain, Egypt, Lebanon and the UAE - operate such an agency, and Qatar is scheduled to have established one by June.
  • Riyadh's bankrollers

    The past three years have been spectacular for the local financial industry. While the outside world has watched and worried as a vengeful America has hatched, hawked and hashed up its war in Iraq, the kingdom's growing middle class has studied stock market monitors and thought about becoming rich. Many now are, thanks to a blinding equity boom that has lifted the Tadawul All-Share Index (TASI) of Saudi shares by more than 400 per cent since its early 1999 low and delivered gold into the treasur
  • Road network funding approved

    National roads agency Autoroutes du Maroc (ADM) is to benefit from MD 2,000 million ($235 million) in financing from the government's economic and social fund, Fonds Hassan II, for a 320-kilometre highway between Fes, Taza and Oujda. The estimated MD 6,000 million ($700 million) project will extend the existing Rabat-Meknes-Fes road to form a major new east-west link, which in turn will be part of the planned Maghreb highway between Mauritanian capital Nouakchott and Tobruk in Libya. ADM plans t
  • Road network funding approved

    National roads agency Autoroutes du Maroc (ADM) is to benefit from MD 2,000 million ($235 million) in financing from the government's economic and social fund, Fonds Hassan II, for a 320-kilometre highway between Fes, Taza and Oujda. The estimated MD 6,000 million ($700 million) project will extend the existing Rabat-Meknes-Fes road to form a major new east-west link, which in turn will be part of the planned Maghreb highway between Mauritanian capital Nouakchott and Tobruk in Libya. ADM plans t
  • Rohani warns nuclear agreement might not hold

    Tehran's chief negotiator Hassan Rohani said on 26 May that Tehran neither accepts nor rejects an agreement reached with the EU after talks in Geneva on 25 May about the future of Iran's nuclear programme. 'We will take it to Tehran and if it is acceptable to Tehran then we can discuss it and finalise the talks. But it might be totally unacceptable to Tehran,' Rohani said. During negotiations, Iran was reported to have agreed to continue the suspension of Tehran's uranium enrichment program
  • Role for Rabat in peace process, says Tel Aviv

    Israeli Vice Prime Minister Shimon Peres said on 5 May that Rabat could play a role in the peace process with the Palestinians. 'As a friend of the state of Israel and the Jewish people, and as a friend of the Palestinians, Morocco can play an important role by helping to create an atmosphere that encourages peace,' Peres said in an interview with Moroccan daily Le Matin. 'Morocco could serve as a bridge between us and the Arab world,' he said. Peres added that warm relations between Rabat
  • Rosco wins drilling work

    The local Rosco Group has been awarded a $15 million contract to drill 60 wells in the Rumaila and West Qurna oil fields for South Oil Company (SOC). Under the terms of the 24-month deal, Rosco will complete the drilling of 30 wells in a northern section of the Rumaila reservoir and a further 30 in West Qurna. The project is aimed at increasing crude output from the two fields by 240,000 barrels a day (b/d) - equivalent to 4,000 b/d a well. Iraq has less than 2,000 operat
  • RTI gets $90 million contract

    A $90 million US Agency for International Development (USAID) contract to strengthen local and provincial governance has been awarded to the US' Research Triangle Institute (RTI). The institute is an independent non-for-profit research organisation, founded in 1958.
  • Ruling party sweeps Tunisian elections

    Provisional results on 9 May showed that the ruling Democratic Constitutional Rally (RCD) won almost all the municipal seats in elections held on 8 May. The DCR took 94 per cent of 4,366 municipal seats contested by four legal opposition parties as well as one independent list. The opposition, dominated by the Movement for Socialist Democrats, won about 260 seats. Under electoral law amendments passed in 2000, opposition parties will be awarded 20 per cent of seats in every town council whe
  • S&P rates insurance firm

    US credit rating agency Standard & Poor's (S&P)has assigned an A- rating to the local National Company for Co-operative Insurance (NCCI). S&P based its rating on the company's strong position as the only licensed insurer in the kingdom, its potential for growth and its high-calibre management. The rating outlook is stable, reflecting S&P's expectation that NCCI's competitive position and capitalisation will continue.
  • Saad Hariri predicts opposition victory in Lebanon

    Saad Hariri said on 16 May that he expects opposition parties will win a landslide in upcoming parliamentary elections. 'The opposition will win 80-90 seats [out of 128],' Hariri said. Saad Hariri is the son of assassinated former prime minister Rafiq Hariri, and heir to his father's business fortune and political legacy. There will be a 'white revolution against the police state which governed Lebanon for 15 years', he said.Hariri announced his electoral list of 19 candidate
  • Sabic has 'full slate' of projects

    Saudi Basic Industries Corporation (Sabic) is to look downstream for its next wave of expansion projects, managing director Mohammed al-Mady told MEED on the sidelines of a petrochemicals conference in Tehran on 7 May. Al-Mady also took issue with contractors for overstating the increase in materials prices when drafting project bids.
  • Sabic posts Q1 profits

    Saudi Basic Industries Corporation (Sabic)has posted first-quarter profits of SR 5,077 million ($1,354 million), a rise of 116 per cent on the corresponding period of 2004. Profits increased by 8 per cent against the last quarter in 2004. Chief executive Mohammed al-Mady attributed the positive results to a combination of higher production and better marketing, as well as strong global petrochemicals prices. Sabic's board of directors on 16 April announced that it would pay dividends wort
  • Sadafco IPO kicks off

    The initial public offering (IPO) of shares in Saudia Arabian Dairy & Foodstuff Company (Sadafco)was launched on 26 April for a subscription period of two weeks. Sadafco has offered 1.95 million shares, or 30 per cent of the company's authorised capital of SR 507 million ($135 million), at a price of SR 260 ($69) a share. Of the total, 195,000 shares will be placed with institutional investors, with the remainder being offered to nationals. Minimum subscription has been set at 10 sh
  • Sadafco sale flies

    The initial public offering of shares in Saudia Arabian Dairy & Foodstuff Company (Sadafco) closed 6.5 times oversubscribed at the end of the two-week subscription period on 4 May. Sadafco offered 1.95 million shares at a price of SR 260 ($69) a share. National Commercial Bank was the financial adviser, sole underwriter and lead manager (MEED 29:4:05).
  • Sadr calls for restraint

    Radical Shia leader Moqtada Sadr said in a rare public appearance on 16 May that civilians should not be targeted by US-led coalition forces or insurgents. 'Any action targeting unarmed civilians is forbidden under any circumstances,' Sadr said. 'We reject these terror operations, whether they are carried out by the occupiers or others,' he said. He urged his Shia supporters to resist mounting revenge attacks on Sunnis and said that not all Sunnis could be held responsible for the acts of W
  • Safari wins major O&M work

    The local Safari Companyhas been awarded a contract worth SR 368 million ($98 million) to provide operations and maintenance (O&M) services for aviation systems and equipment throughout the kingdom's airports. Under the terms of the three-year contract, Safari will serve more than 100 international carriers and also provide O&M services to air control and telecommunication systems and radars.
  • SAMBA FINANCIAL GROUP: Silver linings

    A year to the month since Citigroup finally completed the sale of its stake in the bank, Samba Financial Group is going for growth with an impressive set of initiatives. It follows a year in which its total assets rose by 20 per cent to more than SR 79,000 million to confirm its position as the kingdom's second biggest bank.
  • Samir financial close nears

    Financial close is expected by mid-June on the funding of the $786 million engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract for the phase 1 rehabilitation of Mohammedia refinery. International and local banks are to provide the majority of the $550 million debt, with a smaller proportion to be raised by the African Development Bank (ADB).
  • Saudi Arabian buys Brazilian

    National flag carrier Saudi Arabian Airlinessigned an agreement on 27 April with Brazilian aircraft manufacturer Embraerto buy 15 aircraft. The deal, worth about $400 million, covers 15 Embraer 170 jets and expands the airline's fleet from 139 planes to 154. Delivery of the first 66-seater planes is scheduled for December.
  • SAUDI BRITISH BANK: Eurobond pioneer

    In March, Saudi British Bank (SBB), the Riyadh affiliate of the HSBC Group headquartered on Dabaab Street in central Riyadh, successfully floated a debut eurobond. The first international bond issue by a Saudi corporation, 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. HSBC lead managed the transaction.
  • SAUDI HOLLANDI BANK: The orange revolution

    Saudi Hollandi Bank, the Riyadh-based affiliate of Dutch banking giant ABN Amro, is building on its traditional strengths of trade finance, treasury and lending, says Giel-Jan van der Tol, who stepped up to become the bank's managing director in May after holding the post of chief operating officer since August 2002.
  • SAUDI INVESTMENT BANK: On its own two feet

    Almost 11 years since being appointed chief executive officer (CEO) of Saudi Investment Bank (SIB), Saud al-Saleh is having fun surfing the great wave of liquidity flowing through the kingdom's financial systems. 'I am enjoying it here to the maximum,' he says. 'This bank has given me the opportunity to excel and to achieve things I would not have even imagined doing.'
  • SCOP issues refinery upgrade work

    State Company for Oil Projects (SCOP)has invited international contractors to submit bids by 1 July for a contract to supply and install a 6,000-barrel-a-day (b/d) naphtha hydro desulphurisation unit and a 4,000-b/d catalytic reforming unit at Nasiriyah refinery in the south. The contract is similar to two tenders issued in early 2005 covering the installation of process units at the Qayarah refinery in the north and the Daura refinery in the central region. The rehabilitation of several
  • Security forces detain suspected rebels

    Yemeni security forces arrested 20 people suspected of membership of a cell affiliated to the rebel group led by Badr el-Deen al-Huthi. Badr el-Deen is the father of the late Zaidi Shia cleric Hussein al-Huthi, whom he replaced as the spiritual leader of the Faithful Youth organisation. The detainees are suspected of plotting to assassinate political and military leaders and launching attacks in Sanaa. Rebels and security forces engaged in fighting in April during which 250 people died (
  • Security forces search for rebel leaders

    Security forces are searching on 12 April for relatives of the dead Zaidi Shia cleric Sheikh Hussein al-Huthi. The military is looking for the rebel leader's father, Badr el-Deen al-Huthi, and his brother, Abdul al-Huthi, who lead the Faithful Youth movement. More than 270 people were killed during two weeks of fighting in the northwest between Sanaa and Al-Huthi's followers. The fighting has now died down ( ME
  • SECURITY: Safety comes first

    First things first. Oil prices and production are up, government revenues are at all-time highs, the balance of payments is heading to a new record and the private sector has never been so liquid. Practically every quoted company is in profit, some by as much as 100 per cent on a year-on-year basis, and the stock market has risen by more than 40 per cent since the start of the year. Government policy reforms are beginning to bite, foreign investment is on the rise and the kingdom's first nationa
  • SHAYIF'S VIEW: A sleeping giant awakes

    The sharia conversion plan
  • Sheer sets to work on Masjid-e Soleiman

    Canada's Sheer Energyand the local Naftgaran Engineering Services Company (Nesco)have issued tender documents for an engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract covering surface production facilities on the Masjid-e Soleiman oil field. The companies are working to raise production at Iran's oldest oil field by 20,000 barrels a day (b/d) by 2006 (see Tenders; MEED 11:4:03).
  • Shell and NOC sign landmark LNG deal

    The Royal Dutch/Shell Groupis to invest up to $637 million in exploration and the development of the country's liquefied natural gas (LNG) capacity after concluding in early May a long-term partnership agreement with National Oil Corporation (NOC).
  • Shell mulls GTL contracting options

    The Royal Dutch/Shell Group, the promoter of the estimated $6,000 million Pearl gas-to-liquids (GTL) project, is understood to be looking at the possibility of awarding the onshore package on an engineering, procurement and construction management (EPCM) basis, rather than as a single engineering, procurement, and construction (EPC) lump-sum contract as originally planned. The change of approach follows a review of the contracting strategy and is seen as an attempt to increase contra
  • Shlash powers ministry

    Mohsen Shlash has been appointed Electricity Minister in the recently elected transitional government, replacing Ayham al-Samaraie. One of Shlash's most immediate priorities will be to increase electricity generating capacity in time for the summer peak. Current generating capacity stands at just over 5,500 MW despite the investment of billions of dollars in reconstruction spending and is some way short of the 8,500-MW peak demand figure. Local distribution and transmission networks will also ne
  • Shortlist out for latest licensing round

    Twenty out of the 27 companies that applied have been shortlisted in Sanaa's latest licensing round, covering seven blocks. The process is being handled by the Petroleum Exploration & Production Authority (PEPA), part of the Oil & Mineral Resources Ministry (MEED 4:2:05).
  • Sipchem evaluates CO bids

    Bid evaluation is under way at Saudi International Petrochemical Company (Sipchem)on the project to build a large-scale carbon monoxide (CO) generation and purification plant. The work is being carried out under phase 2 of Sipchem's development project at Jubail (MEED 4:3:05).
  • SIUCI finance signed

    The financing for the Sohar International Urea & Chemical Industries (SIUCI)project was signed on 27 April. HSBCarranged and underwrote the transaction, which was split between a $216.1 million tranche from Japan Bank for International Co-operation (JBIC) and $215.3 million tranche backed by Nippon Export Credit Agency (NEXI). The facility has a door-to-door tenor of 14 years. SIUCI is wholly owned by the local Suhail Bahwan Group(MEED 22:4:05).
  • Six line up for mega-mall

    Six teams are understood to have been prequalified for the main construction contract, estimated to be worth in excess of $250 million, on the Bahrain City Centre mall. The client is Dubai-based Majid al-Futtaim Investments (MAF - MEED 14:1:05).
  • Six line up for mega-mall

    Six teams are understood to have been prequalified for the main construction contract, estimated to be worth in excess of $250 million, on the Bahrain City Centre mall. The client is Dubai-based Majid al-Futtaim Investments (MAF - MEED 14:1:05).
  • SK awaits final CTC approval for facilities job

    Kuwait Petroleum Corporation (KPC) has approved the bid submitted by South Korea's SK Engineering & Constructionfor the second package on the facilities upgrade and flowlines replacement project. The recommendation has gone to the Central Tenders Committee (CTC) for final approval, and an award is expected by the end of May. SK was low bidder at KD 357 million ($1,231 million) for the contract when bids were submitted last November. The project covers the replacement of existi
  • SK awarded second flowlines package

    South Korea's SK Engineering & Constructionis due to sign on 23 May the second package on the facilities upgrade and replacement programme, after having received a letter of intent for the KD 357 million ($1,231 million) engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract. The Korean contractor was low bidder last November for the contract, which covers the replacement of existing underground crude oil and gas flowlines in the south and southeast and the upgrade and rehabilitati
  • Sky's the limit for NSCC

    The local NSCChas been awarded the four-month foundations and enabling package on the estimated $120 million Skygardens project in the Park Avenue district of Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC). The high-rise luxury residential development calls for the construction of a 170-metre-high, 40-storey tower. The development will cover a built-up area of 100,000 square metres and include substantial landscaping work. Tenders for the main construction package are due out in mid-May
  • Sky's the limit for NSCC

    The local NSCChas been awarded the four-month foundations and enabling package on the estimated $120 million Skygardens project in the Park Avenue district of Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC). The high-rise luxury residential development calls for the construction of a 170-metre-high, 40-storey tower. The development will cover a built-up area of 100,000 square metres and include substantial landscaping work. Tenders for the main construction package are due out in mid-May
  • Smelter RFP out

    A request for proposals (RFP) has been sent to banks for the financial advisory mandate on the debt package for the world-scale aluminium project being developed at Mesaieed (MEED 10:12:04).
  • SNC increases Skikda stake

    SNC Lavalin is increasing to 20 per cent its stake in the $450 million project to build a new 725-MW power plant at Skikda. The Canadian firm in June 2003 agreed to take an 11 per cent interest in the project company, Skikda Power Company (SPC), established in May 2003 (MEED 13:6:03). SNC's entry into the shareholding will take place at the end of the year and be accommodated by a sell-down of the 50 per cent stake owned by state power company Sonelgaz and the 30 p
  • SNC signs up for Tabreed contracts

    Work is under way on six engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contracts for six district cooling plants to be built in Abu Dhabi emirate for the local National Central Cooling Company (Tabreed). Being carried out by the local/Canadian joint venture of SNC Gulf Contractors, the estimated $120 million contract covers the construction of five new plants and the expansion of existing facilities at Muroor, Al-Ain, Baynoona, T06, T07 and the Marina mall, providing a
  • SNC signs up for Tabreed contracts

    Work is under way on six engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contracts for six district cooling plants to be built in Abu Dhabi emirate for the local National Central Cooling Company (Tabreed). Being carried out by the local/Canadian joint venture of SNC Gulf Contractors, the estimated $120 million contract covers the construction of five new plants and the expansion of existing facilities at Muroor, Al-Ain, Baynoona, T06, T07 and the Marina mall, providing a
  • South America seeks greater economic ties with Arab world

    A two-day ministerial summit attended by representatives of 12 South American and 21 Arab League states and the Palestinian Authority opened on 10 May in Brasilia. Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, Algerian President Bouteflika and Iraqi President Talabani attended as well as Venezuelan President Chavez and Brazilian President Silva.A ministerial meeting preceded the summit on 9 May and delegates discussed improving economic ties, including the establishment of a
  • SSH arrives on campus

    Thelocal Salem al-Marzouk & Sabah Abi-Hanna (SSH) has been awarded the fast-track six-month design contract covering the construction of a facilities management office for the new Kuwait University campus at Shadidiyah. Once designs are complete, the client, Kuwait University, will release tender documents for the main construction package on the estimated KD 6 million ($20 million) project, which will house the supervision and management office of the planned $3,500 million campus
  • SSH arrives on campus

    Thelocal Salem al-Marzouk & Sabah Abi-Hanna (SSH) has been awarded the fast-track six-month design contract covering the construction of a facilities management office for the new Kuwait University campus at Shadidiyah. Once designs are complete, the client, Kuwait University, will release tender documents for the main construction package on the estimated KD 6 million ($20 million) project, which will house the supervision and management office of the planned $3,500 million campus
  • STFA wins Misurata work

    Turkey's STFA, together with state-owned AfricaEngineering, has been awarded a $35 million contract to build a sewerage network and modernise existing pump houses at Misurata. Under the terms of the 48-month contract, the group will upgrade stormwater drainage and sewerage systems to improve sanitary conditions in the city. The client is Misurata Municipality.
  • Strong interest in Sohar berths

    Thirteen companies have applied to prequalify for the contract to carry out phase 3 berth work at Sohar Industrial Port. The scope of works covers berths 8-14 and includes the deepening of existing berths and of the approach channel to 18 metres from 16 metres, in addition to dredging in preparation for a bulk liquids berth and a 450-metre quay wall. The consultant to the Transport & Communications Ministry is the UK's Halcrowwith the local Ibn Khaldun Consulting Engineers
  • Strong interest in Sohar berths

    Thirteen companies have applied to prequalify for the contract to carry out phase 3 berth work at Sohar Industrial Port. The scope of works covers berths 8-14 and includes the deepening of existing berths and of the approach channel to 18 metres from 16 metres, in addition to dredging in preparation for a bulk liquids berth and a 450-metre quay wall. The consultant to the Transport & Communications Ministry is the UK's Halcrowwith the local Ibn Khaldun Consulting Engineers
  • Stucky on Gecol distribution scheme

    State-owned General Electricity Company of Libya (Gecol)has appointed Switzerland's Stuckyto evaluate bids on two packages of a major electricity distribution network stretching 2,500 kilometres across the entire length of the country. Bids from 11 international groups were submitted earlier in the year for the two sections, which cover the installation of 1,835 kilometres of 400-kV double-circuit overhead line and the installation of 700 kilometres of 400-kV single-circu
  • Sultans of swing

    The US administration didn't beat about the bush in advance of the visit by Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Abdullah to Crawford, Texas on 25 April. Official after official from the White House sent out the same message: the kingdom should pump more oil to help ease high crude prices that are threatening economic growth. 'The crown prince understands that it is very important to make sure the price is reasonable. A high oil price will damage markets, and he knows that,' President Bush said moments b
  • Supplier selection nears for Emirates Float Glass

    An award is expected by the end of May for the equipment supply contract at the proposed Emirates Float Glass plant in Abu Dhabi Industrial City in the Mussafah district. Two companies are in the running for the contract. A team of Ernst & Youngand KPMG, which is acting as financial and legal consultant, has completed the feasibility study. The estimated AED 735 million ($200 million) plant will cover an area of about 200,000 square metres. The scheme will have capacity t
  • Support for Gaza withdrawal drops, as settlers prepare to leave

    The Israeli public's support for Tel Aviv's withdrawal from Gaza has dipped, a survey conducted by Tel Aviv University and released on 18 May showed. Numbers in favour of Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's disengagement plans have fallen from 62 per cent of the population in February to 56 per cent in mid-May. The survey found that 38 per cent of Israelis opposed the withdrawal, up from 29 per cent in February. Most Israelis fear an upsurge in violence following Tel Aviv's evacuation fro
  • Syndicated loan in the pipe

    Standard Chartered Bankhas been appointed mandated lead arranger on a Eur 200 million ($259 million) borrowing for Ahwaz Rolling & Pipe Mills Company. The loan is priced at 275 basis points over Libor and is to be structured as a club deal, with tickets of Eur 20 million ($25.9 million) on offer. The tenor of the borrowing is 15 months.
  • Syria still a base for terrorists, says US

    Damascus has failed to stop foreign fighters crossing into Iraq to join the insurgency and allows terrorists to operate from its territory, commander of US forces in the Gulf General John Abizaid said on 5 May. 'We have provided Syrians with very specific information and asked them to help in securing the Iraq-Syria borders to stop foreign fighters from crossing into Iraq,' Abizaid said in an article published by Kuwaiti daily Al-Rai al-Am. Washington asked Damascus to chase 'terrorists ope
  • Syrian withdrawal paves the way for elections

    The withdrawal of the last remaining Syrian troops from Lebanon has paved the way for elections in May, allaying fears that Lebanon was locked into a destructive stalemate between pro- and anti-Syrian factions. Parliament speaker Nabih Berri announced in late April that national elections for a new parliament would be held over four consecutive Sundays from 29 May to 19 June. Berri's announcement follows the withdrawal on 26 April of what Damascus said were the last of its troops in the country
  • Taiz project contract let

    A three-member local group of Arabian Trading & Enterprises, Kahlan Trading & Contracting Companyand Al-Rehab Engineering & Contracting has been awarded a $22 million contract for the Taiz water supply and sewage disposal project. The 24-month contract will involve the supply and installation of more than 300 kilometres of pipeline with diameters of 35 millimetres-1.2 metres. The project will serve about 300,000 residents. A preliminary design for the project
  • Tajamua plans new Al-Huda plaza in Jeddah

    Med Designof Jordan is carrying out final designs for the second Al-Huda plaza project to be built at the corniche in Jeddah. Estimated to cost SR 100 million ($27 million), the scheme will call for the construction of a 16-storey residential building and related facilities. The client, local property developer Al-Tajamua International for Real Estate Development Company, is due to take a final investment decision in September. The next stage in the project implementation will
  • Tajamua plans new Al-Huda plaza in Jeddah

    Med Designof Jordan is carrying out final designs for the second Al-Huda plaza project to be built at the corniche in Jeddah. Estimated to cost SR 100 million ($27 million), the scheme will call for the construction of a 16-storey residential building and related facilities. The client, local property developer Al-Tajamua International for Real Estate Development Company, is due to take a final investment decision in September. The next stage in the project implementation will
  • Takreer studies trio of GAE bids

    Three companies - the Italian office of Paris-based Technip and Foster Wheelerand Mustang Engineering, both US-based - submitted commercial bids on 14 May 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. Known as the gasoline and aromatics expansion (GAE) project, it will involve the production of paraxylene through naphtha reforming (MEED 6:5:05).
  • Takreer takes Tebodin on board

    Abu Dhabi Oil Refining Company (Takreer) has issued a letter of intent to Tebodin Middle East, part of Tebodin of the Netherlands, for the contract to provide project management consultancy (PMC) services on the Ruwais sulphur handling terminal (RSHT) expansion project. Five companies submitted commercial bids in early April for the contract (MEED 22:4:05). The $40 million project calls for the installation of an 8,000-tonne-a-day sulphur granulation unit with liqu
  • Talabani wants US troops to stay

    Iraqi President Talabani said on 9 May that the time is not right for US-led coalition forces to withdraw from Iraq. 'It is virtually impossible to demand the withdrawal of allied forces from Iraq. We will do so when the Iraqi army is established,' he said. Talabani made a distinction between being occupied and having foreign armies in Iraq and said, 'Iraq needs these [coalition] forces to prevent any intervention from outside.''I think that [Al-Qaeda in Iraq leader Abu Musab
  • Tasnee mulls cracker financing

    A contract award on the ethane/propane cracker planned by the local Tasnee Petrochemicalsis expected once a decision has been made on the project's financing. The client has recently decided to explore the possibility of using export credits to part-finance the scheme.
  • Tasnee prepares for acetic acid tender

    Invitation to bid (ITB) documents are due to be released in May for the project to build a large-scale acetic acid plant as part of the estimated $1,000 million Jubail-based petrochemical complex being developed by the local Tasnee Petrochemicalsand its joint venture partner Canada's Acetex- now part of the US' Celanese. Germany's Lurgi will provide its in-house mega-methanol technology for a second new plant at the complex (MEED 26:11:04).
  • TAV goes Majestic

    Turkey's Tepe Akfen Ventures(TAV) has been awarded an estimated AED 175 million ($48 million) contract for the main works on a new mixed use development in Sharjah. To be located in the Al-Mamzar district on the Dubai-Sharjah border, the Majestic tower project will entall the construction of a 52-storey tower, including six levels of car parking. About 210 metres high, the tower will have a total built-up area of 63,000 square metres and will take 28 months to complete. TAV be
  • TAV goes Majestic

    Turkey's Tepe Akfen Ventures(TAV) has been awarded an estimated AED 175 million ($48 million) contract for the main works on a new mixed use development in Sharjah. To be located in the Al-Mamzar district on the Dubai-Sharjah border, the Majestic tower project will entall the construction of a 52-storey tower, including six levels of car parking. About 210 metres high, the tower will have a total built-up area of 63,000 square metres and will take 28 months to complete. TAV be
  • Taweelah B finance closed

    Financial close was reached on 25 April of the financing package for the Taweelah B independent water and power project (IWPP) in Abu Dhabi. The 15-strong mandated lead arranger (MLA) group consists of Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank, Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi, Bayerische Landesbank, BNP Paribas, Calyon, First Gulf Bank, HSBC, KBC Bank, Kreditanstalt fuer Wiederaufbau, Mizuho Financial Group, Nationa
  • Technip wins YanSab cracker job

    Saudi Basic Industries Corporation (Sabic)on 11 May signed a letter of intent (LoI) with the Italian office of Paris-based Technipfor the construction of a large-scale ethane/propane cracker as part of its programme to build the greenfield YanSab olefins complex at Yanbu. The award is the first in a range of outstanding contracts for cracker projects being tendered in the kingdom (MEED 6:5:05).
  • Tehran gives EU last chance to salvage nuclear talks

    Foreign Affairs Minister Kamal Kharrazi said on 16 May that Tehran's chief nuclear negotiator Hassan Rohani would meet his EU counterparts on 23 May to discuss the resumption of nuclear talks. Tehran said this would be the last chance to arrive at an agreement before it went ahead with its decision to restart its nuclear programme, frozen since November 2004.Members of parliament (Majlis) voted on 15 May by 188 to 205 in favour of a motion urging the government to resume its
  • Tehran indicates it may restart nuclear programme

    Tehran warned on 30 April that it might resume uranium enrichment work after failing to reach an agreement with the EU over the future of its nuclear programme. 'Iran will decide whether to resume its uranium enrichment programme this week,' Tehran's chief negotiator and head of the Supreme National Security Council Hassan Rohani said. He added that enrichment was unlikely to restart at Natanz plant but 'some activities' may resume at the uranium conversion facility in Isfahan.
  • Tehran may delay restarting nuclear work

    Tehran may postpone resuming nuclear activities, state television reported on 13 May. 'It is possible that this resumption is delayed for a while,' said head of Iran's Atomic Energy Organisation, Gholam Reza Aghazadeh. He said resumption of uranium conversion activities was certain but did not give a date. 'The suspension of uranium enrichment in Natanz is not permanent and depends on how negotiations go,' he said in reference to EU-Tehran negotiations over Iran's nuclear programme (
  • Tehran ready to continue nuclear talks

    Iranian Foreign Affairs Minister Kamal Kharrazi said on 5 May that Tehran is willing to continue talks about its nuclear programme with the EU. 'We will continue negotiations with the European side provided it will lead us somewhere tangible in a matter of time,' Kharrazi said. He was speaking on the sidelines of a meeting of the signatories of the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) in New York, which remained deadlocked over its agenda. London negotiations between Tehran
  • Tekfen bids low for crude storage job

    Turkey's Tekfenis low bidder at KD 64 million ($220 million) for the directly tendered engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract to build eight crude storage tanks at Ahmadi following the submission of bids on 30 April. The client, Kuwait Oil Company (KOC), expects to make an award on the fast-tracked two-year project by the end of May.
  • Tel Aviv delays Gaza withdrawal

    Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon announced on 9 May a three-week delay to Tel Aviv's planned withdrawal from 21 Gaza settlements due to take place at the end of July. Settlers and troops are now scheduled to leave Gaza in mid-August following the end of the religious festival Tisha Baav, during which Jews mourn the destruction of two temples in Jerusalem in Biblical times. Devout Jews do not move house during the mourning period, which ends on 14 August. Tel Aviv may also be concerned th
  • Tel Aviv suspends transfer of West Bank towns

    Tel Aviv will not relinquish control of the West Bank towns of Qalqilya, Ramallah and Bethlehem until militant groups disarm, Israeli officials announced on 4 May. Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas agreed in February that security in five towns would be transferred to the PA. Israeli Defence Minister Shaul Mofaz said the PA is not honouring its commitment to collect weapons from militants in Jericho and Tulkarem, which have come under
  • Tel Aviv to release 400 prisoners

    Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon said on 24 May that Tel Aviv will release 400 Palestinian prisoners. During a speech in Washington at a meeting of the American Israeli Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), Sharon said the move would help Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. Tel Aviv will try to 'help chairman Abbas as much as we can as long as we do not risk our own security', Sharon said. 'That's the red line.''This comment is pure propaganda because [Sharon] is in
  • Tender issued for major PMC work

    Six international firms have been invited to submit proposals by mid-May for a three-year project management consultancy (PMC) contract covering further development of Kuwait University's estimated $3,000 million new campus at Shadidiyah. The contract, which will take effect from September, covers the supervision of the masterplanning, design and construction of the campus. The project is aimed at bringing all the current university faculties, which are currently spread across the capital, under
  • Tender issued for major PMC work

    Six international firms have been invited to submit proposals by mid-May for a three-year project management consultancy (PMC) contract covering further development of Kuwait University's estimated $3,000 million new campus at Shadidiyah. The contract, which will take effect from September, covers the supervision of the masterplanning, design and construction of the campus. The project is aimed at bringing all the current university faculties, which are currently spread across the capital, under
  • Tender issued for new housing work

    The Public Authority for Housing has invited 13 grade 1 local contractors to bid by 17 July for an estimated KD 8 million ($27.6 million) contract to design and build infrastructure works for sector 1 in the Fahed al-Ahmed township. The work, which covers an area of about 600 residential plots, includes the construction of roads, street lighting, sewage works, public buildings such as schools and mosques, and substations. The same contractors have been invited to bid by 19 June for a similar con
  • Tender issued for new housing work

    The Public Authority for Housing has invited 13 grade 1 local contractors to bid by 17 July for an estimated KD 8 million ($27.6 million) contract to design and build infrastructure works for sector 1 in the Fahed al-Ahmed township. The work, which covers an area of about 600 residential plots, includes the construction of roads, street lighting, sewage works, public buildings such as schools and mosques, and substations. The same contractors have been invited to bid by 19 June for a similar con
  • Tendering imminent on Conveyor 800

    A shortlist of at least seven companies has been received by the Council for Development : Reconstruction (CDR) from the Kuwait-based Arab Fund for Economic : Social Development (AFESD) for the Conveyor 800 project on the Litani river. AFESD is funding the estimated $200 million project, for which tendering is due to begin in two-three months. Prequalified companies will be eligible to bid for three separate construction packages on the project: connection with the existing main headwork and the
  • Tenders out on tramway project

    Two tenders have been issued on the estimated MD 2,500 million ($294 million) Rabat tramway project. Companies have until 23 May to submit bids for the technical design contract and until 1 June for the contract to conduct legal and institutional studies into the viability of the planned development. Bids for both projects will include combined technical and financial proposals. An award is expected three-four weeks after bids are opened, with the issue of tenders on the construction contract du
  • Tensions escalate on Lebanese-Israeli border

    Hezbollah guerrillas and the Israeli army exchanged fire on 13 May in the disputed Shebaa Farms area on the Lebanese, Syrian and Israeli borders. Witnesses reported hearing explosions and gunfire. Hezbollah shelled Israeli positions after Israeli forces fired on the Lebanese town of Kfar Shouba. The clashes, which prompted an Israeli air raid over southern Lebanon, occurred two days after Hezbollah fired a rocket into northern Israel.'The secretary-general urges all parties t
  • Thai hospital on Sheikh Zayed

    Dubai-based investment holding firm Istithmarand Thailand's Bumrungrad Hospital Public Company (BHPCL) announced on 1 May plans to build a hospital complex on Sheikh Zayed road, which in the first phase will house 125 beds. Estimated to cost AED 300 million ($82 million), the facility will be managed by Bumrungrad International, a BHPCL subsidiary. On-site construction work is due to start in the third quarter and is targeted for completion by December 2007.
  • Thai hospital on Sheikh Zayed

    Dubai-based investment holding firm Istithmarand Thailand's Bumrungrad Hospital Public Company (BHPCL) announced on 1 May plans to build a hospital complex on Sheikh Zayed road, which in the first phase will house 125 beds. Estimated to cost AED 300 million ($82 million), the facility will be managed by Bumrungrad International, a BHPCL subsidiary. On-site construction work is due to start in the third quarter and is targeted for completion by December 2007.
  • The great and the good convene to save humanity

    Religious and political leaders, scientists, artists and a sprinkling of Hollywood celebrities descended on the Nabatean canyon city of Petra on 17-19 May for a two-day conference to talk about the problems of the world. The purpose of the meeting, which was co-hosted by King Abdullah and the New York-based Elie Wiesel Foundation for Humanity, was to present a series of recommendations to the politicians and business leaders due to meet at the World Economic Forum being held near the Dead Sea on
  • The land of lost hope

    If there was any glimmer of hope that Iraq was moving in the right direction after the January elections, it has been rapidly snuffed out by the events of recent weeks. A surge in militant activity in the first two weeks of May has left more than 400 civilians and soldiers dead, locals and foreigners alike. The carnage greatly overshadowed the news on 8 May that agreement had finally been reached on the formation of the new cabinet.
  • Three bid for GAE study

    Technical bids are under evaluation at Abu Dhabi Oil Refining Company (Takreer) for a contract to carry out a feasibility study on its planned world-scale aromatics complex at Ruwais. Three companies -the Italian office of Paris-based Technipand Foster Wheelerand Mustang Engineering, both US-based - submitted technical bids in early April. A bid closing date has still to be set for commercial prices. Called the gasoline and aromatics expansion (GAE
  • Three bid for green diesel

    Companies submitted technical bids on 14 May to Abu Dhabi Oil Refining Company (Takreer)for the contract to provide project management consultancy (PMC) services for the sulphur-free gas-oil (SFGO) project at Ruwais. The bidders include WorleyParsonsof Australia, the US/Canadian VECOand US-based Mustang Engineering(MEED 15:4:05).
  • Three in for Qatofin LLDPE plant

    The local/French Qatofin received on 9 May technical bids from three prequalified contractors - Japan's Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI), Italy's Snamprogettiand Germany's Linde- for the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract covering its planned 450,000-tonne-a-year (t/y) linear low-density polyethylene (LLDPE) plant at Mesaieed. Commercial offers are expected to be submitted in about two months, with an award due in the autumn.
  • Three in for Rabigh IWSPP

    Three proposals were submitted in late April for the captive independent water, steam and power project (IWSPP) to serve the $4,300 million integrated refinery and petrochemicals complex at Rabigh. The joint sponsors on the project, Saudi Aramcoand Japan's Sumitomo Chemical Company, are expected to select a developer team in the third quarter (MEED 24:12:04).
  • Three new hotels for Tala bay

    Aqaba Special Economic Zone Authority (ASEZA) awarded contracts worth $141 million on 28 April for the construction of three new hotels in Tala bay in Aqaba. Local company Zarawill construct a four-star, 350-room hotel; Qatar's Al-Qamar Investmentwill build a four-star, 320-room hotel; and Egypt's Golden Coast InvestmentCompanywill build a three-star, 250-room hotel. The projects form part of the Marina Town phase I development, which includes the const
  • Three new hotels for Tala bay

    Aqaba Special Economic Zone Authority (ASEZA) awarded contracts worth $141 million on 28 April for the construction of three new hotels in Tala bay in Aqaba. Local company Zarawill construct a four-star, 350-room hotel; Qatar's Al-Qamar Investmentwill build a four-star, 320-room hotel; and Egypt's Golden Coast InvestmentCompanywill build a three-star, 250-room hotel. The projects form part of the Marina Town phase I development, which includes the const
  • Tinderbox truce threatened by attacks

    Tel Aviv has threatened to 'act in a more aggressive manner' to quell escalating violence in Gaza. 'If the Palestinian Authority (PA) does not get the message, we will make them understand,' Israeli Deputy Defence Minister Zeev Boim said on 19 May in a warning to PA President Mahmoud Abbas to take action against Hamas militants. Militants fired three rockets into Israel on 19 May and 10 mortars at Israeli settlements in Gaza. The day before, Tel Aviv launched its first air strike in five months
  • Too much room at the inn?

    The Middle East hotel industry has never had it so good. Be it Algiers, Beirut or Muscat, everybody wants to get into the market. Even Dubai-based Emirates, one of the world's most ambitious and profitable airlines, has decided to create its own hotel group in order to take on the leading global operators.
  • Too much spent on security, says Iraq reconstruction official

    The head of the Iraq Reconstruction Management Office (IRMO), William Taylor, said on 21 May that too much money was being diverted from rebuilding the country to deal with security threats. Almost 300 American contractors and security guards have been killed in Iraq since April 2004. 'Because of the increase in insurgent activity, contractors have had to include better site protection, hardened vehicles for personnel transportation and trained security teams,' Taylor said. He noted that th
  • Top Muslim Brotherhood member arrested

    Egyptian police arrested Muslim Brotherhood secretary-general Mahmud Ezzat on 22 May in Cairo. Between 20 and 25 other Muslim Brotherhood members were detained around the country. The arrests came ahead of a national referendum on 25 May on multi-candidate presidential elections, which the Muslim Brotherhood has urged voters to boycott. Opposition parties maintain that the proposed amendment to the constitution imposes such strict conditions on candidates that only ruling National Democrati
  • Toyo takes KNPC contract

    Toyo Engineering India, part of Japan's Toyo Engineering Corporation, has been awarded a $13 million engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract to design, supply and install a kerosine merox unit at Mina Abdullah refinery. The merox unit is aimed at refining kerosine and reducing sulphur content to meet product quality specifications for aviation fuel. The facilities will take 18 months to be installed. The client is Kuwait National Petroleum Company (KNP
  • Transmed capacity to rise

    Italy's Enihas signed an agreement with state energy company Sonatrach to invest Eur 330 million ($425 million) in increasing the capacity of the Tunisian section of the Transmed pipeline. Under the agreement, the capacity of the pipeline, which connects Algeria and Italy, will increase to 1.2 trillion cubic feet a year (cf/y) in 2012 from 953,000 million cf/y. Sonatrach has agreed to make the necessary investment for an equivalent increase in pipeline capacity between Ha
  • Trans-Saharan link studied

    A UK consortium has been appointed to assess the feasibility of a trans-Saharan gas pipeline by the Algerian and Nigerian state energy companies. The group, led by engineering firm Penspen, on 7 May signed a $2 million contract with Sonatrachand Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation(NNPC)to look into proposals for a 7,000-kilometre link from Nigeria through Niger to Algeria. The nine-month study is due to start by the end of June. The other consortium
  • Tripoli launches licensing round

    National Oil Corporation (NOC)has launched a new oil and gas exploration licensing round. International oil companies have until 4 June to submit prequalification documents for 17 licences to explore for oil and gas in 17 areas covering 44 blocks. Prequalified bidders have until 2 October to submit final bids. The launch of NOC's second licensing round using its fourth exploration and production sharing agreement (EPSA-4) model represents a victory for Prime Minister Shukri Ghanem and NOC
  • Tripoli to host another Darfur summit

    Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi announced on 11 May that Tripoli will host a summit on the conflict in the Sudanese province of Darfur on 16 May. Representatives from Egypt, Libya, Sudan, Nigeria and Chad will attend the meeting, originally planned to take place in Sharm el-Sheikh in Egypt without rebel leaders. Gaddafi made the announcement to rebel groups the Sudan Liberation Movement and the Justice & Equality Movement, who have asked Tripoli for financial support of $7 million. The groups
  • Turkey ready to assist in peace process

    Ankara is ready to do all it can to help the Middle East peace process, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on 2 May during a visit to the West Bank. 'We have let it be know to the two parties, with whom we enjoy excellent relations, that we are completely ready to do all we can to contribute to peace,' Erdogan said. 'It is up to the two parties to determine the type of assistance that we can provide and carry out,' he added.'We want to see both a political and e
  • UAE set for second operator

    The Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) took its first step to opening up the telecommunications sector on 7 May, announcing that the licence for a second operator would be awarded to a newly created local company by mid-July. However, the TRA has ruled out the possibility of a foreign operator entering the market for the next 10 years, suggesting that World Trade Organisation (WTO) terms did not contain a schedule for complete liberalisation.
  • UN survey outlines dire Iraqi living conditions

    Iraqis suffer from unemployment, lack of housing, poor health care and erratic electricity supplies says a UN report entitled 'Iraq Living Conditions Survey 2004' released on 12 May. 'The survey, in a nutshell, depicts the rather tragic situation of the quality of life in Iraq,' Minister of Planning Barham Saleh said. 'If you compare [the findings of the report] to the situation in the 1980s, you will see a major deterioration,' Saleh said, which he blamed on decades of war and inadequate i
  • UN team verifies Syrian withdrawal from Lebanon

    A UN verification team said on 23 May that Damascus has completely withdrawn its troops from Lebanon but is unsure whether all intelligence agents have returned home. 'After travelling more than 1,500 kilometres in Lebanon and visiting 133 former Syrian troops and military intelligence positions, the team found no Syrian military forces, assets or intelligence apparatus in Lebanese territory, with the exception of one Syrian battalion deployed near Deir al-Ashayier,' a report issued by the
  • Underground revolution

    The Tehran metro is undergoing another major phase of expansion, as the authorities attempt to keep pace with the expansion of the capital. Angus McDowall reports
  • US forces raid town, Baghdad asks foreign troops to stay

    Hundreds of US troops conducted a raid on Haditha in Anbar province on 25 May, 200 kilometres west of Baghdad and the scene of frequent attacks on US troops. The raid followed a request from Baghdad that the UN Security Council extend the mandate of US-led forces in Iraq. 'Our country continues to face an armed insurgency, which still includes foreign elements opposed to Iraq's transition to democratic rule,' Foreign Affairs Minister Hoshyar Zebari wrote in a letter to the Security Council.
  • Vanity work awarded for Jumeirah Beach road

    Dubai Municipality has awarded three contracts with a total value of about $42 million for the beautification and widening of Jumeirah Beach road. The local Emirates Road Contractingwas awarded two packages, with Saudi Binladin Grouptaking the third contract. Running from the Burj al-Arab hotel to Union Square, the project calls for the construction of an additional lane and general landscaping.
  • Vanity work awarded for Jumeirah Beach road

    Dubai Municipality has awarded three contracts with a total value of about $42 million for the beautification and widening of Jumeirah Beach road. The local Emirates Road Contractingwas awarded two packages, with Saudi Binladin Grouptaking the third contract. Running from the Burj al-Arab hotel to Union Square, the project calls for the construction of an additional lane and general landscaping.
  • Violence continues as government is sworn in

    The announcement in late April that a new government had been agreed, albeit with some key posts remaining vacant, has done nothing to prevent the continuing violence in the country, as a series of attacks in the first week of May left 250 people dead. In the week's worst atrocity, more than 60 people were killed on 4 May when a suicide bomber drove his car into a crowd waiting at a police recruitment centre held at Kurdish Democratic Party offices in Irbil in northern Iraq.
  • Violence continues as new cabinet finally sworn in

    More than 46 people died and 150 were injured on 4 May when a suicide bomber detonated an explosive device in a police recruitment centre based in Kurdistan Democratic Party offices in Irbil, northern Iraq. The explosion occurred a day after the new government with only a partial cabinet was sworn in. Several key posts, including defence, have yet to be allocated. 'Iraq has witnessed a new step today which can be considered as a turning point in its political process,' Prime
  • Violence continues, as Sharon promises prisoner release

    Palestinian militants attempted to infiltrate the Israeli settlement of Kfar Darom in Gaza on 20 May and fired six rockets into the community. Hamas, the Popular Resistance Committee and Al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades all claimed responsibility for the attacks. One gunman was killed by the Israeli military. Palestinian Interior Minister Nasr Yussuf met senior Hamas members in Gaza on 19 May and urged them to respect the informal ceasefire in place since February.Israeli Prime Mini
  • Violence escalates on Israel-Gaza border

    Hamas militants fired three rockets into Israel from Gaza on 19 May. The rockets were aimed at Israeli communities to the southeast of Gaza and landed in open fields. No one was injured in the attack. Militiamen also fired 10 mortar bombs at Israeli settlements in Gaza. The day before, Israel launched a missile at Hamas militants from an unmanned drone in retaliation for scores of mortars they fired at Israeli settlements. The escalation in violence followed the death of a Hamas gunman on t
  • Votes for women, oil and the future of Kuwaiti politics

    Amid whoops of joy, Kuwait's National Assembly (parliament) voted on 16 May for women to be allowed to vote and stand in future elections. There are caveats, but it seems a turning point has been reached. Surely there can be no turning back on a process that must eventually lead to wider popular involvement in the way Kuwait is governed?
  • Wade bids low for Dubai Marina interchange 5

    The local Wade Adams Contractinghas submitted the lowest bid for the retendered fifth interchange reconstruction project on Sheikh Zayed highway in Dubai. Its offer of AED 262 million ($71 million) is about 5 per cent lower than the next price of AED 274 million ($75 million) submitted by the local/Belgian Bel Hasa Six Construct. Five companies submitted revised prices for the 20-month contract. The local/UK Dutco Balfour Beattyhad originally submitted a low b
  • Wade bids low for Dubai Marina interchange 5

    The local Wade Adams Contractinghas submitted the lowest bid for the retendered fifth interchange reconstruction project on Sheikh Zayed highway in Dubai. Its offer of AED 262 million ($71 million) is about 5 per cent lower than the next price of AED 274 million ($75 million) submitted by the local/Belgian Bel Hasa Six Construct. Five companies submitted revised prices for the 20-month contract. The local/UK Dutco Balfour Beattyhad originally submitted a low b
  • Wade leaps into sporting arena

    The local Wade Adams Contractinghas been awarded the three-month contract for the advanced grading works package on the entire Dubai Sports City (DSC) project. Five companies submitted bids for the project. The contract calls for the excavation and disposal of 2.5 million cubic metres of rock covering an area of about 50 million square feet. Lebanon's Khatib & Alami, which is acting as consultant for the enabling, grading and infrastructure works, is expected to complete
  • Wade leaps into sporting arena

    The local Wade Adams Contractinghas been awarded the three-month contract for the advanced grading works package on the entire Dubai Sports City (DSC) project. Five companies submitted bids for the project. The contract calls for the excavation and disposal of 2.5 million cubic metres of rock covering an area of about 50 million square feet. Lebanon's Khatib & Alami, which is acting as consultant for the enabling, grading and infrastructure works, is expected to complete
  • Wafi builds on Egyptian theme

    The local Khansaheb Civil Engineeringhas been awarded the AED 515 million ($140 million) contract to build a new hotel as part of plans to expand the Wafi City shopping complex in Dubai. Swissboring, part of Italy's Trevi Group, has started work on the piling contract. The main package calls for the construction of a 240-bedroom pyramid-shaped luxury hotel with two floors of retail and rising to more than 100 metres. The development will also see the entry int
  • Wafi builds on Egyptian theme

    The local Khansaheb Civil Engineeringhas been awarded the AED 515 million ($140 million) contract to build a new hotel as part of plans to expand the Wafi City shopping complex in Dubai. Swissboring, part of Italy's Trevi Group, has started work on the piling contract. The main package calls for the construction of a 240-bedroom pyramid-shaped luxury hotel with two floors of retail and rising to more than 100 metres. The development will also see the entry int
  • Washington and Tripoli to establish embassies, says Gaddafi

    Saif al-Islam Gaddafi, the son of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, said on 20 May that Washington and Tripoli would have embassies in each other's capitals by the end of 2005. 'We are not allies but we are not enemies,' Gaddafi said on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in Jordan. The two countries have 'excellent intelligence co-operation', he said. 'The Americans are willing to have military co-operation. We are not enthusiastic about this but we are still considering it.'
  • Washington must commit to a Palestinian state, says Abbas

    Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas said on 24 May that Washington must demonstrate a clear commitment to the establishment of a Palestinian state. He made the remark as he arrived in the US on his first official visit to Washington since being elected in January. 'As we have stated several times in the past, we want from the US a clear political position for the implementation of the roadmap, as well as economic support,' Abbas said.Abbas is scheduled to meet
  • Washington pledges funds to PA

    US President Bush pledged $50 million in direct aid to the Palestinian Authority (PA) during a meeting with PA President Mahmoud Abbas on 26 May. The money is part of an existing $350 million aid package and will be administered by the Palestinian Finance Ministry to build housing, schools, health clinics and roads in Gaza. 'These funds will be used to improve the quality of life of the Palestinians living in Gaza, where poverty and unemployment are very high,' Bush said. The
  • Wave contracts roll

    Local firms Majan Engineering Consultants and HMR Environmental Engineering Consultantshave been appointed as quantity surveyor and environmental adviser on phase 1 of the $800 million Wave resort project, off the coast of Muscat. The contracts follow the award of the site preparation, on which work has started, to another local firm, SAM Trading. The Wave is a joint venture between government-owned Waterfront Investmentsand Dubai-based Maj
  • Wave contracts roll

    Local firms Majan Engineering Consultants and HMR Environmental Engineering Consultantshave been appointed as quantity surveyor and environmental adviser on phase 1 of the $800 million Wave resort project, off the coast of Muscat. The contracts follow the award of the site preparation, on which work has started, to another local firm, SAM Trading. The Wave is a joint venture between government-owned Waterfront Investmentsand Dubai-based Maj
  • Wave of bombings kills 64

    More than 64 people were killed in at least seven bomb attacks in Tikrit, Hawja and Baghdad on 11 May. The first car bomb exploded in the Sunni town of Tikrit, killing 31 people and wounding 66. Witnesses said the dead were civilians waiting to be hired as day labourers. In Hawja, a suicide bomber blew himself up outside an army recruitment centre and killed 30 people. Five car bombs exploded in Baghdad, one outside a police station killing three people.Insurgents kidnapped t
  • Wave site preparation begins to roll

    The local SAM Tradinghas been awarded the site preparation contract on the $800 million Wave resort, off the coast of Seeb. The work is due to take about three months and the first dredging and reclamation tender is due out in the third quarter. The project, to be built over 200 hectares along seven kilometres of coastline, will be undertaken in two phases, the first including infrastructure works, a marina and an 18-hole golf course. The US' Turner Construction International
  • Wave site preparation begins to roll

    The local SAM Tradinghas been awarded the site preparation contract on the $800 million Wave resort, off the coast of Seeb. The work is due to take about three months and the first dredging and reclamation tender is due out in the third quarter. The project, to be built over 200 hectares along seven kilometres of coastline, will be undertaken in two phases, the first including infrastructure works, a marina and an 18-hole golf course. The US' Turner Construction International
  • Weather set fair for Wind

    A local consortium has entered into exclusive negotiations for a Eur 12,000 million ($15,500 million) deal to take a majority stake in Italy's third largest mobile phone operator. The consortium, led by the local Weather Investments and headed by Orascom Telecom (OT) chairman and chief executive officier Naguib Sawiris, began in mid-April exclusive negotiations with Italy's Enel for a majority stake in its wholly owned telecoms subsidiary Wind.
  • Wedding cements Abu Dhabi and Dubai ties

    UAE president Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed al-Nahyan hosted in Dubai on 2 May a gathering of regional and international dignitaries to celebrate the marriage of Presidential Affairs Minister Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed al-Nahyan to the daughter of Dubai Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum. The wedding is the first between the ruling families of Dubai and Abu Dhabi since the creation of the federation in 1971, reinforcing the relationship between the two.'This [the mar
  • Work starts on latest Ras al-Khaimah hotel

    Ground was broken on 8 May for the Cove project in Ras al-Khaimah. Being developed by Cairo-based real estate developer Orascom Hotels & Development (OHD), the $60 million project calls for the construction of a 409-room, five-star hotel, 134 chalets, speciality restaurants and related facilities on a 50-acre beachfront site. The project will take two years to complete and will be carried out by OHD's construction arm. A team of Egypt's Rami al-Dahan & Soheir Farid Architects
  • Work starts on latest Ras al-Khaimah hotel

    Ground was broken on 8 May for the Cove project in Ras al-Khaimah. Being developed by Cairo-based real estate developer Orascom Hotels & Development (OHD), the $60 million project calls for the construction of a 409-room, five-star hotel, 134 chalets, speciality restaurants and related facilities on a 50-acre beachfront site. The project will take two years to complete and will be carried out by OHD's construction arm. A team of Egypt's Rami al-Dahan & Soheir Farid Architects
  • World Bank mulls El-Tebine loan

    The World Bank is evaluating a request from Egyptian Electricity Holding Company (EEHC) for a $250 million loan to finance a proposed new 650-MW plant at El-Tebine. The plant will include two 325-MW steam turbines. Sources at the bank say it will conclude its assessment of the project in early 2006.
  • WTO to start accession talks with Tehran

    The World Trade Organisation (WTO) agreed on 26 May to start admission talks with Tehran, who first applied to join the WTO in 1996. 'It was long overdue,' said Mohammed Reza Alborzi, Iran's ambassador to the UN. 'It will open doors to trade co-operation,' he said. The decision, which has been blocked by Washington in a total of 22 general council meetings, came after Tehran and the EU arrived at a new agreement to continue talks and the suspension of Iran's nuclear activities. Alborzi said
  • Zadco presses ahead with Satah

    Zakum Development Company (Zadco)has invited four companies to submit technical bids by 20 June for the front-end engineering and design (FEED) package on the proposed Satah field development project in offshore Abu Dhabi. The companies are Australia's WorleyParsons, the US/Canadian VECO, Jacobs Engineering of the US and Tebodin Middle East, part of Tebodin of the Netherlands (MEED 11:3:05).

Newsletter Sign-up

More sector and country newsletters

Subscribe to MEED to receive your choice of premium newsletters

Find out more

Follow MEED on

Linkedin     Twitter     RSS Newsletter
-->