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MEED
August 2005

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  • A life spanning several eras

    The life of King Fahd was an Arabian epic. It spanned the creation of modern Saudi Arabia, the discovery of Saudi oil, four major Arab-Israeli wars, two oil price booms and the crash of 1986, the Iranian revolution and the rise and fall of Saddam Hussein.
  • A month to remember in the Middle East

    From the Israeli-Palestinian peace process to the Saudi succession, the summer of 2005 has seen the face of the Middle East changed forever
  • Abbas and Qurei take Tel Aviv to task

    Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas on 25 August accused Tel Aviv of sabotaging the peace process after Israeli soldiers killed five Palestinian militants and Israel announced plans to build a police headquarters on public land in the West Bank. 'This policy of the Israelis is destroying the peace process and the ceasefire,' Abbas said. Palestinian militants have largely observed a truce agreed between the PA and Tel Aviv in March.One member of Islamic Jihad and fou
  • Abbas calls for calm during Gaza pullout

    Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas on 9 August called on militants to stick to an agreed ceasefire and for Palestinians to maintain law and order during Israel's planned pullout from Gaza. 'The withdrawal must take place in calm : so that we can confirm to the world that we deserve a state and that this step is just the beginning and not the end,' he told a televised parliamentary session. He condemned militant rocket attacks on Israeli targets. 'We don't want any provocatio
  • Abbas hopes to foster peace culture

    Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said on 22 August that it was time for the 'greater jihad' of economic revival, rule of law and negotiations with Tel Aviv following Israel's withdrawal from Gaza. He said the jihad of confrontation with Israel was over. Abbas has been promoting this message at a series of rallies. 'The people are responding in a remarkable way. The people's beliefs are changing,' he said. 'All those who opposed the Israeli disengagement plan, inc
  • Abdullah calls for Israeli withdrawal from West Bank

    Jordan's King Abdullah urged Tel Aviv on 4 August to follow its scheduled withdrawal from Gaza in mid-August with a pullout from the West Bank. Jordanian officials said the king told Israel's Defence Minister Shaul Mofaz that the withdrawal should also kick-start talks on the US-backed road map peace plan. 'The withdrawal from Gaza should constitute the successful start and prelude to the withdrawal of Israel from the West Bank and the setting up of a viable independent Palestinian state,'
  • Abdullah offers clemency to reformists, an Islamist and would-be assassins

    Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah pardoned five political activists on 8 August, including three reformists jailed for seeking a constitutional monarchy, their lawyer and a militant Islamist. Ali al-Demaini, Abdullah al-Hamed and Matruk al-Faleh were jailed for 'stirring up sedition and disobeying a ruler'. Demaini's wife said the reformists might be released on 9 August. Their lawyer Abdulrahman al-Lahem was detained after criticising judicial practices in the kingdom during his clients' trial.
  • Abdullah sets the tone for Saudi monarchy

    First acts hint at the iron fist beneath the velvet glove
  • Abraaj fund closed

    Dubai-based Abraaj Capitalhas closed its Abraaj Special Opportunities Fund II, reporting considerable oversubscription. The investment vehicle will focus on initial public offering (IPO) and pre-IPO opportunities in the GCC, the Levant and south Asia. The first Abraaj fund of this type closed in June, realising a internal rate of return of 59 per cent over an 18-month holding period.
  • Abu Dhabi goes industrial

    The Higher Corporation for Specialised Economic Zones (HCSEZ)has invited contractors to bid by 28 August for the infrastructure works on the phase 1 extension of Abu Dhabi Industrial City. The estimated $110 million contract includes construction of 25 kilometres of internal roads, telecommunications infrastructure, potable water, sanitary and drainage systems and pumping stations. Work is scheduled for completion by mid-2007. The move is the latest expansion of Abu Dhabi's industrial dis
  • Abu Dhabi goes industrial

    The Higher Corporation for Specialised Economic Zones (HCSEZ)has invited contractors to bid by 28 August for the infrastructure works on the phase 1 extension of Abu Dhabi Industrial City. The estimated $110 million contract includes construction of 25 kilometres of internal roads, telecommunications infrastructure, potable water, sanitary and drainage systems and pumping stations. Work is scheduled for completion by mid-2007. The move is the latest expansion of Abu Dhabi's industrial dis
  • Abu Dhabi opens up to expatriates

    Abu Dhabi has gone some way to resolving issues surrounding the question of property ownership in the federation, after issuing on 11 August a new property law for the emirate. Under the new law, foreigners will now be able to buy property in specific investment areas in the emirate, although the authorities have not gone as far as offering freehold. The law enables expatriates to own property under a 99-year land title agreement or a renewable 50-year surface area ownership deal. For nationals,
  • Abu Dhabi races ahead with Jazira stadium

    The Municipalities & Agriculture Department/Works (MADW) has received bids from four companies for the proposed redevelopment of Al-Jazira football stadium in Abu Dhabi. The bidders are the local/Belgian Six Construct Abu Dhabi, Al-Hamed Development & Constructionand Group 3, both local, and Saudi Oger. Estimated to be worth AED 150 million ($41 million), the design and build contract covers the reconstruction of the single-tier stands into a multi
  • Abu Dhabi races ahead with Jazira stadium

    The Municipalities & Agriculture Department/Works (MADW) has received bids from four companies for the proposed redevelopment of Al-Jazira football stadium in Abu Dhabi. The bidders are the local/Belgian Six Construct Abu Dhabi, Al-Hamed Development & Constructionand Group 3, both local, and Saudi Oger. Estimated to be worth AED 150 million ($41 million), the design and build contract covers the reconstruction of the single-tier stands into a multi
  • Abu Dhabi unveils new city plans

    The Department of Municipalities & Agriculture (DMA) has unveiled plans to build a new city located on the Abu Dhabi-Al-Ain highway. The Mohammed bin Zayed City project, which was originally mooted by the former Khalifa Committee, will see the construction of about 265 commercial and residential buildings, related infrastructure works and entertainment facilities. With a budget of about AED 14,000 million ($3,815 million), the project will be built in various phases covering three districts with
  • Abu Dhabi unveils new city plans

    The Department of Municipalities & Agriculture (DMA) has unveiled plans to build a new city located on the Abu Dhabi-Al-Ain highway. The Mohammed bin Zayed City project, which was originally mooted by the former Khalifa Committee, will see the construction of about 265 commercial and residential buildings, related infrastructure works and entertainment facilities. With a budget of about AED 14,000 million ($3,815 million), the project will be built in various phases covering three districts with
  • ADCB to raise capital

    Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank (ADCB)has announced plans to more than double capital to AED 3,900 million ($1,063 million) from AED 1,500 million ($409 million) through a 30 per cent stock dividend and a 1:1 rights issue. The new shares will be offered at a premium of AED 3 ($0.82). ADCB also plans to allow foreign ownership of up to 25 per cent of the bank's capital. The moves are subject to shareholder approval at an extraordinary general meeting (EGM) in early September. A string of UAE ban
  • Adco awards contracts for Huwaila

    Abu Dhabi Company for Onshore Oil Operations (Adco)has awarded two contracts covering the installation of new production facilities at the onshore Huwaila field. The local Matrix Engineering & Lead Contracting & Tradinghas been awarded a $19 million engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract. The scope of works on the 14-month contract includes the installation of about 27 kilometres of 12-inch-diameter pipeline, a multi-phase pumping station and related faciliti
  • Adgas seeks options for LNG trains

    Companies have responded to an initial inquiry from Abu Dhabi Gas Liquefaction Company (Adgas)to suggest strategic options for the replacement of its first two liquefied natural gas (LNG) trains on Das island and their replacement by a single mega train.
  • ADWEA launches Taqa IPO

    Subscription was launched on 23 July and is due to close on 1 August to the initial public offering (IPO) of shares in Abu Dhabi National Energy Company (Taqa). The company was established by presidential decree in late June to own assets in the power, water, energy, oil and mineral sectors, both in the federation and abroad.
  • ADWEA studies T&D bids

    Companies have submitted bids to Abu Dhabi Water & Electricity Authority (ADWEA) for the contract to supply and install a 95-kilometre 400/220-kV double-circuit overhead transmission line between Taweelah power station and Sweihan in the emirate. Bidders for the estimated AED 300 million ($82 million) contract include South Korea's Hyundai Engineering & Construction Company, the local ETA, Europe's ABB, India's KEC and Larsen & Toubro,
  • After Fujairah, DPA signs Mina Zayed deal

    Dubai Ports Authority (DPA)has signed a five-year agreement with the Abu Dhabi Seaport Department to operate Mina Zayed port. The deal follows a memorandum of understanding (MoU) in January between the two groups whereby DPA offered assistance and expertise to the port's authority. Under the terms of the agreement, DPA will take over responsibility for the port in the coming months and amalgamate it into its existing port operations. The Mina Zayed deal is the second management contract s
  • After the speeches

    Those hoping for political and economic change in Egypt have often been disappointed in the past. For many years, Cairo has been quick to talk about reforms but slow to implement them. So when a new cabinet was appointed in July 2004, many Egyptians saw new faces but expected the same old policies.
  • Ahmadinejad confirmed president

    Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei endorsed on 3 August the election of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as president. Ahmadinejad won 17 million votes in a presidential run-off against Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani to serve a four-year term as the sixth president of the Islamic republic. Ahmadinejad's critics have suggested his presidency will end the period of reform experienced under President Khatami and have even linked him to the students who took American embassy workers hostage in Tehran in
  • Ahmadinejad introduces his cabinet

    Iran's new President Ahmadinejad presented his new cabinet to Majlis (parliament) on 21 August. Critics have attacked the list for being too conservative and filled with unqualified individuals. Some members of parliament expressed concern that members of the new cabinet were unknown to the Majlis and had never run large government departments. Ahmadinejad said that justice, empathy, service, morals and spirituality would underlie his government. He promised to tackle unemployment, corrupti
  • Ahmadinejad names hardline government

    Newly elected President Ahmadinejad named on 15 August Ali Larijani as secretary of the Supreme National Security Council, responsible for Tehran's nuclear policy. A former head of state broadcasting, Larijani is a trusted aide to Ayatollah Khamenei and stood in the presidential elections in June. He is seen to be a conservative stalwart of the regime and supports Iran's nuclear activities (
  • AJEC goes into Yanbu A&E

    The local Al-Jazirah Engineers & Consultants (AJEC) has started work on an estimated SR 17 million ($4.5 million), five-year contract to provide architectural and engineering (A&E) services for facilities development in the Yanbu industrial area.
  • Aker wins Ibn Zahr programme management

    Oslo-based AkerKvaernerannounced on 15 August that it had received a letter of intent (LoI) for the contract to provide programme management services to Saudi European Petrochemical Company (Ibn Zahr)for its polypropylene (PP) project at Jubail. Under the terms of its contract, Aker Kvaerner will additionally carry out basic and front-end engineering and design (FEED) work on the 500,000-tonne-a-year train, which will double existing PP capacity at the plant. The c
  • Alcatel get metro call from Mitsubishi

    France's Alcatel confirmed on 26 July that it had been awarded a $250 million subcontract from Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI)to provide train technology and telecommunications systems for the Dubai Metro. The turnkey contract will see Alcatel complete the design, integration, installation, testing and commissioning of its products. The scope of works covers installation of its driverless technology, control systems operations and fully integrated communications infrast
  • Al-Habtoor takes JBR villas

    The local Al-Habtoor Engineering Enterpriseshas been awarded an estimated $45 million contract to build 152 residential villas off Jumeirah Beach road. The project, known as Jumeirah Beach Residence (JBR) Villas, will be located opposite Dubai Knowledge Village. The local Wade Adams Contractingis close to completing the infrastructure works on the project, for which the UK's Maunsell Consultancy Servicesis the consultant. The local Dar Consultis th
  • Al-Habtoor takes JBR villas

    The local Al-Habtoor Engineering Enterpriseshas been awarded an estimated $45 million contract to build 152 residential villas off Jumeirah Beach road. The project, known as Jumeirah Beach Residence (JBR) Villas, will be located opposite Dubai Knowledge Village. The local Wade Adams Contractingis close to completing the infrastructure works on the project, for which the UK's Maunsell Consultancy Servicesis the consultant. The local Dar Consultis th
  • Al-Hamad takes Royal Metropolis contract

    Sharjah-based Al-Hamad Contracting Companyhas been awarded the construction contract for phase 1 of the $1,000 million Royal Metropolis project, which will be carried out in two phases. The first, to be called Jordan Gate, will involve the construction of two high-rise towers connected by a multi-storey podium. To be located in Amman's sixth circle, the development will include a five-star hotel, conference facilities and retail space. The total built-up area will be about 220,000 sq
  • Al-Hamad takes Royal Metropolis contract

    Sharjah-based Al-Hamad Contracting Companyhas been awarded the construction contract for phase 1 of the $1,000 million Royal Metropolis project, which will be carried out in two phases. The first, to be called Jordan Gate, will involve the construction of two high-rise towers connected by a multi-storey podium. To be located in Amman's sixth circle, the development will include a five-star hotel, conference facilities and retail space. The total built-up area will be about 220,000 sq
  • Al-Hamed bids low for Al-Jazeera stadium

    The local Al-Hamed Development & Constructionis low bidder at AED 198 million ($54 million) for the contract to redevelop Al-Jazeera football stadium in Abu Dhabi. Saudi Ogercame second on price at AED 286 million ($78 million), followed by Six Construct Abu Dhabiat AED 318 million ($87 million) and the local Group 3 at AED 320 million ($88 million). The client, the Municipalities & Agriculture Department/Works (MADW), is expected to make a quick
  • Al-Hamed bids low for Al-Jazeera stadium

    The local Al-Hamed Development & Constructionis low bidder at AED 198 million ($54 million) for the contract to redevelop Al-Jazeera football stadium in Abu Dhabi. Saudi Ogercame second on price at AED 286 million ($78 million), followed by Six Construct Abu Dhabiat AED 318 million ($87 million) and the local Group 3 at AED 320 million ($88 million). The client, the Municipalities & Agriculture Department/Works (MADW), is expected to make a quick
  • Al-Qaeda claims responsibility for Aqaba attack

    Al-Qaeda in Iraq claimed responsibility on 23 August for a failed rocket attack on US navy ships anchored at the Jordanian port of Aqaba. 'Your brothers in the Al-Qaeda organisation in Iraq have been planning the Aqaba raid for a while,' the group said in an internet statement. 'The rockets were fired at their targets - a group of ships belonging to the crusader American forces - in Aqaba and Eilat.' The statement said that the group had delayed claiming responsibility for the attack, which
  • Al-Qaeda leader shot and killed

    Saudi police killed one of the kingdom's most-wanted Al-Qaeda leaders on 18 August. Saleh Mohammed al-Oufi died during a shootout with police following a raid on a house in Medina. Security forces stormed six other locations in the city. Al-Oufi was one of only two militants who remained at large from a list of 26 most-wanted issued in December 2003. Talib Saud Abdullah al-Talib is now the only militant on the list who police have not captured or killed. Two more suspected militants were ki
  • Al-Qatada could face jail in Jordan

    Amman and London signed a deportation agreement on 10 August, which would allow suspects to be extradited to the other country without fear of torture. The deal could result in the deportation of radical Jordanian cleric Abu Qatada from the UK to Jordan, where he has been sentenced to life in prison. The Jordanian authorities convicted him of organising attacks and financing terrorism. Qatada is under house arrest in the UK and is suspected of links to Al-Qaeda. Jordan's Interior Minister A
  • Al-Raha Gardens get ready to blossom

    Abu Dhabi-based ALDAR Propertieshas invited six local companies to submit a final set of prices by mid-August for the residential package on the Al-Raha Gardens development in the emirate. The first set of prices were submitted in late July (MEED 1:7:05).
  • Al-Raha Gardens get ready to blossom

    Abu Dhabi-based ALDAR Propertieshas invited six local companies to submit a final set of prices by mid-August for the residential package on the Al-Raha Gardens development in the emirate. The first set of prices were submitted in late July (MEED 1:7:05).
  • Al-Raha Gardens widens its scope

    Abu Dhabi-based ALDAR Propertieshas invited firms to bid by the end of August for the second package on the Al-Raha 1 Gardens residential project. The 12-month contract will comprise two residential lots - Al-Mariah and Muzera - and involves the construction of two gated residential compounds, offering a total of 280 villas and townhouses, as well as roads and related infrastructure (MEED 29:7:05).
  • Al-Raha Gardens widens its scope

    Abu Dhabi-based ALDAR Propertieshas invited firms to bid by the end of August for the second package on the Al-Raha 1 Gardens residential project. The 12-month contract will comprise two residential lots - Al-Mariah and Muzera - and involves the construction of two gated residential compounds, offering a total of 280 villas and townhouses, as well as roads and related infrastructure (MEED 29:7:05).
  • Al-Sadr calls for quiet

    Shia cleric Moqtada al-Sadr called for calm on 25 August following clashes between his militia the Mehdi Army and rival Shia groups. Five people died the day before in an attack on Al-Sadr's recently reopened offices in Najaf. The assault led to violence in Shia areas of Baghdad and several southern towns. Al-Sadr's Mehdi Army fought with members of the Badr militia loyal to the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq, who Al-Sadr said was responsible for the attack.
  • Al-Zarqawi aide killed

    Iraqi forces have killed Abu Zubair, a senior aide to Al-Qaeda in Iraq leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, Washington said on 15 August. Iraqi troops ambushed Zubair in Mosul, US officials said. He was wanted for his suspected involvement in several attacks, including one on a police station in Mosul during which five officers died.
  • Al-Zour selected for new refinery

    The state's new 615,000-barrel-a-day refinery will be located at Al-Zour in the south, project director Ahmed Jaimaz confirmed in early August. Speaking at a press conference, Jaimaz also announced that the scheme has a budget of $6,300 million and that the client, state refinery operator Kuwait National Petroleum Company (KNPC), has already begun procurement of long-lead items. Although locating the project at Al-Zour will prove to be a more expensive option, there will be fewer pol
  • AMA wins new BFH dredging job

    The local Ahmed Mansour Al-A'Ali (AMA) has been awarded the contract to carry out third-phase dredging work on the Bahrain Financial Harbour project being developed by Manama-based Gulf Finance House. The contract, worth BD 4.8 million ($12.6 million), calls for the dredging and reclamation of an area of 84,250 square metres. AMA also carried out the dredging on phase 2 of the development, to be home to the Bahrain International Insurance Centre (MEED 15:7:05).
  • AMA wins new BFH dredging job

    The local Ahmed Mansour Al-A'Ali (AMA) has been awarded the contract to carry out third-phase dredging work on the Bahrain Financial Harbour project being developed by Manama-based Gulf Finance House. The contract, worth BD 4.8 million ($12.6 million), calls for the dredging and reclamation of an area of 84,250 square metres. AMA also carried out the dredging on phase 2 of the development, to be home to the Bahrain International Insurance Centre (MEED 15:7:05).
  • Amir to return home

    Kuwaiti Emir Sheikh Jaber al-Ahmad al-Sabah will return to Kuwait on 9 August. He had surgery in the US in May on his leg and has been recuperating in Switzerland. The emir suffered a brain haemorrhage in 2001 and spent four months recovering in the UK. In August 2001, he spent 10 days in a New York hospital undergoing medical tests. Prime Minister Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Sabah has assumed most of the emir's duties due to his ill health.
  • Amwal launches QR 1bn mutual fund

    Local finance house Amwalhas announced plans to launch a QR 1,000 million ($267.4 million) mutual fund, called the Qatar Gate Fund, to invest in the Doha Securities Market and other regional bourses. The fund will be open to both nationals and expatriates. Dubai-based Shuaa Capitalis acting as investment manager.
  • Appeals for calm in Khartoum

    US President Bush dispatched special envoy Roger Winter to Sudan on 2 August to appeal for calm in the wake of riots following the death of vice-president and former southern rebel leader John Garang. 'The US is determined to maintain our commitment to the peace process in Sudan,' said Bush. Senior State Department diplomat Connie Newman accompanied Winter. Violence erupted after the death of Garang in a helicopter crash on 1 August.UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan called Gara
  • Arab gas pipeline set to reach Europe by 2007

    Cairo, Amman, Damascus and Ankara have agreed plans to begin work on the Syrian and Turkish portions of the Arab gas transmission pipeline, eventually allowing Egyptian natural gas to be exported to central Europe by 2007.
  • Aramco fast tracks Khurais oil field project

    Saudi Aramcohas initiated the process of selecting contractors for its biggest oil field project in decades - the Khurais crude increment programme - with companies being invited to respond to an initial query. More than 30 companies responded by 8 August to a solicitation of interest covering all major construction packages. The next stage in the project implementation will be the issue of a request for prequalifications, which is due by late August. Invitation to bid documents are due t
  • Aramco moves on Shaybah and Nuayyim projects

    Saudi Aramco has embarked on two new onshore crude oil increment projects, proposing to invest a total of more than $4,000 million over the coming few years. A group of US-based Jacobs Engineeringwith Canada's SNC Lavalin and the local Saudi Consulting Services (SaudConsult) is carrying out the front-end engineering and design (FEED) package on the expansion of the Shaybah field. Separately, a team of Australia's Clough Group with Houston-ba
  • Aramco readies for Safaniyah artificial lift

    Saudi Aramcoannounced on 17 August the formal award of the first contract on the project to fabricate and install new pipelines, platforms and associated infrastructure at the three offshore oil fields of Safaniya, Zuluf and Marjan. Abu Dhabi-based National Petroleum Construction Company (NPCC)has been awarded the contract for the north Safaniyah artificial lift project (MEED 1:4:05).
  • Aramco, Marubeni sign off Rabigh IWSPP

    Saudi Aramco has announced the formal signing of the 25-year build-own-operate-transfer (BOOT) contract to develop the captive independent water, steam and power project (IWSPP) to serve the estimated $8,000 million integrated refinery and petrochemicals complex at Rabigh. The consortium of Japan's Marubeni Corporation, along with partners Itochu Corporationand JGC Corporation, both of Japan, and the local Acwapower, was named preferred bidd
  • Aramco/Sumitomo formalise Rabigh scheme

    Saudi Aramcoand Japan's Sumitomo Chemical Companyformally signed on 1 August the joint venture agreement (JVA) for the world-scale integrated refining and petrochemicals complex at Rabigh. The two companies have formed a limited liability joint venture company called Rabigh Refining & Petrochemical Company (Petro-Rabigh)to implement the scheme. The move is a culmination of a 12-month feasibility study begun in May last year. The project calls for the expansion of t
  • Asian JV lands Doha runway package

    The Chinese/Malaysian joint venture of Sinohydro Corporation, Gamudaand WCThas been awarded the runway/tunnel package on the New Doha International Airport (NDIA) project. The design-and-build contract, worth QR 1,798 million ($493 million), is the largest so far placed on the estimated $2,500 million project. The client is the NDIA Steering Committee; the engineering, procurement and construction management (EPCM) contractor is US-based Bechtel(ME
  • Asian JV lands Doha runway package

    The Chinese/Malaysian joint venture of Sinohydro Corporation, Gamudaand WCThas been awarded the runway/tunnel package on the New Doha International Airport (NDIA) project. The design-and-build contract, worth QR 1,798 million ($493 million), is the largest so far placed on the estimated $2,500 million project. The client is the NDIA Steering Committee; the engineering, procurement and construction management (EPCM) contractor is US-based Bechtel(ME
  • Atkins scales new heights for the kingdom

    The UK's Atkins is due to complete by December detailed designs for the tallest building in the kingdom. To be located on King Fahd Street in Riyadh, the mixed-use facility will be 352 metres high and house offices, retail outlets and a seven-star hotel. The project, to be built over 62,000 square metres, is estimated to cost at least $250 million. A tender for the main construction works is due to be issued by early 2006. The client is a local private developer (MEED 18:3:05).
  • Atkins scales new heights for the kingdom

    The UK's Atkins is due to complete by December detailed designs for the tallest building in the kingdom. To be located on King Fahd Street in Riyadh, the mixed-use facility will be 352 metres high and house offices, retail outlets and a seven-star hotel. The project, to be built over 62,000 square metres, is estimated to cost at least $250 million. A tender for the main construction works is due to be issued by early 2006. The client is a local private developer (MEED 18:3:05).
  • AUB raises BKME stake

    Bahrain-based Ahli United Bank (AUB)has acquired for $427.9 million a further 19.2 per cent of shares in Bank of Kuwait & the Middle East (BKME), taking its total shareholding to 75 per cent. The move follows the purchase in 2003 by AUB of a 47 per cent stake in BKME. 'As a result of this additional stake, BKME will be fully consolidated from a financial and management perspective into the AUB Group,' said AUB chairman Fahad al-Rajaan. 'The acquisition of a 75 per cent st
  • Awards near for Rabigh downstream units

    Contract awards are imminent on three downstream process unit packages on the estimated $8,000 million world-scale Rabigh refining and petrochemicals complex. The client, the joint venture of Saudi Aramco and Japan's Sumitomo Chemical Company, will award the contracts on a directly negotiated basis.
  • Baghdad on World Bank's books again

    The World Bank has agreed to extend $500 million in soft loans to Baghdad. The two-year loan deal, to be provided by the International Development Agency, the World Bank's development arm, will finance development projects. The facility will be overseen by the International Reconstruction Fund for Iraq, which has been financing priority investment projects since the official end of hostilities in 2003 (MEED 12:12:04; 5:11:04).
  • Baghdad tenders second refinery

    State Company for Oil Projects (SCOP), the engineering arm of the Oil Ministry, has tendered another grassroots refinery , this time in the north of the country. International contractors have until 3 October to purchase tender documents and 11 November to submit bids. Contractors are already preparing to bid by 11 September for the 140,000 barrel-a-day (b/d) grassroots Nahrain refinery (MEED 24:6:05).
  • Bahraini Independent Bloc gears up for elections

    Bahraini political group the Independent Bloc announced on 25 August that it will form a political society to contest municipal and parliamentary elections in 2006. It is also preparing a manifesto. The group is expected to seek more than 12 seats in the Chamber of Deputies. 'We will field candidates who will win,' said the group's spokesman Abdullah al-Dosari. 'Our society will enhance political activities.' He said the society would raise public awareness of politics and 'through the Cham
  • Banagas studies compressor options

    Bids were submitted on 31 July to Bahrain Natural Gas Company (Banagas)for a conceptual study contract covering its seven gas compressors at Sitra. The six-eight-week study will look at ways to increase the capacity of the existing facility. Banagas is understood to be considering options to replace the units and install a new integrated system. The project is part of the scheme to debottleneck and revamp the existing liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) processing and storage facilities. I
  • Bank Muscat shareholders approve capital hike

    Bank Muscat's shareholders have approved plans to increase capital to RO 125 million ($320.5 million) from RO 75 million ($192.3 million) and to stage an issue of global depositary receipts (GDRs), which will be listed on the London Stock Exchange. The GDRs are likely to be offered to international investors by the end of the year. The broader capital base will be used as a springboard for ongoing region expansion (MEED 5:8:05).
  • BANKING: Root and branch reform

    As any foreign visitor to Libya will testify, Tripoli needs to do something about its banks. Twenty years cut off from the global economy have left the country's financial institutions without anything but the most basic services. Libya remains a cash economy, where retail banking facilities such as credit cards, ATMs and e-banking are only just beginning to appear. Corporate banking activity is limited to trade finance. Project finance facilities are virtually non-existent.
  • Baraka and ROC join forces on Cap Juby

    Australia's Baraka Petroleum with ROC, also of Australia, is to conduct a joint study as part of its evaluation of the Cap Juby offshore oil prospect between Morocco and the Canary Islands. Both companies will concentrate their study on the Cap Juby heavy oil discovery and previously identified target areas, including the Winnow and Shazam leads. ROC holds data on the field having held a portion of the prospective area until 2000. Baraka in late May signed a memorandum of
  • Basij demonstrate for nuclear programme

    Hundreds of Basij militia members protested outside European embassies in Tehran on 23 August, vowing to defend Iran's nuclear programme. 'Our nuclear activities are more important than the Iran-Iraq war. We will resist to the last drop of our blood,' said the head of the Basij at Tehran University, Ibrahim Motevalian.Tehran resumed uranium ore conversion at its Isfahan plant in early August despite European objections and an earlier agreement to suspend all nuclear activitie
  • Bayan share issue closes

    Gulf Finance Houseand Kuwait Finance & Investment Company have closed the private placement of KD 80 million ($276 million)-worth of shares to fund Bayan Holding, the project company for the Royal Metropolis development in Jordan. Shares were priced at KD 0.11 ($0.38), with minimum subscription set at 100,000 shares (MEED 8:7:05).
  • Baytur lands Qatar National Library

    Turkey's Baytur Internationalreceived a letter of award in late July for the main package on the landmark Qatar National Library project on the Doha corniche. The award, valued at $245 million, ended an 18-month selection process for the design and build contract by the client, Qatar Petroleum(MEED 1:7:05; 22:4:05).
  • Baytur lands Qatar National Library

    Turkey's Baytur Internationalreceived a letter of award in late July for the main package on the landmark Qatar National Library project on the Doha corniche. The award, valued at $245 million, ended an 18-month selection process for the design and build contract by the client, Qatar Petroleum(MEED 1:7:05; 22:4:05).
  • BCFC lists bonds

    Bahrain Commercial Facilities Company (BCFC)has listed BD 10 million ($26.3 million)-worth of bonds on the Bahrain Stock Exchange, following the instrument's launch in June. The five-year issue has a margin of 85 basis points over Libor.
  • Ben Ali reshuffles cabinet

    Tunisian President Ben Ali replaced his foreign affairs and defence ministers on 18 August. Abdelawahab Abdallah will take over at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Kamel Morjane will be the new minister of defence. The partial reshuffle affected six ministers in total and three junior ministers. Ali Chaouch replaces Rafaa Dekhil at the Ministry for Social Affairs, Solidarity & Expatriate Tunisians. Dekhil moved to the ministry of communications and relations with parliament. Sadok Korbi
  • Besix, OCI win work on Nile City

    A joint venture of Belgium's Besix Group and the local Orascom Construction Industries (OCI)has been awarded an estimated $17 million contract on the $100 million hotel project being built as part of the Nile City complex, a mixed-use development on the river's east bank in Cairo (MEED 28:5:04).
  • Besix, OCI win work on Nile City

    A joint venture of Belgium's Besix Group and the local Orascom Construction Industries (OCI)has been awarded an estimated $17 million contract on the $100 million hotel project being built as part of the Nile City complex, a mixed-use development on the river's east bank in Cairo (MEED 28:5:04).
  • BHEL wins PDO jobs

    India's Bharat Heavy Electricals (BHEL)has been awarded two turnkey contracts worth a total of about $208 million by Petroleum Development Oman (PDO)to build captive power plants at the Qarn Alam and Mukhaizna fields, both the site of major enhanced oil recovery (EOR) projects. BHEL will install two 126-MW gas turbines at Mukhaizna and one of similar capacity at Qarn Alam. The scope of works includes design, supply, erection and commissioning. The duration of both contrac
  • Bidders await Sipchem acetic acid/VAM

    Saudi International Petrochemical Company (Sipchem) is preparing to release invitation to bid (ITB) documents for two packages covering the acetic acid and vinyl acetate monomer (VAM) units on its Jubail petrochemical project, after contractors responded to a solicitation of interest. In keeping with recent practise, the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) packages are expected to be let on a cost reimbursable basis (MEED 10:6:05).
  • Bids due for Adco's Bu Hasa gas lift

    Abu Dhabi Company for Onshore Oil Operations (Adco)has invited companies to submit bids by 23 August for the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract on the proposed Bu Hasa gas lift project. The prospective bidders include the UK's Mott MacDonald, Lebanon's CATand Descon Engineering, Al-Jaber Energy Services and Galfar Engineering & Contracting Emirates,all local (MEED 10:10:04).
  • Bids due for new DZ storage facilities

    Al-Khafji Joint Operations (KJO) has invited companies to submit bids by mid-September for a lump-sum turnkey (LSTK) contract to expand production facilities at the onshore Hout field in the Divided Zone (DZ). The $100 million contract covers the construction of two large storage tanks, a buffer tank, pumping stations and flowlines. The two storage tanks will be built alongside existing storage facilities and will be connected by a 20-inch-diameter pipeline to ship loading facilities. The
  • Bids due for Yanbu central hospital

    The Royal Commission for Jubail & Yanbu (RCJ&Y)has invited companies to submit bids by 23 August for a design consultancy contract to expand the central hospital in Yanbu. The prospective bidders include A Al-Saihati, Sofcon, Saudi Consulting Services (SaudConsult), Zuhair Fayez Partnership Consultants and Saudi Consolidated Engineering Company (Khatib & Alami), all local. Estimated to cost SR 150 million ($40 million), the 20-month pr
  • Bids due for Yanbu central hospital

    The Royal Commission for Jubail & Yanbu (RCJ&Y)has invited companies to submit bids by 23 August for a design consultancy contract to expand the central hospital in Yanbu. The prospective bidders include A Al-Saihati, Sofcon, Saudi Consulting Services (SaudConsult), Zuhair Fayez Partnership Consultants and Saudi Consolidated Engineering Company (Khatib & Alami), all local. Estimated to cost SR 150 million ($40 million), the 20-month pr
  • Bids in for Doha west

    Bid evaluation is under way at the Public Works Authority (Ashghal) for the contract to design, build and operate the Doha west sewage treatment plant expansion project. Nine groups were prequalified to bid for the estimated $150 million project, although it is unclear how many participated in the tender. A contract award is expected in late 2005/early 2006. The 30-month design and build element of the contract entails more than doubling treatment capacity at the plant to 135,000 cubic metres a
  • Bids in for HSBC HQ

    All eight prequalified contractors submitted bids on 7 August for the estimated $14 million-17 million main construction contract on the project to build a new headquarters building for HSBC Bank Egyptin Cairo. The successful bidder will build a 10-storey block in Cairo's Maadi district, which will also include a basement car park. The bidders are: Arab Contractors (Osman Ahmed Osman & Company); Hassan Allam Sons (Misr Sons Development); Industrial Con
  • Bids in for HSBC HQ

    All eight prequalified contractors submitted bids on 7 August for the estimated $14 million-17 million main construction contract on the project to build a new headquarters building for HSBC Bank Egyptin Cairo. The successful bidder will build a 10-storey block in Cairo's Maadi district, which will also include a basement car park. The bidders are: Arab Contractors (Osman Ahmed Osman & Company); Hassan Allam Sons (Misr Sons Development); Industrial Con
  • Bids in for Jebel Ali port work

    Bids were submitted on 8 August to Dubai Ports, Customs & Free Zone Corporation for the main dredging package on the first phase of the new Jebel Ali container terminal. Bidders are understood to include Dredging Internationaland Jan de Nul, both of Belgium, Van Oordand Royal Boskalis Westminsterof the Netherlands, the US' Great Lakes Dredge & Dock, China Harbour Engineering Company, Geneva-registered Archirodon Cons
  • Bids in for Jebel Ali port work

    Bids were submitted on 8 August to Dubai Ports, Customs & Free Zone Corporation for the main dredging package on the first phase of the new Jebel Ali container terminal. Bidders are understood to include Dredging Internationaland Jan de Nul, both of Belgium, Van Oordand Royal Boskalis Westminsterof the Netherlands, the US' Great Lakes Dredge & Dock, China Harbour Engineering Company, Geneva-registered Archirodon Cons
  • Bids in for KFH contracts

    Financial offers are under evaluation by the US' Jacobs Engineeringfor the five 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). Evaluation is due to be completed by the end of August. The invited contractors were asked to submit a guaranteed maximum price and KFH has stipulated that the project's cost should not ex
  • Bids in for refinery revamp

    A US/local joint venture of Fluor Corporationand Almeer Technical Services Company (Atsco)is low bidder at KD 40.5 million ($140 million) for a 30-month engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract to install a new instrumentation system at Mina al-Ahmadi refinery. The client, state refinery operator Kuwait National Petroleum Corporation (KNPC), is expected to make an award in the autumn.
  • Bids in for Ritz Carlton hotel in DIFC

    Three companies submitted bids on 10 August for the estimated $180 million Ritz Carlton hotel and apartment project at Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC). Two other contractors declined to bid for the design and build contract. The client is the local Union Properties(MEED 13:5:05).
  • Bids in for Ritz Carlton hotel in DIFC

    Three companies submitted bids on 10 August for the estimated $180 million Ritz Carlton hotel and apartment project at Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC). Two other contractors declined to bid for the design and build contract. The client is the local Union Properties(MEED 13:5:05).
  • Bids invited for Etihad Airways terminal

    The Supervision Committee for the Expansion of Abu Dhabi International Airport (Scadia) has invited specialised companies to submit prequalifications by 22 August for the design and build of an interim passenger terminal for local carrier Etihad Airways. Construction is due to be completed by the third quarter of 2006 (MEED 22:7:05).
  • Bids invited for Etihad Airways terminal

    The Supervision Committee for the Expansion of Abu Dhabi International Airport (Scadia) has invited specialised companies to submit prequalifications by 22 August for the design and build of an interim passenger terminal for local carrier Etihad Airways. Construction is due to be completed by the third quarter of 2006 (MEED 22:7:05).
  • Bids studied for Aramco pipeline contract

    Saudi Aramco is evaluating bids for a major onshore pipeline maintenance contract. About 13 companies submitted bids by late July for the four-year contract, which is valued at up to $300 million. Called onshore potential maintenance, the contract involves the maintenance and upkeep of gas pipelines in 14 areas including Abqaiq, Shaybah, Shedgum, Qatif and Uthmaniyah. An award is due by late October (MEED 15:7:05).
  • Bids studied for NDIA control tower

    Four groups of companies submitted bids on 15 August for the design and build package covering the control tower on the $2,500 million New Doha International Airport (NDIA) project. The bidders are: France's Vinci, with the local Midmac Contracting; Belgium's Six Construct; the local Aljaber Engineering; and Athens-based Consolidated Contractors International Company (CCC)with the UK's Balfour Beatty. The estimated $100 mill
  • Bids studied for NDIA control tower

    Four groups of companies submitted bids on 15 August for the design and build package covering the control tower on the $2,500 million New Doha International Airport (NDIA) project. The bidders are: France's Vinci, with the local Midmac Contracting; Belgium's Six Construct; the local Aljaber Engineering; and Athens-based Consolidated Contractors International Company (CCC)with the UK's Balfour Beatty. The estimated $100 mill
  • Bids studied for Ras Abu Fontas B2

    Qatar Electricity & Water Company (QEWC) is evaluating bids from about four companies for the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract on the planned B2 project to expand capacity at the existing Ras Abu Fontas power and desalination complex. The submissions are understood to have come from France's Alstom Power, South Korea's Doosan Heavy Industries & Construction Company, Italy's Fisia Italimpianti and the US' General Electric. Th
  • Bids studied for SHY-1 pipeline

    Technical evaluation is under way at Saudi Aramco for the lump-sum turnkey (LSTK) contract to debottleneck the Shedgum-Yanbu east-west SHY-1 natural gas liquids (NGL) pipeline. About seven companies priced the estimated SR 100 million ($27 million) contract. The bidders include RH Al-Marri Establishment (RHM), Faysal M Qahtani Establishment (FMQ)and Tamimi Construction, all local, Lebanon's Contracting & Trading (CAT), the Netherlands'
  • Bids studied for smelter power island

    Bids are under evaluation from five companies for the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract on the power island to serve the planned Sohar aluminium smelter. An award is due by the end of September. The five bidders are understood to be France's Alstom, Doosan Heavy Industries & Construction Companyand Hyundai Engineering & Contracting Company, both of South Korea, Germany's Siemens, and Canada's SNC Lavalinwith the U
  • Bin Laden still conducting operations in Saudi Arabia

    Osama bin Laden is still directing attacks in Saudi Arabia, the kingdom's ambassador to the UK Prince Turki al-Faisal said on 31 July. 'Some of the events that occurred in the kingdom over the past two and a half years were under the immediate directions of Al-Qaeda, particularly Bin Laden,' Turki said. Over the past two years a series of militant attacks have rocked Saudi Arabia and security forces have either arrested or killed many wanted militant leaders. Some isolated Al-Qaeda cells op
  • BMB completes capital raising

    Bahrain-based BMB Investment Bankhas concluded its capital increase, with a total of $52.3 million raised through a rights issue, a private placement and a debt-for-equity conversion. The refinancing of a $75 million syndicated loan has also been activated. Trading of BMB's shares on the Bahrain Stock Exchange is due to resume on 4 September, following its suspension in early June (MEED 15:7:05).
  • Bodies dumped, bodyguards ambushed

    Iraqi police found on 25 August the bodies of 36 men who were shot in the head and dumped in a stream near the town of Kut, south of Baghdad. The men's hands were bound and they were wearing civilian clothes. They were thought to have been killed around 20 August.In Al-Odhaim, 125 kilometres northeast of Baghdad, gunmen killed two of President Talabani's bodyguards and wounded seven others when they attacked their convoy. Talabani was not in any of the vehicles. Al-Odhaim is
  • Bomb blast in Sinai

    A small roadside explosion damaged a Multinational Force & Observers (MFO) vehicle near the town of Al-Arish in the Sinai on 15 August. No one was hurt in the incident. Initial reports said a bus had exploded near an airport at El-Gorah used by MFO staff. The MFO monitors the 1978 peace deal signed between Egypt and Israel, which stipulates that the Sinai is a demilitarised zone.
  • Bonyan unveils Park plans

    UAE-based Bonyan International Investment Groupunveiled on 10 August plans to build an estimated $1,200 million hotel located near the Dubai Trade Centre roundabout. The project, named Dubai Park Square tower, will have more than 150 storeys and be located within a new residential, commercial and retail district named Park Square. Although a design consultant or project manager has yet to be appointed, the developer claims the tower will be the world's tallest hotel and the second hi
  • Bonyan unveils Park plans

    UAE-based Bonyan International Investment Groupunveiled on 10 August plans to build an estimated $1,200 million hotel located near the Dubai Trade Centre roundabout. The project, named Dubai Park Square tower, will have more than 150 storeys and be located within a new residential, commercial and retail district named Park Square. Although a design consultant or project manager has yet to be appointed, the developer claims the tower will be the world's tallest hotel and the second hi
  • Bouteflika may boycott Arab summit

    Algeria's President Bouteflika may not attend an Arab summit organised by Cairo at Sharm el-Sheikh, an Algerian official said on 3 August, sparking a row between the two countries. The official said Algiers thinks the summit of Arab leaders had been hastily organised for the domestic benefit of Egypt's President Mubarak, who faces a presidential election in September. Bouteflika is currently the president of the Arab League but Prime Minister Abdulaziz Balkhadem or Minister of State Abu Jar
  • Bouteflika puts forward reconciliation plan

    Algerian President Bouteflika presented a new charter for peace and national reconciliation on 14 August. The document offers amnesty to Islamist militants who surrendered to the authorities before January 2000, but excludes those involved in mass killings, rape and attacks on public targets. Ongoing proceedings against militants who did not participate in murders or rapes will be dropped if they turn themselves in to the police. 'Persons involved in activities of support of terrorism who i
  • Britons arrested in Dubai complain of abuse

    Two Britons arrested in Dubai in connection with the 7 July London bombings complained they were mistreated in custody after they were freed on 3 August. Rafiq Siddique and Alam Ghafoor were held for ten days with another British man. Ghafoor said he was slapped around the head and verbally abused. One of the men complained he was deprived of sleep and forced to stand with his arms in the air for more than seven hours. 'These men - their account, and I certainly believe it - had some very i
  • Brown & Root in for GMR-4

    UK-based Brown & Root North Africahas taken a four- year project management consultancy (PMC) contract to supervise the design and construction of the fourth phase of the great manmade river (GMR) project. Phase 4 involves the development of a new wellfield in the Ghadames area in the west of the country and the construction of a 620-kilometre pipeline from the wellfield to the coastal region between Tripoli and the Tunisian border. The 250,000-cubic-metre-a-day (cm/d) conveyor will
  • BSE suffers summertime blues

    The Bahrain All-Shares Index (BASI), like most of its Gulf counterparts, has experienced a correction over the summer months. While the bourses of Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Dubai recovered momentum in early August, selling pressure continued on the Bahrain Stock Exchange (BSE). The BASI's 12.4 per cent year-to-date rise is impressive and valuations are for the most part reasonable. But trading - while rising - remains thin and investors' eyes are firmly on the kingdom's first initial public offeri
  • Bubble fears exaggerated

    The Amman Stock Exchange (ASE) continues to enjoy accelerated growth and increasing activity. Turnover rose from $1.4 million in March to nearly $3 million in June. However, despite its strong performance - mainly driven by the financial services sector - there are fears that the market may be overheating, with some analysts questioning the realism of the present growth.
  • Burj Dubai transport plan under evaluation

    Dubai-based Emaar Propertiesis evaluating proposals from consultants for a small-scale dual-technology internal transport system for its estimated $20,000 million Burj Dubai development. Ideas under consideration include a tramway network, water taxis and shuttle services which would link up with stations on the planned metro system. Once Emaar has selected the technology, the successful contractor will work on a full feasibility study. Transport plans including a monorail system are
  • Burj Dubai welcomes hotel contractors

    Bids have been submitted for the main contract to build the 300-metre-high Lake View hotel and serviced apartments on the Burj Dubai development. The estimated $200 million Lake View scheme is one of two hotel projects out to tender on Burj Dubai. The client is the local Emaar Properties(MEED 8:7:05).
  • Burj Dubai welcomes hotel contractors

    Bids have been submitted for the main contract to build the 300-metre-high Lake View hotel and serviced apartments on the Burj Dubai development. The estimated $200 million Lake View scheme is one of two hotel projects out to tender on Burj Dubai. The client is the local Emaar Properties(MEED 8:7:05).
  • Bush's Middle East mission gets tougher

    When the first 100 days of President Bush's second term ended in April, American Middle East policy had an encouraging look. Aggressive neo-conservatives such as former deputy defence secretary Paul Wolfowitz had been dispatched from the administration. Condoleezza Rice, who has the ear of the president, stepped up to become Secretary of State to replace Colin Powell, who certainly didn't. Talk of invading Iran ended and efforts to get European support for regional initiatives were started. Gett
  • Cabinet approves Shouaiba IWPP company

    The cabinet on 15 August approved the formation of Shouaiba Water & Electricity Company(SWEC)to develop and operate the Shouaiba independent water and power project (IWPP). The decision follows several months of negotiations between the project sponsor and offtaker, Water & Electricity Company (WEC)- a 50:50 joint venture of Saudi Electricity Company (SEC)and Saline Water Conversion Corporation (SWCC)- and the sole and preferred bidder, a lo
  • Cabinet List

    Government of SyriaPresident Bashar al-Asad Prime Minister Mohammed Naji al-Utri Agriculture Adil Safir Construction & Housing Mohammed Nihad Mushantat Culture Mahmoud al-Sayid Defence Hassan Ali Tourkmani, Lt. Gen. Economy & Trade Emir Housni Lutfi Education Ali Sad Electricity Mounib Saim al-Dahar Environment & Local Government Hil
  • Cairo's power increases

    The Cairo North 1 power station was officially inaugurated on 8 August, producing 750 MW of electricity for the capital. The focus is now on the project's second phase, which will see the addition of the same amount of generation capacity. The first 500-MW expansion at the Cairo North 2 power station is due to come on stream by the end of the year and will be followed by the addition of a further 250 MW from one steam turbine in early 2006. The turbines are being supplied by the US' GE P
  • Campus PMC bids due

    International and local consultants are preparing to resubmit proposals by 3 September for the three-year project management consultancy (PMC) contract extension covering development of Kuwait University's estimated $3,000 million new campus at Shadidiyah. The contract covers the supervision of the masterplanning, design and construction of the new campus. The US/local Turner-Projacs is the incumbent project manager and has had its PMC contract extended by three months until the end
  • Campus PMC bids due

    International and local consultants are preparing to resubmit proposals by 3 September for the three-year project management consultancy (PMC) contract extension covering development of Kuwait University's estimated $3,000 million new campus at Shadidiyah. The contract covers the supervision of the masterplanning, design and construction of the new campus. The US/local Turner-Projacs is the incumbent project manager and has had its PMC contract extended by three months until the end
  • CB&I awarded Sharq tank package

    Jubail-based Eastern Petrochemical Company (Sharq) has awarded an estimated $45 million contract to the US' Chicago Bridge & Iron (CB&I) for the construction of eight storage tanks and related facilities for its planned polyethylene (PE) project in the Eastern Province. CB&I beat off competition from S-Tank of South Korea, the local Yanbu Steel Companyand India's Larsen & Toubro (L&T)for the contract, which will take about 26 months to
  • CB&I takes tank contract

    US-based Chicago Bridge & Iron (CB&I) has been awarded an estimated $140 million storage tanks subcontract on the natural gas liquids (NGL) train 3 project under the third phase of the onshore gas development (OGD-3) and phase 2 of the Asab gas development (AGD-2) programme in Abu Dhabi emirate (MEED 13:5:05).
  • CBI to go Islamic

    The Ministry of Economy & Planning has approved plans by Ras al-Khaimah-based Commercial Bank International (CBI)to convert into a wholly Islamic bank, subject to approval from shareholders at an extraordinary general meeting (EGM) in September. The board will also seek approval to more than triple capital, to AED 1,000 million ($272.5 million) from AED 300 million ($81.7 million). Conversion of operations in line with sharia stipulations is due to be completed early next year. CBI's
  • CCC snaps up AFK subcontracts

    Athens-based Consolidated Contractors International Company (CCC) has been selected for two major subcontracts on the onshore Abu Hadriyah, Fadhili and Khursaniyah (AFK) oil fields development programme in the Eastern Province.
  • CCC wins road job

    Athens-based Consolidated Contractors International Company (CCC)has been awarded the RO 43.9 million ($112 million) contract to expand the Sohar-Buraimi road into a dual-carriageway. CCC was the second lowest bidder after the local Gulf Petrochemical Servicesfor the job, which entails widening about 81.4 kilometres of carriageway. The consultant is Pakistan's Nespak; the client is the Transport & Communications Ministry (MEED 22:7:05).
  • CCC wins road job

    Athens-based Consolidated Contractors International Company (CCC)has been awarded the RO 43.9 million ($112 million) contract to expand the Sohar-Buraimi road into a dual-carriageway. CCC was the second lowest bidder after the local Gulf Petrochemical Servicesfor the job, which entails widening about 81.4 kilometres of carriageway. The consultant is Pakistan's Nespak; the client is the Transport & Communications Ministry (MEED 22:7:05).
  • CDR: Getting back to work

    Beirut's capital works programme has been significantly delayed by the months of political upheaval. Many projects have been affected by the lack of central direction. Nobody has been affected more than the Council for Development & Reconstruction (CDR), the government agency responsible for rebuilding the country's war-ravaged infrastructure and water, power and transport networks.
  • Cement plant planned

    Saudi Pan Company For Trading, Industry & Contracting (SAPAC) has announced plans to build a new 5,000-tonne-a-year (t/y) cement plant in the northern town of Arar. Negotiations are under way between the client and contractors for the construction and equipment supply contracts, with awards expected by year-end. India's Holtecis the consultant. Commissioning is expected in 2007. The client is understood to be seeking investors to help finance the estimated $320 million scheme,
  • Cheney, Bush and Powell visit King Abdullah

    US Vice President Dick Cheney and former President George Bush Snr visited Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah on 5 August at his farm outside Riyadh. The two men, accompanied by former US secretary of state Colin Powell, offered their condolences to the king on the death of his half-brother, the late King Fahd. Crown Prince Sultan and US Joint Chiefs of Staff General Peter Pace were also at the meeting. Bush has had close ties with the Saudi royal family for decades. Scores of foreign delegations
  • Chinese bid high for GSM licence

    The Chinese/local Unitel is the highest bidder at $149 million for the country's third GSM licence, following the opening of prices in early August. The Telecommunications & Information Technology Ministry expects to make a decision by the end of the month.
  • CIA secret Iraqi unit revealed

    The CIA recruited and trained Iraqi paramilitaries to foment rebellion before the US-led invasion, the Washington Post reported on 3 August. The group, code-named the Scorpions, was part of President Bush's policy of regime change, the article said. The CIA spent millions of dollars on the Scorpions but most of their pre-war missions were cancelled, the article said. Washington used the paramilitaries to infiltrate insurgent groups after the invasion and to conduct interrogations. Members,
  • City lots tendered

    Local developer Nakheel has invited contractors to bid for three packages on the estimated $1,900 million International City country-themed residential district. The bid deadline has been extended for the French-themed buildings, with package 13 now due by 28 August and package 14 by 5 September. Bidders have also been requested to bid by 3 October for the Greek-themed package 7. The $60 million-80 million projects, which are all similar in scope, call for the construction of about 3
  • City lots tendered

    Local developer Nakheel has invited contractors to bid for three packages on the estimated $1,900 million International City country-themed residential district. The bid deadline has been extended for the French-themed buildings, with package 13 now due by 28 August and package 14 by 5 September. Bidders have also been requested to bid by 3 October for the Greek-themed package 7. The $60 million-80 million projects, which are all similar in scope, call for the construction of about 3
  • Civil strife brews in Iraq

    President Talabani and other senior government members held talks with Sunni representatives on 24 August to persuade them to accept the draft constitution. 'The draft: will divide the society as there are many negatives in it,' said Sunni representative Saleh al-Mutlaq. 'We reject federalism in the central and southern regions, we reject it because it has no basis other than sectarianism,' said the head of the National Conference for the Sunni People of Iraq, Adnan al-Dulaimi.
  • Clarifications for Sharjah desal plants

    Sharjah Electricity & Water Authority (SEWA) has started evaluating technical bids for the contract to design, supply and install two reverse osmosis (RO) desalination units at Layyah and Khorfakkan. The bidders are Austria's Aqua Engineering, Belgium's Besix, the US' CH2M Hill, the local Metito and Weir Technaof the UK. A selection is due by the end of August. The two contracts, valued in total at about AED 160 million ($43 million), c
  • CMA approves Bank Muscat capital hike

    The Capital Market Authority (CMA) has approved plans by Bank Muscatto increase capital by about 10 per cent through the issue of global depositary receipts (GDRs), to be listed on the London Stock Exchange. The proposal is now subject to ratification at an extraordinary general meeting (EGM) of shareholders on 17 August. The Central Bank of Oman approved the increase in late June, which will help fund ongoing regional expansion by the bank (MEED 24:6:05).
  • Concepts invited for Future City scheme

    Local and international architects have been invited by the local Arab Contractors (Osman Ahmed Osman & Company)to submit design proposals by 15 November for a new urban development on the outskirts of Cairo. The successful winner of the design competition on the scheme, called Future City, will be chosen by year-end and receive a prize of $75,000.
  • Concepts invited for Future City scheme

    Local and international architects have been invited by the local Arab Contractors (Osman Ahmed Osman & Company)to submit design proposals by 15 November for a new urban development on the outskirts of Cairo. The successful winner of the design competition on the scheme, called Future City, will be chosen by year-end and receive a prize of $75,000.
  • Conco bids low for township work

    Consolidated Contractors Company (Conco)is low bidder at KD 7.5 million ($25.9 million) for the retendered contract to design and build infrastructure works for sector 1 in the Fahad al-Ahmed township. Mushrif Trading & Contracting Company came second on price at KD 8 million ($27.6 million), followed by Combined Groupat KD 8.3 million ($28.6 million). Five other local grade 1 contractors submitted bids. The client, the Public Authority for Housing Welfare, is expe
  • Conco bids low for township work

    Consolidated Contractors Company (Conco)is low bidder at KD 7.5 million ($25.9 million) for the retendered contract to design and build infrastructure works for sector 1 in the Fahad al-Ahmed township. Mushrif Trading & Contracting Company came second on price at KD 8 million ($27.6 million), followed by Combined Groupat KD 8.3 million ($28.6 million). Five other local grade 1 contractors submitted bids. The client, the Public Authority for Housing Welfare, is expe
  • Constitution could split Iraq

    Iraq's new constitution should ensure national unity, Saudi Arabian Foreign Affairs Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal said on 23 August. 'Saudi Arabia: hopes that the constitution will meet the aspirations of the Iraqi people in consecrating national unity and maintaining its Arab and Muslim identity,' he said. Prince Faisal said he hoped the constitution would also meet Iraqis' aspirations for 'security, stability and prosperity' and that Iraqi leaders 'let national interests supersede confes
  • Constitution deadline nears

    Iraq's constitutional drafting committee was due to deliver a new constitution on 15 August, despite remaining disagreements on key issues. Sunni representatives have rejected a federal Iraq but the charter may go to the National Assembly for ratification without their support. 'We will not accept a federal system in the constitution. This is a red line for us as it concerns the unity of Iraq and we will not bargain on this,' said Sunni committee member Saleh Mutlaq. Reports said Kurdish an
  • Constitution talks press on

    Talks over the constitution continued on 18 August, with drafting committee members expressing optimism that the charter would be completed by the new 22 August deadline. 'I think there will be some sort of agreement by the deadline but the question mark is the Sunni Arabs,' said Kurdish committee member Mahmoud Othman. 'Everyone wants them to be involved, but I'm not sure that they will come around. I'm not sure [the constitution] will include them.' US, UK and UN officials
  • Constitutional deadline extended

    Talks on the formation of Iraq's constitution continued on 16 August, after the deadline for the completion of the Iraqi national charter passed a day earlier. The Transitional National Assembly voted to change the interim constitution to allow another week of talks. The new deadline is 22 August. 'It should not be delayed again. I think one week is enough,' said Prime Minister Ibrahim Jaafari. The committee is still discussing controversial issues such as the federal structure of Iraq, the
  • Consultant sought for MCH restructuring

    The Joint Contracting Commandhas invited local and international consultants to respond to solicitations of interest by 29 August for a contract to restructure the Ministry of Construction & Housing (MCH). The 12-month project is divided into two parts. The first calls for the consultant to prepare a comprehensive analysis and strategic plan for the reorganisation of the ministry to improve efficiency and streamline its commissions and directorates throughout the country. The study w
  • Consultant sought for MCH restructuring

    The Joint Contracting Commandhas invited local and international consultants to respond to solicitations of interest by 29 August for a contract to restructure the Ministry of Construction & Housing (MCH). The 12-month project is divided into two parts. The first calls for the consultant to prepare a comprehensive analysis and strategic plan for the reorganisation of the ministry to improve efficiency and streamline its commissions and directorates throughout the country. The study w
  • Contractors line up for OAG

    Companies responded in late July to an initial inquiry for the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract on the onshore associated gas (OAG) project in Abu Dhabi emirate. Being handled by Abu Dhabi Gas Industries Company (Gasco), the estimated $550 million scheme will be carried out in three packages. It will cover the supply and installation of compressors and booster stations on Das island and major pipelines for the transport and processing of gas at Habshan. The UK
  • Contractors prepare for Ahmadi hospital work

    Local and international contractors have been given until 18 August to prequalify for the estimated KD 70 million ($241 million) contract to build a new hospital at Ahmadi for state-owned upstream operator Kuwait Oil Company (KOC). The prequalification shortlist is due to be drawn up in September with a view to issuing the tender in the autumn. Construction will take about 30 months. Designed by a US/local team of Langdon Wilsonand Gulf Consult, the new genera
  • Contractors prepare for Ahmadi hospital work

    Local and international contractors have been given until 18 August to prequalify for the estimated KD 70 million ($241 million) contract to build a new hospital at Ahmadi for state-owned upstream operator Kuwait Oil Company (KOC). The prequalification shortlist is due to be drawn up in September with a view to issuing the tender in the autumn. Construction will take about 30 months. Designed by a US/local team of Langdon Wilsonand Gulf Consult, the new genera
  • Contracts awarded for Dubai road widening

    Dubai Municipality has awarded two contracts valued in total at about $60 million to rehabilitate the Jebel Ali-Lehbab highway. The first phase, costing AED 94 million ($26 million), will be carried out by the local Bin Hafeez General Contracting & Transport Establishment. The second phase, worth AED 124 million ($34 million), has been awarded to Abu Dhabi-based Saif bin Darwish. The project entails the widening to four lanes of 34 kilometres of road. It will also add fiv
  • Contracts awarded for Dubai road widening

    Dubai Municipality has awarded two contracts valued in total at about $60 million to rehabilitate the Jebel Ali-Lehbab highway. The first phase, costing AED 94 million ($26 million), will be carried out by the local Bin Hafeez General Contracting & Transport Establishment. The second phase, worth AED 124 million ($34 million), has been awarded to Abu Dhabi-based Saif bin Darwish. The project entails the widening to four lanes of 34 kilometres of road. It will also add fiv
  • Co-ordinated blasts kill scores

    A triple bombing in Baghdad killed more than 40 people on 17 August, bringing to an end a month of relative calm in the city. A further 76 people were wounded. Three car bombs exploded in or around Nahda bus station during the morning rush-hour. The third bomb was timed to kill police and rescue workers as they helped those injured from the first explosions made their way to the nearby hospital. Police said the cars were empty and they did not think it was a suicide attack, the hallmark of
  • Correction

    The full name of the client on the Sharm International Conference Complex project is Jolie Ville Moevenpick Golf & Resort, which is owned by the local Naama Golf & Touristic Investment Company, and not as stated in MEED 5:8:05.
  • Correction

    The full name of the client on the Sharm International Conference Complex project is Jolie Ville Moevenpick Golf & Resort, which is owned by the local Naama Golf & Touristic Investment Company, and not as stated in MEED 5:8:05.
  • Croatians study block 26

    Croatia's Geofizika Enterprise for Geophysical Explorationhas begun to acquire 2D seismic data covering about 1,170 kilometres in block 26 in the northeast. After processing and interpreting the new seismic data, the firm plans to choose the exploration drill-sites to allow for drilling of the first exploration well in the first quarter of 2006. The company is carrying out the work on behalf of Texas-based Gulfsands Petroleum. Gulfsands and Russia's Soyuzeneftgas
  • Crown Holdings drinks to Jebel Ali

    Saudi Arabia's Ahmad Hamad Algosaibi & Bros (AH Algosaibi)and US-based Crown Holdingshave announced plans to build a new beverage end-making facility in Dubai's Jebel Ali Free Zone. US-based Roeslein, which is acting as project engineering consultant for the installation of two new can lines at Crown's facilities in Dubai and Jeddah, is also the consultant for the drinks plant. The new facility, which is planned to be operational in the second quarter of 2006,
  • CSFB to advise on EAB share sale

    Credit Suisse First Boston (CSFB) has been appointed by Bank of Alexandria (BoA) and American Express (Amex)to act as financial adviser on the sale of their stakes in Egyptian American Bank (EAB). No timeframe has been given for the transaction, under which BoA and Amex will sell their combined 74.7 per cent share in EAB. EAB earlier this year raised its paid-in capital to £E 648 million ($113 million) from £E 432 million ($75 million) to meet the new C
  • Deadline for new Iraqi constitution draws near

    Iraq will be a parliamentary republic with an honorary president, according to a draft version of the constitution being debated on 4 August. The National Assembly will elect the president who will chose a vice-president, and the prime minister will be drawn from the assembly's majority party. The constitution will 'reinforce democracy and prevent the return of a dictatorship', said the head of the constitutional sub-committee responsible for defining the shape of the government, Thamer Gha
  • Deadlock over constitution

    The Iraqi committee drafting the constitution delayed on 5 August a crucial meeting. The committee appears increasingly unlikely to meet the 15 August deadline, since important issues remain unresolved. Leaked drafts show the committee has failed to ensure equal rights to women and religious groups. All the different factions must have a stake in the constitution, said US Ambassador to Iraq Zalmay Khalilzad on a visit to Kirkuk.US Secretary of Defence Donald Rumsfeld revealed
  • Debt management

    It is nearly three years since former prime minister Rafiq Hariri promised donors at the Paris II conference that he would tackle Lebanon's mounting public debt through an aggressive privatisation programme. Since then, the debt pile has risen by about 10 per cent to $36,000 million, and, as yet, nothing has been privatised.
  • Decision due on LNG project

    A final investment decision was expected within days as MEED went to press on the Yemen LNG project, with a positive verdict expected from the shareholders - France's Total, state-owned Yemen Gas Company, the US' Hunt Oil Companyand SK Engineering & Constructionand Hyundai Heavy Industries Company, both of South Korea. The decision will trigger the award of the main engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contracts. Two groups o
  • Decision nears on Cegco sell-off

    The long-awaited privatisation of Central Electricity Generating Company (Cegco)has gathered momentum, with the government negotiating the sale of a 51 per cent stake with one strategic investor. Officials at the Energy & Mineral Resources Ministry, which is handling the sale, say an award is imminent. Cegco's total generating capacity is 1,633 MW. Its biggest power plants are the 656-MW Aqaba station, the 396-MW Hussain plant and the 260-MW Rehab station. When the Cegco sale is comp
  • Delayed detente

    What does Tripoli have to do to be taken off Washington's list of states that sponsor terrorism? This is the question vexing Libyan officials, who, two years after leader Muammar Gaddafi committed to dismantling the country's weapons of mass destruction (WMD) programme, are frustrated at the US' failure to remove the final obstacle to normalising relations with the rest of the world.
  • DEWA rethinks financing options

    Bids were submitted on 25 July for the mandate to advise Dubai Electricity & Water Authority (DEWA) on methods of meeting future project financing requirements. The move marks a major departure for the authority, which has never previously sought commercial finance.
  • DHL: Cheque's in the post

    Only a few global brand names - Hoover, Google - ever reach such a position of market leadership that their name is used as a verb for the service they provide. But with a global customer base of some 4.2 million, a presence in more than 220 countries and territories and shipments in excess of 1,000 million a year, US-based logistics firm DHL, owned since 2002 by Deutsche Post, is gaining that distinction. Customers in the Middle East are 'DHL-ing' their bulky, urgent or sensitive goods in ever-
  • DI inks Saudi glass deal

    Dubai Investments (DI)has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to buy Riyadh-based Saudi American Glass (SAG). The deal, which is still to reach financial close, will become DI's second glass coating facility alongside its Emirates Glassoperations in Dubai. The company is also expected to sign in August the estimated $200 million lump-sum turnkey (LSTK) contract with Italy's Ianua Engineeringto build the proposed Emirates Float Glasspl
  • DIB to acquire Al-Khartoum Bank stake

    Dubai Islamic Bank (DIB) has reached an agreement to acquire the Sudanese government's 60 per cent stake in Al-Khartoum Bank. The bank, founded in 1913, has paid-up capital of $45 million and operates 53 branches across the country. It made profits of $7 million in 2004. The move forms part of a trend of increasing UAE involvement in Sudan's banking sector, following the investment of DIB, Abu Dhabi Islamic Bankand National Bank of Sharjahin Khartoum-ba
  • Disi changes hands again

    The government has transferred responsibility for the implementation of the Disi water project from the Development & Investment Projects Fund of the Jordanian Armed Forces back to the Water & Irrigation Ministry. Officials at the ministry say they are awaiting a cabinet decision on how to proceed with the estimated $600 million project. 'Decisions are still to be taken on whether to pursue an EPC [engineering, procurement and construction] contract or a build-operate-transfer [BOT] model, as we
  • DKV down to three

    Dubai Technology, e-Commerce & Free Zone Authority (Tecom) is close to awarding the main infrastructure contract on the next phase in the development of Dubai Knowledge Village (DKV) after shortlisting three companies. They are Bin Hafeez General Contracting & Transport Establishmentand Wade Adams Contracting, both local, and Saudi Binladin Group. The estimated $30 million contract involves earthworks and grading, internal roads, telecommunications infrastruct
  • DKV down to three

    Dubai Technology, e-Commerce & Free Zone Authority (Tecom) is close to awarding the main infrastructure contract on the next phase in the development of Dubai Knowledge Village (DKV) after shortlisting three companies. They are Bin Hafeez General Contracting & Transport Establishmentand Wade Adams Contracting, both local, and Saudi Binladin Group. The estimated $30 million contract involves earthworks and grading, internal roads, telecommunications infrastruct
  • Dodsal scoops Mesoamerican contract

    UAE-based Dodsalis the latest contractor to be selected for work on the Gardens of Discovery project, after it was awarded the estimated AED 365 million ($100 million) Mesoamerican Gardens contract. The 18-month contract calls for the construction of 26 residential buildings with a total built-up area of 1.9 million square feet. Located between interchanges 5 and 6 on Sheikh Zayed highway, Gardens of Discovery is an estimated $1,000 million project being promoted by local developer
  • Dodsal scoops Mesoamerican contract

    UAE-based Dodsalis the latest contractor to be selected for work on the Gardens of Discovery project, after it was awarded the estimated AED 365 million ($100 million) Mesoamerican Gardens contract. The 18-month contract calls for the construction of 26 residential buildings with a total built-up area of 1.9 million square feet. Located between interchanges 5 and 6 on Sheikh Zayed highway, Gardens of Discovery is an estimated $1,000 million project being promoted by local developer
  • Dolphin signs IT deal

    Abu Dhabi-based Dolphin Energy on 9 August announced the signature of a long-term IT outsourcing agreement with Injazat Data Systems, a joint venture of Abu Dhabi government-owned Mubadala Development Company and the US' Electronic Data Systems.
  • Dubai Drydocks gets ship conversion award

    Dubai Drydocks, a subsidiary of Dubai Ports, Customs & Free Zone Corporation (DPCFZC), has been awarded a $25 million contract to convert a 240,000-tonne crude tanker into a floating production, storage and offloading vessel. Work to convert the Knock Adoon, which is owned by Norway-based Fred Olsen Production, will begin in November.The scope of works includes installation of topside production modules, loading and offloading units, mooring equipment, a new accommodation unit
  • Dubai Holding casts eyes on North Africa

    Dubai Properties, a subsidiary of Dubai Holding (DH), is upping its presence in North Africa after tying up with Cairo-based Arab Company for Brokerage & Real Estate Services. The deal aims to drum up interest among North African investors in Dubai's growing project portfolio in the region. Dubai International Properties,DH's overseas property arm, is developing a $2,000 million real estate project in Morocco's Bouregreg river valley. In April, Dubai Ho
  • Dubai ramps up STP plans for Al-Aweer and Jebel Ali

    Dubai Municipality has received bids from six local and international companies for the contract to increase capacity by 50,000 cubic metres a day (cm/d) at the Al-Aweer sewage treatment plant (STP). Prequalification has also been launched by the municipality for a much larger sewerage plant project at Jebel Ali (MEED 3:9:04).
  • Dubai STPs tendered

    Bids have been invited for the construction of sewage treatment plants (STPs) to serve two major real estate developments in Dubai. Six contractors have been invited by Nakheelto bid by 31 August for the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract to build a 32,000-cubic-metre-a-day (cm/d) STP plant at International City using a membrane bioreactor (MBR) system. They are the local/UK joint ventures of Dutco Balfour Beattyand Al-Naboodah Laing O'Rourke
  • Dubal mulls more expansions

    Dubai Aluminium (Dubal)is pressing ahead with another expansion of its Jebel Ali smelter. The latest, involving the expansion of the recently completed seventh potline, will add 100,000 tonnes a year (t/y) of capacity and take total capacity at the site to 861,000 t/y (MEED 10:9:04).
  • Dubal takes Global stake

    Dubai Aluminium (Dubal)announced on 11 August that it had entered an agreement to acquire a 25 per cent stake in Canada's Global Alumina Corporation. Subject to shareholder approval, Dubal will acquire 10 million shares at a price of $2 per share. Dubal will then subscribe to additional shares valued at about $180 million. The move aims to help develop, finance and build a new 2.8 million-tonne-a-year (t/y) alumina refinery in Guinea. As part of the deal, Dubal also signed a
  • Durrat bridges repriced, villas bidding nears

    Revised tender documents were issued to three shortlisted bidders on 31 July for the contract to build the bridges linking the various sections of the Durrat al-Bahrain resort after original bids, in the range of BD 24 million ($63.2 million), came in over budget. Fresh prices are due by mid-August from: the local AA Nass Contractingwith South Africa's Murray & Roberts Contractors (Middle East); Cyprus-based GP Zachariades (GPZ - Overseas), with the Netherland
  • Durrat bridges repriced, villas bidding nears

    Revised tender documents were issued to three shortlisted bidders on 31 July for the contract to build the bridges linking the various sections of the Durrat al-Bahrain resort after original bids, in the range of BD 24 million ($63.2 million), came in over budget. Fresh prices are due by mid-August from: the local AA Nass Contractingwith South Africa's Murray & Roberts Contractors (Middle East); Cyprus-based GP Zachariades (GPZ - Overseas), with the Netherland
  • Early 2006 tendering for Khurais packages

    Saudi Aramco is understood to be targeting the release of invitation to bid (ITB) documents to contractors by early 2006 for the main packages on the estimated $5,000 million Khurais full-field development. Aramco is planning to tender the project in five separate packages and give contractors four-five months to price the work. Aramco is working with US-based Foster Wheeler and the local Sofcon- the project management consultant (PMC) for the scheme - on other maj
  • Economic growth: At the macro level, some optimism

    Given the scarcity of credible data, gauging economic growth in Iraq often amounts to educated guesswork. And the information that is published tends to vary widely in both its accuracy and results.
  • ECONOMY: Reading between the lines

    The lack of significant change to the Libyan economic model since Muammar Gaddafi unexpectedly announced in mid-2003 that it was time to try something new has left Libya watchers analysing the morsels of activity in order to gauge Tripoli's true intentions.
  • Economy: Right time to reform

    By any account the last few months have been exceptional for Lebanon. Public confidence took a significant setback following the assassination of former prime minister Rafiq Hariri. Seen by many as the driving force behind the reconstruction and reform process, his death cast doubts on the country's long-term economic prospects. But Beirut has survived the trauma and, following its first free elections in June, there is some light at the end of the tunnel. Nevertheless, serious challenges remain
  • Economy: Still counting the cost

    While the world's eyes have focused on the political drama of the last 10 years, the Iraqi people have had to cope with sanctions, war and a harsh decline in their living standards. The country will need a lot more than goodwill and political stability if it is to regain its position as a developed nation.
  • EGPC concludes exploration agreements

    The Petroleum Ministry on 8 August formally signed four new agreements and an amendment to an existing agreement with international oil companies for the exploration of acreage in different locations across the country. The deals, which are estimated to be worth a total of about $110 million, are between Egyptian General Petroleum Corporation (EGPC), a ministry affiliate, and four groups of companies.
  • EgyptAir buys Boeing aircraft

    State-owned EgyptAiron 9 August announced that it had concluded a deal potentially worth $850 million with The Boeing Companyof the US for the purchase of up to 12 new 737-800 aircraft. An order for six aircraft has been firmly placed, while the purchase of another six is optional. The new planes each have capacity for 159 passengers and will be used on EgyptAir's Europe and Middle East routes. They will be delivered between September 2006 and the end of 2009. The carrier
  • Election is opportunity to oust Mubarak, says Muslim Brotherhood

    The Muslim Brotherhood urged Egyptian voters on 21 August to go to the polls in September to vote out President Mubarak. 'All brothers have to realise that we cannot support an oppressor or co-operate with a corrupt person or a dictator,' the banned organisation said in an official statement. 'It is unthinkable for us to decide to back Mubarak,' Muslim Brotherhood supreme leader Mohammed Mahdi Akef told London-based Al-Hayat. 'The fact that he has ruled Egypt for 24 years, is seeking a fift
  • Electrowatt plans GCC power plant

    Switzerland-based Electrowatt-Ekonohas been awarded the consultancy contract for a proposed new power plant at Ras al-Khaimah-based Gulf Cement Company (GCC). The client has yet to decide how to proceed with the project, although a tender for the civil works package is expected to be issued by the end of the year. The plant is likely to have capacity of about 60 MW.
  • Emaar heads for Cairo Heights

    Dubai-based property developer Emaarand the local El-Nasr Housing & Development Companyhave teamed up to develop a large-scale, mixed-use real estate development in downtown Cairo. The estimated $4,000 million Cairo Heights project will be built in the capital's Mukattam area and is due for completion in 2010.
  • Emaar heads for Cairo Heights

    Dubai-based property developer Emaarand the local El-Nasr Housing & Development Companyhave teamed up to develop a large-scale, mixed-use real estate development in downtown Cairo. The estimated $4,000 million Cairo Heights project will be built in the capital's Mukattam area and is due for completion in 2010.
  • Emirates seals Chinese financing

    Dubai-based Emirateshas signed an agreement with China Construction Bank Corporationfor the financing of its ninth AirbusA340-500. The deal, the first for the airline from a Chinese bank, is a 12-year operating lease with a margin of 0.78 per cent over six-month libor. The A340 will be delivered in August and is the penultimate in a 10-plane order (MEED 24:6:05).
  • Eni, Nico bring Darquain on stream

    Iran's first major foreign buyback oil field project was inaugurated on 23 July. The Darquain project, carried out by Italy's Eniand the Jersey-registered Naftiran Oil Company (Nico), is producing 55,000 barrels a day (b/d) of oil.
  • EoIs out for financial advisers

    The US Agency for International Development (USAID) is seeking expressions of interest (EoIs) by 23 August from non-governmental and private voluntary organisations and to continue or begin microfinance lending operations throughout the country. The contract is part of an overall project aimed at establishing a microfinancing industry in Iraq and ensuring that local companies acquire start-up capital, training and incentives to implement best practices. The programme is scheduled to take five ye
  • EPF deadline extended

    The bid deadline has been extended by a further month to 28 September for the estimated $120 million-150 million engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) and the five-year operation and maintenance (O&M) contract for the state's first commercial heavy sour crude oil production scheme. Five international and local companies are prequalified to bid for the early production facilities (EPF) project, which is initially aimed at processing 50,000 barrels a day of heavy crude from 20 wells in t
  • EPPC plant award nears

    Egyptian Propylene & Polypropylene Company (EPPC) is in the final stages of evaluating commercial proposals submitted in early July for the contract to build a major propane dehydrogenation (PDH) and polypropylene (PP) complex near Port Said (MEED 22:7:05).
  • Essa wind farm awarded

    Spain's Gamesahas won the Eur 48.7 million ($59.6 million) contract to build the 60-MW wind farm at Cap Sim in Essaouira province. Three other bids were submitted to state power company Office National de l'Electricite (ONE). Work is due to start by the end of the year, with the facility set for completion in 2007. The project will be financed through a 60:40 debt/equity split, with the debt coming from Germany's Kreditanstalt fuer Wiederaufbau. The consultant is Germany's De
  • Esterad stages bond issue

    The local Esterad Investment Companyhas issued a $25 million bond, lead managed by National Bank of Bahrainand Securities & Investment Company. Also joining the deal were Arab Bank, Arab Banking Corporation, Bank of Bahrain & Kuwait, Gulf International Bank, National Bank of Dubai and The Arab Investment Company. The five-year paper, Esterad's debut capital market venture, was priced a
  • Etisalat announces five-month results

    Emirates Telecommunications Corporation (Etisalat)announced on 4 July net income of AED 1,700 million ($463 million) for the first five months of the year, a 22 per cent increase on the same period in 2004. The rise in profits was attributed to an increase in subscriber numbers to more than 4 million, and an increase in the UAE mobile penetration rate to more than 95 per cent. The telco announced in mid-June that it had successfully acquired a 26 per cent stake in Pakistan Telecom
  • Etisalat signs Alcatel MoU

    Etisalat International, a subsidiary of Abu Dhabi-based Emirates Telecommunications Corporation (Etislalat)signed on July 26 a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with France's Alcatelto jointly develop fixed and mobile opportunities globally. The agreement will see the two companies collaborate in identifying potential markets, carrying out technical feasibility studies, tender submission, marketing and financing solutions linked to the supply and installation of Al
  • EU delivers nuclear package

    The EU delivered a package of incentives to Tehran on 5 August hoping for an agreement with Iran not to resume uranium enrichment activities. The list of economic, political and technical proposals includes access to the international nuclear fuel market and atomic energy co-operation for civilian purposes. 'As Iran will have an assured supply of fuel over the coming years, it will be able to : [make] a binding commitment not to pursue [nuclear] fuel cycle activities other than the construc
  • Euro-Japanese JV in line for Rabigh packages

    An Italian/Japanese joint venture of Tecnimontand Sumitomo Corporationis understood to be frontrunner for two of the three main process unit packages, covering the polyethylene (PE) units, on the estimated $8,000 million world-scale Rabigh refining and petrochemicals complex. The client, Rabigh Refining & Petrochemical Company (Petro-Rabigh), the recently formed joint venture of Saudi Aramco and Japan's Sumitomo Chemical Company, is exp
  • Evaluation continuesat Sipchem

    Bid technical clarifications are ongoing at Saudi International Petrochemical Company (Sipchem) on its second-phase project to build a large-scale carbon monoxide (CO) and purification plant at Jubail. Four teams of international contractors submitted proposals in the spring for the estimated $150 million-175 million package, which also includes offsites and utilities work. A final contract award is expected in the fourth quarter. The 250,000-tonne-a-year (t/y) CO unit will feed a 45
  • Exploration permits awarded

    Two groups were in late July awarded oil exploration and prospecting licences by the Energy & Mines Ministry. A consortium of Austria's Geo-State Technology, Pascal Petroleum Companyof the US and state oil company Entreprise Tunisienne d'Activites Petrolieres (ETAP) has been awarded the licence for the 2,096-square-kilometre Borj el-Khadra Sud permit. The $10 million investment will include the drilling of two wells. The UK's Atlas Petroleumand Canada's
  • Explosion in Beirut

    An explosion occurred outside a hotel in the mainly Christian suburb of Zalka in Beirut on 22 August. Initial reports said the blast, which injured at least two people, was caused by a bomb. A series of bombs have targeted Christian areas of Beirut following the murder of former prime minister Rafiq Hariri.
  • Faregh revised bids requested

    Waha Oil Company (WOC)is seeking revised bids from three international contractors for the phase 2 development of the Faregh field, 200 kilometres south of Ras Lanuf, following a partial rescoping of the project. Athens-based Joannou & Paraskevaides (J&P - Overseas), Bonattiof Italy and Germany's MAN GHHhave until the end of August to submit new prices for the estimated $200 million engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract.
  • FDI: Hard sell

    Given the bloody conflict in Iraq, it is hardly surprising that foreign direct investment (FDI) levels are far lower than both Baghdad and Washington would have hoped. But despite the chaos, some foreign investment has been trickling in.
  • Firm Bush and Blair response to Al-Qaeda videotape

    US President Bush brushed aside on 5 August Al-Qaeda's demand that US forces leave Iraq. The 7 July London bombings were a response to UK forces' presence in Iraq and more atrocities would be committed in the US and UK unless troops withdrew, said Ayman al-Zawahiri, Osama bin Laden's deputy. He made the ultimatum on a videotape aired by Al-Jazeera satellite channel.'Zawahiri doesn't want [Iraqis] to live in a free society: He's threatening. [Al-Qaeda] has come against a natio
  • Firms invited for Aramco steel tender

    Saudi Aramco has invited about 15 manufacturers to submit bids by 18 August for a five-year contract to supply more than 1.5 million tonnes of carbon steel pipelines of varying diameters. As part of its contracting strategy, Aramco procures steel pipes, valves and certain long-lead items on a project-to-project basis from global suppliers. However, the current tender was issued keeping in mind steep escalation in the price of steel over the past several months, which - for reinforced stee
  • Five in for BFH infrastructure

    Five companies submitted bids on 1 August for the infrastructure work covering all three phases on the Bahrain Financial Harbour project. They are AA Nass Contracting, Ahmed Mansour Al-A'Ali and Haji Hassan, all local, Sharjah-based Al-Hamad Contracting Companyand the UAE's Wade Adams Contracting. The contract, estimated to be worth BD 15 million-BD 25 million ($39.5 million-65.8 million), covers four bridges, raised embankments, distri
  • Five in for BFH infrastructure

    Five companies submitted bids on 1 August for the infrastructure work covering all three phases on the Bahrain Financial Harbour project. They are AA Nass Contracting, Ahmed Mansour Al-A'Ali and Haji Hassan, all local, Sharjah-based Al-Hamad Contracting Companyand the UAE's Wade Adams Contracting. The contract, estimated to be worth BD 15 million-BD 25 million ($39.5 million-65.8 million), covers four bridges, raised embankments, distri
  • Five line up for Fairmont Abu Dhabi

    Five companies submitted bids on 30 July for the main construction package to build the estimated $130 million Fairmont Abu Dhabi resort and villas. The bidders are Greece's Athena, Paris-based Thinet International, the local Al-Habtoor Engineering Enterprises, Saudi Ogerwith the local Dubai Contracting Company (DCC), and China State Construction Engineering Corporationwith Abu Dhabi-based Orient Contracting Company
  • Five line up for Fairmont Abu Dhabi

    Five companies submitted bids on 30 July for the main construction package to build the estimated $130 million Fairmont Abu Dhabi resort and villas. The bidders are Greece's Athena, Paris-based Thinet International, the local Al-Habtoor Engineering Enterprises, Saudi Ogerwith the local Dubai Contracting Company (DCC), and China State Construction Engineering Corporationwith Abu Dhabi-based Orient Contracting Company
  • Foreigners on alert in Saudi Arabia

    Riyadh increased security around foreign compounds in Saudi Arabia on 9 August following warnings from the US, UK and Australia of imminent terrorist attacks. Officers imposed heightened security measures at foreign residential and diplomatic areas and set up checkpoints to monitor access to the diplomatic neighbourhood of Hay al-Wahidain. Police have erected cement blocks and barbed wire around the Cordoba compound north of Riyadh. The neighbourhood was the target of a bombing in May 2003.
  • Former PDO acreage tendered

    Bids have been invited by 1 January 2006 by the Oil & Gas Ministry for five blocks in acreage recently relinquished by Petroleum Development Oman (PDO) from its block 6 concession. Data packages are under preparation and are due to be ready for interested companies by mid-September. Blocks 54, 55 and 56, covering a total area of about 19,000 square kilometres, are located on the eastern side of the South Oman Salt Basin. Blocks 57 and 58 are situated on the western side of the basin
  • Former senior adviser to SAMA dies

    Former adviser to the Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority (SAMA - central bank) Leonard Ingrams died on 27 July 2005 of a heart attack. Ingrams was a merchant banker and served as senior adviser to the Saudi central bank from 1974-79. In 1981, he returned to Riyadh as an adviser to the Saudi government. He stayed a total of 10 years in the Middle East. Ingrams was senior vice-president at Arab Banking Corporation from 1996-98 before he established LV Ingrams & Co, a financial consultancy speci
  • Former Wataniya CEO joins Q-Tel

    David Murray has been appointed chief operating officer of Qatar Telecom (Q-Tel), charged with management of the company's five main business units. Murray was previously chief executive officer (CEO) of Kuwait's Wataniya Telecomand before that gained extensive experience in South America.
  • Foster Wheeler closes in on RGD

    Foster Wheeler Italianais understood to be frontrunner for the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract on the refinery gas desulphurisation (RGD) project, part of the refinery upgrade programme at Bahrain Petroleum Company (Bapco). Contract signing is due in late August. Foster Wheeler was low bidder for the job with its cheapest option of $111.8 million when prices from four companies were opened in May. The contract calls for the installation of a 225-tonne-
  • Four in for Bubiyan PMS

    Four international consultants are understood to have submitted proposals for the retendered three-year contract to provide project management services (PMS) on the $1,200 million Bubiyan seaport project. They are: the UK's Hyder Consulting; Mouchel Parkmanwith DG Jones, also of the UK; the US' Parsons Brinckerhoff; and the US/local Turner-Projacs. The successful bidder will supervise all three of the main phases of the project's develo
  • Four in for Bubiyan PMS

    Four international consultants are understood to have submitted proposals for the retendered three-year contract to provide project management services (PMS) on the $1,200 million Bubiyan seaport project. They are: the UK's Hyder Consulting; Mouchel Parkmanwith DG Jones, also of the UK; the US' Parsons Brinckerhoff; and the US/local Turner-Projacs. The successful bidder will supervise all three of the main phases of the project's develo
  • Fourteen eye Sirte pipelines

    State-owned Sirte Oil Company (SOC) has received strong interest in two gas pipeline construction contracts worth a combined total of $270 million. About 14 international companies attended an SOC tender meeting in Tripoli to make presentations of their capabilities for the two engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contracts, involving construction of the 120-kilometre-long Melitah-Tripoli pipeline and completion of the 160-kilometre Khoms-Tripoli pipeline.
  • Fugro to route map OAG

    The local Fugro Survey (Middle East)has been awarded a subcontract to carry out route and bathymetric surveys for the pipeline element of the offshore associated gas (OAG) project in Abu Dhabi emirate. The order was placed by US-based Fluor Corporation, which is carrying out the front-end engineering and design (FEED) package. Fugro's contract will include geophysical, geotechnical and environmental research, and an environmental baseline study. Abu Dhabi Gas Indu
  • FUTURE INVESTMENT: The ideal project

    'We are approaching $90 million in gross project revenue, which will give us $30 million-50 million a year for investment purposes. At the moment, the money is going back to CDC as dividends, but in the future we may retain it, so that in two years' time we will have close to $100 million a year to invest in emerging markets.
  • Gaddafi invites Bush over

    Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi has invited US President Bush to Tripoli, US Senator Richard Lugar said on 20 August. Lugar, who is chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, held talks with Gaddafi about normalising relations between the two countries during a two-day visit to Libya. 'I noted the dramatic improvement in US-Libyan relations and stressed the US commitment to a continually improving relationship as co-operation between our countries grows,' Lugar said. Washington began
  • Ganji calls off hunger strike

    Jailed Iranian journalist Akbar Ganji has ended his hunger strike, judiciary spokesman Jamal Karimi-Rad said on 9 August. Ganji has refused food since mid-June in protest against his imprisonment for publishing articles that linked senior officials with political assassinations. He has become a focus of political dissent in Iran. Ganji's family said he had become gravely ill and his lawyer Shirin Ebadi urged him on 7 August to call off the hunger strike. Tehran's announcement was unconfirme
  • GAS: Greedy for gas

    The Royal Dutch/Shell Group in May signed a long-term gas exploration and development deal with National Oil Corporation (NOC), setting a precedent for directly negotiated exploration licences in the oil and gas sector. The concession covers the upgrade of the existing liquefied natural gas (LNG) plant at Marsa el-Brega on the coast, currently operated by Sirte Oil & Gas Production Company (SOC), together with the exploration and development of five areas, covering 20,000 square kilometres, in t
  • Gasco takes another look at Thamama, Bu Hasa

    Technical bids were submitted in late July to Abu Dhabi Gas Industries Company (Gasco) for two separate front-end engineering and design (FEED) contracts for the proposed debottlenecking of gas plants at Thamama and Bu Hasa (MEED 22:7:05).
  • Gaza pullout begins

    Tel Aviv started on 15 August its planned withdrawal from Gaza. Israeli troops arrived at settlements to serve eviction orders on residents. Settlers have two days to move out of Gaza and four settlements in the West Bank. Half of the 8,000 settlers living in Gaza have already gone. Those who refuse to leave will be evicted by force and forego up to a third of the compensation offered by the Israeli government. More than 40,000 police and soldiers have been stationed in Gaza to oversee the
  • GAZA WATER: No water to waste in Gaza

    As they say, it never rains but it pours. In Gaza, poverty, unemployment and violence have become a way of life, one hardship piled on the next. But in literal terms, it simply does not rain enough. This tiny, overpopulated patch of land is desperate for additional water resources to alleviate its estimated 60 million-cubic-metre-a-year (cm/y) deficit. And this shortfall could treble by 2020.
  • GCC banks tot up first-half takings

    With most of the major GCC banks now having released financial results for the first half of 2005, the story continues to be one of soaring profits and strong asset growth on the back of booming economies.
  • Geagea freed under amnesty

    Samir Geagea, the Christian former civil war leader, was released from prison on 26 July. Geagea, the only Lebanese civil war leader to be convicted of war crimes, had served 11 years of a life sentence in solitary confinement in a Defence Ministry cell.
  • Global launches private equity fund

    Subscription is due to close in the second week of August for investors from five out of the six GCC states to the $500 million Global Opportunities Fund, managed by Kuwait's Global Investment Houseand domiciled in Bahrain. Subscription from Saudi Arabia will close slightly later. The Global Opportunities Fund is the largest private equity fund in the region, and will concentrate on pre-initial public offering (IPO) and pre-listing investment opportunities in the GCC. Four investment
  • Golden Mile begins to glow

    At least 10 contractors have been invited to submit expressions of interest for the estimated $400 million main construction package on the Golden Mile project on Palm Jumeirah. The contract is expected to be issued for bid in the fourth quarter. The scope of works includes construction of a 20,000-square-metre shopping mall, 800 luxury apartments and 220 retail and restaurant outlets along the strip. Located on the palm's trunk, the project will overlook a 1.5-kilometre canalside corniche and b
  • Golden Mile begins to glow

    At least 10 contractors have been invited to submit expressions of interest for the estimated $400 million main construction package on the Golden Mile project on Palm Jumeirah. The contract is expected to be issued for bid in the fourth quarter. The scope of works includes construction of a 20,000-square-metre shopping mall, 800 luxury apartments and 220 retail and restaurant outlets along the strip. Located on the palm's trunk, the project will overlook a 1.5-kilometre canalside corniche and b
  • Government of Jordan

    Following the resignation of controversial Finance Minister Bassem Awadallah, Prime Minister Adnan Badran named eight new ministers in a limited reshuffle on 3 July. Adel Qudaa replaces Awadallah as Finance Minister. The new Deputy Prime Minister Marwan Moasher is a veteran diplomat and fomrer senior aide. Badran reshuffled his cabinet in a bid for support ahead of wide-ranging economic reforms, including the slashing of oil subsidies.Government of Jordan
  • GS set for Alex LAB

    South Korea's GS Engineering & Constructionis close to signing the $250 million-300 million engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract to build a 100,000-tonne-a-year linear alkyl benzene (LAB) plant near Alexandria. It is understood that the client, Egyptian Petrochemicals Holding Company (ECHEM), and GS have resolved all remaining issues including feedstock supplies in the form of kerosene and benzene, which is set to be provided by Alexandria Nati
  • Hadeed signs loan

    Saudi Iron & Steel Company (Hadeed)has signed a $250 million, seven-year loan with Riyad Bank to part-finance the expansion of its Jubail complex. The commercial funding adds to a Eur 350 million ($458 million) export-credit backed package, signed in April with OeKB of Austria, Hermes of Germany and SACE of Italy, covering engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contracts awarded to Austria's Voest Alpine Industrieanlagenbau (VAI), Germany's SMS Dem
  • Hamas defiant as Tel Aviv withdraws

    Hamas will not disarm after Tel Aviv completes its pullout from Gaza, the organisation's political head Khaled Meshaal said on 17 August. 'The resistance will continue across all of the Palestinian territory. The road is still long. We want to complete our freedom and Hamas will not give up its arms,' he said. Meshaal said that possession of arms is a 'legitimate right' for Hamas and that Tel Aviv must 'pull out of all Palestinian territory if they don't want their blood to spill'.
  • Hamas: We will not disarm

    Hamas militants said on 12 August that they would not disarm despite Israel's planned Gaza pullout. 'Arms are a holy issue. It is impossible for us to abandon our arms even if we all get killed. The issue of arms is not one for discussion,' Ahmed al-Ghandour, the head of Hamas' Qassam Brigades, told reporters in northern Gaza. Al-Ghandour said Hamas would not merge with Palestinian security agencies despite Abbas' efforts to coax the group to do so. 'We will preserve our structure and incre
  • Healing scars

    Beirut still bears the scars of the 1975-90 civil war. Most of the reconstruction of the city centre has been completed, yet oddities remain. A stone's throw from the glitzy five-star Phoenicia hotel Intercontinental in the central district stands the Holiday Inn, a bullet-riddled reminder of darker days. A debate still rolls on about whether to redevelop the site of the hotel or preserve it as a memorial. But across the capital there are similar buildings still waiting to be restored.
  • Hidd seeks business

    The cabinet in late July approved the details of the project to establish an industrial zone near the new port at Hidd, now known as Bahrain International Investment Park. Capital investment for the 240-hectare first phase is estimated at about BD 600 million ($1,600 million).
  • Hiesco wins Shuaiba boiler work

    The local Heavy Industry Engineering & Shipbuilding Company (Hiesco) has been awarded the KD 10.9 million ($37.5 million) engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract to revamp boilers and furnaces at Shuaiba refinery. The company was widely expected to win the work after submitting the lowest offer earlier in the year. The scope of works covers the renovation and upgrade of furnaces and boilers at the refinery, many of which date back to the 1960s. As part of the moderni
  • Hill alright for Al-Areen

    The US' Hill International has been appointed project manager on the Oasis Spa Resort, the first phase of the Al-Areen Desert Spa & Resort being developed by Manama-based Gulf Finance House close to the international racetrack at Sakhir. Project costs are estimated at about $71 million for the Oasis Spa, out of a total price tag of $750 million for the 500-acre development. Sharjah-based Al-Hamad Contracting Companyis building the spa (MEED 8:4:05).
  • Hill alright for Al-Areen

    The US' Hill International has been appointed project manager on the Oasis Spa Resort, the first phase of the Al-Areen Desert Spa & Resort being developed by Manama-based Gulf Finance House close to the international racetrack at Sakhir. Project costs are estimated at about $71 million for the Oasis Spa, out of a total price tag of $750 million for the 500-acre development. Sharjah-based Al-Hamad Contracting Companyis building the spa (MEED 8:4:05).
  • Hill takes Dubailand City of Arabia PM

    The US' Hill Internationalhas been appointed project manager on the estimated $2,000 million City of Arabia project, part of the Dubailand development.The scheme comprises residential, office and entertainment facilities catering to about 34,000 people (MEED 20:5:05).
  • Hill takes Dubailand City of Arabia PM

    The US' Hill Internationalhas been appointed project manager on the estimated $2,000 million City of Arabia project, part of the Dubailand development.The scheme comprises residential, office and entertainment facilities catering to about 34,000 people (MEED 20:5:05).
  • HOK goes into the studio

    US-based HOK has been selected to carry out the masterplan for the Dubai Studio City (DSC) project being developed by Dubai Technology, e-Commerce & Media Free Zone (Tecom) within the Dubailand development. The estimated $110 million project will cover an area of about 2 million square metres. Phase 1, due to be completed in late 2006, will comprise about 20 per cent of the project and include facilities for film and television studios, commercial offices, academies, warehouses and a
  • HOK goes into the studio

    US-based HOK has been selected to carry out the masterplan for the Dubai Studio City (DSC) project being developed by Dubai Technology, e-Commerce & Media Free Zone (Tecom) within the Dubailand development. The estimated $110 million project will cover an area of about 2 million square metres. Phase 1, due to be completed in late 2006, will comprise about 20 per cent of the project and include facilities for film and television studios, commercial offices, academies, warehouses and a
  • Homs to receive Egyptian gas

    Syrian Gas Company (SGC)is evaluating bids for the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract for the extension of the Arab Gas pipeline into Syria. Plans are envisaged to build a 324-kilometre pipeline from the Jordanian border to the Al-Rayan area east of Homs and a branch to the power plant in Deir Ali. It is understood that the contract is likely to be awarded by the end of September, with construction expected to start in early 2006.
  • Hope reigns despite missed constitutional deadline

    As Iraqis came to terms with the latest car bombing to rock Baghdad on 17 August, the country's political leadership missed their first political deadline and started working towards 22 August to reach agreement on the draft constitution.
  • How high can the price go for a barrel of oil?

    There has never been a better time to be in the oil industry, and the rewards for oil price bulls have been spectacular this year. At the end of the first week of August, West Texas Intermediate (WTI) was trading at about $67 a barrel. That is 50 per cent above its average level in August 2004 and far higher than the consensus forecast at the start of 2005.
  • HSBC to arrange Sharjah gas company IPO

    HSBChas been appointed financial adviser and lead manager on an initial public offering (IPO) of 35 per cent of shares in newly created Sharjah-based Dana Gas, a private sector regional gas company. The company's founders are Crescent Petroleum, Sajaa Gas and United Gas Transmissions Company, all locally based.
  • HSBC wins RAF B2 advisory mandate

    HSBChas been appointed financial adviser by Qatar Electricity & Water Company (QEWC)for the proposed B2 project, calling for the installation of 500 MW and 20 million gallons a day of new capacity at the existing Ras Abu Fontas (RAF) station. Kick-off meetings are due to begin in early August, with the client understood to be looking to reach financial close by the end of the first quarter of 2006. The project is being implemented on a fast-track basis, with all new capacity d
  • Hyundai closes in on Jebel Ali quay wall

    South Korea's Hyundai Engineering & Construction Companyhas once again submitted a low bid for the contract to carry out the quay wall package on phase 1 of the new Jebel Ali container terminal project. Its price of AED 251 million ($68 million) is about 3 per cent lower than the next offer of AED 259 million ($70 million) submitted by the local/Belgian Bel Hasa Six Construct.
  • Hyundai closes in on Jebel Ali quay wall

    South Korea's Hyundai Engineering & Construction Companyhas once again submitted a low bid for the contract to carry out the quay wall package on phase 1 of the new Jebel Ali container terminal project. Its price of AED 251 million ($68 million) is about 3 per cent lower than the next offer of AED 259 million ($70 million) submitted by the local/Belgian Bel Hasa Six Construct.
  • Hyundai heads for Jebel Ali berth contract

    South Korea's Hyundai Engineering & Construction Companywas close to being awarded in late July an estimated AED 250 million ($68 million) contract to carry out the quay wall package on the first phase of the new Jebel Ali terminal project. The contractor emerged as the frontrunner for the contract after final bids were submitted by three shortlisted bidders. The package calls for the construction of about 2.8 kilometres of pre-cast quay wall, located 200 metres offshore and running
  • Hyundai heads for Jebel Ali berth contract

    South Korea's Hyundai Engineering & Construction Companywas close to being awarded in late July an estimated AED 250 million ($68 million) contract to carry out the quay wall package on the first phase of the new Jebel Ali terminal project. The contractor emerged as the frontrunner for the contract after final bids were submitted by three shortlisted bidders. The package calls for the construction of about 2.8 kilometres of pre-cast quay wall, located 200 metres offshore and running
  • IAEA adopts Iran resolution

    The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has adopted a resolution urging Iran to cease its nuclear activities. In a resolution prepared by Britain, France and Germany on 11 August, the UN agency calls on the Islamic republic to reinstate the seals on its uranium processing equipment at the Isfahan plant. Tehran removed the last of its seals a day earlier, effectively suspending an agreement reached with EU countries earlier this year. The resolution does not call for act
  • IAEA in last ditch effort on Iran nuclear ambitions

    The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) is due to hold a final day of talks on 11 August to decide on what action to take following Iran's decision to resume nuclear activities. The UN agency is expected to call on the Islamic republic to stop work at its Isfahan plant although it is not clear whether it will call on the UN Security Council to take action.In November, Iran had suspended uranium conversion and enrichment at the facility under an agreement reached with EU
  • IMF cautious on Iraq economy

    The International Monetary Fund (IMF) issued a warning to Iraq in mid-August, shortly after its leaders postponed an agreement on the draft constitution until 22 August. In its first economic review of the former Baathist state in 25 years, the IMF urged Iraq to forge ahead with economic and political reforms after the ongoing insurgency and the slow rate of construction had resulted in the country achieving limited economic progress over the last 18 months.
  • India pushes for pipeline to Iran

    Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said on 3 August that New Delhi is committed to establishing a $7,000 million pipeline link to Iran through Pakistan despite objections from Washington. 'Our government is committed to make the gas pipeline a reality,' Singh told the Indian parliament. 'I have explicitly stated [to Washington] this is a matter for us, Pakistan and Iran - three-way. The United States has no role.' New Delhi has said improved relations with Washington will not undermine it
  • Insurance firms to go on sale, as two bid for MIBank

    Four government-owned insurance companies are being prepared for privatisation, Investment Minister Mahmoud Mohieldin told MEED in Cairo on 27 July. The announcement comes as two bids were submitted to state-owned Banque Misrfor the acquisition of a majority stake in Misr International Bank (MIBank- MEED 10:6:05).
  • Interest invited in Tassili Airlines stake

    State energy company Sonatrachhas invited expressions of interest from investorsby 15 September in the acquisition of a majority stake, worth AD 700 million ($9.5 million), in its wholly-owned subsidiary Tassili Airlines. Sonatrach hopes that the new partnership will improve standards at the airline and allow it to acquire new aircraft. Sonatrach created Tassili in 1998 to transport its personnel to the south of the country. Following the sale, the company will maintain i
  • Investcom launches second GSM

    Beirut-based Investcomhas become the country's second GSM operator following the launch of its Areeba network. Areeba will provide services for Khartoum before being rolled out across the country over the next three years. Third-generation (3G) services will be introduced in Q3 2005 and network capacity is set to reach 750,000 by year-end. Investcom owns a 55 per cent stake in Bashair Telecom, a consortium of local and Yemeni investors, which in October 2003 was awarded t
  • Investigation into death of Garang gets under way

    The committee established to investigate the death of southern rebel leader John Garang started its probe on 14 August. Garang died on 30 July when his helicopter crashed returning to Sudan from Uganda. He was leader of the Sudan People's Liberation Movement (SPLM) and some of his supporters claim Khartoum was involved in his death. Garang had been vice-president for less than three weeks when the accident, which sparked riots in Khartoum, occurred. He assumed the post as part of a peace de
  • Iranian arms found in Iraq

    Iranian weapons have been discovered in Iraq, US Secretary of Defence Donald Rumsfeld said on 9 August. 'It is true that weapons clearly, unambiguously from Iran have been found in Iraq,' he said. 'That's a big border and it's notably unhelpful for the Iranians to be allowing weapons of those types to cross the border.' He did not specify what the arms were, although media reports speculated they included explosives.'It's a problem for the Iraqi government. It's a problem for
  • Iranian judge in dissident trial shot dead

    Gunmen shot dead on 2 August the judge in the trial of jailed journalist Akbar Ganji. Massoud Moghaddas was killed as he left court and the identity of his attackers was unknown. Moghaddas sentenced Ganji to six years in prison in 2001 after the writer published articles that linked senior clerics to the murder of several politicians. Ganji, who has become a focus for reformers and dissidents, is on hunger strike and his family says he is gravely ill (
  • Iraq and Kuwait to start border talks

    Iraqi National Assembly members accused Kuwait on 2 August of stealing oil and taking Iraqi territory. The allegations were made ahead of a planned visit by Iraqi representatives to Kuwait to discuss oil drilling on their border. 'There have been violations such as digging horizontal oil wells to pump Iraq oil,' said parliamentarian Jawad al-Maliki, who chairs the Security & Defence Committee. 'There have also been violations by taking Iraqi territories as deep as one kilometre,' he said.
  • Iraqi Airways: Clearing the flight path

    After a decade-and-a-half of steady decline, and two years of complete inactivity, Iraqi Airways made its first scheduled landing in a non-Arab state on 3 August. Landing at Istanbul's Ataturk International Airport, the 70 passengers on the Boeing 737-200 were the first travellers on a new bi-weekly service from Baghdad to Turkey.
  • Iraqis fire on Kuwait

    Iraqis 'who want to provoke a crisis' fired mortars across the border into Kuwait, Prime Minister Ibrahim Jaafari said on 10 August. Kuwaiti press reported that Iraqis fired a rocket from the town of Umm Qasr into Kuwait at the end of July. The press said that Badr Brigade militants were responsible for the attack. Iraqis living along the border have been protesting against a new barrier erected by Kuwait that they say intrudes on their land. The 200-kilometre border barrier is due for comp
  • IRISL places orders for new ships

    Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lineshas signed a contract worth an estimated $510 million with Iran Shipbuilding & Offshore Industries Complex Company for 16 Panamax and Handymax bulk carriers. The Foreign Exchange Reserve Fund will provide about 90 per cent of the finance. The first of the vessels is due for delivery in 32 months.
  • IRISL: Much more than shipping

    Iran has traditionally seen itself as a crossroads at the heart of Asia - a place where the east-west traffic of the ancient Silk Road meets the north-south trade corridor linking Russia and the former Soviet Caspian republics to the warm waters of the Gulf. In practice, international transport has rather passed Iran by in the modern age.
  • Islam to be the source of the Iraqi constitution

    Constitutional drafting negotiations took a turn on 20 August as committee members indicated they had agreed that Islam would be 'the main source' of Iraq's law and parliament would adhere to Islamic principles. Shia negotiators had been seeking to move from a previous agreement that Islam would be one of the sources of a new national charter to its basis. The change would mean parliament would not be able to pass any legislation that contradicted Islamic law. But Sunni negotiator Saleh al-
  • Islamic Jihad declares truce

    Islamic Jihad on 3 August ordered its militants to stop firing rockets into Israel in the run-up to Tel Aviv's withdrawal from Gaza. 'The leadership of the [Islamic Jihad] Al-Quds Brigades issued orders three days ago to all groups to stop firing rockets in order to preserve the national Palestinian project at this critical and historic juncture,' the group said in a statement. The ceasefire will 'give a chance for the withdrawal to take place in a peaceful manner', the statement said. The
  • Islamic unity conference postponed

    A conference on Islamic unity due to be held at Mecca on 6-8 August was postponed on 5 August until February 2006. Conference organiser, Secretary-General of the Muslim World League (MWL) and former Saudi Minister of Religious Affairs Abdullah al-Turki made the announcement. The delay will allow the 300 Islamic scholars invited to the conference more time to consider the chief issues, including the establishment of a defence force within the UN Charter and an international Islamic court of
  • Israeli army forcibly evicts last Gaza settlers

    Israeli troops began to forcibly evict settlers from Gaza on 17 August, after the deadline for them to leave passed. Soldiers broke through barriers that barred their entry to the settlements and escorted anti-pullout protesters onto buses. Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon urged demonstrators not to attack the unarmed troops and turn their anger against him. 'I am responsible for this. Attack me,' he said. Protesters set fire to rubbish and property to prevent troops from carrying out th
  • Israeli police clash with anti-pullout protesters

    Israeli security forces clashed with defiant settlers on 16 August as they tried to control protesters in Neve Dekalim, Gaza's largest settlement. Israeli settlers had until midnight on 16 August to pack up their possessions and leave Gaza as Tel Aviv continued with its withdrawal from the territory. Police arrested more than 50 protesters, all of them youths from outside Gaza. About 5,000 protesters have infiltrated Gaza despite a ban on non-residents.More than 4,000 Palesti
  • Israeli police prepare to face anti-pullout protesters

    Thousands of Israeli police started to gather in the Israeli town of Siderot on 2 August to control a planned protest against Tel Aviv's withdrawal from Gaza. Pro-settler organisers of the demonstration had wanted to march to the Israeli settlement of Gush Katif but security forces blocked the scheme. Some observers said the diversion of security personnel to monitor pro-settler rallies was as a pro-settler tactic to disrupt the withdrawal.Palestinian Minister of Civil Affair
  • Israeli troops gone from Gaza by mid-September

    The Israeli army will have left Gaza by mid-September, Israeli Defence Minister Shaul Mofaz said on 24 August. Israeli troops and soldiers completed the evacuation of 15,000 settlers and protesters from Gaza on 22 August, two weeks ahead of schedule. 'The evacuation was conducted honourably and within a shorter timetable than anticipated,' Mofaz said. Tel Aviv has still to finish demolishing settler homes, dismantling army posts and withdrawing its troops. Tel Aviv will also pull down synag
  • IT: Lift-off for start-ups

    mman is well known across the region as an IT centre of excellence. It continues to benefit from the enlightened Jordan Education Initiative (JEI), currently in its second year of operation, which produces highly qualified IT graduates. But as graduate numbers increase, the problems of creating a home-grown IT industry to attract and retain the talent have intensified.
  • Italians acquire majority stake in ASEC Cement

    Italy's Italcementi Grouphas completed an agreement to purchase a majority stake in the local ASEC Cement Groupfrom local private equity firm Citadel Capital. Under the deal, Italcementi will acquire 68 per cent of ASEC's shares, which are listed on the Cairo & Alexandria Stock Exchanges (CASE), through Suez Cement Company (SCC), another local producer in which the Italian group acquired a controlling stake in March. The shares will be acquired at
  • Jacobs takes Jorf Lasfar acid job

    Jacobs Engineering Group has been awarded the engineering contract for a new phosphoric acid plant in Jorf Lasfar. The client is Societe Pakistan Maroc Phosphore, a 50:50 joint venture between the local Group Office Cherifien des Phosphatesand Pakistan's Fauji Group. The contract covers the licensing and basic and detailed designs on the estimated MD 2,000 million ($220 million) project. The plant, due to come on stream by early 2007, will produce 1.1 m
  • Japanese win metro job

    Japan's Kinkisharyo has received an order valued at about $455 million from Japan's Mitsubishi Corporationto provide 385 trains for the Dubai Metro system. Under the terms of the agreement, 20 trains will be shipped to Dubai from Japan each month from 2008-09, while production for the second phase of delivery will begin at the same time. The award follows a $250 million turnkey contract award to France's Alcatelin July for the supply of technology and telecomm
  • JBR hotels tender nears

    Dubai Properties is gearing up to invite companies in mid-August to bid for two of the four hotels to be built in the Jumeirah Beach Residence complex. The first hotel, to be managed by Crowne Plaza, an affiliate of UK-based Intercontinental Hotels Group, will comprise a 26-storey, 300-room property with a built-up area of about 40,000 square metres. The UK's RMJM Internationalis the consultant. The second property will be operated by Sofitel
  • JBR hotels tender nears

    Dubai Properties is gearing up to invite companies in mid-August to bid for two of the four hotels to be built in the Jumeirah Beach Residence complex. The first hotel, to be managed by Crowne Plaza, an affiliate of UK-based Intercontinental Hotels Group, will comprise a 26-storey, 300-room property with a built-up area of about 40,000 square metres. The UK's RMJM Internationalis the consultant. The second property will be operated by Sofitel
  • JGC awards more Hawiyah NGL work

    Japan's JGC Corporation has awarded a second subcontract on the Hawiyah natural gas liquids (NGL) project. US-based Chicago Bridge & Iron (CB&I) was awarded in late July a $20 million subcontract covering the construction of 18 storage tanks and two spheres. The US firm beat off competition from the local Hidada and Japan's TKK for the 28-month contract. In April, Athens-based Consolidated Contractors International Company (CCC)was awar
  • Jordanian police detain Al-Qaeda suspects

    Jordanian police have arrested 17 terrorist suspects linked to Al-Qaeda and an affiliated group of Saudi militants, security sources said on 4 August. The men, six of whom have ties to Abu Musab al-Zarqawi's Al-Qaeda in Iraq, were plotting to attack US military personnel in Jordan, the sources said. The rest of the militants were members of the Saudi Brigades of the Holy Shrines. The suspects were recruiting fighters to join Al-Qaeda in Iraq and fundraising. They will be charged with conspi
  • JPRC restructuring moves ahead

    The Energy & Mineral Resources Ministry is expected to select imminently consultants to conduct studies for the estimated $700 million modernisation of the country's oil sector. Studies on the proposed legal framework and due diligence into the existing assets of Jordan Petroleum Refinery Company (JPRC)will be carried out. Canada's Houston & Associatesis already conducting the pricing reform study, while Japan Bank for International Co-operation (JBIC) has played an advis
  • JV wins YanSab PE/PP job

    A Norwegian/Chinese joint venture of AkerKvaernerand Sinopechas received a letter of intent for the contract to build two linear low-density polyethylene (LLDPE) and polypropylene (PP) units on the Yanbu National Petrochemicals Company (YanSab)petrochemicals complex at Yanbu. Tenders have also been recently issued for two other process packages - the high-density polyethylene (HDPE) plant and the benzene, xylene and toluene units. The client on the com
  • Karthago Airlines IPO flies

    The initial public offering (IPO) of a 12 per cent stake in the local privately-owned Karthago Airlines closed in early August almost five times oversubscribed, with 1.2 million shares sold at a price of TD 4.8 ($3.6) a share. Demand reached 5.9 million, with each subscriber receiving 22-23 shares. Karthago was listed on the Bourse de Tunis on 10 August. Trading of shares in Amen Lease was suspended on 4 August pending a decision on the merger between the company and
  • Keppel wins more GDI rig work

    Singapore's Keppel FELShas been awarded a $130 million contract by Doha-based Gulf Drilling International Company (GDI)to supply a new jack-up drilling rig. The rig, to be delivered in late 2007, is the second major order won by Keppel from GDI for a jack-up rig in eight months. GDI is a 60:40 joint venture of Qatar Petroleumand Japan Drilling Company(MEED 10:12:04).
  • Khafji gets busy offshore

    Al-Khafji Joint Operations (KJO) has issued for bid a second offshore contract in the Divided Zone (DZ). Eight fabricators have been invited to submit bids by 19 September for the detailed engineering, procurement, construction, installation and commissioning (EPCIC) contract involving an integrated wellhead platform (MEED 18:3:05).
  • Khamenei: We are not afraid of anybody

    Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on 19 August reiterated that the Islamic state had no interest in atomic arms but would never halt its nuclear programme. Addressing worshippers at Friday Prayers at Tehran University, Khamenei accused western officials of misleading public opinion by suggesting that Iran was secretly building nuclear weapons. 'They talk as if Iran seeks nuclear weapons and that they oppose it,' he said in a sermon broadcast live on state radio. 'That is a lie and they
  • King Abdullah buys Russian military aircraft

    King Abdullah signed contracts to buy two Ilyushin military transport planes on 17 August at the MAKS 2005 air fair in Moscow. The planes can carry 60 tonnes of cargo or 350 people. Amman also intends to buy five Sukhoi Su-31 sporting aircraft and additional military planes to beef up Jordan's airforce. Abdullah was in Russia on an official visit and is scheduled to meet Russian President Putin on 19 August.
  • King Fahd dies

    King Fahd of Saudi Arabia died on 1 August. Saudi state television announced that his half brother Crown Prince Abdullah would succeed him. King Fahd had been ill for more than a decade after suffering a stroke, following which Crown Prince Abdullah assumed de facto leadership of the kingdom. Defence Minister Prince Sultan has been named as the new crown prince. 'With deep sorrow and pain, the royal court... mourns the death of Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Fahd,' Culture & Informa
  • Kingdom readies for new cement capacity

    Turnkey contracts worth more than $400 million have been awarded for the construction of two new cement plants with total capacity of 10,000 tonnes a day (t/d). Tender documents have also been issued for another grassroots plant, while an award is awaited for the expansion of the existing Saudi Cement Companyplant at Hofuf (MEED 24:6:05).
  • KNPC invites sulphur handling proposals

    State refinery operator Kuwait National Petroleum Company (KNPC)has invited international consultants to submit proposals by 20 August for a contract to carry out a feasibility study on an upgrade to existing solid sulphur handling and ship-loading facilities at its Mina al-Ahmadi refinery.
  • KNPC releases ITB for refinery tank farms

    State-owned refinery operator Kuwait National Petroleum Company (KNPC)has invited 19 prequalified international contractors to bid by 11 October for the contract to upgrade the tank farms at its Mina al-Ahmadi, Mina Abdulla and Shuaiba refineries. An award is expected in the first quarter of 2006. The duration of the contract is 21 months.
  • KOC pilots Magwa water flood plant

    State upstream operator Kuwait Oil Company (KOC) has prequalified three international contractors for a three-year contract to design, supply, operate and maintain a pilot water flood plant at Magwa near gathering centre (GC) 10 on the Marrat reservoir. Baker Hughesand Schlumberger, both of the US, and the UK's Wood Grouphave until 14 August to bid for the contract.
  • KOC to review SEK masterplan

    State upstream operator Kuwait Oil Company (KOC)is understood to be pressing ahead with a review of the masterplan for surface production facilities in its southern and southeastern Kuwait (SEK) oilfields. Under the proposed phase 1 development, the aim is to increase production in SEK by 300,000 barrels a day (b/d) to 1.6 million b/d. KOC plans to increase production by a further 300,000 b/d at a later stage.
  • Koreans join hunt for oil

    State-run Korea National Oil Corporation(KNOC)signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on 1 August with the Oil Ministry to supply oil drilling technology. The move enables KNOC to finally begin its activities in the country. In May 2004, KNOC signed an MoU with the UK's Amec to jointly develop local oil production capacity. At the time, KNOC said that it planned to invest $1,000 million in rebuilding oil infrastructure (see Special Report, pages 32-34).
  • Kremenco bids low for Shuaiba work

    Kuwait Refinery Maintenance & Engineering Company (Kremenco) is low bidder at about KD 14 million ($48.3 million) for a five-year contract to provide mechanical maintenance services at the 195,000-barrel-a-day Shuaiba refinery. Eight other local companies submitted bids for the work. The client is state refinery operator Kuwait National Petroleum Company (KNPC). The successful contractor will start work in January, when the current five-year contract, held by the local
  • Kuwait halts border barrier building

    Kuwait stopped work on 6 August to build a steel barrier along its border with Iraq. Iraqis living along the border had complained that the barrier was damaging their property. 'Work on the security barrier has stopped for the time being until the problem between the two countries is solved,' a Kuwaiti official said. The barrier construction had intruded on an Iraqi well and some farmland. A delegation of Iraqi officials visited Kuwait to inspect the construction of the barrier, which will
  • L&T to add to JLT

    India's Larsen & Toubro (L&T)has been awarded two contracts worth about $54 million in Nakheel's Jumeirah Lake Towers (JLT) development. The first contract covers the construction of the 39-storey 1-Lake Plaza. The estimated $27 million commercial and office tower is expected to be completed by December 2007. Dubai-based National Engineering Bureau is the consultant.The local Han World Enterprisesis the client. L&T has been awarded a 20-month contr
  • L&T to add to JLT

    India's Larsen & Toubro (L&T)has been awarded two contracts worth about $54 million in Nakheel's Jumeirah Lake Towers (JLT) development. The first contract covers the construction of the 39-storey 1-Lake Plaza. The estimated $27 million commercial and office tower is expected to be completed by December 2007. Dubai-based National Engineering Bureau is the consultant.The local Han World Enterprisesis the client. L&T has been awarded a 20-month contr
  • Lebanese lorries back in Syria

    Damascus eased border restrictions with Lebanon on 1 August to allow hundreds of waiting lorries to cross into Syria. Damascus had said its tightening of border controls was necessary to reduce smuggling. But many Lebanese politicians said restrictions were in retaliation for the withdrawal of Syrian troops from Lebanon in April. Weeks of delays brought Lebanon's overland exports to a halt and lorries were still backed up at the Masnaa border area. The move came after Lebanon's newly electe
  • Lebanon and Syria pledge new ties

    Lebanese Prime Minister Fouad Siniora met Syrian President Asad on his first official visit to Syria on 31 July. The leaders issued a joint statement aimed at 'bolstering the relationship between the two countries based on equality'. Relations between the neighbours became strained after the assassination of former Lebanese prime minister Rafiq Hariri in February. Damascus was implicated in his death by Lebanese opposition politicians. Syrian Prime Minister Mohammed Naji al-Otari promised s
  • LIBYA: Tripoli steps up the pace

    The award in late July of contracts worth about£2,000 million on the great manmade river (GMR) project is clear evidence that, even after 21 years of construction, there has been no let-up in Tripoli's desire to continue with the world's biggest water scheme.
  • List of Egyptian presidential candidates announced

    Egypt's electoral commission shortlisted on 8 August 10 candidates including President Mubarak and opposition leader Ayman Nour to stand in September presidential elections. Numan Gumaa of the Wafd party, Ahmed Awad Allah of the Umma party and Wahid Al-Uqsuri were also included on the list of candidates. The commission rejected 20 applicants, who have 48 hours to appeal the decision, including Talaat Sadat - the nephew of the late president Sadat. A final list is due on 13 August before cam
  • Local firms line up for Ar-Razi expansion

    Japan's Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI), the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contractor on the Saudi Methanol Company (Ar-Razi)methanol plant at Jubail, is in negotiations with a number of local contractors for the four main subcontracts on the 1.7 million-tonne-a-year (t/y) facility. The four packages cover the mechanical and electrical installation, offsites and utilities, civils and architecture and painting packages. Awards are expected by the end of
  • Local group wins hospital rehabilitation

    The local Al-ShafiyGrouphas won a $10 million contract to design, rehabilitate and build Najaf teaching hospital. The scope of works involves the renovation of facility systems, mechanical, electrical, structural and sanitary systems, safety, communications, repair of existing equipment and provision and installation of new equipment. The client is the US' ParsonsInternational,whichisimplementing the reconstruction of Iraq's healthcare infrastructure as part
  • Local group wins hospital rehabilitation

    The local Al-ShafiyGrouphas won a $10 million contract to design, rehabilitate and build Najaf teaching hospital. The scope of works involves the renovation of facility systems, mechanical, electrical, structural and sanitary systems, safety, communications, repair of existing equipment and provision and installation of new equipment. The client is the US' ParsonsInternational,whichisimplementing the reconstruction of Iraq's healthcare infrastructure as part
  • Local-French JV scoops Safina

    A joint venture of the local NSCC with France's Soletanche Bachy has received a letter of intent for the marine works package on the Safina shipbuilding facility at Dubai Drydocks. The scope of the offshore works includes dredging, a concrete platform with associated pipework and a launching facility. The new facility will enable the shipyard to build 60-metre-wide vessels with a depth of 30 metres. The project is the final part of the estimated $200 million expansion of
  • Loud Ecco for new Zamil venture

    Saudi Arabia's Zamil Industrial Investment Company (ZIIC)has formed a Bahrain-based affiliate, Energy Central Company (Ecco), to provide energy, refrigeration and other environmental support services for large-scale infrastructure projects throughout the GCC. ZIIC will hold an equal 25 per cent stake with other shareholders Kuwait Finance House, Kuwait's Al-Enma Real Estateand Qatar's Platinum Investment Company. Initial capitalisation
  • Lydec goes to market

    Shares in local utilities company Lyonnaise des Eaux de Casablanca (Lydec)were listed on the Stock Exchange Casablanca on 18 July, following the completion of an initial public offering (IPO) covering 14 per cent of the company's capital. The 1.2 million shares in the IPO were 20 per cent oversubscribed and were priced at MD 240 ($26), raising MD 288 million ($31.6 million). The share price immediately rose to MD 319 ($35) when trading began and in the week following the listing reac
  • Maaden moves on ammonia scheme

    International contractors were due to submit expressions of interest (EoIs) by 5 August for a contract to build the worldscale 2,000-tonne-a-day ammonia plant at Ras al-Zour for Saudi Arabian Mining Company (Maaden). Companies understood to have received initial solicitations include Italy's Snamprogettiand Uhdeand Lurgi, both of Germany. A tender for the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract is not expected until the second quar
  • Maaden scouts PMC for smelter and refinery

    Saudi Arabian Mining Company (Maaden) has approached companies interested in providing project management consultancy (PMC) services for its grassroots aluminium smelter and alumina refinery at Ras al-Zour. The companies to have received the initial PMC inquiry include Oslo-based Aker Kvaerner, a group of Canada's SNC Lavalin with the US' Jacobs Engineering, Australia's Worley Parsons and Bechtel and Fluor Corporation
  • Magnesium smelter shapes up

    Germany's MAN Ferrostaalhas been selected for the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract on the estimated $350 million project to build a large-scale magnesium smelter at Ain el-Sokhna port near Suez. The smelter is being developed by Egyptian Magnesium Company (EMAG), the project company set up by a consortium of local, Australian and German investors (MEED 3:6:05).
  • Making the most of it

    Water is a precious resource across the Middle East, but nowhere more so than Jordan, which is ranked as one of the top 10 water-poor countries in the world. The kingdom suffers from an immediate and rapidly growing water deficit. Demand exceeds natural supply by about 140 per cent and renewable supply by about 175 per cent. Water supply capacity is forecast at about 1,102 million cubic metres a year (cm/y) for 2005, leaving a deficit of 341 million cm/y. By 2020, with continued population growt
  • Malaysians home in on EdF assets

    Malaysia's Powertek Berhad has entered into exclusive negotiations with Electricite de France (EdF)to purchase the French developer's 100 per cent stakes in the Port Said and Gulf of Suez independent power projects (IPPs). A deal is expected to be concluded by November.
  • Marconi wins Orascom Telecom order

    The UK's Marconi Grouphas been awarded the contract to supply a complete radio network planning solution to the GSM subsidiaries of Orascom Telecom. Under the deal, a multiple-year frame contract, Marconi will provide its next-generation wireless network design and optimisation platform, in addition to advanced microwave planning and propagation modelling modules, wireless consultancy services, training and maintenance support. The new solution will support Orascom's loca
  • Marines die in deadly attack

    Fourteen US marines and their civilian translator died on 3 August in a roadside bombing near Haditha in northwest Iraq. The heavy loss constitutes one of the deadliest attacks on US forces since the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003. Six other marines were shot dead in the same area on 1 August. Thirty-seven US Army personnel have died in the last 10 days during a spate of intensified insurgent attacks. In Basra, security forces found the body of American freelance journalist
  • Markets feel wind of change

    Oil prices rose marginally in the final week of July, with fears of further American hurricane disruption over the summer continuing to provide support to prices, along with a slight decline in US inventories of both crude and gasoline in the latest figures released. However, the next two US storms - Franklin and Gertrude - are promising to be less severe than the previous spate. Spot Brent was trading at $58.84 a barrel on 27 July, compared with $57.04 a barrel a week earlier.
  • Marrakech-Agadir motorway gets under way

    Autoroutes du Maroc (ADM) has prequalified 25 companies to submit bids by 29 August for four road construction contracts on the estimated MD 6,200 million ($684 million), 233-kilometre motorway between Marrakech and the southern coastal city of Agadir. The contracts are due for award by mid-October.
  • Marrakech-Agadir motorway gets under way

    Autoroutes du Maroc (ADM) has prequalified 25 companies to submit bids by 29 August for four road construction contracts on the estimated MD 6,200 million ($684 million), 233-kilometre motorway between Marrakech and the southern coastal city of Agadir. The contracts are due for award by mid-October.
  • Marriott enters market

    Marriott International, the US-based hotel chain, has reached agreement with the local Societe de Development Hotelierfor its first property venture in the local market. The company will manage a luxury 274-room JW Marriott beachfront hotel in Club des Pins, 20 kilometres west of Algiers. The hotel will offer indoor and outdoor swimming pools, a private beach, tennis courts a ballroom and a 1,500-square-metre banqueting area. The site will also include 5,000 square metres of o
  • Marriott enters market

    Marriott International, the US-based hotel chain, has reached agreement with the local Societe de Development Hotelierfor its first property venture in the local market. The company will manage a luxury 274-room JW Marriott beachfront hotel in Club des Pins, 20 kilometres west of Algiers. The hotel will offer indoor and outdoor swimming pools, a private beach, tennis courts a ballroom and a 1,500-square-metre banqueting area. The site will also include 5,000 square metres of o
  • Marubeni signs Rabigh WECA

    The consortium led by Japan's Marubeni Corporationon 7 August signed the 25-year water and energy conversion agreement (WECA) for the captive independent water, steam and power project (IWSPP) to serve the estimated $8,000 million integrated refinery and petrochemicals complex at Rabigh. Marubeni, with partners Itochu Corporationand JGC Corporation, both of Japan, and the local Acwapower, was selected as preferred bidder in early June. The Rabigh p
  • Mature bourse remains ahead

    The Kuwaiti market outperformed its regional peers in June and July, as the bourses of Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the UAE underwent corrections. The rise has been driven by strong first-half corporate profits, with some companies reporting rises of more than 100 per cent. Modest valuations - by regional standards - and expansionist local blue chips suggest that the bulls have some distance to run.
  • Maunsell takes to water

    UK-based Maunsell Consultancy Serviceshas started work on a seven-month contract to develop a comprehensive water-based public transport system in Dubai and Sharjah. The firm beat off competition from three other consultants. The study will look at locations for the stations, routes, hazards, fares and the type of vehicles. The client, Dubai Municipality, is considering a build-own- operate (BOO) approach for the project. The study will also look at linking upcoming projects off the
  • Mayardit takes vice-presidency

    Commander Salva Kiir Mayardit, who took over as leader of the Sudan People's Liberation Movement (SPLM) following the death of John Garang, was sworn in as vice-president in Khartoum on 11 August. Mayardit swore allegiance to Sudan in front of President Al-Bashir. The new vice-president praised Bashir's work on the peace agreement, but warned that Sudan's leaders must live up to expectations. 'It is neither my intention to depart from the road traced by John Garang or to depart from the obj
  • Medgaz evaluates subsea prequals

    Prequalifications have been submitted by international companies for the four contract packages on the Eur 640 million ($767 million) subsea section of the Medgaz pipeline project. Medgaz, the project company, will inform successful prequalifiers in November and issue tender documents in early 2006.
  • Ministry appoints advisory team on Telecom Egypt sale

    A team of Credit Suisse First Boston and the local EFG-Hermes has won the mandate to act as global co-ordinator and bookrunner for the Communications & Information Technology Ministry on the sale of state-owned Telecom Egypt (TE). The ministry has appointed Commercial International Bank (CIB) as the local adviser (MEED 13:5:05).
  • Mitsubishi gets LRT green light

    The AED 12,450 million ($3,400 million) contract to build the first two phases of the Dubai light rail transport (LRT) system has been signed and is due to come into force on 6 August. Dubai Rapid Link (DURL), a consortium led by Japan's Mitsubishi Corporation, is due to complete the contract in 55 months, with phase 1, the red line, taking 49 months and phase 2, the green line, beginning 20 months later and taking 35 months. Other members of the DURL consortium, which received a let
  • Mixed picture for Iraqi economy

    Iraq's economy rebounded in 2004 and real gross domestic product (GDP) increased by 50 per cent, the IMF's first Article IV consultation in 25 years reported. The rise was supported by a rebounding oil sector, the report says, although inflation remains high at 37 per cent. The new currency introduced in 2004 remains stable, the study says, but economic recovery is held back by the security situation. The fiscal deficit for 2004 was larger than expected, thanks to increased spending on defe
  • MLAs chosen for Etisalat debt

    A seven-strong group of mandated lead arrangers (MLAs) has been appointed on the $2,114 million Islamically structured murabaha facility to fund the acquisition by Etisalat International, part of Emirates Telecommunications Corporation (Etisalat), of 90 per cent of Pakistan Telecommunications Company. HSBC Amanahled the bridge financing, which has a tenor of 18 months. The other MLAs are: Barclays Capital, Calyon, Ci
  • More DIFC laws out for comment

    The Dubai International Financial Centre Authority (DIFCA) has released for public comment two further draft laws, relating to personal property and to the application of the restated and amended Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) laws. DIFC's rules and regulations were first promulgated in September last year (MEED 24:9:05).
  • More time for SRO bids

    The prequalification deadline for the planned Saudi landbridge project has been extended to 31 August by the Saudi Railways Organisation (SRO), in response to requests from the more than 100 local and international companies to have expressed interest in the multi-billion-dollar scheme, which will link the Red Sea coast with the Gulf via a new freight and passenger railway line.
  • Motorola wins MTC contract

    The US' Motorolahas been awarded a $30 million contract by the local MTCto enhance its local network and enable 2.5G applications for its 1.5 million subscribers in the state. The contract will see Motorola deploying its adaptive multi-rate (AMR) solution to improve voice quality and coverage range, and a new network support programme to help manage network availability and reduce subscriber churn. MTC is the region's largest telco in terms of area coverage (MEED 1:4:05).
  • Moving fusion

    The car is king in the Gulf, but the roads can leave a lot to be desired. Short journeys tend to run into heavy traffic, while long ones are often eclipsed by cheap air travel. Roads across the Arabian interior are few and far between, while railways, save a short stretch of track between Riyadh and Dammam, are non-existent. For a region that markets itself as an international crossroads, as a modern caravanserai on the trade routes between East and West, the GCC is remarkably poor on overland t
  • MTC to double capital

    The board of the local MTCon 3 August recommended a doubling of the company's capital to fund expansion plans and pay off the $2,400 million bridge loan taken out in May to fund the acquisition of Amsterdam-based Celtel. New shares will be offered at KD 1.25 ($4.31), a premium of KD 1.15 ($3.97). MTC chairman Asa'ad al-Banwan said that the telecoms group - which now has operations in Bahrain, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon and 13 countries in Africa through Celtel - could
  • Mubadala drives Ferrari

    Abu Dhabi government-owned Mubadala Development Company announced on 27 July the acquisition of a 5 per cent stake in Italy-based car maker Ferrarifrom Italian bank Mediobanca. The deal, valued at Eur 114 million ($137 million), is part of the bank's plans to reduce its stake in the luxury car manufacturer. The agreement also has an earn-out clause guaranteeing Mubadala an internal rate of return of 10 per cent if Ferrari is listed on the stock market within t
  • Mubarak defiant in the face of attack

    The Egyptian authorities launched a massive manhunt for the perpetrators of the 23 July bombing of the Sharm el-Sheikh resort, which left more than 60 people dead in the country's most lethal terrorist attack. Initially the finger of blame was pointed at a group of Pakistanis, but those responsible are now thought all to have been Egyptian nationals. The urgency was clear, as Cairo seeks to limit the impact of the attacks on its crucial tourism industry.
  • Mubarak launches election campaign

    Incumbent President Mubarak, who is widely tipped to win a fifth six-year term for his National Democratic Party (NDP) in September elections, launched his campaign on 17 August in Cairo's Al-Azhar Park under the slogan 'Leadership and passage to the future'. In his opening speech, the Egyptian leader vowed to press ahead with political, economic and social reforms.'My pledge to you starts with certain ambitious steps to continue the course of political reforms that complemen
  • Muscat issues RFQ Sharqiyah IWP

    Requests for qualification (RFQs) are due from developers by 26 September for the sultanate's first independent water project (IWP), to serve the Sharqiyah region. A request for proposals (RFP) is expected in October. The estimated $80 million project calls for the installation of about 15 million gallons a day of desalination capacity. Among the international companies so far to have picked up tender documents are Marubeni Corporation, Mitsui & Company, Sojitz Co
  • Muslim states declare official mourning

    Sultan Qaboos of Oman issued a statement of condolence on 2 August and ordered both government departments and the private sector to close for three days, following the death of King Fahd of Saudi Arabia. In Bahrain, Prime Minister Khalifa bin Salman al-Khalifa declared 40 days of official mourning and shut ministries and government departments for three days. King Hamad bin Isa al-Khalifa expressed his grief at the loss of King Fahd. Conversely, in Saudi Arabia, there will be no period of
  • Najaf airport to get facelift

    Transport Minister Salam Maliki confirmed on 1 August that an agreement with Tehran had been reached to transform and renovate Najaf's existing military airport into a passenger terminal. Under the deal, Iran will provide an estimated $25 million concessionary loan to finance the project, which could take as little as four months to complete. The agreement follows a visit of a high-profile delegation to Iran in mid-July, which resulted in Iran tentatively committing $1,000 million to Iraq's reco
  • NDIA labour camp let

    The 10th package has been awarded on the $2,500 million New Doha International Airport (NDIA) project, after the local Aljaber Engineeringwon the labour camp contract. The design and build contract is valued at QR 46.4 million ($12.8 million). Further awards are imminent on the NDIA scheme, including the airside/landside roads package, for which the local Midmac Contractingis low bidder at QR 717 million ($197 million), and the landscaping package, for which the UAE's
  • NDIA labour camp let

    The 10th package has been awarded on the $2,500 million New Doha International Airport (NDIA) project, after the local Aljaber Engineeringwon the labour camp contract. The design and build contract is valued at QR 46.4 million ($12.8 million). Further awards are imminent on the NDIA scheme, including the airside/landside roads package, for which the local Midmac Contractingis low bidder at QR 717 million ($197 million), and the landscaping package, for which the UAE's
  • New appointment at QNB

    Douglas Beckett has been appointed general manager for retail banking at Qatar National Bank (QNB). Beckett has worked at Standard Chartered Bankfor more than 20 years in a variety of positions.
  • New bid round launched

    The Oil & Mineral Resources Ministry has launched a new international licensing round. Fourteen blocks are on offer and bids are due by 4 January. The tender follows the award of seven concessions to four international oil companies - Australia's Oil Search, the US' Occidental Petroleum Corporation, Korea National Oil Companyand Dubai-based Al-Thani Corporation- in late July (MEED 29:7:05).
  • New construction firm's shares oversubscribed

    Subscription to the offering of shares in Union Construction & Investment Company( UCIC) closed on 9 August, more than twice oversubscribed. UCIC is expected to list on the Palestine Stock Exchange (PSE) in June 2006. The Gaza-based company was established in May 2005 with paid-up capital of $40 million and offered 40 per cent of its shares to the public. The local Ahleia Insurance Group( AIG) is a major investor in UCIC with 4 million shares, alon
  • New expansion planned at Margham

    Locally based Petrofac International is due to complete by October a conceptual study and front-end engineering and design (FEED) work for a major expansion of gas processing infrastructure at the onshore Margham field operated by Margham Dubai Establishment (MDE).The project calls for: new injection wells; the supply and installation of inlet gas-driven reinjection compressors and pipelines; modifications to the existing plant; and upgrading all processing facilities to
  • New head for SABB

    John Coverdale has been appointed managing director of Saudi British Bank (SABB), the local affiliate of HSBC, replacing Geoff Calvert. Coverdale has previously worked for HSBC in the UAE and Malaysia.
  • New HQ building for KJO

    Saudi Oger has started work on an estimated $70 million contract to build a new headquarters complex for Al-Khafji Joint Operations (KJO)in the Divided Zone (DZ). The four-year contract covers the construction of a five-storey building, with a total built-up area of 74,000 square metres, a support building for the coast guard, a car park and roads. The local Zuhair Fayez Partnership Consultants is the consultant; the project manager is Beirut-based Dar al-H
  • New HQ building for KJO

    Saudi Oger has started work on an estimated $70 million contract to build a new headquarters complex for Al-Khafji Joint Operations (KJO)in the Divided Zone (DZ). The four-year contract covers the construction of a five-storey building, with a total built-up area of 74,000 square metres, a support building for the coast guard, a car park and roads. The local Zuhair Fayez Partnership Consultants is the consultant; the project manager is Beirut-based Dar al-H
  • New mayor of Baghdad takes then rejects post

    Baghdad's new mayor denied on 10 August that he had forced his way into the post by threatening his predecessor. 'I don't want this job. I met with Prime Minister Ibrahim Jaafari yesterday and urged him to appoint a new permanent mayor as soon as possible,' Hussein al-Tahhan said. Alaa al-Tamimi, the previous and secular mayor, said 120 gunmen surrounded his office on 8 August in his absence and installed Shia Islamist and governor of Baghdad Al-Tahhan. 'Acts like this set a very dangerous
  • New offerings boost Casa bourse

    The initial public offering (IPO) in mid-July of shares in local utility company Lyonnaise des Eaux de Casablanca (Lydec) marked yet another step in the resurgence of the Casablanca Stock Exchange. The sale was oversubscribed by 20 per cent and when trading began on 18 July the share price immediately rose by a third.
  • New real estate firm for Riyadh

    Mecca-based Al-Subaie Company has set up a new real estate firm for civil and buildings projects in the kingdom, the local Arabic daily Al-Eqtisadiah reported in late July. To be based in Riyadh, the company will have SR 1,000 million ($267 million) of capital and is due to start operations before year-end. The new firm will have branches in Jeddah, Mecca and the Eastern Province.
  • New real estate firm for Riyadh

    Mecca-based Al-Subaie Company has set up a new real estate firm for civil and buildings projects in the kingdom, the local Arabic daily Al-Eqtisadiah reported in late July. To be based in Riyadh, the company will have SR 1,000 million ($267 million) of capital and is due to start operations before year-end. The new firm will have branches in Jeddah, Mecca and the Eastern Province.
  • New scope for island development

    Abu Dhabi-based Tamouh Investmentshas postponed indefinitely the design and build tenders for the construction of residential towers and buildings on the Al-Reem island development. Prequalified contractors had originally been given until 16 July to bid for the five separate packages, but the client is now understood to be preparing alternative tender documents with a new scope of works. The consultant is the UK's Davis Langdon & Seah International(MEED 10:6:05).
  • New scope for island development

    Abu Dhabi-based Tamouh Investmentshas postponed indefinitely the design and build tenders for the construction of residential towers and buildings on the Al-Reem island development. Prequalified contractors had originally been given until 16 July to bid for the five separate packages, but the client is now understood to be preparing alternative tender documents with a new scope of works. The consultant is the UK's Davis Langdon & Seah International(MEED 10:6:05).
  • Nitco set for new Jeddah high-rise headquarters

    Jeddah-based Nitcois expected to issue tender documents by late October for the main construction package on its new headquarters project in Jeddah. Estimated to be worth SR 220 million-250 million ($58 million-67 million), the project will involve the construction of a 16-storey office building with a total built-up area of 32,000 square metres. The contract will also entail the construction of a six-level car park with an area of 35,000 square metres.
  • Nitco set for new Jeddah high-rise headquarters

    Jeddah-based Nitcois expected to issue tender documents by late October for the main construction package on its new headquarters project in Jeddah. Estimated to be worth SR 220 million-250 million ($58 million-67 million), the project will involve the construction of a 16-storey office building with a total built-up area of 32,000 square metres. The contract will also entail the construction of a six-level car park with an area of 35,000 square metres.
  • NPC awards more contracts

    Subsidiaries of National Petrochemical Company (NPC)have awarded two major contracts, for the low-density polyethylene (LDPE) plant in Kurdistan and the mono-ethylene glycol (MEG) plant at the olefins 8 complex in Bandar Imam. The awards take to five the number of major contracts let by NPC in the past two months, and underlines the company's drive to place outstanding contracts before president-elect Mahmoud Ahmadinejad assumes office on 6 August (MEED 29:7:05).
  • Oil & Gas: A full portfolio

    Ibrahim Bahr al-Uloum must have one of the toughest jobs in the oil business. As oil minister in Iraq, he faces a multitude of problems ranging from the spectre of declining crude production to the sabotage of facilities and political infighting within the government. Dealing with these issues in a normal environment would be difficult enough. In the general chaos that has overtaken Iraq, the task is near impossible.
  • OIL & GAS: How to gain a foothold

    UK oil giant BP is coy about what exactly was discussed when chief executive officer (CEO) John Browne travelled to Tripoli in late June to meet Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi. But it is unlikely that much time was spent discussing the weather.
  • Oil price recedes from record highs

    The oil price dropped on 25 August after hitting record highs of $68 a barrel. Concerns that a tropical storm in the Gulf of Mexico would impact oil and gas supplies, which had pushed up the oil price, were allayed when the US National Hurricane Centre adjusted its forecast. The market has remained sensitive to supply fluctuations because of high demand, low fuel stocks and the threat of bad weather around the oil rigs in the Gulf of Mexico. 'The oil market remains prone to short-term dislo
  • Oil prices reach record highs again

    Oil prices hit new highs on 1 August as the market responded to news that King Fahd of Saudi Arabia had died, creating doubts over Saudi Arabia's long-term oil strategy. Awareness that US refineries are struggling to meet demand also shook the market. US light, sweet crude shot to a record $62.30 a barrel before settling at $61.57 a barrel on New York's Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude hit $60.44 a barrel on London's International Petroleum Exchange. The US' ExxonMobil Corporation shut down
  • Olefins II PIM delayed

    The preliminary information memorandum (PIM) on the debt package to fund the $1,500 million Olefins II project is not now expected until September at the earliest. The package is being held up by issues relating to sponsors and with the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contracts. The financing had previously been expected out in June or July. A market sounding exercise has already been undertaken among about 50 banks by Societe Generale, which is acting as financial ad
  • Olefins II tendering gathers pace

    Key steps were made in early August in the progress of the Olefins II petrochemicals complex at Shuaiba. Bids were submitted for the ethylene oxide/ethylene glycol (EO/EG) plant package on 8 August, while invitation to bid (ITB) documents were issued a week earlier to prequalified contractors for the contract to revamp and expand the polyethylene (PE) unit. Bids are also due soon for the styrene package.
  • Oman Chemicals gears up for Sharjah plant

    Muscat-based Oman Chemicals & Pharmaceuticals Company (OCPC)has signed an estimated $200 million agreement to build a 1.2 million-tonne-a-year (t/y) ammonia and urea plant in Sharjah's Hamriyah Free Zone. The project will be completed in two phases. Phase 1, which is scheduled to begin in October, is expected to take about 18 months to complete. The plant will have capacity of 400,000 t/y of ammonia. The second phase, which is expected to begin two years later, will have capacity to
  • Orascom shortlisted for Nitel stake

    Egypt's Orascom Telecom( OT) and Celtel, a subsidiary of Kuwait's MTC,have been shortlisted to bid for a majority stake in Nigerian GSM operator Nigeria Telecommunications( Nitel). Other shortlisted companies include Huawei Technologiesof China, Telkomand MTN Group, both of South Africa, and Newtel. Abuja says it expects to conclude a deal in September in its second attempt to
  • Outsourcing resources

    The concept of private power generation has gained a strong following in the Gulf. Five out of six GCC states have independent water and power projects (IWPPs) on the drawing board, while long-awaited progress has been seen on private projects in the wider region.
  • Oxy makes further strides

    Tripoli has approved the agreement between National Oil Corporation (NOC)and California-based Occidental Petroleum Corporation (Oxy) allowing the US company to resume operations on the three oil concessions it was forced to abandon in 1986 when the US imposed economic sanctions on the country.
  • Oxy reaches agreement on abandoned blocks

    California-based Occidental Petroleum Corporation (Oxy)is set for a full return to the three oil concessions that it was forced to abandon in the mid-1980s when US sanctions were imposed on the country. 'We have agreed with National Oil Corporation (NOC)to resume operations of Occidental's historical oil assets in Libya. We expect formal approval from the government in the very near future,' Oxy chairman Ray Irani said on 22 July during a presentation to US analysts.
  • PA assumes Gaza control following Israeli withdrawal

    All land and assets left behind by departing Israeli settlers will be managed by the Palestinian Authority (PA), PA President Mahmoud Abbas said on 20 August. Personal land claims will be settled in court, Abbas said. Palestinian security forces have surrounded evacuated settlements to prevent Gaza residents from individually reclaiming their property. The former settlement of Netzarim, south of Gaza City, will be the location of a new seaport and public housing units will be built on Morag
  • Padico establishes two new companies

    Palestine Development & Investment Company (Padico) will establish two new companies by the end of August. A $100 million enterprise, provisionally named the Gaza Palestine Investment Company, will invest in industrial, agricultural and housing projects in Gaza. The second company, with a paid-up capital of $60 million, will be based in Jenin in the northern West Bank and finance the same sector projects. Padico will retain a 25 per cent stake in both companies after it stages a public of
  • Padico sells its PSE stake

    Palestine Development & Investment Company( Padico) plans to divest half of its 80 per cent stake in the Palestine Securities Exchange (PSE). The impetus behind the move is to widen the PSE's investor base. 'We've been involved in it for 10 years and brought the PSE to a level of profitability. Now is the time for more people to own it,' says Padico chairman Munib Masri. Padico and its affiliate Palestine Telecommunications Company( PalTel) dominate the
  • Pakistani politician banned in UAE

    Dubai barred entry to Pakistani opposition politician Maulana Fazlur Rehman on 1 August. Rehman, who is the secretary-general for the Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal Islamic coalition, was stopped at Dubai International Airport on his way home from Libya. Officials said he appears on a UAE blacklist and was likely to be deported. Rehman, who heads the Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam group, was a staunch supporter of Afghanistan's Taliban regime and is a critic of Pakistani President Musharraf's support for Wa
  • Palestinians celebrate upcoming withdrawal

    Palestinians gathered in Gaza on 4 August to celebrate Tel Aviv's planned withdrawal from the territory as the Israeli government issued tenders for 72 new homes in the West Bank. The houses will extend the Beitar Ilit settlement south of Jerusalem and building could start within a year. 'This Israeli withdrawal from Gaza and the northern West Bank is a first step on our journey to Jerusalem and the whole of the West Bank,' Palestinian Prime Minister Ahmed Qurei told a crowd
  • Palm monorail clicks into gear

    Fresh prices were submitted in mid-July for the turnkey contract to design, build and equip the proposed monorail system on Palm Jumeirah in Dubai. The project was retendered after bids came in well above Nakheel'sbudget (MEED 18:2:05).
  • Paris warns Tehran against nuclear work

    Paris issued a stern warning to Tehran on 2 August not to resume its nuclear activities. 'I think this Iranian affair is very serious and that it could be the start of a major crisis,' said French Foreign Affairs Minister Phillippe Douste-Blazy. French Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin said that if Tehran pursued its plan to resume uranium enrichment it should be referred to the UN Security Council. Initial recourse would be to the International Atomic Energy Agency.'The p
  • Parliament vetoes oil minister choice

    The Iranian parliament (Majlis) vetoed on 24 August President Ahmadinejad's choice of oil minister. Legislators said that Ali Seedlou lacked the experience to lead the ministry. Seedlou is a key ally to the new president and his rejection was a blow to Ahmadinejad. Seedlou only received 101 votes out of 284, well short of the required majority to assume the post.Parliament also rejected Ahmadinejad's nomination of Ali Akbar Ashari for minister of education, Ali Reza Aliahmadi
  • Parsons Brinckerhoff first to Al-Raha Beach work

    The US' Parsons Brinckerhoff (PB)has been appointed project manager on the estimated AED 54,000 million ($14,700 million) Al-Raha Beach development project in Abu Dhabi. The contract covers the scope and design definition, tender preparation and overseeing the project (MEED 3:6:05).
  • Parsons Brinckerhoff first to Al-Raha Beach work

    The US' Parsons Brinckerhoff (PB)has been appointed project manager on the estimated AED 54,000 million ($14,700 million) Al-Raha Beach development project in Abu Dhabi. The contract covers the scope and design definition, tender preparation and overseeing the project (MEED 3:6:05).
  • Parsons set to care for Fertil

    WorleyParsons of Australia is in line for the project management consultancy (PMC) contract covering front-end engineering and design (FEED) on the urea debottlenecking project planned by Ruwais Fertiliser Industries (Fertil). The scheme will involve the installation of a 350-tonne-a-day (t/d) carbon dioxide unit and a major granulation unit (MEED 15:7:05).
  • PCO to issue multiple task order contract

    The Project & Contracting Office (PCO) has issued a presolicitation notice for an indefinite delivery/indefinite quantity (ID/IQ) design and build multiple award task order contract (MATOC) to maintain, repair and build a nationwide electricity network. A solicitation notice is expected to be issued on 5 August.
  • PDI wins rig deals from Aramco/KOC

    Canada's Precision Drilling International (PDI)has won two contracts, worth almost $200 million, to supply and operate semi-automated deep drilling rigs for upstream operators Kuwait Oil Company (KOC)and Saudi Aramco.
  • Peace accord faces uncertain future

    SPLM leader John Garang's death threatens peace process
  • Pearl Continental to manage Burj al-Bahr

    Pearl Continental, the hotel operator owned by Pakistan's Hashoo Group, will manage the 400-room hotel being built as part of the estimated $193 million Burj al-Bahr mixed-use development in the Mataki district of Tripoli. Hashoo is the developer on the project, for which piling work is due to start in late August by the Egyptian office of Germany's Bauer. The firm recently completed excavation work on the development, which covers an area of 300,000 square feet an
  • Pearl Continental to manage Burj al-Bahr

    Pearl Continental, the hotel operator owned by Pakistan's Hashoo Group, will manage the 400-room hotel being built as part of the estimated $193 million Burj al-Bahr mixed-use development in the Mataki district of Tripoli. Hashoo is the developer on the project, for which piling work is due to start in late August by the Egyptian office of Germany's Bauer. The firm recently completed excavation work on the development, which covers an area of 300,000 square feet an
  • Pension reform needed now

    Pension systems in the Middle East are in urgent need of reform, the World Bank stated on 23 August. The report, entitled Pensions in the Middle East and North Africa: Time for Change, is the first ever regional review of pension systems. It calls for a decrease in pension benefits to reduce financial strain on governments. According to the study, pensioners in the region on average receive up to 80 per cent of their previous earnings, which is higher than the average 57 per cent-stipends i
  • Phosphate race narrows to two

    Just two groups - Australia's WorleyParsons,and a team of Canada's SNC Lavalinwith the US' Jacobs Engineering- are expected to submit bids for the position of project management consultant (PMC) on the development of phosphate resources in the northwest of the kingdom. Five groups are prequalified to bid by the extended deadline of 21 August. The scheme covers the exploration of the Al-Jalamid deposit. The SNC/Jacobs group has carried out the full feasibility
  • PIDEC takes olefins 8 cracker

    The local Petrochemical Industries Design & Engineering Company (PIDEC)has been awarded a Eur 267 million ($321 million) contract to build the ethane cracker at the Arvand Petrochemical Companyolefins 8 complex at Bandar Imam. A much larger cracker contract, awarded in June to Germany's Linde with the local Sazeh for the olefins 11 project, has come under attack by Majlis (parliament) deputies, leaving its fate again uncertain (MEED 8:7:05).
  • PM denies political change on the way

    Kuwait's Prime Minister Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Sabah denied on 17 August reports of planned changes within the government. 'There are no changes, neither at the level of government nor at any other level,' Sheikh Sabah said in an interview with Al-Rai al-Aam newspaper. The head of the National Guard Sheikh Salem al-Ali al-Sabah hinted at important political changes ahead in September 2004. The emir of Kuwait Sheikh Jaber al-Ahmed al-Sabah suffered a stroke in 2001 and has r
  • PMC picked for Sohar olefins complex

    Oman Petrochemical Industries Corporation (OPIC)has awarded the joint venture of the US' Fluor Corporationand Australia's WorleyParsonsthe contract to provide project management and engineering services on its planned olefins complex at Sohar. The scope of works includes project management of the owners' support services and carrying out the six-month front-end engineering and design (FEED) of the process plant and offsite and utilities. The estimated $2,000 millio
  • Police arrest GSPC suspects

    Moroccan police have arrested 13 suspected terrorists linked to Algerian Islamists, a government source said on 16 August. An appeal court magistrate in Rabat will question the men in September. The group are alleged to have been in contact with the Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat (GSPC), who have been fighting with the government in Algeria for over a decade. They planned to set up a GSPC group in Morocco, the source said. The men face charges of criminal conspiracy, attempts to un
  • Police killed in Sinai explosion

    A bomb exploded in northern Sinai on 25 August, killing two policemen. Security officers have been combing the area of Jebel Halal for suspects in the July bomb attack on Sharm el-Sheikh. Police were searching the area, renowned for drug smuggling and outlaws, when two booby-trapped devices exploded. Six police officers where wounded in an explosion in the same area the day before ( MEED 23:8:05).
  • Police round up Sinai bombing suspects

    Many suspects linked to the Sinai bombings have been captured, an Egyptian Interior Ministry statement said on 23 August. 'The intensive efforts exerted recently have led to the capture of most suspects and yielded details on the terrorist attacks on the Sinai,' the statement said. Police have conducted a series of raids in northern Sinai looking for militants involved in the Sharm el-Sheikh bombings in July that killed about 70 people and explosions in a number of Red Sea resorts, includin
  • Police stem Islamist attacks

    Syrian police have foiled attacks on Damascus and surrounding areas by a militant Islamist group called Tanzim Jund al-Sham, a Syrian police source said on 23 August. Four policemen were killed during clashes with the group in mid-August in Madaya, northeast of Damascus. The group, whose name means Organisation of the Soldiers of the Levant, first came to public attention in March when it claimed responsibility for a suicide bombing on a theatre in Qatar that killed one Briton.
  • Polisario frees Moroccan prisoners of war

    The Western Sahara Polisario Front released 404 Moroccan prisoners of war on 18 August, who they had been holding for up to 20 years. 'This will contribute, we hope, to generate a climate which will favour a dynamic for peace, which we would like to believe will be irreversible,' said Polisario Front's minister delegate to Europe, Mohammed Sidati. Washington mediated the prisoners' release, which took place in Tindouf, Algeria, and the men were flown to Agadir in Morocco. The men were captu
  • Port expansion sets sail

    The team of Athens-based Consolidated Contractors International Company (CCC) with the local/Geneva-registered Hani Archirodon has been awarded the two main construction packages on the project to rehabilitate and expand Salalah container port. The total value of the combined contract is RO 100.7 million ($258.1 million).
  • Port expansion sets sail

    The team of Athens-based Consolidated Contractors International Company (CCC) with the local/Geneva-registered Hani Archirodon has been awarded the two main construction packages on the project to rehabilitate and expand Salalah container port. The total value of the combined contract is RO 100.7 million ($258.1 million).
  • Power cut halts oil exports

    Exports from Iraq's only functioning oil terminals in Basra stopped on 22 August when a power cut struck the central and southern regions. Officials said the outage was caused by an attack on a central power line between Baghdad and Baiji in mid-August. The export interruption could cost Baghdad $4 million an hour, said Mohammed Hadi, the head of Iraq operations for shipping agents Norton Lilly International.
  • POWER GENERATION: Sewing up the region

    Take any new power project in the Middle East and the chances are that Germany's Siemens Power Generation Group (PG) has been involved in it one way or another. From Algeria to Yemen, in the past 18 months Siemens PG has scored almost everywhere - both as a turnkey contractor and as a turbine supplier.
  • Power: Keeping the lights on

    When a company runs up annual losses of about $800 million, it might seem sensible to call it a day - but this is Lebanon. State electricity company Electricite du Liban (EdL) has been in line for privatisation for years, but always seems to slip through the net. However, after the political upheaval of recent months, hopes of a sale have returned with the new government.
  • Preparations under way for Gaza pullout

    Preparations are under way to ensure a quiet withdrawal of Israeli settlers from Gaza, with Palestinian security forces gearing up to deploy 5,000 troops around the settlements. A spokesperson for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in a phone conversation with US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice on 10 August confirmed that Abbas had stressed that the Palestinian Authority was prepared for the withdrawal, which is scheduled to begin on 15 August.'President Mahmoud Abbas ga
  • Preparations under way for Gaza pullout

    Preparations are under way to ensure a quiet withdrawal of Israeli settlers from Gaza, with Palestinian security forces gearing up to deploy 5,000 troops around the settlements. A spokesperson for Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas in a phone conversation with US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice on 10 August confirmed that Abbas had stressed that the Palestinian Authority was prepared for the withdrawal, which is scheduled to begin on 15 August.'President Mahmou
  • Prequalifiers in for Irbid phase 2

    Applications for prequalification have been received by the Water & Irrigation Ministry for the $54 million phase 2 contract to supply and install a sewage disposal network and treatment plants for the Greater Irbid area. The ministry plans to extend the existing sewerage system within the city and then on to five villages south of the city, as well as building three treatment plants with main and branch sewers. Work is due to be completed in 2007. The consultant is Deutsche Gesellschaft fuer Te
  • Prequals due for luxury complex

    Abu Dhabi-based ALDAR Propertieshas invited contractors to prequalify by 15 August for the contract to build the second phase of the luxury apartment complex in Khalifa A City in the capital. The first phase calls for the construction of 10 buildings of about six storeys. The local Al-Habtoor Engineering Enterprisesis expected to complete the first-phase structural work for the buildings by the end of August under an estimated AED 110 million ($30 million) contract. Abu D
  • Prequals due for luxury complex

    Abu Dhabi-based ALDAR Propertieshas invited contractors to prequalify by 15 August for the contract to build the second phase of the luxury apartment complex in Khalifa A City in the capital. The first phase calls for the construction of 10 buildings of about six storeys. The local Al-Habtoor Engineering Enterprisesis expected to complete the first-phase structural work for the buildings by the end of August under an estimated AED 110 million ($30 million) contract. Abu D
  • Prequals in for O&M

    Ten companies applied to prequalify by the 25 July deadline to form an operations and maintenance (O&M) joint venture with Oman Wastewater Services Company (OWSC)for the Muscat Wastewater project. According to the Tender Board, they are: Saur International, Suez Environnementand Generale des Eaux, all of France, a UAE office of the US' Earth Techwith KEO International Consultants, MVVand GEL Senwasser
  • Prequals in for Saih Rawl project

    Applications for prequalification were submitted to Petroleum Development Oman (PDO)in late July for the combined front-end engineering and design (FEED) and engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract on the estimated $350 million-400 million Saih Rawl gas depletion project. A tender is due to be issued by the end of the year. The scope of works includes installation of new inlet separators, condensate recovery separators and a new condensate pipeline, throttle valves,
  • Prequals in for Yanbu work

    International contractors submitted prequalifications in late July to Saudi Aramcofor the project to expand the Yanbu gas plant. Aramco is due to issue by November the tender on the estimated $150 million-200 million project, with bids scheduled to be submitted in early 2006 (MEED 8:7:05).
  • Prequals invited for Qarn Alam EPC

    Applications for prequalification have been invited by 8 September by Petroleum Development Oman (PDO)for the estimated $300 million engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract on the Qarn Alam enhanced oil recovery (EOR) project, which calls for the use of steam-assisted gas-oil gravity drainage to thin viscous oil and ease extraction. The scope of works includes the installation of: steam generators to generate an annual average output of 18,000 tonnes a day of steam;
  • Prequals invited for Shahid Beheshti port

    Contractors have been invited to prequalify by 15 August for the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract on the Shahid Beheshti deepwater port project, at Chabahar in the southeastern province of Sistan-Baluchistan. The contract calls for: the dredging of about 15 million cubic metres of material; construction of a four-kilometre-long, 300-metre-wide approach channel and a 1.5-kilometre quay wall with an alongside depth of 15 metres; and reclamation of 170 hectares of land. The
  • Prequals invited for Shahid Beheshti port

    Contractors have been invited to prequalify by 15 August for the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract on the Shahid Beheshti deepwater port project, at Chabahar in the southeastern province of Sistan-Baluchistan. The contract calls for: the dredging of about 15 million cubic metres of material; construction of a four-kilometre-long, 300-metre-wide approach channel and a 1.5-kilometre quay wall with an alongside depth of 15 metres; and reclamation of 170 hectares of land. The
  • President hosts constitution talks

    Iraq's constitutional drafting committee met on 7 August at the home of President Talabani to iron out disagreements before the mid-August deadline. Shia Arab leader Abdel Aziz Hakim and Sunni Vice President Ghazi Al-Yawar took part in the talks but Kurdish leader Masoud Barzani did not attend due to bad weather. 'We cannot reach solutions for all the outstanding issues tonight, but we will continue the meetings until a complete resolution is met,' Talabani said. The president expressed con
  • Presidential candidates to be announced

    The Presidential Election Commission (PEC) is due to announce a final list of candidates eligible to stand in the upcoming presidential polls scheduled for 7 September. Ten candidates have been approved so far while another twenty have been rejected, including the nephew of former Egyptian president Anwar Sadat, who has threatened to resign as a member of parliament should he be banned from running against President Mubarak. Rejected applicants were given 48 hours to appeal t
  • Presidential electioneering starts in Egypt

    Campaigning for Egypt's first multi-candidate elections started on 17 August. Representatives from 10 parties will stand in the polls scheduled for 7 September. President Mubarak is expected to win a fifth term in office, but Numan Gumaa of the Wafd Party and Ayman Nour of Al-Ghad are his main challengers. Many opposition leaders have refused to stand, insisting the elections would not be free or fair.Government officials have met a group of prominent judges in an effort to p
  • Prices fall on refinery news

    Oil prices slipped back in the third week of August as US refineries began recovering from a series of glitches. However, prices remain above $60 a barrel, with American gasoline supplies tight and OPEC publishing a bullish monthly report. Spot Brent was trading at $62.60 a barrel on 18 August, compared with $64.01 a barrel a week earlier.
  • Prices in for RasGas III platforms

    Two fabricators - Jebel Ali-based J Ray McDermott Middle Eastand Abu Dhabi's National Petroleum Construction Company (NPCC)- submitted commercial bids on 21 July for the main upstream package on the RasGas III integrated project. Estimated to be worth $300 million, the engineering, procurement, installation and commissioning (EPIC) contract centres on the supply of two topsides and the installation of a 38-inch-diameter, 100-kilometre-long gas pipeline, cabling, a power c
  • Prices opened for GCC grid

    Prices were opened in mid-August for four of the five packages on the GCC electricity grid project, following the submission of technical bids in early June. An award is expected by the client, the GCC Interconnection Authority, by the end of October. Canada's SNC Lavalinis the consultant (MEED 17:6:05).
  • Prince Turki takes Blair to task

    Saudi Arabia's ambassador to the UK lambasted the UK government for failing to take action against Muslim extremists in an article published in the Times newspaper on 10 August. Prince Turki al-Faisal said that he had been 'going around in circles' in his efforts to make Prime Minister Tony Blair's government aware of the dangers posed by militant Islamists in the UK. He said he had approached various government departments but none would take responsibility for addressing his concerns. 'We
  • Priority for Moevenpick convention centre

    A team of the local DSD Ferrometalco and Germany's Siemenshas started work on the contract to build a major convention centre at the resort town of Sharm el-Sheikh to host the World Economic Forum (WEF) in May 2006. The client is Moevenpick Hotels & Resorts.
  • Priority for Moevenpick convention centre

    A team of the local DSD Ferrometalco and Germany's Siemenshas started work on the contract to build a major convention centre at the resort town of Sharm el-Sheikh to host the World Economic Forum (WEF) in May 2006. The client is Moevenpick Hotels & Resorts.
  • PRIVATE POWER: The shareholder-operator

    The launch of Globeleq should have been an impressive affair. All the market signs were right in mid-2001. The US energy market was at the end of the long period of liberalisation that had been kick-started by the Public Utilities Regulatory Act of 1978. After moving into cross-border investment in Latin America and Asia in the early 1990s, US energy companies were looking once again at the domestic market. Power generation had been opened up to non-utilities and merchant power plants were now a
  • Project managers eye Doha port work

    Technical and commercial bids are due to be submitted by 11 September for the engineering, procurement and construction management (EPCM) contract on the new Doha port project. The prospective bidders include Bechtel, Parsons Internationaland Kellogg Brown & Root (KBR), all US-based, and Atkins, Scott Wilson Kirkpatrick, Halcrow and Mouchel Parkman, all of the UK (MEED 18:2:05).
  • Project managers eye Doha port work

    Technical and commercial bids are due to be submitted by 11 September for the engineering, procurement and construction management (EPCM) contract on the new Doha port project. The prospective bidders include Bechtel, Parsons Internationaland Kellogg Brown & Root (KBR), all US-based, and Atkins, Scott Wilson Kirkpatrick, Halcrow and Mouchel Parkman, all of the UK (MEED 18:2:05).
  • Protesters cling on as Tel Aviv retreats

    Israeli troops clashed with anti-pullout protesters in Gaza as 37 years of Israeli occupation came to an end. Despite the protests, Tel Aviv's withdrawal from Gaza is proceeding faster than expected and Israeli officials said it might be completed by 23 August. It was expected to take weeks. In the early morning of 15 August, Israeli troops handed eviction notices to those left of the 8,500 settlers forced to pack up and leave the 21 Israeli enclaves in Gaza, as well as a further four in the nor
  • Provisional Iranian cabinet list

    Provisional Iranian cabinet list:(14 August 2005)EducationAli Akbar Ashari IntelligenceGholam Hossein Mohseni Ejehei Foreign AffairsManouchehr Mottaki CommerceMasoud Mirkazemi Health Kamran Bagheri Lankarani Economy Davoud Danesh Jafari Telecommunications Mohammad Soleimani
  • PWC LOGISTICS: An unstoppable juggernaut

    When it comes to transport in the Middle East, it has become impossible to ignore the impact of Kuwait's PWC Logistics. From seemingly out of nowhere, the firm has grown rapidly over the past four years to become the region's dominant force in the sector.
  • Qataris plan resort

    Qatari Diar Real Estate Investment Company, the developer of the multi-billion dollar Lusail project in Doha's West Bay, has signed a memorandum of understanding with the sultanate's Tourism Ministry for the development of an eco-resort at Ras al-Hadd. The resort, which will spread over 2 million square metres, will include hotels, a scientific centre and retail and leisure facilities. Beirut-based Dar al-Handasah (Shair & Partners)carried out the masterplan (MEED 11:3:05).
  • Qataris plan resort

    Qatari Diar Real Estate Investment Company, the developer of the multi-billion dollar Lusail project in Doha's West Bay, has signed a memorandum of understanding with the sultanate's Tourism Ministry for the development of an eco-resort at Ras al-Hadd. The resort, which will spread over 2 million square metres, will include hotels, a scientific centre and retail and leisure facilities. Beirut-based Dar al-Handasah (Shair & Partners)carried out the masterplan (MEED 11:3:05).
  • QP cracks on with RLIC cooling water project

    About seven groups of companies responded by late July to a query from Qatar Petroleum (QP)for the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract for phases 2-3 of the Ras Laffan Industrial City (RLIC) common seawater cooling project. The respondents include Athens-based Consolidated Contractors International Company (CCC)with Japan's Chiyoda Corporation, Paris-based Technip, Marubeni Corporationof Japan, Turkey's Gama
  • Rabat to join 3G club

    A third GSM licence for the provision of exclusively third-generation (3G) services will be granted in 2007 under plans introduced by telecoms regulator Agence Nationale de Reglementation des Telecommunications. Licences will also be launched in early 2006 for the provision of 3G services by the two incumbent GSM operators. The new mobile licence will be on offer to the licence-holder for limited mobility services following 18 months of successful operations. Egypt's Orascom Telecom
  • Rafsanjani calls for release of dissident

    Former Iranian president Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani appealed on 30 July to the judiciary to release Akbar Ganji, the imprisoned journalist. Ganji is close to death after 50 days of a hunger strike, claims his family. Doctors say Ganji refuses medicine and only drinks tea and water.Ganji was imprisoned in 2001 for writing articles linking government officials to political assassinations. Rafsanjani joins US President Bush and fellow former presidential candidate Mehdi Karrou
  • RAK power plans move

    RAK Ceramicshas invited international contractors to bid by 6 October for the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract to build a grassroots power and desalination plant in Ras al-Khaimah's Al-Jazeera al-Hamra district. The project aims to resolve the emirate's lack of power capacity, which has held up its industrial development.
  • RasGas III bond priced

    The bond issue for the local/US Ras Laffan Liquefied Natural Gas Company II (RasGas II), to fund the integrated RasGas III project, was priced in early August. Goldman Sachsand Lehman Brotherswere the lead managers; Royal Bank of Scotlandacted as financial adviser (MEED 29:7:05).
  • RasGas MLAs appointed, bond launched

    Mandated lead arrangers (MLAs) have been appointed on the bank tranche of the financing package for the local/US Ras Laffan Liquefied Natural Gas Company II (RasGas II), with a total of about $1,600 million raised. The final amount taken will depend on the outcome of the parallel bond issue, for which subscription was launched on 25 July and is due to close in the first week of August.
  • RCJY issues Jubail substation tender

    The Royal Commission of Jubail & Yanbu (RCJY) has invited contractors to bid by 10 September for an estimated $50 million contract to build a 230-kV substation at Jubail Industrial City-2.
  • Reissue due for City Centre tender

    The tender for the main construction contract on the Bahrain City Centre mall project is due to be reissued on 12 September, with a revised bid deadline of 17 October. The new scope of works on the estimated $350 million contract will incorporate two 16-storey hotels, previously contained in an addendum issued in mid-July. The three-storey mall, in the Seef district of Manama, will have a built-up area of 450,000 square metres. Prospective bidders are: the local AA Nass Contracting,
  • Reissue due for City Centre tender

    The tender for the main construction contract on the Bahrain City Centre mall project is due to be reissued on 12 September, with a revised bid deadline of 17 October. The new scope of works on the estimated $350 million contract will incorporate two 16-storey hotels, previously contained in an addendum issued in mid-July. The three-storey mall, in the Seef district of Manama, will have a built-up area of 450,000 square metres. Prospective bidders are: the local AA Nass Contracting,
  • RFP nears on Qatargas 3

    Banks have been informed that the request for proposals (RFQ) is due to be issued on 22 August for the financing package on the integrated Qatargas 3 liquefied natural gas (LNG) project, being carried out by a joint venture of Qatar Petroleum (QP) and the US' Conoco. However, a delay is expected. The financing is likely to be worth about $2,900 million and to closely mirror in structure the funding of the Qatar Liquefied Gas Company II (Qatargas II)project in
  • RFP out for Hidd IWPP

    The request for proposals (RFP) was issued in late July by the Finance Ministry for the Hidd brownfield independent water and power project (IWPP). Bids are due on 2 November. A preferred bidder is due to be selected in early December and an award is scheduled by the end of the year. The selected developer will acquire phases 1 and 2 of the Hidd power and desalination complex, which has capacity of 1,000 MW and 30 million gallons a day (g/d), and install an additional 60 million g/d. BNP
  • RFQ out for IWPP

    The request for qualifications (RFQ) was issued on 10 August for the sultanate's next independent water and power project (IWPP), with responses due by 19 September. As widely expected, the project includes both the acquisition of the existing 687-MW state-owned power plant at Rusayl and the implementation of a new IWPP at Barka. Details of the planned capacity of the Barka plant were not yet available as MEED went to press. The client is Oman Power & Water Procurement Company; the advisory team
  • Rikaz moves ahead with City Fanar, Royal Amwaj

    Al-Khobar-based real estate developer Rikaz Development & Planning has awarded three contracts worth a total of SR 121 million ($33 million) to local companies covering marine and infrastructure works on the City Fanar development in the Eastern Province (MEED 21:5:04).
  • Rikaz moves ahead with City Fanar, Royal Amwaj

    Al-Khobar-based real estate developer Rikaz Development & Planning has awarded three contracts worth a total of SR 121 million ($33 million) to local companies covering marine and infrastructure works on the City Fanar development in the Eastern Province (MEED 21:5:04).
  • Riot police beat Cairo protesters

    Egyptian police dispersed pro-reform demonstrators in central Cairo on 30 July. The Kifayeh party claimed riot police arrested 19 of their senior members during the weekly protest, which a range of opposition groups attended. Said Kifayeh spokesman George Ishak: 'I think today is a turning point in the regime's attitude. They became very aggressive again just when we thought they were softening up. I think they want to crush the democracy movement but they can't.'Kifayeh's we
  • Riyadh announces salary increase

    Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah decreed on 22 August a 15 per cent salary boost for public sector workers and more funds for social projects. The money will 'improve living conditions of the citizens and consolidate the national economy', he said in the decree. The decree covers current and retired government employees and finance for housing, health and education projects. Members of the Majlis al-Shura consultative council will benefit but not government ministers. Soldiers and public employ
  • Riyadh, Tehran cause price spike OIL PRICES

    Oil prices jumped to more than $60 a barrel on the death of Saudi Arabia's King Fahd but were also driven by increasing tension between Washington and Tehran and refining problems in the US. Spot Brent was trading at $61.50 a barrel on 3 August, compared with $58.84 a barrel a week earlier.
  • Rockets target US navy and Israeli resort

    At least two missiles were fired from Jordanian soil on 19 August at a US Navy ship docked in the port of Aqaba and at an airport in Eilat in neighbouring Israel. 'I can confirm that a rocket flew over the bow of USS Ashland and the rocket impacted in the roof of a warehouse. No sailors or marines were injured,' said Commander Breslau of the US Fifth Fleet. The USS Ashland and its amphibious sister ship, the USS Kearsarge, were docked in Aqaba. Both ships are reported to have
  • Roll on roll-out

    Rarely a week goes by without some piece of Iraqi infrastructure - an oil pipeline, a refinery, power lines or even sewers - being targeted by insurgents. But there is one exception: telecommunications. There can be few countries where mobile operators complain of being threatened with violence for failing to expand their networks fast enough. 'Terrorists need mobile phones,' explains Siyamend Othman, chief executive officer (CEO) of the independent Iraqi telecoms and media regulator, the Nation
  • Rowan wins drilling work

    Saudi Aramcohas awarded the US' Rowan Companiesa three-year drilling contract to supply and operate five class 116-c jack-up drilling rigs. The rigs will be mobilised from the Gulf of Mexico and operate offshore Saudi Arabia from early 2006. The contract has an option to be extended by a further year. In July, Canada's Precision Drilling International (PDI)won an estimated $50 million contract to supply and operate two 2,000-HP deep-water drilling wells in the kin
  • Royal Air signs MoU with Boeing

    The Boeing Companyof the US has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with local flag carrier Royal Air Marocto supply up to five passenger aircraft after the US company was the only supplier to bid for the contract. Europe's Airbushad also shown interest in supplying their A350s, but decided not to bid. The agreement calls for the supply of four of Boeing's next-generation 787 Dreamliner aircraft in late 2008 and 2009, with the option of a fifth at a later da
  • Sabic denies Alujain media reports

    Saudi Basic Industries Corporation (Sabic) issued a statement on 24 July denying a local newspaper report that it had invested SR 421 million ($112 million) in the Yanbu propylene project being developed by the local AlujainCorporation. The statement said that Sabic had signed an agreement with Alujain to market 200,000 tonnes a year of propylene from the project, but that the agreement did not include a share of Alujain's capital or the stated level of investment. Bank
  • Saddam fires lawyers

    The tribunal established to try former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein said on 24 August that Saddam has sacked his legal team. 'Saddam confirmed that he has dismissed all lawyers and cancelled their authorisations: and that the only authorised lawyer is Khalil Dulaimi,' the tribunal said in a statement. Saddam's family announced in early August that he had let his foreign lawyers go and that the Iraqi Dulaimi would represent Saddam. His family lawyer Abdel Haq Alani said his client was upset b
  • Salco evaluates smelter prices

    A partnership of China National Non-Ferrous Metals Industry Corporation (NFI)and France's Pechineyhas submitted the lowest compliant bid for the South Aluminium Corporation (Salco) smelter project planned at Bandar Abbas. The client is expected to select three bidders for further negotiation on the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract (MEED 24:6:05).
  • Saudi Arabia is strong. It's time to make it great

    In its informality, the funeral of King Fahd bin Abdulaziz on 2 August was a touching affair. After a simple service in Riyadh's Imam Turki bin Abdullah mosque, his remains were carried to a waiting ambulance by his sons.
  • Saudi Foreign Minister rejects succession concerns

    Saudi Minister of Foreign Affairs Prince Saud al-Faisal rejected doubts about the stability of the kingdom's transfer of power on 4 August. He said King Abdullah's smooth accession attested to the kingdom's integrity. Prince Saud also swept aside concerns about the ageing ruling elite. The late King Fahd was 84 and Abdullah is only two years younger. 'During previous transfers of power, the age differences were not much different than they are now and Saudi Arabia seems to ha
  • SCB arranges Gulf Air loan

    Syndication is due to close in late August of a three-year, $75 million borrowing by Gulf Air, lead arranged by Standard Chartered Bank (SCB). The margin is 115 basis points (bp) over Libor. Gulf Air took a $55 million structured trade finance facility in summer 2004, also lead arranged by SCB and priced at 100 bp (MEED 16:7:04).
  • Sciri leader Al-Hakim calls for Shia autonomy

    Abdel Aziz al-Hakim, head of the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq (Sciri), called for an autonomous Shia state in central and southern Iraq on 11 August. His comments came at a rally in the Shia city of Najaf as the country's political leaders negotiate the final draft of a new constitution due by 15 August.'Regarding federalism, we think that it is necessary to form one entire region in the south,' said Hakim. The proposal goes a step further
  • Selections due for Dubai Maritime City

    A formal award is imminent for the contract to provide consultancy services for all infrastructure works on the Dubai Maritime City (DMC) project - a major mixed-use offshore facility to serve the region's maritime industry. Bidders for the contract include Mouchel Parkman, Hyder Consulting, Maunsell and Halcrow, all of the UK, Lebanon's Khatib & Alamiand an unidentified US firm (MEED 15:7:05).
  • Selections due for Dubai Maritime City

    A formal award is imminent for the contract to provide consultancy services for all infrastructure works on the Dubai Maritime City (DMC) project - a major mixed-use offshore facility to serve the region's maritime industry. Bidders for the contract include Mouchel Parkman, Hyder Consulting, Maunsell and Halcrow, all of the UK, Lebanon's Khatib & Alamiand an unidentified US firm (MEED 15:7:05).
  • September RFP for new GSM licences

    The National Communications & Media Commission (NCMC), the independent telecoms and media regulator, is planning to launch request for proposal (RFP) documents by the end of September for new mobile licences. Under the proposed schedule, bids will be submitted in November, negotiations with preferred bidders will take place in early December and the winners will be announced in mid-December, NCMC chief executive officer Siyamend Othman told a conference in London on 21-22 July.
  • Settler homes demolished

    Demolition work began on 21 August in four former Israeli settlements in Gaza. Bulldozers knocked down houses and buildings in Nissanit and Dugit in north Gaza and Peat Sadeh and Ganei Tal in the south. Tel Aviv and the Palestinian Authority agreed before the Israeli withdrawal from Gaza began that the settler properties should be destroyed. Settlers clashed with Israeli soldiers sent to evict them at Gush Katif before troops, police and settlers prayed together and the encla
  • Settler stronghold stormed

    Israeli troops stormed the Gaza settler enclave of Gadid on 19 August, bursting through burning barricades and surrounding a synagogue where 100 protesters had locked themselves in. Settlers took to the rooftops in the tiny enclave, shouting 'Nazis' as security forces swept in, hours after clearing Gaza's main anti-pullout strongholds. 'This is a desecration of everything that is sacred to Jews,' said one settler. More than 80 percent of Gaza's 8,500 settlers have left under
  • Sharon: No regrets

    Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon said on 12 August that he had 'no regrets' about his plan to evacuate settlers from Gaza despite deep divisions in the country. 'Even if I had known ahead of time the extent of resistance, I would have done it anyway,' Sharon told the newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth. Sharon's comments followed a rally on 11 August by 150,000 protesters in central Tel Aviv, the largest demonstration so far by Israelis seeking to block the withdrawal from Gaza, set to begin on 1
  • Sharq wraps up process plant awards

    Jubail-based Eastern Petrochemical Company (Sharq) awardedin late July the two remaining process packages on its $2,500 million expansion programme. The awards of the cracker and polyethylene (PE) packages came after final commercial offers were submitted in mid-July (MEED 17:6:05).
  • Shia push for draft constitution vote

    Prime Minister Ibrahim Jaafari's government rejected on 23 August any major changes to the draft constitution despite Sunni Arab objections. 'The draft that was submitted is approximately the draft that will be implemented,' government spokesman Laith Kubba said. The draft document describes Islam as the 'main source' of law. But agreement on a proposed federal structure for Iraq has yet to be reached. The drafting committee submitted the preliminary charter to the Transitional National Ass
  • Shortlist drawn up for Hidd IWPP

    About 15 developers are understood to have been prequalified by the Finance Ministry for the Hidd brownfield independent water and power project (IWPP). The request for proposals (RFP) was issued in late July, with bids due on 2 November.
  • Shubaily Grand Mall project gathers steam

    Riyadh-based Saudi Constructioneers Establishment is carrying out structural works on the Shubaily Grand Mall project in the Eastern Province. Estimated to be worth SR 300 million ($80 million), the contract involves the construction of a three-level mall with a total built-up area of 250,000 square metres. The contract is due to be completed in the third quarter of 2006.
  • Shubaily Grand Mall project gathers steam

    Riyadh-based Saudi Constructioneers Establishment is carrying out structural works on the Shubaily Grand Mall project in the Eastern Province. Estimated to be worth SR 300 million ($80 million), the contract involves the construction of a three-level mall with a total built-up area of 250,000 square metres. The contract is due to be completed in the third quarter of 2006.
  • SIB takes syndicated loan

    Saudi Investment Bank (SIB)on 29 July signed a $380 million syndicated loan facility, underwritten and managed by Citigroup. The facility, which is SIB's first, was increased in size from $200 million. A total of 24 banks participated in the deal.
  • Siemens wins GSM network expansion

    Germany's Siemens on 29 September announced the award of a $28 million contract covering the upgrade, expansion and modernisation of the SabafonGSM network. Under the contract, Siemens will provide its general packet-switched radio service (GPRS) platform and upgrade the operator's infrastructure to a packet-switching and high-speed data rate network, preparing it for 3G applications. Siemens will also deploy its enhanced data rates for GSM evolution (EDGE) service and ex
  • Six Al-Qaeda members jailed

    Sanaa jailed six Al-Qaeda suspects on 8 August for plotting attacks on Western targets. The group of eight Iraqis, Yemenis and Syrians were charged with forming an armed group, forging documents, possessing arms and explosives and scheming to attack foreign embassies in Yemen. The six men convicted will serve between three and four years in prison and vowed to appeal the verdict. Two of the accused were acquitted. The verdicts were announced a day after the trial began of four Iraqis accuse
  • Six bid for third GSM

    Six foreign operators submitted bids by the 2 August deadline for the country's third GSM licence. The offers are now under evaluation by the Telecommunications & Information Technology Ministry. It is expected that the government will take a 25 per cent stake in the venture, with the new operator owning 55 per cent and 20 per cent offered to the public (MEED 27:5:05).
  • Six compete for Jeddah airport programme

    Six groups of companies have made technical presentations to the Presidency of Civil Aviation (PCA) to provide programme and construction management (PCM) services on the proposed expansion of King Abdulaziz International Airport (KAIA) in Jeddah. The companies are US-based Fluor Corporation, the US' Bechtelwith the local Dar al-Riyadh, Beirut-based Dar al-Handasah (Shair & Partners)and Turner Construction International, US-based
  • Six compete for Jeddah airport programme

    Six groups of companies have made technical presentations to the Presidency of Civil Aviation (PCA) to provide programme and construction management (PCM) services on the proposed expansion of King Abdulaziz International Airport (KAIA) in Jeddah. The companies are US-based Fluor Corporation, the US' Bechtelwith the local Dar al-Riyadh, Beirut-based Dar al-Handasah (Shair & Partners)and Turner Construction International, US-based
  • Six in for substation

    The Energy Ministry has invited six prequalified international contractors to bid by 27 September for a contract to supply and install a 300/132/11-kV substation at Qurain West and expand the existing substation at Shuaiba West. They are: Europe's ABB; France's Areva T&D; South Korea's Hyundai Engineering & Construction Company; Japan AE Power Systems, with Japan's Hitachi Technologies Corporation; Mitsubishi Corporation, al
  • Skikda desal signed

    The key project agreements were signed on 31 July for the 100,000-cubic-metre-a-day (cm/d) desalination plant at Skikda with project company Aguas de Skikda. The signing coincided with financial close of a 25-year, $110 million loan facility with a margin of 3.5 per cent from local banks Credit Populaire d'Algerie(CPA) and Banque Nationale d'Algerie (BNA).
  • Snam/Tekfen sign up for refinery rehab

    The consortium of Italy's Snamprogetti and Turkey's Tekfen has signed the estimated $550 million engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract for the phase 1 rehabilitation of the 125,000 barrel-a-day (b/d) Mohammedia refinery. The client is Societe Anonyme Marocaine de l'Industrie du Raffinage (Samir). Work on the 35-month contract is due to begin on 1 September, with financial close expected by October. The contract includes the installation of a
  • Sofcon goes west to Yanbu

    The Royal Commission for Jubail & Yanbu (RCJ&Y) has awarded an estimated SR 16 million ($4.3 million) detailed engineering and consultancy contract to the local Sofconfor the expansion of Yanbu industrial area. The five-year contract - which includes construction supervision - will cover infrastructure, utilities, telecommunications and related development over 400 hectares.
  • Sohar aromatics PIM out

    Banks have been asked to respond by 9 September to the preliminary information memorandum (PIM) on the debt package for the Sohar aromatics project, being developed by Oman Oil Company (OOC), Sohar Refinery Company (SRC) and South Korea's LG International. HSBCis acting as financial adviser (MEED 22:4:05).
  • Solidere set to branch out

    Local real estate company Solidere is to offer third-party property management and maintenance services to take advantage of the current influx of international investors. 'The company's main activities continue to be in the sale of land, collecting rental incomes and offering help to third parties on property management and maintenance. But with constant requests coming from Gulf investors wanting to use our local knowledge and who need help in setting up operations but don't want t
  • Solidere set to branch out

    Local real estate company Solidere is to offer third-party property management and maintenance services to take advantage of the current influx of international investors. 'The company's main activities continue to be in the sale of land, collecting rental incomes and offering help to third parties on property management and maintenance. But with constant requests coming from Gulf investors wanting to use our local knowledge and who need help in setting up operations but don't want t
  • Solidere: Normal service resumes

    As news spread of the assassination of Lebanon's former prime minister on 14 February, the benchmark BLOM index on the Beirut Stock Exchange (BSE) dipped significantly. Standing at 710.12 points on 15 February, it dropped to 610.53 points six days later. As one of the prime movers of the BSE, Solidere's shares plummeted. 'In the first three days following Hariri's death we saw a drop of 15 per cent, then another 15 per cent and another 15 per cent. Solidere's share price lost about 30-40 per cen
  • South Koreans win tanker orders

    South Korean shipbuilders have won orders worth a total of $2,900 million to supply liquefied natural gas (LNG) tankers to serve the RasGas III project. Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineeringwill build five vessels at a cost of about $250 million each, Samsung Heavy Industrieswill build four for about $240 million and Hyundai Heavy Industrieswill build the remaining three, also costing about $240 million. The tankers vary in capacity from 210,000-217,000 cub
  • Stability and fraternity

    In the end, it went like clockwork. Just hours after the Royal Court on 1 August announced the death of 83-year-old Fahd bin Abdulaziz, his half-brother Abdullah was proclaimed king of Saudi Arabia and Defence Minister Prince Sultan bin Abdulaziz crown prince, all in accordance with article 5 of the basic law of governance, the country's quasi constitution.
  • Statoil/Sonatrach plan integrated LNG project

    Norway's Statoiland state energy company Sonatrachsigned on 4 August a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to look into the possibility of an integrated liquefied natural gas (LNG) project in the country, and to co-operate in the development of international petroleum projects, including off the Norwegian coast. The proposed LNG project would cover the whole process from the exploration and development of gas to its commercialisation for the North American market. The MoU a
  • Strong interest in Bubiyan dredging work

    At least 13 local and international companies submitted in late July prequalification applications to the Mega Projects Agency (MPA) for the phase 2 dredging package on the $1,200 million Bubiyan seaport project. The client will start evaluating the applications in mid-September with a view to issuing a tender in the autumn. 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 as well as the port basin. Pr
  • Strong interest in Bubiyan dredging work

    At least 13 local and international companies submitted in late July prequalification applications to the Mega Projects Agency (MPA) for the phase 2 dredging package on the $1,200 million Bubiyan seaport project. The client will start evaluating the applications in mid-September with a view to issuing a tender in the autumn. 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 as well as the port basin. Pr
  • Subscription overflow for Banque Audi Syria

    The local initial public offering (IPO) of shares in Banque Audi Syria (BAS) has closed with subscriptions reaching $115 million, nearly 10 times more than the original target of $11.7 million. On offer were 625,000 shares. The IPO accounts for 25 per cent of shares in the new bank, while the remaining 26 per cent of locally owned capital has been raised through a private placement. Forty-seven per cent of BAS shares are held by Banque Audiand 2 per cent by a private Saud
  • Substation award nears

    An award is imminent on the contract to build the 380/115-kV substation at Yanbu. The local HadiHaiderwas low bidder for the contract at SR 390 million ($104 million) when prices were opened in May, some 15 per cent cheaper than the local/Korean Middle East Engineering & Development Company (Meedco), which priced the job at SR 450 million ($120 million). Five other local and international companies submitted bids. The client is the Royal Commission of Jubail & Yanb
  • Sudan: Politics and untapped potential

    Sudanese oil is very much a story of two halves. On one hand, it is one of the fastest-growing oil sectors in the world. Production grew fourfold between 1999 and 2003, and official figures estimate recoverable oil reserves at over 2,000 million barrels and proven reserves at 700 million barrels. On the other, the country is in the throes of a devastating civil war, with a precarious peace settlement in the south and continuing conflict in Darfur making investment from the Western world politica
  • Sudanese vice-president dies, riots explode

    Riots erupted in Khartoum on 1 August following the death of vice-president and former rebel leader John Garang. Garang died in a helicopter crash on 31 July while returning to Sudan from Uganda after a meeting with its president Yoweri Museveni. Garang was sworn in as vice-president in early July as part of a power-sharing peace deal between southern rebels and the government. Groups of southern youths clashed with security forces in Khartoum as officers tried to seal off the city centre.
  • Sweet deal for Cosumar

    Cosumar, a subsidiary of the local ONA Group, in early August purchased four state-owned sugar refining companies for a total of MD 1,300 million ($143 million). Together the four companies - Sucrafor, Sunabel, Sutaand Surac- operate 11 sugar refineries in the kingdom, and the acquisition will increase Cosumar's production capacity to more than 1 million tonnes a year. The state's share in the refiners was about 95 per cent.
  • Syrian Cabinet

    Government of Syria(July 28, 2005)PresidentBashar al-Asad Prime MinisterMohammed Naji al-Utri AgricultureAdil Safir Construction & HousingMohammed Nihad Mushantat CultureMahmoud al-Sayid DefenceHassan Ali Tourkmani, Lt. Gen. Economy & TradeAmir Housni Lutfi Educa
  • Syrian Kurds fight with police

    Syrian Kurds clashed with police in the northern town of Ein al-Arab on 16 August. The Arab Organisation for Human Rights in Syria said Kurds rioted after police blocked a demonstration in support of the Kurdistan Workers' Party, a banned separatist group. More than 1.5 million Kurds live in Syria. The community has often accused Damascus of harassment and said the government was responsible for the death of prominent Kurdish cleric Sheikh Muhammad Mashuq al-Khaznawi in June.
  • Taghazout shortlist out

    Seven groups have been prequalified for the contract to develop a new beach resort at Taghazout, 15 kilometres from Agadir. They are: a Spanish consortium of Satocan and Lopesan; Fadesa, also of Spain; France's Bouygues; the local Ynna Holding; Maroc Hotels et Villages (MHV), a subsidiary of state-run pension fund Caisse de Depot et de Gestion; Poloney Capital of the US; and Spain's Turicomplex Cororaza
  • Taghazout shortlist out

    Seven groups have been prequalified for the contract to develop a new beach resort at Taghazout, 15 kilometres from Agadir. They are: a Spanish consortium of Satocan and Lopesan; Fadesa, also of Spain; France's Bouygues; the local Ynna Holding; Maroc Hotels et Villages (MHV), a subsidiary of state-run pension fund Caisse de Depot et de Gestion; Poloney Capital of the US; and Spain's Turicomplex Cororaza
  • Taqa IPO well received

    The initial public offering (IPO) of shares in Abu Dhabi National Energy Company (Taqa) closed heavily oversubscribed on 1 August. On offer were 600 million shares priced at AED 1 ($0.27) each, equivalent to 14.6 per cent of Taqa's AED 4,100 million ($1,117.2 million) capital. National Bank of Abu Dhabiis acting as lead manager. The company was established by presidential decree in late June to own assets in the power, water, energy, oil and mineral sectors, both in the f
  • Target takes Jebel Dhanna upgrade

    The local Target Engineering Construction Company has been awarded the estimated AED 220 million ($60 million) construction contract covering the tank farm facility upgrade project at Jebel Dhanna in Abu Dhabi emirate. Target was the low bidder in the revised round of bidding held in late June. The contract calls for the supply and installation of new pipelines, the replacement of existing line pipe and installation of valves and fire-fighting systems, instrumentation works and civil
  • Tariq Aziz ready to stand trial

    Tariq Aziz, former deputy prime minister under Saddam Hussein, is ready to stand trial by the tribunal set up to prosecute members of Saddam's regime, Aziz's lawyer said on 17 August. '[Aziz] asked that the charges against him be made clear and said he was ready to reply,' Badie Aref Ezzat said. Aziz will not strike a plea bargain and testify against other Saddam-era officials, Ezzat said.Washington's treatment of the regime detainees has improved, he said, adding that prison
  • Tehran angry at EU stance

    Iran's chief negotiator Hassan Rohani expressed anger on 4 August at European 'threats' should Iran restart its nuclear programme. The UK, France and Germany warned they might refer Tehran to the UN Security Council, with the implied threat of sanctions. 'This would mean the Europeans have given in to US pressure,' said Rohani. Washington suspects that Iran might use enriched uranium for nuclear weapons. Iran suspended its uranium enrichment programme voluntarily, so it can restart it of th
  • Tehran challenges EU negotiating role

    Iran's chief nuclear negotiator Ali Larijani questioned on 25 August the EU's role in negotiations over Tehran's atomic programme. 'Based on what logic and agreement with the International Atomic Energy Agency [IAEA] have the negotiations been limited and dependent on the three European countries?' he asked. 'Who does the EU 3 [of Britain, France and Germany] represent in the negotiations?' Larijani questioned the legitimacy of the negotiating partners and indicated Tehran may seek to broad
  • Tehran decision sparks new diplomatic crisis

    An EU-sponsored draft resolution was submitted to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) on 11 August calling on Tehran to halt its nuclear activities. The move follows Tehran's decision the day before to break the last of the UN seals at the Isfahan nuclear plant and comes six days after it rejected an EU package of economic and political incentives designed to persuade Tehran to give up its nuclear programme.
  • Tehran makes good on threat and resumes nuclear work

    Tehran resumed uranium-processing activities on 8 August at its Isfahan nuclear plant against the wishes of the EU and Washington. 'The uranium conversion facility in Isfahan has started its activities under IAEA [International Atomic Energy Agency] supervision,' said the deputy head of Iran's Atomic Energy Agency Mohammed Saeedi. The move may result in Tehran's referral to the UN Security Council for sanctions. Tehran has offered to export the uranium hexafluoride produced at Isfahan in an
  • Tehran presses on with nuclear programme

    Tehran will break the last of the UN seals on its Isfahan nuclear plant on 10 August. 'The rest of the seals will be removed today and the activities will resume,' Gholamreza Aghazadeh, the head of Iran's nuclear agency, said. The move follows the resumption of uranium conversion at the plant two days before. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) board of governors was due to reconvene on 10 August to agree on a declaration on Tehran's nuclear activities. It is consid
  • Tehran re-opens nuclear plant

    Iran has decided to resume the uranium conversion activities at its Isfahan nuclear plant on August 1. 'Iran sent a letter to the IAEA [International Atomic Energy Agency]. Iran is to remove the seals today,' said Supreme National Security Council spokesman Ali Aghamohammadi. The plant converts uranium ore into enriched uranium that the EU and Washington fear could be used for nuclear fuel. Tehran maintains its nuclear programme is solely for civilian energy purposes (
  • Tehran set for more nuclear talks

    Tehran's new chief nuclear negotiator Ali Larijani said on 16 August that Tehran plans to resume sensitive uranium enrichment at its Natanz plant. 'Natanz is part of our fuel cycle and we insist on it,' Larijani said. Iran rejected in mid-August the International Atomic Energy Agency's resolution that called on Iran to halt its nuclear programme. Tehran resumed nuclear work at its Isfahan plant on 8 August.'However [Tehran's plans] should pass the channel of negotiations,' La
  • Tel Aviv still striving to get Gaza settlers to go

    Half of Israeli settlers in Gaza will have to be removed by force, Israeli Housing Minister Isaac Herzog said on 31 July. Tel Aviv is struggling to persuade all of the 9,000 settlers in Gaza to leave before the 15 August deadline. 'Our working assumption is that around half of the families will, on the morning of the evacuation, still have foregone [the offer to move],' Herzog said. 'We are doing everything for this figure to be much less.' Those who refuse to leave will not be eligible for
  • Tender awaited for new Cairo runway

    Tender documents are due to be released on the project to build a new runway at Cairo International Airport. The airport's third runway will serve both the two existing terminals and the planned new third terminal, which is under construction by a joint venture of Turkey's Tepe Akfen Ventures (TAV)and the local Holding Company for Roads & Bridges. The runway has been designed by Aeroports de Paris (AdP), with Beirut-based Dar al-Handasah (Shair & Partn
  • Tender awaited for new Cairo runway

    Tender documents are due to be released on the project to build a new runway at Cairo International Airport. The airport's third runway will serve both the two existing terminals and the planned new third terminal, which is under construction by a joint venture of Turkey's Tepe Akfen Ventures (TAV)and the local Holding Company for Roads & Bridges. The runway has been designed by Aeroports de Paris (AdP), with Beirut-based Dar al-Handasah (Shair & Partn
  • Tender nears for lengthyDesign mall

    Local property developer Nakheel is expected to release the main construction tender for the world's longest shopping mall by the end of the third quarter. Located within the International City development, the Dubai Design Centre will measure 4.2 kilometres in length and 150 metres in width. The U-shaped building will primarily house trade outlets for home furnishings and accessories. Germany's Drees & Sommeris the consultant.
  • Tender nears for lengthyDesign mall

    Local property developer Nakheel is expected to release the main construction tender for the world's longest shopping mall by the end of the third quarter. Located within the International City development, the Dubai Design Centre will measure 4.2 kilometres in length and 150 metres in width. The U-shaped building will primarily house trade outlets for home furnishings and accessories. Germany's Drees & Sommeris the consultant.
  • Tender out for Jahra- Subiya expressway

    The Ministry of Public Works (MPW) has invited 15 local grade 1 contractors to bid by 20 September for the contract to upgrade and build the first two phases of the 72-kilometre-long Jahra-Subiya expressway. An award is expected by the end of the year. Construction will take about two years.
  • Tender out for Jahra- Subiya expressway

    The Ministry of Public Works (MPW) has invited 15 local grade 1 contractors to bid by 20 September for the contract to upgrade and build the first two phases of the 72-kilometre-long Jahra-Subiya expressway. An award is expected by the end of the year. Construction will take about two years.
  • Tenders due for Dubai hospitals

    The local Welcare World Health Systems (WWHS)is due to issue tenders by the end of July for the main construction contract on the City hospital project in Dubai Healthcare City (DHCC). Contractors will be given six weeks to price the estimated $40 million contract. The 210-bed cardiology and orthopaedics facility will have a built-up area of about 32,000 square metres rising to 10 storeys. Dubai-based Sharafi-PHBis the local consultant; US-based Ellerbe Becket
  • Tenders due for Dubai hospitals

    The local Welcare World Health Systems (WWHS)is due to issue tenders by the end of July for the main construction contract on the City hospital project in Dubai Healthcare City (DHCC). Contractors will be given six weeks to price the estimated $40 million contract. The 210-bed cardiology and orthopaedics facility will have a built-up area of about 32,000 square metres rising to 10 storeys. Dubai-based Sharafi-PHBis the local consultant; US-based Ellerbe Becket
  • The model crowd

    Architects strive to push the boundaries of structural design to produce ever-more imaginative buildings. In doing so they continue to develop new disciplines, from seismic design to fire engineering, to ensure the structures function safely and efficiently. One of the most rapidly developing fields is crowd modelling. With structural capacity continually increasing, designers are under pressure to better understand the dynamics of crowd movements, particularly in extreme circumstances such as a
  • THE PARENT COMPANY: From Commonwealth to private wealth

    First established as the Commonwealth Development Corporation in 1948, CDC was set up by the British government as a vehicle for investing in developing economies. It remains focused on emerging markets to this day, providing capital for investment in private sector businesses. CDC has about $1,600 million invested in Africa, Asia and Latin America.
  • Thousands of firms implicated in oil-for-food fraud

    Thousands of firms that traded under the oil-for-food programme in Iraq are being investigated for illegal activities, a leading member of the UN probe into the scheme said on 9 August. 'Our very last report is going to deal with some thousands of companies in all the countries that paid kickbacks, that paid bribes to solicit oil allocations and the same of humanitarian goods,' Judge Richard Goldstone said. The UN inquiry into the programme that was established to curb the humanitarian impa
  • Three in for Doha West

    At least three bidders are competing for the estimated $150 million contract to design, build and operate the Doha West sewage treatment plant expansion project. They are France's Degremont with Japan's Marubeni Corporation, Singapore's Sembcorp Engineers & Contractorswith Japan's Mitsubishi Corporationand Athens-based Consolidated Contractors International Company (CCC). A contract award is expected in late 2005/early 2006. The UK's
  • Three in running for national rail study

    Three international companies and consortia are understood to be the frontrunners for the contract to carry out a one-year feasibility study into modernising the kingdom's rail network. They are: Italy's Italferr; a consortium of Canada's CPCS Transcom, Holland Rail Consultand Beirut-based Dar al-Handasah (Shair & Partners); and a joint venture of the local Arabtech-Jardanehand the UK's Arup. Officials at the Transport Minis
  • Three queue up for Golden Pass terminal

    Three groups of companies submitted bids in late July for the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract covering the construction of a major liquefied natural gas (LNG) receiving terminal in the US for the Ras Gas III project, being handled by Ras Laffan Liquefied Natural Gas Company II (RasGas II). The bidders are: Oslo-based Aker Kvaerner, with Japan's Ishikawajima-Harima Industries (IHI); US-based Chicago Bridge & Iron (CB&I);and
  • Trident unveils more Marina work

    Hong Kong-based Trident International Holdingshas awarded India's Larsen & Toubro (L&T)a contract worth AED 130 million ($35 million) to build the Marinascape twin tower residential project in Dubai Marina. The project calls for the construction of one 35-storey tower and one 26-storey tower. The consultant is the local Archon Engineering Consultants. The US' Parsons Brinckerhoff (PB)is the project manager. The award is L&T's second from Trident. I
  • Trident unveils more Marina work

    Hong Kong-based Trident International Holdingshas awarded India's Larsen & Toubro (L&T)a contract worth AED 130 million ($35 million) to build the Marinascape twin tower residential project in Dubai Marina. The project calls for the construction of one 35-storey tower and one 26-storey tower. The consultant is the local Archon Engineering Consultants. The US' Parsons Brinckerhoff (PB)is the project manager. The award is L&T's second from Trident. I
  • Tripoli steps up GMR pace

    The Great Manmade River Authority (GMRA) has awarded contracts worth about $2,000 million on its $20,000 million great manmade river (GMR) project to transport water to the north of the country from huge aquifers beneath the desert in the south.
  • Troops and settlers go head-to-head in Gaza

    Israeli troops clashed with anti-pullout protesters on 18 August as they tried to clear the Kfar Darom settlement in central Gaza. A 1.5-kilometre line of unarmed soldiers and police stretched from the settlement, which the Israeli commander in Gaza Maj Gen Dan Harel said he hoped would be evacuated by 19 August. Troops also met stiff resistance from pro-settler activists who had barricaded themselves in a synagogue in Neve Dekalim. The Israeli army planed to clear this settlement by the en
  • Troops tackle West Bank evictions

    Israeli troops evicted remaining settlers on 23 August from two Israeli enclaves slated for evacuation in the West Bank. Police stormed Sanur and Homesh settlements forcing anti-pullout protesters and residents to leave. Police removed about 330 religious radicals from the two settlements. 'There were 60 families in Sanur but [few] are left now. What we're dealing with here is a huge number of infiltrators who make this much more a fight over ideology,' said army spokesman Jonathan Schroade
  • Turning a corner

    Things are looking up in Iraq these days, or so say US officials. Despite the best efforts of anti-government insurgents, the US-backed political process is moving forward, and democratic practices are taking root. Ousted dictator Saddam Hussein may still think of himself as president of Iraq, but beyond the confines of his prison cell, his political relevance is nearly negligible.
  • Two in race for convention centre

    Two companies - Six Constructof Belgium and Austria's Strabag - submitted final commercial prices on 7 August for the convention centre package on the Education City development in Doha. The 18-month contract involves the construction of a 7,000-seat convention centre with a built-up area of just over 100,000 square metres. Qatar Petroleumis managing the project on behalf of the Qatar Foundation for Education, Science & Community Development. The project manag
  • Two in race for convention centre

    Two companies - Six Constructof Belgium and Austria's Strabag - submitted final commercial prices on 7 August for the convention centre package on the Education City development in Doha. The 18-month contract involves the construction of a 7,000-seat convention centre with a built-up area of just over 100,000 square metres. Qatar Petroleumis managing the project on behalf of the Qatar Foundation for Education, Science & Community Development. The project manag
  • Two in race for Emirates Identity

    Abu Dhabi-based Emirates Identity Authority, part of Abu Dhabi police, completed clarifications in mid-July with two US firms - Turner Construction International and Hill International - for the position of project manager on its project to build four three-storey buildings and renovate four existing buildings in the federation. The project is part of a total of AED 2,500 million ($680 million) that the Interior Ministry plans to invest over the next two years in the cons
  • Two in race for Emirates Identity

    Abu Dhabi-based Emirates Identity Authority, part of Abu Dhabi police, completed clarifications in mid-July with two US firms - Turner Construction International and Hill International - for the position of project manager on its project to build four three-storey buildings and renovate four existing buildings in the federation. The project is part of a total of AED 2,500 million ($680 million) that the Interior Ministry plans to invest over the next two years in the cons
  • UAE to fund more Gaza housing

    UAE President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed al-Nahyan has approved $100 million to fund the construction of a new city in Gaza. Khalifa bin Zayed City will be built after Tel Aviv's withdrawal from Gaza and is expected to house 30,000-40,000 people. The project is separate from the five-phase Sheikh Zayed Township project, for which Athens-based Consolidated Contractors International Company( CCC) recently completed the first-phase work. Phase 1 involved the construction of 80
  • UAE to fund more Gaza housing

    UAE President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed al-Nahyan has approved $100 million to fund the construction of a new city in Gaza. Khalifa bin Zayed City will be built after Tel Aviv's withdrawal from Gaza and is expected to house 30,000-40,000 people. The project is separate from the five-phase Sheikh Zayed Township project, for which Athens-based Consolidated Contractors International Company( CCC) recently completed the first-phase work. Phase 1 involved the construction of 80
  • UAQ joins real estate rush

    Umm al-Qaiwain has become the latest emirate to launch multi-billion dollar real estate developments, with the government signing agreements with two local/Saudi Arabian joint ventures.
  • UAQ joins real estate rush

    Umm al-Qaiwain has become the latest emirate to launch multi-billion dollar real estate developments, with the government signing agreements with two local/Saudi Arabian joint ventures.
  • UK design team picked for Education City

    A UK team made up Hyder Consultingand Atkinshas been awarded a $9 million contract to provide infrastructure design services at Education City. The contract covers design of the water supply, drainage, sewage, irrigation, solid waste management, roads, electricity, chilled water, telecommunications and security systems on the 2,000-acre site. The multi-billion dollar development is being handled by Qatar Petroleumon behalf of the Qatar Foundation (MEED 1:7:05)
  • UK design team picked for Education City

    A UK team made up Hyder Consultingand Atkinshas been awarded a $9 million contract to provide infrastructure design services at Education City. The contract covers design of the water supply, drainage, sewage, irrigation, solid waste management, roads, electricity, chilled water, telecommunications and security systems on the 2,000-acre site. The multi-billion dollar development is being handled by Qatar Petroleumon behalf of the Qatar Foundation (MEED 1:7:05)
  • UN calls for Lebanese troops in the south

    The UN envoy to southern Lebanon urged Beirut on 4 August to consider sending troops to Hezbollah-controlled areas on the border with Israel. Geir Pederson's request followed a UN Security Council call in late July for Beirut to extend its military presence to the south following Damascus' withdrawal from Lebanon. 'The Security Council has asked for the deployment of the Lebanese Army to the south and I discussed with the foreign minister the need to establish a way of procedures so we can
  • UN to interview Syrians over Hariri murder

    Damascus will allow the UN inquiry into the murder of former Lebanese prime minister Rafiq Hariri to interview Syrian security officers in Lebanon at the time, London-based daily Al-Hayat reported on 8 August. Syrian President Asad granted the head of the UN investigation Detlev Mehlis permission to interview three Syrian 'witnesses', the paper reported. Mehlis is due to present his report to the UN Security Council in mid-September on the car bomb explosion that killed Hariri in February i
  • US rallies support from Iraq's neighbours

    Washington has circulated a draft resolution at the UN asking member states to bar insurgent fighters, money and arms from entering Iraq. The Security Council was due to vote on 29 July on the text, which calls on governments to identify those who organise, sponsor and conduct attacks in Iraq. The draft was released as Algiers confirmed that insurgents linked to Al-Qaeda in Iraq had killed Ali Balarousi, its head of mission in Baghdad, and its attache Azzedin Belkadi.
  • US still suspects Iranian atomic weapons

    Washington remains concerned about Tehran's nuclear programme despite an investigation that cleared Iran of secretly developing nuclear weapons. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) reported on 24 August that traces of weapons-grade uranium found in Tehran's nuclear facilities in 2003 came from contaminated Pakistani equipment sold second-hand to Iran. At the time, Washington accused Tehran of covertly developing nuclear arms. US State Department spokesman Sean McCor
  • US to boost Iraqi prisoner numbers

    Washington will send 700 paratroopers to Iraq to guard US-run detention centres, Pentagon officials said on 17 August. The US is expanding its prison facilities there, Pentagon spokesman Air Force Lt Col John Skinner said. A detention centre at Fort Suse in the northern city of Sulaimaniyah is expected to be completed in September. The number of inmates in US prisons at Abu Ghraib, Camp Bucca and Camp Cropper has doubled to 11,000 since September 2004. These prisons, which are being enlarge
  • USAF awards advice

    The US Air Force has awarded a $35.5 million contract to the New York-based Russian & East European Partnership (REEP)to provide advisers to support the multi-national forces throughout the country. The 12-month contract will see REEP provide 200 bi-lingual and bi-cultural staff.
  • USAID aims to unite the territories

    The US Agency for International Development (USAID) has invited companies to submit feasibility studies for a link between the West Bank and Gaza. The deadline for US companies interested in submitting architectural and engineering qualifications is 25 August. The study will include a cost assessment of transportation options to connect the territories, operation and maintenance costs, the environmental impact of the link and its implementation schedule. USAID and the World Bank will fund the st
  • Violence continues in Khartoum

    Gangs of armed men carried out attacks in Khartoum on 3 August in continued violence that began after southern leader and recently appointed vice-president John Garang died in a helicopter crash on 1 August. Security forces used tear gas and helicopter patrols in a bid to calm the situation. An official curfew was ignored and traffic jams blocked the city's exits as residents tried to flee. The International Committee of the Red Cross reported the death toll had risen to 84, with more than
  • Violence spreads across Sudan

    More than 100 people were killed during three days of rioting in Sudan, said officials on 4 August. The unrest erupted after southern leader and recently appointed vice-president John Garang died in a helicopter crash on 1 August. Most violence occurred in Khartoum, where the International Committee of the Red Cross reported 84 deaths. At least 18 people also died in southern flashpoints at Malakal and Juba, where Garang will be buried. Religious Affairs Minister Kamal Sid-Ah
  • Wafra water distribution deadline extended

    The bid deadlines for the three packages on the estimated $200 million Wafra agricultural water distribution project have been extended. The whole project covers the development of a major water distribution system from the recently commissioned Sulaibiya wastewater treatment plant to the Wafra agricultural area. For the first two packages, calling for the construction of pumping stations and the feeder pipeline network, prequalified local contractors now have until 6 September to submit bids. F
  • Washington and Tripoli mend diplomatic ties

    Washington said on 23 August that it might restore diplomatic relations with Tripoli if Libya addressed its concerns over democracy and human rights. Washington and Tripoli are in negotiations about re-opening embassies in each other's capital and removing Tripoli from Washington's list of state sponsors of terrorism. 'If they continue to make progress along the pathway that we have laid out, we, again, will meet their acts of good faith in return,' said US State Department spokesman Sean M
  • Washington awards Baghdad embassy work

    A formal award is imminent on three of the four main packages on the construction of the US' new embassy compound in Baghdad. The Office of Logistics Management at the US State Department is expected to make an official announcement in mid-September on what will be the world's largest embassy compound.
  • Washington awards Baghdad embassy work

    A formal award is imminent on three of the four main packages on the construction of the US' new embassy compound in Baghdad. The Office of Logistics Management at the US State Department is expected to make an official announcement in mid-September on what will be the world's largest embassy compound.
  • Wataniya completes local GSM financing

    Kuwait-based Wataniya Telecomhas closed the $490 million medium-term financing for its local mobile services subsidiary, Wataniya Telecom Algerie (WTA), known as Nedjma. The three-tranche financing package was structured and led by Citigroupand is to be repaid over seven years. The margin on the loans will be based on a central bank discount rate of 4 per cent. The financing is made up of: a $206 million local tranche, including Eur 107 million ($1
  • WATER ENGINEERING: Taking the plunge

    As one of the world's largest engineering firms, the US' CH2M Hill is known the world over. However, its Middle East profile is not as high as might be expected. Although the firm has been active in Egypt since the 1980s and has also worked in Jordan, the West Bank and Iraq, its revenues from the region have traditionally averaged less than 10 per cent of the company's $3,200 million annual turnover.
  • Water supply contracts flow

    Awards have been made on four out of five major water supply contracts for which bids were submitted in May, covering the Batinah region. The local Galfar Engineering & Contracting won the largest of the contracts, worth RO 9.8 million ($25.1 million), covering the Al-Suwaiq area. India's Larsen and Toubrowas awarded the RO 9.6 million ($24.6 million) work in the Al-Khaburah district and the RO 7.7 million ($19.7 million) Saham contract. The local Al-Ansari Tradin
  • WATERCONSERVATION: The water carriers

    If there's one topic that the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) cannot ignore, it's the issue of water scarcity. Much of the time the subject is overshadowed by political wrangling or even, in the last two years, the daily announcements of some of the world's most ambitious tourism, residential and industrial projects. As new cities rise from the desert, thousands of people are heading to warmer climes to set up new lives in the region. As a result, the water issue remains very much on the bac
  • West Bank wastewater bids due

    Bids for the design-build-operate contract on the Hebron wastewater treatment plant are due on 1 September. The consultancy, construction and management contract for the plant will also be awarded at the beginning of September. US-based Montgomery Watsonis understood to be the frontrunner. The estimated $45 million project, funded by the US Agency for International Development (USAID), involves the construction of a 15,000-cubic-metre-a-day (cm/d) wastewater treatment plant between H
  • What lies beneath

    Iranians have been mining and digging gold for nearly 2,000 years. The ancient kings of Persia and Medea used to commission beautiful engraved gold rings as symbols of their temporal power and links with the divine.
  • Withdrawal plan on track

    Tel Aviv's withdrawal from Gaza will go ahead as planned, the spokesman for the Israeli prime minister's office Asaf Shariv said on 8 August. His comments came a day after Finance Minister Benjamin Netanyahu resigned. 'We are back to our routine : The disengagement will begin as planned, exactly a week from today,' Shariv said. Prime Minister Ariel Sharon met with his security cabinet on 8 August to discuss a plan to transfer responsibility for Gaza's southern border to Cairo. Netanyahu qui
  • Work kicks off on Mataki mixed-use development

    The Egyptian office of Germany's Bauerhas started initial piling and excavation work on the estimated $190 million Burj al-Bahr mixed-use development in the Mataki district of Tripoli. The development, which covers an area of 300,000 square feet, will entail the construction of a 40-storey, 400-room hotel, a 25-storey residential tower offering 100 serviced apartments and an 18-storey office tower, as well as a shopping mall, a convention centre and restaurants. Six companies are pre
  • Work kicks off on Mataki mixed-use development

    The Egyptian office of Germany's Bauerhas started initial piling and excavation work on the estimated $190 million Burj al-Bahr mixed-use development in the Mataki district of Tripoli. The development, which covers an area of 300,000 square feet, will entail the construction of a 40-storey, 400-room hotel, a 25-storey residential tower offering 100 serviced apartments and an 18-storey office tower, as well as a shopping mall, a convention centre and restaurants. Six companies are pre
  • Work picks up steam on Pearl-Qatar

    Construction work is gathering pace on the $2,500 million Pearl-Qatar island development in West Bay, with a contract being awarded for three towers and bids submitted in late July for two more high-rises on the Porto Arabia district. Contractors have also been invited to prequalify by 1 September for the landscape works package. Covering soft and hard landscaping, the contract will be carried out in four phases and take 35 months to complete. A tender for the estimated QR 1,500 million ($412 mi
  • Work picks up steam on Pearl-Qatar

    Construction work is gathering pace on the $2,500 million Pearl-Qatar island development in West Bay, with a contract being awarded for three towers and bids submitted in late July for two more high-rises on the Porto Arabia district. Contractors have also been invited to prequalify by 1 September for the landscape works package. Covering soft and hard landscaping, the contract will be carried out in four phases and take 35 months to complete. A tender for the estimated QR 1,500 million ($412 mi
  • Work starts on urban heritage

    Four local contractors have been awarded contracts for the $65 million Cultural Heritage & Urban Development (CHUD) project. The project calls for the rehabilitation of the historic centres of Tripoli, Tyre, Baalbek, Saida and Byblos. The client is the Council for Development & Reconstruction (CDR). BATCO has the contract to develop Tripoli, where work will focus on improving the potable water supply and wastewater facilities. South for Constructionhas the contract for th
  • Work starts on urban heritage

    Four local contractors have been awarded contracts for the $65 million Cultural Heritage & Urban Development (CHUD) project. The project calls for the rehabilitation of the historic centres of Tripoli, Tyre, Baalbek, Saida and Byblos. The client is the Council for Development & Reconstruction (CDR). BATCO has the contract to develop Tripoli, where work will focus on improving the potable water supply and wastewater facilities. South for Constructionhas the contract for th
  • Workers cleared of DIA deaths

    Dubai's Court of Appeal has cleared five workers of causing a wall being built at Dubai International Airport to collapse in September 2004, killing five workers and injuring 23. The five men - a foreman, a crane driver, two workers and a security officer - all worked for the local/UK Al-Naboodah Laing O'Rourke, which is the main contractor on the $540 million AX 058 package to build a third terminal (MEED 1:10:04).
  • Workers cleared of DIA deaths

    Dubai's Court of Appeal has cleared five workers of causing a wall being built at Dubai International Airport to collapse in September 2004, killing five workers and injuring 23. The five men - a foreman, a crane driver, two workers and a security officer - all worked for the local/UK Al-Naboodah Laing O'Rourke, which is the main contractor on the $540 million AX 058 package to build a third terminal (MEED 1:10:04).
  • WSP prepares Tripoli masterplan

    The Swedish office of the UK's WSPhas started work on two studies for the development of the Tripoli region. The larger of the two studies - known as the third generation planning project - will take four years and involves preparing a 20-year urban development plan for 12 municipalities. The plan is based on economic development forecasts, expected population growth as well as an assessment of existing infrastructure. WSP is also developing a water masterplan for the region. The $24
  • Zadco, Adco on major expansion drive

    About five companies have expressed interest in bidding for a conceptual design study covering the Umm al-Dalkh (UAD) full-field development project in offshore Abu Dhabi. The client is Zakum Development Company (Zadco). Interested companies include Paris-based Technip, the US/Canadian VECO, Australia's WorleyParsonsand Foster Wheeler and Fluor Corporation, both US-based. The project is aimed at increasing production capacit

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