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MEED
December 2005

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  • A clear objective

    To get a measure of how quickly Saudi society is changing these days, you only have to look at a newsstand. 'Couple harassed by religious police'; 'Domestic helper seeks runaway sponsor'; 'Imam varsity to get women's campus' - these are just a handful of headlines from a recent issue of the English-language daily Arab News.
  • A symbol of change

    On 5 December, history will be made in the UAE. For the first time, one of the oldest institutions, Abu Dhabi Chamber of Commerce & Industry (ADCCI), will hold elections for 15 out of the 21 members of its board. Two of the elected members will be foreigners, and two will be women. 'The elections are a symbol for expected change and are an unprecedented initiative that will boost the economy,' says ADCCI director-general Mohammed Omar Abdullah.
  • Abbas cancels Fatah primaries

    Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas cancelled the primary elections for the Fatah party on 29 November, after widespread violence and accusations of voting irregularities. Gaza primaries had been cancelled on 28 November after Fatah gunmen stormed voting centres in Gaza and shut them down in protest at the absence of the names of thousands of eligible voters from electoral rolls. 'Serious [procedural] violations made it impossible to continue with the election process,' a statemen
  • ABC EMTN priced, NBAD issue approved

    The first drawdown of $400 million on the euro medium-term note (EMTN) programme of Arab Banking Corporation (ABC) was launched in mid-November. Citigroup and HSBC were the lead managers.
  • ABC to arrange Usco finance

    Arab Banking Corporation (ABC)has signed an agreement with United Stainless Steel Company (Usco)to act as sole underwriter and mandated lead arranger (MLA) on the financing of its planned stainless steel plant at Hidd. The $153 million facility has a tenor of 12 years. Syndication will be launched in early 2006. Italy's Danieli & Companyis carrying out the main engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract on the plant, which will have capacity of 90,000
  • Abdullah presses for terror bill

    King Abdullah pressed Jordan's members of parliament on 1 December to adopt a security bill aimed at restoring calm in the country. 'Security and stability are the first among our national priorities and a basic prerequisite for development, 'King Abdullah said. 'This requires the drafting of legislation that serves the strategy to ensure that Jordan will remain an oasis of stability and a haven for freedom where human rights are respected,' he said.Former inte
  • ABM wins work on two Emaar projects

    The local Al-Basti & Muktha (ABM) has been awarded the latest construction package on local developer Emaar Properties'Old Town project in the Burj Dubai development. ABM has also started work on the next phase of the Golf Towers scheme, also being promoted by Emaar (MEED 2:9:05; 1:4:05).
  • ABM wins work on two Emaar projects

    The local Al-Basti & Muktha (ABM) has been awarded the latest construction package on local developer Emaar Properties'Old Town project in the Burj Dubai development. ABM has also started work on the next phase of the Golf Towers scheme, also being promoted by Emaar (MEED 2:9:05; 1:4:05).
  • Abu Dhabi clears ground for runway package

    The Supervision Committee for the Expansion of Abu Dhabi International Airport (Scadia) has issued the first major construction package on the $6,800 million redevelopment of Abu Dhabi airport. Seven groups have been invited to bid by late December for the estimated $200 million runway package. (MEED 14:10:05).
  • Abu Dhabi clears ground for runway package

    The Supervision Committee for the Expansion of Abu Dhabi International Airport (Scadia) has issued the first major construction package on the $6,800 million redevelopment of Abu Dhabi airport. Seven groups have been invited to bid by late December for the estimated $200 million runway package. (MEED 14:10:05).
  • Abu Dhabi opens up to foreign ownership

    Abu Dhabi's Executive Council has approved legislation to allow 100 per cent foreign ownership in the emirate's specialised economic zones. The announcement was made on 14 December at the official launch of the Industrial City of Abu Dhabi II (ICAD II - MEED 25:11:05).
  • Abu Dhabi prepares hotel plans

    Abu Dhabi is planning a multi-billion dollar, private sector-led investment hotel infrastructure programme, as part of the emirate's programme to increase visitor numbers to more than 3 million in 2015 from just under 1 million in 2004. In the keynote address at the Second MEED Abu Dhabi Major Projects conference on 21 November, Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority (ADTA) chairman Sheikh Sultan bin Tahnoon al-Nahyan said that by 2015 more than 17,000 rooms would be added.
  • Abu Dhabi prepares hotel plans

    Abu Dhabi is planning a multi-billion dollar, private sector-led investment hotel infrastructure programme, as part of the emirate's programme to increase visitor numbers to more than 3 million in 2015 from just under 1 million in 2004. In the keynote address at the Second MEED Abu Dhabi Major Projects conference on 21 November, Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority (ADTA) chairman Sheikh Sultan bin Tahnoon al-Nahyan said that by 2015 more than 17,000 rooms would be added.
  • Abu Dhabi sets higher oil capacity target

    Energy Minister Mohammed bin Dhaen al-Hamli announced in Abu Dhabi on 21 November plans for a major increase in oil production capacity. 'The UAE currently produces more than 2.5 million b/d [barrels a day] and by the end of this year and early next year, an additional 200,000 b/d will be added to production capacity,' the official Emirates News Agency (WAM) quoted Al-Hamli as saying. 'Continued investments in upstream projects should expand the production capacity to more than 3.5 million b/d i
  • Abu Dhabi to build up industrial base

    Abu Dhabi is pressing ahead with plans to develop its industrial and logistical sectors as a key element in its policy of economic diversification. The move will see billions of dollars invested in the creation of multiple industrial cities across the emirate.
  • ABU DHABI TOURISM: Room boom

    Aggressive tourism programmes that attract foreign currency into the economy and create large numbers of unskilled jobs are a favourite instrument for economic development the world over. But in Abu Dhabi the rationale for developing its tourism industry is somewhat different. With its vast energy reserves, there is no shortage of cash, nor does it have a large indigenous population in desperate need of jobs. Nevertheless, the emirate is embarking on a tourism drive. Speaking at the Second MEED
  • ACC homes in on Pearl buildings contract

    Lebanon's Arabian Construction Company (ACC)has received a letter of intent, valued at QR 620 million ($170 million), to build residential towers, townhouses and retail units on two parcels of land in the Porto Arabia district of the Pearl-Qatar island development. Placed by the local United Development Company (UDC), the Pearl project promoter, the contract will involve the construction of 93,000 square metres of built-up area on parcel 4 and a similar amount on parcel 5
  • ACC homes in on Pearl buildings contract

    Lebanon's Arabian Construction Company (ACC)has received a letter of intent, valued at QR 620 million ($170 million), to build residential towers, townhouses and retail units on two parcels of land in the Porto Arabia district of the Pearl-Qatar island development. Placed by the local United Development Company (UDC), the Pearl project promoter, the contract will involve the construction of 93,000 square metres of built-up area on parcel 4 and a similar amount on parcel 5
  • ACWA Power: A local powerhouse

    The local ACWA Power Projects has had a busy year. In August, it was part of the Japanese-led group to win the Rabigh independent water, steam and power project (IWSPP) concession. Three months later, on November 15, it signed the final project agreements for the Shuaibah independent water and power project (IWPP), for which the local/Malaysian developer consortium it led was preferred bidder. And just recently, it made it onto the prequalifiers' list for the forthcoming Shuqaiq and Jubail IWPPs
  • ADCB issues in Singaporean

    Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank (ADCB)has launched an S$80 million ($47.6 million) one-year floating rate note. Standard Chartered Bankis the sole lead manager. ADCB is the first GCC institution to issue a bond denominated in Singaporean dollars. The notes are issued off the bank's $2,500 million euro medium-term note (EMTN) programme, the first $800 million drawdown of which was staged in June (MEED 24:6:05).
  • ADCCI approves 117 nominations

    Abu Dhabi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ADCCI) has approved 117 candidates to stand in the board of directors elections on 5 December. The approved candidates include 102 nationals and 15 expatriates. A total of 15 members will be elected, and for the first time two positions on the board will be available to expatriates. About 25 per cent of ADCCI's 48,000 members are expatriates. The remaining six board members, who for the first time will include two women, will be directly appointed by a
  • add

    UK-based Tertiary Minerals(TM) announced on 7 December the signing of an agreement with a two-member local consortium - AH Al-Gosaibi & Brothers Company and Al-Nahla Trading & Contracting Company - to fund a bankable feasibility study aimed at the commercial mining of tantalum and niobium deposits at Ghurayyah, 85 kilometres from Tabuk in the northwest (MEED 4:11:05). Under the deal, $7 million is planned to be spent on the study, which will take 18 mon
  • Addax goes back to school

    Addax Investment Bankis planning to launch a $50 million education fund in early 2006. The fund is expected to acquire stakes in schools in the GCC, Lebanon, Egypt, South Africa and Vietnam. Addax will raise the capital for the fund, which will be open to local and international investors, and participate in the management team.
  • Addax takes stake in Jordan Dubai Capital

    Bahrain's Addax Investment Bankhas acquired a 10 per cent stake, valued at $28 million, in Jordan Dubai Capital, the investment fund set up by Dubai International Capital (DIC), the investment arm of Dubai Holding. Addax is the third largest investor in the fund, which has a capital of $272 million and targets opportunities in the country. 'The fund will target real estate developments, privatisations and industrial companies,' Addax general manage
  • Addax to invest in luxury end

    The local Addax Investment Bankis planning to establish a $1,000 million Sharia-compliant fund with Singapore-based The Ascott Groupto finance a real estate scheme. The fund is expected to purchase properties across the Middle East and North Africa. The group signed a 10-year management contract in October with Dubai-based MKM Commercial Holdingsto service an 84-unit residence in the Jadaf area of Dubai (MEED 25:11:05).
  • Adearest and TAS prepare to issue tenders

    A consortium of the local Adearestand US-based TAS Internationalis preparing to issue tenders for the main civil construction package for the district cooling plant complex planned on the crescent of Palm Jumeirah. Work is expected to start on site in January. Adearest and TAS were awarded the estimated AED 450 million ($123 million) design and build package for four cooling plants in October. Together the plants will deliver 120,000 tonnes of cooling. The client is a sub
  • Adearest and TAS prepare to issue tenders

    A consortium of the local Adearestand US-based TAS Internationalis preparing to issue tenders for the main civil construction package for the district cooling plant complex planned on the crescent of Palm Jumeirah. Work is expected to start on site in January. Adearest and TAS were awarded the estimated AED 450 million ($123 million) design and build package for four cooling plants in October. Together the plants will deliver 120,000 tonnes of cooling. The client is a sub
  • Adgas feasibility study attracts two

    Two companies - the UK's Costain Oil, Gas & Process and Japan's Chiyoda Corporation - submitted technical and commercial bids on 10 December to Abu Dhabi Gas Liquefaction Company (Adgas)for a feasibility study contract to suggest strategic options for the replacement of its first two liquefied natural gas (LNG) trains on Das island by a single mega train with capacity of up to 8 million tonnes a year (t/y - MEED 4:11:05).
  • ADNH to build two hotel resorts

    Abu Dhabi National Hotels (ADNH) plans to build two new hotel developments totalling AED 1,200 million ($326 million), the firm said at the Second MEED Major New Project Opportunities in Abu Dhabi conference on 21 November. The Gulf hotel waterfront resort will be built on the site of the existing Gulf hotel next to the Grand Mosque, and the Gate project will be built close to Zayed Sports City.
  • ADNH to build two hotel resorts

    Abu Dhabi National Hotels (ADNH) plans to build two new hotel developments totalling AED 1,200 million ($326 million), the firm said at the Second MEED Major New Project Opportunities in Abu Dhabi conference on 21 November. The Gulf hotel waterfront resort will be built on the site of the existing Gulf hotel next to the Grand Mosque, and the Gate project will be built close to Zayed Sports City.
  • Ahmadinejad claims holocaust is a myth

    Iranian President Ahmadinejad on 14 December claimed the holocaust was a 'myth' and restated his belief that Israel should be moved. Ahmadinejad's previous comments on the subject drew a wave of international condemnation.'They have invented a myth that Jews were massacred and place this above God, religions and the prophets. If somebody in their country questions God, nobody says anything, but if somebody denies the myth of the massacre of Jews, the Zionist loudspeakers and
  • Airport masterplan nears landing

    The Works & Housing Ministry, working in co-operation with the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), has shortlisted three international groups for the detailed masterplan contract on the proposed expansion of Bahrain International Airport (BIA). The study will outline plans for three phases providing capacity up to 2015 (MEED 2:12:05).
  • Airport masterplan nears landing

    The Works & Housing Ministry, working in co-operation with the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), has shortlisted three international groups for the detailed masterplan contract on the proposed expansion of Bahrain International Airport (BIA). The study will outline plans for three phases providing capacity up to 2015 (MEED 2:12:05).
  • Al-Ain plans new market

    Al-Ain Municipality is planning to build a modern AED 300 million ($81.5 million) market in its Mazyad district to replace Al-Mouashi souk. The Abu Dhabi Executive Council has now approved the project and it will be developed as a Public Private Partnership (PPP) scheme. A site for the new market has been confirmed and construction work is expected to start soon.
  • Al-Ain plans new market

    Al-Ain Municipality is planning to build a modern AED 300 million ($81.5 million) market in its Mazyad district to replace Al-Mouashi souk. The Abu Dhabi Executive Council has now approved the project and it will be developed as a Public Private Partnership (PPP) scheme. A site for the new market has been confirmed and construction work is expected to start soon.
  • Al-Burj to rival Burj Dubai

    Local property developer Nakheel'sAl-Burj tower is set to compete with local rival Emaar Properties' Burj Dubai for the title of the world's tallest high-rise building. The project, which was originally designed for Palm Jumeirah, will now be developed as part of the first phase of the Dubai Waterfront development (MEED 2:12:05).
  • Al-Burj to rival Burj Dubai

    Local property developer Nakheel'sAl-Burj tower is set to compete with local rival Emaar Properties' Burj Dubai for the title of the world's tallest high-rise building. The project, which was originally designed for Palm Jumeirah, will now be developed as part of the first phase of the Dubai Waterfront development (MEED 2:12:05).
  • ALDAR launches Al-Gurm

    Local real estate developer ALDAR Propertieslaunched on 22 November its AED 1,000 million ($272 million) Mangrove resort and residential complex on the western edge of Abu Dhabi island. The Al-Gurm Resort will comprise a premier 161-room, five-star hotel and 59 private homes built on a natural mangrove and sandbar habitat. All homes will have their own private pool, a jetty and some will have a private beach. Nine of the homes will be situated on their own private islands. The hotel
  • ALDAR launches Al-Gurm

    Local real estate developer ALDAR Propertieslaunched on 22 November its AED 1,000 million ($272 million) Mangrove resort and residential complex on the western edge of Abu Dhabi island. The Al-Gurm Resort will comprise a premier 161-room, five-star hotel and 59 private homes built on a natural mangrove and sandbar habitat. All homes will have their own private pool, a jetty and some will have a private beach. Nine of the homes will be situated on their own private islands. The hotel
  • Algiers set to boost output

    Oil capacity will be boosted by more than one third in the next five years, to 2 million barrels a day (b/d), and gas output will also increase, Energy Minister Chakib Khelil told MEED in an exclusive interview in Algiers on 6 December. Investment is also planned in the downstream sector and there will be a focus on the diversification of exports, the minister said.
  • Al-Huda goes Andalusian

    Local property developer Al-Tajamua International for Real Estate Development & Engineering Company is due to issue by late January a tender for the main construction works for the Al-Huda plaza 2 project. The estimated SR 150 million ($40 million) scheme calls for the construction of a 14-storey, mixed-use building to be located on the Jeddah corniche. The total built-up area will be 64,000 square metres and will take 18 months to complete (MEED 3:6:05).
  • Al-Huda goes Andalusian

    Local property developer Al-Tajamua International for Real Estate Development & Engineering Company is due to issue by late January a tender for the main construction works for the Al-Huda plaza 2 project. The estimated SR 150 million ($40 million) scheme calls for the construction of a 14-storey, mixed-use building to be located on the Jeddah corniche. The total built-up area will be 64,000 square metres and will take 18 months to complete (MEED 3:6:05).
  • Al-Jazeera admits mistake over Bin Laden claim

    Qatar-based satellite broadcaster Al-Jazeera admitted making an error on 7 December by showing footage of Al-Qaeda deputy leader Ayman al-Zawahiri claiming Osama bin Laden was alive. The television channel admitted that the footage was actually three months old and sections of the film had already been broadcast. 'We got the videotape in September and back then we aired what we thought were the important parts. There was a misunderstanding today and we aired these extracts to
  • All change at the top of Libyan oil industry

    Prime Minister Shukri Ghanem has carried out a major reshuffle of the country's oil sector, making nine senior appointments at five of National Oil Company's (NOC) affiliate oil companies, with changes at three more expected imminently.Tawsig Mesmari has been appointed chairman of Benghazi-based Arabian Gulf Oil Company (Agoco), NOC's biggest oil-producing affiliate. Mesmari replaces Guima Shaeb.Bashir el-Ashab has been appointed chairman of Repsol Oil Operatio
  • All change in Tel Aviv

    Israel was alive with political speculation this week as Prime Minister Ariel Sharon abandoned Likud, the political party he helped to found, and announced the creation of a new centrist party.
  • Al-Naboodah selected for concourse 3 enabling

    The local Al-Naboodah Contractinghas been selected for the enabling works package on the estimated AED 2,000 million ($545 million) terminal 3, concourse 3 project at Dubai International Airport. The new concourse will have 20 gates, 18 of which will be dedicated to handling the new Airbus A380 aircraft. The concourse will also have a 250-room hotel and 12,000 square metres of retail space. It will be connected to concourse 2 and the terminal building by the airport's ded
  • Al-Naboodah selected for concourse 3 enabling

    The local Al-Naboodah Contractinghas been selected for the enabling works package on the estimated AED 2,000 million ($545 million) terminal 3, concourse 3 project at Dubai International Airport. The new concourse will have 20 gates, 18 of which will be dedicated to handling the new Airbus A380 aircraft. The concourse will also have a 250-room hotel and 12,000 square metres of retail space. It will be connected to concourse 2 and the terminal building by the airport's ded
  • Al-Nasser anchors dredging firm add

    Abu Dhabi-based Al-Nasser Holdingis close to completing the formation of a new company to tap into the growing dredging and reclamation market across the Gulf. Emirates Dredgingis expected to begin operations during 2006 and will initially target the federation, before looking further afield. The company is also looking at the possibility of linking up with an international dredging firm.
  • Al-Nasser anchors dredging firm add

    Abu Dhabi-based Al-Nasser Holdingis close to completing the formation of a new company to tap into the growing dredging and reclamation market across the Gulf. Emirates Dredgingis expected to begin operations during 2006 and will initially target the federation, before looking further afield. The company is also looking at the possibility of linking up with an international dredging firm.
  • Al-Noor sees daylight

    Abu Dhabi-based Al-Noor Capital launched in late November with a subscribed capital of AED 1,200 million ($326.7 million) and a paid-up capital of AED 349.2 million ($95 million). UAE investors contributed 52 per cent of the paid-up capital, with investors from Kuwait, Qatar and Saudi Arabia providing the rest. The company will immediately establish a UAE-based share trading subsidiary to target local and South Asian markets.
  • Al-Raha beach dredging down to four

    Four bidders have been shortlisted by the local ALDAR Propertiesfor the dredging and reclamation package on the Al-Raha beach development in Abu Dhabi. They are the local National Marine Dredging Company (NMDC), Van Oord Gulfof the Netherlands, Belgium's Dredging Internationaland Royal Boskalis Westminster, also of the Netherlands. The contract, worth in the region of $200 million-250 million, is expected to be awarded by early December
  • Al-Raha beach dredging down to four

    Four bidders have been shortlisted by the local ALDAR Propertiesfor the dredging and reclamation package on the Al-Raha beach development in Abu Dhabi. They are the local National Marine Dredging Company (NMDC), Van Oord Gulfof the Netherlands, Belgium's Dredging Internationaland Royal Boskalis Westminster, also of the Netherlands. The contract, worth in the region of $200 million-250 million, is expected to be awarded by early December
  • Al-Sharq issues RFPs for Aqua Dunya in Dubailand

    Al-Sharq Development, the local subsidiary of the Saudi-based Al-Sharq Groupof Companies, has issued two sets of requests for proposals (RFPs) for its estimated $1,900 million Aqua Dunya development in Dubailand.
  • Al-Sharq issues RFPs for Aqua Dunya in Dubailand

    Al-Sharq Development, the local subsidiary of the Saudi-based Al-Sharq Groupof Companies, has issued two sets of requests for proposals (RFPs) for its estimated $1,900 million Aqua Dunya development in Dubailand.
  • Al-Sufouh job awarded

    The local Transemirates Contracting Company has been awarded an AED 200 million ($55 million) contract to build a 40-storey office tower in Al-Sufouh, next to Dubai Internet City. The construction period is 24 months. The local Middle East Foundationshas completed piling, shoring, excavation and dewatering. The lead consultant is the local National Engineering Bureau (NEB). The client is a private developer.
  • Al-Sufouh job awarded

    The local Transemirates Contracting Company has been awarded an AED 200 million ($55 million) contract to build a 40-storey office tower in Al-Sufouh, next to Dubai Internet City. The construction period is 24 months. The local Middle East Foundationshas completed piling, shoring, excavation and dewatering. The lead consultant is the local National Engineering Bureau (NEB). The client is a private developer.
  • Al-Zour north finally back on track

    After months of delay, the official prequalification list for the 2,500-MW Al-Zour north power plant project was released on 11 December, with seven of the 10 prequalification applicants making it on to the shortlist. The tender for the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract is expected to be issued in January (MEED 18:3:05).
  • AMA wins Lulu marine works

    The local Ahmed Mansour al-A'Alihas been awarded the estimated $21 million marine works contract on the Lulu Island resort. The other bidder left in the running for the retendered contract was Denmark's MT Hojgaard. The work covers the construction of quay walls and revetments and is due for completion by the end of 2006. The next package to be tendered on the estimated $700 million-800 million resort will be the infrastructure work, due to be issued for bid by the end of
  • AMA wins Lulu marine works

    The local Ahmed Mansour al-A'Alihas been awarded the estimated $21 million marine works contract on the Lulu Island resort. The other bidder left in the running for the retendered contract was Denmark's MT Hojgaard. The work covers the construction of quay walls and revetments and is due for completion by the end of 2006. The next package to be tendered on the estimated $700 million-800 million resort will be the infrastructure work, due to be issued for bid by the end of
  • American Eagles swoops for oil transport job

    State energy company Sonatrachand its shipping subsidiary Hyprocsigned on 27 November a joint venture agreement with American Eagle Transport of the US to lease three oil tankers for 15-20 years. The agreement calls for the delivery of one very large crude carrier with capacity of 2 million barrels, one Suezmax tanker with capacity of 1 million barrels and one Aframax vessel with capacity of 785,000 barrels. The three tankers will be delivered in 2008-09.
  • Amman approves 2006 budget

    Amman has approved the draft 2006 state budget, which projects a deficit of JD 450 million ($635 million), equivalent to about 4.5 per cent of gross domestic product (GDP). Total expenditure is budgeted at JD 3,450 million ($4,873 million). Current spending is set to decline by 9.3 per cent to JD 2,607 million ($3,680 million) and capital expenditure is set to rise 45.1 per cent to JD 843 million ($1,190 million). Public revenues are forecast to reach JD 3,000 million ($4,234 million). Domestic
  • Amwal to advise on real estate project

    The local Nasser bin Khalid & Sons Grouphas appointed Amwalas financial adviser on the $1,000 million Al-Waab City development in Doha. The 1.2 million-square-metre development will include residential and business units, a luxury hotel, retail outlets and other amenities. Canada's Cansultis the project manager; the US' HOKis drawing up designs.
  • Anti-Syrian editor killed, Jumblatt accuses Syria

    Prominent anti-Syrian editor of Lebanon's leading An-Nahar newspaper Gebran Tueni was killed in a Beirut car bomb on 12 December. Tueni's convoy was targeted as it travelled in the eastern suburb of Mekallis, leaving at least two more dead and several injured.Druze leader Walid Jumblatt accused Syria of involvement in the assassination in an interview with Al-Jazeera on the same day. Jumblatt said Tueni had been killed by the same people who had assassinated former Lebanese p
  • APCC awarded Ocean Heights piling

    The local APCChas been awarded the three-month AED 21 million ($5.7 million) piling, shoring, excavation and dewatering package for the Ocean Heights project in Dubai Marina. On completion in 2008, the tower will overlook Palm Jumeirah and will have more than 600 apartments and 700 parking spaces. Hong Kong-based Aedasis the architect. Local real estate developer Damacis the client.
  • APCC awarded Ocean Heights piling

    The local APCChas been awarded the three-month AED 21 million ($5.7 million) piling, shoring, excavation and dewatering package for the Ocean Heights project in Dubai Marina. On completion in 2008, the tower will overlook Palm Jumeirah and will have more than 600 apartments and 700 parking spaces. Hong Kong-based Aedasis the architect. Local real estate developer Damacis the client.
  • APCC digs into MBZ city

    The local APCC has started work on the piling, shoring, excavation and dewatering package on a residential complex at Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed City. The contract is one of the first to be awarded at the new city, located on the Abu Dhabi-Al-Ain highway. Abu Dhabi-based Al-Bayaty&Bainona Architectsis the design consultant. The US' Morgantiis the project manager. The client is a joint venture of the local Link Investmentswith
  • APCC digs into MBZ city

    The local APCC has started work on the piling, shoring, excavation and dewatering package on a residential complex at Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed City. The contract is one of the first to be awarded at the new city, located on the Abu Dhabi-Al-Ain highway. Abu Dhabi-based Al-Bayaty&Bainona Architectsis the design consultant. The US' Morgantiis the project manager. The client is a joint venture of the local Link Investmentswith
  • Arabtec gets trucking at DIFC

    Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) has awarded the local Arabtec Constructionthe AED 386.5 million ($105 million) contract to build the truck tunnel project. The 1.2-kilometre-long, 38-metre-wide cut and cover tunnel will run at lower basement level from the Murooj complex between the two rows of towers that make up the DIFC district to the Gate building next to Emirates Towers. The excavation works were carried out under a separate contract and are already complete. The tun
  • Arabtec gets trucking at DIFC

    Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) has awarded the local Arabtec Constructionthe AED 386.5 million ($105 million) contract to build the truck tunnel project. The 1.2-kilometre-long, 38-metre-wide cut and cover tunnel will run at lower basement level from the Murooj complex between the two rows of towers that make up the DIFC district to the Gate building next to Emirates Towers. The excavation works were carried out under a separate contract and are already complete. The tun
  • Aramco picks Jacobs' Superclaus

    The US' Jacobs Engineering announced in late November that it had been awarded a contract by Saudi Aramco to supply its proprietary Superclaus technology for the construction and upgrade of major sulphur recovery units (SRUs) in the kingdom. The contract, whose value was not disclosed, will cover 13 SRUs and will process a total of 8,200 tonnes a day (t/d) of sulphur. Jacobs is already carrying out work to build three new SRUs at Khursaniyah, each with capacity of 900 t/d
  • Aramco relinquishes all shares in Greek refinery

    Saudi Aramco announced in late November that its 100 per cent-owned affiliate Aramco Overseas Company (AOC)had sold its remaining 41.9 per cent stake in the 100,000-barrel-a-day (b/d) Motor Oil Hellas (MOH) refinery near Corinth to Greece's Vardinoyannis Industrial Groupfor an undisclosed amount. 'The deal is part of Aramco's long-term downstream investment strategy, which focuses on the setting up of new export refineries in the kingdom and the shift of its overse
  • Arcapita divests US real estate positions

    Bahrain-based Arcapitahas sold three US real estate portfolios to US-based ProLogisin a deal valued at about $800 million. Financial close is due in early 2006. The portfolio comprises a total of 71 properties, acquired in three transactions in 2001, consisting of newly-built, leased industrial distribution facilities located across the US.
  • Arcapita: Developing the backyard

    Eight years after its creation, Arcapita has returned home to invest in two major real estate projects in the kingdom.
  • Arcapita: Developing the backyard

    Eight years after its creation, Arcapita has returned home to invest in two major real estate projects in the kingdom.
  • Arig launches Singapore operations

    Arab Insurance Group (Arig)has opened a branch in Singapore to serve as the centre for its expanding Asian operations. The company's return to Asia follows the assignment in mid-2004 by Standard & Poor'sof a BBB rating, which is a requirement to underwrite business in those markets (MEED 25:6:05).
  • Ashghal makes first Doha expressway award

    A German/UAE joint venture of Bilfinger Bergerand Al-Hamed Development & Constructionhas received a letter of award to carry out the 22 February interchange project. The contract, representing the first two phases on the Doha expressway project, is valued in the region of QR 1,000 million ($274 million) and is the largest so far placed by the Public Works Authority (Ashghal) under its multi-billion dollar roads upgrade programme (Qatar, MEED Special Report, 14:10:05, page
  • Ashghal makes first Doha expressway award

    A German/UAE joint venture of Bilfinger Bergerand Al-Hamed Development & Constructionhas received a letter of award to carry out the 22 February interchange project. The contract, representing the first two phases on the Doha expressway project, is valued in the region of QR 1,000 million ($274 million) and is the largest so far placed by the Public Works Authority (Ashghal) under its multi-billion dollar roads upgrade programme (Qatar, MEED Special Report, 14:10:05, page
  • At least 10 dead in Iran earthquake

    At least 10 Iranians were reported to have died in an earthquake that struck Qeshm Island near the port of Bandar Abbas on 27 November.The earthquake damaged up to two-thirds of houses on the island, reports said. The earthquake measured 6.1 on the Richter scale and was reported to have been felt in the neighbouring states of Oman and the UAE. Iran's last major quakes came in February 2005, when a 6.4 earthquake hit Kerman province and killed hundreds, and Dece
  • AUB bond launched

    Bahrain-based Ahli United Bank (AUB)in late November launched a $100 million subordinated debt issue, lead arranged by BNP Paribas. The paper was priced at 95 basis points over Libor and subscription was split about 40 per cent from the Middle East, 40 per cent from Europe and 20 per cent from Asia. The notes have a tenor of 10 years, callable in five. Subordinated debt issuance is becoming increasingly popular with GCC institutions, as they prepare to meet for Basel II c
  • AUB snaps up Iraqi bank

    Bahrain-based Ahli United Bank (AUB)has acquired a 49 per cent stake in Commercial Bank of Iraq (CBI) through a capital increase, taking the Iraqi bank's capital to $43.7 million from $9.6 million. The acquisition forms part of AUB's strategy to establish a presence in the six GCC states plus Iran and Iraq (MEED 18:2:05, Interview).
  • Australians sign up for labour advisory

    Australia's EFI Internationalhas been awarded a BD 4 million ($10.5 million) contract to advise the Labour Ministry on the implementation of a national programme to combat unemployment. The 18-month contract covers both the training schemes for jobseekers and the associated media campaign, as Manama encourages young Bahrainis to take up suitable jobs in the private sector to combat a growing unemployment problem. Anyone wishing to be considered unemployed - and to receive the associa
  • Award nears for Golden Pass terminal

    An award is imminent for the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract to build a major liquefied natural gas (LNG) receiving terminal in the US for the RasGas III project, for which three groups of companies submitted bids in July. They are US-based Chicago Bridge & Iron (CB&I), Oslo-based Aker Kvaerner, with Japan's Ishikawajima-Harima Heavy Industries (IHI) and a four-member group of Paris-based Technip, US-based HB Zachar
  • Award nears for Rabigh refinery packages

    An award is close for two major subcontracts covering the mechanical and erection packages on the Rabigh refinery expansion project, for which companies submitted bids in mid-November.
  • Award nears for Satah

    Tebodin Middle East, part of Tebodin of the Netherlands, is in line for the award of the front-end engineering and design (FEED) contract for the proposed Satah full-field development project in Abu Dhabi. Three other companies - WorleyParsons of Australia, the US/Canadian VECO and US-based Jacobs Engineering- submitted commercial and technical proposals in early summer for the contract to field operator Zakum Development Company (Za
  • Award nears on Fertil PMC

    WorleyParsons of Australia has been selected for the post of project manager on the proposed melamine plant at Ruwais. An official award is due by early January. The selection came after five companies submitted technical and commercial bids in mid-November (MEED 25:11:05).
  • Azarab closes in on Hormozgan BOO

    The local Azarab Energyis close to starting work on a contract for the 500-MW Hormozgan independent power project (IPP), the company's chief executive officer and vice chairman Mozaffar Mohammedi told MEED in mid-December. The Hormozgan plant, located at Bandar-e Lengeh, about 150 kilometres southwest of Bandar Abbas, is one of about 30 build-own-operate (BOO) projects being offered to local power companies by Iran Power Generation, Transmission & Distribution Company (Tavani
  • Azarab Energy signs up for Al-Mahdi phase 1

    The local Azarab Energyhas signed an engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract to build a 475-MW captive power plant for the Al-Mahdi aluminium smelter at Bandar Abbas. The Eur 158 million ($189 million) contract will take 22 months once it comes into effect on financial close (MEED 11:2:05).
  • Aziz bids low for Haer treatment plant

    Eight groups of local and regional contractors submitted bids on 12 December to the Water & Electricity Ministry for a design and build contract covering the construction of a sewage treatment plant at Haer, south of Riyadh. The local Aziz Company has submitted a low bid of SR 293.6 million ($78 million), about 12 per cent lower than the next quote of SR 328.8 million ($88 million) offered by Civil Engineering Works Company, also local.The facility will have a design capa
  • Badush dam bids submitted

    The Water Resources Ministry is evaluating proposals from international consultants for the construction of the partly finished Badush dam after receiving bids in November. Located 15 kilometres northwest of Mosul on the Dajla river, the dam will be 40 metres high and have capacity power generation of 180 MW. Badush is the latest dam project to seek consultants and is part of a general dam programme aimed at improving irrigation and increasing power generating capacity in the country. In early D
  • Baghdad bans non-Iraqi Arabs

    The Iraqi government has banned non-Iraqi Arab nationals from entering the country in the lead up to parliamentary elections on 15 December, when US and Iraqi forces expect increased violence.A number of non-Iraqi Arabs were not allowed to board a Royal Jordanian flight from Amman to Baghdad on 1 December. No date has been set for the lifting of the ban. According to Reuters, an Interior Ministry official said the measure was 'part of security procedures'.
  • Baghdad bomb leaves 30 dead

    A suicide bomber on a Baghdad bus killed 30 people on 8 December. Responsibility for the bomb, which also left 25 injured, has been claimed by a group called the Brigades of the Swords of Righteousness. The group was reported to have issued an ultimatum, which expired on 8 December, for London and Washington to release all prisoners held in Iraqi and coalition prisons. The bus was leaving Al-Nahda bus station for the Shia town of Nasiriyah in southern Iraq when it was targeted. The attack c
  • Baghdad suicide attack kills 36

    Two suicide bombers targetted Iraq's police training academy in east Baghdad on 6 December, killing at least 36. The attack, which also left 70 wounded, is the worst since November. 'Two females, each wearing a suicide vest, walked into a classroom at the academy and detonated in the midst of students,' an Iraqi military statement said. One bomber detonated herself among recruits on their way to lunch, while the second struck as recruits ran for shelter outside the academy.
  • Baitak inks first Singapore murabaha

    The $600 million Baitak Asia Real Estate Fund, launched by Kuwait Finance House (KFH)and Singapore's Pacific Star Group (PSG), has closed the first murabaha issued in Singapore. The $96 million sharia-compliant financing arranged by Standard Chartered Bankis expected to fund the purchase of a mixed-use property in Kuala Lumpur. KFH is the fund manager and sharia-compliance adviser and PSG is its investment and asset manager.
  • Banadar, Nass list on BSE

    Banadar Hotel Companyand Nass Corporation, both local, have listed their shares on the Bahrain Stock Exchange (BSE). Both companies staged initial public offerings (IPOs) in October (MEED 14:10:05).
  • BANCASSURANCE: Preparing for take-off

    Bancassurance, the fastest-growing sector of the global insurance industry, will make little progress in the GCC without proper legislation and regulation. But the long-term prospects in a region expected to boom for five more years are excellent, says James Portelli, senior manager at Dubai-based Oman Insurance Company's business development unit. Bancassurance essentially describes the sale of insurance products through a bank's established distribution channels.
  • Banks prepare offers for EAB sale

    Banks are preparing to submit offers on 30 November for the purchase of a 74.7 per cent stake in Egyptian American Bank (EAB)from Bank of Alexandria (BoA)and American Express (Amex). At least two banks - Calyonand HSBC - are understood to be eyeing the transaction, for which Credit Suisse First Boston (CSFB)was appointed by BoA and Amex to act as financial adviser. BoA, the country's fourth largest state-owned bank, is due t
  • Banks sign up for Shuaibah finance

    Twenty banks have signed up for the various tranches of the financing package for the Shuaibah independent water and power project (IWPP). Three more banks are expected to join the deal ahead of the signing of the financing agreements in London on 21 December. Financial close is due early in 2006.
  • Banks sounded out on ELNG refinancing

    Informal approaches have been made to banks about a possible refinancing of the debt package for the first train of the Egyptian LNG (ELNG)project at Idku. Societe Generaleis acting as financial adviser. The original 15-year, $950 million facility was taken out in late 2003. The first liquefied natural gas (LNG) train is now on stream and train 2, for which the financing was completed in the summer, is due to be commissioned in early 2006. Train 1 is a joint venture of th
  • Banks to give Energy City a boost

    Bahrain's Gulf Finance House (GFH), in partnership with Abu Dhabi Investment House (ADIH)and Kuwait Investment Company(KIC) has announced a $276.5 million private placement to fund Energy City-Qatar. The placement will cover an 83 per cent stake in Gulf Energy Holding Company (GEHC), which will oversee the development of the project. The project's promoter, the Gulf Energyconsortium, will retain a 14 per cent stake, and the lead
  • Barghouti aims to reunite Fatah

    Marwan Barghouti, the jailed Fatah activist who leads the breakaway Future faction, called on 22 December for the reunification of the party. Amid fears that Hamas could benefit from the split, Barghouti called for the merging of the two lists of candidates.Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas held negotiations with Civil Affairs Minister Mohammed Dahlan, a prominent Future member, according to media reports. 'Negotiations are taking place and an agreement could be r
  • Barwa IPO launched

    Subscription opened on 8 December to the initial public offering (IPO) of 55 per cent of shares in newly formed local real estate company Barwa. Investors have 10 days to subscribe. Shares are available only to nationals and are priced at QR 10 ($2.70). The remaining 45 per cent of the company's QR 2,000 million ($549.3 million) capital is owned by Qatari Diar Real Estate Investment Company. The venture will offer a range of services, including property brokerage, managem
  • Be open, says Al-Suwaidi

    Central Bank of the UAE governor Sultan bin Nasser al-Suwaidi called for greater bank transparency in an address to the Fourth MEED Middle East Retail Banking conference in dubai on 29 November. 'We need to build and enhance a culture that will adopt transparency and be fair to consumers,' Al-Suwaidi said. 'Transparency is not just disclosing financial statements. It's a lot more. The major issue is the way banks try to hide the way they charge. Banks need to be clear about fees and build a rela
  • Beirut bomb suspect arrested

    Lebanese security forces on 27 December arrested a suspect in the assassination of anti-Syrian newspaper editor and MP Gibran Tueni. Syrian-born scrap dealer Abdul Qadir was arrested on a warrant issued by a military magistrate and was questioned about phone calls made immediately before and after the bombing. It was the first arrest over the bomb which killed Tueni as he drove through a mainly Christian suburb in east Beirut on 12 December.Tueni was the third Lebanese critic
  • Beirut funeral-goers show Syria anger

    Beirut was brought to a standstill on 14 December as tens of thousands attended the funeral of murdered MP and newspaper editor Gibran Tueni. Crowds followed the coffin as it made its way through Gibran Tueni square, named after Tueni's grandfather, and broke into applause as it reached the offices of An-Nahar, Tueni's former newspaper. Many in the crowd shouted protests against Damascus and pro-Syrian Lebanese President Lahoud. The car bomb that killed Tueni on 12 December w
  • Beirut has 'unique opportunity'

    Political change has created a 'unique opportunity' for sweeping economic, administrative and social reforms, the IMF concluded in its latest Article IV consultation with Beirut, published in late November.
  • Bel Hasa wins Marina Diamonds, Al-Nahda work

    The local Belhasa Engineering & Contracting has been awarded two major construction packages on two residential projects in Dubai. In Dubai Marina, it has won the main construction package for three towers and has been selected for a fourth. In the Al-Nahda area, it has been awarded the main construction package on a twin-tower project behind Sahara Mall.
  • Bel Hasa wins Marina Diamonds, Al-Nahda work

    The local Belhasa Engineering & Contracting has been awarded two major construction packages on two residential projects in Dubai. In Dubai Marina, it has won the main construction package for three towers and has been selected for a fourth. In the Al-Nahda area, it has been awarded the main construction package on a twin-tower project behind Sahara Mall.
  • Bethlehem city hall seized

    Gunmen in the West Bank town of Bethlehem briefly seized the city hall on 20 December. In a dispute over pay, 15 members of the Al-Aqsa Martyr's Brigade took control of the building. Staff were ordered to leave as the gunmen, whose group is linked to the ruling Fatah party, seized the building. The situation ended peacefully after 30 minutes, following a meeting with the governor of Bethlehem, Zuhair Mansrah. Mansrah had previously complained that he had received insufficient funds from the
  • Bid round deadline extended

    Companies have been given additional time to bid for concessions on offer in the latest international oil bid round from the Oil & Mineral Resources Ministry. Applications are now due on 14 February. Fourteen blocks are on offer, with contracts based on Sanaa's standard production sharing agreement (MEED 19:8:05).
  • Bids due for Khurais offsites package

    Saudi Aramco has issued for bid the first major construction package on its ambitious Khurais onshore oil increment programme. Six international companies have been invited to submit technical and commercial bids on 17 January for the offsites and utilities package (MEED 4:11:05).
  • Bids due for Waqf tower

    Several local contractors including BurhanInternational Construction Company, Mohamed Abdulmohsin Kharafi & Sonsand Ahmadiah Contracting & Trading Companyare preparing to submit bids by the end of December for the main construction package on the Waqf tower project in the Sharq district of Kuwait City. The scope of works calls for the construction of a 40-storey commercial office tower and car park on Ahmed al-Jaber street. Burhan is carrying out the in
  • Bids due for Waqf tower

    Several local contractors including BurhanInternational Construction Company, Mohamed Abdulmohsin Kharafi & Sonsand Ahmadiah Contracting & Trading Companyare preparing to submit bids by the end of December for the main construction package on the Waqf tower project in the Sharq district of Kuwait City. The scope of works calls for the construction of a 40-storey commercial office tower and car park on Ahmed al-Jaber street. Burhan is carrying out the in
  • Bids in for Abu Dhabi gas link

    At least five companies submitted technical bids on 28 November to Abu Dhabi Gas Industries Company (Gasco)for the contract to provide project management consultancy (PMC) services for the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) phase on the proposed offshore associated gas (OAG) scheme. The bidders are the US/Canadian VECO, the UK's Stone & Webster, part of the US' Shaw Group, Australia's WorleyParsons, Paris-based Tech
  • Bids in for banking consultancy contract

    At least three consortia have submitted proposals for the contract to provide consultancy services to the Finance Ministry on wide-ranging banking sector reform. The bidders include: France's BDPA,with Germany's Interprojectsand the UK's Enterplan; European Savings Banks Group (ESBG), with Caisse Nationale des Caisses d'Epargneand DEMOS, both of France, and the French office of Ernst & Young; and the Netherlands
  • Bids in for DIC infrastructure

    At least five companies have submitted bids for the main infrastructure package at Dubai Industrial City (DIC). The bidders include Wade Adams Contracting,Bin Hafeez General Contracting & Transport Establishmentand Port Saeed Engineering, all local, Ghantoot Gulf, an affiliate of the local Ghantoot Transport & General Contracting,and the local/Cypriot National Wheel J&P. In October, Dubai Contracting Company (DCC)was
  • Bids in for DIC infrastructure

    At least five companies have submitted bids for the main infrastructure package at Dubai Industrial City (DIC). The bidders include Wade Adams Contracting,Bin Hafeez General Contracting & Transport Establishmentand Port Saeed Engineering, all local, Ghantoot Gulf, an affiliate of the local Ghantoot Transport & General Contracting,and the local/Cypriot National Wheel J&P. In October, Dubai Contracting Company (DCC)was
  • Bids in for Gecol desal units

    Clarifications are under way at General Electricity Company of Libya (Gecol)following the submission of technical and commercial bids in mid-November for the contract to build two desalination plants close to Benghazi. Two companies - France's Sidemand Doosan Heavy Industries & Constructionof South Korea - priced the estimated $150 million engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract. It will call for the installation of a 9 million-gallon-a-day (g
  • Bids in for Innovene advisory

    Bids were submitted by at least four groups on 18 November for the financial advisory mandate on the ethane cracker planned by the UK's Innovene and the local Delta Oil Company. They are: BNP Paribaswith Samba Financial Group; Calyonwith Banque Saudi Fransi; Lazardwith Gulf Investment Corporation; and HSBCwith Saudi British Bank. The sponsors are understood to be looking for a
  • Bids in for Mashreq gas market project

    Six consortia of international consultants submitted bids on 17 November for the contract to carry out consultancy services on the planned Euro-Arab Mashreq gas market project. Consortia leaders include France's BCEOM, the Italian office of Booz Allen Hamilton, Deutsche Gesellschaft fuer Technische Zusammenarbeit (GTZ), the UK's IPA Energy Consulting, Denmark's Rambolland France's Sofreco. Under the $4.5 million contract, the successful
  • Bids in for methanol advisory

    Bids are under evaluation from a number of bank teams for the financial advisory mandate on the Salalah methanol project. All the local banks were invited to bid and were asked to team up with international banks, although many of the foreign institutions are understood to have declined to join without leading the consortium. An award is due by the end of the year. The estimated $350 million-400 million methanol project is at present wholly owned by Oman Oil Company. Front-end engine
  • Bids in for Mirdif Villas infrastructure

    Bids were submitted on 3 December for the main infrastructure package on the Dubai Properties (DP)Mirdif Villas project. The works will entail all associated services and road networks. The local Khansaheb Civil Engineeringhas completed the initial earthworks package and a second infrastructure package is expected to be issued soon. DP has also invited expressions of interest (EoIs) from 24 contractors for the estimated AED 1,000 million ($272 million) main building const
  • Bids in for Mirdif Villas infrastructure

    Bids were submitted on 3 December for the main infrastructure package on the Dubai Properties (DP)Mirdif Villas project. The works will entail all associated services and road networks. The local Khansaheb Civil Engineeringhas completed the initial earthworks package and a second infrastructure package is expected to be issued soon. DP has also invited expressions of interest (EoIs) from 24 contractors for the estimated AED 1,000 million ($272 million) main building const
  • Bids in for motorway work

    Combined Groupand Shaheen Alghanim Roads & Bridges, both local, are the low bidders for two contracts covering the first two phases of the Jahra-Subiya motorway upgrade project, following the opening of bids in early November. The client, the Ministry of Public Works, is expected to award the work, totalling more than $170 million, in the first quarter of 2006.
  • Bids in for motorway work

    Combined Groupand Shaheen Alghanim Roads & Bridges, both local, are the low bidders for two contracts covering the first two phases of the Jahra-Subiya motorway upgrade project, following the opening of bids in early November. The client, the Ministry of Public Works, is expected to award the work, totalling more than $170 million, in the first quarter of 2006.
  • Bids in for Pearl GTL platform, pipelines

    Technical bids have been submitted to the Royal Dutch/Shell Groupfor two offshore engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) packages on the Pearl gas-to-liquids (GTL) project. About four companies - Jebel Ali-based J Ray McDermott (Middle East), Italy's Saipem, Larsen & Toubroof India and South Korea's Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI) - have responded to the platform tender, which will entail the installation of two wellhead jackets
  • Bids in for Shuaibah IWPP finance

    Banks responded in early December to the invitation to join the $947 million commercial debt package and the $400 million export credits tranche, covered by Germany's Hermes, on the Shuaibah independent water and power project (IWPP). About 17 banks have joined the deal, with final discussions under way with a number of local banks which may also participate.
  • Bids invited for infrastructure network

    Twenty local contractors have been invited to bid by 22 January for a contract to build and maintain an infrastructure network for a new residential area in the Maseela district. Under the terms of the estimated KD 8 million-9 million ($28 million-31 million) contract, the selected contractor will build roads, mosques, street lights and stormwater drainage and sewerage networks. Construction will take about 30 months. The client on the project is the Ministry of Public Works.
  • Bids invited for infrastructure network

    Twenty local contractors have been invited to bid by 22 January for a contract to build and maintain an infrastructure network for a new residential area in the Maseela district. Under the terms of the estimated KD 8 million-9 million ($28 million-31 million) contract, the selected contractor will build roads, mosques, street lights and stormwater drainage and sewerage networks. Construction will take about 30 months. The client on the project is the Ministry of Public Works.
  • Bids invited for Shahid Beheshti port

    Technical and commercial bids have been invited by 21 January for the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract on the Shahid Beheshti deepwater port project, at Chabahar in the southeastern province of Sistan-Baluchistan. According to prequalification documents issued during the summer, the contract will call for the dredging of about 15 million cubic metres of material, construction of a 4-kilometre-long, 300-metre-wide approach channel and a 1.5-kilometre quay wall with an alon
  • Bids invited for Shahid Beheshti port

    Technical and commercial bids have been invited by 21 January for the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract on the Shahid Beheshti deepwater port project, at Chabahar in the southeastern province of Sistan-Baluchistan. According to prequalification documents issued during the summer, the contract will call for the dredging of about 15 million cubic metres of material, construction of a 4-kilometre-long, 300-metre-wide approach channel and a 1.5-kilometre quay wall with an alon
  • Bids opened for three DM contracts

    Dubai Municipality (DM) opened bids on 11 December for an estimated AED 850 million ($232 million) worth of new road projects. The three projects cover phase 3 of the Ras al-Khor creek crossing project, phase 3 of the Dubai bypass scheme and the Al-Barsha roads schemes, all of which will come under the auspices of the newly-created Road Transport Authority.
  • Bids opened for three DM contracts

    Dubai Municipality (DM) opened bids on 11 December for an estimated AED 850 million ($232 million) worth of new road projects. The three projects cover phase 3 of the Ras al-Khor creek crossing project, phase 3 of the Dubai bypass scheme and the Al-Barsha roads schemes, all of which will come under the auspices of the newly-created Road Transport Authority.
  • Biggest Sunni coalition threatens new ballot

    Iraq's National Concord Front (NCF), the largest Sunni political coalition, on 20 December contested the preliminary election results and threatened to request a new ballot. Ignoring calls from President Bush and Iraqi President Talabani for politicians to form a swift and ethnically broad-based government, the NCF claimed there had been electoral violations and fraud.The preliminary results announced by the electoral commission in Baghdad showed the Shia United Iraqi Allianc
  • Bin Beilala Baytur wins Gold and Silver

    The local/Turkish Bin Beilala Baytur Internationalhas been awarded the estimated AED 400 million ($109 million) main construction package for the Au and Ag buildings at Jumeirah Lake Towers (JLT). The towers will join the 360-metre-high Almas tower in the Dubai Metals & Commodities Centre. The client on all three buildings is the local Nakheel(MEED 18:11:05).
  • Bin Beilala Baytur wins Gold and Silver

    The local/Turkish Bin Beilala Baytur Internationalhas been awarded the estimated AED 400 million ($109 million) main construction package for the Au and Ag buildings at Jumeirah Lake Towers (JLT). The towers will join the 360-metre-high Almas tower in the Dubai Metals & Commodities Centre. The client on all three buildings is the local Nakheel(MEED 18:11:05).
  • BLC Bank up for sale

    Local and regional banks have until 14 December to submit bids for the acquisition of a 96 per cent stake held by Banque du Liban (central bank) in the local BLC Bank. At least 15 banks are conducting due diligence on BLC, including Banque Audi, BLOM Bank, Fransabank, Bank of Beirut and Emirates Bank Group. BLC will be put up for sale by the central bank at a minimum price of $165 million. The central bank took direct contro
  • BLOM set to snap up Misr Romanian Bank

    BLOM Bankis close to acquiring majority control of Misr Romanian Bank, following the purchase of a 12.5 per cent stake in the bank through an initial public offering (IPO) earlier in the year. BLOM has the exclusive right to buy the 33 per cent stake currently owned by state-owned Banque Misrand is due to submit its offer in early December.
  • BMA approves Bank Muscat venture

    Bank Muscathas been granted a full commercial banking licence by the Bahrain Monetary Agency (BMA - central bank) to establish Bank Muscat International (BMI), a stand-alone institution aimed at attracting business from across the region. Approval has already been received from the Central Bank of Oman.
  • Bombs leave 15 dead

    A suicide bomber killed four Iraqi police officers on 29 December in an attack on a checkpoint near the Interior Ministry in Baghdad. The suicide bomber was dressed in police uniform and detonated his explosive belt near an entrance to the ministry building, according to media reports. The attack was reported to have left another five officers injured.Two days earlier, US planes had dropped two bombs on a village in the north of the country killing 10 Iraqis suspected of plan
  • Borouge sets Ruwais ahead

    Abu Dhabi Polymers Company (Borouge)has kicked off tendering on the estimated $2,500 million phase 3 expansion of its Ruwais petrochemical complex by issuing the first part of the invitation to bid (ITB) package for its new ethane cracker.
  • Borouge sets schedule

    Technical bids are due to be submitted on 3 April to Abu Dhabi Polymers Company (Borouge)for the ethane cracker package on the estimated $2,500 million phase 3 expansion of the Ruwais petrochemical complex. Commercial bids are due to be submitted by a tentative deadline of early September (MEED 9:12:05).
  • Britons killed in gun attack in Iraq

    An attack on a minibus in Iraq on 28 November left two Britons and an Iraqi dead. Three other Britons and an Iraqi were also travelling on the bus when it was targeted by gunmen as it neared a checkpoint in the Dora neighbourhood, a police official said. The injured were taken to Yarmouk hospital in Baghdad. British officials have not yet confirmed the killings. 'Our consular and security staff are investigating the reports,' said Lisa Glover, a spokeswoman for the British em
  • Britons shot and Iranians kidnapped in Iraq

    Three British pilgrims were killed by gunmen on 28 November and on the same day gunmen abducted four Iranian pilgrims near a Shia shrine north of Baghdad, continuing a recent spate of kidnappings in Iraq.The British pilgrims were returning from Karbala in southern Iraq and were targeted as their minibus came near Baghdad airport. Four aid workers - two Canadians, a Briton and an American - were snatched in western Baghdad on 26 November. A film of the hostages was broadcast o
  • Brotherhood storms second round of elections

    The downside of democratic reform is that you might not always get the result you want. It is a concept that Cairo is having to come to terms with following the success of the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood in the ongoing parliamentary elections.
  • Building a benchmark

    Lunchtime television viewers in Saudi Arabia may have been forgiven for being a little confused on 15 November. Instead of the normal scheduling, they were taken live to the signing ceremony of the third-phase Shuaibah independent water and power project (IWPP). Those who resisted the impulse to switch channel will have witnessed the palpable sense of achievement as the final agreements were signed on a project that had been three years in the making.
  • Business Bay ambitions outlined

    Local property developer Dubai Properties(DP)will oversee the construction of more than 200 towers in its first-phase development of Business Bay, a senior company official told the Second MEED Major Projects in Dubai conference on 6 December. 'In total, Business Bay will have about 500 towers,' said Shehab Lufti, business development director at Business Bay.
  • Business Bay ambitions outlined

    Local property developer Dubai Properties(DP)will oversee the construction of more than 200 towers in its first-phase development of Business Bay, a senior company official told the Second MEED Major Projects in Dubai conference on 6 December. 'In total, Business Bay will have about 500 towers,' said Shehab Lufti, business development director at Business Bay.
  • Butemac scoops two EPC contracts

    Beirut-based Butemac, a subsidiary of the local Ganama Trading & Contracting Company,has been awarded a Eur 4 million ($4.7 million) two-year, engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract to upgrade the oil facilities of Deir Ez Zor Petroleum Company (DEZPC). DEZPC operates eight oil fields, including main fields at Al-Jafra, Al-Qahar and Atalla, and five smaller fields at Al-Chibli, Marad and Al Mazraa-Sheitat. Butemac will upgrade DEZPC's existin
  • Cairo set to fly low-cost

    Plans to establish a new low-cost airline are under consideration, a senior Cairo Airport Company (CAC)official told the MEED Middle East Airport Projects conference held in Bahrain on 11-12 December. 'We did a presentation to the Civil Aviation Authority and the transport minister last week and our ideas found resonance,' said Manfred Baier, executive director at the CAC. 'Our intention is to support the civil aviation industry in Egypt, and within this framework we believe there sh
  • Campbell Gray signs for Blue City

    Al-Sawadi Investment & Tourism Company (ASIT), the project company for the planned Blue City resort, has signed an agreement with hotelier Gordon Campbell Grayto design, equip and manage a luxury hotel as part of the development. Gordon Campbell Gray operates the One Aldwych hotel in London as well as a hotel in Antigua. The estimated $15,000 million Blue City resort, located about 100 kilometres northwest of Muscat along the Al-Sawadi seafront, will be built in several phases
  • Campbell Gray signs for Blue City

    Al-Sawadi Investment & Tourism Company (ASIT), the project company for the planned Blue City resort, has signed an agreement with hotelier Gordon Campbell Grayto design, equip and manage a luxury hotel as part of the development. Gordon Campbell Gray operates the One Aldwych hotel in London as well as a hotel in Antigua. The estimated $15,000 million Blue City resort, located about 100 kilometres northwest of Muscat along the Al-Sawadi seafront, will be built in several phases
  • Canadians team up for block 17

    Dual Explorationand Stratic Energy Corporation, both of Canada, have reached an agreement on block 17 near Palmyra. Under the deal, Stratic has assigned to Dual a 31.67 per cent stake in its 42-month production sharing agreement (PSA) with Syrian Petroleum Company (SPC). Stratic will retain a 35 per cent working interest and Kuwait Foreign Petroleum Exploration Company (Kufpec)will continue to hold a 33.33 per cent stake in the PSA. The consortium is ob
  • Canar gets cable link-up

    Local fixed-line operator Canar Telecommunications, a subsidiary of Emirates Telecommunications Corporation ( Etisalat), has reached a multi-million dollar deal with UK-based FLAG Telecomto connect to the Falcon submarine fibre-optic cable system. FLAG will provide access to the 13,000-kilometre, 1.2-terabit system that stretches from India to Egypt through a 50-kilometre feeder cable landed at Port Sudan. FLAG will also build the landing station.
  • Capital highway project set to take off

    Three local consultants are in contention for the design and construction supervision contract on the first two phases of the $161 million Amman development corridor project. Consolidated Consultants, Arabtech-Jardanehand Engicon, previously known as Jordanian Consulting Engineers (JCE), have been shortlisted for the project, linking the capital's ring-road to the desert highway, the Zarqa eastern bypass and the Zarqa-Syria border highway. Companie
  • Carillion bids low for earthworks

    The UK/local Carillion Alawiis understood to be low bidder for the earthworks package on the planned aluminium smelter at Sohar. About seven companies submitted bids for the contract, estimated to be worth in the range of RO 3 million-6 million ($7.6 million-15.4 million), among them are the local Athens-based Consolidated Contractors International Company (CCC), and Al-Hassan Engineering, Said Khadem, Shams Engineering and Gulf
  • CASE opened up by TE IPO

    Following a three-week decline, the Cairo & Alexandria Stock Exchanges (CASE) are set for a rebound. The government in late November ended weeks of speculation over the timing and the terms and conditions of the much-awaited initial public offering (IPO) in state-owned Telecom Egypt (TE), the country's fixed-line monopoly. At£E 4,500 million-5,000 million ($787 million-874 million), the transaction will be the country's largest-ever share offering.
  • CAT pounces on pipelines

    Lebanon's Contracting & Trading Company (CAT)has been awarded two contracts, totalling SR 434 million ($115 million), covering the construction of the Rabigh-Yanbu ethane and butane pipelines and the Juaymah-Jubail ethane pipeline.
  • Chinese sail into Port of Arabia

    China Harbour Engineering Company has been awarded the marine works contract on the Port of Arabia (Mina al-Arab) development in Ras al-Khaimah (RAK). The project is the most advanced under the newly established developer RAK Properties(MEED 3:6:05).
  • Chinese sail into Port of Arabia

    China Harbour Engineering Company has been awarded the marine works contract on the Port of Arabia (Mina al-Arab) development in Ras al-Khaimah (RAK). The project is the most advanced under the newly established developer RAK Properties(MEED 3:6:05).
  • Chiyoda/Technip close to third LNG deal

    The Japanese/French joint venture (JV) of Chiyoda Corporationand Technipis close to signing its third major liquefied natural gas (LNG) contract in the space of just a year. The signing of the combined Qatar Liquefied Gas Company (Qatargas) 3and Qatargas 4onshore package, targeted for mid-late December, would take the total value of engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contracts won by the venture in the past 12 months to more than $11,0
  • CITIC and Salco sign up

    China International Trust & Investment Corporation (CITIC)was due to sign on 3 December the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract for the South Aluminium Corporation (Salco)smelter at Bandar Abbas. Salco says it is also close to concluding a study on an alumina plant next to the smelter, for which it will issue a tender early in 2006 (MEED 14:10:05).
  • CMA approves dual IPOs

    The Capital Market Authority (CMA) has approved the initial public offerings (IPOs) planned by Yanbu National Petrochemicals Company (YanSab) and Aldrees Petroleum & Transport Services Company. The YanSab IPO, being arranged by Samba Financial Group, will come to market first. Subscription is due to be launched on 17 December and extend until 29 December for 35 per cent of the company's capital, which is in excess of SR 5,600 million ($1,493 million). Shares w
  • CNPC signs up for refinery

    China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC)has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Petroleum & Mineral Resources Ministry to build an estimated $1,400 million refinery at Deir al-Zor in the northeast. Sources at the ministry say the new refinery will have capacity of 70,000 barrels a day (b/d) and the project is likely to be carried out on a build-operate-transfer basis.
  • Coming to Dubai, the greatest project story ever told

    At the MEED Major New Project Opportunities in Dubai conference on 6-7 December, speaker after speaker unveiled fresh details about monster projects to be implemented in the emirate.
  • Consultants sought for highway project

    An award is expected by the end of the year for the two construction supervision contracts covering the estimated $110 million, 65.5-kilometre-long highway project from Beirut to Masnaa.
  • Contracts let for line pipes

    Saudi Aramcoannounced in late November the award of 13 long-term contracts to four local companies - National Pipe Company, Arabian Pipes Company, Saudi Steel Pipes and Group Five- for the manufacture of line pipes. Under the five-year capacity agreements, orders have been placed for a total of more than 2 million tonnes of steel. 'The agreements allow us to reserve plant capacity to guarantee price, quantity and optimum delivery terms to su
  • Controlling the thirst for demand

    Power demand can grow suddenly and abruptly, as Jordan learned earlier this year. The country's demand for electricity jumped by 10 per cent this summer, against forecast growth of 3-5 per cent. Such a rapid rise in demand can lead to power shortages, voltage fluctuations and blackouts, which can in turn dampen the rate of economic growth, make a country a less attractive destination for foreign direct investment and lower the quality of life.
  • Copts and women brought into Egyptian parliament

    President Mubarak on 12 December appointed five women and five Coptic Christians to parliament. The 10 seats in parliament reserved for presidential appointments have traditionally been filled with members of these groups to increase diversity among the members.Copts make up ten per cent of Egypt's population, but after the three-round election, which ended on 8 December, only one - Finance Minister Yousef Boutros Ghali - had been elected. The number of women was almost as lo
  • Correction

    Davy Process Technologyis not part of Oslo-based Aker Kvaerner, as stated in MEED 25:11:05.
  • CSHK wins Dubai Mall hotel contract

    Local developer Emaar Propertieshas awarded CSHK Dubai Contracting (CSHK), the local affiliate of China State Construction Engineering (Hong Kong), an estimated AED 750 million ($204 million) contract to build the Dubai Mall hotel on its Burj Dubai development. The contract is the latest hotel award on the development, which will eventually have eight hotels with 2,000 rooms (MEED 30:9:05).
  • CSHK wins Dubai Mall hotel contract

    Local developer Emaar Propertieshas awarded CSHK Dubai Contracting (CSHK), the local affiliate of China State Construction Engineering (Hong Kong), an estimated AED 750 million ($204 million) contract to build the Dubai Mall hotel on its Burj Dubai development. The contract is the latest hotel award on the development, which will eventually have eight hotels with 2,000 rooms (MEED 30:9:05).
  • Daewoo emerges as low bidder for NIOC LNG tank package

    Daewoo Engineering & Construction of South Korea is understood to be the low bidder for the tank package contract on the NIOC LNGproject. Three companies have priced the estimated $200 million engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract. The other bidders are Daelim Industrial Company, also of South Korea, and Entrepose of France (MEED 28:10:05).
  • Damac launches $120m tower project

    Dubai-based Damachas announced plans to build a $120 million residential tower project in the Beirut Central District. To be built on a 26,000-square-metre plot of land, the tower will be 27 storeys high and located at the intersection of Fakhreddin and Omar Daouk streets. The tower will have a swimming pool, a gym, car parking and related facilities. At least four architects including companies from the UK, the US and Hong Kong have expressed interest in the international design com
  • Damac launches $120m tower project

    Dubai-based Damachas announced plans to build a $120 million residential tower project in the Beirut Central District. To be built on a 26,000-square-metre plot of land, the tower will be 27 storeys high and located at the intersection of Fakhreddin and Omar Daouk streets. The tower will have a swimming pool, a gym, car parking and related facilities. At least four architects including companies from the UK, the US and Hong Kong have expressed interest in the international design com
  • Damascus hardens its position

    The sight of Syrian Foreign Affairs Minister Farouq al-Shara haranguing UK Foreign Secretary Jack Straw in the toilets of Manama's Ritz Carlton hotel during the recent G8 Forum for the Future summit on Arab democracy was unusual to say the least.
  • Damascus implicated in latest Lebanese strife

    Lebanon held a day of official mourning on 13 December, one day after a Beirut car bomb killed another prominent anti-Syrian politician. The blast in the eastern suburb of El-Mekallis killed Gebran Tueni, a member of parliament and editor of Lebanese daily An-Nahar, and left two more dead and several injured.
  • Damascus to become regional gateway

    International consultants have been given until 7 December to submit expressions of interest for the contract to provide consultancy services to the State Planning Commission on a comprehensive transport plan aimed at developing the country into a major regional gateway. The study will look at regional trade patterns, forecasts of Damascus' transit freight potential and transport links between European seaports and main inland transport corridors. A medium-term action plan will prioritise and de
  • Dardari outlines reforms for 2006

    Damascus is set for wide-ranging reforms aimed at boosting the local economy, deputy prime minister for economic affairs Abdullah Dardari said in London on 30 November. The minister acknowledged that the initiative was largely driven by the fact that the country was expected to become a net importer of oil by 2010. 'We have a five-10-year window of opportunity, which is manageable if we do not hesitate over reforms - we are talking about a drastic change in mindset to make this programme success
  • Deadline extended again for Almanakher IPP

    The bid deadline for the kingdom's first independent power project (IPP) has been extended by two weeks to 21 December, the second extension in as many months. Prospective bidders for the build-own-operate (BOO), 280-400-MW combined cycle scheme at Almanakher include: Saudi Arabia's Xenel Industries, with Turkey's Gama; Saudi Oger, with an international partner; and a consortium of Siemens Project Ventures, Belgium's Unit International
  • Deir al-Zor EPC award inches closer

    The Public Establishment of Electricity for Generation & Transmission (PEEGT) will announce a preferred bidder by the end of December for the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract to build a 750-MW combined-cycle power plant at Deir al-Zor. PEEGT is in the final stages of finalising the technical evaluation of three proposals and expects to open commercial offers in mid-December (MEED 11:11:05).
  • Delays on the lines

    Plans to finalise the contracts to extend lines 3 and 4 of Tehran's metro system this year are facing delays. Officials now say they do not expect awards until the end of the Iranian year in March 2006 at the earliest. As a result, proposals to issue tenders for lines 6 and 7 have been put back as well, with bids now unlikely to be called next year (MEED 30:9:05).
  • Delta wins wellhead maintenance work

    Qatar-based Delta (Doha) Corporationhas won a contract worth KD 8.2 million ($28.3 million) to provide wellhead maintenance services for state upstream operator Kuwait Oil Company (KOC). Under the terms of the contract, Delta will supply and install equipment and service any wellhead operating at 5,000 psi over a four-year period. Delta was originally established in the US in 1977 as Oil Tool Specialties Company (OTC). In 1995, it was acquired by a Qatari investor and a s
  • Desal planned for facility B

    Expressions of interest were submitted by international developers in late November for the post of foreign partner on the Mesaieed independent water and power project (IWPP). Submissions were delayed by a week after the steering committee handling the project informed developers that a desalination component would be added to the project (MEED 11:11:05).
  • Designers get more time to envisage the Future

    Local and international architects have been given an additional five weeks until 20 December by the local Arab Contractors (Osman Ahmed Osman & Company), to submit design proposals for a new urban development on the outskirts of Cairo, called Future City. The winner of the design competition is expected to be chosen in early 2006 and will receive a prize of $75,000. Future City will be built on a 46 million-square-metre plot of land, at a location bordering Cairo's existing city lim
  • Designers get more time to envisage the Future

    Local and international architects have been given an additional five weeks until 20 December by the local Arab Contractors (Osman Ahmed Osman & Company), to submit design proposals for a new urban development on the outskirts of Cairo, called Future City. The winner of the design competition is expected to be chosen in early 2006 and will receive a prize of $75,000. Future City will be built on a 46 million-square-metre plot of land, at a location bordering Cairo's existing city lim
  • DGCX: Not all about the bling

    It had all the razzle dazzle of a fashion show - dry ice, strobe lighting and rock violinists. But the launch of the first futures exchange in the region, the Dubai Gold & Commodities Exchange (DGCX), which opened for trading on 22 November, will have a real impact and change the face of commodities trading in the UAE.
  • DIB is licensed to operate in Pakistan

    Dubai Islamic Bank (DIB)has been granted a licence by the State Bank of Pakistan to establish operations in Pakistan. In-principle approval was received earlier in the year from the central bank (MEED 25:3:05). DIB will launch with eight branches and offer a range of services, including retail, private, corporate and investment banking. It is part of a wider international expansion by DIB, which in July reached an agreement to acquire a 60 per cent stake in Al-Khartoum Bankfro
  • Divisions within Fatah threaten elections

    Violence haunts run-up to polling day
  • DNO spudding raises constitutional questions

    Norway's DNOstarted drilling on 29 November at the Tawke 1 well near the Turkish border city of Zakho in Dohuk province in northern Iraq. The project, which follows a product sharing agreement (PSA) signed by the Oslo-based firm and the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) in 2004, is the first new exploration in Iraq since the fall of Saddam Hussein in 2003. DNO says it has identified three prospective reservoirs and will be drilling to depths of about 3,000 metres over the coming tw
  • Dolphin negotiates more gas

    Abu Dhabi-based Dolphin Energyis in negotiations to expand its gas production by more than 1,000 million cubic feet a day (cf/d), a senior government official told the Second MEED Major New Project Opportunities in Abu Dhabi conference in late November. 'All of the 2,000 million cf/d [first-phase volume] has been sold before the pipeline was built,' said Khaldoon Khalifa al-Mubarak, chief executive officer of the local Mubadala Development Company. 'We are now in negotia
  • DP World cruising to P&O acquisition

    The directors of UK ferry operator P&Ohave unanimously recommended to shareholders acceptance of an offer by Dubai-based DP Worldto acquire 100 per cent of the company for a total of£3,326 million ($5,736 million), the two companies announced on 29 November - the first official confirmation of the UAE firm's takeover bid. Citigroup and Rothschildare advising P&O on the transaction, while Deutsche Bankis the financial adviser to DP World
  • DP World plans mega sukuk

    Dubai Islamic Bank (DIB)and Barclays Capitalhave been appointed joint lead managers and bookrunners on a $2,800 million sukuk issue to part-fund the $5,700 million acquisition by Dubai-based DP Worldof UK-based ferry operator P&O. The issue is the largest ever of the Islamic instrument.
  • Dubai extends bridge deadline

    Dubai Municipality has extended the bid deadline to 25 December for the new Garhoud bridge project. The project involves the construction of two 520-metre-long single-span bridge decks crossing the creek to the east of the existing Garhoud bridge, which will be demolished once the new crossing is complete. The new bridge will incorporate a seven-lane dual-carriageway and will provide 15 metres of clearance for vessels on the creek. The UK's Halcrow is the design consultant (MEED 11:1
  • Dubai extends bridge deadline

    Dubai Municipality has extended the bid deadline to 25 December for the new Garhoud bridge project. The project involves the construction of two 520-metre-long single-span bridge decks crossing the creek to the east of the existing Garhoud bridge, which will be demolished once the new crossing is complete. The new bridge will incorporate a seven-lane dual-carriageway and will provide 15 metres of clearance for vessels on the creek. The UK's Halcrow is the design consultant (MEED 11:1
  • DUBAI ISLAMIC BANK: A global adventure

    Aref Kooheji broke off from explaining the international expansion strategy of Dubai Islamic Bank (DIB) to take a call from his chairman. Having just read the morning papers on 30 November, Mohammad Khalfan bin Kharbash was questioning a DIB advertisement graphing the performance of its investment funds. 'These are good results,' was the message. 'So why do I need a magnifying glass to read them?'
  • Dubai Lagoon goes for a DIP

    Local real estate developer Town Centre Managementhas released details of its planned AED 3,000 million ($817 million) Dubai Lagoon project in Dubai Investments Park (DIP). The project comprises 51 residential buildings and will cover an area of 163,000 square metres and more than 75 per cent of the land will be dedicated to landscaping. Phase 1 will entail the construction of 21 six- and eight-storey buildings by September 2007. Plans to build a golf course surrounding the developme
  • Dubai Lagoon goes for a DIP

    Local real estate developer Town Centre Managementhas released details of its planned AED 3,000 million ($817 million) Dubai Lagoon project in Dubai Investments Park (DIP). The project comprises 51 residential buildings and will cover an area of 163,000 square metres and more than 75 per cent of the land will be dedicated to landscaping. Phase 1 will entail the construction of 21 six- and eight-storey buildings by September 2007. Plans to build a golf course surrounding the developme
  • Dubai Waterfront masterplan completed

    US-based Gruzen Samtonhas completed the masterplan for Dubai Waterfront.The project will be built on the last remaining stretch of coastline between Palm Jebel Ali and the Abu Dhabi border. The development comprises 10 districts covering an area of 170 square miles, almost three times the size of Washington DC. One of the project's main attractions is Al-Burj, which will be one of the world's tallest buildings and is being designed by US-based Pei Partnership.UK-based
  • Dubai Waterfront masterplan completed

    US-based Gruzen Samtonhas completed the masterplan for Dubai Waterfront.The project will be built on the last remaining stretch of coastline between Palm Jebel Ali and the Abu Dhabi border. The development comprises 10 districts covering an area of 170 square miles, almost three times the size of Washington DC. One of the project's main attractions is Al-Burj, which will be one of the world's tallest buildings and is being designed by US-based Pei Partnership.UK-based
  • Dubai: Grappling with growth

    November was a good month for Dubai. US business tycoon Donald Trump signed up to invest in Palm Jumeirah. Manchester United, one of the world's richest and most successful football clubs, officially launched a new soccer academy at Dubai Sports City. Government-owned national carrier Emirates signed a $9,700 million deal to purchase 42 Boeing aircraft. And the emirate's fame even extended to a fleeting mention from America's favourite chat show host, Jay Leno, on 17 November. The emirate has in
  • Dubai: Opportunities for all

    With numerous schemes under construction and more on the drawing board, there is no sign of a let-up in Dubai.
  • Dubai: Opportunities for all

    With numerous schemes under construction and more on the drawing board, there is no sign of a let-up in Dubai.
  • Duqm port moves ahead

    Applications for prequalification have been invited by 26 December for the marine works contract on the planned new port and shipyard at Duqm, in the Gulf of Masirah. The client is the Transport & Communications Ministry; the consultant is the UK's Royal Haskoningwith Lebanon's Khatib & Alami(MEED 28:10:05).
  • Duqm port moves ahead

    Applications for prequalification have been invited by 26 December for the marine works contract on the planned new port and shipyard at Duqm, in the Gulf of Masirah. The client is the Transport & Communications Ministry; the consultant is the UK's Royal Haskoningwith Lebanon's Khatib & Alami(MEED 28:10:05).
  • Dutch/Belgian JV lands DMC quay walls

    A joint venture of Van Oord Gulfof the Netherlands and the local/Belgian Bel Hasa Six Constructhas been selected for the design and build contract covering the quay wall package at Dubai Maritime City (DMC). The contract is expected to be worth about AED 400 million ($109 million) and will take 20 months to complete (MEED 15:7:05).
  • Dutch/Belgian JV lands DMC quay walls

    A joint venture of Van Oord Gulfof the Netherlands and the local/Belgian Bel Hasa Six Constructhas been selected for the design and build contract covering the quay wall package at Dubai Maritime City (DMC). The contract is expected to be worth about AED 400 million ($109 million) and will take 20 months to complete (MEED 15:7:05).
  • DWTC heads for massive redevelopment

    Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC)has released details of its planned AED 16,000 million ($4,358 million) redevelopment of the World Trade Centre complex. The proposed development includes a convention centre, office and residential towers, hotels and hotel apartments, shopping facilities, and a Landmark Tower to be built next to Emirates Towers. The project will be developed over a period of seven-10 years. The US' HOKprepared the masterplan (MEED 7:10:05). The new development c
  • DWTC heads for massive redevelopment

    Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC)has released details of its planned AED 16,000 million ($4,358 million) redevelopment of the World Trade Centre complex. The proposed development includes a convention centre, office and residential towers, hotels and hotel apartments, shopping facilities, and a Landmark Tower to be built next to Emirates Towers. The project will be developed over a period of seven-10 years. The US' HOKprepared the masterplan (MEED 7:10:05). The new development c
  • EBIC closes ammonia finance

    Full financial close has been achieved on the debt and equity portions for the planned Egypt Basic Industries Company (EBIC)ammonia project in the Suez Industrial Zone. Societe Generale (SG) was the financial adviser on the deal (MEED 11:3:05).
  • ECHEM, Methanex sign JV

    State-owned Egyptian Petrochemicals Holding Company (ECHEM)and Canada's Methanex Corporation on 16 November announced that their newly-formed joint venture (JV) company Egyptian Methanex Methanol Company (EMethanex)held its first formal shareholder and board meetings in Cairo.
  • Economic ambassadors

    When four regional investors submitted prequalification documents to buy a stake in Pakistan Steel Mills Corporation (PSMC) in mid-November, the unfamiliar name of the Ras al-Khaimah Investment & Development Office (IDO) cropped up. The organisation until now has no real track record of investment abroad. However, its decision to vie for the acquisition of PSMC signalled its entry into the global arena.
  • Economy: Positive energy

    Finance minister Ibrahim Abdulaziz al-Assaf is in an enviable position. It is hard to find anything negative to say about current economic conditions in the kingdom. With oil prices remaining firmly above $50 a barrel, there could be no better time for the world's largest crude exporter. At the same time, government efforts to stimulate private sector development are paying off and reforms are making progress - symbolised by the long-awaited prize of accession to the World Trade Organisation (WT
  • EdF completes power plant sale

    Electricite de France (EdF) has completed the sale of its 100 per cent stakes in the Port Said and Gulf of Suez independent power projects (IPPs) to Malaysia's Powertek Berhad, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Tanjong Energy Holdings. Under the $307 million transaction, which is expected to become effective in early 2006, Powertek will take full ownership of the two gas-fired facilities with capacity of 680 MW each. Several other Asian utilities, including Kore
  • Egyptian opposition leader behind bars

    Ayman Nour, the prominent Egyptian opposition politician, was detained in prison on 5 December only days ahead of the expected verdict of his trial over charges of forgery. In a surprise move, a judge ordered the detention of Nour and five co-defendants, all accused of fraud related to allegedly faked registration documents necessary for securing the status of Nour's political party Ghad. Nour has consistently denied the charges and claims they are politically motivated. 'It'
  • Election protest led by Sunnis

    Thousands protested in Baghdad on 27 December against the results of the recent Iraqi national elections. Crowds reported to number between 5,000 and 10,000 formed throughout the city, protesting that the large Shia victory in the election was the result of fraud and voter intimidation. As Sunni, Shia and Kurdish politicians held power-sharing talks, the marchers demanded that the election be re-run and called for the creation of a national unity government.The independent Ir
  • Election under threat as Israel stops Jerusalem vote

    The Palestinian Authority (PA) said on 21 December it will cancel the 25 January elections for the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) if Israel refuses to allow Palestinians to vote in Jerusalem. '[If there is no voting in Jerusalem], there will be no election at all,' Information Minister Nabil Shaath said. Tel Aviv had changed its position on the election, having previously said that it would allow voting to take place in east Jerusalem, citing concerns that Hamas could
  • ELNG train 1 syndication due

    The second-phase syndication of the train 1 financing for the Egyptian LNG(ELNG)project at Idku is due at the end of January, with syndication expected to be complete by March, according to the mandated lead arrangers (MLAs). Commercial financing for the second train of the project is due to start shortly afterwards (MEED 19:12:03).
  • Emaar and ONA launch second golf project

    Dubai-based Emaar Propertiesand the local ONA Grouphave released details of their plans to build a $1,200 million golfing community development called Bahia Bay on the coast. The 530-hectare project will be built on the Casablanca-Rabat coastal freeway and will include a beach hotel, golf hotel, beach clubs, equestrian facilities, retail and entertainment facilities and a community and recreation centre. The development is expected to be completed in five years. Emaar and
  • Emaar and ONA launch second golf project

    Dubai-based Emaar Propertiesand the local ONA Grouphave released details of their plans to build a $1,200 million golfing community development called Bahia Bay on the coast. The 530-hectare project will be built on the Casablanca-Rabat coastal freeway and will include a beach hotel, golf hotel, beach clubs, equestrian facilities, retail and entertainment facilities and a community and recreation centre. The development is expected to be completed in five years. Emaar and
  • Emaar flooded with work at Dubai Marina

    Tendering activity is accelerating at Dubai Marina. The local Emaar Propertiesis evaluating bids fortwo more contract packages - the shopping mall complex and Marina Quays residential towers - and is preparing to receive bids on 4 December for its Park Island residential development.
  • Emaar flooded with work at Dubai Marina

    Tendering activity is accelerating at Dubai Marina. The local Emaar Propertiesis evaluating bids fortwo more contract packages - the shopping mall complex and Marina Quays residential towers - and is preparing to receive bids on 4 December for its Park Island residential development.
  • Emirates grabs the limelight

    Dubai-based carrier Emirates was the main talking point of the 2005 Dubai Airshow after announcing an order for 42 777 aircraft from The Boeing Companyof the US, in a deal worth an estimated $9,700 million. The order was the largest made at the airshow, which saw more than $20,000 million worth of contracts announced between 20-24 November.
  • Enmaa issues RFP for Reem infrastructure

    The local Enmaa,formerly known asReem Properties ,has released the request for proposals (RFP) to six companies for the infrastructure design consultancy on Al-Reem Island in Abu Dhabi. Enmaa is the umbrella body for the development of Reem and will act as the facility manager for the island. Three companies, Al-Reem Investments, Surouh Real Estate Companyand Tamouh Investments, are developing their own projects on the island. Enmaa app
  • Enmaa issues RFP for Reem infrastructure

    The local Enmaa,formerly known asReem Properties ,has released the request for proposals (RFP) to six companies for the infrastructure design consultancy on Al-Reem Island in Abu Dhabi. Enmaa is the umbrella body for the development of Reem and will act as the facility manager for the island. Three companies, Al-Reem Investments, Surouh Real Estate Companyand Tamouh Investments, are developing their own projects on the island. Enmaa app
  • EoIs out for DP's Mirdif Villas

    Dubai Properties (DP)has invited expressions of interest (EoIs) from 24 contractors for the estimated AED 1,000 million ($272 million) main building construction package on a new residential development in Mirdif. Known as the Mirdif villas project, the scheme will involve the construction of about 250 villas and 42 three-storey apartment buildings with 16 units on each floor. The infrastructure works will entail all associated services and road networks. The local Khansaheb Civil
  • EoIs out for DP's Mirdif Villas

    Dubai Properties (DP)has invited expressions of interest (EoIs) from 24 contractors for the estimated AED 1,000 million ($272 million) main building construction package on a new residential development in Mirdif. Known as the Mirdif villas project, the scheme will involve the construction of about 250 villas and 42 three-storey apartment buildings with 16 units on each floor. The infrastructure works will entail all associated services and road networks. The local Khansaheb Civil
  • EU warns of aid cut if Hamas win

    EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana warned on 18 December that it could cut aid to the Palestinian Authority (PA) in the event of a Hamas victory in January's election. Speaking during a visit to the Gaza-Egypt border, Solana said European aid to the PA would be jeopardised should a future government include a faction that didn't recognise Israel's right to exist. The EU contributed $340 million to the PA in 2005, around one-third of the international funding it receives. '
  • European diplomats criticise Tehran

    EU diplomats have said Tehran's continuing commitment to uranium processing mocks the offer of new talks by the West and may leave no option other than referral to the Security Council, Reuters reported on 7 December. A joint declaration from the EU 3 - the UK, Germany and France - is expected to express dismay at the Iranian stance.'By their statements and conditions they set, the Iranian authorities risk compromising the possibility of finding a basis on which to resume neg
  • Exiled opposition leader still committed to election

    Yemeni opposition leader Abdullah Sallam al-Hakimi said on 15 December that he would still run in next year's presidential election even if current incumbent President Ali Abdullah Saleh entered the race. Recent media reports have suggested that Saleh would enter the election, despite an earlier decision not to do so.In an interview with Yemeni newspaper Al-Wasat, the exiled activist also said that the fragmented opposition - the Joint Meeting Parties - could not hope to win
  • Expanded group selected for smelter MLA

    An expanded group of banks has been appointed to join a sub-underwriting group on the $1,500 million debt package to finance the Sohar aluminium smelter. Three core mandated lead arrangers (MLAs) - ABN Amro, Citigroupand Sumitomo-Mitsui Banking Corporation- were selected in early November (MEED 4:11:05). Each committed $175 million and accepted fees of 80 basis points (bp) over Libor, in spite of having pushed for 85 bp. Citigroup is the financial adviser. The
  • Expansions planned at five factories

    Expansion plans for five factories at the third industrial estate in Riyadh got the go ahead on 23 November with the official inauguration by Riyadh governor Prince Salman. The companies planning to invest SR 1,364 million ($364 million) in the expansion plans are Saudi Ceramic Company, Gulf Union Juice Factory, Maddad Toner Factory, Middle East Specialised Cables, and SIG Combibloc Obeikan FZCOand SIG Combibloc Obeikan Company
  • Extremists have hijacked Islam, says Abdullah

    Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah on 8 December urged the leaders attending the Organisation of the Islamic Conference (OIC) in Mecca to unite and challenge the extremists he said had hijacked their religion. 'It bleeds the heart of a believer to see how this glorious civilisation has fallen from the height of glory to the ravine of frailty and how its thoughts were hijacked by devilish criminal gangs that spread havoc on earth,' Abdullah said, according to Beirut newspaper The Daily Star.
  • ExxonMobil nears Zadco signing

    The US' ExxonMobil Corporation is understood to be close to signing a final agreement with Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) on the development of the offshore Upper Zakum oil field (UAE, MEED Special Report, 2:12:05, page 46).
  • Factions urge Abbas not to delay elections

    Hamas and other Palestinian political factions on 22 December urged Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas not to delay the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) elections planned for 25 January. There had been concern that the elections would be postponed after Israel announced on 21 December that it would not permit Arab residents of east Jerusalem to vote. Israel said the possibility of a Hamas victory in east Jerusalem posed too great a security risk.'We have to fi
  • Fairmont prequals enter the final stage

    Eight companies submitted a second set of prequalification documents on 20 November for the main contract to build the Fairmont Palm Residences & Hotel on Palm Jumeirah. The client is expected to reduce the list to about four companies once the second set of documents are reviewed. The companies are Al-Habtoor Engineering Enterprises, ALEC, Khansaheb Civil Engineering, the local/UK Al-Naboodah Laing O'Rourke, the local Arabtec Construction,the loca
  • Fairmont prequals enter the final stage

    Eight companies submitted a second set of prequalification documents on 20 November for the main contract to build the Fairmont Palm Residences & Hotel on Palm Jumeirah. The client is expected to reduce the list to about four companies once the second set of documents are reviewed. The companies are Al-Habtoor Engineering Enterprises, ALEC, Khansaheb Civil Engineering, the local/UK Al-Naboodah Laing O'Rourke, the local Arabtec Construction,the loca
  • Fatah factions reunite

    Ruling party Fatah announced on 28 December it had reunited and submitted a joint list of candidates ahead of elections on 25 January. 'We are registering the new unified Fatah list,' said senior party official Sameeh Abdel Fattah. The move follows an announcement in mid-December by a younger breakaway group, led by jailed activist Marwan Barghouti, that it would issue its own candidate list. Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas was reported to be concerned that the split would wea
  • Fatah gun battle with police

    Gunmen from the ruling Fatah party exchanged fire with police in Gaza City on 28 December and shut down nearby election offices. The gunmen demanded changes to the party's list of candidates for the 25 January elections before its formal submission later in the day. The trouble follows internal Fatah divisions after a breakaway group of younger Fatah activists announced on 15 December it would submit a rival list of candidates. There has been concern that the elections would
  • Fatah moves to heal rifts

    Palestinian party Fatah on 30 November moved to salvage a primary election that has widened internal rifts. Fatah's central committee named a 24-member review board, chaired by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, to finalise a list of the party's candidates ahead of Legislative Council elections scheduled for 25 January. The move came a day after Abbas suspended voting in response to violence and allegations of fraud.'You cannot say that the election
  • Fatah primary elections back on, says Abbas

    Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas on 30 November announced that primary elections for the Fatah Movement in Gaza would resume. The announcement came only a day after Abbas had suspended voting due to the outbreak of violence and allegations of fraud.
  • Fatah splits six weeks before poll; Hamas announces candidates

    Fatah, the ruling Palestinian party, suffered an internal split on 15 December, six weeks before Palestinians are due vote in parliamentary elections. A rival faction of younger Fatah leaders, led by jailed activist Marwan Barghouti, submitted its own list of parliamentary candidates under the new name Al-Mustaqbal (the Future).Two prominent Fatah politicians, Civil Affairs Minister Mohammed Dahlan and former West Bank security chief Jibril Rajoub, joined Barghouti's faction.
  • Fifty per cent of Israelis favour Hamas talks

    Fifty per cent of Israelis would favour peace negotiations with militant Islamist group Hamas, according to a poll published on 21 December. The poll carried out by the Hebrew University of Jerusalem showed that 50 per cent of those questioned would support talks, while 47 per cent said they were against such a move.'This shows an Israeli awareness of what is going on in the Palestinian public, that Hamas is serious about its intention to play a role in Palestinian politics.
  • Film broadcast of US hostage death; German hostage released

    Insurgent group the Islamic Army of Iraq broadcast on 18 December a film it claims shows the death of hostage Ronald Allen Schulz. The film, showing the repeated shooting of a hooded figure, was broadcast via the internet, but has received no independent verification. Schulz was captured on 6 December and his death was announced by the group two days later.Susanne Osthoff, the German archaeologist captured on 25 November by another insurgent group in Iraq, has been released.
  • Financial close reached on Q-Chem II, Qatofin

    Financial close was reached in mid-November on the debt packages for the Qatar Chemical Company II (Q-Chem II)and Qatofin projects, and the first drawdown on the Q-Chem II deal took place on 21 November. The conclusion of the financing coincided with the signing of the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract for the main process package on Q-Chem II. In June, 30 banks were appointed mandated lead arrangers (MLAs) on the $1,200 million Q-Chem II deal and 2
  • Firing on all cylinders

    Rarely has a country laid out a more ambitious programme for the development of its oil and gas sector. In the next five years, Algeria aims to increase oil production by 43 per cent, boost gas exports by 87 per cent and both expand and diversify its hydrocarbons offering through the development of two new trans-Mediterranean pipelines, an integrated liquefied natural gas (LNG) project, a world scale gas-to-liquids (GTL) plant, a new 300,000-barrel-a-day (b/d) refinery and a comprehensive raft o
  • First new well drilled since fall of Saddam

    Drilling began on a new well near Shako in the province of Dohuk in northern Iraq on 29 November. Norwegian firm DNO were technical supervisors on the project, the first new oil reserve to be drilled since the fall of Saddam Hussein.
  • First unidentified witness testifies as Hussain trial resumes

    The trial of former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein resumed on 6 December with the testimony from the first unidentified witness. The resumption came only a day after Hussain's defence team walked out in protest at the legitimacy of the court.The female witness addressed the court behind a screen and with her voice distorted to protect her. She spoke of how her brother and other family members had been taken away by security forces. 'My youth was destroyed,' she told the speci
  • Five offer new Hout prices

    At least five groups of companies submitted revised bids in mid-November to Al-Khafji Joint Operations (KJO)for the second major onshore contract to expand production facilities in the Divided Zone (DZ). The bidders include: Parsons E&C, part of Australia's WorleyParsons, with Saudi Oger; a three-member team of Canada's SNC Lavalinwith Saudi Consulting Services (SaudConsult)and Nesma & Partners Contracting Company
  • Fluor wins RasGas offplots EPCM

    The US' Fluor Corporationhas been awarded by RasGas IIIthe contract to provide engineering, procurement and construction management (EPCM) services on the common offplots project at Ras Laffan. The project, involving the construction of utilities, loading facilities and tankage, is being undertaken to support new liquefied natural gas (LNG) capacity planned at Ras Laffan Liquefied Natural Gas Company (RasGas- MEED 24:6:05).
  • Flush with cash and ready to buy, the Gulf seeks blue chips

    In a remarkable November for Dubai business, DP World seemed to have pulled off at the end of the month the business coup of the year with a $5,736 million bid for UK shipping and port operator P&O. It now appears that the takeover path has been obstructed by Singaporean interests, but it is likely that one of the most venerable names in world shipping will soon become part of Dubai Incorporated.
  • Former Iraqi officials freed

    US forces on 19 December released a number of former government officials who served under Saddam Hussein. There was no official list of names given by the US military, but it is believed that eight-24 prisoners were released, AP reported. Among the freed were Rihab Rashid Taha and Huda Salih Mahdi Ammash, two scientists previously involved with Saddam's biological weapons programme. The move may have been part of a government deal to appease Sunnis, analysts said. 'They were
  • Four bid for Adgas filtration package

    Four companies submitted technical and commercial bids on 27 November to Abu Dhabi Gas Liquefaction Company (Adgas)for the estimated $15 million engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract to upgrade filtration systems and related facilities for its liquefied natural gas (LNG) trains. They are the US/Canadian VECO, Paris-based Technip, Milan-based Sicon Oil & Gasand the UK's Costain Oil, Gas & Process. Adgas owns and operat
  • Four dead in Gaza City

    Four people died and three were wounded in Gaza City on 14 December after the car in which they were travelling was targeted by an Israeli air strike. An unmanned Israeli drone fired two missiles at the vehicle, which was carrying members of militant group the Popular Resistance Committees, reports said.The attack occurred as the car was travelling close by the security fence separating Gaza and Israel near Karni, where the militants were preparing to carry out an attack on I
  • Four fire from the HIPPS

    Four companies submitted technical bids in mid-November to Abu Dhabi Company for Onshore Oil Operations (Adco)for the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract to supply and install new pressure valves and control systems at the Thamama C reservoir in Abu Dhabi emirate. The bidders are the local National Petroleum Construction Company (NPCC), Athens-based Consolidated Contractors International Company (CCC), the US/Canadian VECO and
  • Four in for ADDC O&M

    Four bids were submitted on 14 December for the eight-year operations and management (O&M) contract for Abu Dhabi Distribution Company (ADDC). A second O&M tender, covering Al-Ain Distribution Company (AADC), is due to be issued for bid in the second half of January. The O&M contracts are seen as the first stage in the partial privatisation of the two companies, wholly owned by Abu Dhabi Water & Electricity Authority (ADWEA - MEED 9:9:05).
  • Four picked for Fairmont

    Four companies have been shortlisted for the estimated $200 million main contract on the Fairmont Palm Residences & Hotel on Palm Jumeirah after submitting the second set of prequalification documents on 20 November. The shortlisted companies are Al-Habtoor Engineering Enterprises, ALECand Arabtec Construction, all local, and the local/UK Al-Naboodah Laing O'Rourke. The successful company will build two residential buildings and then negotiate dire
  • Four picked for Fairmont

    Four companies have been shortlisted for the estimated $200 million main contract on the Fairmont Palm Residences & Hotel on Palm Jumeirah after submitting the second set of prequalification documents on 20 November. The shortlisted companies are Al-Habtoor Engineering Enterprises, ALECand Arabtec Construction, all local, and the local/UK Al-Naboodah Laing O'Rourke. The successful company will build two residential buildings and then negotiate dire
  • French engineer kidnapped in Baghdad

    A French engineer has been kidnapped in Baghdad, Iraqi police said on 5 December. The kidnapping happened in the early hours of the morning when the water treatment engineer was leaving his home for work. Witnesses said seven gunmen in two cars stopped the man outside his home in Baghdad's western Mansour district. Police said French identity documents were found in his abandoned car, AFP news agency reported. The French embassy said it was seeking details.
  • Fuel company IPO launched

    Subscription has opened to the initial public offering (IPO) of shares in Al-Sour Fuel Marketing Company, a company set up to own 40 of the service stations owned by Kuwait Petroleum Corporation (KPC). It follows the IPO of Al-Oula Fuel Marketing Company, also owning 40 outlets, earlier in 2005.
  • Fujairah to develop Creative City

    The local Fujairah Mediahas announced plans to build an estimated $50 million media cluster called Creative City. The development will aim to attract local, regional and international media companies to set up in the emirate. Other services that will be offered by Fujairah Media will include a digital broadcasting platform called Jebelcom and a news service. Fujairah Media is a joint venture of Fujairah Investments, the investment arm of the government of Fujairah, and
  • Fujairah to develop Creative City

    The local Fujairah Mediahas announced plans to build an estimated $50 million media cluster called Creative City. The development will aim to attract local, regional and international media companies to set up in the emirate. Other services that will be offered by Fujairah Media will include a digital broadcasting platform called Jebelcom and a news service. Fujairah Media is a joint venture of Fujairah Investments, the investment arm of the government of Fujairah, and
  • FUJAIRAH: Laying foundations

    The UAE has built a reputation for undertaking some of the world's most remarkable construction and engineering projects - but one of its most important schemes in recent years is one of its least glamourous. The northward extension of Emirates road up to Ras al-Khaimah through Ajman and Umm al-Qaiwain has not only cut journey times in half, it has transformed the aspirations of the federation's three poorest emirates. The Emirates road project is a timely reminder that although infrastructure p
  • Full steam ahead for Khurais

    Tendering is gathering pace on the kingdom's largest onshore oil development project of the past decade, with Saudi Aramcocompleting prequalifications for three key packages. Called the Khurais oil increment programme, the estimated $11,000 million scheme is aimed at the construction of facilities to deliver 1.2 million-1.32 million barrels a day (b/d) of Arabian Light crude capacity by December 2008 (MEED 14:10:05).
  • Gammon awarded Zen contract

    Gammon & Billimoria, the local affiliate of India's Gammon, has been awarded the AED 50 million ($13.6 million) main construction package on the Zen tower project in Dubai Marina. The 16-month contract entails the construction of a 15-storey residential tower. The lead consultant is the local Arch Group. The local Wealthcare Investmentsis the client. Local property developer Emaar Propertiesis the master developer of Dubai Marina.
  • Gammon awarded Zen contract

    Gammon & Billimoria, the local affiliate of India's Gammon, has been awarded the AED 50 million ($13.6 million) main construction package on the Zen tower project in Dubai Marina. The 16-month contract entails the construction of a 15-storey residential tower. The lead consultant is the local Arch Group. The local Wealthcare Investmentsis the client. Local property developer Emaar Propertiesis the master developer of Dubai Marina.
  • GCC ambitions for single currency

    The Gulf Co-operation Council (GCC) countries are hoping to have a euro-style single currency by 2010, Bahrain Monetary Agency Governor Rasheed al-Maraj told the Financial Times Deutschland on 20 December. 'Our economies have much in common. Trade in the region is on the increase. It makes sense to try and set up monetary union. We are in the process of drawing up convergence criteria. Our aim is to reach agreement on the principles by 2006,' Al-Maraj said, who added that the Gulf States ar
  • GCC summit airs concern about Iranian nuclear plans

    Delegates at the 26th annual summit of the GCC in Abu Dhabi on 18 December expressed concern over Iran's nuclear programme. 'We trust Iran, but we don't want to see an Iranian nuclear plant which is closer in distance to our Gulf shores than to Iran causing us danger and damage,' GCC secretary-general Abdel-Rahman al-Attiya said.A proposal to broker a deal with Iran to make the region nuclear-free was also on the agenda, according to Al-Attiya. 'As Iranian officials say the p
  • GE OIL & GAS: Steaming ahead in the region

    There are not many company names with as much historical and economic resonance as Nuovo Pignone, now GE Oil & Gas. For the residents of Florence, where it is headquartered, the company is both a symbol of Italian engineering excellence and the lifeblood of a city in which it is the largest private sector employer.
  • GE to set up in QSTP

    US-based General Electric (GE)is the latest big name to sign up for the Qatar Science & Technology Park (QSTP), located in Doha's Education City, after signing a 15-year agreement in late November. The 15,000-square-metre GE Technology & Learning Centre will primarily focus on providing technical training for customers of GE's aviation and energy businesses across the Middle East, Africa, Europe and Asia. 'We have to be here and establish a base,' David Calhoun, GE vice-chairman told
  • German group mulls LNG options

    German energy group E.ON plans to invest about $5,000 million in liquefied natural gas (LNG) projects in Iran or Qatar, according to the company's chairman Wulf Bernotat. E.ON is considering building a gas liquefaction plant in the Gulf and regassification facilities in the German city of Wilhelmshaven to secure future gas supplies for Germany, Bernotat told the German daily Berliner Zeitung on 3 December.
  • German/local alliance benefits from JLT boom

    The local/German Al-Rostamani Pegel (ARP)has been awarded two contracts for high-rise buildings on the Jumeirah Lake Towers (JLT) development in Dubai. The awards coincided with local real estate developer Al-Fajer Propertiesunveiling plans for two more towers and US-based Stellar Groupbeing awarded the contract for JLT's district cooling system. JLT, which is being promoted by the local Nakheel, will have more than 70 high-rise towers, nearly all
  • German/local alliance benefits from JLT boom

    The local/German Al-Rostamani Pegel (ARP)has been awarded two contracts for high-rise buildings on the Jumeirah Lake Towers (JLT) development in Dubai. The awards coincided with local real estate developer Al-Fajer Propertiesunveiling plans for two more towers and US-based Stellar Groupbeing awarded the contract for JLT's district cooling system. JLT, which is being promoted by the local Nakheel, will have more than 70 high-rise towers, nearly all
  • Getting deals off the ground

    It is not easy to sell a plane. At $60 million apiece, not only do you have to find a wealthy buyer, but in most cases you also need to find an investor to provide the capital to finance the purchase, either through a lease or debt. For customers of US aircraft manufacturer The Boeing Company, the role of arranger is carried out by Boeing Capital Corporation (BCC) - a vital cog in Boeing's sales effort.
  • Getting on with business

    With the threat of international sanctions looming and speculation rife about the role of Syria in a string of assassinations on Lebanese soil, investment was one of the last things on the minds of the diplomats and businessmen who flocked to the Investment in Syria seminar held in central London in early November.
  • GFH unveils Royal Dead Sea project

    Bahrain-based Gulf Finance House (GFH)has unveiled plans for an estimated $200 million resort to be built on the Dead Sea. To be called Royal Resort & Spa, the development will involve the construction of a five-star hotel, a business centre, a gym, restaurants and related facilities. The total built-up area will be 125,000 square metres, to be located about 35 kilometres from Marj al-Hammam on the Amman-Dead Sea highway. The main contractor on the project is Sharjah-based Al
  • GFH unveils Royal Dead Sea project

    Bahrain-based Gulf Finance House (GFH)has unveiled plans for an estimated $200 million resort to be built on the Dead Sea. To be called Royal Resort & Spa, the development will involve the construction of a five-star hotel, a business centre, a gym, restaurants and related facilities. The total built-up area will be 125,000 square metres, to be located about 35 kilometres from Marj al-Hammam on the Amman-Dead Sea highway. The main contractor on the project is Sharjah-based Al
  • GHC plans new cement plant in Fujairah

    Abu Dhabi-based General Holding Company (GHC)is set to build a grassroots cement plant in Fujairah. The move will come as part of the establishment of a new company, Bina, which will incorporate the existing construction assets of the former government-owned General Industries Corporation (GIC - MEED 16:9:05).
  • Gippsland signs drilling contract

    Australia's Gippslandon 5 December announced that it had awarded a contract to complete up to 14,000 metres of drilling to Perth-based Wallis Drilling. Under the deal, Wallis will supply a new multi-purpose drilling rig by the end of December and start drilling works in January. Initial test drills will be carried out in a 12,000-square kilometre area in the Wadi Allaqi region, southeast of Aswan, which holds prospective gold and copper-nickel deposits. The initial drilli
  • Global cost review: Materials world

    With most of the construction economies in buoyant form, costs are rising across the world. But nowhere as quickly as the GCC.
  • Global cost review: Materials world

    With most of the construction economies in buoyant form, costs are rising across the world. But nowhere as quickly as the GCC.
  • Global goes Arabian

    The local Arabian Seas Insurance Company (ASIC) has signed a strategic partnership with Kuwait's Global Investment House (GIH)which will see an increase in ASIC's capital from JD 4 million ($5.6 million) to JD 21 million ($29.6 million). The capital increase is the first part of a three-stage expansion programme through which GIH plans to turn ASIC into a leading insurance and investment company to target the real estate market. 'Land [prices have] tripled in the last two
  • Global plans $141 million investment company

    Kuwait's Global Investment House (GIH)announced on 21 November plans to launch a $141 million investment company to target projects across the kingdom.
  • Gold coast

    The International Maritime College Oman was inaugurated at Sohar on 15 November by Dutch Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende and senior Omani officials. The event was symbolic. Not only did it signal the close co-operation of Amsterdam and Muscat on the sultanate's key economic development project, it also pointed to the key driver behind the initiative - a looming unemployment problem that faces the country as oil resources wane and population growth surges. 'In January, we will start our seven
  • Government sets expansionist 2006 budget

    The Finance Ministry announced on 13 December the 2006 budget, forecasting a 39 per cent increase in revenues to SR 390,000 million ($104,000 million) and a 19.6 per cent rise in spending to SR 335,000 million ($89,333 million). Riyadh also released preliminary estimates of 2005 economic and fiscal performance, putting real gross domestic product (GDP) growth at 6.5 per cent and the budget surplus at SR 214,000 million ($57,707 million).
  • Group signs Maaden mega PMC contract

    The four-strong international group led by the US' Louis Bergerhas signed the supervision consultancy contract with Saudi Arabian Mining Company (Maaden) covering the construction of its 1,800-kilometre long-planned minerals railway. The consortium was the only qualified bidder for the contract when proposals were submitted earlier in the year (MEED 20:5:05).
  • Gulf Bank sells BBK stake

    Gulf Bank has sold its 6.7 per cent stake in Bank of Bahrain & Kuwait (BBK) to a Kuwaiti consortium of investors including Pearl Real Estate Company and United Investment Company for $42 million at a price of BD 0.60 ($1.58) a share. The move forms part of a long-running saga which would see some of the smaller shareholders in BBK sell their stakes in the Manama-based bank (MEED 28:10:05).
  • H3 power works go for bid

    Dubai Electricity & Water Authority (DEWA) has issued tender documents for the two main turnkey contracts on the phase 3 development of the H station at Al-Aweer. The utility is aiming for project commissioning by the summer of 2008 (see Tenders; MEED 3:6:05).
  • Hamas pledges support to Tehran

    Khaled Meshaal, the political leader of Palestinian militant movement Hamas, said on 15 December that the group will step up attacks on Israel if it bombs Iran. Meshaal, during his visit to meet senior Iranian officials, also praised President Ahmadinejad's courage in making strident criticism of Israel. However, he did not lend support to Ahmadinejad's suggestion that the holocaust was a 'myth'.'What Iranian officials say may not please some people, but these are just courag
  • Hamas to end truce

    Hamas announced on 9 December it would not renew the informal ceasefire it has held with Israel for nine months. The political leader of the movement Khaled Meshaal told a rally in Damascus there was no longer room for a truce. 'I say to our brothers in the Palestinian Authority that we are witnessing political stagnation. I say it loudly, we will not enter a new truce and our people are preparing for a new round of conflict,' Meshaal said.Hamas said it would pull out of the
  • Having your say in Dubai

    A queen, a crown prince, top officials, senior business people and influential media figures had their say in a week of conferences in Dubai in early December. They included Arab League secretary-general Amr Moussa, chairman of Saudi Arabia's Kingdom Holding Company Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, Jordan's Queen Rania, Bahrain's Crown Prince Sheikh Salman bin Hamad al-Khalifa and Mohammed al-Gergawi, chairman of Dubai Holding, the rapidly-expanding government corporation.But the h
  • HSBC announces QFC move, AJIB wins licence

    HSBChas confirmed plans to set up operations in the Qatar Financial Centre (QFC) in early 2006, following talks involving senior officials. According to a joint statement from the bank, the QFC Authority and the QFC Regulatory Authority, discussions included the possibility of HSBC using the QFC as regional base from which to serve the rest of the GCC and further afield, as well as developing onshore business. In September, the bank established a locally-based investment banking unit (MEE
  • HSBC builds Maadi base

    Athens-based Consolidated Contractors International Company (CCC)has received a letter of award for the contract to build a new headquarters building for HSBC Bank Egyptin Cairo. The contract will be signed by the end of November after a final price, expected to be just above £E 100 million ($18 million), has been agreed. CCC will carry out all works except for furnishings on the project. The 10-storey building will include a basement car park and will be located in Cairo
  • HSBC builds Maadi base

    Athens-based Consolidated Contractors International Company (CCC)has received a letter of award for the contract to build a new headquarters building for HSBC Bank Egyptin Cairo. The contract will be signed by the end of November after a final price, expected to be just above £E 100 million ($18 million), has been agreed. CCC will carry out all works except for furnishings on the project. The 10-storey building will include a basement car park and will be located in Cairo
  • HSBC gets investment banking licence

    The Capital Market Authority (CMA) has approved the formation of a full-service investment bank by HSBCand local affiliate Saudi British Bank (SABB), making it the first foreign bank to be granted a licence for such activities under the capital market law. The venture will now go to the Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority and the Commerce & Industry Ministry for approval.
  • HSBC takes Innovene advisory

    HSBCis understood to have been awarded the financial advisory mandate on the ethane cracker project planned by the UK's Innoveneand the local Delta Oil Companyat Jubail. The race came down to a contest between HSBC and Lazard- which advised on the sale of Innovene in October by the UK's BPto fellow UK firm INEOS Enterprises. About five teams submitted bids for the contract in mid-November. The sponsors are understood to be lookin
  • HSBC to move into DIFC

    HSBChas announced plans to move significant portions of its Corporate, Investment Banking & Markets division into the Dubai International Finance Centre (DIFC) from early 2006, subject to approval by the regulator of the financial free zone, the Dubai Finance Services Authority (DFSA). Islamic banking subsidiary HSBC Amanah and HSBC Private Bankwill also be relocated.
  • Hunt in dispute over block 18

    Yemen Exploration & Production Company (YEPC), a US joint venture of Hunt Oiland ExxonMobil Corporation, has filed arbitration at the Paris-based International Chamber of Commerce against the government over the removal of YEPC as operator of block 18, located in the Marib basin.
  • Hurghada airport financing sealed

    Kuwait-based Arab Fund for Economic & Social Development (AFESD) has agreed to part-finance the construction of a new terminal and runway at Hurghada airport. The agreement will see AFESD provide 70 per cent of the estimated $170 million project. Beirut-based Dar al-Handasah (Shair & Partners) is expected to complete full designs for the airport by mid-2006. The new facility will increase capacity to about 7.5 million passengers a year. Egyptian Airports Company is the c
  • Hussain trial faces continued disruption

    The trial of former Iraqi president Saddam Hussein resumed on 5 December but was disrupted immediately when his defence team walked out of court in a protest over the legitimacy of the tribunal and the security of lawyers. Saddam stood up, declared that the court had been appointed by US occupiers and shouted 'Long live the Arab state'. After a 40-day adjournment to give lawyers more time to prepare a defence for the former president and seven associates accused of crimes aga
  • IFA to IPO

    IFA Hotels & Resorts, a subsidiary of local International Financial Advisors ( IFA), is planning to launch an initial public offering (IPO) on the Kuwait Stock Exchange in early 2006. The company also plans to list its South African assets on the Johannesburg Securities Exchange through a reverse takeover of South African Moribo Leisure. Moribo is expected to purchase IFA Zimbali Lodge and IFA's stake in a joint venture with South Africa's
  • IIB reveals property plans

    Locally-based Islamic institution International Investment Bank (IIB)plans to make an initial public offering (IPO) of shares in its Bahrain Property Fund in the first quarter of 2006. IIB will list 100 per cent of the $40 million fund, which will be the first real estate fund to be traded on the Bahrain Stock Exchange.
  • IMF and SAMA praise Riyadh

    The kingdom received a favourable economic analysis from both the Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency (SAMA - central bank) and the IMF in early December, with both agencies providing a broadly positive outlook for the local economy. In its latest quarterly quarter economic developments report, SAMA reported that the kingdom's broad money supply (M3) increased by 0.3 per cent to SR 530,000 million ($141,300 million) during the third quarter of 2005, compared with a 4.3 per cent rise in the preceding q
  • IMF calls for greater reform

    The economy is set to grow by 6 per cent in the Iranian year, which ends in March, while inflation will fall to 13 per cent and unemployment will remain stable at 11 per cent, the IMF said in a 13 December statement following article IV consultations earlier in the month. The growth outstrips the 4.8 per cent achieved last year, but the fund urged Iran to accelerate economic reforms, further reduce inflation, better target subsidies and rein in government spending (MEED 25:11:05).
  • IMF urges labour market flexibility

    Non-oil growth was strong in 2004 as government efforts at diversification bore fruit, said the IMF in the conclusion to its latest Article IV consultations, released on 9 December. However, further policy changes will be needed to reduce fiscal dependence on falling oil revenues, the report said, while also warning Muscat against introducing labour market rigidities.
  • IMF: economy is stable, but growth will fall

    Macroeconomic and financial conditions in the kingdom remained stable in 2004, with strong growth in gross domestic product (GDP), low inflation and abundant liquidity, according to the results of the IMF's latest Article IV consultations, published on 23 November. But despite a decline in the fiscal deficit, some of the kingdom's budgetary policies did not support fiscal consolidation and GDP growth will fall sharply in 2006, the report says.
  • IMPZ plans phase 2

    International Media Production Zone (iMPZ) is considering plans to launch phase 2 of the development once work on phase 1 is completed in mid-2007. Like phase 1, phase 2 is expected to include pre-built showrooms and warehouses, a media market, retail outlets, an exhibition and conference centre, a hotel, art galleries, cafes and activity centres. The local Wade Adams Contracting is currently working on a $82 million infrastructure package on the AED 1,000 million ($272 million) and
  • IMPZ plans phase 2

    International Media Production Zone (iMPZ) is considering plans to launch phase 2 of the development once work on phase 1 is completed in mid-2007. Like phase 1, phase 2 is expected to include pre-built showrooms and warehouses, a media market, retail outlets, an exhibition and conference centre, a hotel, art galleries, cafes and activity centres. The local Wade Adams Contracting is currently working on a $82 million infrastructure package on the AED 1,000 million ($272 million) and
  • INDAGO: Fruitful search

    Indago takes its name from the Latin verb to search. And it has discovered a potentially rich seam. An offshoot of the break-up of Australia's Novus Petroleum, Indago's legacy and focus is on a small Gulf outpost taking in Ras al-Khaimah and the waters off eastern Oman.
  • Industry: The drive to diversify

    Flush with liquidity from the high crude oil price, the UAE is pushing ahead with a comprehensive non-oil based economic diversification programme. Until now, much of the emphasis has surrounded the tourism and real estate sectors, but over the past year a raft of planned industrial cities has been revealed.
  • Intel runs regional programmes

    The US' Intel Corporationand the Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority (SAGIA) have signed a memorandum of understanding to set up a $100 million venture capital fund to invest in technology companies located in Saudi Arabia. Intel will act as consultant for the fund and reserves the right to co-invest along with the fund in new ventures, while SAGIA will act as the liaison body.
  • International City down to three

    Three groups of companies have been shortlisted for the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract to build a sewage treatment plant (STP) serving the estimated $1,900 million International City development in Dubai. The shorlisted groups are the Brazilian/local joint venture of Odebrechtwith Bin Hafeez General Contracting & Transport Establishment, the local Al-Naboodah Contractingand the UK's Kier International. The scheme covers co
  • Introduction: Soaring costs

    In 2005, construction prices across the GCC went up faster than in any other market in the world, with Qatar experiencing the greatest rises of all. Research carried out for MEED by international cost consultant Davis Langdon shows that, while building materials costs continue to present contractors with problems, rising labour costs are giving more cause for concern.
  • Introduction: Soaring costs

    In 2005, construction prices across the GCC went up faster than in any other market in the world, with Qatar experiencing the greatest rises of all. Research carried out for MEED by international cost consultant Davis Langdon shows that, while building materials costs continue to present contractors with problems, rising labour costs are giving more cause for concern.
  • Investcorp fund closes oversubscribed

    Bahrain-based Investcorpclosed its Technology Ventures Fund II (ITV II) in late November with a committed capital of $300 million. The fund was subscribed $50 million above its target size. Investcorp's Technology Investment Group (TIG)manages the fund and plans to invest $20 million in Germany's Mania Technologie. TIG has already completed three ITV II investments, including $12 million in Magnum Semiconductorand $6 million in PanGo Networ
  • Investors decide on Swiss theme

    A group of investors led by the local Al-Tamimi & Companyplans to launch an estimated AED 250 million ($68 million) tower project on plot Y3 at Jumeirah Lake Towers (JLT). Called Swiss Tower, the glass exterior of the 40-storey tower will have a printed image of the Matterhorn, reflecting its Swiss theme. The concept design was created by Germany's Gunter Buerk JSK. Local developer Nakheelis the master developer for JLT.
  • Investors decide on Swiss theme

    A group of investors led by the local Al-Tamimi & Companyplans to launch an estimated AED 250 million ($68 million) tower project on plot Y3 at Jumeirah Lake Towers (JLT). Called Swiss Tower, the glass exterior of the 40-storey tower will have a printed image of the Matterhorn, reflecting its Swiss theme. The concept design was created by Germany's Gunter Buerk JSK. Local developer Nakheelis the master developer for JLT.
  • Investors line up for Najaf airport BOT

    At least six international firms have submitted expressions of interest for the build-operate-transfer (BOT) contract on the proposed greenfield international airport project near Najaf. The airport will have capacity of about 2.5 million passengers and 5,000 tonnes a year of cargo (MEED 23:9:05).
  • Investors sought for port

    The Transportation Ministry has received expressions of interest from international companies looking to invest in the construction of a greenfield deepwater port and harbour near Basra. The project will be divided into three phases to be completed by 2015 (MEED 30:9:05).
  • Investors sought for port

    The Transportation Ministry has received expressions of interest from international companies looking to invest in the construction of a greenfield deepwater port and harbour near Basra. The project will be divided into three phases to be completed by 2015 (MEED 30:9:05).
  • IPIC: The big investor with a low profile

    For a company that prefers to maintain a low profile, Abu Dhabi government-owned International Petroleum Investment Company (IPIC) has been making quite a splash recently. The acquisition of a 50 per cent stake in Austria's AMI Agrolinz Melamine International and the purchase of a majority interest in Copenhagen-based Borealis underlined that IPIC has become one of the most active regional investors in international oil and gas assets, with a current portfolio of $8,000 million.
  • IPO causes market correction

    The Doha Securities Market (DSM) was becalmed in December as investors saved their funds for the primary market. The slight correction in prices is no bad thing as the bourse, which is up by more than 70 per cent since the start of the year, is widely considered to be overheated. However, the fundamentals of the blue chips remain strong.
  • Iran agrees to more nuclear talks

    Iran reaffirmed its intention to develop its nuclear programme on 21 December during talks with the EU 3 - the UK, Germany and France - but agreed to further negotiations. Diplomats from both sides were in Vienna for their first meeting since talks broke down in August, after Tehran resumed uranium enrichment.'The two sides agreed to consult their respective leaderships with a view to holding another round of talks in January, with the aim of agreeing a framework for negotiat
  • Iran and EU to restart nuclear talks

    Iran and the EU 3 - Germany, the UK and France - are to restart talks over Iran's nuclear programme, according to media reports on 21 December. It is expected that the EU 3 will try to persuade Tehran to end its uranium enrichment programme. Previous talks broke down in August after Tehran restarted enriching uranium. Iran has consistently maintained that its nuclear programme is for domestic energy production only. Iran rejected a Russian offer to take on its enrichment prog
  • Iran plane crash kills more than 100

    An Iranian military plane crashed into a Tehran residential tower-block on 6 December, killing over 100 people. The multi-engined C-130 transport plane was carrying 94 passengers when it crashed in the capital's Yaftabad district. Reports from state news agency IRNA said the total death toll was 116.The plane, which reported engine trouble and had requested an emergency landing, was carrying a number of local journalists and military officials to the southern port of Bandar A
  • IRAN: A year of stagnation

    Three strikes and you are out. The Majlis (parliament) has precipitated a major political crisis for President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad by rejecting his third nominee for oil minister, the most important post in the cabinet. For the oil sector itself, the news is disastrous - not because Mohsen Tasalloti would have made an ideal minister, but because almost everything to do with Iranian energy has ground to a halt.
  • Irancell set for licence as MTN pays fee

    The conclusion of a licence agreement for Irancellto develop Iran's second GSM network is waiting on a court case brought by Turkcellagainst South Africa's MTN, which has replaced it as the lead partner in the consortium. MTN took a 49 per cent stake in Irancell and paid the Eur 300 million ($354 million) licence fee by the 21 November deadline set by the Information & Communication Technology (ICT) Ministry, after negotiations between Turkcell and Irancell br
  • Iranian president names fifth oil nominee

    President Ahmadinejad named Kazem Vaziri-Hameneh, the current acting minister and former deputy oil minister as his fifth choice for Oil Minister on 4 December. 'It looks like a good decision to name someone from within the Oil Ministry. The atmosphere is more positive,' oil analyst Hatef Haeri said to Reuters. 'There is no doubt that Vaziri-Hamaneh is the best option so far given his long record in the Oil Ministry,' he said.Ahmadinejad has faced a hostile Majlis (parliament
  • Iranian president suggests Israel moves to Europe

    President Ahmadinejad on 8 December suggested Israel should be moved to Europe. Ahmadinejad said that if Germany and Austria were responsible for the holocaust, they should surrender their own land. 'You oppressed them [the Jews], so give a part of Europe to the Zionist regime so they can establish any government they want. Because Jews were oppressed during World War II, therefore they [the Europeans] have to support the regime occupying Jerusalem. We do not accept this,' the president sai
  • Iraq petrol protests

    Thousands took to the streets across Iraq on 19 December to protest against fuel price hikes. Oil Minister Ibrahim Bahr al-Ulum threatened to resign unless the government cancelled the decision to triple fuel prices. 'I call on the government to hold off on implementing the decision. One should not punish Iraqis who risked their lives going to vote by increasing prices,' Al-Ulum said.The Cabinet had raised the price of petrol, kerosene, diesel and cooking gas on 18 December i
  • Iraqi Airways to pay off KAC

    A London court has ruled that Iraqi Airwaysmust pay Kuwait Airways Corporation (KAC) almost $1,000 million in compensation and interest for the destruction and theft of property during the 1990 Iraqi invasion of Kuwait. The court ruled that the Iraqi carrier pay $319 million for losses incurred on the loss of aircraft, and $661 million in compound interest of 8 per cent a year.
  • Iraqi Defence Minster critical of Syria

    The Syrian border with Iraq was a 'source of evil', Iraqi Defence Minister Saadoun al-Dulaimi said on 30 November. The number of insurgents and suicide bombers entering Iraq via Syria was a source of great concern for the Iraqi government, Al-Dulaimi said.'We tell our neighbours, take care of your own affairs and don't interfere in Iraq's affairs. Iraqis are heading for the future and they will not be stopped by a car-bomb or a filthy body rigged with explosives,' Al-Dulaimi
  • Iraqi election turnout 70 per cent

    More than 70 per cent of eligible Iraqis took part in the national elections on 15 December, according to election officials. First estimates showed approximately 11 million of the 15 million eligible to participate in the landmark elections cast their votes. International observers also said that the elections met accepted international standards.'The Independent Electoral Commission of Iraq is to be commended on the way it has performed its role under the difficult circumst
  • Iraqi opposition groups united in election criticism

    Sunni and secular groups united on 21 December to demand a rerun of the Iraqi national elections after allegations of electoral fraud. The groups also threatened to boycott parliament. Between 70 and 80 politicians took part in the meeting, after preliminary results showed that Shia parties were likely to dominate parliament.'We all agreed to contest and reject the results of the election. We want the Electoral Commission dissolved and new elections rerun across Iraq,' an aid
  • Iraqis return to the polls

    Iraqis voted on 15 December for the first full-term, four-year government since the fall of the regime of Saddam Hussein. Incidents of violence did not disrupt the streams of voters from all Iraq's ethnic groups who voted, according to media reports. 'Turnout is much higher than expected,' Interior Minister Bayan Jabr said. More than 7,500 candidates stood for election, representing 307 political groups, three times the number in the previous January elections. 'It's a nation
  • Isfahan Steel goes Islamic

    Syndication has been launched of a $70 million murabaha facility for Isfahan Steel Company, lead arranged by ABC Islamic Bankand Emirates Islamic Bank. The three-year facility carries a margin of 348 basis points (bp) over Libor and will be used to fund the coking coal production expansion project. Another syndicated loan for Bank Melliwas signed in mid-November. Arab Banking Corporation, Standard Bankand Standard Ch
  • ISLAMIC BANKING: Cashing in on conversion

    The future of retail banking appears to be Islamic. 'In five years, it will be the only way to go,' said Louis Myers, the head of retail banking at The National Commercial Bank (NCB) at a conference in Dubai of the growing trend among conventional banks to convert. Myers' conviction is rooted in strong foundations. Islamic banking is on the rise, driven by customer demand and banks' recognition that offering sharia-compliant products and services widens their customer base and accelerates profit
  • Israel begins military clampdown after suicide bomb

    Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon ordered a military clampdown in the West Bank on 6 December after a suicide bomber from Islamic Jihad killed five Israelis in the coastal town of Netanya a day earlier.'Israel will act against the terror organisations with all its might and all the means at its disposal. Israel's response will be hard and painful,' Israeli Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom said.Defence Minister Shaul Mofaz has also ordered the resumption of targ
  • Israel bombs Lebanon

    Israeli launched an air-strike on 28 December on a Palestinian militant base in the al-Naima region which left two wounded. 'This is in response to the firing of projectile rockets last night toward Israeli communities,' the Israeli army said. The strikes targeted the base of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command, although a spokesman for the group denied the group were responsible for the attacks on Israel. 'Israel wants to blame us for the rocket attacks to pro
  • Israel claims need for non-diplomatic approach to Iran

    Israel must prepare options 'other than diplomatic' to protect the country against the continuing advance of Iran's nuclear programme, Defence Minister Shaul Mofaz said on 9 December. 'The right move would be to let a diplomatic approach guide us, but we must also prepare other solutions,' Mofaz said. Mofaz's statement follows comments from Iranian President Ahmadinejad made on 8 December in which he appeared to cast doubt on the holocaust and suggested Israel should move to
  • Israel detains militants as both sides bury victims

    Israeli security forces arrested 19 suspected militants on 9 December during night raids in the West Bank. Ten of those arrested were said to be members of Islamic Jihad, the group that claimed responsibility for a suicide bombing on 5 December in Netanya. The incursion comes as funerals took place for two Palestinians killed in an Israeli air strike on 8 December. The funeral also took place of an Israeli soldier stabbed by a Palestinian man at a checkpoint on the same day.
  • Israel fires Arrow

    Tel Aviv on 2 December successfully launched a test of its Arrow anti-missile system. Israeli Defence Ministry officials said the test came in response to the increasing threat of ballistic missiles in the region. The test launch coincided with a report in Russian business daily Vedomosti saying that Moscow plans to sell more than $1,000 million worth of tactical surface-to-air missiles and other defence equipment to Iran.
  • Israel shells Gaza buffer zone

    Israeli artillery units and warplanes continued to shell northern Gaza on 29 December after a deadline expired for Palestinians to evacuate a new security no-go zone. The no-go zone includes the site of three former Israeli settlements evacuated in the Gaza withdrawal.'Our aircraft attacked six roads in the north of the Gaza Strip leading to sites where it is possible to launch Qassam rockets against Israel, and our artillery batteries fired about 30 shells at the sector,' an
  • Israel threatens to shut border crossings

    Israeli Defence Minister Shaul Mofaz on 30 November threatened to shut down border crossings between the Gaza Strip and Israel. 'If [the situation] doesn't improve and the Palestinians don't co-operate, we will close the Erez and Karni crossings,' said Mofaz. It is unclear whether this move came in response to the return of the exiled senior Hamas activist Fadel Zahar to Gaza through the Rafah terminal. The Rafah terminal reopened on 25 November for the first t
  • Israeli polls reveal division on Iran and Jerusalem

    Israelis are evenly split on giving up parts of East Jerusalem as part of a peace deal with the Palestinians, according to a poll published on 16 December in newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth. Of those questioned in the poll, 49 per cent were in favour and 49 per cent were against giving Palestinians control of largely Arab areas of Jerusalem captured by Israel during the 1967 war.The poll also showed that a majority of Israelis are against a military strike on Iran's nuclear progra
  • Israeli soldier killed in double suicide attack

    One Israeli soldier was killed and two were wounded on 29 December when two suicide bombers blew up an army checkpoint in the West Bank. The attack occurred at the Jabara checkpoint between two Israeli settlements near the town of Tulkarm. The bombers were a man and a woman, who detonated themselves when ordered to leave their car by checkpoint guards, according to media reports. It was the first suicide bombing since November, when five Israelis were killed in the nearby tow
  • Italian/Korean JV snaps up Q-Chem II

    A joint venture of Italy's Tecnimontand South Korea's Daewoo Engineering & Constructionwas awarded in mid-November the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract for the downstream units on the Qatar Chemical Company II (Q-Chem II)project at Mesaieed. The award coincided with final project approvals and financial close being achieved on the scheme, which also includes Q-Chem II taking a 54 per cent equity stake in the 1.3 million-tonne-a-year (t/
  • Ithmaar to IPO, Solidarity spreads

    Ithmaar Bank, the local subsidiary of Swiss-based Dar al-Maal al-Islami Group (DMI), plans to stage an initial public offering (IPO) of 150 million shares on the Bahrain Stock Exchange in early 2006. Its sister company Shamil Bankwill act as the lead manager for the IPO, and financial adviser along with KPMG. Ithmaar, which raised its paid-up capital to $200 million from $150 million after a private placement of shares, plans to relaunch as Bah
  • Jailed Barghouti in Fatah poll win

    Jailed Palestinian political leader Marwan Barghouti won 34,000 out of 40,000 votes in a Fatah primary poll on 26 November. The poll win was said to be a victory for the younger generation of Fatah politicians. 'The old guard has failed politically and administratively, and in running their organisation in a democratic way,' analyst Hani al-Masri told the BBC. Bargouti is currently serving a life sentence for the killing of four Israelis and a Greek Orthodox monk, but the Isr
  • Jan de Nul/Boskalis win Ras Laffan expansion

    The 50:50 joint venture of Belgium's Jan de Nuland Royal Boskalis Westminsterof the Netherlands has received a letter of award from Qatar Petroleum (QP)to carry out the dredging, reclamation and breakwater package on the Ras Laffan port expansion. Valued at just under $2,100 million, the 36-month package is the first to be awarded on the project, which is being undertaken to cater for a significant increase in liquefied natural gas (LNG) and gas-to-liquids (GT
  • Jan de Nul/Boskalis win Ras Laffan expansion

    The 50:50 joint venture of Belgium's Jan de Nuland Royal Boskalis Westminsterof the Netherlands has received a letter of award from Qatar Petroleum (QP)to carry out the dredging, reclamation and breakwater package on the Ras Laffan port expansion. Valued at just under $2,100 million, the 36-month package is the first to be awarded on the project, which is being undertaken to cater for a significant increase in liquefied natural gas (LNG) and gas-to-liquids (GT
  • Japan agrees financial, technical support

    Japan on 6 December agreed to extend financial and technical support for oil and natural gas projects during a visit to Tokyo by Iraqi Oil Minister Ibrahim Bahr al-Uloum. In a joint statement by Al-Uloum and Japanese Economy, Trade & Industry Minister Toshihiro Nikai, Tokyo pledged to consider financing three oil and gas projects in Iraq with yen loans, and train in Japan 1,000 Iraqi engineers in the energy sector for two years from 2006. Japan is the first country to seal a detailed accord on o
  • Jebel Ali airport runway takes off

    Dubai's Department of Civil Aviation (DCA) has invited at least seven companies to bid by 13 December for the construction of the first runway at the proposed Jebel Ali International Airport (JXB) and Dubai Logistics City (DLC). A team of Beirut-based Dar al-Handasah (Shair & Partners)and Aeroports de Paris (AdP) is the project management consultant (PMC - MEED 23:9:05).
  • Jebel Ali airport runway takes off

    Dubai's Department of Civil Aviation (DCA) has invited at least seven companies to bid by 13 December for the construction of the first runway at the proposed Jebel Ali International Airport (JXB) and Dubai Logistics City (DLC). A team of Beirut-based Dar al-Handasah (Shair & Partners)and Aeroports de Paris (AdP) is the project management consultant (PMC - MEED 23:9:05).
  • Jeddah Municipality scouts for project manager

    Jeddah Municipality has reissued the project and construction management (PM/CM) services tender for all its existing and future schemes, with four companies being invited to submit bids by 29 November. The invitees are US-based Fluor Corporation, Beirut-based Dar al-Handasah (Shair & Partners), Saudi Consolidated Engineering Company (Khatib & Alami) and Bahrain-based Projacs International.
  • Jeddah Municipality scouts for project manager

    Jeddah Municipality has reissued the project and construction management (PM/CM) services tender for all its existing and future schemes, with four companies being invited to submit bids by 29 November. The invitees are US-based Fluor Corporation, Beirut-based Dar al-Handasah (Shair & Partners), Saudi Consolidated Engineering Company (Khatib & Alami) and Bahrain-based Projacs International.
  • JORDAN: Moving from MoU to a PSA

    Sitting at the centre of the world's richest oil region, Amman has the bad luck to have no significant resources of its own, needing to buy in all its fuel. The challenge for the kingdom has been to persuade international oil companies (IOCs) to invest in what hydrocarbons reserves it has. In September, the hard work appeared to have paid off with the signing of a production sharing agreement (PSA) - the first since 1997 - with the US' Sonoran Energy. Sonoran believes the kingdom's oil reserves
  • Jumeirah Village finally swings into action

    Local property developer Nakheel is pressing ahead with its proposed Jumeirah Village development. The project, which is divided into a northern and southern section, was first launched in September 2004.
  • Jumeirah Village finally swings into action

    Local property developer Nakheel is pressing ahead with its proposed Jumeirah Village development. The project, which is divided into a northern and southern section, was first launched in September 2004.
  • Kahramaa signs up substation contractors

    Qatar General Electricity & Water Corporation (Kahramaa) signed on 28 November substation contracts, totalling almost $1,000 million, for work on phase 6 of the Qatar transmission programme and the West Bay programme. Contractors were selected for both projects in September and October. On phase 6, Germany's Siemenssigned its $341 million contract to build 14 substations and expand three existing ones, while Europe's ABBwas formally awarded a $170 million contract to buil
  • Kamco eyes the Maghreb

    The local Kamco,a subsidiary of United Gulf Bank, has offered a private placement of 500 million shares in North Africa Holding Company (NAHC) to its existing investors. Kamco parent Kuwait Projects Company (Kipco)is expected to subscribe to a significant portion of the placement. NAHC is under incorporation and is expected to have a paid-up capital of KD 50 million ($171.2 million) after the placement. The company plans to start making investments
  • Keep the R&D flag flying

    The presence of three senior executives from China's biggest telecommunications contractor in Cairo is a sign of the growing attractions of the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region's potentially enormous and largely untapped telecommunications market.
  • Khansaheb starts work on Wafi subterrania

    The local Khansaheb Civil Engineeringhas started work on the construction of a diaphragm wall on the estimated AED 70 million ($19 million) underground Persian-themed shopping mall at Wafi City in Dubai. Excavation work is expected to start in January. The work is a negotiated extension to Khansaheb's AED 515 million ($140 million) Wafi expansion contract, which includes the construction of the Raffles hotel and an extension to the existing Wafi Centre shopping mall. Set to open in e
  • Khansaheb starts work on Wafi subterrania

    The local Khansaheb Civil Engineeringhas started work on the construction of a diaphragm wall on the estimated AED 70 million ($19 million) underground Persian-themed shopping mall at Wafi City in Dubai. Excavation work is expected to start in January. The work is a negotiated extension to Khansaheb's AED 515 million ($140 million) Wafi expansion contract, which includes the construction of the Raffles hotel and an extension to the existing Wafi Centre shopping mall. Set to open in e
  • Khartoum welcomes BOO wastewater scheme

    Construction work has started on the country's first build-operate-own (BOO) wastewater project. SIC Investment Holding, a subsidiary ofLebanon's EBD Group, heads the project company, Sudanese International Company for Water & Wastewater Works (SICWWW), which will build a 120,000-cubic-metre-a-day wastewater treatment plant, a 500-kilometre sewage network and pumping stations in Khartoum. The shareholders include EBD Group, which is the technical adviser, and
  • KNPC: Ramping up capacity

    As refinery projects go, they do not come much bigger than the new Al-Zour refinery planned by state refinery operator Kuwait National Petroleum Company (KNPC). With a capacity of 615,000 barrels a day (b/d) and a budget of $6,300 million, the scheme will be the largest grassroots refinery ever built in the region.
  • KOC invites bids for well equipment supply

    Four US oil field services contractors have been invited by Kuwait Oil Company (KOC)to bid for a contract to supply equipment and associated services for high-pressure deep wells. The four - Baker Oil Tools, part of the US' Baker Hughes, Evi Oil Tools, part of the US' Weatherford, Halliburtonand TIW Corporation- have until 17 January to bid for the five-year contract, which involves the provision and installation
  • Korea National Oil Corporation: Balancing act

    Desperate times require desperate measures. And there is no better evidence of this dictum than at state-owned upstream operator Korea National Oil Corporation (KNOC).
  • Kuwait sells BP stake

    Kuwait Investment Authority (KIA)has sold 185 million shares in the UK's BP, in a deal estimated to be worth more than $2,000 million. The move reduces KIA's stake to 2.5 per cent. London-based Kuwait Investment Officesaid the divestment aimed to rebalance Kuwait's international investment portfolio.
  • Kuwait special report synopsis

    The Kuwaiti government has yet to approve the country’s next five-year development plan that will run from 2015 to 2020
  • Kuwait: Building height restrictions on the up

    After years of height restrictions on building in Kuwait, construction firms are beginning to reach for the sky.
  • Kuwait: Building height restrictions on the up

    After years of height restrictions on building in Kuwait, construction firms are beginning to reach for the sky.
  • Kuwaitis head Jordan’s investment drive

    Despite the dire predictions that followed last month's bombings in Amman, Jordan remains attractive to Gulf investors.
  • Kuwaitis head Jordan’s investment drive

    Despite the dire predictions that followed last month's bombings in Amman, Jordan remains attractive to Gulf investors.
  • Landbridge faces delay

    The release of the request for proposals (RFP) on the Saudi landbridge project has been put back until early next year at the earliest. RFP documents plus an announcement on the prequalification list were scheduled to be issued in late November, but have been delayed. 'We are still evaluating the prequalification applications,' says an official at Saudi Railways Organisation (SRO), the client on the estimated $5,000 million project. 'I cannot give a timeframe for when tender documents will be re
  • Law firm opens its doors

    International law firm DLA Piper Rudnick Gray Caryhas announced plans to open an office in Dubai, its first in the GCC, in early 2006. Jayshree Gupta, formerly head of the corporate and commercial practice in the Dubai office of Denton Wilde Sapte, has been appointed to the management team.
  • Laying the foundations Hydrocarbons law

    The hydrocarbons law strips Sonatrach of its role as the state's hydrocarbons regulator and its responsibility for the tendering process, ends the company's monopoly over oil distribution, storage and refining and replaces its right to take a 50 per cent interest in all projects with an option to take a stake of 20-30 per cent.
  • Lebanese cabinet splits over inquiry

    Pro-Syrian Shia ministers in the Lebanese cabinet boycotted a cabinet meeting on 22 December. The boycott by the two main Shia parties, Hezbollah and Amal, was launched in protest at the decision of the government of Prime Minister Fouad Siniora to ask the UN on 12 December to expand the brief of the probe investigating the assassination of former Rafiq Hariri. The government also asked for the probe to investigate the murder of public critics of Syrian involvement in Lebanon
  • Libyans ordered to pay further compensation

    A French court on 9 December ordered the Libyan government and six intelligence officials responsible for a 1989 plane bombing to pay more than $4 million in compensation to victims' families. The French UTA passenger plane was brought down over Niger, killing 170 people. The compensation is an addition to an earlier settlement, where in 1999 Tripoli offered $170 million to victims' families, designed to cover a number of people not covered by the original settlement. In April 2003, Tripoli
  • Linklaters sets up dubai operation

    International law firm Linklatersis planning to establish operations in Dubai in early 2006. The office will be opened in or adjacent to the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) and will be headed by Ewan Cameron, former head of corporate and securities at Clifford Chance.
  • LNG ship charter signed

    Ras Laffan Liquefied Natural Gas Company III (RasGas III)signed agreements on 28 November with Qatar Gas Transportation Company (Nakilat)and joint venture Teekay Nakilatto charter 12 Q-Flex liquefied natural gas (LNG) carriers. South Korean shipyards Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering Companywill build five vessels, Samsung Heavy Industriesfour and Hyundai Heavy Industriesthree, for delivery between March and August 2008. R
  • Locals bid low on Aghajari upgrade

    A consortium led by local firms Chegaleshand Kayson Groupis low bidder at about $830 million for the south fields product optimisation project, which focuses on gas reinjection and output enhancement at the massive Aghajari field. The award of the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract will send a positive message to a sector that has seen little movement in recent months, mired by the run-up to June's presidential election and by the subsequent absence
  • Logistics company to go on sale

    The local Transport & Warehousing Groupis planning to sell its 100 per cent-owned subsidiary Jassim Transport & Stevedoring Company. NBKCapital, the investment banking arm of National Bank of Kuwait, is advising on the sale. Jassim is a logistics company that operates a tanker fleet, ports and warehouse facilities. The company posted earnings of KD 12.5 million ($42.8 million) for 2004.
  • Lurgi set for Tasnee methanol work

    Germany's Lurgihas received an early works order to build the 1.8 million-tonne-a-year (t/y) methanol plant planned by the US/local joint venture of Celaneseand TasneePetrochemicals. Signing of the estimated $700 million engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract is expected soon (MEED 24:11:04).
  • Made in Madain

    Dubai-based Madain Real Estate Company, a recently established joint venture of Kuwait's Gulf Investment Houseand the local Ahmed Ramadhan Juma Group, will offer a private placement of 51 per cent of its shares to local investors. The company, which will be run according to sharia principles, has paid-up capital of AED 500 million ($136.1 million) and will focus on real estate projects in Abu Dhabi and Dubai. It is expected to stage an initial public offering
  • Madrid signs train loan

    The Transport Ministry has announced the signing of a Eur 102 million ($120 million) loan from the Spanish government for the purchase of 17 trains to relieve pressure on the public transport system. Spain's Construcciones y Auxiliar de Ferrocarriles (CAF)is in line to provide the rolling stock by the end of 2006, although a contract has yet to be signed. 'There has been a provisional statement saying CAF has won the contract,' says a company spokesperson. 'But there has been no offi
  • Maghreb to boost economic co-operation

    Senior ministerial finance and trade representatives from Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia agreed in late November in Algiers on key initiatives aimed at advancing the dialogue on strengthening regional co-operation to facilitate greater economic integration and increased trade. Working groups will prepare reports on harmonising trade regulations and the implementation of trade agreements, and on measures to eliminate trade distortions and reduce the volume of informal inflows. Other initiatives inc
  • Majlis ratifies latest oil nominee

    The Majlis (parliament) on 11 December ratified the appointment of Kazem Vaziri-Hameneh as oil minister. Vaziri-Hameneh was deputy oil minister in the last government and has since served as acting minister. Vaziri-Hameneh was President Ahmadinejad's fifth-choice candidate, but parliament's hostility towards his previous nominations led to a three-month impasse over the appointment, which has damaged the reputation of the president, analysts say.Vaziri-Hameneh's superior leve
  • Majlis rethinks subsidies but spends a further $3bn

    The Majlis (parliament) has voted on spending a further $3,000 million to fund foreign petrol purchases and introduced a smart-card fuel rationing system. But it has delayed plans to sell all imported petrol at the market price, asking the government to introduce legislation detailing how to do this in next year's budget law, which is expected to be passed in March (Iran, MEED Special Report, 26:8:05).
  • Making waves

    In late November, the board of UK port and ferry operator P&O announced unanimous recommendation of a $5,500 million takeover bid by Dubai's DP World. The move itself is audacious enough. But should the deal go ahead, it will also be a landmark in terms of financing. A hefty $2,800 million chunk of the funding will come from a planned issue of the Islamically structured sukuk instrument - making it the world's largest ever.
  • Manajem lays out zinc exploration plans

    The local United Arabian Mining Company (Manajem)plans to invest up to $200 million in the exploration, production and processing of zinc from its Al-Kunaiguiyah licence, 170 kilometres west of Riyadh.
  • Marafiq releases revised IWPP RFP

    The Power & Water Utilities Company for Jubail & Yanbu (Marafiq)has issued the long-awaited revised request for proposals (RFP) for its Jubail independent water and power project (IWPP), inviting developers to submit bids by 26 April. The RFP was accompanied by confirmation that the Petroleum & Mineral Resources Ministry had approved supply of the plant's gas feedstock and that the power and water purchase agreement (PWPA) would be guaranteed by the Finance Ministry. Marafiq decided to dr
  • Marathon seeks 2006 exit

    The US' Marathon Oil Corporationis in negotiations with Syrian Gas Company (SGC)to settle a dispute over a production sharing agreement (PSA) for two natural gas fields near Palmyra. 'We are in negotiations over the PSA and expect to finish in early 2006,' says a senior SGC official. The PSA concerns the Al-Shaaer and Al-Shareefa gas fields, where natural gas deposits were discovered by Marathon in the 1980s. 'We submitted four plans of development to Syrian Petro
  • Markaz fund chases listed equities

    Kuwait Financial Centre (Markaz)opened subscription on 4 December for its KD 30 million ($107.2 million) Markaz Gulf Fund. The fund will invest in listed equities in Kuwait, Qatar, the UAE and Saudi Arabia selected from 50 stocks on each exchange with the largest market capitalisation. Not more than 20 per cent of the fund will be set aside to invest in initial public offerings.
  • Mega tanks go for bid

    Abu Dhabi Company for Onshore Oil Operations (Adco)has issued for bid the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract for the Jebel Dhanna mega crude oil storage tank project, with major changes in the scope of works (MEED 4:11:05).
  • Mehlis delivers report to Annan

    Detlev Mehlis, the head of the UN inquiry into the assassination of former Lebanese prime minister Rafiq Hariri, on 11 December presented a copy of his final report to UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan. The formal presentation of the report to the UN Security Council is planned for 13 December. The report is expected to confirm the findings of Mehlis' preliminary report, which accused Damascus of involvement in Hariri's assassination, but with more evidence to confirm its concl
  • Mehlis probe not undermined

    Detlev Mehlis, the head of the UN probe into the assassination of former Lebanese prime minister Rafiq Hariri, said on 1 December that the inquiry has not been undermined by the testimonial recantation of a witness, Reuters reported. 'I'm used to this kind of propaganda. I've spent 40 years in Germany and we used to see such things in the former eastern European countries,' Mehlis said in an interview with Beirut newspaper As-Safir.Mehlis also denied that the witness, former
  • Melamine PMC bids in, Borouge tender soon

    Evaluation of bids is under way following the submission of technical and commercial bids in mid-November for a contract to provide project management consultancy (PMC) services on the proposed melamine plant at Ruwais.
  • Ministry begins Al-Zour conversion

    Four international contractors - Paris-based Alstom, the US' GE Power, Japan's MitsubishiHeavyIndustriesand Siemensof Germany - have been invited to bid by 27 December for a contract to convert the Al-Zour South power station to combined cycle. The client is the Energy Ministry (Electricity & Water).
  • Ministry invites Sohar berth bids

    Bids have been invited by 23 January to carry out phase 3 berth work at Sohar Industrial Port. The contract covers berths eight-14. It includes the deepening of existing berths and of the approach channel to 18 metres from 16 metres, in addition to dredging work for a bulk liquids berth and a 450-metre quay wall. The consultant to the Transport & Communications Ministry is the UK's Halcrowwith the local Ibn Khaldun Consulting Engineers (MEED 20:5:05).
  • Ministry invites Sohar berth bids

    Bids have been invited by 23 January to carry out phase 3 berth work at Sohar Industrial Port. The contract covers berths eight-14. It includes the deepening of existing berths and of the approach channel to 18 metres from 16 metres, in addition to dredging work for a bulk liquids berth and a 450-metre quay wall. The consultant to the Transport & Communications Ministry is the UK's Halcrowwith the local Ibn Khaldun Consulting Engineers (MEED 20:5:05).
  • Mitsubishi and Shell sign on CO2 MoU

    Japan's Mitsubishi Heavy Industriesand Netherlands-based Shell EP International signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on 13 December to co-operate in carbon dioxide (CO2) capture-related oil recovery schemes in the region. The partnership will conduct joint feasibility studies on CO2 capture from industrial flue gases and engage in enhanced oil recovery projects in developed reservoirs.
  • Mofaz joins Kadima as Likud support falls

    Israeli Defence Minister Shaul Mofaz left Likud on 11 December to join Kadima, the new party of Prime Minister Ariel Sharon. The move comes only weeks after the popular Mofaz announced he had decided not to join Kadima and instead to contest the Likud leadership.The move is expected to further damage Likud, with a poll published in Israeli daily Haaretz on 12 December showing the right-wing party rapidly losing support. Half of those questioned believed Likud was 'heading for
  • More gains for Muslim Brotherhood

    The run-offs in the second round of Egypt's parliamentary elections on 27 November saw the Muslim Brotherhood win a further 29 seats to take their total wins to 76. The officially banned Islamic organisation was forced to field its candidates as independents, yet still won 29 seats to add to the 46 it had already won, senior Muslim Brotherhood official Ali Abdel-Fattah said.'People are outraged by the performance of this government of [President Mubarak] and its ruling party.
  • More hotel plans for Garhoud/airport area

    Two new hotel projects will be developed close to Dubai International Airport (DIA) next year. The projects are the latest in a string of hotel developments to be built in the Garhoud area.
  • More hotel plans for Garhoud/airport area

    Two new hotel projects will be developed close to Dubai International Airport (DIA) next year. The projects are the latest in a string of hotel developments to be built in the Garhoud area.
  • More time for DEWA bidders

    Dubai Electricity & Water Authority (DEWA) has announced bid extensions on three major tenders. A revised bid closing date of 9 January has been set for the H station phase 3 power island package, which covers the supply and installation of 680-830 MW of open cycle capacity at Al-Aweer. For the associated 400/132-kV substation contract, bids are now due on 14 December. The consultant on the phase 3 project is the UK's Mott MacDonald(MEED 23:9:05). DEWA has also extended the bid closi
  • More time for LRT finance bids

    Banks have been given an additional three weeks to respond to the request for proposals (RFP) on the financing package for the Dubai Light Rail metro project, with bids now due in late December. The client, Dubai Municipality, is looking for a blend of conventional, Islamic and export credit agency funding worth about $2,450 million. Bankers looking at the deal are awaiting responses to their questions on the RFP. Locally-based Jumeirah Capitalis acting as financial adviser (MEED 28:
  • Morgan Stanley moves in to DIFC

    Morgan Stanleyhas announced the appointment of managing director Georges Makhoul to head its newly established Middle East and North Africa division. The bank expects to set up an office in the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) in early 2006 after the Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA) has approved its licence application. 'Dubai is the first physical step for us in terms of the region. The market is maturing and coming of age and there's enough substantial demand from ou
  • Morocco arrests alleged terrorists

    Rabat on 24 November charged 17 Islamists for alleged membership of a terrorist network with suspected links to Al-Qaeda. The network was 'linked to the radical Islamic movement, having connections with small groups at the Iraqi border and maintaining close ties with senior members of the Al-Qaeda organisation', Rabat police said.The suspects include two Moroccans previously held at the US Guantanamo Bay base in Cuba. Details of the charges were not made public.
  • Mubadala invests in Spyker

    The local Mubadala Development Companyhas taken a 17 per cent stake in Spyker Carsof the Netherlands by acquiring 625,000 newly issued shares at Eur 12 ($14) per share. The investment enables Spyker to engineer and develop a new line of sports utility vehicles. Mubadala also has a 5 per cent stake in Italy's Ferrariand shares in local developer ALDAR Properties. Both companies have signed an agreement to develop a Ferrari-themed development in Abu
  • Mubadala moves with the high rollers

    The local Mubadala Development Companyhas signed a memorandum of understanding with the UK's Rolls Royceto jointly identify and develop commercial opportunities in the aerospace, marine, industrial and renewable energies sectors. The two companies plan to establish a joint venture company to develop facilities that will serve Rolls-Royce customers across the Middle East and North Africa.
  • Mushrif bids low for Wafra

    The local Mushrif Trading & Contractingis low bidder at KD 24.9 million ($85.8 million) for the third package on the Wafra water distribution scheme, following the opening of bids in mid-November. The client is the Ministry of Public Works.
  • Muslim Brotherhood hit by government crackdown

    Egyptian police arrested on 28 November 200 members of the banned Muslim Brotherhood organisation. The organisation has claimed that the arrests were a deliberate tactic to limit its chances in the third and final round of parliamentary elections on 1 December. The success of the Brotherhood in the first two rounds of the elections was said to have taken the ruling National Democratic Party (NDP) by surprise. Having already won 76 seats, the Islamist organisation has seen its parliamentary
  • Muslim Brotherhood leader denies holocaust

    Mohander Mahdi Akef, the leader of Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood, said on 22 December that the holocaust was a fiction. Akef also criticised Western governments for deliberately suppressing evidence on the subject and promoting Zionism. 'Western democracy has attacked everyone who does not share the vision of the sons of Zion as far as the myth of the holocaust is concerned,' Akef said. 'American democracy steers the world into the American orbit delineated by the sons of Zion, so that everyon
  • NBAD bond priced

    The first $850 million drawdown of the euro medium-term note (EMTN) programme of National Bank of Abu Dhabi (NBAD)was launched on 7 December, following roadshows in Europe and Asia which concluded on 2 December. The five-year paper was priced at 32 basis points (bp), at the lower end of price guidance of 32-35 bp. Credit Suisse First Boston (CSFB)and Barclays Capitalacted as joint lead managers. NBAD is planning a total EMTN programme of $5,000 million. CSFB i
  • NBD draws down EMTN

    The first drawdown of the euro medium-term note (EMTN) programme of National Bank of Dubai (NBD)was priced on 28 November at 39 basis points (bp). The facility was increased in size to $750 million from the planned $500 million due to subscription in access of $1,500 million.
  • NCMC dials up local RFP

    The National Communications & Media Commission (NCMC), the independent telecoms and media regulator, has issued request for proposals (RFP) documents for national and provincial licences to provide local telecommunications services. Prospective bidders have until 12 January to submit applications (MEED 29:7:05).
  • NDP close to two-thirds majority; no seats for Brotherhood in round 3

    The Muslim Brotherhood on 2 December said that none of its 49 candidates involved in the third and final round of elections a day earlier had won a seat outright, while 35 would contest run-offs between the top two candidates on 7 December. Voting took place amid violence and allegations of fraud. 'The fact that no Muslim Brother won in the first round is the result of the fact that voters were prevented from voting and that the Ministry of Justice assigns notoriously dubious
  • Netanyahu wins Likud poll

    Former Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu won on 19 December the contest for the leadership of the Likud party. The vacancy left by Ariel Sharon's departure attracted four candidates. Netanyahu, who polled 47 per cent of the votes, beat Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom (33 per cent), Agriculture Minister Israel Katz (8 per cent) and Moshe Feiglin (15 per cent).'I came tonight to tell you Likud has taken the road back to leading the country. During the primaries campaign
  • New cement company prepares for launch

    A new company, known as Gulf Cement Company, is being set up to build a 5,000-tonne-a-day (t/d) clinker line, chairman of the company's founding committee Abdulla bin Nasser al-Misnad said in early December. Gulf Cement will have a paid-up capital of QR 800 million ($219 million), 80 per cent of which will be raised through an initial public offering (IPO), scheduled to take place in mid-April. Currently, the state has only one cement producer, Qatar National Cement Company
  • New city for Fahaheel

    Design work is under way on a new $5,500 million city development in the Fahaheel area of Kuwait City. Called Khabary City, the project is the most ambitious private sector real estate development in the state to date.
  • New city for Fahaheel

    Design work is under way on a new $5,500 million city development in the Fahaheel area of Kuwait City. Called Khabary City, the project is the most ambitious private sector real estate development in the state to date.
  • New head for HSBC Middle East

    HSBC Bank Middle Easthas appointed Ken Matheson to take over as regional chief operating officer from Matthew Smith. Matheson, who will be based in Dubai, was previously executive vice-president of HSBC USA'sfinance division.
  • New insurance companies planned

    At least eight consortia have received preliminary approval from the Syrian Insurance Supervisory Commission (SISC) to set up insurance companies in the country. Interested consortia include several local, Kuwaiti and Saudi companies. SISC is now studying the consortia's final proposals with awards expected to be made in early 2006.
  • New multi-use complex planned

    Contractors have been given until 12 February to submit bids for a new mixed-use development in Abu Dhabi. The estimated $70 million project calls for the construction of a four-star hotel with furnished apartments, an office tower and a residential building. The three high-rise structures will each have 30 storeys. The client is Al-Wahda Sports & Cultural Club.
  • New multi-use complex planned

    Contractors have been given until 12 February to submit bids for a new mixed-use development in Abu Dhabi. The estimated $70 million project calls for the construction of a four-star hotel with furnished apartments, an office tower and a residential building. The three high-rise structures will each have 30 storeys. The client is Al-Wahda Sports & Cultural Club.
  • New offshore licensing round takes shape

    Norway's Inseiswill complete by the end of December data processing from a 2D seismic study for Syrian Petroleum Company (SPC). The results will be used as part of a planned Petroleum & Mineral Resources Ministry offshore licensing bid round scheduled for 2006. The survey covers a 5,000-square kilometre area off the Mediterranean coast which incorporates the Latakia trough and the Levantine basin and is part of Inseis' 10-year contract to gather seismic data for SPC. The
  • New oil nominee steps back from buyback

    Kazem Vaziri-Hamaneh, caretaker oil minister since September and the latest nominee to take the position in full, has spoken out against buyback deals. President Ahmadinejad formally nominated the oil sector veteran on 4 December and he was due to face a vote of confidence in the Majlis (parliament) on 11 December. Unlike Ahmadinejad's three previous choices, Vaziri-Hamaneh looked likely to get the nod from lawmakers (MEED 2:12:05).
  • New owners for Tecnimont

    Torino-based Maire Engineering, formerly known as Fiat Engineering, has acquired Milan-based Tecnimont in a deal worth Eur 180 million ($211 million). Under the terms of the deal, a new sub-group called MaireTecnimonthas been created to carry out Tecnimont's order commitments. Maire Tecnimont's shareholders are Maire Engineering, holding an 80.5 per cent stake, with Italy's Edison- Tecnimont's former owner - holding the remainder.
  • New tender at Azzawiya

    Azzawiya Oil Refining Company (ARC)has invited international companies to express interest by 22 December for an engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract to replace and upgrade control systems at the 120,000-barrel-a-day refinery at Azzawiya, 40 kilometres west of Tripoli. ARC is also evaluating prequalification documents from international contractors for the estimated $250 million-300 million EPC contract to upgrade the refinery. Sources at the company say it is seeking
  • New vision sets agenda for a long boom in Abu Dhabi

    The Second MEED Major New Project Opportunities in Abu Dhabi conference on 20-21 November heard the latest news about a mass of new projects that might in total eventually overshadow what is happening in Dubai. MEED estimates that more than $80,000 million worth of capital projects are under way or could be implemented in the next 10 years. Few now argue this figure is an exaggeration.
  • No bubble in record-breaking KSE

    The Kuwait Stock Exchange (KSE) was the regional champion in October, continuing to soar as others put in more muted performances. The rise has continued into November, with the benchmark KSE index hitting new record highs. And explosive profitability among local companies means valuations remain reasonable.
  • No high hopes for Euro-Med talks

    A summit of leaders from the 25 EU countries and their counterparts from nations on the southern Mediterranean began on 27 November in Barcelona.Terrorism and illegal immigration are expected to dominate the summit, which is chaired by UK Prime Minister Tony Blair. 'As always, there will be negotiations until the end, but I am optimistic we will get an agreement,' said EU external relations commissioner Benita Ferrero-Waldner. However, only two leaders from non
  • Normalisation depends on medics' case

    Full diplomatic relations could be restored between Washington and Tripoli as early as next May, according to sources in Washington. Talks between the US State Department and the Foreign Affairs Ministry are well advanced and could lead to the removal of Libya from Washington's list of states sponsoring terrorism within six months, normalising relations between the two nations after 20 years of sanctions.
  • Norsk Hydro to exploit Anaran

    Norway's Norsk Hydroand Russia's Lukoilhave secured exclusive rights to negotiate a development plan for the Anaran oil field, where they made a major discovery earlier this year. The field could produce more than 100,000 barrels a day (b/d), making it one of the largest discoveries in recent years (Oil & Gas, MEED Special Report, 25:11:05, pages 48-50).
  • OCI appoints MLAs for $300m euroloan

    The local Orascom Construction Industries (OCI) on 6 November announced that it had appointed a six-strong team of banks to act as mandated lead arrangers (MLAs) on its debut $300 million revolving euroloan facility. The MLAs are: BNP Paribas, Citigroup, Calyon, HSBC, National Societe Generale Bank (NSGB)and National Bank of Egypt. Citigroup has also been appointed as sole bookrunner. OCI says that a newly establ
  • Oger signs up for Turk Telekom

    Saudi Arabia's Oger Telecomhas completed the purchase of a 55 per cent stake in Turkey's fixed-line carrier Turk Telekom, signing a shareholder agreement. In July, Oger offered the highest bid for the operator at $6,550 million, $50 million above the price of its main rival, a group headed by the UAE's Emirates Telecommunications Corporation (Etisalat).Turk Telekom has more than 19 million fixed-line subscribers and has joint control of GSM operator Av
  • Oil change at the top

    Tripoli has carried out a major reshuffle of senior managers in its oil sector, appointing new chairmen and other senior officials at five National Oil Corporation (NOC)affiliate companies. The appointees will sit on the management committees of NOC's wholly-owned and joint venture operating companies. Sources in Tripoli say the appointments follow months of political wrangling between NOC and the Energy Ministry.
  • Oil demand will rise, says OPEC

    OPEC has forecast a rise in global oil demand of 1.9 per cent for 2006, according to its latest monthly report released on 16 December. Total demand is expected to grow by 1.6 barrels a day (b/d) to 84.9 million b/d. The rise was based on estimates for higher-than-expected global economic growth, in particular for China, which is expected to account for 20 per cent of the increase.OPEC's forecast was lower than the estimate released by the international Energy Agency (IEA) on
  • Oil sector chaos as Majlis rejects Tasalloti

    The Majlis (parliament) has given a vote of no confidence to President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's latest Oil Ministry nominee, Mohsen Tasalloti. The unprecedented third successive rejection of a cabinet appointment has left Tehran's political world in turmoil, with Majlis deputies saying it is now up to the Guardian Council to decide how to advance. It remains unclear what the constitutional watchdog will recommend (see Special Report, pages 48-50; MEED 18:11:05).
  • Olefins 12 goes for bid

    A new tender has been issued for the olefins 12 project at Assaluyeh. However, contractors say the mid-February deadline is unrealistic, given the complex nature of the new plant, its size and unusual feedstock requirements (MEED 13:5:05).
  • Olefins II EO/EG work let

    The US/South Korean joint venture of FosterWheelerand Hyundai Engineering &Construction Companyhas received a letter of intent for the contract to build the ethylene oxide/ethylene glycol (EO/EG) plant at the Olefins II petrochemicals complex in Shuaiba. The client is The Kuwait Olefins Company (TKOC- MEED 18:11:05).
  • OMV strikes oil in Al-Uqlah

    Austria's OMV announced in mid-November a discovery in block S2 Al-Uqlah in Shabwa province, after drilling a second well. Oil tested at 1,800 barrels a day (b/d) at a depth of 3,090 metres, following the drilling of the Al-Nilam ST 1 well. In July, the Habbah-1 well tested at 500 b/d. OMV Explorationhas a 44 per cent interest in block S2, with the other shareholders being China's Sinopec (37.5 per cent), Yemen General Corporation for Oil & Gas (12
  • OPEC reverses spare capacity offer

    OPEC announced on 12 December that it would keep oil production at its current level, but would not act on its proposal to utilise spare capacity. The offer was made after Hurricane Katrina, when oil prices hit a record $70.85 a barrel, to allay fears over reduced oil production. However, OPEC said in a statement that such fears had not materialised and there had been no takers for extra oil.'Current levels of production will be adequate, if fully observed, to balance the mar
  • Opening the door to democracy

    Candidates and voters were in no doubt of the significance of the first elections for the Abu Dhabi Chamber of Commerce & Industry (ADCCI) board on 5 December. And the UAE's first experiment with democracy came off largely without a hitch and with much enthusiasm. 'The election is a positive thing,' said local businesswoman and candidate Salwa Shaibani on polling day. 'There's a good attitude among the candidates and it's a good experience to learn from.'
  • Outlook stable for Beirut

    Standard & Poor's (S&P)has affirmed its B- long-term and C- short-term sovereign credit ratings for Beirut. International financial support and expected progress on key reforms were behind the stable outlook rating, the report said. Although the government's deficit and debt-to-gross domestic product (GDP) ratios, forecast at 10 per cent and 180 per cent for 2005, were the highest among any rated sovereign, resident and non-resident deposits in the financial sector, equivalent to three ti
  • PA to seek US assistance to restart convoy talks

    The Palestinian Authority (PA) was expected on 9 December to ask Washington to put pressure on Israel to resume negotiations over bus convoys between Gaza and the West Bank. Tel Aviv had suspended talks the previous day, arguing a lack of effective monitoring at the Rafah crossing, reopened on 26 November, could allow militants to enter Gaza and from there enter the West Bank. US assistant secretary of state David Welch is holding discussions in Israel concerning the bus conv
  • Palestinian election preparations disrupted

    Gunmen raided offices on 13 December being used by officials preparing for the Palestinian Authority elections. Officials subsequently closed the offices amid fears for the safety of the staff and provoked concern that the timing of January's election could be affected. The gunmen came from the Al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigade loyal to the Fatah party, according to Reuters. An internal Fatah dispute over primary election lists was said to have led to the raid. 'We have decided to clo
  • PalTel prepares for Abu Dhabi listing

    Fixed-line operator Palestine Telecommunications Company (PalTel)on 27 November signed an agreement with the Abu Dhabi Securities Market (ADSM) to list 30 per cent of its shares. In preparation for the listing, PalTel will publish its financial statements by early December, with trading on the ADSM expected to begin two weeks later. PalTel shares have been listed on the Palestine Securities Exchange (PSE) since 1997 and its initial ADSM price will be set by its last trading price at
  • Panorama in picture for storage tanks

    The local Panorama Engineeringis low bidder at BD 8.7 million ($23 million) for the contract to build two 10 million-gallon water storage tanks at Buquwah and to replace old tanks with new 5 million-gallon storage tanks at several locations. Seven local companies priced the contract. The next lowest bid came from Nass Industrialat BD 8.9 million ($23.4 million). The client is the Electricity & Water Ministry.
  • PCA studies Jeddah airport expansion bids

    Five groups of contractors - a team of Turkey's TAV Gulfwith the local Bugshan, South Korea's Samwhan Corporationand local firms Almabani General Contractors, Saudi Binladin Groupand Saudi Oger- submitted technical and commercial bids in mid-November for the first construction package on the long-awaited expansion of King Abdulaziz International Airport (KAIA) in Jeddah. The client, the Presidency of Civil Aviation (PCA), is
  • PCA studies Jeddah airport expansion bids

    Five groups of contractors - a team of Turkey's TAV Gulfwith the local Bugshan, South Korea's Samwhan Corporationand local firms Almabani General Contractors, Saudi Binladin Groupand Saudi Oger- submitted technical and commercial bids in mid-November for the first construction package on the long-awaited expansion of King Abdulaziz International Airport (KAIA) in Jeddah. The client, the Presidency of Civil Aviation (PCA), is
  • PCA to launch desal BOT

    The Presidency of Civil Aviation (PCA) intends to issue soon a solicitation notice inviting companies to submit expressions of interest for a contract to develop a 30,000-cubic-metre-a-day (cm/d) desalination plant to supply potable water to the King Abdulaziz International Airport (KAIA) at Jeddah. A tender for the build-operate-transfer (BOT) concession is expected to be issued by the end of the first quarter 2006.
  • Pentagon information project targets Iraqi newspapers

    Pentagon officials have paid editors of Iraqi newspapers to publish articles favourable to the new government and the US presence, US newspaper Los Angeles Times reported on 30 November.The articles are translated and placed in Baghdad newspapers and presented as unbiased accounts by independent freelance journalists. The Pentagon has also bought one Iraqi newspaper and a radio station, both used to channel pro-US messages, the LA Times said.'Here we are trying
  • Peres to follow Sharon

    Israeli Deputy Prime Minister Shimon Peres is expected to announce that he will leave Labour and join Kadima, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's new party, Israel Radio said on 30 November.Peres is set to make the announcement at a press conference after days of speculation, further fuelled by the defection of Dalia Itzik, a close Peres ally, to Sharon's party on 29 November. 'I shall decide tomorrow (Wednesday) night. It is not easy to leave a party, after so many
  • Petrel seals Subha/Luhais deal

    Ireland's Petrel Resourceshas signed the $197.4 million contract to develop the Subha and Luhais oil field. The engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract aims to raise crude production capacity at the field to 200,000 barrels a day (b/d) from 50,000 b/d and produce 120 million cubic feet a day of gas. According to Petrel, work will initially focus on engineering and design before site surveys begin in the first quarter of 2006 (MEED 9:9:05).
  • Petrochemicals: Fighting for feedstock

    The kingdom's petrochemical producers used to have it so good. Cheap and plentiful feedstock, low electricity tariffs, tax-free income and a solid infrastructure combined to make a profitable mix. But for the dozen or so companies licensed over the past year to set up new petrochemical projects, the future is suddenly not looking quite so rosy as concerns grow over feedstock availability and costs.
  • Pets financing advances

    The financing process for the raft of petrochemical schemes under way in the kingdom is accelerating, with several deals out in the market and the appointment of mandated lead arrangers (MLAs) nearing on two major projects.
  • Piling: Digging deep

    Piling contractors are highly sought-after in the Gulf, with a handful of companies emerging as leading players.
  • Piling: Digging deep

    Piling contractors are highly sought-after in the Gulf, with a handful of companies emerging as leading players.
  • Plans for new Iranian nuclear plant

    Tehran is planning to build a second nuclear power plant in the southwestern Khouzestan province, the BBC reported on 5 December, quoting Iranium state media sources.The move comes amid international controversy over Tehran's decision to resume uranium enrichment activities in August 2005. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and western countries led by the US have accused Tehran of a lack of transparency over its nuclear programme.The IAEA chose on 2
  • PMC bids in for Al-Asima project

    Three project management consultants - Hill Internationaland ParsonsInternational, both of the US, and the US/local Turner-Projacs- have submitted commercial and technical proposals for the project management consultancy (PMC) contract covering the construction of the Al-Asima high-rise tower project in Kuwait City.
  • PMC bids in for Al-Asima project

    Three project management consultants - Hill Internationaland ParsonsInternational, both of the US, and the US/local Turner-Projacs- have submitted commercial and technical proposals for the project management consultancy (PMC) contract covering the construction of the Al-Asima high-rise tower project in Kuwait City.
  • Police open fire on Darfur students

    Police in Sudan on 21 December opened fire and used tear gas against a number of students organising a demonstration in El-Geneina, the capital of western Darfur. Several students were seriously injured according to media reports. The demonstration had been organised as a protest against the invasion of a village in western Darfur by an Arab militia which left 20 dead.UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan condemned the attack on 20 December and urged the government to stop the viol
  • Potline 6 study submitted

    A feasibility study has been submitted by the US' Bechtelfor the construction of a sixth potline at the Hidd smelter of Aluminium Bahrain (Alba). However, a final decision on whether to go ahead, likely early in the new year, awaits the outcome of negotiations on a gas supply agreement with Qatar. A provisional deal was announced in May (MEED 13:5:05).
  • PQ shortlist nears for new refinery

    State refinery operator Kuwait National Petroleum Company (KNPC)has finalised the first stage of prequalification for its planned 615,000-barrel-a-day (b/d) refinery at Al-Zour. The final shortlist will be released after a second stage of evaluation is completed.
  • Preferred bidder named for Hidd IWPP

    The team of the UK's International Power (IP), Japan's Sumitomo Corporationand Belgium's SuezTractebelwas named preferred bidder for the brownfield independent water and power project (IWPP) at Hidd on 14 December, following the opening of commercial bids from three bidding groups. The client is the Finance Ministry (MEED 11:11:05).
  • Prequals due for Mukhaizna

    Applications for prequalification have been invited by 19 December for the main engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract on the Mukhaizna enhanced oil recovery (EOR) project. The client is a consortium led by the US' Occidental Petroleum Corporationand Abu Dhabi government-owned Liwa Petroleum, which took over responsibility for the project from Petroleum Development Omanearlier this year (MEED 26:8:05).
  • Prequals due for tank farm work

    Saudi Aramco has invited companies to submit prequalifications by 20 December for a engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract covering civil, electrical and mechanical works on its existing oil storage facilities in the Eastern Province and the central and western regions. The estimated $20 million-25 million contract will be carried out in four packages and will call for the upgrade of the existing wastewater systems, replacement of oil storage tank seals and installation
  • Prequals in for Sharjah STP

    At least six groups have submitted prequalification applications for phase 7 of the Sharjah sewage treatment plant (STP) project. The latest expansion will call for the addition of 75,000 cubic metres a day (cm/d) of treatment capacity. The consultant is the UK's Halcrow. Sharjah Municipality is the client (MEED 21:10:05).
  • Prequals invited for Doha development

    Qatar Real Estate Investment Company (QREIC)has invited contractors to submit prequalifications by 19 December for the main contract on its Al-Sadd mixed-use development in Doha. The estimated QR 600 million ($164.8 million) project calls for the construction of four office towers on a podium, five residential blocks, a recreational building and a utility building over a total built-up area of about 220,000 square metres. Tender documents are expected to be issued in January 2006 and bids
  • Prequals invited for Doha development

    Qatar Real Estate Investment Company (QREIC)has invited contractors to submit prequalifications by 19 December for the main contract on its Al-Sadd mixed-use development in Doha. The estimated QR 600 million ($164.8 million) project calls for the construction of four office towers on a podium, five residential blocks, a recreational building and a utility building over a total built-up area of about 220,000 square metres. Tender documents are expected to be issued in January 2006 and bids
  • Prequals out for POGC power plant

    Pars Oil & Gas Company (POGC)has invited prequalification by 22 December to build a new 1,000-MW power plant in Assaluyeh, to be financed on a cash basis. The South Pars central power plant is to provide electricity for South Pars phases 9-10 as well as other existing and planned development projects (see tenders). The engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) project will also include design, erection, commissioning and testing of the plant. POGC says it wants six gas turbines with
  • President under pressure as insurgency continues

    Bush speculates that improved conditions next year will lead to a pullback
  • Pressure rises on Tehran to make nuclear concession

    German Foreign Affairs Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier announced on 30 November that the leading European countries were willing to restart negotiations with Iran, if it dispels doubt over its nuclear programme.The resumption of talks was 'conditional on Iran sending signals that it will accept a solution that allows it to get nuclear energy but rules out the possibility that Iran will have a closed fuel cycle', Steinmeier said in the Reichstag. A 'closed fuel
  • Prices drop in cold snap

    Oil prices fell further during the fourth week of November, following a brief spike in response to a sudden wintry snap in the US northeast. Fears of heating oil shortages were eased as inventories of both crude and products rose. Spot Brent was trading at $52.68 a barrel on 23 November, compared with $53.26 a barrel a week earlier.
  • Prices jump on US chill

    Oil prices spiked in the first week of December as a snowstorm hit northeast America, before falling back again on bearish US stock data. However, the continued strength of prices is stacking the odds against a change in the OPEC output quota when the group meets in Kuwait City on 12 December. Spot Brent was trading at $54.02 a barrel on 7 December, compared to $52.35 a barrel a week earlier.
  • Primary elections halted again

    The Fatah party's primary elections were halted on 2 December for the second time in a week. The suspension came only two days after Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas announced that voting in the primaries would resume after the outbreak of violence and fraud allegations had led to a stop in Gaza.The latest call for a halt came after ballot boxes were set on fire in the West Bank town of Salfit near Nablus, election officials said. Elections were also called off i
  • PRIVATE CARRIERS: Vertical take-off

    Mohammed al-Zeer's face remains deadpan as he tells the story of the establishment of his airline, Jeddah-based National Air Services (NAS), the first private concern in the Saudi aviation sector to win a licence to operate scheduled domestic flights. But it is clear NAS' president and chief executive officer relishes the prospect of being free to run his business as he wants, after six long years.
  • PRIVATE EQUITY: Growing pains

    The private equity business in the Gulf remains in its comparative infancy. But its growth in the recent past has been spectacular. In 1998, the industry was worth about $200 million; now it is estimated at more than $1,000 million. 'Less than two years ago, fewer than five firms in the region would claim to be in the private equity business,' says Fahad Almubarak, managing director of the Saudi-based Amwal al-Khaleej private equity fund. 'Now there are more than 40.'
  • Procurement: Private-private partnerships

    Developers and contractors are beginning to realise their fortunes are linked.
  • Procurement: Private-private partnerships

    Developers and contractors are beginning to realise their fortunes are linked.
  • Project Finance: Getting past the teasers

    International bankers are going to become increasingly familiar with Riyadh's King Khaled International Airport, as opportunities in the kingdom expand over the next few years. The raft of petrochemicals projects in the pipeline and a series of private power projects will create enormous project finance requirements. Highly liquid local banks will be able to provide a significant chunk of the funding - but the sheer volumes of deals means foreign funds will be needed.
  • Project Kuwait vote draws closer

    The government on 6 December sent a request to the National Assembly (parliament) to hold a special session on Project Kuwait on 16 January. A vote on the draft law to enable the state's long-awaited upstream initiative will take place soon after. If passed, tenders for the estimated $8,500 million scheme, aimed at increasing crude production from four northern fields by 350,000 barrels a day, will be issued to the three prequalified international oil company (IOC) consortiums within two months.
  • Project managers eye airport expansion

    Technical and commercial bids are due to be submitted on 13 December for the position of project manager on the proposed Bahrain International Airport (BIA) expansion scheme. Prospective bidders include Parsons International, Parsons Brinckerhoff, Louis Berger, Turner Construction Internationaland Hill International, all of the US, the locally-based Projacs Internationaland Beirut-based Dar al-Handasah (Shair & Partn
  • Project managers eye airport expansion

    Technical and commercial bids are due to be submitted on 13 December for the position of project manager on the proposed Bahrain International Airport (BIA) expansion scheme. Prospective bidders include Parsons International, Parsons Brinckerhoff, Louis Berger, Turner Construction Internationaland Hill International, all of the US, the locally-based Projacs Internationaland Beirut-based Dar al-Handasah (Shair & Partn
  • PWC Logistics takes syndicated loan

    The local PWC Logisticshas signed a $550 million syndicated loan, increased in size from $460 million due to oversubscription. The fresh funds will be used both for general corporate purposes and to part-fund the July acquisition of the US' Geologistics(MEED 22:7:05).
  • QP reminds contractors of their ethics

    Qatar Petroleum (QP)sent out on 8 December a letter to all its contractors, consultants and suppliers reminding them of its code of ethics and conflict of interest regulations. Under the code, QP employees are prohibited from soliciting or accepting any bribe or gift from a contractor, supplier, consultant, customer, landlord or sponsor. Staff are also prohibited from accepting loans from companies doing business with QP. 'We count on our contractors, consultants and suppliers to help us
  • Race narrows for City Centre Mall

    The race is understood to have narrowed to two contractors for the main construction contract on the Bahrain City Centre mall. They are the local AA Nass, with South Africa's Murray & Roberts Contractors (Middle East);and the local Cebarco, with Australia's Multiplex Construction and Malaysia's WCT.
  • Race narrows for City Centre Mall

    The race is understood to have narrowed to two contractors for the main construction contract on the Bahrain City Centre mall. They are the local AA Nass, with South Africa's Murray & Roberts Contractors (Middle East);and the local Cebarco, with Australia's Multiplex Construction and Malaysia's WCT.
  • Rail link study completed

    An all-German consortium of Dornier Consulting, Deutsche Gesellschaft fur Technische Zusammenarbeit (GTZ) and DE-Consulthas completed a pre-feasibility study for the proposed inter-emirate rail network that will run from Abu Dhabi to Fujairah. The study was commissioned by the Abu Dhabi Department of Economy (MEED 18:3:05).
  • RAK Heavy Industry: Raking up the potential

    Sheikh Saud bin Saqr al-Qassimi, crown prince and deputy ruler of Ras al-Khaimah (RAK), is not one for hanging around. In May, his government - with the World Bank - organised a major conference outlining the opportunities and benefits the emirate offers to regional and foreign investors. One of the plans to come out of the two-day event was an innovative idea to develop a petrochemicals industry in RAK. Sheikh Saud announced that the government was looking at a joint venture (JV) with Iran's Na
  • Rapid expansion

    Visitor numbers to the Middle East leapt to 36 million in 2004, compared with 12 million a decade earlier, according to the World Tourism Organisation (WTO). Visitor numbers were up 20 per cent on 2003, with receipts increasing by 22 per cent.
  • Ras al-Khaimah readies carrier

    Ras al-Khaimah will launch a new scheduled national carrier by the end of 2006, a senior government official told MEED on 12 December. Speaking on the sidelines of the MEED Middle East Airports conference held in Bahrain, Sheikh Salem bin Sultan al-Qassemi, chairman of the emirate's Department of Civil Aviation, said that an emiri decree had now been issued (MEED 3:6:05).
  • Ras al-Khaimah weaves a polyester plan

    The local/Indian JBF-RAKhas selected Italy's UOPSinco, a subsidiary of the US' UOP,as the technology supplier for a new polyethylene terephthalate (PET) resin packaging chips plant to be built in the emirate's new industrial and free zone area. The $85 million plant will have polymerisation capacity of 900 tonnes a day (t/d), producing 600 t/dof SSP plastic chips and 300 t/d of polyester film. Raw materials will be supplied from the region. The finished
  • Ras Tanura investor selection moves closer

    Shortlisting of a foreign partner on the planned Ras Tanura refinery upgrade and petrochemicals integration project is due to take place in the first half of 2006, according to Azzam Shalabi, director of new business evaluation at Saudi Aramco. 'We are still in the marketing phase,' he said on the sidelines of the IBC Gulf International Refinery forum in Dubai on 6 December. 'We expect to draw up a shortlist early next year before awarding the contract.'
  • Rebid for Hidd

    Bidders have been notified of a planned retender of the contact to build the infrastructure for the new Khalifa bin Salman port and industrial area at Hidd. The move is understood to be at the request of the Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development (KFAED), which is providing funding for the project. The local Ahmed Mansour al-A'Ali was the low bidder when prices were originally submitted in late 2004 with the lowest of its three options, which ranged from BD 26.5 million-28.3 milli
  • Rebid for Hidd

    Bidders have been notified of a planned retender of the contact to build the infrastructure for the new Khalifa bin Salman port and industrial area at Hidd. The move is understood to be at the request of the Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development (KFAED), which is providing funding for the project. The local Ahmed Mansour al-A'Ali was the low bidder when prices were originally submitted in late 2004 with the lowest of its three options, which ranged from BD 26.5 million-28.3 milli
  • REFINING: After the storms

    The destruction caused by hurricanes Katrina and Rita in August and September might have been confined to the Gulf of Mexico, but the impact was felt globally. With 1.56 million barrels a day (b/d) of US oil production from the Gulf shut in at the end of September - America's total production from that area - crude oil imports soared to record levels, adding further pressures on an already tight global market and pushing oil prices as high as $70 a barrel.
  • Rival Fatah groups reach agreement

    Ruling Palestinian party Fatah reached an agreement on 19 December to enter January's parliamentary election with two separate candidate lists. In a compromise agreement between rival factions, each group will present its own list of candidates. 'This will not weaken the group. On the contrary we will be breathing from two lungs and will unify our efforts to beat Hamas in a democratic way,' Fatah official Qaddoura Fares said.The measure followed an internal split on 15 Decemb
  • Rotana signs Burjuman deal

    Local hotel operator Rotana Hotelshas signed a contract with the local Al-Ghurair Groupto manage the Burjuman Rotana Suites. The hotel will open in mid-2006 and will comprise 144 fully serviced, one-bedroom suites; three duplex townhouses; a penthouse; seven conferences rooms; 200 car parking spaces; gym; and a swimming pool.
  • Rotana signs Burjuman deal

    Local hotel operator Rotana Hotelshas signed a contract with the local Al-Ghurair Groupto manage the Burjuman Rotana Suites. The hotel will open in mid-2006 and will comprise 144 fully serviced, one-bedroom suites; three duplex townhouses; a penthouse; seven conferences rooms; 200 car parking spaces; gym; and a swimming pool.
  • Route of 700-kilometre rail link unveiled

    The proposed UAE rail network will be more than 700 kilometres long and will extend from Ruwais through to Fujairah and Ras al-Khaimah, according to the recently completed pre-feasibility study.
  • Royal Air Maroc finalises 787 deal

    Royal Air Maroc (RAM)has signed a contract with The Boeing Companyof the US for the purchase of five Boeing 787 Dreamliners as part of the upgrade of the flag carrier's long-haul fleet. The agreement followed the signing of a memorandum of understanding on 31 July. The purchase is worth $650 million and delivery of the aircraft is scheduled for October 2008. The five airliners will serve RAM's North American destinations. Boeing says the 787 aircraft offers the advantage of mo
  • Russia confirms Iran missile deal

    Russian Defence Minister Sergei Ivanov on 5 December confirmed that a deal to sell surface-to-air missiles to Iran had been signed, according to Russian media reports. Under the deal, Iran will buy 29 mobile air defence systems from Russia in a contract estimated to be worth more than $700 million. Ivanov has insisted that the systems are for defence purposes only, saying that the sale 'in no way upsets the balance of forces in the region'.Both the US and Israe
  • Russia still wields influence

    The support for the US and French-backed resolution 1636 by Syria's traditional ally Russia is a sign of the increasingly isolated position that Damascus finds itself in. Yet appearances can be deceiving. Behind the scenes, Moscow continues to provide crucial support to Damascus at the UN.
  • Russo-Iranian arms deal expected to heighten tension

    Russian media on 2 December said Moscow plans to sell more than $1,000 million worth of tactical surface-to-air missiles and other defence materiel to Tehran. Quoting military sources, the Vedomosti business daily said that Tehran would buy 29 TOR-M1 systems designed to bring down aircraft and guided missiles at low altitudes. Vedomosti called it the biggest sale of Russian defence material to Tehran for five years, and that both governments had already signed the contract. The deal also in
  • Saddam claims he was tortured by US

    Former Iraqi president Saddam Hussein on 21 December said that he had been tortured while he was in US custody. Washington called the charge 'preposterous'. 'The White House are liars. They said Iraq had chemical weapons. They lied again when they said that what Saddam said was wrong,' Saddam said on 22 December.'He has been given to grandstanding in this trial, but where the focus should be is on the testimony of those people who were victimised,' said White House spokesman
  • Saddam refuses to enter courtroom

    Former Iraqi president Saddam Hussein caused further delays to his trial on 7 December by refusing to enter the courtroom. Saddam had complained the previous day about the conditions in which he was being kept and the illegality of a trial he said had been imposed by the US.'Go to hell,' Saddam told the judge as he left court on 6 December, complaining that he had been unable to change his clothes or underwear for days. The delay follows a disturbance on 5 Dece
  • Saddam trial adjourned again

    The trial of former Iraqi president Saddam Hussein and seven co-defendants was adjourned for a week on 28 November. Judge Rizgar Mohammed Amni ordered a seven-day adjournment to grant time for two co-defendants - former vice-president Taha Yassin Ramadan and former head of the intelligence service Barzan al-Tikriti - to find new counsels after one lawyer was killed and another fled the country.In the second session of the trial - the first since October - the court heard vide
  • Saddam trial resumes

    The trial of former Iraqi president Saddam Hussein resumed on 21 December with the court hearing of more witness testimonies by the court. The trial had been adjourned for two weeks during the general election. The court heard testimony from several witnesses detailing torture carried out allegedly at Saddam's command. Some spoke from behind screens in order to conceal their identities for fear of reprisals from the former president's supporters. Saddam and seven co-defendant
  • Samba to manage carpet company IPO

    Samba Financial Groupon 6 December signed an agreement with Al-Abdullatif Industrial Investment Company, which manufactures carpets and blankets, to manage its planned initial public offering (IPO). The company will offer 30 per cent of its shares for public subscription, to fund expansion plans. The planned share sale joins a growing pipeline of private sector offerings, the next of which to come to market is likely to be shares in Aldrees Petroleum & Transport Servic
  • Samwhan homes in on first KAIA package

    A close contest is in store for the first construction package on the expansion of King Abdulaziz International Airport (KAIA) in Jeddah.
  • Samwhan homes in on first KAIA package

    A close contest is in store for the first construction package on the expansion of King Abdulaziz International Airport (KAIA) in Jeddah.
  • Samwhan to watch over ME

    Korean civil contractor Samwhan Corporation, which left the Middle East in 1997, is making attempts to stage a comeback.
  • Samwhan to watch over ME

    Korean civil contractor Samwhan Corporation, which left the Middle East in 1997, is making attempts to stage a comeback.
  • Sanaa renews struggle with Saada rebels

    Two days of fighting in the northern Yemeni province of Saada left 16 rebels and eight policemen dead on 30 November, according to local reports.President Al-Saleh accused the rebels, followers of the deceased Zaidi Shia cleric Sheikh Hussain al-Huthi, of failing to abide by the terms of an amnesty for Al-Huthi's supporters announced in September. The violence follows months of relative peace, but fighting broke out again on 28 November.Violence between the two
  • Saraya looks to the stars

    Saraya Aqaba Real Estate Development (SARED)has signed a letter of intent with Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwidefor the contract to manage the five-star, 300-room Harbor and five-star, 200-room Al-Manara hotels on the estimated $600 million Saraya Aqaba project. The development includes: the construction of five five-star hotels; an aquarium; a 4,000-square-metre convention centre for 1,200 delegates; luxury residences and townhouses; two souks; a health club; restaurants; a
  • Saraya looks to the stars

    Saraya Aqaba Real Estate Development (SARED)has signed a letter of intent with Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwidefor the contract to manage the five-star, 300-room Harbor and five-star, 200-room Al-Manara hotels on the estimated $600 million Saraya Aqaba project. The development includes: the construction of five five-star hotels; an aquarium; a 4,000-square-metre convention centre for 1,200 delegates; luxury residences and townhouses; two souks; a health club; restaurants; a
  • Saudi councils announced after delay

    Riyadh announced the formation of municipal councils on 15 December, 10 months after the elections. The councils will have a predominantly advisory mandate, dealing largely with local affairs.Candidates backed by conservative Muslims won the majority of the seats, with the remainder appointed by the government. Only men over the age of 21 were allowed to vote in the elections, held between February and April, in which only half of the 1,184 seats were contested in 178 council
  • Saudi glass venture shapes up

    The National Company for Glass Industries (Zoujaj)and Saudi Guardian International Float Glass Company (Gulfguard), both of Saudi Arabia, announced on 5 December that they will invest $110 million in a new insulated and coloured glass factory. The factory will have capacity of 600-700 tonnes a day and take 14-16 months to build. Both investors will share a 90 per cent stake in the venture, with a company identified as Eastern Company for Manufacturing Investmenthol
  • Saudi Telecom to roll out broadband

    Saudi Telecomannounced on 5 December that it had selected France's Alcateland Cisco Systemsand Lucent Technologies, both of the US, to install a broadband network in the kingdom. Saudi Telecom has awarded Alcatel a SR 88 million ($23.5 million) contract to install and make available 180,000 ports over the next 12 months. Alcatel will supply Saudi Telecom with its proprietary intelligent services access manager (ISAM) technology to meet growing demand fo
  • Saudi television exposes former militants

    Saudi Foreign Affairs Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal urged Muslim countries to defend Islam against a 'harsh offensive from enemies abroad and some of its own children with deviant ideologies'. Al-Faisal was speaking at the Organisation of Islamic Countries conference in Jeddah on 6 December, as Saudi television launched a programme designed to combat home-grown terrorism.The prime-time programme Experiences in the Name of Jihad: Deception was shown on the kingdom's main stat
  • Savola to spin off real estate arm

    The local Savola Group has announced plans to establish its real estate division as a separate company through a SR 700 million ($187 million) private placement of shares in the first quarter of 2006. The remaining SR 1,000 million ($266 million) funding for the new property management and investment company will be debt financed.
  • SEC substation out to bid

    Saudi Electricity Company (SEC) has invited 11 local and international companies to submit bids by 24 January for a supply and installation contract covering a 380-kV substation at Al-Muslat in Riyadh city. The invitees for the estimated $50 million contract include ZJ Engineering & Construction (Z Aljazira), Al-Babtain Power & Telecommunication Company, Al-Toukhi Contracting, Al-Fanar, National Contracting Company, Arabi
  • Second operator shapes up

    The Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) is set to officially award a licence for a second mobile operator by the end of December after disclosing further details of the new firm. A company identified as The Emirates Company for Integrated Telecommunications (EITC)is expected to begin operating by mid-2006 (MEED 30:9:05).
  • Selection due for Mesaieed FEED contract

    Qatar Petroleum (QP) is expected to select by early 2006 the front-end engineering and design (FEED) contractor for its proposed gas sweetening facilities integrated project at Mesaieed. Three companies - the US' Mustang Engineering, WorleyParsons of Australia and France's Doris Engineering- submitted bids in early October for the contract. However, the bid validity bond was recently extended to 16 January. Estimated to cost $250 million-300 million, th
  • Sellhorn wins port study

    Germany's Sellhorn Ingenieurgesellschafthas been selected to carry out a feasibility study and draw up a masterplan for the expansion of Beirut container port and related facilities. Officials at the Beirut Port Authority (BPA) say the study will suggest ways of doubling the capacity of the port and developing a new area of 24,000 square metres. The estimated $50 million project will also see the dredging of berths to a depth of 15.5 metres and the lengthening of the quay walls by 60
  • Septech/Turnpoint victorious at the Dunes

    The local/Australian joint venture of Septech Emiratesand Turnpointhas been awarded the AED 35 million ($9.5 million) contract for the construction of The Dunes golf course at Victory Heights in Dubai Sports City. Construction is expected to start by the end of December and is scheduled for completion in May 2007. The local Al-Naboodah Contractinghas completed a rough grading package, which involved moving more than 1.1 million cubic metres of material to enab
  • Septech/Turnpoint victorious at the Dunes

    The local/Australian joint venture of Septech Emiratesand Turnpointhas been awarded the AED 35 million ($9.5 million) contract for the construction of The Dunes golf course at Victory Heights in Dubai Sports City. Construction is expected to start by the end of December and is scheduled for completion in May 2007. The local Al-Naboodah Contractinghas completed a rough grading package, which involved moving more than 1.1 million cubic metres of material to enab
  • Sharon suffers minor stroke

    Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon suffered a minor stroke on 18 December, but was said to have recovered fully. 'The stroke will not leave behind any damage or any traces and there is an excellent chance it will not repeat itself,' hospital neurologist Tamir Ben Hur told Israeli daily Haaretz.'There is no doubt that what he suffered was minor, very minor. Unequivocally, there was no permanent damage caused to him,' Sharon's longstanding physician Boleslav Goldman said.
  • Sharq MLAs appointed

    A group of 10 mandated lead arrangers (MLAs) has been appointed on the $972 million commercial debt package for the Eastern Petrochemical Company (Sharq)project at Jubail. The 10 are understood each to have provided commitments of $150 million. Bank of Tokyo-Misubishi is acting as financial adviser (MEED 25:11:05).
  • Shatwan, Oasis talks slide away from agreement

    Energy Minister Fathi ben Shatwan has said that negotiations have stalled between Tripoli and the Oasis Group of US oil companies seeking to retake control of their former assets in the country nearly 20 years after it was forced to abandon them by US sanctions. In a statement on 12 December, Shatwan said that discussions were ongoing to try to overcome disagreement.
  • Shia family murdered

    Eleven members of the same Shia family were murdered on 29 December by assailants who broke into their house in the mainly Sunni town of Latifiya. The family of the victims had previously been warned by insurgents to leave the area, but had not done so, according to media reports.
  • Shuaa subscription closes

    Dubai-based Shuaa Capitalhas closed initial subscriptions for its $80 million Kuwait Gateway Fund and $40 million MAHA High Income Fund. Investors in the open-ended funds include institutions and high net worth individuals. The gateway fund will invest in Kuwaiti equities, and the high-income fund in Arab sovereign and corporate debt denominated in both US dollars and local currency. Investors in either fund can subscribe or redeem their investment monthly.
  • Shuaibah shows the way

    WEC president Omar al-Ghamdi talks about the significance and challenges faced on the Shuaibah IWPP
  • Siemens upgrades GSM in the regions

    Germany's Siemenshas been awarded a RO 7.8 million ($20 million) contract by Oman Mobile, a subsidiary of Oman Telecommunications Company (Omantel), to extend GSM networks to the Sharqiyah, Dakhliya, Dharia and Wusta regions. The deal is the third phase of Oman Mobile's upgrade through Siemens. In September, an $11.7 million agreement was signed for the upgrade of the prepaid network to 1.2 million lines from 705,000 (MEED 1:10:04).
  • Single bid for Riffa power upgrade

    A single bid of BD 49.7 million ($130.7 million) was opened from Paris-based Alstom Powerin late November for the long-awaited phase 2 upgrade and rehabilitation of Riffa power station, according to the Tender Board. The contract includes work to reduce nitrous oxide emissions from the plant, which has capacity of 440 MW and after rehabilitation is estimated to have a remaining life of 15 years. The client is the Electricity & Water Ministry; Germany's Fichtneris the cons
  • Sinoma scoops SCC contract

    China's Sinoma International is understood to have been selected for the estimated $400 million-500 million turnkey contract to expand the Saudi Cement Company (SCC)plant at Hofuf. Construction is expected to take about 30 months.
  • Sistani fails to back mainstream Shia alliance

    Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani, Iraq's top Shia cleric, urged Iraqis on 12 December to vote for those who can protect their interests. He asked his followers to vote for candidates 'who can be trusted to protect their principles and safeguard their interests', reported Beirut newspaper The Daily Star. Sistani failed, however, to give his unequivocal endorsement to the Shia alliance led by Prime Minister Ibrahim Jaafari. Iraqis are due to go to the polls on 15 December, although
  • Six in for Mussafah industrial site

    The Higher Corporation for Specialised Economic Zones (HCSEZ) has received revised prices from six companies for the infrastructure works contract on the Industrial City Abu Dhabi (ICAD) II project in the capital's Mussafah district. The estimated $135 million contract will be awarded on a lump-sum turnkey (LSTK) design and build basis. The bidders, all local, are Admak Contracting, Al-Jaber Group, Bin Hafeez General Contracting & Transport Establishment,
  • Six in for Mussafah industrial site

    The Higher Corporation for Specialised Economic Zones (HCSEZ) has received revised prices from six companies for the infrastructure works contract on the Industrial City Abu Dhabi (ICAD) II project in the capital's Mussafah district. The estimated $135 million contract will be awarded on a lump-sum turnkey (LSTK) design and build basis. The bidders, all local, are Admak Contracting, Al-Jaber Group, Bin Hafeez General Contracting & Transport Establishment,
  • SMEC, KEO win mega PM

    An Australian/local group of Snowy Mountains Engineering Corporation (SMEC)and KEO International Consultantshas been selected for the project management (PM) contract covering the development of Kuwait University's new campus at Shadidiyah. Under the terms of the three-year contract, the group will provide project management services to the estimated $3,000 million development of the new campus, which has been designed to accommodate up to 40,000 students.
  • SMEC, KEO win mega PM

    An Australian/local group of Snowy Mountains Engineering Corporation (SMEC)and KEO International Consultantshas been selected for the project management (PM) contract covering the development of Kuwait University's new campus at Shadidiyah. Under the terms of the three-year contract, the group will provide project management services to the estimated $3,000 million development of the new campus, which has been designed to accommodate up to 40,000 students.
  • Smelter agreements signed

    The key project agreements were signed on 11 December for the $2,400 million Sohar aluminium smelter, including the final shareholder agreements, the gas supply agreement and the financing arrangements. France's Alstom was also formally awarded the Eur 425 million ($511 million) engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract for the 1,000-MW power island to serve the 350,000-tonne-a-year smelter. The US' Bechtelis carrying out the engineering, procurement and co
  • Sonatrach powers up Lebanon

    Sonatrach Petroleum Corporation (SPC), a subsidiary of Algerian state energy company Sonatrach, has signed two three-year contracts with the Lebanese Energy Ministry for the sale of 1 million tonnes of gas-oil and 1.1 million tonnes of fuel oil to Lebanese state power company Electricite du Liban. The agreement, which comes into force in January 2006, is the first deal done by Sonatrach in Lebanon and will increase SPC's sales volumes by 30 per cent.
  • Sonatrach to export more LNG to US

    State energy company Sonatrachhas signed a letter of intent with Occidental Ventures, a subsidiary of the US' Occidental Petroleum, to export liquefied natural gas (LNG) to the Ingleside Energy receiving terminal, under development in the Gulf of Mexico in the US. Under the 20-year agreement, Sonatrach will provide the US market with 2,500 million-5,000 million cubic metres a year of natural gas. The agreement follows the signing on 24 October of a
  • Special report: Construction sector - Soaring costs

    Middle East construction is booming, and the Gulf markets are expanding faster than anywhere else in the world. But increasing materials and labour costs are pushing the price of projects sky high.
  • Special report: Construction sector - Soaring costs

    Middle East construction is booming, and the Gulf markets are expanding faster than anywhere else in the world. But increasing materials and labour costs are pushing the price of projects sky high.
  • Stability or liberty

    In the West Bank and Gaza, militant Islamist group Hamas says it will stand against the Fatah ruling party in Palestinian elections in January. In Egypt, supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood clash with security forces as the banned party clears a swathe in the third and final round of parliamentary elections. Protestors are on the streets in Bahrain calling for constitutional reform. And in Iraq, voters are preparing for the 15 December elections for the country's first fully constitutional parl
  • Standards: Changing specs

    The broad mix of international contractors working in the Gulf has led to an equally wide variety of construction standards.
  • Standards: Changing specs

    The broad mix of international contractors working in the Gulf has led to an equally wide variety of construction standards.
  • Star eyes new cement plant

    Star Cement, a subsidiary of Dubai-based ETA-Ascon, is considering building a new 600,000-tonne-a-year (t/y) greenfield integrated cement plant near the port of Aden. The proposed facility will see the installation of a clinker line and new crushing facilities. 'We have selected a site, but we are unsure about the financing arrangements in the country,' said a source close to the project. India's Holtecis the consultant. The scheme is one of several planned by the
  • State explores China options

    Kuwait and China signed on 5 December a memorandum of understanding (MoU) for the development of an integrated refinery and petrochemicals complex in the southern Chinese province of Guangdong. The estimated $5,000 million project is targeted for completion by 2010. Speaking to reporters at the signing ceremony in Kuwait City, Energy Minister Sheikh Ahmed al-Fahd al-Sabah said the MoU was a first step, and would be followed by joint studies on the project's technical and financial aspects. The r
  • Strong response to port sukuk

    Pre-marketing has been completed for the planned $2,800 million sukuk issue for Dubai Ports, Customs & Free Zone Corporation (PCFC). Orders were received of more than double the planned size of the issue, which will be launched in early 2006. Barclays Capitaland Dubai Islamic Bankare the lead managers. The instrument has a unique structure, 30 per cent convertible to equity in PCFC entities during an initial public offering (IPO) planned within three years. The funds rais
  • Substation offers evaluated

    Evaluation of bids is ongoing at the Ministry of Energy for two major 300/132/11-kV substation projects. Japan's Mitsubishi Corporationis low bidder at KD 19.6 million ($68 million) for the first contract, covering supply and installation of the Qurain W substation. Its offer is marginally lower than the second-priced bid of KD 19.9 million ($69 million) submitted by Germany's Siemens. For the second project, covering the construction of the Siddiq W substation, Europe's
  • Suez signs up for Algiers water management

    France's Suez Environnementhas signed a five-year contract worth about Eur 120 million ($141.2 million) with state agencies Algerienne des Eaux (AdE) and Office National de l'Assainissement (ONA) for the management of water and wastewater services for the 3.5 million residents of Algiers. The contract will include the upgrade and modernisation of the networks, aimed particularly at ensuring 24-hour water supply within three-and-a-half years. The entire investment will be met by the g
  • Suicide bomber kills five in Israel

    At least five people were killed and more than 50 others were wounded when a suicide bomber blew himself up near the entrance of a shopping mall in the Israeli coastal city of Netanya on 5 December. Palestinian militant group Islamic Jihad in a phone call to Hezbollah television station Al-Manar claimed that it had carried out the attack. The group named the attacker as 21-year-old Palestinian Lutfi Amin Abu Salem from the village of Kafr Rai between the West Bank towns of Je
  • Sunni politician killed in Iraq

    A high-profile Sunni politician was shot in his car as he campaigned on 13 December. Mizhar Dulaimi, the leader of the Iraqi Free Progressive Party and one of the leading candidates in the troubled Anbar province, was in Ramadi, two days before the Iraqi elections were due to take place. Dulaimi had appeared on Iraqi television the previous night, urging all Iraqis to use their vote. After his murder, Dubai-based Al-Arabiya rebroadcast an interview with Dulaimi in which he ac
  • Support: Vital ancillaries

    Private airlines may be a new phenomenon in Saudi Arabia, but the private sector has a track record of supporting the local aviation industry. Since the mid-1980s and the formations of the Alsalam Aircraft Maintenance and Advanced Electronics Company (AEC) under the Saudi economic offset programme, local companies have played a key role in supporting military and, increasingly, civil aviation in the kingdom.
  • SWCC awards privatisation advisory mandates

    State-owned Saline Water Conversion Corporation (SWCC)has issued letters of intent for the four advisory posts on its planned privatisation programme. Signing of the one-year advisory contracts, which cover strategic, technical, financial and legal work, will take place on 3 December.
  • SWCC signs off privatisation mandates

    State-owned Saline Water Conversion Corporation (SWCC)signed on 3 December the four advisory contracts on its planned privatisation programme. The contracts, totalling SR 20 million ($5.3 million), were signed with Booz Allen Hamiltonfor the strategic advisory position; Germany's Fichtnerfor the technical role; Ernst & Young for the financial advisory; and Prima Law & Consultation Office, with Freshfields Bruckhaus Derringer
  • Swissboring digs in at cluster Z and DIFC

    Swissboring, part of Italy's Trevi Group, has been awarded the piling, shoring, excavation and dewatering package for three towers on cluster Z at Jumeirah Lake Towers. The local Asteco Development Managementis the project manager, and the local Architecture Engineering Innovations Bureau (AEIB)is the consultant. The client is the local Seven Tides Development. Swissboring has also been selected by the local/Australian Nasa Multiplex
  • Swissboring digs in at cluster Z and DIFC

    Swissboring, part of Italy's Trevi Group, has been awarded the piling, shoring, excavation and dewatering package for three towers on cluster Z at Jumeirah Lake Towers. The local Asteco Development Managementis the project manager, and the local Architecture Engineering Innovations Bureau (AEIB)is the consultant. The client is the local Seven Tides Development. Swissboring has also been selected by the local/Australian Nasa Multiplex
  • Syria aims to co-operate with new investigator

    Damascus will co-operate with Serge Brammertz, who is likely to be the new chief of the UN investigation into the assassination of former Lebanese prime minister Rafiq Hariri, Foreign Minister Farouq al-Shara said on 20 December. However, Al-Shara also said that the probe had been misled so far by false witnesses. 'We in Syria have decided that we will deal sincerely and constructively with the new head of the international committee and we will give him all the possible assistance to reach
  • Syria clash leaves eight dead

    Eight members of a Syrian Sunni militant group were killed on 8 December during a clash with security forces. The incident occurred on a farm in the northwestern town of Maaret Naaman. 'After a gun battle, which lasted an hour, an explosion was heard from inside the farm, where, it emerged, three members of the group had blown themselves up,' state news agency SANA said. The other five were reported to have been killed in the gun battle.The incident was one in a string involv
  • Syria prepares for Israel peace negotiations

    Damascus is engaged in talks over resuming peace negotiations with Israel, UK daily The Guardian reported on 8 December. Syria's renewed interest in talks is apparently motivated by a desire to avoid possible UN sanctions over its alleged role in the murder of former Lebanese prime minister Rafiq Hariri.'Syria would go along with almost anything at this point. They are looking for any leeway. They do not want to be penalised like Libya or Iraq. They are definitely looking for
  • Syrian Foreign Minister offers Mehlis meeting

    Damascus offered on 14 December to allow Foreign Minister Farouq al-Shara to meet the head of the UN investigation into the assassination of former Lebanese prime minister Rafiq Hariri. Syrian envoy to the UN Faysal Mekdad told the UN Security Council that Al-Shara was prepared to hold such a meeting 'in Damascus or in Europe', after five Syrian officials were questioned by the inquiry in Vienna.Detlev Mehlis, the head of the inquiry, presented his report to the UN Security C
  • Syrian witness recants evidence

    A witness questioned in the UN inquiry into the assassination of former Lebanese prime minister Rafiq Hariri was shown on Syrian television claiming the evidence he gave to the inquiry had been untrue.Hossam Taher Hossam, a former Syrian intelligence officer in Lebanon, said he had been offered more than $1 million by Hariri's son Saad. He also alleged he had been tortured and injected with drugs to give evidence against top Syrian officials.'Maher al-Asad and
  • Talabani delays offensive for negotiations

    The Iraqi government has postponed a counter-insurgent crackdown after President Talabani on 27 November confirmed that there had been contact with rebel groups wanting to join the political process. 'President Talabani got in touch with me after receiving the call from [Arab League secretary-general] Amr Moussa and asked me to call off this operation to ensure the success of the national reconciliation conference,' said Interior Minister Bayan Jabr. Jabr had previously said that government
  • Tameer to build UAQ units

    The local/Saudi Tameer Holdingwill build 100,000 square metres of labour accommodation and warehouse facilities at its Emirates Modern Industrial area in Umm al-Qaiwain (UAQ). The AED 100 million ($27 million) project will include 600 residential units and is scheduled for completion within 12 months. A local team of Wade Adams Contractingand Darwish Engineeringis working on the infrastructure package for the industrial area. Tameer is 50 per cent owned by Sa
  • Tameer to build UAQ units

    The local/Saudi Tameer Holdingwill build 100,000 square metres of labour accommodation and warehouse facilities at its Emirates Modern Industrial area in Umm al-Qaiwain (UAQ). The AED 100 million ($27 million) project will include 600 residential units and is scheduled for completion within 12 months. A local team of Wade Adams Contractingand Darwish Engineeringis working on the infrastructure package for the industrial area. Tameer is 50 per cent owned by Sa
  • TE offering oversubscribed

    The sale of shares in state-owned fixed-line operator Telecom Egypt (TE)closed heavily oversubscribed in mid-December. The sale was conducted in two equal tranches, a private placement of global depositary receipts (GDRs) and an initial public offering (IPO), amounting to 20 per cent of the company's capital. The private placement was oversubscribed 56 times while the IPO was oversubscribed nine times. The publicly offered shares were priced at £E 14.80 ($2.90) and the privately-plac
  • Teachers kidnapped in Gaza

    Two foreign teachers were kidnapped on 21 December in northern Gaza by unidentified gunmen. The teachers, the headmaster and deputy of a private US school, were forced from their car in Beit Lahiya, according to witness reports. One of the teachers was reported to be Dutch. The Palestinian Interior Ministry said it had launched an immediate investigation. A number of foreign journalists and aid workers were kidnapped in Gaza over the last 12 months, but were released unharmed
  • Technip takes two Gasco contracts

    Paris-based Technip has been awarded the front-end engineering and design (FEED) contracts for two projects being handled by Abu Dhabi Gas Industries Company (Gasco). The larger of the two schemes is the debottlenecking and revamp of the Thamama C gas plant, which involves a revamp of the existing process plant, modifications to the heat exchangers, stabilisers and compressors and related facilities. Estimated to cost $350 million, the project is aimed at increasing sour
  • Technip, Toyo finalise YanSab deals

    Saudi Basic Industries Corporation (Sabic)on 5 December formally signed two contracts for the construction of a large-scale mixed feedstock cracker and an ethylene glycol (EG) plant at its Yanbu National Petrochemicals Company (YanSab)complex. Under the estimated $1,000 million engineering, procurement and construction (EPC)-cum-technology supply contract signed with Paris-based Technip, the company's Italian office will build a cracker with capacity to produce 1.3
  • Tecnicas Reunidas takes Hawiyah gas plant job

    Spain's Tecnicas Reunidas (TR)has signed the lump-sum turnkey (LSTK) contract to carry out the Hawiyah gas plant expansion for Saudi Aramco. Under the estimated $400 million contract, TR will increase processing capacity at the plant by 800 million cubic feet a day (cf/d) to 2,400 million cf/d by 2008. Several other contractors, including South Korea's Hyundai Engineering & Construction Company, Italy-based Techint, Canada's SNC Lavalin
  • Tecnimont/Daelim sign Sahara deal

    The local Sahara Petrochemical Companyannounced on 12 December the signing of an early works agreement with the Italian/South Korean joint venture of Tecnimontand DaelimIndustrialCompanyfor the construction of its polypropylene (PP)/propane dehydrogenation (PDH) plant in Jubail. Under the terms of the estimated SR 2,300 million ($613 million) agreement, the joint venture will carry out detailed engineering and begin procurement of certain long-le
  • Tehran moves to impeach defence minister

    The speaker of the Majlis (parliament) accepted on 13 December a motion to impeach Defence Minister Mostafa Mohammed Najjar. The motion, signed by 49 members of parliament, came as a response to accusations of military mismanagement that many blamed for the crash of a military airplane in Tehran on 6 December. Defence officials strongly denied the claims and launched an internal investigation. Najjar will face questions from the parliament and will be subject to a Majlis vote of confidence.
  • Tel Aviv approves 300 new settlement homes

    Israeli Defence Minister Shaul Mofaz on 14 December gave approval for the construction of 300 new homes for Jewish settlers in the West Bank. The construction was planned for Maale Adumim, the largest Israeli settlement in the West Bank, and further expansion was anticipated for the smaller settlements of Nokdim and Bracha. The expansion was approved to meet the 'natural growth' of the populations 'within the current geographical borders of the settlement', said an Israeli Defence Ministry
  • Tel Aviv delays opening of Palestinian bus link

    Tel Aviv notified US negotiators on 15 December that Palestinian bus convoys between Gaza and the West Bank are due to start a week later than originally planned on 23 December, according to media reports. 'We fully expect Israel and the Palestinians to implement all aspects of the movement agreement on schedule and we will help them to do so,' said US Assistant Secretary of State David Welch on 15 December. The convoys had been due to begin on 15 December, in an agreement br
  • Telcos line up for Telsim sale

    Seven telcos including regional companies are among the bidders for Turkish GSM operator Telsim following the submission of proposals on 5 December. Dubai-based International Investment & Telecommunication, Egypt's Orascom Telecom, Emirates Telecommunications Corporation (Etisalat)and Mobile Telecommunications Company (MTC), both of Kuwait, have submitted offers for Turkey's second-largest mobile phone operator. The companies were among
  • Telecom Egypt IPO kicks off

    The initial public offering (IPO) of shares in state-owned fixed-line monopoly Telecom Egypt (TE)was launched on 29 November, offering investors the opportunity to subscribe to 341 million shares over a two-week period. The country's largest-ever IPO is being split into two equal tranches - one for private and one for public investors - making up a total of 20 per cent of TE's share capital. Shares are priced between £E 13.30 ($2.30) each for institutional investors and £E 14.80 ($2
  • Telecom Egypt IPO to go ahead earlier than planned

    The long-awaited initial public offering (IPO) of shares in state-owned Telecom Egypt (TE) is now expected to be launched by the end of November following the 22 November approval of the transaction by parliament.
  • Telefonica withdraws as TT deadline announced

    Spain's Telefonica has withdrawn its bid to take a 35 per cent stake in state-owned Tunisie Telecom (TT). It is understood that the company has decided to focus on its recent bid to take control of O2, the GSM subsidiary of the UK's BT. The government has announced a final bid deadline of 31 January (MEED 14:10:05). Thirteen companies were prequalified in October to bid for the TT stake, which analysts now believe may raise as much as Eur 1,400 mil
  • Tender imminent for Adco tanks

    Abu Dhabi Company for Onshore Oil Operations (Adco)is due to issue a tender by 15 December for the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract to build two 1 million-barrel crude oil storage tanks at Jebel Dhanna. Five companies have already been prequalified for the estimated $50 million contract, which includes civils, electrical and mechanical works. Companies will be given about eight weeks to submit a price. The facilities will take 20 months to complete. Austria's
  • Tender issued for Abu Dhabi OAG project

    Technical bids are due to be submittedby 6 February for the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contracts on the offshore associated gas (OAG) project in Abu Dhabi emirate.A tentative deadline of 9 May has been set for the submission of commercial bids. Prospective bidders for the estimated $550 million project include Fluor Corporation, Chicago Bridge & Iron,Washington Group Internationaland Willbros Group,all of the US,Paris-based Technip
  • Tender out for Kabad treatment plant

    The Ministry of Public Works (MPW) has invited 14 local contractors to bid by 15 January for a major contract to build a wastewater treatment plant at Kabad. The project will replace the proposed Jahra wastewater treatment plant expansion scheme in which was cancelled last year (MEED 8:10:04).
  • Tenders out for MBZ city residential towers

    Twelve companies have been invited to bid by 26 December for an estimated AED 800 million ($218 million) residential complex within Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed City in Abu Dhabi emirate. The package entails the construction of a shopping mall, three office towers and 10-15 residential towers.
  • Tenders out for MBZ city residential towers

    Twelve companies have been invited to bid by 26 December for an estimated AED 800 million ($218 million) residential complex within Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed City in Abu Dhabi emirate. The package entails the construction of a shopping mall, three office towers and 10-15 residential towers.
  • The search for manpower

    'You are the members of a new generation that will bear the responsibility of leading Oman into the future,' Dutch Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende told new students of the International Maritime College Oman at its ground breaking ceremony in Sohar Industrial Port (SIP) on 15 November. The premier's words were carefully chosen. The speed of development had left him in awe, he said. But as in the Netherlands the future success of the economy will require a well educated and keen local workfor
  • Third round results see more gains for Brotherhood

    The Muslim Brotherhood further increased its number of seats in Egypt's parliament on 8 December, according to the preliminary results of the run-offs in the third round of elections. The banned Islamist organisation gained 11 seats to take its total for all three rounds to 87, giving it a record 19 per cent share of the seats in parliament, an increase of almost six times in parliamentary representation.Although 12 constituencies have yet to announce their final results, it
  • Thirteen prequalify for Shuqaiq IWPP

    Water & Electricity Company (WEC)has prequalified 13 local and international companies and groups for the estimated $1,250 million Shuqaiq independent water and power project (IWPP). Request for proposals (RFP) documents for the 850-MW, 47 million-gallon-a-day (g/d) power and desalination plant are expected to be issued soon.
  • Three at the crease for cricket stadium

    Three local/international joint ventures (JVs) have been shortlisted for the main construction package on stadium S3 for Dubai Sports City (DSC). An award is expected by mid-December. The 25,000-capacity cricket stadium is one of three stadiums that will be built at DSC. The others are S1, the indoor stadium, and S4, a 60,000-capacity multipurpose stadium capable of hosting major international sporting events (MEED 21:10:05).
  • Three at the crease for cricket stadium

    Three local/international joint ventures (JVs) have been shortlisted for the main construction package on stadium S3 for Dubai Sports City (DSC). An award is expected by mid-December. The 25,000-capacity cricket stadium is one of three stadiums that will be built at DSC. The others are S1, the indoor stadium, and S4, a 60,000-capacity multipurpose stadium capable of hosting major international sporting events (MEED 21:10:05).
  • Three in the Torch spotlight

    The local Dubai Selecthas shortlisted three companies for the main construction package on its 74-storey Torch tower project in Dubai Marina. The companies are: the local Arabtec Construction; Lebanon's Arabian Construction Company; and Gammon & Billimoria, the local affiliate of India's Gammon. An award is expected by year-end. The project is scheduled for completion in 2007. Germany's Ed Zueblinhas been selected for the pi
  • Three in the Torch spotlight

    The local Dubai Selecthas shortlisted three companies for the main construction package on its 74-storey Torch tower project in Dubai Marina. The companies are: the local Arabtec Construction; Lebanon's Arabian Construction Company; and Gammon & Billimoria, the local affiliate of India's Gammon. An award is expected by year-end. The project is scheduled for completion in 2007. Germany's Ed Zueblinhas been selected for the pi
  • Tiger fund shows its stripes

    Mashreqbank'smutual fund division Makaseb Funds Company (MFC)has launched its multi-country Makaseb Arab Tigers Fund.
  • Tokyo expected to extend presence in Iraq

    Japan was expected on 30 November to extend its military involvement in Iraq after its current mandate ends on 14 December, reports said.Japan has about 600 troops in Iraq, fulfilling a non-combative mission training Iraqi security forces. The presence in Iraq has become increasingly unpopular among Japanese. A spokesman for Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi said the issue would be addressed soon. US President Bush restated on 30 November Washington's c
  • Total in refinery talks with Damascus

    France's Totalis in preliminary talks with the Petroleum & Mineral Resources Ministry about building an estimated $1,000 million grassroots oil refinery and a joint exploration and development project with Syrian Petroleum Company (SPC), Syrian deputy prime minister for economic affairs Abdullah Dardari told MEED on 2 December.
  • Transport: Flight plan

    The Hajj season approaches. From all corners of the globe, millions of pilgrims will descend on the cities of Mecca and Medina in January for one of the holiest periods in the Muslim calendar. For all its spiritual connotations, the pilgrimage is also a huge logistical exercise that is guaranteed to bring to light deficiencies in the kingdom's under-funded and overstretched transportation sector.
  • Tripoli still uncertain over Sirte work

    The award by Sirte Oil Company (SOC) of two gas pipeline construction contracts worth a combined $270 million is expected to be delayed by up to six months. The awards had been expected in December, but engineering, procurement, and construction (EPC) contractors say this has been put back until June next year following a serious car crash involving SOC chairman Ahmed Aoun. A dispute over the tender process between National Oil Corporation (NOC)and the Oil Ministry is als
  • Trump tower edges to reality

    The US' HHCP Design Internationalis finalising the concept designs for the construction of the Palm Trump International Hotel Tower. The project, which will be located in the heart of Palm Jumeirah next to the Golden Mile, will have a built-up area of about 200,000 square metres and rise to 210 metres. The tulip-shaped exoskeleton structure will be a mixed-use hotel and residential tower with a concert hall and retail space at the base. 'We are discussing the next stage with architec
  • Trump tower edges to reality

    The US' HHCP Design Internationalis finalising the concept designs for the construction of the Palm Trump International Hotel Tower. The project, which will be located in the heart of Palm Jumeirah next to the Golden Mile, will have a built-up area of about 200,000 square metres and rise to 210 metres. The tulip-shaped exoskeleton structure will be a mixed-use hotel and residential tower with a concert hall and retail space at the base. 'We are discussing the next stage with architec
  • TSE hopes dawn follows darkest hour

    After losing more than 40 per cent of its value in just three months, the Tehran Stock Exchange (TSE) looks out for the count. The Tepix all-share index averaged 10,083 points in November, compared with 12,308 in June and well below its all-time high of 13,882 in August 2004.
  • TUNISIA: A happy marriage

    In June the UK's BG celebrated the 10th anniversary of the first molecule of gas supplied to the national energy grid by its local subsidiary BG Tunisia. The country's largest foreign investor, BG supplies 50 per cent of Tunisia's gas needs and plays a crucial role in the energy strategy of a country striving for self-sufficiency in the face of escalating global oil prices. Since its arrival in the country in 1988, BG has invested about $1,000 million, largely on the development of the Miskar fi
  • Tunnel to link Jebel Ali

    The new Jebel Ali International Airport will be linked to the Jebel Ali port by an underground tunnel, a senior official at the Department of Civil Aviation (DCA) told the MEED Major Airport Projects conference in Dubai, held on 12 December in Bahrain. The 10-kilometre tunnel will transport cargo from the port to the airport using some form of conveyor belt. 'It will be bonded so that goods do not have to go through customs twice,' said Rimzie Ismail, manager of marketing and business developmen
  • Tunnel to link Jebel Ali

    The new Jebel Ali International Airport will be linked to the Jebel Ali port by an underground tunnel, a senior official at the Department of Civil Aviation (DCA) told the MEED Major Airport Projects conference in Dubai, held on 12 December in Bahrain. The 10-kilometre tunnel will transport cargo from the port to the airport using some form of conveyor belt. 'It will be bonded so that goods do not have to go through customs twice,' said Rimzie Ismail, manager of marketing and business developmen
  • Twelve die in insurgent attacks

    Attacks by insurgents on 23 December left 12 dead and at least 25 injured near Baqubah. Eight of the dead were Iraqi soldiers, who were hit by rocket-propelled grenades while on duty at a checkpoint. The remaining four were killed in an attack by a suicide bomber outside a Shia mosque in Balad Ruz.The attacks came only hours after Sir Jeremy Greenstock, the UK's former envoy to Iraq, said the insurgency could last another five years. 'I think the insurgency has at least anoth
  • Twenty dead after attempted Iraq jail break

    A failed jail break in Baghdad on 28 December left twenty prisoners and one prison guard dead. A shootout began when one inmate grabbed an assault rifle and shot a guard during a prisoner transfer, according to media reports. Prison guards then opened fire on the prisoners. It is believed in the ensuing confusion inmates were shot by guards and some prisoners are at large within the Baghdad military detention centre. The centre is on the Adala base, a joint Iraqi police and a
  • Two bid for EAB

    Two offers to acquire a stake in Egyptian American Bank (EAB)are under evaluation at Bank of Alexandria (BoA)and American Express (Amex), which hold a combined stake of 74.7 per cent in EAB. The offers are understood to have been submitted by Calyonand HSBC. Credit Suisse First Bostonwas appointed by BoA and Amex to act as financial adviser on the transaction (MEED 25:11:05).
  • Two bid for Jeddah Municipality PMC

    Two groups of companies - Saudi Consolidated Engineering Company (Khatib & Alami) with Bahrain-based Projacs International,and US-based Fluor Corporation - submitted bids in late November to Jeddah Municipality (JM) for the contract to provide project and construction management (PM/CM) services for all its existing and future schemes (MEED 25:11:05).
  • Two bid for Jeddah Municipality PMC

    Two groups of companies - Saudi Consolidated Engineering Company (Khatib & Alami) with Bahrain-based Projacs International,and US-based Fluor Corporation - submitted bids in late November to Jeddah Municipality (JM) for the contract to provide project and construction management (PM/CM) services for all its existing and future schemes (MEED 25:11:05).
  • Two dead in Egypt election violence

    Two people died on 7 December amid further violence in the run-offs of Egypt's final round of parliamentary elections. Police had fired rubber bullets and used tear gas against voters trying to enter a closed polling station in the northern town of Damietta. The Muslim Brotherhood claimed the victims were supporters.The banned Islamist organisation, which has already won 76 seats, around 20 per cent of the total, has 35 candidates involved in the final run-offs. It claims pol
  • Two IOCs in race for Jubail export refinery

    Saudi Aramcois understood to have shortlisted at least two international oil companies (IOCs) - Total of France and the US' Chevron Corporation - for the equity stake in its proposed second in-kingdom export refinery to be built at Jubail 2, an extension of Jubail industrial city, in the Eastern Province. Estimated to cost $5,000 million, the grassroots facility will have nameplate capacity of 400,000 barrels a day (b/d - MEED 2:9:05).
  • Two killed and Allawi offices burned despite high security

    Two Iraqi policemen were killed in a bomb attack in Mosul on 14 December. The policemen and other security forces had been safeguarding polling stations targeted by militants ahead of the election on 15 December.On the same day, a crowd in the southern Shia town of Nasiriyah attacked the offices of former prime minister Iyad Allawi. Allawi was believed to have made defamatory comments about Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani during campaigning. The crowd burned down Allawi's Iraqi N
  • UAE to hold first elections

    Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed al-Nahyan announced in a speech to mark the UAE's national day on 1 December that half of the 40 members of the Federal National Council (FNC) would soon be elected while the other half would be appointed. 'In light of the changes and reforms our region is witnessing... we decided to begin activating the National Assembly by electing half of its members,' said Sheikh Khalifa. No date for elections has been set. The reforms would allow the FNC to play
  • UK to supply Eurofighter to Saudi Arabia

    The UK agreed on 22 December to supply Saudi Arabia with the new Eurofighter Typhoon. In a deal rumoured to be worth $10,400 million, Riyadh will buy the Typhoon as a replacement for the Tornado planes it already buys from the UK.The contract will safeguard around 9,000 jobs in BAE Systems' Lancashire-based aircraft division.
  • UK, local team in front for NGWA advisory

    The UK's Severn Trent Water Internationaland the local Consulting Engineers Centre (Sajdi & Partners)are the preferred bidders for the contract to provide consultancy services to the Northern Governorate Water Authority (NGWA). An award is expected in January. The successful bidder will work with NGWA to operate and maintain water and wastewater facilities in Irbid, Jerash, Ajloun and Mafraq in the northern region for three years, at the end of which NGWA is scheduled for
  • UN amends brief of new Hariri investigation

    The UN Security Council on 15 December amended a draft resolution to extend the remit of the investigation into the assassination of former Lebanese prime minster Rafiq Hariri. Resolution sponsors France, the US and the UK dropped a clause in response to objections from council members, including Russia and Algeria. The discarded clause would have given the probe a mandate to investigate the 'terrorist attacks perpetrated in Lebanon since 1 October 2004'. The clause was repla
  • UN endorses Iraq election result

    A senior UN official endorsed the result of Iraq's national election on 28 December and said there was no need for a re-run. 'The United Nations is of the view that these elections were credible and transparent. We hope the elections will be the start of a new process of strength and unity in Iraq,' said Canadian advisor to the Independent Electoral Commission of Iraq (IECI) Craig Jenness. This was echoed by the IECI. 'No wide, premeditated and systematic fraud was noticed,' IECI official S
  • UN quiz Syrians in Vienna

    UN officials from the inquiry into the assassination of former Lebanese prime minister Rafiq Hariri have started to question five Syrian officials in Vienna. The interrogations which began on 5 December mark an advance in negotiations between Damascus and the UN. Damascus allowed the questioning to go ahead after the UN gave guarantees that the officials would be permitted to return to Syria afterwards. However, the head of the inquiry Detlev Mehlis would be allowed to request the arrest of
  • UN report: suspicion falls on Syria

    The UN inquiry led by Detlev Mehlis into the assassination of former Lebanese prime minister Rafiq Hariri made its report public on 12 December, confirming that Syrian officials were the main suspects in the investigation. The report also questioned Damascus' co-operation with the inquiry, listing examples of Syrian 'procrastination' and 'reluctance', but did not accuse it of outright non-compliance. The report also said there remained much work to be done and Mehlis requested a further six
  • Uncertainty over kidnapped Gaza Britons

    There has been no contact from gunmen who on 28 December kidnapped a British aid worker and her parents near Rafah. Kate Burton, a volunteer worker for the Al-Mezan Human Rights Centre in Gaza, and her mother and father were abducted near the border crossing with Egypt. The kidnappers' motive remains nuclear. 'Until now, we don't know who is behind this and what they want exactly. The police and security are working around the Gaza Strip to find who the kidnappers are, but there is no news,
  • US and Iranian officials to meet

    US ambassador to Iraq Zalmay Khalilzad is to meet Iranian officials in what will be the first high-level talks between the two countries in years, the former US ambassador to Afghanistan said on 29 November.'I've been authorised by the president to engage with the Iranians as I engaged them in Afghanistan directly,' said Zalmay Khalilzad. 'There will be meetings, and that's also a departure and an adjustment,' he said in an interview with US magazine Newsweek.T
  • US hostage killed in Iraq

    An American US security consultant, held by the Insurgent Army in Iraq militant group, has been killed, Reuters reported on 8 December. No other information was available and the statement, posted on a website often used by insurgents, has not yet been verified.
  • US to cut Iraq troop levels

    Washington is to reduce the number of US troops stationed in Iraq, Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said on 22 December. During a short visit to Fallujah, Rumsfeld told troops that combat forces would be reduced by two brigades - approximately 8,000-10,000 troops. Further reductions would be considered 'at some point in 2006', he said. The move would reduce total US troop numbers in Iraq below the 138,000 that have been in Iraq for most of 2005.The US currently has almost 16
  • US welcomes some insurgent approaches

    Washington welcomed on 29 November the possibility of talks with some, but not all, Iraqi insurgent groups. US ambassador to Iraq Zalmay Khalilzad said he was open to negotiations with most insurgent groups. 'We are reaching out to everyone but two groups: the Al-Zarqawi group and associated forces who are jihadists and the Saddamists, those who want Saddam Hussein to return,' Khalilzad said. Khalilzad also emphasised the need to involve Sunnis in the political process. 'We have in recent p
  • USAID to extend WTO support

    The US Agency for International Development (USAID) signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Economy & Trade Ministry on 8 December to provide technical assistance to Beirut ahead of its planned accession to the World Trade Organisation (WTO).
  • Using the unmentionable to solve the Arab water crisis

    Saudi Arabian deputy minister for Islamic Affairs Ahmed al-Sabban has the untrimmed beard of the pious Muslim and the joyous laugh of someone who can see the lighter side of life. And as he told the First MEED Water Reuse conference in Abu Dhabi at the end of November, Al-Sabban also has a mission to explain the Quran's teaching about the proper use of God's gift of pure, clean water.
  • VAI Pomini wins more mill work

    Qasco Dubai Steel, the local affiliate of Qatar Steel Company (Qasco), has awarded Italy-based VAIPominia contract for the construction of a new 300,000-tonne-a-year (t/y) bar mill. Qasco has also signed an agreement, worth $52 million, with Arab Bank for the project's funding and purchase of raw materials. The plant will be commissioned in 2007. In 2004, Qasco Dubai contributed 17.8 per cent to Qasco's net sales of QR 1,778 million ($488 million
  • Vaziri-Hamaneh outlines oil ambitions

    President Ahmadinejad's four-month search for an oil minister finally came to an end on 11 December, when Majlis (parliament) deputies confirmed the nomination of Kazem Vaziri-Hamaneh for the post. Vaziri-Hamaneh was the president's fourth nomination to the Majlis and came after the other three were rejected (MEED 9:12:05).
  • VCBank offers Islamic gem

    The newly established Venture Capital Bank (VCBank) and US-based private investment group Global Emerging Markets (GEM)will open subscription for a $250 million venture capital fund in early 2006. The sharia-compliant fund will invest in small and medium-sized companies in a range of industries across the Middle East and North Africa. GEM will invest $25 million in the fund and raise a further $100 million in the US and Europe, with the rest expected to come from institut
  • Vintage drills new well

    The US' Vintage Petroleum, part of Occidental Petroleum, also of the US, has announced the successful testing of its sixth well in the An-Nagyah field. The horizontal well - drilled to a total depth of 6,628 metres - tested at a rate of 1,300 barrels a day and 838,000 cubic feet a day of natural gas. The hydrocarbons deposit was found in the Lam B reservoir, below Lam A which is currently in production (MEED 28:3:05).
  • Visitors unfazed by turmoil

    The year was supposed to be a great one for Lebanese tourism. With a record 1.3 million visitors in 2004, only a 10 per cent growth rate was needed for the country to reach its pre-civil war tourism levels. This was not an unrealistic target, considering the 26 per cent increase the previous year. Investments in the hotel, resort and restaurant industry were forging ahead and tour operators were predicting their best year ever.
  • Wa appointed for Lake Hotel interiors

    UK-based Wa Internationalhas been appointed by local developer Emaar Propertiesas the interior designer for the Burj Dubai Lake Hotel. The local/Belgian joint venture of Arabtec Constructionand Bel Hasa Six Constructwas selected for the estimated AED 725 million ($197 million) main package to build the 300-metre-high hotel in October(MEED 7:10:05). South Africa's Mirage Mille Leisure & Developmentis the project manager; the architect is
  • Wa appointed for Lake Hotel interiors

    UK-based Wa Internationalhas been appointed by local developer Emaar Propertiesas the interior designer for the Burj Dubai Lake Hotel. The local/Belgian joint venture of Arabtec Constructionand Bel Hasa Six Constructwas selected for the estimated AED 725 million ($197 million) main package to build the 300-metre-high hotel in October(MEED 7:10:05). South Africa's Mirage Mille Leisure & Developmentis the project manager; the architect is
  • Washington announces strategy for victory in Iraq

    President Bush said in a speech at the US Naval Academy in Maryland on 30 November that US troops would remain in Iraq for as long as necessary, even if this required sending more troops. Bush refused to accept 'anything less than complete victory' in Iraq or to give an 'artificial deadline' for the withdrawal of US forces. Victory in Iraq will come when the country is 'peaceful, united, stable and secure, well integrated into the international community and a full partner in
  • Washington considers contact with Brotherhood

    The US on 8 December signalled that it was likely to establish unofficial contact with the Muslim Brotherhood. The Islamist organisation won 88 seats in Egypt's recent parliamentary elections and has emerged as the main opposition movement to President Mubarak's ruling National Democratic Party. 'I would expect us to meet the independent candidates,' a US State Department official said, according to media reports.Candidates for the Brotherhood were permitted to stand only as
  • Washington delays troop deployment

    The US military stalled the deployment of an army brigade to Iraq on 9 December in what could signal the start of a long-term withdrawal process, AFP reported. The Pentagon denied any decision had yet been made, but 'one [brigade] is delayed and one is on standby', a US defence official said. Although violence is expected to escalate before parliamentary elections on 15 December, the US is evaluating the potential for a slow withdrawal afterwards, the official said. 'The hope is that the co
  • Water plans need $50bn of liquidity

    Riyadh plans to spend SR 187,000 million ($50,000 million) over the next 25 years on increasing well sourced potable water and wastewater treatment plant capacity across the kingdom. 'We have major investment plans to raise the water reuse rate in both cities and rural areas,' said Abdulaziz al-Jaber, general manager of the project executions department at the Water & Electricity Ministry, at the MEED Water Reuse Conference in Abu Dhabi on 27 November.
  • Water: Reuse value

    The figures speak for themselves. Two-thirds of the earth's landmass is composed of water, but of that, only 3 per cent is fresh and potable. And of that, less than 1 per cent is found in the Middle East and North Africa, making the region among the driest on the planet.
  • Welcome to the hippodrome

    'We who are about to die, salute you,' shout the gladiators, and the six men raise their swords, shields, nets and tridents as cheers echo around the stadium.
  • West Bank gains for Hamas, but Fatah win overall

    Hamas, the Palestinian militant group, made big gains in the West Bank municipal elections, but Fatah won an overall victory, the Palestinian electoral commission said on 16 December. Hamas won 73 per cent of the vote in Nablus, the West Bank's biggest city and traditionally a stronghold of ruling party Fatah, where it polled just 13 per cent. Results announced elsewhere showed that Hamas had taken control of the Al-Bireh suburb of Ramallah and had won seven seats on the Jenin council, comp
  • Winds of change

    Oil market watchers always keep half an eye on weather forecasts. However, over the past few months, their attention has been more concentrated. As an unusually ferocious hurricane season has buffeted the US and its key producing regions, questions have been asked not only about the short-term disruption caused but also about the responsibility of the downstream industry - rather than OPEC and its counterparts - for prices that, while easing, remain at a level more than twice what producers once
  • Witness who recanted back in front of UN inquiry

    Hossam Taher Hossam, a former Syrian intelligence agent in Lebanon, was re-interviewed on 7 December by Detlev Mehlis, the head of the UN inquiry into the assassination of former Lebanese prime minister Rafiq Hariri. Hossam had publicly recanted on Syrian television the statement he had first given to Mehlis, saying he had lied and had been forced to give false evidence. Hossam accused Saad Hariri of attempting to bribe him to give evidence against senior Syrian officials. Hossam also claim
  • Women run for role in Jeddah chamber

    Women participated as voters and candidates in elections to the Jeddah Chamber of Commerce for the first time on 26 November. Seventeen women and 54 men ran for the 12 seats available on the board. Voting for female candidates took place on 26 and 27 November and the final count will be held place on 29 November.The turnout of women voters was low. 'We don't have a culture of voting and elections,' said Lama al-Sulaiman, one of the candidates. Despite the disappointing turnou
  • Work on Riyadh office towers moves ahead

    Saudi Consolidated Engineering Company (Khatib & Alami)is due to complete design work by February for an office tower to be built at King Fahd street in Riyadh. Estimated to cost SR 120 million ($32 million), the project will call for the construction of a 20-storey building with a car park. A tender for the main construction package is due to be issued by early summer. The facilities will take two years to complete. The client is a local private developer, which plans the construction of
  • Work on Riyadh office towers moves ahead

    Saudi Consolidated Engineering Company (Khatib & Alami)is due to complete design work by February for an office tower to be built at King Fahd street in Riyadh. Estimated to cost SR 120 million ($32 million), the project will call for the construction of a 20-storey building with a car park. A tender for the main construction package is due to be issued by early summer. The facilities will take two years to complete. The client is a local private developer, which plans the construction of
  • Work starts on Moon Beach hotel

    The local Al-Fadel Engineering Contracting Companyhas the first construction contract for excavation work on the $50 million, five-star, 323-room Moon Beach hotel, which forms part of the estimated $500 million Tala Bay development in the southern half of the Aqaba Special Economic Zone. The architectural firm is Italy's Alfredo Freda, which worked on the marina and residential apartments that form part of the Marina town development. The developer is Amman-based
  • Work starts on Moon Beach hotel

    The local Al-Fadel Engineering Contracting Companyhas the first construction contract for excavation work on the $50 million, five-star, 323-room Moon Beach hotel, which forms part of the estimated $500 million Tala Bay development in the southern half of the Aqaba Special Economic Zone. The architectural firm is Italy's Alfredo Freda, which worked on the marina and residential apartments that form part of the Marina town development. The developer is Amman-based
  • World Bank funds water supply upgrades

    The World Bank has approved a $38 million sovereign-guaranteed loan to national water company Societe Nationale d'Exploitation et de Distribution des Eaux (Sonede) to help fund a project to sustain the reliability and quality of water services in Greater Tunis and urban centres across the country. The project involves the augmentation, upgrade and renewal of water supply infrastructure, including the provision of three 10-36-kilometre pipelines, the installation of 13 reservoirs, each with capac
  • World Bank pushes education agenda

    The World Bank has approved its first loan to the country in 30 years, following its commitment at the end of July to extend $500 million in soft loans to Baghdad. The $100 million Third Emergency Education Project will finance the construction and furnishing of about 82 primary and secondary schools in 15 governorates. The World Bank estimates it will benefit about 57,000 students. The loan deal, to be provided by the International Development Agency (IDA), the World Bank's development arm, wil
  • WorleyParsons wraps up Musandam contract

    Oman's Oil & Gas Ministry has approved the award of the contract to Australia's WorleyParsonsto carry out front-end engineering and design (FEED) and detailed engineering for an unmanned wellhead platform at the offshore West Bukha gas field off the Musandam peninsula. A formal contract award is imminent (MEED 4:11:05).
  • WTO: Joining the club

    Twelve long years after Saudi Arabia applied to join the World Trade Organisation (WTO), the kingdom finally become the group's 149th member in November. For Riyadh, WTO membership had become a symbol of international respect and acceptance, being the world's largest oil producer and the only GCC country not in the WTO, which accounts for more than 97 per cent of global trade and is among the world's most influential economic clubs.
  • YanSab IPO approaches

    The initial public offering (IPO) of 35 per cent of shares in the project company for the Yanbu National Petrochemicals Company (YanSab)venture is due to be launched by the end of the year. Saudi Basic Industries Corporation (Sabic), the main investor in the project, has appointed Samba Financial Groupto arrange the offering.
  • Yasser Arafat Airport: Grounded in Gaza

    Closed since 2001, Yasser Arafat Airport could soon be Gaza's link with the rest of the world.
  • Yasser Arafat Airport: Grounded in Gaza

    Closed since 2001, Yasser Arafat Airport could soon be Gaza's link with the rest of the world.
  • Yemen village disaster kills 30

    A landslide in the Yemeni village of Al-Dhafir on 29 December has left 30 dead, 35 injured and dozens missing. The cause of the landslide, which swept away 30 houses, is still unclear. Yemen's seismology centre had picked up no sign of earthquakes or severe weather in the vicinity of the village, AFP reported. The army and police are digging through the rubble and more than 20 bodies have been recovered so far, according to media reports. Prime Minister Abdul Qadir Bajamal an
  • Yemeni woman will run for president

    Sumayah Ali Raja, the head of the Yemeni-French Forum, announced on 5 December that she will run for president in the September 2006 election. She will be the first Yemeni woman in the country's history to run for office. Raja said she hopes her candidacy would help to improve the legal and constitutional position of women in Yemen, according to Sanaa newspaper the Yemen Times. Raja added that she hopes to receive support from political parties and civil organisations. The cu
  • Zadco seeks Upper Zakum project manager

    At least five companies responded by 28 November to an initial inquiry for a contract to provide project management consultancy (PMC) services on a major gas treatment and reinjection scheme at the Upper Zakum field in offshore Abu Dhabi. The respondents include the UK's Mott MacDonald, Tebodin Middle East, part of Tebodin of the Netherlands, Australia's WorleyParsons, Jacobs Engineering and Foster Wheeler, both of the US.
  • Zarqawi accidentally released

    Iraqi Deputy Interior Minister Hussain Kamal said on 16 December that Al-Qaeda leader in Iraq, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, had been captured last year, but was mistakenly released. Zarqawi had been arrested in Falluja, but, after no one recognised him, he was released. 'He is human. He got away once, he will not get away next time. He will be tried for the crimes committed against the Iraqi people,' Kamal told AFP.Al-Zarqawi has a $25 million bounty on his head and i
  • ZPADCO wins more drilling work

    Saudi Aramco has awarded the local/Chinese ZP Arabia Drilling Company (ZPADCO)seven contracts totalling more than $185 million to supply and operate seven onshore oil drilling rigs in the kingdom. The awards bring the total number of drilling rig contracts awarded by Aramco to ZPADCO this year to 11.

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