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MEED
July 2005

View all stories from this issue.

  • A writer who lives the history of the UAE

    At the end of 2004, the third edition of Frauke Heard-Bey's groundbreaking From Trucial States to United Arab Emirates was published with an epilogue encompassing the period before the death last November of Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan al-Nahyan, Abu Dhabi's ruler from 1966 and the federation's first president.
  • Abbas tries to steady ceasefire

    Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas called for calm on 14 July after Israeli forces killed a Palestinian militant in the West Bank. 'We call on all sides to restrain themselves, so the situation remains calm, so we can resume the political process. The path of violence leads to nothing but destruction of peace,' Abbas said. Israeli troops shot dead Islamic Jihad leader Mohammed al-Asi during a raid in Nablus. Troops were searching for militants in connection with a suicide bombing
  • Abbas vows to halt rocket attacks

    Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas condemned on 17 July a spate of Hamas rocket attacks on Israeli targets in Gaza and Israel. 'We will do everything we can to prevent these rockets,' Abbas said. Security forces have clashed with militants in an effort to halt the attacks. Tel Aviv has started to amass troops on its borders with Gaza and said it would launch a ground assault if militants continued to fire mortars at Israeli targets. The recent upsurge in violence put further stra
  • ABG on the road to Damascus

    Albaraka Banking Group (ABG), the recently consolidated entity created out of nine Islamic banking subsidiaries of Saudi Arabia's Dallah Albaraka Group, has received in-principle permission by the Central Bank of Syria to establish a new bank with paid-up capital of $100 million. ABG will have a 49 per cent stake in the new bank, with local investors holding the remainder. The Syrian operation will be the latest in a series of overseas ventures for ABG, which has subsidiaries
  • Abu Dhabi moves ahead with revamps

    Six companies responded by 16 July to an initial inquiry for a study covering the debottlenecking of the oil production facilities on Zirku island in Abu Dhabi. The respondents are the US/Canadian VECO, Tebodin Middle East, part of Tebodinof the Netherlands, Paris-based Technip, WorleyParsons of Australia and Fluor Corporation and Foster Wheeler, both of the US. The study, aimed at increasing production to 750,00
  • Abu Dhabi, Dubai to set up credit bureau

    The Abu Dhabi Department of Economy & Planning (ADDEP) and the Dubai Department of Economic Development (DED) announced on 3 July that they had signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to establish a nationwide credit bureau. The organisation, to be operated as an independent private entity, will monitor the creditworthiness of individuals and companies throughout the federation. 'The need for an independent credit bureau has long been felt in the UAE, particularly with the country positioning
  • ABUDHABI: Out with the old

    For those who doubted Abu Dhabi's commitment to restructuring its sprawling public sector, think again. Seven months after UAE President and Abu Dhabi ruler Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed al-Nahyan announced a wholesale shake-up of the emirate's Executive Council, a radical overhaul of the sewerage and waste management sectors is now under way, while privatisation is approaching for the transmission and distribution system.
  • Adco studies onshore capacity hike

    Genesis Oil & Gas Consultants, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Paris-based Technip, has been awarded a contract to carry out a conceptual study and masterplan for the full development of the onshore Asab field in Abu Dhabi (MEED 25:2:05).
  • Adviser set for Royal appointment

    Royal Jordanian (RJ)is set to appoint a financial adviser once the World Bank has completed its financial study into privatising the national carrier.
  • ADWEA launches T&D privatisation programme

    Abu Dhabi Water & Electricity Authority (ADWEA) has invited expressions of interest by 15 July and prequalification applications by 27 July from international companies for two eight-year contracts to operate and manage its 100 per cent-owned subsidiaries, Al-Ain Distribution Company (AADC)and Abu Dhabi Distribution Company (ADDC). The outsourcing is the first stage in a partial privatisation of the two companies.
  • ADWEA mulls offers for Qidfa substation

    Evaluation of bids is under way at Abu Dhabi Water & Electricity Authority (ADWEA) for the contract to build a 400-kV gas-insulated switchgear (GIS) substation at Qidfa to serve the Fujairah independent water and power project (IWPP). The bidders include Europe's ABB, Germany's Siemens, Austria's VA Tech T&Dand TMT & DI Corporationof Japan. The consultant is Germany's Fichtner(MEED 13:5:05).
  • ADWEA plans major power work

    Bids are due to be submitted by 26 July for a contract to supply and install a 95-kilometre 400/220-kV double-circuit overhead transmission line (OHTL) between Taweelah power station and Sweihan in Abu Dhabi emirate. The prospective bidders for the estimated AED 300 million ($81 million) contract are South Korea's Hyundai Engineering & Construction Company, the local ETA, Europe's ABBand KEC and Larsen & Toubro, both of India. The consu
  • AEC stipulates local finance for desal projects

    State-owned Algerian Energy Company (AEC)has decided that future desalination projects must be financed by local banks in an effort to help absorb banking liquidity of more than $14,000 million. Those companies affected by the move say that it is likely to make the process of securing project finance much more difficult and may be a deterrent to their future involvement in the sector.
  • Ahmadi masterplan updated

    A group of the UK's WS Atkins, the local Gulf Consultand Ernst & Younghas completed a 10-week strategic study on the future of the Ahmadi township. As part of the contract, the group carried out a number of planning, traffic and urban design studies, which culminated in the preparation of a draft land-use plan, to cover the potential growth of Ahmadi until 2030. The client is state upstream operator Kuwait Oil Company (KOC).
  • Ahmadi masterplan updated

    A group of the UK's WS Atkins, the local Gulf Consultand Ernst & Younghas completed a 10-week strategic study on the future of the Ahmadi township. As part of the contract, the group carried out a number of planning, traffic and urban design studies, which culminated in the preparation of a draft land-use plan, to cover the potential growth of Ahmadi until 2030. The client is state upstream operator Kuwait Oil Company (KOC).
  • Ahmadinejad was not a hostage taker

    Three Iranian former hostage takers in the 1979 Tehran US embassy siege denied on 30 June that president-elect Mahmoud Ahmadinejad took part. Some of the former hostages have said that they recognised Ahmadinejad as one of their captors. But Mohsen Mirdamadi, one of the leaders of the embassy siege, said that the new president was not a member of the group. Another hostage taker, Hamid Reza Jalaiepour, said Ahmadinejad was a student at the Science & Technology University, which took a more
  • Airport shuts for two days over payment

    Baghdad International Airport was closed for two days on 25-26 June as the UK firm employed to provide security at the installation withdrew its services because of a dispute over payment. London-based Global Strategies Group, which provides armed security services to the airport, claimed it had not been paid by the Transport Ministry for several months and had no option but to withdraw its contractors. The airport reopened to international flights on 27 June after the two sides reac
  • AKC wins Burj landscaping consultancy

    The local Al-Khatib Cracknell (AKC)has been awarded the landscaping consultancy contract on the Burj Dubai development. Under the terms of the contract, AKC will provide the majority of the landscape masterplanning, detailed design and site supervision. The scope of works includes key open spaces, lake edges, promenades, the Old Town district, the lake fountain - which will be the world's tallest - various residential areas and sales centre complexes throughout the four-hectare devel
  • AKC wins Burj landscaping consultancy

    The local Al-Khatib Cracknell (AKC)has been awarded the landscaping consultancy contract on the Burj Dubai development. Under the terms of the contract, AKC will provide the majority of the landscape masterplanning, detailed design and site supervision. The scope of works includes key open spaces, lake edges, promenades, the Old Town district, the lake fountain - which will be the world's tallest - various residential areas and sales centre complexes throughout the four-hectare devel
  • Alba CEO appointed

    Ahmed Saleh al-Noaimi has taken over as acting chief executive officer (CEO) of Aluminium Bahrain (Alba), replacing Bruce Hall, whose contract expired on 30 June. Al-Noaimi has worked at Alba since 1974. Hall has been CEO for the past four years, overseeing the $1,700 million potline 5 project (MEED 20:5:05).
  • ALDAR issues souk prequal

    ALDAR Propertieshas begun prequalification for the main package on the estimated $325 million redevelopment of Abu Dhabi's central market. The client is also close to awarding the first construction package on the development, covering the earthworks and foundations package (MEED 3:6:05).
  • ALDAR issues souk prequal

    ALDAR Propertieshas begun prequalification for the main package on the estimated $325 million redevelopment of Abu Dhabi's central market. The client is also close to awarding the first construction package on the development, covering the earthworks and foundations package (MEED 3:6:05).
  • ALDAR Properties: Changing the mindset

    Back in December, investors were clamouring for shares in ALDAR Properties. So much so that investment bankers and analysts alike were sounding alarm bells. Bids for shares in the company's initial public offering (IPO) were tabled at more than AED 370,000 million - 450 times oversubscribed. The world, let alone the federation, had never seen anything quite like it.
  • Alfasel PP debt out to market

    Banks have been asked to respond by the end of July to the preliminary information memorandum (PIM) on the debt package for the Yanbu polypropylene (PP) project being developed by the local Alujian Corporationand to be operated by The National Propylene Company (Alfasel), a limited liability company. The sponsor is looking for $450 million in senior debt. It is understood that the deadline for responses from banks is likely to be extended. Gulf Investment Corpora
  • Al-Fattan steps up DIFC plans

    The local Al-Fattan Propertiesis pressing ahead with plans to build a new complex within the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) development. The project calls for the construction of a 50-storey residential tower and a 10-storey office building. Abu Dhabi-based Dutch Foundationis carrying out the piling and excavations package on the complex, located next to the gate entrance and opposite the proposed Ritz Carlton hotel. The client is looking to issue the estimat
  • Al-Fattan steps up DIFC plans

    The local Al-Fattan Propertiesis pressing ahead with plans to build a new complex within the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) development. The project calls for the construction of a 50-storey residential tower and a 10-storey office building. Abu Dhabi-based Dutch Foundationis carrying out the piling and excavations package on the complex, located next to the gate entrance and opposite the proposed Ritz Carlton hotel. The client is looking to issue the estimat
  • Algerian diplomats kidnapped in Baghdad

    Algeria's most senior envoy to Iraq and another Algerian diplomat have been kidnapped in Baghdad. Chief of mission Ali Balarousi, a diplomatic aide and their driver were abducted in a western neighbourhood of the Iraqi capital, according to police and embassy employees. Police officials said that the three were taken near the al-Sa'a restaurant in Mansour, where their car was stopped by gunmen in two cars.The kidnapping follows the abduction and killing earlier this month of
  • Algiers aims to finish east-west highway

    Tenders are expected in the summer for three contracts to build the remaining 900 kilometres of the planned 1,216-kilometre east-west highway across the north of the country. Bid documents are under preparation following the relaunch of the estimated $7,000 million project at a seminar organised by the Ministry of Public Works in Algiers in June. Completion is due in 2009.
  • Algiers aims to finish east-west highway

    Tenders are expected in the summer for three contracts to build the remaining 900 kilometres of the planned 1,216-kilometre east-west highway across the north of the country. Bid documents are under preparation following the relaunch of the estimated $7,000 million project at a seminar organised by the Ministry of Public Works in Algiers in June. Completion is due in 2009.
  • Algiers to let city water network concessions

    The management of water networks and systems in all of Algeria's cities is to be passed to the private sector, the government has announced, with operation and management (O&M) contracts expected to be signed for networks in seven cities by the end of 2006. Negotiations are under way between Algiers and France's Ondeoon an O&M contract for the capital's water infrastructure, and a contract is expected to be signed in September. A five-year concession with the option for renewal the m
  • Al-Kawther contract awarded

    The team of UAE-based Petrofac Internationaland the local Galfar Engineering & Contractinghas been awarded the combined front-end engineering and design (FEED) and engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract on the Al-Kawther gas gathering project. The value of the Petroleum Development Omancontract is $248 million (MEED 17:6:05).
  • Al-Khayala's Riyadh-Jeddah service takes off

    The local National Air Services (NAS)launched its first flight on 16 July under the name of Al-Khayala. The company will operate three modified AirbusA319s, flying several times a week between Riyadh and Jeddah. Initially, Al-Khayala will serve the high end of the market offering tickets on its luxury-configured aircraft at about $800 a seat. NAS is also planning to launch budget services linking cities throughout the kingdom and is expected to order several m
  • Almarai IPO kicks off

    The 10-day subscription to the initial public offering (IPO) in local dairy firm Almarai Companyopened on 4 July, offering investors the opportunity to subscribe to 4.5 million shares, representing 30 per cent of the firm's capital. The shares are priced at SR 512 ($136.50) each, with subscribers having to apply for a minimum of 10 but no more than 5,000. HSBCis acting as financial adviser and its local affiliate Saudi British Bank is lead manager and lead und
  • Al-Meer bids low for GC work

    The local Al-Meer Technical Services Companyis low bidder at KD 12.31 million ($42.4 million) for a contract to provide corrosion and scale monitoring and install an inhibitor injection package on gathering centre (GC) 14 in the southeast. Al-Meer's offer was just below the second-priced bid of KD 12.39 million ($42.7 million) submitted by Kuwait Controls Company. The local Bader al-Mullawas ranked third on price, at KD 13.7 million ($47.2 million). Five other
  • Al-Qaeda arrested and expelled from Iran

    Iranian Intelligence Minister Ali Younessi said on 16 July that more than 1,000 Al-Qaeda members have been detained in Iran since the end of the Taliban regime in 2001. Most of those arrested have been deported but about 200 remain in custody. Younessi said several thousand Afghans fled to Iran after the fall of the Taliban regime and that Al-Qaeda members intended to launch attacks on neighbouring countries from Iranian cities. Many Al-Qaeda operatives worked under the banner of Ansar al-I
  • Al-Qaeda in Iraq claims responsibility for kidnapping

    A group claiming to be Al-Qaeda in Iraq said on 23 July that it kidnapped two Algerian diplomats who disappeared two days before. 'The enemies of God and the tyrant countries should know that the head of the Algerian mission was taken from the most secured of areas,' the group said in a statement posted on the internet, which could not be verified. Algeria's top envoy Ali Balarousi and his colleague Azzedin Belkadi were snatched in the Mansour district of Baghdad. Egypt's envoy Ihab al-Sher
  • Al-Qaeda in Iraq will kill Egyptian ambassador

    A group claiming to be Al-Qaeda in Iraq said on 6 July that it would kill Egypt's top envoy to Iraq, who the group kidnapped on 2 July. 'The sharia court of Al-Qaeda in Iraq has decided to hand over the apostate, the ambassador of Egypt, which is allied to Jews and Christians, to the mujahideen to carry out the punishment of the apostate: and to kill him,' the group said in a statement posted on the internet. The statement appeared after images of Ihab al-Sherif's driving licence, foreign m
  • Al-Qaeda suspects testify

    Al-Qaeda suspects on trial in Amman for plotting an attack on Jordan's intelligence headquarters gave defiant testimonies. 'Our Sheikh Abu Musab al-Zarqawi said that if we had chemical weapons we would have hit Tel Aviv and the traitor collaborator [Jordanian] regime,' London daily Al-Hayat quoted one of the defendants, Hussain Sharif, as saying. Four accused, including Al-Zarqawi, are being tried in absentia. 'I came back to Jordan to perform the Islamic duty of jihad and kill the infidel
  • Al-Qaeda suspects testify in Amman plot

    Al-Qaeda suspects on trial in Amman for plotting an attack on Jordan's intelligence headquarters gave defiant testimonies, Al-Hayat and Al-Sharq al-Awsat newspapers reported on 14 July. 'Our Sheikh Abu Musab al-Zarqawi said that if we had chemical weapons we would have hit Tel Aviv and the traitor collaborator [Jordanian] regime,' Al-Hayat quoted one of the defendants Hussein Sharif as saying. Four accused, including Al-Zarqawi, are being tried in absentia. 'I came back to Jordan to perform
  • Al-Qaeda will kill Algerian envoys

    Al-Qaeda in Iraq said on 26 July that it would kill the two Algerian diplomats it kidnapped on 21 July. 'The judicial court of the Organisation of Al-Qaeda in Iraq has sentenced to death the diplomatic envoys of the apostate Algerian government,' the group said in a statement posted on the internet. Mission chief Ali Belaroussi and attache Azzedine Belkadi were abducted by gunmen near the Algerian embassy in the Mansour district of Baghdad. Images of Belaroussi's identity cards were later u
  • Amlak launches sukuk

    Amlak Finance, the home finance subsidiary of Dubai-based developer Emaar Properties, has launched its debut sukuk, priced at 120 basis points over Libor. The five-year, $200 million issue was arranged by HSBC Amanahand Emirates Islamic Bank. The notes will be listed on the Dubai Financial Market.
  • Amnesty labels insurgents as war criminals

    Amnesty International on 25 July issued a damning report on the war crimes committed by Iraqi anti-government forces. The 56-page report, entitled Iraq, In Cold Blood: Abuses by Armed Groups, condemns insurgent killings, kidnappings and torture of civilians as 'totally beyond the pale of acceptable behaviour: Those carrying out such acts are criminals, nothing less, whose actions undermine any claim they may have to be pursuing a legitimate cause'.Citing claims by an Iraqi go
  • Aoun may join government

    Christian opposition leader Michel Aoun said on 9 July that he might consider joining the government of Prime Minister Fouad Siniora. 'After Siniora's decision to revisit talks and consider the composition of the cabinet: we have returned to the principle of participation,' Aoun said. 'I hope that the government will be formed rapidly and that we will participate in it,' he said.Aoun had spurned a role in government after Siniora denied his request to award the Justice Minist
  • APM heads for ports contract

    Netherlands-based APM Terminals, part of Denmark's Maersk, has been selected as preferred bidder by the Finance Ministry for the concession to operate Mina Salman port and the new Khalifa bin Salman port at Hidd. The duration of the contract is 25 years (MEED 15:4:05).
  • Arab Bank chairman dies

    AArab Bank chairman Abdul Majid Shoman died in hospital in Amman on 5 July. He will be buried on 6 July in a royal ceremony. Shoman, who was born in 1911, came from a Palestinian family that founded Arab Bank in Jerusalem in 1930. The bank later moved its headquarters to Jordan and intervened several times in currency markets to support the Jordanian economy. Shoman was admitted to hospital in June suffering from fatigue.
  • Arab Parliament on the horizon

    The Arab Parliamentary Union met in Algiers on 12 July to discuss the establishment of a pan-Arab interim legislature. 'The current challenges facing the Arab world call for legislatures capable of dealing with the concerns of Arab citizens,' said Algerian National Assembly speaker Amar Saadani. Arab League secretary-general Amr Moussa attended the meeting, during which delegates from 20 Arab nations considered the plan to establish an Arab parliament agreed at the Arab summit in Algiers in
  • Aramco signs China refinery deal

    Construction is due to begin on the Fujian integrated refining and ethylene joint venture project after Saudi Aramcoand its two partners in the scheme, Beijing-based Fujian Petrochemical Company (FPC) and the US' ExxonMobil Corporation,signed the contract at an official groundbreaking ceremony on 8 July. Aramco and Exxon will each hold 25 per cent in the project, with FPC, 50 per cent-owned by China's Sinopec, holding the remainder. The project cal
  • Aramco solicits interest for Yanbu gas plant expansion

    Saudi Aramcois preparing to release invitation to bid (ITB) documents in November for the project to expand the Yanbu gas plant, after international contractors responded to a solicitation of interest (SoI) by 28 June. The expansion is part of a larger programme at Aramco aimed at boosting gas production in order to meet fast-growing domestic demand, which is largely driven by power and petrochemical projects.
  • Aramco tenders another pipeline

    Saudi Aramco has invited companies to submit bids by 26 July for a five-year gas pipeline maintenance contract, which is valued at up to $300 million. Called onshore maintenance potential, the contract involves the servicing and upkeep of gas pipelines in 14 areas including Abqaiq, Shaybah, Shedgum, Qatif and Uthmaniyah. The prospective bidders include RH al-Marri Establishment, Faysal M Qahtani Establishment and Tamimi Construction, all local, Lebanon'
  • Arcapita aims high

    The local Arcapita, the renamed First Islamic Investment Bank, has unveiled three new major residential developments, with a total investment value of more than $1,500 million.
  • Arcapita aims high

    The local Arcapita, the renamed First Islamic Investment Bank, has unveiled three new major residential developments, with a total investment value of more than $1,500 million.
  • Arcapita plans multicurrency sukuk

    Bahrain-based Arcapitahas mandated Bayerische HypoVereinsbank, Standard Bankand WestLBto arrange a $200 million murabaha sukuk issue. Roadshows kicked off on 29 June and will take in Asia, the Middle East and Europe.
  • Aromatics meetings held

    Bank meetings were held in Dubai on 12 July to provide details of the proposed aromatics complex at Sohar, being developed by Oman Oil Companyin partnership with Sohar Refinery Companyand South Korea's LG International. Representatives of international banks were also invited to attend the Dubai gathering, following the forced cancellation of a meeting in London the previous week. Total project costs are put at $1,100 million and the debt/equity split will be
  • Atlantis loan signed

    The $700 million limited recourse loan to part-fund the Atlantis development on Palm Jumeirah has been signed. The mandated lead arrangers (MLAs) on the borrowing, one of the largest ever for a local real estate project, were Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank, Barclays Capital, Commercial Bank of Dubai, Emirates Financial Services and HSBC, which was also the bookrunner. Clifford Chanceacted as legal adviser. The estimated $1,200 mi
  • Attacks on aid workers halt food registration

    UN aid workers stopped the registration of refugees in several camps in Darfur on 8 July because of violence. Men armed with sticks attacked staff from the World Food Programme (WFP) and the office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) as they tried to make lists of people due to receive food aid in camps around El-Geneina in west Darfur. WFP and the UNHCR and other aid agencies withdrew their workers. 'We'll have to see what the security situation looks like before continuing th
  • August repricing for Shiraz fertiliser

    The deadline has been extended to 7 August for the resubmission of commercial proposals on the Shiraz fertiliser project. Three groups bid for the estimated $200 million contract in March. They were: Japan's Kawasaki Heavy Industrieswith the local Nargan, Italy's Snamprogettiwith the local Energy Industries Engineering & Design, and Japan's Toyo Engineeringwith Switzerland's Ammonia Casaleand the local Petrochemical
  • Aviation CEOs in the departure lounge

    Abu Dhabi-based Etihad Airwaysannounced on 5 July the appointment of Robert Strodel as chief executive officer (CEO). Austrian-born Strodel, who had been in charge of the carrier's cargo division since its inception in 2003, becomes the carrier's first CEO. Elsewhere, Abdulrahman bin Harith al-Busaidy has stepped down as CEO of Oman Aviation Services Company, Oman Air'sholding company. He will remain in the post until the end of August.
  • Award approaches on Burj Dubai MEP

    Contractor selection is expected by the end of July for the mechanical, electrical and plumbing (MEP) package on the Burj Dubai tower project. Companies competing for the award, valued at more than $200 million, include a group of the UK's Drake & Scull International, the local Thermoand India's Blue Star, and a group made up of the local Emirates Trading Agency, India's Voltasand Japan's Hitachi Plant. Five groups were orig
  • Award approaches on Burj Dubai MEP

    Contractor selection is expected by the end of July for the mechanical, electrical and plumbing (MEP) package on the Burj Dubai tower project. Companies competing for the award, valued at more than $200 million, include a group of the UK's Drake & Scull International, the local Thermoand India's Blue Star, and a group made up of the local Emirates Trading Agency, India's Voltasand Japan's Hitachi Plant. Five groups were orig
  • Awards near on landmark buildings

    Contract awards are expected in July on two major building contracts. Final prices were due to be submitted in early July for the estimated $350 million-400 million contract to build the 7,000-seat convention centre at Education City for the Qatar Foundation for Education, Science & Community Development. The bidders include Six Construct of Belgium, Cyprus-based Joannou & Pareskevaides (J&P - Overseas) and Austria's Strabag(MEED 17:6:05; 25:3:05). Final techn
  • Awards near on landmark buildings

    Contract awards are expected in July on two major building contracts. Final prices were due to be submitted in early July for the estimated $350 million-400 million contract to build the 7,000-seat convention centre at Education City for the Qatar Foundation for Education, Science & Community Development. The bidders include Six Construct of Belgium, Cyprus-based Joannou & Pareskevaides (J&P - Overseas) and Austria's Strabag(MEED 17:6:05; 25:3:05). Final techn
  • Ayla Oasis award nears

    The $700 million Ayla Oasis project in Aqaba is moving forward, with selection close of a contractor for the first infrastructure package. The developer is Ayla Oasis Development Company, owned by Saudi Arabia's Arab Supply & Trading Establishment (ASTRA).
  • Ayla Oasis award nears

    The $700 million Ayla Oasis project in Aqaba is moving forward, with selection close of a contractor for the first infrastructure package. The developer is Ayla Oasis Development Company, owned by Saudi Arabia's Arab Supply & Trading Establishment (ASTRA).
  • Baghdad airport shuts

    Baghdad airport closed on 25 June due to a contractual dispute between Baghdad and UK firm Global, which provides security at the facility. The airport will remain shut indefinitely. The BBC reported that the Transport Ministry has not paid Global for three months. Military flights are unaffected by the closure but commercial flights to towns in Iraq and the region will not operate until the dispute is resolved. The airport road is one of the most dangerous thoroughfares in Iraq and flights
  • Baghdad to unveil GSM licensing plans

    Baghdad has announced that it will hold a telecoms conference in London on 21-22 July to reveal plans for its mobile and fixed-line networks. During the conference it is expected that telecoms regulator, the National Communications & Media Commission (NCMC), will issue a tender for a new GSM licence as well as issue a request for quotation (RFQ) for two contracts covering the installation and operation of a wireless local loop (WLL) network.
  • Baghdad urges countries to send ambassadors

    Investigations into the kidnap and murder of Egypt's ambassador to Iraq are continuing, an official at the Interior Ministry said on 8 July. A group claiming to be Al-Qaeda in Iraq killed Ihab el-Sherif on 7July. Baghdad urged foreign governments to post top diplomats to Iraq and offered them protection. 'Arab and Islamic countries are asked to prove their seriousness in combating terrorism and send their ambassadors to Baghdad so they send the right message to the terrorists,' a statement
  • Baghdad, Tehran close to oil deal

    The Iraqi and Iranian governments have announced they are close to finalising a deal that will see Baghdad export up to 150,000 barrels a day (b/d) of oil to Tehran in return for the supply of refined products. The agreement was announced during a trip by Iraqi Prime Minister Ibrahim Jaafari to Tehran in mid-July. Under the terms of the prospective deal, the two countries will build a 30-kilometre oil pipeline between Basra and the region's largest refinery complex at Abadan in Iran. The two sid
  • Bahrain amnesty decree condemned

    The Bahrain Human Rights Society called on the government on 30 June to scrap a royal decree that gives immunity to officials who targeted political unrest in the 1990s. 'This decree no. 56 is against human rights and we call for its annulment and to find a mechanism for national reconciliation,' said the group's secretary-general, Sabeeka al-Najjar. Critics of the decree claimed that its purpose was to protect security officials guilty of torturing individuals during Shia political action
  • Banks board ELNG

    Egyptian LNG(ELNG)has signed the documents for the $880 million financing package on its second train project at Idku. Financial close and first drawdown is expected in September.
  • Banks to list on growing PSE

    Bank of Palestineand Commercial Bank of Palestineare expected to list on the Palestine Securities Exchange (PSE) by the end of July. Bank of Palestine, the largest Palestinian bank, will make a public offering of shares worth about $20 million and Commercial Bank of Palestine of $14 million. 'When the Capital Markets Authority is formed, we will see an increase in the number of companies listed,' says Mohammed Hijaz, head of listings and company affairs at the PSE. Capital Mar
  • Barclays, KPMG enter DIFC

    Barclays Capital, the investment banking arm of Barclays Bank, and KPMGhave both received licences to operate from Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC). The two will firms are the latest companies to start operating from the DIFC since the centre opened last September.
  • Bechtel wins last AGD-2 package

    Abu Dhabi Gas Industries Company (Gasco)announced in mid-July the award of a $1,241 million contract to the US' Bechtel for package 3 on the third phase of the onshore gas development (OGD-3) and phase 2 of the Asab gas development (AGD-2) project. The award came after two companies - the other being Paris-based Technip - submitted final prices in late June (MEED 17:6:05).
  • Ben Ali rejects Tunisian Islamists

    Tunisian President Ben Ali said on 25 July that there was no place for Islamist groups in politics. 'Dialogue has always taken place with parties and legally recognised organisations that are respectful of the constitution, but there is no place at all for a dialogue with any political current acting under the cover of religion,' Ben Ali said in a speech to mark Tunisia's 48th anniversary. The ban applied to individuals, social welfare groups and other associations, he said. His announcemen
  • Berri re-elected as parliamentary speaker

    The new Lebanese parliament re-elected pro-Syrian Nabih Berri as its speaker on 28 June by 90 votes to one. Thirty-seven Christian MPs spoiled their ballots in protest. Saad Hariri's anti-Syria Future bloc backed Berri's nomination on condition that he would allow reform. Berri has held the post, which is the highest political position for a Shia under Lebanon's confessional system, since 1992. His re-election reflects the overwhelming support received from Shia voters for the alliance of h
  • BFH insurance centre let, infrastructure out

    Sharjah-based Al-Hamad Contracting Companyhas been awarded the estimated BD 12 million ($31.6 million) design and build contract for the Bahrain International Insurance Centre (BIIC), part of the second phase of the Bahrain Financial Harbour project, by the developer, Gulf Finance House. Piling work has been completed on the 22-storey building, which covers an area of more than 19,000 square metres. The facility is designed to provide a home for the kingdom's insurance in
  • BFH insurance centre let, infrastructure out

    Sharjah-based Al-Hamad Contracting Companyhas been awarded the estimated BD 12 million ($31.6 million) design and build contract for the Bahrain International Insurance Centre (BIIC), part of the second phase of the Bahrain Financial Harbour project, by the developer, Gulf Finance House. Piling work has been completed on the 22-storey building, which covers an area of more than 19,000 square metres. The facility is designed to provide a home for the kingdom's insurance in
  • Bidders line up for Satah

    Four companies - Australia's WorleyParsons, the US/Canadian VECO, US-based Jacobs Engineeringand Tebodin Middle East, part of Tebodin of the Netherlands - submitted commercial and technical bids to Zakum Development Company (Zadco)on 11 July for the front-end engineering and design (FEED) package on the Satah field development project in offshore Abu Dhabi (MEED 11:3:05).
  • Bidding kicks off on Fujairah IWPP

    The request for proposals (RFP) was issued in early July for the Fujairah independent water and power project (IWPP). Twenty-three prequalified developers have been invited to submit bids by 15 November. The client on the brownfield IWPP is Abu Dhabi Water & Electricity Authority (ADWEA - MEED 10:6:05).
  • Bids due for Juffair work

    The Works & Housing Ministry has invited companies to submit bids by 9 August for the reclamation contract covering the Al-Najma model sports club development. The scope of works covers filling an eight-hectare site off the Juffair shoreline with about 1 million cubic metres of material and constructing a rock-armoured bund around the site. The project is part of the government's programme to build sport complexes around the kingdom. Germany's Tilkewas the masterplan consultant (MEED
  • Bids due for Juffair work

    The Works & Housing Ministry has invited companies to submit bids by 9 August for the reclamation contract covering the Al-Najma model sports club development. The scope of works covers filling an eight-hectare site off the Juffair shoreline with about 1 million cubic metres of material and constructing a rock-armoured bund around the site. The project is part of the government's programme to build sport complexes around the kingdom. Germany's Tilkewas the masterplan consultant (MEED
  • Bids in for airport upgrade

    Evaluation of bids is under way for the contract to build a third terminal at Sanaa International Airport, after companies submitted design and build bids in early July. The client, the Civil Aviation & Meteorological Authority, is expected to make an award in late September (MEED 27:5:05).
  • Bids in for airport upgrade

    Evaluation of bids is under way for the contract to build a third terminal at Sanaa International Airport, after companies submitted design and build bids in early July. The client, the Civil Aviation & Meteorological Authority, is expected to make an award in late September (MEED 27:5:05).
  • Bids in for Qatofin marine works

    Technical bid evaluation is under way at the local/French Qatofinfor the marine works package on its downstream petrochemical project at Mesiaeed. Bidders for the estimated $30 million engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract include Geneva-registered Archirodon Construction (Overseas), Athens-based Consolidated Contractors International Company (CCC)and Belgium's Six Construct(MEED 29:4:05).
  • Bids in for Skygardens

    Bids were submitted on 6 July for the main package on the estimated $120 million Skygardens tower in the Park Avenue district of Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC). The high-rise luxury residential development calls for the construction of a 170-metre-high, 40-storey tower. Bahrain-based Projacs Internationalis the project manager; the UK's Atkinsis the architect. First Dubai Holding Company, a subsidiary of Kuwait's Global Investment House
  • Bids in for Skygardens

    Bids were submitted on 6 July for the main package on the estimated $120 million Skygardens tower in the Park Avenue district of Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC). The high-rise luxury residential development calls for the construction of a 170-metre-high, 40-storey tower. Bahrain-based Projacs Internationalis the project manager; the UK's Atkinsis the architect. First Dubai Holding Company, a subsidiary of Kuwait's Global Investment House
  • Bids in for Zallaq designs

    Design bids were submitted in mid-July for the Zallaq beach resort, to be built on the site of the old Bahrain Petroleum Company (Bapco)beach in the west of the kingdom. The estimated $50 million project will include a five-star hotel, a conference centre, and retail and leisure facilities. The client is JA Zayani & Sons.
  • Bids in for Zallaq designs

    Design bids were submitted in mid-July for the Zallaq beach resort, to be built on the site of the old Bahrain Petroleum Company (Bapco)beach in the west of the kingdom. The estimated $50 million project will include a five-star hotel, a conference centre, and retail and leisure facilities. The client is JA Zayani & Sons.
  • Bids invited for Pearl platforms and pipelines

    The Royal/Dutch Shell Group has issued for bid the two offshore engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) packages on its Pearl gas-to-liquids (GTL) project at Ras Laffan. Technical bids are due to be submitted by 1 September for the estimated $300 million platforms package, which will involve installation of two wellhead jackets with processing topsides. A tentative deadline of 14 September has been set for the submission of commercial bids. The prospective bidders include Jeb
  • Bids opened for Azadegan

    A team of Italy's Saipemand the local Sazeh Consultis in line to win a contract worth more than $300 million for the first phase of work at the Azadegan oil field. The team was the low bidder for the contract ahead of a Japanese partnership of JGC Corporationwith Chiyoda Corporationand Canada's SNC Lavalin. The client, Japan's Inpex, is understood to still be seeking involvement in the project from a major international oil
  • Bids opened for SEC T&D packages

    Bids were submitted in early July to Saudi Electricity Company (SEC) for three packages on the Khursaniyah transmission and distribution (T&D) project in the Eastern Province. For package 1, covering the turnkey construction of a 380/115-kV substation at Khursaniyah, the local/South Korean Middle East Engineering & Development Company (Meedco)is the low bidder at SR 185.6 million ($49.5 million). The local National Contracting Company (NCC) is the low bidder a
  • Bids studied for more clinics

    Bids were submitted in late June to the Health Ministry for a contract to build 450 clinics across the kingdom. Estimated to be worth SR 1,800 million ($480 million), the two-year contract will involve the construction of single-storey buildings. It will include external works, car parking, landscaping and sidewalks. The client is the Health Ministry, which recently awarded an estimated SR 1,100 million ($295 million) contract to Saudi Oger for the construction of 150 clinics MEED 10
  • Bids studied for more clinics

    Bids were submitted in late June to the Health Ministry for a contract to build 450 clinics across the kingdom. Estimated to be worth SR 1,800 million ($480 million), the two-year contract will involve the construction of single-storey buildings. It will include external works, car parking, landscaping and sidewalks. The client is the Health Ministry, which recently awarded an estimated SR 1,100 million ($295 million) contract to Saudi Oger for the construction of 150 clinics MEED 10
  • Bids studied for OGD-3/ AGD-2 packages

    Bids have been submitted for two subcontracts, worth a total of about $130 million, on package 2 of the third phase of the onshore gas development (OGD-3) and phase 2 of the Asab gas development (AGD-2) project in Abu Dhabi. Three companies - Punj Lloyd, Descon Engineeringof Pakistan and the local/Lebanese Lahoud Engineering - submitted commercial bids on 11 July for the larger of the two packages. Worth $100 million, it covers mechanical works and piping and
  • Blair asks Riyadh to support Palestinian aid

    UK Prime Minister Tony Blair asked Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Abdullah on 3 July to back an aid package for Palestinians that he will present to the G8 summit in mid-July. The plan will give financial support to the Palestinian Authority (PA) following Tel Aviv's withdrawal from Gaza. 'We discussed the Middle East situation and I explained that we wanted to have an initiative at the G8 next week to help the PA in the wake of the disengagement,' Blair said. 'Obviously the support of Saudi A
  • Bluewater to lay anchor in Abu Dhabi

    Abu Dhabi Oil Company (ADOC) has awarded an engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract to Bluewater Energy Services of the Netherlands for a single point mooring (SPM) calm buoy to be installed at the Mubarraz oil field. The contract includes the supply and installation of a pipeline and manifold, telemetry system and related facilities. The calm buoy will be designed to serve 330,000-dwt tankers and is planned to be delivered by mid-2006.
  • BMB rights issue done

    Bahrain-based BMB Investment Bankhas closed the first stage of its capital restructuring, raising $35.5 million through a rights issue. Of the 200 million shares on offer at $0.25 each, 71 per cent were taken up. The next stage, due to begin on 11 July and close on 25 July, will see a further $50 million raised through a private placement and a debt-for-equity conversion. New share certificates are due to be issued on 31 August with a view to the resumption of trading of BMB's shares
  • BMI flies to Riyadh

    UK carrier BMI on 28 June announced that it would start operating a three-flight-a-week service to Riyadh from London Heathrow from 1 September. BMI will be the only UK carrier to operate flights to Saudi Arabia and will offer a three-class service on an AirbusA330 aircraft. Flights are scheduled to be operated each Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday. The BMI announcement follows the decision by British Airways earlier this year to suspend its flights to the kingdom
  • Bomber kills 27, mostly children

    A suicide bomber killed 27 people, almost all of them children, on 13 July in Baghdad. About 70 people were injured when the bomber drove a car laden with explosives at a US military vehicle in the Al-Jedidah district. 'Many Iraqi civilians, mostly children, were around the Humvee at the time of the blast,' said US military spokesman Sgt David Abrams. Witnesses said the US soldiers were handing out sweets at the opening of a water treatment plant. The blast also damaged houses in the vicini
  • Borouge kicks off Ruwais expansion

    Abu Dhabi Polymers Company (Borouge)announced on 12 July the award of the project management consultancy (PMC) and financial advisory contracts on the expansion of its world-scale petrochemicals complex at Ruwais.
  • Bosnians win transmission work

    Bosnia's Energoinvesthas been awarded two power transmission contracts worth a combined Eur 34 million ($40 million) by state power company Sonelgaz. The company has won the contract to build a 480-kV power transmission line with a bid of Eur 11.2 million ($13.4 million). The line will form part of the Mediterranean energy network, linking Algeria with Europe via Turkey. Energoinvest has also been awarded a Eur 23 million ($27.6 million) contract to build and equip six po
  • BOT plant moves to Hormozgan

    The build-operate-transfer (BOT) power plant planned at Assaluyeh is to be relocated to Genaveh, another port close by on the Hormozgan coast. Five foreign/local joint venture partnerships have been prequalified to bid for the project by the early September deadline (MEED 11:3:05). The client, Iran Power Development Company (IPDC), is promoting the project on behalf of Iran Power Generation, Transmission & Distribution Company (Tavanir), the state power company. The five
  • Bourse of choice

    DIFX
  • Bouteflika promises amnesty referendum

    President Bouteflika announced on 3 July that the government would hold a national referendum on his amnesty plan very soon. He urged Algerians to vote in favour of his initiative. 'My objective is to put an end to the violence: I am waiting for you to get our country out of the deadly crisis,' Bouteflika said. The referendum is part of his national reconciliation plan, which aims to encourage militants to disarm. The amnesty proposal is believed to cover security officers suspected of ille
  • Breaking the mould

    With a spectacular 100-metre-high arch forming a symbolic gateway to the Gulf at the outer edge of Palm Jumeirah, the $1,100 million Atlantis hotel and theme park is destined to become one of Dubai's most iconic developments. But even before the first concrete slab has been poured, the project has already become a landmark in the emirate's construction industry, pioneering new ways of financing and building major tourist developments.
  • British sign up for Bid Boland gas plant

    Two UK-led consortia signed in late June engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contracts totalling $2,200 million for work at the Bid Boland gas plant in Khouzestan Province. The client is National Iranian Gas Company (NIGC)and the project manager is the local Petropars(MEED 3:6:05).
  • Brokers welcomed on gold bourse

    The Dubai Gold & Commodities Exchange (DGCX) announced on 28 June that it was open for membership applications in preparation for its start-up in November. DGCX will have two categories of membership: broker members who will be able to trade on all market segments of DGCX such as precious metals, energy and agricultural commodities, either as a principal or on behalf of clients; and trade members who can deal only in the trade segment for which membership has been taken and as a principal only.
  • Brown & Root upgrades Benghazi

    Benghazi Municipality has awarded UK-based Brown & Root North Africa a consultancy contract to upgrade the city's water supply and wastewater systems. Under the terms of the contract, the consultant will review the city's existing water network, which is based on a masterplan designed by Brown & Root in the early 1990s, and develop a new scheme for the city.
  • BSF appointed for data services finance

    Banque Saudi Fransihas been appointed financial adviser on a debt package for the local Integrated Telecom Company (ITC), which was awarded a data services licence by the Communications & Information Technology Commission in March. BSF will also underwrite 50 per cent of the financing, expected to be worth about $250 million. ITC is owned by 12 local shareholders, led by Mawarid Investments.
  • Budget approved

    The National Assembly (parliament) in late June approved the revenue side of the 2005-06 budget, projecting income of BD 1,240 million ($3,263 million) in 2005 and BD 1,250 million ($3,290 million) in 2006. Oil revenues were estimated at BD 890 million ($2,342 million) in 2005 and BD 895 million ($2,355 million) in 2006, while non-hydrocarbon income was put at BD 335 million ($882 million) and BD 350 million ($921 million). Expenditure figures are due to be discussed imminently. The executive an
  • Building a safe haven

    The headline in the Jordan Times on 20 June said it all: 'Jordan's security vital to US.' The previous day, visiting US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice told a press conference in Amman: 'We have no better friend than Jordan, a good friend and a strategic partner in a shared vision of peace and stability and, increasingly, a shared vision of reform in this region.'
  • Calming the market

    In Saudi Arabia, people fought in the street for share application forms. In the UAE, one issue was oversubscribed 800 times. In Oman, a quarter of the population bought into the latest share offering. Initial public offerings (IPOs) are the flavour of the month in the Gulf.
  • Canadians study Mukhaizna

    Conceptual studies are under way by Canada's WorleyParsons MEGin co-operation with the US' Occidental Petroleumfor the Mukhaizna enhanced oil recovery (EOR) scheme. The project calls for the use of thermal injection techniques to raise production from the field to 150,000 barrels a day (b/d) from 10,000 b/d by 2011. An Occidental-led consortium signed a production sharing agreement for the field on 21 June (MEED 24:6:05)
  • Capital gets down to tunnel work

    Abu Dhabi is pressing ahead with plans to build three new tunnels in the centre of the city, with construction expected to be completed by 2009. The consultant is De Leuw Cather International, part of the US' Parsons International.
  • Capital gets down to tunnel work

    Abu Dhabi is pressing ahead with plans to build three new tunnels in the centre of the city, with construction expected to be completed by 2009. The consultant is De Leuw Cather International, part of the US' Parsons International.
  • Car bomb targets Lebanese Defence Minister

    A car bomb injured Lebanon's pro-Syrian Defence Minister Elias Murr on 12 July and killed two others. The blast occurred as Murr's motorcade drove through the Christian suburb of Antelias. 'I know the country is going through a difficult phase and we all have to be steadfast until this phase passes,' said Murr in a statement from his hospital bed. Murr is the son-in-law of pro-Syrian President Lahoud. Michel Aoun, who is a friend of Murr's father Michel, said the Defence Mini
  • Cement hits new highs

    The kingdom's growing cement shortage drove prices to new highs in the second week of July, despite attempts by Riyadh to cool the market. Prices reached SR 23 ($6.13) a bag on 12 July, up nearly 60 per cent since May. Contractors in Jeddah are reporting delays on some projects in the western region as producers struggle to meet the demand.
  • Cement: Maintaining a fine balance

    Another day, another press conference. Most journalists in the UAE are fairly blase about the seemingly endless stream of media events. But last November, their interest was aroused when mighty property developer Nakheel suddenly requested their presence at Jebel Ali port for an important announcement. As journalists huddled in the port's main boardroom, an air of confusion and anticipation reigned.
  • Central bank issues five licences

    The Bahrain Monetary Agency (BMA - central bank) has issued five new licences to financial institutions. The greenfield, sharia-compliant Venture Capital Bank, a $50 million venture by local and Saudi investors, was granted approval, as was Reef, another new institution which will provide real estate finance. It is capitalised at BD 20 million ($52.6 million) and Al-Khaleej Development Company (Tameer)and Ossis Property Developers, both local, and
  • Chinese close in on cement job

    China National Machinery & Equipment Import & Export Corporation (CMEC)is close to being awarded the contract to expand the Bajil cement factory, taking capacity to 800,000 tonnes a year (t/y) from 600,000 t/y. The other bidder left in the running is France's Satarem. The UK's Cement Consultancy Associatesis the consultant to the client, the General Cement Authority (MEED 25:3:05).
  • Citigroup takes AlexBank advisory

    Citigrouphas been awarded the mandate to advise on the sale of Bank of Alexandria, the country's fourth largest state-owned bank. The adviser will carry out a review of the bank's operations and recommend a strategy for the sale. Bank of Alexandria holds about 6.2 per cent of the deposits in the country's banking system, total assets of about $6,440 million and a net worth of $268 million.
  • City Centre readies for new hotels

    Dubai-based Majid al-Futtaim Investmentshas issued a major addendum to the main construction contract on the Bahrain City Centre mall in the Seef district. The addendum, which had been expected once designs were complete, covers the construction of two 16-storey hotels to be built on the proposed mall. The contract is now expected to be worth BD 133 million ($350 million) and will now include the construction of a three-storey mall with a built-up area of 450,000 square metres. It wi
  • City Centre readies for new hotels

    Dubai-based Majid al-Futtaim Investmentshas issued a major addendum to the main construction contract on the Bahrain City Centre mall in the Seef district. The addendum, which had been expected once designs were complete, covers the construction of two 16-storey hotels to be built on the proposed mall. The contract is now expected to be worth BD 133 million ($350 million) and will now include the construction of a three-storey mall with a built-up area of 450,000 square metres. It wi
  • CMA issues brokerage rules

    The Capital Market Authority (CMA) on 18 July issued two sets of rules implementing the remaining parts of the capital market law, dealing with brokerage activities. The authorised persons regulations address dealing, custody, managing and arranging activities and the securities business regulations cover rules for engaging in the securities business. In the past brokerage has been limited to banks (see Cover Story).
  • Commercials in for Port Said PP project

    Three international companies in early July submitted commercial offers to Egyptian Propylene & Polypropylene Company (EPPC) for the contract to build a major propane dehydrogenation (PDH) and polypropylene (PP) complex near Port Said. The companies are: Japan's Toyo Engineering Corporation; Germany's Linde; and Uhde, also of Germany. The bidders and EPPC, a 50:50 joint venture between the local Oriental Petrochemicals Company (OPC)and
  • Company formed for Caspian-Europe pipeline

    Five companies signed in late June a joint venture agreement to carry out the Nabucco Iran-Europe gas pipeline. The five companies - Turkey's Botas, Bulgargaz, Rumania's Tranzgaz, Hungary's MOLand Austria's OMV- have completed a feasibility study on the pipeline, which is supported by the EU (MEED 7:5:04).
  • Confusion in Baghdad over field development

    Early July saw mounting confusion at the Ministry of Oil over the prospective auction of 11 of the state's southern oil fields. An initial report by Reuters that an international bidding round will soon be held to grant concessions to international oil companies (IOCs) was contradicted by subsequent reports citing officials claiming that no such bidding round would take place. The initial report on 13 June quoted the ministry's director of oil field development, Hazim Sultan, as saying that Bagh
  • Confusion over Rohani resignation

    Iranian officials denied on 6 July an IRNA news agency report that Hassan Rohani, Iran's top nuclear negotiator, had resigned. Officials at the Supreme National Security Council (SNSC) headed by Rohani dismissed reports that he sent a resignation letter to President Khatami. 'It's a sheer lie. He has not resigned. Resigning at this time would be meaningless,' said SNSC spokesman Ali Agha Mohammadi. Rumours began to circulate about Rohani's future after the election of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to
  • CONSRUCTION COSTS: Price patterns particular to the region

    Contractors in Saudi Arabia are bracing themselves for a leap in construction costs after the kingdom's acute cement shortage dramatically hit home in June, when the price of cement jumped an astonishing 52 per cent in a month.
  • Constitution could be finished by the end of July

    The new Iraqi constitution may be ready by the end of July, President Talabani said on 19 July as Iraqi officials reported that gunmen had shot three Sunni members of the drafting committee. 'There are some issues raised by our Sunni Arab brothers about the constitution and we are discussing them and if we reach an agreement, I think the constitution could be ready by the end of the month,' Talabani said. The document was scheduled for completion by mid-August in time for a national referen
  • Contract signing awaited on DLR

    The consortium led by Japan's Mitsubishi Corporation is in final negotiations with DubaiMunicipality (DM) for the contract to build the Dubai Light Rail (DLR) system. DM officialshad said at the time of the signing of the letter of intent on 30 May that a formal award would be made by 25 June. However, the deadline passed without a formal contract award, although sources close to the project say the delay was just a formality. At least one other bidder from the remaining three consor
  • Contractor selection starts for Qipco tower

    Expression of interests went in on 11 July for the main contract on the Qatar Investments & Projects Development Holding Company (Qipco)office building in West Bay. The 50-storey building, which has been designed in the shape of a tornado and will comprise a reinforced concrete core with structural steel frame, will have an above ground floor area of 82,700 square metres, in addition to 20,000 square metres in the two-level basement. Various packages, including foundations, structura
  • Contractor selection starts for Qipco tower

    Expression of interests went in on 11 July for the main contract on the Qatar Investments & Projects Development Holding Company (Qipco)office building in West Bay. The 50-storey building, which has been designed in the shape of a tornado and will comprise a reinforced concrete core with structural steel frame, will have an above ground floor area of 82,700 square metres, in addition to 20,000 square metres in the two-level basement. Various packages, including foundations, structura
  • Correction

    There are about 1.4 million GSM subscribers in Yemen, and not as stated in MEED 27:5:05.
  • Corruption is rife but donors should not be deterred, says Iraqi minister

    Iraqi Planning Minister Barham Saleh said on 18 July that corruption was undermining reconstruction efforts in Iraq. 'We have a serious problem with corruption. It represents a great threat,' Saleh said. Nevertheless, 'Iraq expects precise projects and commitments from the donors,' he said. He was speaking at a meeting of Iraqi officials and international donors in Jordan to discuss aid to the country.On the same day, the total number of dead in Iraq topped 126 after a three-
  • Cost of living: Standing the heat

    The federation has become an expatriate paradise. Seventy per cent of the population is made up of foreigners ranging from the Indian subcontinent to Europe and the wider Arab world. The number of residents is rising by about 6 per cent a year. Dubai alone is forecast to see its population increase from 1 million to about 3.5 million by 2015. Abu Dhabi, which is home to 600,000 people, is expecting numbers to grow to about 1.35 million by 2020. Expatriates are lured by the tax-free environment a
  • Court clears Guantanamo detainee

    A Kuwaiti court cleared a former Guantanamo inmate on 29 June of charges that included committing an act of aggression against a foreign nation. 'The criminal court found Nasser Najr al-Mutairi innocent of all charges against him because of lack of evidence,' said Al-Mutairi's lawyer Mubarak al-Shimmari. US authorities held Al-Mutairi at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, until January when he was repatriated to Kuwait to face trial. He was charged with fighting with the Taliban against US forces in Afg
  • Court jails Western Sahara separatists

    A Moroccan court jailed 12 Western Saharan activists on 13 July for up to eight years. The defendants stood accused of criminal association, vandalism, resisting arrest and participating in an armed crowd. They were arrested during demonstrations for an independent Western Sahara, which was annexed by Rabat in 1975.
  • Cox to design UAE University campus

    Australia's Cox Grouphas been appointed design consultant on the UAE University campus project being developed by the local Mubadala Development Company. The appointment leaves the way open for the first packages to be tendered in the second quarter of 2006 on the $300 million-400 million project (MEED 25:2:05).
  • Cox to design UAE University campus

    Australia's Cox Grouphas been appointed design consultant on the UAE University campus project being developed by the local Mubadala Development Company. The appointment leaves the way open for the first packages to be tendered in the second quarter of 2006 on the $300 million-400 million project (MEED 25:2:05).
  • Daewoo signs up for Duqm port

    South Korea's Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineeringhas signed an agreement with the National Economy Ministry to build and operate a ship repair yard at Duqm port. The plan is understood to include a post-graving dock able to handle ultra-large crude carriers (ULCCs) up to 400,000 dwt and a ship repair yard, along with two breakwaters with a length of some four kilometres. The Transport & Communications Ministry has also invited bids by 28 August for the contract to build an air s
  • Daewoo signs up for Duqm port

    South Korea's Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineeringhas signed an agreement with the National Economy Ministry to build and operate a ship repair yard at Duqm port. The plan is understood to include a post-graving dock able to handle ultra-large crude carriers (ULCCs) up to 400,000 dwt and a ship repair yard, along with two breakwaters with a length of some four kilometres. The Transport & Communications Ministry has also invited bids by 28 August for the contract to build an air s
  • Damascus claims 37 Syrians murdered in Lebanon

    Relations between Damascus and Beirut continued to deteriorate in mid-July with a claim by Syrian Labour Minister Diala Haje-Aref that 37 Syrians had been murdered in Lebanon since the assassination in February of former Lebanese prime minister Rafiq Hariri. She claimed a further 280 had been injured.'The bodies of 12 dead workers have been found, and we have details about the manner in which they were murdered,' she told journalists in Damascus. 'The others' bodies have not
  • Damascus hands Algerian extremists over to Tunis

    Damascus has sent 21 Tunisian suspected extremists to Tunis, Syria's official Sana news agency reported on 26 July. The suspects were detained in connection with terrorist incidents in Syria, including plans to establish a training camp on the Syrian-Lebanese border, the Sana report said. The group was handed over 'as part of co-operation with Tunisian authorities in the fight against terrorism', Sana said. Damascus previously transferred 12 alleged militants to Riyadh. Syria has detained 1
  • Damascus penalises Lebanon for anti-Syria politics

    Hundreds of Lebanese goods lorries remained stranded at Syrian checkpoints on the Syria-Lebanon border on 11 July. Most of the lorries, which were carrying vegetables from the Bekaa valley to Syria for export to the Arab world, have been stuck at the border for days. A coalition of business leaders co-ordinated by the Federation of Chambers of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture has called on Beirut to negotiate with Damascus to end the delays. Damascus says the lorries have been stopped for
  • Damascus seeks talks with Tel Aviv

    Syria's deputy foreign affairs minister Waleed Muallem said on 13 July that Damascus wants to resume peace talks with Tel Aviv but that Israel is not interested. He said Beirut and Damascus should negotiate jointly with Tel Aviv. 'The Syrian and Lebanese tracks have not separated and the reason is very clear,' Muallem told Al-Thawra newspaper. 'When we negotiate with the Israeli enemy together we can achieve better results.' He said that UN Security Council resolution 1559, which calls for
  • Damascus will aid Hariri investigation

    Damascus will help the UN investigation into the assassination of former Lebanese prime minister Rafiq Hariri, Syrian Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister Walid Muallem said in an interview published on 13 July. In an article in Al-Thuwara newspaper, Muallem repeated Damascus' assertion that it was not involved in the bombing that killed Hariri. The attack 'was a very major shock for us. We were at the same time both the victim and the accused,' he said. 'Those who killed Hariri have studied the
  • Deadline set for BS sell-off

    Bids are due by the end of August for the acquisition of the government's 33.5 per cent stake in Banque du Sud, following the closure of the data room in July. Due diligence has been completed by BNP Paribas, Calyon, Banco Santander Central Hispano, Attijari Wafabank, Banque Internationale Arabe de Tunisie(BIAT) and Banque Populaire. It is understood that consortiums may be formed between Attijari Wafabank
  • Death toll mounts in Yemen riots

    More than 36 people have died in two days of violent clashes between police and protesters across Yemen, police sources said on 22 July. Marchers attacked government buildings and threw stones at police to protest against Saana's decision to remove oil subsidies. Eight people were killed in the coastal town of Hudaydah, two in Aden, two in Saada and one in Saana. Demonstrations also took place in Marib, Dali, Taaz and Dhamar. The lifting of subsidies has almost doubled the price of petrol a
  • Developing the coastline AQABA TOURISM

    Among the many announcements made at the World Economic Forum, held at the Dead Sea on 20 May, local developers and senior government officials announced the launch of Saraya Aqaba, another real estate project for the Aqaba Special Economic Zone (ASEZ). The project is in line with Aqaba Development Corporation's strategy of attracting regional investors to reach its stated target of achieving $6,000 million worth of investments by 2020.
  • DIB EGM approves stock split

    The shareholders in Dubai Islamic Bank (DIB)at an extraordinary general meeting (EGM) on 12 July agreed to a board proposal to split the bank's stock value to AED 1 ($0.27) a share from AED 10 ($2.7) a share and to allow foreign ownership of up to 15 per cent of DIB's shares, until now restricted to nationals.
  • DIP into steel processing plant

    The local Roshan Contracting is carrying out the civils and main construction works for a steel products processing plant being built at Dubai Investments Park. To be built over 65,000 square metres, the 12,000-15,000-tonne-a-month facility will produce a range of cut and bend steel products for use in the construction industry. The AED 30 million ($8 million) facility is due to be completed by September. The client is the local Seven Seas Trading, which is wholly owned b
  • Do not isolate Gaza, Rice says

    US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice urged Tel Aviv on 23 July not to seal off Gaza after Israel pulls out of the territory. 'When the Israelis withdraw from Gaza, it cannot be sealed or isolated: with the Palestinian people closed in after the withdrawal,' Rice said after a meeting with Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas. 'We are committed to connectivity between Gaza and the West Bank and we are committed to openness and freedom of movement for the Palestinian people,' R
  • Dolphin MLAs appointed

    Mandated lead arrangers (MLAs) are understood to have been appointed for the second tranche of the Dolphin gas project bridge financing. Because the response was so strong, the borrowing will take out the previous $1,360 million bridge loan, signed in 2004 (MEED 23:7:04).
  • Dolphin MLAs finalised

    All the mandated lead arrangers (MLAs) have now been appointed on the $3,450 million second bridge financing for the Dolphin gas project, which will take out the previous $1,360 million bridge signed in 2004. Five banks lead arranged the Islamic tranche and there were 15 MLAs on the conventional portion, joined by five further lenders.
  • Downstream ambitions

    The Red Sea port of Rabigh once served as the headquarters for the southern army of Sharif Hussain bin Ali Hussain, Emir of Mecca and self-styled King of the Arabs, in the revolt against the Ottoman Empire. But that was back in 1916 and the Ottomans and the emir are long gone.
  • DRAKE & SCULL: Fixtures and fittings

    Khaldoun Tabari smiles when asked what it is like to be involved in one of the most challenging sectors of a booming construction industry. 'A lot of people are asking me that at the moment,' the chief executive officer (CEO) of Drake & Scull International in Dubai says. It is hardly surprising. With construction activity scaling new heights and clients pressing for quality and speedy project delivery, leading mechanical, electrical and plumbing (MEP) contractors such as Drake & Scull are much
  • DREDGING: The reclaimers

    They claim that the Great Wall of China is the only manmade structure visible from space. But the next generation of astronauts may well be advised to pay special attention to the Gulf. For all along the Arabian coastline, several massive offshore reclamation projects are set to permanently change the region's geography.
  • DSC prequals kick off

    Dubai Sports City (DSC) has launched prequalification for the main construction works on its four stadia at Dubailand, inviting applications by 9 July. The client is planning to tender the stadia in two separate packages, both of which are due out in the next three months (MEED 17:6:05).
  • DSC prequals kick off

    Dubai Sports City (DSC) has launched prequalification for the main construction works on its four stadia at Dubailand, inviting applications by 9 July. The client is planning to tender the stadia in two separate packages, both of which are due out in the next three months (MEED 17:6:05).
  • Dubai Drydocks changes hands

    Dubai ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum issued on 9 July a decree incorporating Dubai Drydocksinto the Dubai Ports, Customs & Free Zone Corporation.
  • Dubai-Fujairah freeway goes for retender

    The Ministry of Public Works & Housing (MPWH) has issued the first two packages for tender on the Dubai-Fujairah freeway project, giving contractors until 15 August to submit bids. The project, to be divided into several phases, was first tendered in 2003, but was cancelled as a result of bids coming in above budget (MEED 3:10:03).
  • Dubai-Fujairah freeway goes for retender

    The Ministry of Public Works & Housing (MPWH) has issued the first two packages for tender on the Dubai-Fujairah freeway project, giving contractors until 15 August to submit bids. The project, to be divided into several phases, was first tendered in 2003, but was cancelled as a result of bids coming in above budget (MEED 3:10:03).
  • Dutco digs the bay

    The local/UK Dutco Balfour Beattyhas been awarded the estimated $55 million contract to build a channel between Dubai's creek up to the Burj Dubai vicinity. The 24-month contract calls for the formation of a new canal that will add six kilometres to the existing creek. The scope of works includes excavation of about 6.5 million cubic metres of earth, construction of side walls and partitions. The contract is part of the first phase in the construction of estimated $5,500 million Busi
  • Dutco digs the bay

    The local/UK Dutco Balfour Beattyhas been awarded the estimated $55 million contract to build a channel between Dubai's creek up to the Burj Dubai vicinity. The 24-month contract calls for the formation of a new canal that will add six kilometres to the existing creek. The scope of works includes excavation of about 6.5 million cubic metres of earth, construction of side walls and partitions. The contract is part of the first phase in the construction of estimated $5,500 million Busi
  • Early start to Gaza pullout

    Israeli Deputy Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said on 21 July that Tel Aviv might withdraw from Gaza ahead of schedule. 'I am in favour of a more rapid withdrawal after the demonstrations of the last few days,' Olmert said in reference to three-day protest march against the pullout that was called off over night. 'Given the way [the demonstrators] have exploited the transition period leading up to the withdrawal for their protests, disrupting the life of the country in the process, I think that
  • Economy: Heading for the peak

    Statistics can be manipulated to tell almost any story. But when it comes to the UAE, what data there is confirms a familiar - and mainly positive - tale. Growth is expected to continue strongly in 2005, primarily driven by high oil prices, the continuing construction boom and frenzied activity in the financial markets. Export revenues are ramping up and the government is set to see yet another healthy surplus. However, analysts are urging caution as inflation is rising sharply and stock markets
  • Egypt and Israel sign gas deal

    Egyptian Petroleums Minister Sameh Fahmy and Israeli Infrastructure Minister Binyamin Ben Eliezer signed a memorandum of understanding on 30 June for Egypt to supply Israel with gas. Egypt will deliver 1,700 million cubic metres a year of gas through a maritime pipeline from El-Arish to Ashkalon in southern Israel. Israeli Electric Company and East Mediterranean Gas, a consortium jointly owned by Egyptian General Petroleum Corporation and Israel's Merhav, will sign the $2,500 million deal v
  • Egypt hunts Pakistani bombers

    Egyptian police were searching on 24 July for six Pakistani nationals suspected of involvement in the triple bombing at Sharm el-Sheikh. Photographs of the men, who were staying at a hotel in the resort, have been released. Police have arrested 95 people in a dragnet, and are conducting DNA tests to see whether these attacks are linked to the October bombings at the nearby Red Sea resort of Taba.The three bombs killed 64 people, according to official figures, although hospita
  • Egyptian diplomat abducted

    Egypt's top diplomat to Iraq was kidnapped on 2 July. Ihab al-Sherif is the head of Egypt's mission to Iraq and ambassador-designate. He was abducted at gunpoint and bundled into a car. Al-Sherif's appointment will make him the first full-ranking ambassador from an Arab country to Iraq. Washington has urged countries to reinstate their ambassadors to Iraq in recognition of the new government in Baghdad.
  • Egyptian election date announced

    Egypt will hold its first multi-candidate presidential election on 7 September, an Egyptian official said on 18 July. The date is earlier than many expected. The electoral commission will meet on the Sunday before the election to set a date for candidate registration, which could begin two days later, the official said on condition of anonymity. Campaigning will last three weeks and several opposition candidates have indicated that they intend to run. Al-Ghad party leader Ayman Nour is perc
  • Egyptian troops to man Gaza border

    A senior official in the Israeli Prime Minister's office said on 4 July that Tel Aviv and Cairo are close to finalising an agreement to station 750 Egyptian troops along Gaza's border with Egypt. The unnamed source said the military protocol will be signed by mid-July. The Sinai peninsula is a demilitarised zone under the terms of the 1979 Israel-Egypt peace treaty, which may have to be amended for the deployment to take place. Tel Aviv has also voiced concern that Egyptian security forces
  • Eight shortlisted for HSBC headquarters

    Eight local and international contractors have been shortlisted for the estimated $14 million-17 million main construction contract on the project to build a new headquarters in Cairo for HSBC Bank Egypt. The prequalifiers have until 31 July to submit bids for the 10-storey block in Maadi, which also includes a basement car park. They are: Orascom Construction Industries (OCI); Samcrete; Arab Contractors (Osman Ahmed Osman & Company); Hassa
  • Eight shortlisted for HSBC headquarters

    Eight local and international contractors have been shortlisted for the estimated $14 million-17 million main construction contract on the project to build a new headquarters in Cairo for HSBC Bank Egypt. The prequalifiers have until 31 July to submit bids for the 10-storey block in Maadi, which also includes a basement car park. They are: Orascom Construction Industries (OCI); Samcrete; Arab Contractors (Osman Ahmed Osman & Company); Hassa
  • Eleven in for PEPA licensing round

    Eleven international companies submitted bids by the 2 July deadline in Sanaa's latest oil licensing round. An announcement on the winners of the seven blocks on offer will be officially made on 23 July. Twenty companies were prequalified in early May for the concessions covering blocks 7, 34, 37, 39, 55, 74 and 75, in the Sabatayn, Jeza-Qamar, Tihama and Masilah basins. The process is being handled by the Petroleum Exploration & Production Authority (PEPA), part of the Oil & Mineral Resources M
  • Emaar towers out to bid

    Local real estate developer Emaar Properties has invited contractors to bid for two tower contracts in Dubai. Contractors have been given until early August to bid for the larger contract, which calls for the construction of three residential towers ranging from 30-35 storeys in Dubai Marina. The Marina Quays development will also include leisure, retail and business facilities. The local Arif & Bintoakis the consultant. Bids are also due by 28 July for two towers within
  • Emaar towers out to bid

    Local real estate developer Emaar Properties has invited contractors to bid for two tower contracts in Dubai. Contractors have been given until early August to bid for the larger contract, which calls for the construction of three residential towers ranging from 30-35 storeys in Dubai Marina. The Marina Quays development will also include leisure, retail and business facilities. The local Arif & Bintoakis the consultant. Bids are also due by 28 July for two towers within
  • Emaar, Amlak up capital

    Dubai-based developer Emaar Propertiesis to double its capital to AED 5,671 million ($1,544 million), subject to shareholders' approval at an extraordinary general meeting (EGM) on 9 July. The capital increase will come through a 1:1 rights issue. It will also more than double the stake in the company open to foreign ownership to 49 per cent from 20 per cent. The fresh funds will finance expansion plans. Emaar's mortgage subsidiary, Amlak Finance, also plans to double its
  • Emir announces new cabinet

    Emir Sheikh Jaber al-Ahmed al-Sabah on 14 July issued a decree appointing the new cabinet, following the parliamentary elections of 5 July, and the appointment of his brother and Foreign Minister Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmed al-Sabah as prime minister the previous day. The separation of the position of premier from that of crown prince was one of the key demands of reformers. Liberals were dealt a defeat in the elections by Islamists and pro-government candidates, but the large proportion of new M
  • EoIs due for Qarn Alam

    Expressions of interest are due to be invited in late July or early August by Petroleum Development Oman (PDO) for the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract on the Qarn Alam enhanced oil recovery (EOR) project, calling for the use of steam-assisted gas-oil gravity drainage to thin viscous oil and ease extraction. Canada's WorleyParsons MEGwas appointed in June to carry out revised front end engineering and design (MEED 17:6:05).
  • Equity fund reveals new development in DIC

    US equity firm CapitalPartners announced on 18 July the signing of an agreement with Dubai Technology, e-Commerce & Media Free Zone (Tecom) for the development of an estimated $1,000 million mixed use project at Dubai Internet City (DIC). In a first for Dubai, Capital Partners will own the title to the land and have no local partner.
  • Equity fund reveals new development in DIC

    US equity firm CapitalPartners announced on 18 July the signing of an agreement with Dubai Technology, e-Commerce & Media Free Zone (Tecom) for the development of an estimated $1,000 million mixed use project at Dubai Internet City (DIC). In a first for Dubai, Capital Partners will own the title to the land and have no local partner.
  • EU fisherman return to Moroccan waters

    EU fisherman will be allowed to fish in Moroccan waters thanks to a new accord signed by the EU and Rabat on 28 July. 'After four days of intense negotiations, our respective delegations have achieved the conclusion of the negotiation process with the initialling of a partnership fisheries agreement,' EU fisheries commissioner Joe Borg said. European fishermen have not been allowed in Moroccan waters since 1999. 'The result is certainly a positive development in our bilateral relations, whi
  • Face-lift nears for Jebel Ali-Lehbab road

    Dubai Municipality has invited contractors to bid by 31 July for an estimated $40 million contract to rehabilitate the Jebel Ali-Lehbab highway. The project will be carried out in two phases comprising the widening to four lanes of 34 kilometres of road. It will also add five kilometres to the existing highway. Canada's Cansultis the consultant.
  • Face-lift nears for Jebel Ali-Lehbab road

    Dubai Municipality has invited contractors to bid by 31 July for an estimated $40 million contract to rehabilitate the Jebel Ali-Lehbab highway. The project will be carried out in two phases comprising the widening to four lanes of 34 kilometres of road. It will also add five kilometres to the existing highway. Canada's Cansultis the consultant.
  • Fast bids low for M&RAM complex

    The local Fast Contracting Company has submitted a low bid of SR 295.5 million ($79 million) for the contract to carry out a major renovation and expansion of the Municipal & Rural Affairs Ministry (M&RAM) complex in Riyadh's Mazzar area. Five local companies submitted bids by 16 July for the two-year contract,with Saudi Turais Companycoming in second on price at SR 324.7 million ($86 million). The project involves the construction of two 13-storey offices, an additional
  • Fast bids low for M&RAM complex

    The local Fast Contracting Company has submitted a low bid of SR 295.5 million ($79 million) for the contract to carry out a major renovation and expansion of the Municipal & Rural Affairs Ministry (M&RAM) complex in Riyadh's Mazzar area. Five local companies submitted bids by 16 July for the two-year contract,with Saudi Turais Companycoming in second on price at SR 324.7 million ($86 million). The project involves the construction of two 13-storey offices, an additional
  • Feelers out for mega hotel

    Brussels-based hotel operator Rezidor SAShas signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with a German company identified as Dubai 1000 Verwaltung to build a 1,050-room, four-star Park Inn hotel in Dubai. The project, which is in its preparatory stage, will be financed entirely through a private equity fund - the Dubai 1000 Hotel Fund - with minimum investments starting at Eur 10,000 ($12,115). Total project costs are estimated at about Eur 143 million ($173 million). A pl
  • Feelers out for mega hotel

    Brussels-based hotel operator Rezidor SAShas signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with a German company identified as Dubai 1000 Verwaltung to build a 1,050-room, four-star Park Inn hotel in Dubai. The project, which is in its preparatory stage, will be financed entirely through a private equity fund - the Dubai 1000 Hotel Fund - with minimum investments starting at Eur 10,000 ($12,115). Total project costs are estimated at about Eur 143 million ($173 million). A pl
  • Fertil plans major capacity hike

    At least four companies submitted technical and commercial bids on 10 July to Ruwais Fertiliser Industries (Fertil) for a contract to carry out a feasibility study into a major expansion of its existing facilities. With a total investment cost of about $450 million, the expansion will call for the construction of ammonia, urea and granulations units, along with related utilities. The bidders include Canada's SNC Lavalin, WorleyParsons of Australia and
  • Few takers for Umm Shaif super complex

    Just two groups - the local National Petroleum Construction Company (NPCC) with Paris-based Technip,and Hyundai Heavy Industries Company of South Korea - are expected to submit technical bids by the revised 20 August deadline for the Umm Shaif gas reinjection project in offshore Abu Dhabi. Seven groups are prequalified for the contract. Estimated to be worth $900 million, the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract involves the supply and inst
  • FGB capital hike approved

    The shareholders in First Gulf Bank (FGB)agreed at an extraordinary general meeting (EGM) in late June to almost double capital to AED 1,000 million ($272.5 million) from AED 501.9 million ($136.7 million). Subscription to the rights issue began on 30 June and will close on 9 July. The fresh funds will finance expansion plans and bring capital in line with the UAE's largest banks (MEED 3:6:05).
  • FGB rights issue oversubscribed

    The rights issue by First Gulf Bank (FGB)closed on 10 July oversubscribed by 54 per cent. FGB's capital has been almost doubled to AED 1,000 million ($272.5 million) from AED 501.9 million ($136.6 million). The fresh funds will finance expansion plans and bring capital in line with the UAE's largest banks (MEED 1:7:05).
  • Fichtner picked for Kahramaa IWPP consultancy

    Germany's Fichtnerhas been selected by Qatar General Water & Electricity Corporation (Kahramaa) to provide technical consultancy services for the state's next independent water and power project (IWPP), known as facility B. The IWPP is expected to represent the first element in a major new power and desalination complex at Mesaieed. The second element will serve the utility requirements of the proposed Qatalum aluminium project, which is being promoted by a joint venture of Q
  • Fine-tuning finance

    All eyes are on Tunis this summer, as the parties hoping to take over the government's 33.5 per cent stake in Banque du Sud (BS) wait for a bidding schedule to be announced. Potential bidders can be forgiven for feeling a little nervous. The first attempt to sell the state's share in the bank, in 2002, was abandoned. This time hopes are high for a successful sale, but customary niggles are already in evidence. A bidding schedule was expected at the beginning of July, but so far
  • Finns win Riyadh Cement power deal

    Finland's Wartsilahas been awarded the contract to install a captive power plant for the greenfield cement plant being developed by the recently established Riyadh Cement Company (RCC). Under the contract, the Finnish firm will build a crude oil-fired, 36-MW power plant at the site, which will be located about 75 kilometres southwest of Riyadh in Muzahimiya. RCC is also close to awarding a contract to build housing units for the 300 employees that will work at the site. I
  • Firms await West Bay sewerage tender

    Tender documents are due to be released in mid-July to prequalified contractors for a sewage transfer and treatment system serving the Lusail and the Pearl-Qatar residential projects in the West Bay area. The client is Qatari Diar Real Estate Investment Company, the developer behind the multi-billion dollar Lusail project (MEED 17:6:05).
  • Five bid for Salco smelter

    Five proposals have been submitted for the South Aluminium Corporation (Salco)smelter project at Bandar Abbas. Technical evaluation is under way and prices are to be opened in mid-July, allowing a contract to be finalised and work to begin by the end of 2005 (MEED 20:5:05). The bidders are: an Italian subsidiary of Fata Hunter; Germany's Fritz Werner; a consortium of Canada's SNC Lavalin, Europe's ABBand Finland's Outokumpu;
  • Five firms aim for eurobond

    Five major investment and industrial companies plan bond issues later this year and have appointed foreign banks to advise on the process. Another bond issue, planned by Iran Khodro, is expected to move forward later in the summer after the company finalises an advisory agreement with BNP Paribas(MEED 22:4:05).
  • Fluor/WorleyParsons in line for OPIC PMS

    Oman Petrochemical Industries Corporation (OPIC) is understood to be in final negotiations with a joint venture of the US’ Fluor Corporation and Australia’s WorleyParsonsfor the contract to provide project management and engineering services on the planned olefins complex at Sohar. The venture was one of two bidders - the other being US-based Jacobs Engineering - shortlisted for the contract (MEED 29:4:05). 
  • Foreigners will leave if Iraq insurgency stops, says Grand Imam

    The grand imam of Egypt's Al-Azhar mosque, Mohammed Sayyed Tantawi, said on Friday that US-led forces would leave Iraq if insurgent attacks stopped. 'We tell you with all honesty and sincerity that if this killing and sabotaging going on in Iraq stopped for one month, all foreigners will start withdrawing from your country and all the world will stand by your side,' Tantawi said an article addressed to insurgents published in Al-Azhar Voice newspaper. 'Killing your Iraqi brothers and blowin
  • Foreigners will leave if Iraq insurgency stops, says Grand Imam

    The grand imam of Egypt's Al-Azhar mosque, Mohammed Sayyed Tantawi, said on 1 July that US-led forces would leave Iraq if insurgent attacks stopped. 'We tell you with all honesty and sincerity that if this killing and sabotaging going on in Iraq stopped for one month, all foreigners will start withdrawing from your country and all the world will stand by your side,' Tantawi said an article addressed to insurgents published in Al-Azhar Voice newspaper. 'Killing your Iraqi brothers and blowin
  • Former Arab Bank chairman dies

    Former Arab Bankchairman Abdul Majid Shoman died on 5 July aged 94. Shoman was the eldest son of Abdul Hamid Shoman, who founded Arab Bank in Jerusalem in 1930. Shoman was given official recognition for services to his country and was buried in the Prince Hamza Brigade mosque at Amman's royal court on 6 July.
  • Former minister forms political front for insurgents

    Former electricity minister Ayham al-Samarie, who has brokered talks between Washington and insurgents, announced on 29 June that he has established a front to give militants a political voice. Al-Samarie said the groups he represents will keep fighting until US troops stop launching military campaigns in Iraqi towns and cities. They also want the US to withdraw by 2008.Al-Samarie has organised at least two meetings between US officials and militant leaders. US Defence Secret
  • Foster Wheeler to study GAE

    Abu Dhabi Oil Refining Company (Takreer) has awarded a contract to US-based Foster Wheeler for a feasibility study into its planned world-scale aromatics complex at Ruwais. The US firm beat off competition from the Italian office of Paris-based Technipand Mustang Engineering, also of the US, to win the six-month contract. Known as the gasoline and aromatics expansion (GAE), the scheme will involve the production of 800,000 tonnes a year of paraxylene th
  • Four groups in for Essaouira wind farm

    Four groups have submitted bids for the estimated $100 million contract to build a 60-MW wind farm at Cap Sim in Essaouira province, and prequalification applications are under evaluation for an estimated $200 million contract for a 140-MW facility near Tangier. The client is state power company Office National de l'Electricite (ONE).
  • Fresh bids for Gachsaran

    Bakhtar Petrochemical Companyhas requested three bidders to submit new proposals for its mono-ethylene glycol (MEG) plant at Gachsaran. The unit is part of the western ethylene pipeline project, which aims to bring the advantages of Iran's booming hydrocarbon derivatives industry to the poorer western provinces (MEED 15:4:05).
  • Fresh prices in for Jebel Dhanna tanks

    Four companies submitted revised commercial bids in late June to Abu Dhabi Company for Onshore Oil Operations (Adco)for the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract on its Jebel Dhanna tank farm facility upgrade project. The bidders are the local Target Engineering Construction Company, Contracting & Trading (CAT) of Lebanon, India's Punj Lloydand Pakistan's Descon Engineering. Target was the low bidder at AED 248.5 mill
  • Funds tied up for Saraya Aqaba

    Saraya Aqaba Real Estate Development (SARED) announced on 19 July the completion of its JD 85 million ($120 million) private placement. Arranged by Amman-based Atlas Investment Group, SARED issued 85 million common shares, valued at JD 1 ($1.4) each, to regional and international investors. On completion of the placement, SARED's total capital has increased to JD 257 million ($362 million). Founded by Saraya Jordan, Arab Bank, the Social Security Corpor
  • Further mass demonstrations planned against Gaza pullout

    Israeli opponents of Tel Aviv's planned withdrawal from Gaza are preparing another mass protest at the beginning of August, a settler leader said on 27 July. Bentzi Lieberman, who heads the settler lobby Yesha, said he expects tens of thousands of pro-settler activists will gather in the Israeli town of Siderot on 2 August and attempt to march to Gush Katif in Gaza. The march follows a mass protest at the town of Kfar Maimon in mid-July that ended in a stand-off between police and demonstra
  • G8 gives $3,000 million in aid to PA

    The G8 pledged $3,000 million in aid to the Palestinian Authority (PA) on 8 July. UK Prime Minister Tony Blair said the money would be used to improve Palestinian living standards and assist the PA after Tel Aviv withdraws from Gaza. 'The G8 agreed a substantial package of help for the PA amounting to up to $3,000 million in the years to come, so that the two states - Israel and Palestine - two peoples and two religions can live side by side in peace,' Blair said. The aid announcement follo
  • Gaddafi must go, says exiled opposition

    Libyan opposition leaders met in London on 26 June and called for Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi's resignation. 'We have three aims: Gaddafi must go, we must have a government based on democracy and the rule of law and we want a constitutional country,' said opposition politician Hassan el-Amin. He said the Libyan government should be democratic, based on a constitution, and guarantee human rights and freedom of speech. Islamist, nationalist and liberal opposition figures exiled to Europe, t
  • Gasco sounds out contractors for OAG

    Abu Dhabi Gas Industries Company (Gasco)has invited companies to respond by 29 July to an initial inquiry for the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract on the proposed offshore associated gas (OAG) project (MEED 1:4:05).
  • Gaza airport repairs will cost $36 million

    Palestinian Aviation Authority chief Salman Abu Haleeb said on 12 July that reconstructing Gaza's airport would cost at least $36 million. The airport terminal is intact but the Israeli military has bulldozed and bombed parts of the runway and razed some of the buildings. Estimates indicate that the airport could be operational within six months once the avionics are replaced and the Palestinian Authority's fleet of aircraft returns from Egypt. 'Making such blind and haphazard destruction o
  • GAZA: After the withdrawal

    If all goes according to plan, Gaza is in for a construction boom later this year. The growing certainty that Israeli settlers and troops will start to leave in mid-August has sparked ambitions to develop the port, perhaps relocating the harbour further down the coast, and to re-open the airport, which will require repairing the runway. But most significant is the prospect of building new homes.
  • GCC ad association moves on TV and newspaper audits

    The GCC Advertiser's Association (GCCAA) will soon invite bids for the contract to introduce television meters for monitoring television watching patterns in the region, secretary of the association Mike Gillam said on 23 June.Gillam, who is also media director of Unilever Arabia, which is a major advertiser in the Gulf, said that the association welcomed the audit by US media auditor BPA Worldwide of the Dubai-based 7days, which confirmed the newspaper has a circulation of j
  • GDC bids low for jetty

    Kuwait's Gulf Dredging & Contracting Company (GDC) is low bidder at SR 85 million ($22.7 million) for the retendered contract to renovate and expand the south jetty for the client, Al-Khafji Joint Operations (KJO), following the submission of bids in June. Other companies understood to have bid for the work include Saudi Arabia's Huta-Seteand Alghanim International General Trading & Contracting Companyand Consolidated Contractors Company (C
  • GDC bids low for jetty

    Kuwait's Gulf Dredging & Contracting Company (GDC) is low bidder at SR 85 million ($22.7 million) for the retendered contract to renovate and expand the south jetty for the client, Al-Khafji Joint Operations (KJO), following the submission of bids in June. Other companies understood to have bid for the work include Saudi Arabia's Huta-Seteand Alghanim International General Trading & Contracting Companyand Consolidated Contractors Company (C
  • Gecol recommends three for Misurata job

    General Electricity Company of Libya( Gecol) has recommended three bidders - South Korea's Hyundai Engineering & Construction Company, the US' Bechteland a consortium of Black & Veatch, also of the US, and Turkey's Gama-for the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract on the 750-MW power plant at Misurata, about 200 kilometres east of the capital. The recommendation will now go to Tripoli for final contractor sele
  • Gensler set to design CIB HQ

    The US' Gensler & Associates is expected to be appointed design consultant on the new Cairo headquarters of Commercial International Bank (CIB). The US firm is due to complete final designs by late 2005. To be located on Maadi road, the 14-storey building will be built on a podium. The project is estimated to cost at least $50 million and will take about two years to complete. A joint venture of the US' Hill Internationalwith the local EHAFis actin
  • Gensler set to design CIB HQ

    The US' Gensler & Associates is expected to be appointed design consultant on the new Cairo headquarters of Commercial International Bank (CIB). The US firm is due to complete final designs by late 2005. To be located on Maadi road, the 14-storey building will be built on a podium. The project is estimated to cost at least $50 million and will take about two years to complete. A joint venture of the US' Hill Internationalwith the local EHAFis actin
  • GFH, KFIC open up Bayan

    Gulf Finance House(GFH) and Kuwait Finance & Investment Company (KFIC)announced on 4 July the launch of the KD 80 million ($276 million) subscription into Bayan Holding Company, the project company set up to develop the Royal Metropolis project in Jordan.
  • Global oil demand growth drops, says IEA

    The Paris-based International Energy Agency (IEA) revised down its forecasted growth in global oil demand for 2005 on 13 July, due to dropping oil needs in the US and China. Demand growth slowed to 1.58 million barrels a day (b/d), down 200,000 b/d, or 1.9 per cent, the IEA said in its monthly Oil Market Report. Price restrictions on transport fuels in China have reduced forecast demand growth there by 100,000 b/d to 360,000 b/d in 2005. However, Chinese demand is expected to rebound by 490
  • Government of Algeria

    AlgeriaPresident Bouteflika on 5 September dismissed six cabinet members and abolished the Penal Reform portfolio, in a move that is widely seen as an attempt to shore up his political authority in advance of the presidential elections scheduled for next April. The six ministers dropped in the reshuffle were all seen as supporters of former prime minister Ali Benflis, who was himself dismissed by Bouteflika in May. The two men, both leading figures in the ruling National Liberation Front
  • Government of Egypt

    EgyptPresident Mubarak on 11 March carried out a limited cabinet reshuffle, following the 21 February resignation of Ibrahim el-Demiri as transport minister after the Upper Egypt train disaster the previous day. The change included hiving off responsibility for civil aviation into a separate ministry (see Transport). The new transport minister is Hamdy el-Shayeb, who was previously head of oil and gas construction company Petrojet. The new civil aviation minister is General Ahmed Shafiq Z
  • Government of Iraq

    Government of Iraq(appointed 8 May 2005)PresidentJalal Talabani PremierIbrahim Jaafari Deputy PremierAhmad Chalabi Deputy PremierAbid Mutlaq Hamud al-Jabburi Deputy PremierRowsch Shaways AgricultureAli al-Bahadili CommunicationsJuwan Masum CultureNuri Farhan al-
  • Government of Lebanon

    Government of Lebanon(appointed 20 July 2005)PresidentEmile Lahoud PremierFouad Siniora Deputy Premier and DefenceElias Murr Administrative DevelopmentJohn Ogasebian CultureTarek Metri Displaced PersonsNehme Tohme Economy & TradeSami Haddad Education & Higher Educat
  • GPS bids low for road widening

    Financial bids have been opened for the contract to expand the Sohar-Buraimi road, following the opening of technical offers in early June. Seven companies priced the contract.
  • GPS bids low for road widening

    Financial bids have been opened for the contract to expand the Sohar-Buraimi road, following the opening of technical offers in early June. Seven companies priced the contract.
  • Grand Museum PMC tender withdrawn

    The Culture Ministry has officially notified bidders for the project management consultancy (PMC) on the estimated $550 million Grand Egyptian Museum (GEM) project that the tender has been cancelled. No reason has been given for the cancellation. Five companies were shortlisted in mid-2004 for the contract, following the submission of bids by 15 international and local firms. The shortlisted companies were Hill International, Fluor Corporationand Turner Constructi
  • Grand Museum PMC tender withdrawn

    The Culture Ministry has officially notified bidders for the project management consultancy (PMC) on the estimated $550 million Grand Egyptian Museum (GEM) project that the tender has been cancelled. No reason has been given for the cancellation. Five companies were shortlisted in mid-2004 for the contract, following the submission of bids by 15 international and local firms. The shortlisted companies were Hill International, Fluor Corporationand Turner Constructi
  • Gulf Navigation, Sabic in $400m charter deal

    International Shipping & Transportation Company (ISTC), a subsidiary of Saudi Basic Industries Corporation (Sabic), has signed an agreement to lease four chemical carriers from UAE-based Gulf Navigation Group. Under the estimated SR 1,500 million ($400 million) deal, ISTC will charter four 46,000-dwt chemical carriers equipped with cargo zinc silicate tanks. The vessels were ordered by Gulf Navigation from South Korea's Hyundai Mipo Dockyard Company in
  • Gunmen attack two more foreign diplomats

    Insurgents shot at Bahrain's envoy to Baghdad on 5 July. Gunmen ambushed Hassan Malallah al-Ansari's car in the Mansour district of Baghdad. Al-Ansari was shot in the arm but reports said he was in a stable condition. Gunmen also attacked the convoy of Pakistan's top diplomat, Mohammed Younis Khan, in the same area. Khan's bodyguards returned fire and the gunmen fled. On the same day, insurgents killed four women airport employees and another four men when they ambushed the minibus they wer
  • Haldor wins refinery technology contract

    State refinery operator Kuwait National Petroleum Company (KNPC)has selected Denmark's Haldor Topsoeas the licensed technology provider for the naphtha and kerosene hydrotreater units at the state's new refinery. Under the terms of the contracts, Topsoe's proprietary TK-400/500 hydroprocessing catalyst technology will be licensed for a number of processes including the pre-treatment of catalytic reforming units, jet fuel production and the hydrodesulphurisation and hydrod
  • Hamas attacks home of security chief

    Hamas gunmen fired on the homes of the head of preventative security Rashid Abu Shabak and Fatah's leader in Gaza Abdullah Franji on 20 July. More than seven people were injured in an ensuing gun battle between militants and security forces in the Gaza neighbourhood of Tal al-Hawa. The clashes came just hours after a ceasefire agreed by Hamas and the security services. Further talks were expected between the groups to re-establish the truce.The fighting followed a week of cla
  • Hamas ups challenge to PA

    Hamas is trying to overthrow the Palestinian Authority (PA), the Minister of Civil Affairs Mohammed Dahlan said on 21 July. 'When someone tries to take over a police station by means of a rocket-propelled grenade launcher, that is an attempted military coup,' Dahlan was quoted as saying in an interview with Israeli newspaper Haaretz. He said that Hamas was stronger than the PA in Gaza and that he was 'surprised that the PA has not collapsed yet.' Dahlan heads the Palestinian team negotiatin
  • Hamas will not disarm

    Hamas vowed on 5 July to resist any attempts by the Palestinian Authority (PA) to disarm the militant faction. 'We will not allow anyone to disarm us,' Hamas leader in Gaza Mahmud Zaher said. 'The land was liberated by resistance, not by negotiations, and we will not allow anyone to steal the achievements of the Palestinian people,' he said in reference to Tel Aviv's planned withdrawal from Gaza. 'Hamas will not remain with its arms folded in Gaza if the West Bank is attacked,' he said.
  • Hamas will not join a national unity government

    Hamas rejected an offer on 4 July to serve in Prime Minister Mohammed Qurei's cabinet. Qurei made the offer to Hamas at the end of June in an effort to establish a government of national unity ahead of Tel Aviv's withdrawal from Gaza. The group decided to decline the proposal after internal consultations, Hamas spokesman Mushir al-Masri said. Hamas indicated that the group would join a committee to co-ordinate activities during Israel's pullout.Qurei said he had not recieved
  • Hamma desal finance sealed

    Financing for the landmark 200,000-cubic-metre-a-day (cm/d) Hamma desalination plant was completed on 25 June. Three-quarters of the total will come from a $200 million loan from the US' Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) .The remainder will be provided in equity from the shareholders in the project company, Hamma Water Desalination (HWD), in which Ionics, now part of the US' General Electric (GE), holds 70 per cent and the client,
  • Head of presidential guard is suspect in Hariri murder

    The head of Lebanon's presidential guard Mustafa Hamdan is a suspect in the murder of former prime minister Rafiq Hariri, the head of the UN investigation into the killing said in an article published in French newspaper Le Figaro. 'He was one of the first persons questioned because we had information that he is one of those who gave orders to change the scene of the crime, just after the attack,' Detlev Mehlis said. The UN team plans to question Rostom Ghazale, who was the head of Syrian i
  • Health of King Fahd deteriorates

    King Fahd of Saudi Arabia's health has deteriorated further, the Khaleej Times reported on 8 July. Doctors at the King Fahd Specialist Hospital in Riyadh are considering whether to put him on a life support machine, the paper reported. The article said that the king, who was admitted to hospital in June suffering from pneumonia, is in the intensive care unit in a semi-comatose condition.
  • Hezbollah and Tel Aviv trade fire

    Hezbollah fighters fired about 20 Katyusha rockets and mortar rounds at Israeli positions in the disputed Shebaa farms area on 29 June. The attacks on Ramta and Sammaqiyeh wounded one Israeli soldier and prompted an air strike in retaliation. Hezbollah also fired on Israeli troops in Aamfit in the Golan Heights and the Israeli town of Kiriat Shimona on the Lebanese border. Lebanese police said Israeli artillery fired 50 rounds at the hills around Kfarshuba and Shebaa in response. Israeli fo
  • Hezbollah will serve in new government

    A member of Hezbollah will serve in the Lebanese cabinet for first time in Prime Minister Fouad Siniora's new government formed on 19 July. Mohammed Fneish will be Energy & Water Resources Minister. 'It is a good thing to have Hezbollah in this cabinet,' said Siniora. 'After all it is a group that is part of this country and has the right to be represented.' Jihad Azour will serve as Finance Minister, Sami Haddad as Economy Minister and Fawzi Salloukh as Foreign Affairs Minister.
  • Hiesco bids low for boiler revamp

    The local Heavy Industry Engineering & Shipbuilding Company (Hiesco) is low bidder at KD 10.9 million ($37.5 million) for the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract to revamp boilers and furnaces at Shuaiba refinery. Hiesco's low bid was about 15 per cent cheaper than the second-priced bid of KD 12.5 million ($42.7 million) submitted by the local Alghanim International General Trading & Contracting Company. The local Arabi Enertechranked thir
  • Hill to plot Navigation Tower

    The US' Hill International has been appointed project and construction manager (PM/CM) for a major commercial high-rise to be built in Doha. Called Navigation Tower, the project involves the construction of a 52-storey, 220-metre building which will have a total built-up area of 116,700 square metres. It will include a six-storey car park with space for up to 1,700 vehicles. The local MZ & Partners is carrying out the design work. A tender for the 30-month main constructi
  • Hill to plot Navigation Tower

    The US' Hill International has been appointed project and construction manager (PM/CM) for a major commercial high-rise to be built in Doha. Called Navigation Tower, the project involves the construction of a 52-storey, 220-metre building which will have a total built-up area of 116,700 square metres. It will include a six-storey car park with space for up to 1,700 vehicles. The local MZ & Partners is carrying out the design work. A tender for the 30-month main constructi
  • Hircon shifts strategy for 23 Marina

    Hircon International, a joint venture of the local ETA Starand India's A Hiranandani, has started approaching contractors interested in bidding for the main construction contract on the proposed 23 Marina residential tower at Dubai Marina. The client had originally selected the local/Australian Nasa Multiplexto carry out the main contract, as well as provide construction management services. However, it altered its strategy in the belief that it will ge
  • Hircon shifts strategy for 23 Marina

    Hircon International, a joint venture of the local ETA Starand India's A Hiranandani, has started approaching contractors interested in bidding for the main construction contract on the proposed 23 Marina residential tower at Dubai Marina. The client had originally selected the local/Australian Nasa Multiplexto carry out the main contract, as well as provide construction management services. However, it altered its strategy in the belief that it will ge
  • Home of Iranian lawyer raided

    Iranian police raided the home of the lawyer for jailed journalist Akbar Ganji on 28 July. Officials from the Tehran prosecutor's office searched the home of Abdul Fatah Soltani. Soltani's client Ganji is reportedly gravely ill after 48 days on hunger strike and his family says he has lost 25 kilogrammes in weight. Ganji has become a focal point for Iranian dissidents and reformers. He was jailed five years ago for connecting senior officials with a string of political assassinations.
  • How Heath helped make the modern Middle East

    Edward Heath, for just over three years prime minister of Britain, is best known for his role in securing UK admission to what was then called the European Common Market. But in a parliamentary and ministerial career that lasted more than half a century, he also played a lead role in some of the dramas played out in the Arab world in the late 20th century.
  • Hydro exec heads for Mesaieed

    Truls Gautesen, sector president for primary metal at Norway's Hydro, has been appointed manager for the company's world-scale aluminium project at Mesaieed. Gautesen will succeed senior vice-president Tormod Bjork, who will continue to support the project until his retirement. Hydro signed in December a heads of agreement (HoA) with Qatar Petroleum (QP)to develop the complex at an estimated total cost of $3,000 million (MEED 10:12:04).
  • IFC funds mortgage lending

    The International Finance Corporation (IFC), the private sector lending arm of the World Bank, has extended a SR 187.5 million ($50 million) loan to Saudi British Bankto support its sharia-compliant home finance activities. The murabaha facility has a tenor of 12 years.
  • IMF urges reform

    Gross domestic product (GDP) growth was strong in 2004, but more needs to be done to encourage foreign investment and promote the employment of nationals, the IMF says in the conclusion to its latest Article IV consultations with the UAE.
  • Indians/Kanoo establish dredging JV

    Dredging Corporation of India (DCI)and the local YBA Kanoo Grouphave established a joint venture, called Kanoo Dredging Company, to bid for dredging work in the GCC. DCI is already working in the kingdom with Al-Ghanah Contracting on the dredging, reclamation and shoreline protection work for two townships (MEED 5:12:03).
  • Indians/Kanoo establish dredging JV

    Dredging Corporation of India (DCI)and the local YBA Kanoo Grouphave established a joint venture, called Kanoo Dredging Company, to bid for dredging work in the GCC. DCI is already working in the kingdom with Al-Ghanah Contracting on the dredging, reclamation and shoreline protection work for two townships (MEED 5:12:03).
  • Industrial gas deal inked

    Qatar Petroleum (QP)announced on 5 July the signing of a joint venture agreement with Qatar Nitrogen Company(QNC)and Air Liquide Middle East, part of Paris-based Air Liquide, to set up facilities for the commercial production and supply of industrial gases. A new project firm - Qatar Industrial Gases Company (QIGC) - has been formed to build the facilities at Mesaieed and Ras Laffan. The Mesaieed plant will supply 200 tonnes a day (t/
  • Insurgency could go on for years, says Rumsfeld

    US Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said on 26 June that the Iraqi insurgency could continue for years. 'Insurgencies tend to go on for five, six, eight, 10, 12 years,' Rumsfeld said on US television programme Fox News. He warned of increased violence in the run-up to parliamentary elections in December. 'We're going to create an environment that the Iraqi people and the Iraqi security forces can win against that insurgency,' he said.US President Bush is expected to make a t
  • Insurgency rages on all fronts

    Al-Qaeda in Iraq, led by Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, made a further move to stir sectarian strife in Iraq with the creation of special unit to target Shia fighters. In an internet posting on 6 July, a voice believed to be Al-Zarqawi's announced the creation of the Badr Omar brigades, which will 'seek to remove the symbols and the members of the brigades of treason, the Badr brigades'. The Shia Badr Brigades, a militia that has refashioned itself as the Badr Organisation committed to peaceful politics,
  • Insurgent groups will negotiate with Washington

    A spokesman for the Islamic Army in Iraq and the Army of the Mujahideen said on 4 July that the insurgent groups had not been in contact with Washington but would negotiate. 'I deny the existence of dialogue,' said Ibrahim Yusef al-Shammari. 'All initiatives on these negotiations will be done according to our programme: and no contact of this kind has taken place directly or indirectly with the Americans.''[Talks] are not happening because of the situation on the ground: the
  • Insurgents kill Algerian diplomats

    Algiers confirmed on 27 July that kidnappers had killed two Algerian diplomats snatched in Baghdad on 21 July. A group claiming to be Al-Qaeda in Iraq said in an internet statement that it had executed Ali Balarousi, Algiers' head of mission, and his colleague Azzedin Belkadi. 'Iraq will not be safe for God's enemies. Haven't we warned you against allying yourselves with America,' the group said.'The hostage takers have cowardly assassinated our two representatives in Baghdad
  • Insurgents kill Egyptian diplomat

    Egypt's kidnapped ambassador to Iraq has been killed, an internet posting attributed to Al-Qaeda in Iraq reported on 7 July. A video on the website showed a blindfolded man who gave his name as Ihab el-Sherif. The killing was not shown but a statement on the site said: 'The verdict of God against the ambassador of the infidels, the ambassador of Egypt, has been carried out.' An earlier web posting described El-Sherif as an apostate and said he would be killed. The group said it had delayed
  • Investors milk Almarai IPO

    The initial public offering (IPO) of shares in local dairy firm Almarai Companyclosed on 13 July oversubscribed four times. On offer were 4.5 million shares, each priced at SR 512 ($136.50) - representing 30 per cent of the company's capital. HSBC acted as financial adviser (MEED 8:7:05).
  • Investors proceed with caution

    The UAE bourses have again topped all previous records. The Shuaa UAE index is up by 86 per cent since the start of the year and still rising, while trading is reaching ever higher volumes. Average turnover in May was about AED 1,700 million ($463 million). In June, it averaged about AED 3,700 million ($1,008 million), with turnover on 26 June alone setting a new record of AED 4,700 million ($1,281 million).
  • Iran and Iraq in new era of military co-operation

    Tehran and Baghdad have agreed to a series of joint military activities, the Iranian and Iraqi defence ministers announced at a joint press conference on 7July. 'It's a new chapter in our relations with Iraq,' Iranian Defence Minister Ali Shamkhani said. His Iraqi counterpart Saadoun al-Dulaimi's visit to Tehran was the first by a military delegation since the start of the Iran-Iraq war in 1980. 'I have come to Iraq to ask forgiveness for what Saddam Hussein has done,' Al-Dulaimi said. Area
  • Iran and Iraq to sign oil swap

    Tehran is about to sign a deal with Baghdad to swap Iraqi crude oil for petroleum and other refined products, Iran's Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh said on 18 July. Tehran also plans to finance three pipelines to southern Iraq. The deal is expected to be signed by the end of July and oil will begin to flow within 10 months. 'The plan is for Iran to buy 150,000 barrels a day of light crude from Basra,' Zanganeh said. The announcement was made after Iraq's Prime Minister Ibrahim Jaafari v
  • Iran to supply India with gas

    Indian Oil Minister Mani Shankar Aiyar said on 12 July that India and Pakistan are due to start discussions on a pipeline to supply gas to India from Iran via Pakistan. Two-day talks in Dehli will focus on the financial, technical, legal and commercial details of the deal. The 2,600-kilometre overground pipe would cost around $4,000 million and is one of three pipelines under consideration to meet India's growing demand for natural gas. The others run from Turkmenistan through Pakistan and
  • Iranian prison report praised

    Iranian government spokesman Abdollah Ramezanzadeh on 24 July praised Abbasali Alizadeh, head of the Tehran Justice Department, for his candid inquiry into civil rights abuses in prisons. The report was commissioned by judiciary chief Ayatollah Mahmoud Hashemi Shahroudi and has been widely praised for its frank assessment of the legality of local detention centres. The report highlighted the high rate of suicide among women, the death in custody of Canadian-Iranian photographer Zahra Kazemi
  • Iraq Cabinet List

    Government of Iraq(Appointed 28 April 2005)Prime Minister and acting Defence Minister: Ibrahim Jaafari Deputy Prime Minister and acting Oil Minister: Ahmed Chalabi Deputy Prime Minister and acting Electricity Minister: Roj Nuri Shaways Foreign Affairs: Hoshyar Zebari Interior: Bayan Jabbor Finance: Ali Abdel Emir A
  • Iraq is the font of international terrorism

    Iraq is now the global centre for international terrorism, said Al-Qaeda expert Rohan Gunaratna on 29 July. 'Like Afghanistan produced the last generation of terrorists, Iraq will produce the next generation,' he said. Islamic militants from more than 30 nations have fought in Iraq since the US-led invasion in March 2003 and many will return home with urban terrorism skills, Gunaratna said. 'When they come back, they will have certain capabilities, certain knowledge and the threat of violen
  • Iraq owes $52,500m in damages for Kuwait invasion

    The UN Compensation Commission approved on 30 June $52,500 million of compensation claims against Iraq stemming from its invasion of Kuwait. Governments, corporations and individuals had sought a total of $354,000 million for damages incurred. To date Baghdad has paid $19,200 million and has called for an end to payments from its oil revenue in favour of negotiated settlements. Iraq owes most of the compensation payments to Kuwait.
  • Iraq war is worth it, says Bush

    US President Bush said on 28 June that US involvement in Iraq was worth it and cited Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden as the reason for the US presence there. 'Amid all this violence, I know Americans ask the question: Is this sacrifice worth it? It is worth it, and its vital to the future of our country,' Bush said in a nationally televised speech to mark the first anniversary of the transfer of sovereignty to the interim Iraqi government. 'The only way our enemies can succeed is if we forg
  • Iraqi oil workers strike

    Fifteen thousand workers at Iraq's South Oil Company held a one-day strike on 17 July to demand a greater share of Iraq's oil revenue. Provincial governor Mohammed al-Waili called the strike, which halted production at most oil installations in the region. Iraq exports 1.4 million barrels of crude oil a day, with more than 80 per cent coming from southern Iraq, generating income of $17,000 million.
  • Iraqi police force infiltrated by insurgents

    A joint report by the offices of the inspectors-general of the US state and defence departments released on 25 July says that the Iraqi police service is susceptible to infiltration by insurgents and mistakenly accepts physically handicapped and illiterate Iraqis. More than 60,000 Iraqis have enlisted in the police service, overwhelming resources and forcing officials to cut corners. The report states that the 'medical examination appears especially cursory'. Among recruits '
  • Iraqi Prime Minister Jaafari goes to Iran

    The seeds of a new alliance were sown in mid-July, during Iraqi Prime Minister Ibrahim Jaafari's first official visit to Tehran. After decades of mistrust and war, the new Iraqi government is dominated by old allies of the Islamic republic, many of whom sheltered in Iran during Saddam Hussein's rule.
  • Islamic Jihad members arrested as movement rejects unity government

    Israeli troops arrested six suspected members of Islamic Jihad and four other Palestinians in the West Bank on 8 July. The arrests follow the death of two militants during attacks in Gaza and the West Bank on 6 and 7July and the detention of about 70 Islamic Jihad members in June.Militant groups, including Islamic Jihad, have rejected Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas' offer to join a government of national unity. Abbas visited Damascus on 7 July where the heads o
  • Islamic scholar condemns women pilots

    Religious scholars criticised on 5 July the appointment of the first Saudi female commercial pilot. Prince Alwaleed bin Talal congratulated Captain Hanadi Zakariya Hindi for being the first woman to obtain a commercial pilot's licence in a full-page advertisement in several local newspapers, but religious scholars reacted negatively to the tributes. Sheikh Yousef al-Ahmad, associate professor at Imam Mohammed bin Saud Islamic University in Riyadh, said women pilots would have to travel with
  • Israeli army closes off Occupied Territories

    The Israeli army sealed off the West Bank and Gaza on 13 July following a suicide bombing in the Israeli town of Natanya. Islamic Jihad claimed responsibility for the attack in a shopping complex, which killed four women and injured 30 others. Israeli troops raided the West Bank town of Tulkarem and resumed control, which had been transferred to the Palestinian Authority under the terms of an unofficial ceasefire negotiated in March. The Israeli army arrested five suspected militants during
  • Israeli parliament vetoes Gaza withdrawal delay

    The Israeli Knesset (parliament) voted on 20 July not to delay Tel Aviv's planned withdrawal from Gaza despite a wave of protests against the pullout. Allies of Prime Minister Ariel Sharon rejected three bills proposing to postpone the withdrawal from three months to a year. Proponents of the bills argued that settlers had not had sufficient time to prepare for the evacuation.A standoff between pro-settler demonstrators and Israeli police continued for a third day. Police sur
  • Israeli settlers and soldiers skirmish in Gaza

    Israeli settlers and soldiers clashed in Gaza on 26 June when troops attempted to bulldoze derelict beach huts. The huts, near the settlement of Shirat Hayam, were close to a rundown hotel where anti-pullout protesters have barricaded themselves. Activists confronted the troops and shouted 'Jews don't expel Jews'. Ten civilians and 10 soldiers were injured in the protest and one soldier was arrested for not following orders (
  • Israeli soldiers storm Jenin

    Israeli troops raided the West Bank town of Jenin on 27 July to arrest Islamic Jihad leader Hamzi Sami. One Palestinian teenager was killed and nine people were injured when 30 armoured vehicles and four bulldozers entered the town. Tel Aviv has launched several arrest operations after members of the militant group bombed a shopping centre in the Israeli town of Netanya, killing four people ( MEED 15:7:05).
  • Israeli soldiers to disobey Gaza withdrawal orders

    Thousands of Israeli troops plan to disobey orders in order to disrupt Tel Aviv's withdrawal from Gaza, settler leader Noam Livnat said on 29 July. He said that up to 20,000 soldiers have signed a petition not to remove Israeli settlers. 'I expect thousands of soldiers to do their work inappropriately,' Livnat said. 'When the time comes, soldiers will go on the mission but they won't do it right, they will fail to do what they are supposed to do.' The petition states: 'We identify with rabb
  • Jebel Ali dredging out

    The dredging package has been released for tender on the new Jebel Ali container terminal project, with prequalified companies invited to submit bids on 25 July. Evaluation of bids is already under way at Dubai's Ports, Customs & Free Zone Corporation for the quay wall package on the estimated $250 million project, following the submission of bids in mid-June (MEED 24:6:05).
  • Jebel Ali dredging out

    The dredging package has been released for tender on the new Jebel Ali container terminal project, with prequalified companies invited to submit bids on 25 July. Evaluation of bids is already under way at Dubai's Ports, Customs & Free Zone Corporation for the quay wall package on the estimated $250 million project, following the submission of bids in mid-June (MEED 24:6:05).
  • Jeddah airport goes for jumbo expansion

    The long-awaited expansion of King Abdulaziz International Airport (KAIA) in Jeddah is moving ahead, after the client - the Presidency of Civil Aviation (PCA) - invited prequalifications for the programme and construction management (PCM) services contract and issued a tender for the first construction package (MEED 21:3:03).
  • Jeddah airport goes for jumbo expansion

    The long-awaited expansion of King Abdulaziz International Airport (KAIA) in Jeddah is moving ahead, after the client - the Presidency of Civil Aviation (PCA) - invited prequalifications for the programme and construction management (PCM) services contract and issued a tender for the first construction package (MEED 21:3:03).
  • Jordan poised for cabinet reshuffle

    Jordan's Prime Minister Adnan Badran is preparing to reshuffle his cabinet. The new cabinet formation is a bid to win a vote of confidence from the parliament, who rejected Badran's economic team. It follows the resignation of Finance Minister Bassem Awadallah in mid-June, who parliamentarians demanded stand down. Marwan Moashar will be the new deputy prime minister in charge of the reform programme and another five ministers will be replaced.The new cabinet will be responsib
  • Judges question Egyptian referendum

    A group of Egyptian judges said that the referendum on multi-candidate elections in May was subject to widespread fraud in a report published in Al-Masri al-Yom newspaper on 2 July. The report said that very few voters cast their ballot, although government sources recorded 100 per cent voter turnout in some polling booths. Voting irregularities included cancelling 'no' votes. The judges said they had only been able to supervise five per cent of polling stations and threatened to boycott mo
  • July ITB for Khorramshahr steel project

    The invitation to bid (ITB) will be issued in early July to international turnkey steel contractors for the Ahwaz Rolling & Pipe Mills Company (ARPMC)project in Khorramshahr. The company is also in negotiations with Italy's Arvedito help operate the new facility (MEED 13:5:05).
  • JV wins Dubai Tower

    The UAE/local joint venture of Al-Habtoor Engineering Enterprisesand Aljaber Engineeringreceived in mid-July a letter of intent for the main contract on Dubai Tower. The award, valued at about AED 875 million ($240 million), came after final prices were submitted by the three bidders in June for the landmark West Bay tower, which at about 400 metres will be the tallest in Qatar.The client is Dubai International Properties(MEED 11:3:05).
  • JV wins Dubai Tower

    The UAE/local joint venture of Al-Habtoor Engineering Enterprisesand Aljaber Engineeringreceived in mid-July a letter of intent for the main contract on Dubai Tower. The award, valued at about AED 875 million ($240 million), came after final prices were submitted by the three bidders in June for the landmark West Bay tower, which at about 400 metres will be the tallest in Qatar.The client is Dubai International Properties(MEED 11:3:05).
  • Kamco launches private placement

    KIPCO Asset Management Company (Kamco)announced on 4 July the pre-listing private placement of 15 million shares in the local Combined Groupat a price of KD 0.755 ($2.60) a share. The private placement offering is scheduled to close on 24 July and will be by invitation only. The stock is expected to be in a position to list on the Kuwait Stock Exchange (KSE) by the end of the year, subject to meeting listing conditions. Combined Group paid a cash dividend of KD 0.042 ($0.145)
  • Kefayeh stages another rally

    About 200 pro-reform demonstrators on 29 June staged a protest to demand the resignation of President Mubarak. Most of the protesters belonged to the Kifayeh movement, which has organised a series of rallies across Egypt. 'Mubarak, how much do you need to leave us in peace?' the crowd shouted during the demonstration, which took place in Zeitun, a Coptic area of Cairo. The rally was the latest in a recent string of anti-government activities launched by pro-reform groups (
  • Kemira Oyj sells stake in Kefco

    Finnish chemicals group Kemira Oyjhas sold its 50 per cent stake in Dubai-based Kemira Emirates Fertilisers Company (Kefco). SQM Nitratosof Chile has bought the stake in the plant, which manufactures 30,000 tonnes a year of urea phosphate marketed under the brand name Magnum P44, the rights to proprietary technology and the brand name.
  • Khatami calms cartoon row

    Iranian President Khatami said on 6 July that remarks made by Iranian officials about a cartoon published in Bahraini newspaper Al-Ayyam had been misinterpreted. Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi said during a weekly press conference that Tehran had issued a warning to Bahrain and recalled its ambassador once the cartoon, which implied Khatami influenced the outcome of the presidential election, had been published. 'I never saw any threat from the declarations of Hamid
  • King appoints new finance minister

    King Abdullah appointed Adel al-Qudah as the new finance minister on 3 July to replace Bassem Awadallah. Marwan al-Muashar is the new deputy prime minister, leaving vacant his former post as senior palace aid. Awadallah resigned in June when Prime Minister Adnan Badran faced a no-confidence vote from a group of parliamentary deputies who rejected Awadallah's reform approach as too pro-Western. 'Faced with unpopular decisions, such as plans to raise the price of oil products by 5-12 per cent
  • Kingdom's first IPP comes on stream

    Commercial operations at the kingdom's first independent power project (IPP), located at the Jubail complex of Saudi Petrochemical Company (Sadaf), began on 4 July after two years of construction. The landmark co-generation plant is the first to have been carried out on a build-own-operate-transfer (BOOT) basis, and will produce 250 MW fired by two W501D5A turbines provided by Germany's Siemens, the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contractor on the $200 mi
  • KJO rolls out major field development work

    Offshore Divided Zone (DZ) operator Al-Khafji Joint Operations (KJO)has invited local and international contractors to submit prequalification applications by 8 August for two lump-sum turnkey (LSTK) packages on phase 1 of its field development plan.
  • Knowledge base expands

    Contractor bids are under evaluation for the main infrastructure contract on the next phase in the development of Dubai Knowledge Village (DKV). The bidders include the local Bin Hafeez General Contracting & Transport Establishment and Wade Adams Contracting and the local/Cypriot National Wheel J&P. The estimated $30 million contract, involves earthworks and grading, internal roadworks, telecommunications infrastructure and potable water, sanitary and drainag
  • Knowledge base expands

    Contractor bids are under evaluation for the main infrastructure contract on the next phase in the development of Dubai Knowledge Village (DKV). The bidders include the local Bin Hafeez General Contracting & Transport Establishment and Wade Adams Contracting and the local/Cypriot National Wheel J&P. The estimated $30 million contract, involves earthworks and grading, internal roadworks, telecommunications infrastructure and potable water, sanitary and drainag
  • KNPC extends water treatment tender

    State-owned Kuwait National Petroleum Company(KNPC) has extended the bid deadline by two months to 4 September for the estimated $100 million-150 million effluent water treatment facilities project. The 10 original international prequalifiers have been joined by two additional contractors on the shortlist - UAE-based Petrofac Internationaland Japan's Toyo Engineering Corporation. The engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract, which is aim
  • KNPC gets new refinery project under way

    State refinery operator Kuwait National Petroleum Companyhas launched its estimated $5,000 million grassroots refinery project by inviting international contractors to submit expressions of interest by 8 August for the scheme's main engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) packages. KNPC has still to decide on the number of EPC packages, but says it is looking to tender no more than three lump-sum turnkey (LSTK) contracts.
  • Kurdish riots flare up in Iran

    Hard-line Iranian newspaper Jumhuri Islami reported on July 26 that disturbances are continuing in the Kurdish regions of Iran. In the town of Oshnavieh, rioting left two people wounded, said the newspaper, but Kurdish sources reported three deaths on 25 July and seven more fatalities over previous days. Disturbances began two weeks ago when a Kurdish man was allegedly shot by police, dragged by a car to a police station and then tortured to death. He was demanding autonomy for Kurdistan an
  • Kurds want control of northern oil fields

    Iraqi Kurds are seeking control of northern oil resources in talks on a federal constitution, Planning Minister Barham Saleh said on 29 July. Saleh, who is a leading Kurdish politician, said centralised control of the economy has proved a failure. 'The federal structure should guarantee balanced development. One of the vices of the oppressive central system is unjust distribution of wealth and resources,' he said. 'Go to Amara in the south, which is an important source of oil, and you see m
  • Kuwait refinery project costs soar

    Kuwait's Supreme Petroleum Council decided to raise the cost of its new oil refinery project to more than $6,300 million on 19 July to allow for an increase in capacity to more than 600,000 barrels a day. The price rise also accounts for the recent increase in the cost of raw materials used to build the plant, the facility's project manager Ahmad Al-Jeemaz said. The initial cost of the refinery was put at $3,400 million. Kuwait National Petroleum Company (KNPC) expects to invite bids for th
  • Labourers get some summer respite

    The federal Labour & Social Affairs Ministry announced in late June that outdoor labourers will be given a four-hour break, starting at 12.30 pm, in July and August, when temperatures can reach 47°C. Companies ignoring the directive will be liable to fines, the ministry said, adding that on-site inspectors from the ministry would enforce the decision.
  • Labourers get some summer respite

    The federal Labour & Social Affairs Ministry announced in late June that outdoor labourers will be given a four-hour break, starting at 12.30 pm, in July and August, when temperatures can reach 47°C. Companies ignoring the directive will be liable to fines, the ministry said, adding that on-site inspectors from the ministry would enforce the decision.
  • Lafarge to invest in local gypsum production

    France's Lafargeis to form a joint venture with local investors to produce gypsum. The joint venture agreement will see Lafarge - the world's biggest cement producer - invest Eur 10 million ($12.1 million) in the 300,000-tonne-a-year (t/y) plant near Yanbu. Construction is expected to start in September. Lafarge has also announced that it is planning to build a 150,000-t/y gypsum plant in Algeria. Lafarge says the investments are the first step in a strategy to become a major player
  • Lahoud signs Geagea amnesty in face of sectarian violence

    Lebanon's President Lahoud signed a parliamentary bill on 19 July granting an amnesty to jailed Christian Civil War leader Samir Geagea. Supporters of the former Lebanese Forces leader clashed with Shia Amal party loyalists on 18 July along the old green line that used to separate Muslim and Christian Beirut during the conflict. One Shia teenager was killed in the violence and 16 people were injured. Parliament previously approved an amnesty for Geagea, who was imprisoned for ordering the a
  • Landmark deals put spotlight on MSM

    Shares on the Muscat Securities Market (MSM) are climbing steeply but more quietly than listed stocks on more active peers. Although typically exciting little fanfare, the local market witnessed two seminal events in mid-June, as both the biggest share trade and the biggest initial public offering (IPO) came hard on each other's heels. Analysts rate the outlook positively, as the market deepens and valuations remain largely within a sensible range - at least in regional terms.
  • Lebanese ex-warlord Geagea released

    Lebanese Christian civil war leader Samir Geagea was released on 26 July under a government amnesty. He had served 11 years of a life sentence for crimes that included ordering the assassination of former prime minister Rashid Karami in 1987. Geagea is expected to return to politics despite his Lebanese Forces (LF) party being outlawed since 1994. His wife and other former LF members won seats in the new parliament as part of the majority anti-Syrian Future Movement bloc.Geag
  • Local firm to establish Jubail pets complex

    The local Al-Khamasiah for Industrial Developmentis to establish a new $2,530 million company to operate a petrochemicals complex at Jubail, according to the local Arabic daily Al-Eqtisadiah. The new company will offer 40 per cent of its equity to investors and has started negotiations with Saudi Aramcofor the feedstock arrangements. The project, covering 3 million square metres in Jubail, is expected to be implemented with the assistance of a foreigner partner and be com
  • Local team to take EFC after Sabic withdrawal

    A group of investors led by the local private equity company Citadel Capital is set to take control of Egyptian Fertiliser Company (EFC) after rival bidders pulled out of the race for the company. Citadel's winning offer of $501 a share for 100 per cent of EFC's 1.7 million shares equates to an offer of about $840 million for the producer.
  • Locals bid for DME

    Four local companies have submitted bids for Iran's first dimethyl ether (DME) plant at Assaluyeh. The client, Zagros Petrochemical Company, is expected to open commercial proposals in late July.
  • M station bids opened

    Dubai Electricity & Water Authority (DEWA) opened in late June consultancy bids for the grassroots Jebel Ali M power and desalination complex. According to the bid opening prices for the overall scope of works, the local Prestige Engineering is the low bidder at AED 54 million ($14.7 million), followed by Germany's Fichtnerat AED 70.9 million ($19.3 million), the UK's PB Powerat AED 76.8 million ($20.9 million) and Mott MacDonald, also of the UK, a
  • Made in Jordan QIZs

    Qualified industrial zones (QIZs) have become a major success story for Jordan. A multi-million- dollar textiles exporting industry has been built up in the zones over the past few years. However, with the expiry of the World Trade Organisation's multi-fibre arrangement (MFA) in January 2005, there is concern that both the industry and the QIZs may face difficulties ahead.
  • Malaysian JV snaps up Dukhan highway package

    A Malaysian joint venture of Gamudaand WCTwas awarded in early July a QR 750 million ($206 million) contract to carry out the first package on the Dukhan highway upgrade programme. The Dukhan package is the second major award to be made by the Public Works Authority (Ashghal) under its highways upgrade programme (MEED 27:5:05).
  • Malaysian JV snaps up Dukhan highway package

    A Malaysian joint venture of Gamudaand WCTwas awarded in early July a QR 750 million ($206 million) contract to carry out the first package on the Dukhan highway upgrade programme. The Dukhan package is the second major award to be made by the Public Works Authority (Ashghal) under its highways upgrade programme (MEED 27:5:05).
  • Malaysians get first private university contract

    Malaysia's Ahmad Zaki Resources Berhad (AZRB)has been awarded the SR 386 million ($103 million) contract to build the kingdom's first private university in Riyadh's Nasseriyah district. The client is the King Faisal Foundation. The construction of King Faisaliyah University will be carried out in two phases, the first of which will be completed in 15 months; phase 2 will be completed six months later. The university, which will ultimately serve about 4,000 students, is sponsored by p
  • Malaysians get first private university contract

    Malaysia's Ahmad Zaki Resources Berhad (AZRB)has been awarded the SR 386 million ($103 million) contract to build the kingdom's first private university in Riyadh's Nasseriyah district. The client is the King Faisal Foundation. The construction of King Faisaliyah University will be carried out in two phases, the first of which will be completed in 15 months; phase 2 will be completed six months later. The university, which will ultimately serve about 4,000 students, is sponsored by p
  • Mashreq millionaires balloon

    Rocketing oil prices have been the main contributor to creating a new class of millionaires across the Middle East, according to the latest annual World Wealth Report. The study, conducted by Merill Lynchand the Capgemini Group, claims that the region has become the fastest growing globally in terms of assets worth more than $1 million.
  • Meditel takes fixed-line contracts

    Meditel, a subsidiary of Spain's Telefonica and Portugal Telecom, has been awarded three contracts for the provision of fixed-line services in the kingdom, having submitted the best technical and financial bids. The company's high bid of MD 75 million ($8.2 million) exceeded that of the local Maroc Telecomby 50 per cent. Meditel, the kingdom's second GSM operator, will provide fixed local loop, national and international services, due to begin within ei
  • MEED distribution, 8 July edition

    Due to the terrorist attacks in London on 7 July, production and distribution of the 8 July edition of MEED is expected to be delayed. Online access to MEED.com will also be affected. We apologise for any inconvenience this may cause to our subscribers, and hope to resume a normal service as soon as possible.
  • Militants kill two Israelis, Tel Aviv retaliates

    Palestinian militants ambushed and killed two Israelis on the Gaza border on 24 July near the Kissufim crossing. Israeli security forces then killed two gunmen involved in the attack for which militants from Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades claimed responsibility. 'Israel will not make its peace with this terrorism,' said Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon. 'Our response will be of a different kind, using very tough new measures.' Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas said the attacks
  • Mineral mining tender out

    Companies have until 12 July to submit bids for concessions for the exploration and exploitation of 95 mineral deposits across the country. The client is Agence Nationale du Patriomoine Minier, the mining arm of the Energy & Mines Ministry. The exploitation concessions cover: limestone dolomite for aggregates and cement, granite for aggregates, decorative rock, sand, siliceous sand, clay, diatomite, gypsum, salt and tuff. The exploration concessions are for: limestone dolomite for aggregates and
  • MoE solicits C-2 phase 2 bids

    The Ministry of Energy (MoE) has invited 13 prequalified contractors to submit bids by 21 August for the C-2 second-phase pipeline package on the Subiya water storage and distribution scheme. Under the terms of the contract, the successful contractor will construct a 1.2-metre-diameter water pipeline extending from the Subiya desalination plant to the nearby water distribution complex. The scope of works also covers trench excavation, pipe welding, backfilling and connection of the pipeline to t
  • Moody's upgrades RasGas bond

    International rating agency Moody's Investors Servicehas upgraded the ratings of Ras Laffan Liquefied Natural Gas Company (RasGas)bonds by three notches to A1, with a stable outlook. The move follows the upgrade of the sovereign rating to A1 in late May, and also bodes well for the imminent rating of the bond to be issued by Ras Laffan Liquefied Natural Gas Company II (RasGas II), a joint venture between Qatar Petroleumand the US' ExxonMobi
  • More AFK work hits the market

    Saudi Aramco has released invitation to bid (ITB) documents to local and international contractors interested in bidding for further packages under the programme to develop the onshore Abu Hadriyah, Fadhili and Khursaniyah (AFK) oil fields in the Eastern Province.
  • More development for Manama

    Sharjah-based Al-Hamad Contracting Companyis preparing to mobilise on a major new mixed-use development in Manama, opposite the Bahrain Financial Harbour (BFH) complex. Called Abraj al-Lulu, the estimated BD 95 million ($252 million) development will be one of the largest projects of its type in the kingdom. It will comprise two commercial and residential 46-storey towers and a third 40-storey tower. The development will also include a five-star hotel, a retail area and a multi-store
  • More development for Manama

    Sharjah-based Al-Hamad Contracting Companyis preparing to mobilise on a major new mixed-use development in Manama, opposite the Bahrain Financial Harbour (BFH) complex. Called Abraj al-Lulu, the estimated BD 95 million ($252 million) development will be one of the largest projects of its type in the kingdom. It will comprise two commercial and residential 46-storey towers and a third 40-storey tower. The development will also include a five-star hotel, a retail area and a multi-store
  • More licensors picked for refinery

    The Royal Dutch/Shell Group and Denmark's Haldor Topsoe have been selected for the two remaining main process unit technology licensing contracts on the state's new 615,000-barrel-a-day (b/d) refinery. The client is state refinery operator Kuwait National Petroleum Company (KNPC).
  • More packages out on Al-Reem

    Two more construction packages are out to tender on the Al-Reem island project in Abu Dhabi being promoted by the local Tamouh Investments. Package 3, covering block C, calls for the construction of five apartment and office towers ranging in height from 15-40 storeys. Package 5, covering block E, involves the construction of two three-storey-high buildings, a club house and amenities. Tendering is also under way on package 2, which calls for the construction of five residential towe
  • More packages out on Al-Reem

    Two more construction packages are out to tender on the Al-Reem island project in Abu Dhabi being promoted by the local Tamouh Investments. Package 3, covering block C, calls for the construction of five apartment and office towers ranging in height from 15-40 storeys. Package 5, covering block E, involves the construction of two three-storey-high buildings, a club house and amenities. Tendering is also under way on package 2, which calls for the construction of five residential towe
  • MPW releases final Wafra package

    The Ministry of Public Works (MPW) has issued the third tender package on its estimated $200 million Wafra water distribution scheme. Thirteen local grade 1 contractors are prequalified to bid by 28 August for the contract, which covers the supply and installation of a 1.6-metre-diameter, 92-kilometre-long main pipeline from the data monitoring centre and wastewater treatment plant at Sulaibiya to agricultural farms at Wafra. Local contractors have until 24 July to bid for the other two packages
  • MTN aims to fill Turkcell's shoes

    South Africa's MTNsaid in late June it was confident of winning a 49 per cent stake in a consortium to develop Iran's first private GSM network. Turkcellwas originally awarded the contract last year after winning a tender in which MTN came second, but local officials said in late June that it had withdrawn (MEED 29:4:05).
  • Mubarak seeks Sharm el-Sheikh summit

    President Mubarak called on 28 July for an Arab summit in Sharm el-Sheikh days after a bombing attack on the Red Sea resort. The meeting would be held in early August with the 'view to reviewing the situation in the Arab world,' Mubarak said. 'I am fully confident that this coming extraordinary summit will be capable of crystallising a strong Arab position that reflects the determination of the Arab states and peoples to overcome the current challenges, and to achieve the peace and stabilit
  • Mubarak to stand for fifth term

    Egyptian President Mubarak intends to stand for a fifth term in office in elections in September, official Egyptian press reported on 27 July. The ruling National Democratic Party (NDP) will meet on 28 July to formally announce Mubarak's candidacy. 'I believe everyone wants Mr Mubarak to be president again to ensure unity, make peace in the country and build a strong economy,' said NDP member of parliament Abou Zeid. Egypt's presidential election commission has set 29 July as the date from
  • Mushrif, MEF win central market excavation work

    A Kuwaiti/local group of Mushrif Trading & Contracting Company and Middle East Foundations (MEF)has received a letter of award for the earthworks and foundations works package on the redevelopment of Abu Dhabi's central market. Work is expected to begin in early August and take about 12 months. The client is ALDAR Properties.
  • Mushrif, MEF win central market excavation work

    A Kuwaiti/local group of Mushrif Trading & Contracting Company and Middle East Foundations (MEF)has received a letter of award for the earthworks and foundations works package on the redevelopment of Abu Dhabi's central market. Work is expected to begin in early August and take about 12 months. The client is ALDAR Properties.
  • Muslim Brotherhood seeks to build opposition front

    Egypt's banned Muslim Brotherhood on 28 June invited other opposition groups to a conference on forming a pro-reform front. The National Alliance for Reform and Change would campaign for political change and provide a vehicle for the Muslim Brotherhood to participate in national politics. Members of the Wafd, Tagammu and Kifayeh parties were invited to attend three workshops the Brotherhood held with civil society groups, politicians and intellectuals. The organisation wants opposition grou
  • Muslim Brotherhood ups pressure on Mubarak

    The banned Muslim Brotherhood called on 30 June for a nationwide campaign of civil disobedience to demand President Mubarak step down. The call was made during the inaugural meeting of the National Alliance for Reform and Change, which the Brotherhood had invited other opposition parties join. More than 1,000 activists attended the meeting chaired by the organisation's deputy supreme guide, Mohammed Habib. But representatives from only one opposition party, the Wafd, agreed to participate i
  • Nael homes in on Marina Village

    The local Nael & Bin Harmalhas started mobilising on the Marina Village residential development, overlooking Abu Dhabi corniche. The estimated AED 280 million ($76 million) contract calls for the construction of 231 villas on the new breakwater island development with a built-up area of about 200,000 square metres. Located close to the Marina Mall, the scope of works also includes construction of a mosque, substations, a golf club and associated leisure facilities. The project is exp
  • Nael homes in on Marina Village

    The local Nael & Bin Harmalhas started mobilising on the Marina Village residential development, overlooking Abu Dhabi corniche. The estimated AED 280 million ($76 million) contract calls for the construction of 231 villas on the new breakwater island development with a built-up area of about 200,000 square metres. Located close to the Marina Mall, the scope of works also includes construction of a mosque, substations, a golf club and associated leisure facilities. The project is exp
  • Nakheel evaluates DMC bids

    Evaluation of bids is under way at the local Nakheelfor the design and build quay wall package on the Dubai Maritime City (DMC) project. Bidders for the 18-month contract include: Geneva-registered Archirodon Construction (Overseas); the local/Belgian Bel Hasa Six Construct; South Africa's Murray & Roberts Contractors (Middle East - M&R), with Interbetonof the Netherlands; France's Soletanche Bachy; the local Target
  • Nakheel evaluates DMC bids

    Evaluation of bids is under way at the local Nakheelfor the design and build quay wall package on the Dubai Maritime City (DMC) project. Bidders for the 18-month contract include: Geneva-registered Archirodon Construction (Overseas); the local/Belgian Bel Hasa Six Construct; South Africa's Murray & Roberts Contractors (Middle East - M&R), with Interbetonof the Netherlands; France's Soletanche Bachy; the local Target
  • Nass private placement closed

    The private placement of shares in Nass Corporation, the holding company for 10 of the companies that make up local family business the Nass Group, has closed, with 15 strategic investors signing up. The biggest subscriber was Al-Rajhi Banking & Investment Corporationand a total of 24 per cent of the BD 20 million ($52.6 million) capital of the newly-formed firm was sold.
  • Natural assets

    The view from Aqaba beach is a picture postcard of contrasts - the turquoise sea flanked by ochre-coloured mountains, prettily framing the looming hulk of a cargo ship waiting to dock. The contrast sums up the challenge facing the Aqaba Special Economic Zone Authority (ASEZA), now in its fifth year of operation.
  • NBAD to double capital

    National Bank of Abu Dhabi (NBAD)is planning to more than double its capital to AED 2,000 million ($545 million), subject to shareholders' approval at an extraordinary general meeting (EGM) on 12 September. As part of the capital increase, the board of directors has decided to issue convertible bonds worth AED 2,500 million ($681 million).
  • NBK issues short-term notes

    National Bank of Kuwait (NBK)has launched a $2,000 million euro commercial paper (ECP) and euro certificate of deposit (ECD) programme, the first bank in the GCC to do so. The instruments have been rated P-1 by Moody's Investors Serviceand F1 by Fitch. NBK has appointed Barclays Bankto lead manage the programme and Barclays - along with Citigroup, Deutsche Bank and UBS as dealers. The paper will be denominated in both
  • NBO EGM approves CBQ deal

    An extraordinary general meeting of shareholders in National Bank of Oman on 25 June approved the acquisition by Commercial Bank of Qatar (CBQ)of a 12.5 per cent equity stake by means of a capital increase. NBO will issue 10 million additional shares, taking capital to RO 80 million ($205.1 million) from RO 70 million ($179.5 million). CBQ is paying RO 4.45 ($11.41) a share, and has also entered into a three-year management agreement with NBO. The Qatari bank is planning
  • NBO shareholding, board shaken up

    A major shake-up took place at National Bank of Oman (NBO)in mid-July, as existing players sold stakes worth RO 80 million ($205.1 million) to Commercial Bank of Qatar (CBQ)and four board members were replaced. The moves follow the agreement of shareholders at an extraordinary general meeting (EGM) in late June for CBQ to take a 34.9 per cent stake in NBO and management control for three years (MEED 1:5:05).
  • NDIA terminal package goes for bid

    The passenger terminal complex, the largest package on the $2,500 million New Doha International Airport (NDIA) project, has been issued for bid. The 11 prequalified groups have been given until 11 September to submit design and build bids for the contract, which is one of eight packages now out to tender (MEED 3:6:05; 11:3:05).
  • NDIA terminal package goes for bid

    The passenger terminal complex, the largest package on the $2,500 million New Doha International Airport (NDIA) project, has been issued for bid. The 11 prequalified groups have been given until 11 September to submit design and build bids for the contract, which is one of eight packages now out to tender (MEED 3:6:05; 11:3:05).
  • New deadline for Fajr

    The bid deadline has been extended to mid-July for the Fajr 2 utility project. The Bandar Imam facility will include a greenfield power plant with a capacity of 820 MW, a reverse osmosis desalination plant with a capacity of 4,700 cubic metres an hour (cm/h) and a DM desalination plant with a capacity of 1,500 cm/h, as well as nitrogen, cooling water, service water, instrument air and steam units. Likely bidders for the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract include: France's
  • New KOTC HQ in the works

    State-owned Kuwait Oil Tankers Company (KOTC)has issued a tender for the construction of its new headquarters in the Sharq district of Kuwait City. Eleven local grade 1 contractors have been invited to bid by 28 August for the estimated KD 12 million-15 million ($41 million-52 million) main construction package. The local Al-Jazera Consultantsis the design consultant.
  • New KOTC HQ in the works

    State-owned Kuwait Oil Tankers Company (KOTC)has issued a tender for the construction of its new headquarters in the Sharq district of Kuwait City. Eleven local grade 1 contractors have been invited to bid by 28 August for the estimated KD 12 million-15 million ($41 million-52 million) main construction package. The local Al-Jazera Consultantsis the design consultant.
  • New Lebanese PM mulls cabinet selection

    Lebanon's new Prime Minister Fouad Siniora will consult members of parliament (MPs) on 1 July about the formation of his new cabinet. In his acceptance speech, Siniora urged MPs to 'join hands to achieve reforms, apply all terms of the Taif accords, combat corruption, limit public spending and adopt a strategy that would achieve social and economic development'. He said he plans to adopt a new electoral law and abolish the political system based on sectarian allegiance. Siniora has the supp
  • New substation work in the pipeline

    The Project & Contracting Office (PCO) has issued presolicitation notices for the supply and construction of new substations and overhead line distribution networks across the country. The first contract covers the construction of a 400-kV substation at Amara in Missan province, while three others involve the expansion of the existing 400-kV Nasiriyah substation in Thi Qar province, the 400-kV Al-Qadissiya substation and the 400-kV Khor al-Zubair substation. A fifth contract calls for the design
  • NIG doubles its money

    National Industries Group (NIG)has signed a $225 million syndicated loan, lead arranged by Gulf International Bankand WestLB. The three-year facility was upsized from $100 million. Fourteen banks joined at syndication: Ahli United Bank, Bank Muscat International, Bank fur Arbeit und Wirtschaft, Bank of Baroda, Bank of Kuwait & the Middle East, Bumiputra-Commerce Bank, Commercial Bank of
  • No change to EU nuclear policy toward Iran

    EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana said on 27 June that there would be no change to Europe's position on nuclear negotiations with Iran in light of hardliner Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's presidential election victory. 'I think the most important thing is to wait and see how the words are translated into actions,' said Solana.Ahmadinejad has said he will not abandon negotiations with the EU over Tehran's nuclear programme but talks would be based on Iran's 'national interest'. He
  • No extradition to US, decides Jordan

    The Lower House of Parliament on 14 July voted against an agreement already concluded between Amman and Washington, calling for the extradition of criminals to the US. Parliamentary speakers of different factions rejected the legislation in light of the US' failure to ratify the International Criminal Court (ICC) agreement, and calling it 'harmful to Jordan's sovereignty'. 'Only Jordanians will be subject to the provisions of the agreement while Americans will be immune to any judicial proc
  • No Israeli troops to stay on Gaza-Egypt border

    Tel Aviv will have withdrawn all its troops from the Gaza-Egypt border by the time its pullout out from Gaza is complete, Israeli Defence Minister Shaul Mofaz said on 27 June. The Egyptian military will police the Rafah border known as Philadelphi road, which is notorious for gun smuggling. Tel Aviv had said it intended to keep guarding the border with a small contingent. 'I will not leave an enclave there. As far as I am concerned, by the end of the evacuation on Rosh Hashanah eve [2 Octob
  • No MPs in new Lebanese cabinet

    Lebanon's incoming Prime Minister Fouad Siniora said on 14 July that no members of parliament (MPs) would serve in his 24-member cabinet. The government will include 'people who have political know-how but are not members of political parties', Siniora said. Siniora's anti-Syrian Future Movement bloc has been in negotiations with the pro-Syrian Hezbollah-Amal coalition and Michel Aoun's Free Patriotic Movement about forming a government. 'In a meeting with President Lahoud, I proposed formi
  • No vacation for Holiday Inn

    Plans to build more than 30 three-star Holiday Inn Express hotels across the region are moving ahead after the financing for properties outside Saudi Arabia was completed in early July. Several design, consultancy and procurement contracts are also in the final stages of negotiations on the estimated $400 million project, which calls for the construction of at least 14 hotels in Saudi Arabia and 22 properties elsewhere in the GCC, with a further 10 under consideration (MEED 24:12:04).
  • No vacation for Holiday Inn

    Plans to build more than 30 three-star Holiday Inn Express hotels across the region are moving ahead after the financing for properties outside Saudi Arabia was completed in early July. Several design, consultancy and procurement contracts are also in the final stages of negotiations on the estimated $400 million project, which calls for the construction of at least 14 hotels in Saudi Arabia and 22 properties elsewhere in the GCC, with a further 10 under consideration (MEED 24:12:04).
  • Norsk signs up to explore Safi

    Norway's Norsk Hydrohas signed a 25-year exploration contract for the northwest Safi offshore permit with the Office National des Hydrocarbons et des Mines (ONHYM). The agreement comprises four licences covering an area of 6,542 square kilometres at depths of 300-3,000 metres. Norsk Hydro will take an ownership interest of 48.8 per cent, with the remainder held by the UK's Dana Petroleumand state oil company Office National de Recherches et d'Exploitations Petrolieres (ON
  • Nour forgery trial suspended

    The trial of opposition leader Ayman Nour was postponed on 6 July until the end of September. The delay means Nour, who heads the Al-Ghad party, will be able to stand in presidential elections scheduled for early September. Nour denies charges that he forged signatures on his party's registration documents. Nour's wife and spokeswoman Gameela Ismail said the delay meant a cloud of suspicion would hang over Nour as his presidential election campaign got under way.One of Nour's
  • Nour to stand in presidential election

    Egyptian opposition leader Ayman Nour applied on 29 July to stand against President Mubarak in September elections. Nour, who heads the Al-Ghad party, said he hoped his early application would mean his name appeared above Mubarak's at the top of the ballot paper. He is the president's most prominent opponent but commentators said he has little chance of winning. Nour is on trial for forging party registration documents, a charge he denies. Court hearings will resume in 25 September after th
  • Nour trial becomes opposition platformEgypt

    The trial of Egyptian opposition leader Ayman Nour has started despite disruption caused by pro-reform demonstrations and accusations of trumped-up charges. Protesters, who gathered outside the courthouse shouting 'Change Now', 'No to injustice No to dictatorship' and 'Justice for Ayman Nour', were surrounded by riot police and barred from entering the building. The trial did not start on time, as Nour was unable to enter the building and take his seat in the dock.
  • Nour trial delayed by demonstrations

    Demonstrators disrupted the trial of opposition leader Ayman Nour on 28 June. His supporters tried to enter the courthouse carrying banners that read 'Justice for Ayman Nour' and 'Change Now'. Nour was unable to take his seat in the dock for an hour as security guards blocked the entrance. Nour heads the Al-Ghad party and stands accused of forging signatures on the party's registration documents. He sat with six other defendants, five of whom Nour claimed he had never met.Nou
  • Nour uses trial as opposition platform

    Opposition leader Ayman Nour attacked President Mubarak's government on 28 June during his trial on charges of forgery. Nour, who denies the allegations, stands accused with four other defendants who have admitted to the charges. The lawyers for his co-defendants challenged Nour on the origins of his wealth. 'I am more than ready to produce certificates on the sources of my fortune, but I will demand that Mubarak, his sons and all his family do the same thing,' Nour told the courtroom.
  • Nymex heads to Dubai

    The New York Mercantile Exchange (Nymex) has signed a joint venture agreement with Dubai Holdingto create the Dubai Mercantile Exchange (DME). The deal will see the opening in early 2006 of the region's first energy futures exchange, filling the time zone gap in trading between Europe and Asia. The exchange will initially trade sour crude and fuel oil. Based in the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), the DME will be regulated by the Dubai Financial Services Autho
  • Oger eyes Turk Telekom stake

    A consortium led by Saudi Arabia's Oger Telecom has offered the highest price at $6,550 million for the purchase of a majority stake in Turkey's incumbent fixed-line carrier Turk Telekom. The offer was $50 million above the price of its nearest competitor, a group headed by the UAE's Emirates Telecommunications Corporation (Etisalat).
  • Oil price hits $60 a barrel OIL PRICES

    US crude prices tipped over the $60-a-barrel mark into new territory on 6 July as hurricane threats in the Gulf of Mexico added a feverish edge to trading. Prices have been climbing steadily since late June, on the back of market concerns about a shortfall in refining capacity ahead of peak season demand in the fourth quarter.
  • Oil prices tumble after terror attacks in London

    World oil prices dropped on 7 July after a series of fatal terrorist attacks in London. The price of Brent North Sea crude for delivery in August dived $4.30 to $55.50 a barrel. Earlier, the price struck a peak of $60.70. Prices had hit $62 a barrel in New York before they tumbled to $57.20. Four blasts targeted at London's transport system killed at least 30 people ahead of the start of the G8 summit in Edinburgh. Oil prices had risen on world markets due to fears that two tropical storms
  • Olefins 11 signed but still not sealed

    A consortium of Germany's Linde, South Korea's Hyundai Engineering & Construction Companyand the local Sazeh Consult has signed a Eur 960 million ($1,140 million) engineering, construction and procurement (EPC) contract for its new olefins 11 cracker at Assaluyeh. The consortium had been negotiating the contractwith National Petrochemical Company (NPC)after submitting the low bid in a protracted tender process late last year (MEED 3:5:05).
  • Omantel rings up takings

    Subscription to the biggest initial public offering (IPO) in the sultanate's history, of shares in Oman Telecommunications Company (Omantel), closed on 10 July. The issue was heavily oversubscribed, with large numbers of new investors signing up for shares.
  • OPEC to restart production hike talks

    OPEC president and Kuwaiti Energy Minister Sheikh Ahmad Fahad al-Sabah said on 7 July that the cartel's members are due to resume discussions on the high oil price. 'Beginning tomorrow, we will start to consult with our colleagues about the prices and to see exactly what would be the situation [regarding production],' he said. Discussion about price increases began in late June but finished by the end of the month.World oil prices rebounded on 8 July after dropping in the wak
  • Opposition objects to new law

    Opposition politicians criticised new political associations legislation on 21 July awaiting ratification by the king. 'Adopting this law as it is means that there is no real freedom for political work,' said the head of the Islamic National Accord Association Sheikh Ali Salman. Opposition groups have said that the legislation would restrict foreign financing of political groups and raises the minimum membership age from 18 to 21. 'The new law will be a sword pointed against [political] ass
  • Orascom to buy out local partners

    Egypt's Orascom Telecomhas signed agreements to acquire the remaining 37 per cent equity stake in its local operation, Orascom Telecom Iraq Corporation (Iraqna), giving it complete control of the company. The acquisition, signed with local shareholders, will cost the company about $60 million. Iraqna was awarded the licence to set up and operate a GSM service in October 2003, quickly moving from its central region base to provide nationwide coverage. The licence is due to
  • OSC signs up for new LNG vessel

    Oman Shipping Company (OSC)has signed a joint venture agreement with Osaka Gas, NVK and K Line, all Japanese, for the ownership of a seventh liquefied natural gas (LNG) tanker to serve the Oman LNGproject. OSC will own 40 per cent of shares in the special purpose vehicle, Osaka Gas will hold 51 per cent, NVK will take 6 per cent and K Line will have 3 per cent. OSC, which has plans to develop into an international shipping firm rather than s
  • PA calls for international help against separation wall

    Palestinian Minister for Foreign Affairs Nasser al-Kidwa called on the international community on 11 July to put pressure on Israel to abide by international rulings on the course of the West Bank barrier wall. 'Israel must implement the international resolutions and we ask all states: to put pressure on Israel,' Al-Kidwa said.The Hague-based International Court of Justice ruled in July 2004 that parts of the wall were built on Palestinian land and must be torn down. A year l
  • PA clashes with Hamas, Israel kills Islamic Jihad members

    Nine Palestinians were wounded on 19 July in clashes between Hamas militants and Palestinian security forces in the Jabaliya refugee camp. The violence erupted when security forces tried to arrest Hamas members suspected of involvement in the shooting of a Palestinian police officer. Militants also continued to fire rockets at Israeli targets despite President Mahmoud Abbas' pledge to stop the attacks.Israeli troops killed two Palestinian militants on 19 July during a dawn ra
  • PA, factions form national committee for Gaza pullout

    Palestinian factions will work together in a show of national unity during Tel Aviv's mid-August withdrawal from Gaza, Palestinian Prime Minister Ahmed Qurei said on 28 July. Representatives of the Palestinian Authority (PA) and militant groups met in Gaza City and formed a joint committee to prepare for the pullout. 'It was a very important meeting between us and all the factions, where we agreed to organise ourselves for the Israeli withdrawal from the Gaza Strip and the northern West Ban
  • PA, Hamas clash in Gaza

    Clashes between Palestinian Authority (PA) police forces and Hamas militants erupted in Gaza City on the morning of 15 July, reportedly killing two passers-by and injuring several others. The fighting started in Gaza's Zeitoun neighbourhood after PA police wounded six Hamas militants preparing to launch Qassam rockets at targets inside Israel. The previous night, Israeli helicopters fired missiles at targets in the Gaza strip in retaliation for a rocket attack that earlier killed one woman
  • PAAET kicks off building programme

    The Public Authority for Applied Education & Training (PAAET) has invited all local grade 1 contractors to bid by 23 August for a contract to build a special training centre (STC) at its Shuwaikh campus. The estimated $100 million project consists of two main elements, the main body of the faculty, and the covered car park and landscaped gardens. In adherence to local law, male and female students will be segregated inside the main building and have access to their own gyms, auditoriums, lounges
  • PAAET kicks off building programme

    The Public Authority for Applied Education & Training (PAAET) has invited all local grade 1 contractors to bid by 23 August for a contract to build a special training centre (STC) at its Shuwaikh campus. The estimated $100 million project consists of two main elements, the main body of the faculty, and the covered car park and landscaped gardens. In adherence to local law, male and female students will be segregated inside the main building and have access to their own gyms, auditoriums, lounges
  • Pakistanis not Sharm el-Sheikh bombers

    Egypt's ambassador to Islamabad said on 26 July that Pakistanis had no role in the Sharm el-Sheikh bombings that occurred on 23 July. 'We deny categorically any links between Pakistani nationals and Sharm el-Sheikh blasts,' Hassan Haridi said. Egyptian police were searching for six Pakistani suspects who went missing from a Cairo hotel in early July. 'This is a routine security check that happens anywhere in the world,' Haridi said.A previously unknown Islamist organisation w
  • Palestinian security no match for militant strength

    Palestinian security forces are weak, ill equipped and outgunned by militant groups, says a report released by a US think-tank on 26 July. They are short of ammunition, vehicles and communications equipment, are not uniformly trained and are dominated by personalities and clans, the Strategic Assessments Initiative report says. They also suffer from corruption and 'lacked the capacity and capability to fulfil core functions,' the study says. The security forces are not ready to cope with Te
  • Palestinian senior aide attacked by gunmen

    Senior Palestinian official Ibrahim Salama was attacked by masked gunmen on 12 July as he drove through Ramallah. The men fired on his car and forced Salama to stop before beating him. Salama was later taken to hospital. 'The security services will take immediate and serious action and will chase after those involved. We will deal with this firmly,' said Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. Salama is chief aide to Interior Minister General Nasser Youssef. Commentators have said th
  • Parliament approves amnesty for Geagea

    The Lebanese parliament approved on 18 July the release of Christian civil war militia leader Samir Geagea. Around 100 MPs voted in favour of an amnesty for Geagea, who was found guilty in 1994 of ordering four political murders, including that of former prime minister Omar Karami in 1987. Geagea was sentenced to life in prison with hard labour. The Lebanese Front (LF) leader is the only civil war commander to be imprisoned for crimes committed during the conflict. Members of the LF are par
  • PDO relinquishes control of block 6 acreage

    Petroleum Development Oman (PDO)has formally relinquished control of about 10 per cent of its block 6 concession to the government. The statutory handover was in accordance with agreements signed between the oil company and the government late last year, which renewed PDO's concession period by a further 40 years (MEED 6:5:05).
  • Piling JV starts on Dubai towers

    The local/Turkish joint venture of Al-Habtoor Engineering Enterprisesand STFA Soil Grouphas been awarded the excavation, dewatering and piling contract for the construction of a twin tower hotel on Sheikh Zayed highway in Dubai.
  • Piling JV starts on Dubai towers

    The local/Turkish joint venture of Al-Habtoor Engineering Enterprisesand STFA Soil Grouphas been awarded the excavation, dewatering and piling contract for the construction of a twin tower hotel on Sheikh Zayed highway in Dubai.
  • Pipeline bidders get more time

    Saudi Aramco has granted additional time to local and international firms preparing to bid for several pipeline contracts. Bids for the estimated $150 million-200 million engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract to build the upstream and downstream sections of the onshore Abu Hadriyah, Fadhili and Khursaniyah (AFK) oil field programme in the Eastern Province are now due on 6 August. The bid deadline on the project to convert the existing Abqaiq-Yanbu oil looped line (AY-1L
  • PLANT: Big demands on equipment

    Dubai's fast-changing skyline may be all about new high-rise towers, but for the time being, cranes still dominate the cityscape. And in Jeddah, Riyadh and Doha, the picture is very much the same. As the Gulf economies continue to thrive on a mix of high oil prices and production, low interest rates and economic reform initiatives, the region's construction industry is flourishing - and with it the market for construction equipment manufacturers.
  • Prequals due for Abu Dhabi airport package

    The Supervision Committee for the Expansion of Abu Dhabi International Airport (Scadia) has invited specialised companies to submit prequalifications by 31 July for the airfield lighting and runway control system package to serve the expansion scheme. The scope of works include the supply and installation of in-pavement lighting fixtures for the new runway and taxiway, signage systems and related facilities. The local Saif Bin Darwishis carrying out the rough grading package for the
  • Prequals due for Abu Dhabi airport package

    The Supervision Committee for the Expansion of Abu Dhabi International Airport (Scadia) has invited specialised companies to submit prequalifications by 31 July for the airfield lighting and runway control system package to serve the expansion scheme. The scope of works include the supply and installation of in-pavement lighting fixtures for the new runway and taxiway, signage systems and related facilities. The local Saif Bin Darwishis carrying out the rough grading package for the
  • Prequals in for Raha gardens

    Prequalifications were submitted in late June for the first-phase packages on the Raha gardens development in Abu Dhabi. About 15 contractors were asked to apply for prequalification for one or more of the five phase 1 packages, which comprise two residential lots, a village square, a polo club and infrastructure. The client, Abu Dhabi-based ALDAR Properties, is looking to proceed on a fast-track basis, with the 12-month residential packages due to be tendered first. Australia's
  • Prequals in for Raha gardens

    Prequalifications were submitted in late June for the first-phase packages on the Raha gardens development in Abu Dhabi. About 15 contractors were asked to apply for prequalification for one or more of the five phase 1 packages, which comprise two residential lots, a village square, a polo club and infrastructure. The client, Abu Dhabi-based ALDAR Properties, is looking to proceed on a fast-track basis, with the 12-month residential packages due to be tendered first. Australia's
  • Prequals in for Wadi Dayqah dam

    Applications for prequalification were submitted on 11 July from 15 companies for the contract to build the Wadi Dayqah dam and associated water supply system, calling for the construction of a main dam, an earthfill saddle dam, a water supply network covering Muscat and Quriyat, two pumping stations, two storage tanks, two substations and a water treatment works. Total project costs are estimated at RO 50 million-60 million ($128 million-154 million). A team of the US' Black & Veatch
  • Prequals invited for wastewater O&M

    Applications for prequalification have been invited by 25 July from companies interested in forming an operation and maintenance (O&M) joint venture with Oman Wastewater Services Company (OWSC)for the Muscat Wastewater project. The selected company will be responsible for providing billing services, updating a masterplan for the project and supervising commissioning of phases 1-2. Among those to have picked up tender documents are France's Suez Environnement, a UAE office
  • Prices in for Habshan expansion

    Fluor Corporation and Bechtel, both US-based, submitted commercial bids on 17 July to Abu Dhabi Gas Industries Company (Gasco)for the estimated $350 million-400 million engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract on the first phase of the Habshan gas complex expansion project. The project scope involves the installation of a 360 million- cubic-feet-a-day (cf/d) gas processing train at Habshan to treat non-associated or associated gas and increasing gas
  • Prices in for RasGas mega trains

    Evaluation of commercial bids is under way for the onshore package at the RasGas III integrated projectat Ras Laffan. Two groups of companies - a joint venture of Japan's Chiyoda Corporationand Paris-based Technip; and Japan's JGC Corporation, with the US' Kellogg Brown & Root- submittted offers in late June. Estimated to be worth $3,000 million-3,500 million, the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract focuses on the construction
  • Prices opened for more NDIA packages

    Prices were opened in mid-July for two more packages on the first phase of the New Doha International Airport (NDIA) project. The opening coincided with revised prices being submitted by two shortlisted bidders for the runway/tunnel package. The estimated $2,500 million project is being handled by the NDIA Steering Committee, which has US-based Bechtel as its engineering, procurement and construction management (EPCM) contractor (MEED 3:6:05).
  • Prices opened for more NDIA packages

    Prices were opened in mid-July for two more packages on the first phase of the New Doha International Airport (NDIA) project. The opening coincided with revised prices being submitted by two shortlisted bidders for the runway/tunnel package. The estimated $2,500 million project is being handled by the NDIA Steering Committee, which has US-based Bechtel as its engineering, procurement and construction management (EPCM) contractor (MEED 3:6:05).
  • Prince Alwaleed finances Islamic art wing at the Louvre

    Architectural plans were released on 27 July for a new wing at the Louvre museum in Paris to showcase Islamic art. The 4,000-square-metre building sponsored by Saudi Arabia's Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, France's Total and the French government at a cost of $67.3 million, is scheduled to open in 2009. Prince Alwaleed will contribute almost a third of the required funds. The Louvre's Islamic art collection has 10,000 pieces, many of which have not been displayed for decades due to lack of spac
  • Prince Bandar resigns as Saudi ambassador to US

    Saudi Arabia's ambassador to the US Prince Bandar bin Sultan has resigned, the Saudi Ministry of Foreign Affairs said on 20 July. Bandar, who has served in Washington for more than 20 years will be replaced by Prince Turki al-Faisal, who is currently Saudi Arabia's ambassador to the UK. Bandar is reported to have stood down for personal reasons.
  • Privatisation beckons for sewerage, waste sectors

    A major shake-up of Abu Dhabi's sewerage sector was announced in late June, with the establishment of Abu Dhabi Sanitary Sewage Services Company (ADSSC). The new entity, to be owned by Abu Dhabi Water & Electricity Authority (ADWEA), will take over responsibility for the emirate's sewerage system from the Sewerage Projects Committee, now part of the Department of Municipalities & Agriculture.
  • PROJECT FINANCE: Banks put it on plastic

    In early June, international and local banks were sent a teaser to gauge their interest in participating in the financing of the integrated Rabigh refining and petrochemicals project. Apparently they were amused. Despite the tendency of foreign banks to pass up Saudi project finance opportunities in favour of the easier markets of Qatar or Oman, a strong response was reported. The project's location seems to have been eclipsed in the minds of potential lenders by the impeccable credit record of
  • Project Kuwait will have to wait until autumn

    The National Assembly (parliament) rose for the summer recess on 29 June without taking a vote on Project Kuwait, the state's landmark upstream initiative. Parliamentary approval of the draft enabling bill on the estimated $8,500 million scheme will now have to wait until October at the earliest, when parliament reconvenes. The government submitted the draft bill to parliament's economy and finance committee in January, but the committee has yet to submit a report on its recommendations to legis
  • Project managers line up for PMC mega contracts

    Project managers are preparing to submit bids by 28 July for two four-year major project management consultancy (PMC) contracts covering all current and future building construction work tendered by the Ministry of Public Works (MPW). An award is expected in the autumn.
  • Project managers line up for PMC mega contracts

    Project managers are preparing to submit bids by 28 July for two four-year major project management consultancy (PMC) contracts covering all current and future building construction work tendered by the Ministry of Public Works (MPW). An award is expected in the autumn.
  • Prominent Palestinian MP resigns

    Prominent Palestinian Legislative Council member Marwan Kanafani resigned on 10 July in protest against a recent upsurge in violence in the Occupied Territories. 'I submitted my resignation: because I am worried, and everyone is worried, about the deteriorating security situation in Palestine and the deterioration in the Palestinian internal situation,' Kanafani said. 'I hope that my resignation will bring a response from the council and the government and all political factions to stop the
  • Proposals invited for sports project

    Qatar Sports Investment Company (QSI)has invited qualified companies to submit proposals by 22 September for the Al-Khaleej sports and leisure project. Interested companies have the option of submitting a build-operate-transfer (BOT), joint venture or developer proposal to QSI for the project, which will involve developing a 21,021-square-metre site in Doha for sports and leisure.
  • Proposals invited for sports project

    Qatar Sports Investment Company (QSI)has invited qualified companies to submit proposals by 22 September for the Al-Khaleej sports and leisure project. Interested companies have the option of submitting a build-operate-transfer (BOT), joint venture or developer proposal to QSI for the project, which will involve developing a 21,021-square-metre site in Doha for sports and leisure.
  • Pro-settler activists stopped from reaching Gaza

    Israeli police prevented protesters opposed to Tel Aviv's withdrawal from Gaza from resuming a banned three-day march on 19 July to the occupied territory. Police clashed with demonstrators on their way to Gaza on 18 July as part of a security operation involving 20,000 officers deployed to stop up to 40,000 marchers from reaching Gaza. The marchers, who started their demonstration at Netivot, spent the night in a makeshift camp surrounded by police near Kfar Maimon, 15 kilometres from Gaza
  • Protests mount against imprisonment of dissident

    Five Iranian members of parliament (MPs) said on 13 July that they plan to visit jailed journalist Akbar Ganji in Evin prison. Ganji has been on hunger strike for a month and 'has lost 17 kilogrammes: which is a matter of concern', Tehran MP Saeed Abutaleb said. Ganji's lawyers said he needs medical treatment.Ganji was jailed for six years in 2001 for writing articles linking senior officials to a series of political assassinations. He was temporarily released in May and star
  • PWC makes another acquisition

    The local PWC Logistics has made its second acquisition of the year, purchasing the US' GeoLogistics Corporationin a debt-free deal worth $454 million. Citigroup, Bear Stearnsand Banc of America Securitiesadvised the two parties on the deal. Under the terms of the acquisition, GeoLogistics' senior management team will remain in place under PWC Logistics' ownership and no material organisational changes will be made. The combined group i
  • Qasco signs financing agreements

    Qatar Steel Company (Qasco) signed in early July the financing package for the expansion of its existing steel complex at Mesaieed. A 17-strong group of mandated lead arrangers (MLAs) was involved in the transaction, which is split into a $483.5 million senior syndicated term facility and a $75 million subordinated facility. The senior facility has a tenor of 12.5 years with a 20 per cent balloon repayment mechanism and priced at 80-100 basis points. Standard Chartered Bank (SCB)
  • QP issues Bul Hanine platform tender

    Qatar Petroleum (QP)has invited engineering, procurement, installation and commissioning bids by 28 August for a contract covering three wellhead platforms and associated pipelines. The four-legged wellhead jackets will have two level decks and a helideck and will be installed in the offshore Bul Hanine field. The contract will also include the installation of about 40 kilometres of pipeline and 23 kilometres of umbilicals.
  • QP plots new refinery project

    Qatar Petroleum (QP)is studying the possibility of building a crude refinery, most probably at Mesaieed. The proposed 200,000-barrel-a-day (b/d) facility will have a product slate including distillates, bitumen and green coke, besides other hydrocarbon derivatives. QP already operates a refinery at Mesaieed and has recently awarded the construction contract for a $700 million condensate refinery at Ras Laffan (MEED 24:6:05).
  • Q-Power syndication wrapped up

    Syndication of the $750 million debt package for the Q-Powerconsortium of Qatar Electricity & Water Company (QEWC), the UK's International Power (IP)and Japan's Chubu Electric Power Company, which won the state's second independent water and power project (IWPP) has been finalised, with 22 banks signing up. The mandated lead arrangers (MLAs) were Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi, Calyon, Gulf International Bank,
  • Q-Tel heads towards 3G

    Qatar Telecom (Q-Tel) has taken its first major step towards providing a third-generation (3G) mobile telecommunications service, with the award in early July of a Eur 20 million ($24 million) contract to Germany's Siemensto supply and install a universal mobile telecommunications system (UMTS). The new facility will operate on a wideband code division multiple access (W-CDMA) platform, offering high-speed data and related services. In late 2003, Siemens won a contract to exte
  • Qualified growth

    Amman is trying to set an example to its neighbours. Caught between two persistent regional conflagrations - the Israeli-Palestinian conflict on one side and the Iraq insurgency on the other - and with Syria, one of the world's few remaining command economies, stagnating to the north, the kingdom is nevertheless enjoying a period of calm and steady growth. Despite a high budget deficit, rising debt levels and a heavy import burden, the country's commitment to a private sector led economy and pol
  • Qurrayat cancelled

    Saudi Electricity Company (SEC)has informed contractors that it has cancelled the tender for the contract to expand the existing power plant at Qurrayat in the northwest. No further details have been given but it is understood that SEC will focus on first building up generation capacity in areas with more urgent requirements. Three local firms - Al-Toukhi Contracting, Arabian Bemco Contractingand National Contracting Company (NCC)- were preparing to bid
  • Rabigh contract awards accelerate

    The joint venture of Saudi Aramco and Japan's Sumitomo Chemical Company has taken a significant step in its programme to upgrade the kingdom's biggest refinery at Rabigh and turn it into a world-scale integrated refining and petrochemicals complex, by selecting three contractors to carry out four main packages. The price tag of the Rabigh scheme is now estimated at about $8,000 million, almost double the original estimate of $4,300 million as a result of rising material a
  • Race narrows for Durrat bridges

    Three teams have been called back for negotiations for the contract to build the bridges linking the various sections of the Durrat al-Bahrain resort. They are: the local AA Nass Contracting, with South Africa's Murray & Roberts Contractors (Middle East); Cyprus-based GP Zachariades (GPZ- Overseas), with the Netherlands' Interbeton; and the local Cebarco, with Malaysia's WCT. All conforming bids came in well over
  • Race narrows for Durrat bridges

    Three teams have been called back for negotiations for the contract to build the bridges linking the various sections of the Durrat al-Bahrain resort. They are: the local AA Nass Contracting, with South Africa's Murray & Roberts Contractors (Middle East); Cyprus-based GP Zachariades (GPZ- Overseas), with the Netherlands' Interbeton; and the local Cebarco, with Malaysia's WCT. All conforming bids came in well over
  • Race narrows for Harweel

    Petroleum Development Oman (PDO)is understood to have entered sole negotiations with UAE-based Petrofac Internationaland the local Galfar Engineering & Contracting for the estimated $600 million engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract on the Harweel enhanced oil recovery (EOR) project, following the elimination of Paris-based Technip. The project, valued at more than $1,000 million, was granted shareholder approval in January (MEED 27:5
  • Rafsanjani calls for unity and warns against extremism

    Defeated election candidate Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani called for national unity during a sermon delivered on 1 July and urged Iranians to support president-elect Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. 'For the sake of the revolution and Iran, the people should be as one and support the president,' he said. He indicated that he would maintain a central role in the clerical government to counteract extremists. 'The issues are very, very serious, and without co-ordination, unity, care and prevention of extre
  • Rafsanjani supports nuclear programme

    Former president Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani said on 22 July that Tehran should continue with its nuclear programme. 'We will never abandon our obvious right, otherwise it will be a stain of shame on our history,' Rafsanjani said. 'Prudently and by adopting proper measures, we should not let our legitimate right [to nuclear technology] be ignored,' he said during a Friday sermon. Tehran has agreed to suspend its nuclear work while it continues negotiations with the EU about its uranium enr
  • RAK announces plans for snow village

    Abu Dhabi-based Al-Salamah International Trading & Marketinghas announced plans for what it claims will be the largest project ever undertaken in the region. Called the Desert Snow Village, the Ras al-Khaimah scheme will have an estimated development cost of at least $50,000 million and take a minimum of 10 years to develop. The project will cover more than 40 million square metres. Its central element will be a 1.8 million-square-metre dome. Inside the atmospherically-controlled str
  • RAK announces plans for snow village

    Abu Dhabi-based Al-Salamah International Trading & Marketinghas announced plans for what it claims will be the largest project ever undertaken in the region. Called the Desert Snow Village, the Ras al-Khaimah scheme will have an estimated development cost of at least $50,000 million and take a minimum of 10 years to develop. The project will cover more than 40 million square metres. Its central element will be a 1.8 million-square-metre dome. Inside the atmospherically-controlled str
  • RAK mulls ports expansion

    Ras al-Khaimah (RAK) is planning to invest $1,000 million to expand the emirate's port infrastructure. Under the proposals, the Customs & Ports Department will primarily focus on developing container and cargo facilities at Al-Jazeerah al-Hamra port as well as acquiring more handling equipment and increasing the depth of the approach channel to eight metres. RAK will also expand Mina Saqr, Ras al-Khaimah port and Ras al-Darah port in a bid to increase capacity to 30 million tonnes a year (t/y) f
  • Ras al-Khaimah: Entering the RAK race

    Potential investors were in for a surprise when they listened to a presentation by UK-based consultant Halcrow at the Invest & Live in Ras al-Khaimah (RAK) conference in late May. The firm's regional director, John Heck, couldn't suppress a grin as he introduced the Jebel Jais development. 'This will be the Gulf's first fully integrated outdoor ski resort,' he said. The delegates looked bemused: were they attending a conference to drum up interest in one of the federation's least economically ac
  • RCD dominates upper house elections

    Tunisian President Ben Ali's Democratic Constitutional Rally (RCD) swept elections on 3 July for seats in the parliament's new upper house. The RCD won 71 of 85 seats elected by regional authorities and professional organisations. Ben Ali will appoint 41 more seats and 14 remain unfilled. The upper house will represent regions and social groups when it convenes.
  • Record surplus for government

    Fiscal 2004-05 was the best on record for government finances, according to official figures released on 2 July. Finance Minister Bader al-Humaidi announced that the state posted a record budget surplus of KD 3,200 million ($11,000 million) for the year ending 31 March, on the back of KD 8,900 million ($30,200 million) in revenues and expenditure of KD 5,700 million ($19,300 million).
  • Refinery tenders out

    The Oil Ministry, through two of its subsidiaries - State Company for Oil Projects (SCOP)and Midlands Refinery Company (MRC)- has issued two tenders aimed at increasing its refinery capacity throughput. SCOP has also invited contractors to bid for a pumping station tender on the Karkh-Shuaiba pipeline.
  • Reform buoys the bourses

    The Cairo & Alexandria Stock Exchanges
  • Repricing requested for aromatics

    Kuwait Aromatics Company (Karo)has asked the three bidders for its aromatics plant project at Shuaiba to reprice the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract. The decision was taken after all three bids received in April came in substantially above budget.
  • Revised RFP approaches for Jubail IWPP

    The first part of the revised request for proposal (RFP) documents for the planned independent water and power project (IWPP) at Jubail is due to be issued in mid-August, the client, The Power & Water Utilities Company for Jubail & Yanbu (Marafiq), announced on 17 July in Dubai at the bidders conference. The second part of the RFP is scheduled to be released in mid-October, with proposals due in December. The IWPP, which was converted in May into a national project, will have capacit
  • RFP out for KHIA and logistics park

    Aqaba Development Corporation (ADC) issued a formal request for proposals (RFP) on 30 June for two separate logistics projects in the Aqaba special economic zone (ASEZ). Eight companies are prequalified for each contract and have been given a month to submit bids. Awards are due in the third quarter.
  • RFQs out for Hidd IWPP

    Request for qualification (RFQ) has been invited by 20 July by the Ministry of Finance (MoF) for the brownfield Hidd independent water and power project (IWPP). The request for proposals (RFP) is due to be issued between 30 July and 6 August, with bids due in early November, a preferred bidder selection in early December and an award made by the end of the year.
  • Rice calls for Palestinians and Israel co-operation

    US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice pressed Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon on 22 July to stick to the timetable for Tel Aviv's planned withdrawal from Gaza. 'I look forward to talking with both the Israelis and the Palestinians about the need for tight co-ordination [during the pullout],' Rice said when she arrived in the region. 'I also look forward to talking about the need to resist any efforts by terrorists to destroy this moment of hope.'Rice and Sharon were repo
  • Rice willing to support Siniora

    US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice made a surprise visit to Beirut on 22 July. 'This will be an opportunity first of all to congratulate the Lebanese people on their desire for democracy and the fact that they keep pressing forward, and have formed a government,' Rice said. 'I look forward to meeting some of the members of the government to see how the international community and the United States in particular can be supportive.'Rice met with Saad Hariri who heads the pa
  • Riots shake Khouzestan again

    Iranian police arrested at least 12 people after riots in Khouzestan province on 27 July. Violence broke out after bogus traders tricked shoppers and failed to deliver goods, Iranian press reported. Five people were killed in riots in the predominantly Arab province in April after rumours circulated that Tehran planned to alter the ethnic balance of the region. Mahmoud Ahmad al-Ahwazi, a UK-based Arab separatist leader of the Ahwaz Arab People's Democratic Popular Front, told Reuters that t
  • Rising above terror to make a better world for us all

    A friend and former colleague who was travelling on the Piccadilly line on 7 July is now in a London hospital after surviving the bomb explosion in the carriage he was in that horrible morning. He survived but he has lost a leg and faces the long challenge of rehabilitation and a lifetime coping with a disability while supporting his wife and child.
  • Ritz deadline extended

    The bid deadline has been extended to 10 August for the main contract on the estimated $180 million Ritz Carlton and apartments project at Dubai International Financial Centre. The prequalifiers include the local/UK Al-Naboodah Laing O'Rourke, France's Bouygues, CSHK Dubai Contracting (CSHK), the local affiliate of China State Construction Engineering (Hong Kong), Saudi Ogerand a local/Belgian joint venture of Arabtec Constructi
  • Ritz deadline extended

    The bid deadline has been extended to 10 August for the main contract on the estimated $180 million Ritz Carlton and apartments project at Dubai International Financial Centre. The prequalifiers include the local/UK Al-Naboodah Laing O'Rourke, France's Bouygues, CSHK Dubai Contracting (CSHK), the local affiliate of China State Construction Engineering (Hong Kong), Saudi Ogerand a local/Belgian joint venture of Arabtec Constructi
  • Riyadh issues new terrorist list

    The Saudi Arabian Interior Ministry issued a new list of 36 suspected militants on 28 June and offered a reward of $1.8 million to anyone who assists in their capture. 'These individuals have made themselves tools to distort Islam, threaten the security of the country and violate the sanctity of peaceful people,' said a statement issued by the ministry. Most of the militants on the list were Saudi nationals, but others hailed from Morocco, Yemen, Chad and Mauritania. Twenty-one were at larg
  • Rolls-Royce rolls out local testing facility

    Qatar Science & Technology Park (QASTP) and the UK's Rolls-Roycehave announced the establishment of a new Rolls-Royce testing facility at QASTP. The facility will support the development of new marine and aeronautical applications for Rolls-Royce's Trent gas turbine engines. It will be implemented in two phases. The first phase, starting in August, will consist of the design of support infrastructure. The second, starting next year, will see the full implementation and operation of t
  • Rumsfeld urges Baghdad to stick to timetable

    US Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld urged the drafters of Iraq's constitution to meet their August deadline, during a surprise visit to Baghdad on 27 July. Speaking to Iraqi leaders and US commanders, Rumsfeld encouraged the committee writing the constitution to 'get on with it'. He said that if the 1 August deadline is not met, the following six-month postponement period could fan the insurgency and 'would be very harmful to the momentum that is necessary'. Rumsfeld reiterated his hopes t
  • Sabic readies for sukuk issue

    Saudi Basic Industries Corporation (Sabic) is preparing to launch its first-ever corporate bond issue in the third quarter, chief financial officer Mutlaq al-Morished said in an interview with Reuters on 3 July. HSBC is advising on the SR 1,000 million ($267 million) sukuk, which will be placed exclusively on the local market. Sabic is also waiting to receive corporate ratings by August from international rating agencies Fitch and Standard & Poor's (S&P)
  • Saddam lawyer quits

    Saddam Hussein's lead lawyer resigned on 7 July, saying US members of the defence team were trying to control the former Iraqi leader's case and objecting to his criticism of the US presence in Iraq. 'Some American lawyers on the defence team want to take control of it and isolate their Arab counterparts,' Ziad al-Khasawneh said. Some members of the team were 'upset with my statements and have often asked me to refrain from criticising the American occupation of Iraq and the US-backed Iraqi
  • Saddam trial date to be set soon

    Saddam Hussein was formally charged on 17 July with the 1982 massacre of villagers in Dujail. Iraqi judge Raed Juhi said a trial date would be set soon. Saddam's step-brother Barzan Ibrahim al-Hassan, former vice-president Taha Yassin Ramadan and former judge Awad Badar al-Bender will also stand trial in connection with the murder of 143 Shias in Dujail and the torture of many others following a failed attempt to assassinate Saddam launched from the village. The trial follows the conclusion
  • Saif gets airport grading

    The Supervision Committee for the Expansion of Abu Dhabi International Airport (Scadia) has awarded the local Saif bin Darwishthe rough grading package for the new runway at the airport. The six-month contract covers site preparation and landfill.
  • Saif gets airport grading

    The Supervision Committee for the Expansion of Abu Dhabi International Airport (Scadia) has awarded the local Saif bin Darwishthe rough grading package for the new runway at the airport. The six-month contract covers site preparation and landfill.
  • Samama to build Riyadh tower

    The local Samama Contracting Company has been awarded an estimated SR 80 million ($21 million), 18-month contract to build a 10-storey office tower and a car park on King Fahd Street in Riyadh. Saudi Consolidated Engineering Company (Khatib & Alami)is the design consultant and is also providing construction management and supervision services. The client is a local private developer, which plans the construction of another 20-storey office building, including a car park,
  • Samama to build Riyadh tower

    The local Samama Contracting Company has been awarded an estimated SR 80 million ($21 million), 18-month contract to build a 10-storey office tower and a car park on King Fahd Street in Riyadh. Saudi Consolidated Engineering Company (Khatib & Alami)is the design consultant and is also providing construction management and supervision services. The client is a local private developer, which plans the construction of another 20-storey office building, including a car park,
  • SaudConsult appointed for Shamieh

    Saudi Consulting Services (SaudConsult) has been awarded a contract to carry out engineering works involving a major infrastructure development project at Shamieh in Mecca. The scope of works includes construction of roads, bridges, spines and utilities over a 1.3 million-square-metre area and the upgrade and refurbishment of existing facilities.
  • SaudConsult appointed for Shamieh

    Saudi Consulting Services (SaudConsult) has been awarded a contract to carry out engineering works involving a major infrastructure development project at Shamieh in Mecca. The scope of works includes construction of roads, bridges, spines and utilities over a 1.3 million-square-metre area and the upgrade and refurbishment of existing facilities.
  • Saudi ambassador to US resigns

    Prince Bandar bin Sultan, Saudi Arabia's ambassador to Washington, has resigned, the BBC reported on 29 June. It is rumoured that Prince Bandar wants to return home and take up a senior post, perhaps as head of intelligence, which has been vacant for several months. The prince has been ambassador to Washington for more than 20 years.
  • Saudi Arabian posts profit, record revenues

    Saudi Arabian Airlines on 11 July announced a profit of SR 440 million ($117 million) for 2004, a year-on-year increase of 59 per cent. The profit rise came on the back of the highest-ever revenues recorded by the carrier last year at SR 13,530 million ($3,608 million). It is the third year in a row that the airline managed to post a profit after years of losses. The government plans to privatise the state-owned carrier in 2006 and to licence a new private airline by the end of the year.
  • Saudi FI law to be issued next week

    Saudi Arabia's Capital Market Authority (CMA) is to publish its long-awaited regulations for issuing licences to non-bank financial institutions 'next week', CMA commissioner Abudullah al-Abdul-Gada told a London conference on 14 July. The regulations will clear the way for the establishment of new 100 per cent-foreign owned investment banks in the kingdom for the first time since the late 1970s. Foreign banks that have announced their intention to secure a licence under the law include
  • Saudi Oger signs up for diabetes centre

    Saudi Oger Emirateswas awarded in late June the estimated AED 30 million ($8.2 million) contract to build the Imperial College Diabetes Centre in Abu Dhabi. Four other local contractors were competing for the contract, which is due to be completed in early 2006. The centre will be located next to the Zayed military hospital. The scheme has been developed by a partnership of the local Mubadala Development Company and Imperial College London. Australia's Woods Bagot
  • Saudi Oger signs up for diabetes centre

    Saudi Oger Emirateswas awarded in late June the estimated AED 30 million ($8.2 million) contract to build the Imperial College Diabetes Centre in Abu Dhabi. Four other local contractors were competing for the contract, which is due to be completed in early 2006. The centre will be located next to the Zayed military hospital. The scheme has been developed by a partnership of the local Mubadala Development Company and Imperial College London. Australia's Woods Bagot
  • Saudi security detains eight alleged terrorists

    Saudi police arrested eight suspected terrorists on 10 July in the town of Arar on the Iraqi border. No weapons or ammunition were found at the scene of the arrest. Interior Minister Prince Nayef said in published remarks that Saudi militants returning from fighting in the insurgency in Iraq would be more dangerous than those who went to Afghanistan in the 1980s. 'We expect the worst from those who went to Iraq,' Prince Nayef said. 'They will be worse and we will be ready for them.' Prince
  • Saudi security kills top terrorist

    Saudi police said on 3 July that they have killed Saudi Arabia's most-wanted man, Younis Mohammed Ibrahim al-Hayyari. Al-Hayyari, a Moroccan national who tops Riyadh's new list of terrorist suspects, was killed during a shoot-out with police during a raid on a suspected insurgent hideout. He was believed to have had close ties with Al-Qaeda leader Karim al-Majati, who was killed in April ( MEED 28:6:05).
  • Saudi Telecom goes 3G

    The Communications & Information Technology Commission (CITC) has awarded the kingdom's second 3G licence to incumbent operator Saudi Telecom. The carrier, which secured the licence against a fee of SR 754 million ($200 million), plans to launch 3G services by the end of 2006.
  • Saudis still funding terrorists, says Washington

    US Treasury Under-Secretary Stuart Levey told a Senate committee on banking, housing and urban affairs on 13 July that Saudi Arabians are still funding terrorism. 'We believe that Saudi donors may still be a significant source of terrorist financing, including the insurgency in Iraq,' Levey said. 'Wealthy Saudi financiers and charities have funded terrorist organisations and causes that support terrorism and the ideology that fuels the terrorists' agenda: It is critical that Saudi Arabia an
  • SCB arranges regional syndications

    Standard Chartered Bank (SCB) has successfully closed two syndicated loans, for Ahwaz Pipe Mills Internationaland National Bank of Umm al-Quwain, and has also been mandated to arrange a borrowing for Iran's Khouzestan Steel Company (KSC).
  • SEC signs 14-year Shouaiba loan

    The SR 3,500 million ($933.3 million) loan for Saudi Electricity Company (SEC)was signed on 27 June. The mandated lead arrangers (MLAs) were Arab National Bank, Banque Saudi Fransi, Gulf International Bank, National Commercial Bank, Samba Financial Group, Saudi British Bankwith HSBC and Saudi Hollandi Bank. Joining at syndication were Arab Bank, Bank of Bahrain & Kuwait
  • Seismic contracts let

    BGP Arabia has won two contracts worth $110 million to carry out seismic survey work. Under the latest contract, awarded by South Rub al-Khali (SRAK), the joint venture of the Royal Dutch/Shell Group, France's Totaland Saudi Aramcothat is carrying out a programme to explore, produce and develop non-associated gas in the Rub al-Khali (Empty Quarter), BGP will shoot 2D seismic over a 2,500-kilometre area in block 1 of the concession. The contr
  • Senior Iraqi MP killed

    A suicide bomber killed Iraq's oldest MP, Dhari Ali al-Fayadh, on 28 June when he attacked the politician's convoy on the northern outskirts of Baghdad. Al-Fayadh, aged 87, was the second member of the government to be killed by insurgents since it took office in April. 'An attack on a man of his age means an attack on all the Iraqi people and national values,' said MP and Shia cleric Hussain al-Sadr. Al-Fayadh's son and three bodyguards also died in the attack.US forces rece
  • Sharjah evaluates desal plant bids

    Companies submitted bids by 16 July to Sharjah Electricity & Water Authority (SEWA) for a contract to supply and install two 5 million-gallon-a-day reverse osmosis (RO) desalination units at Layyah and Khorfakkan. The bidders include Weir Techna of the UK, Belgium's Besix and the local Metito. The contract is estimated to be worth AED 160 million ($43 million - MEED 2:1:04).
  • Sharm el-Sheikh and Taba bombings connected

    Egyptian investigators have found links between recent bombings in Sharm el-Sheikh and October attacks at Taba and Nuweiba. 'All clues so far indicate that the group who carried out the Sharm attacks used the same strategy and planning as that adopted by the perpetrators of the first wave of attacks,' an unnamed official said. Both sets of attacks targeted areas packed with holidaymakers and the bombers used similar explosives. Security services officials said that Islamist militant Moussa
  • Sharon slams Damascus for supporting terrorism

    Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon criticised Damascus on 28 July for allegedly harbouring terrorist organisations. 'Syria continues to be the headquarters of the most dangerous Islamist organisations - Hamas and Islamic Jihad,' Sharon said in an interview with France 3 television. 'The orders come from there. Their training takes place on Syrian territory and at the same time Syrians have not given up their will to control Lebanon,' he said. Sharon claimed that there were still Syrian age
  • Sharon vows to tackle anti-pullout protesters

    Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon said on 29 June that he would crack down on protesters against Tel Aviv's withdrawal from Gaza in August. 'We cannot allow gangs to undermine the country,' Sharon said. 'We have to act with an iron fist against hooligans.' Protesters poured spikes and oil on the Tel Aviv-Jerusalem highway during the morning rush hour. Others blocked roads around the country by sitting in the way of the traffic. 'It's a cat and mouse game,' Tel Aviv police chief David Tsur
  • Sharp US troop reductions next year

    Washington will cut the number of US troops in Iraq by the middle of 2006, US commander General George Casey said on 27 July. 'If the political process continues to go positively and the developments with the [Iraqi] security forces continue to go as it is going, I do believe we will still be able to make fairly substantial reductions: in the spring and summer of next year,' he said. A UK government memo leaked in early July said that Washington plans to reduce the number of its soldiers in
  • SHB to lead OIIG IPO

    The local Al-Obeikan Industrial Investment Group (OIIG)is preparing for an initial public offering (IPO) in 2006 following the recent approval from the Industry & Commerce Ministry to convert to a closed joint stock company, the firm announced on 10 July. OIIG, which has appointed Saudi Hollandi Bank (SHB)as financial adviser and lead manager on the IPO, says the move will improve the company's position to compete internationally, especially in view of the kingdom's antic
  • Shell rolls out major packages on Pearl GTL

    Prequalifications were due to be submitted in mid-July to the Royal Dutch/Shell Groupfor five onshore packages on the estimated $6,000 million Pearl gas-to-liquids (GTL) project at Ras Laffan. The packages cover: air separation units, storage tanks, a gas treatment plant, a liquid processing unit and water treatment. Shell had originally proposed awarding just one engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract covering the entire onshore works, but chose the packaged appro
  • Shock Iranian presidential election result

    Conservative hardliner and Tehran mayor Mahmoud Ahmadinejad won Iran's presidential recall elections on 25 June with more than 60 per cent of the vote. Ahmadinejad will be the first non-cleric to be president since 1981 but has promised to return Iran to the moral 'purity' of the Islamic revolution's early years. He has said that freedom in Iran 'is already beyond what could be imagined' and promised 'a government of justice and transformation'. He also pledged to tackle unemployment, infla
  • Shoman's son to lead Arab Bank

    Abdul Hamid Shoman has been appointed chairman of Arab Bank, following the death of his father Abdul Majeeed Shoman (MEED 8:7:05). Abdul Hamid has been vice-chairman and chief executive officer since 2001.
  • Shortlist narrows for desal tender

    Nine out of 13 prequalified companies attended an obligatory pre-tender meeting in early July for the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract on the 30 million-gallon-a-day (g/d) reverse osmosis (RO) seawater desalination plant at Shuwaikh. The four non-attendee companies and groups - Japanese firms Sasakura Engineering Company, Hitachi Zosen Corporation, and MitsubishiHeavy Industrieswith Mitsui & Company, and Preus
  • Shuwaikh desal PQ list expands

    Three international contractors - Spain's Pridesa, Austria's VA TechWabagand Italy's Fisia Italimpianti- have been added to the prequalification list for the construction of the 30 million-gallon-a-day desalination plant at Shuwaikh. The three firms join the nine already shortlisted in preparing bids by 28 August for the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract. As the first seawater desalination plant to use reverse osmosis (RO) technol
  • Shuwaikh dredging job back on track

    The Kuwait Ports Authority (KPA) is understood to be reviving plans for a major project to build four berths and deepen the main approach channel at Shuwaikh port, with a tender expected to be issued soon for the scheme. The scope of works involves deepening the port basin and channel to 14 metres from 9.5 metres, the construction of four container berths opposite the 21 existing berths and dredging of at least 6 million cubic metres. Work is expected to take about 18 months. The prequalifiers a
  • Shuwaikh dredging job back on track

    The Kuwait Ports Authority (KPA) is understood to be reviving plans for a major project to build four berths and deepen the main approach channel at Shuwaikh port, with a tender expected to be issued soon for the scheme. The scope of works involves deepening the port basin and channel to 14 metres from 9.5 metres, the construction of four container berths opposite the 21 existing berths and dredging of at least 6 million cubic metres. Work is expected to take about 18 months. The prequalifiers a
  • Simon White, Mushrif

    Simon White, director of business development and support services at Mushrif Trading & Contracting Company, died in a car crash at Kuwait International Airport on 14 July. Simon, who was 45, had worked for Mushrif for four years and was previously employed by the Emirates Groupin Dubai.
  • Simon White, Mushrif

    Simon White, director of business development and support services at Mushrif Trading & Contracting Company, died in a car crash at Kuwait International Airport on 14 July. Simon, who was 45, had worked for Mushrif for four years and was previously employed by the Emirates Groupin Dubai.
  • Single body planned for water sector management

    Algiers is to overhaul the structure of its water sector, with the establishment of a single water holding company to manage the industry's existing government agencies, Water Resources Minister Abdelmalek Sellal has announced.
  • Siniora heads to Damascus

    Lebanon's Prime Minister Fouad Siniora was due to visit Damascus on 28 July. 'I want to come back from the trip with a new way of dealing between Lebanon and Syria, a new thinking, that we should co-operate and create an attitude of openness between the two countries,' Siniora said in an article published in UK daily the Financial Times. 'The attitude has to be based on mutual interest and respect.' Relations between the two neighbours have remained tense since Syrian troops withdrew from L
  • Siniora still looking for coalition partners

    Talks between Lebanon's incoming prime minister Fouad Siniora and Christian leader Michel Aoun collapsed on 4 July, leaving Siniora to find new coalition partners. 'It is impossible to respond to the demands of Michel Aoun concerning the ministries that his movement would like to have,' Siniora said. Aoun's Free Patriotic Movement had been seeking the Ministry of Justice portfolio but Saad Hariri, who heads the Future Bloc to which Siniora is aligned, rejected the demand. Hariri said his bl
  • Siniora to be Lebanese PM

    President Lahoud is expected to approve on 30 June the parliament's choice of former finance minister Fouad Siniora to be Lebanon's new prime minister. Saad Hariri's anti-Syria Future bloc proposed Siniora for the post supported by a majority of party leaders and independent members of parliament (MPs). Parliament is dominated by anti-Syria MPs for the first time since the end of the Civil War in 1990. A statement released by the Future bloc said Siniora's appointment will 'put a stop to th
  • Six killed in suicide attacks

    At least six people have been killed and more than 20 wounded following five suicide car bombings across Baghdad.Two attacks were made on Iraqi military patrols, and eyewitnesses said that a US convoy was struck, although there were no immediate reports of US troops among the casualties.A police source said that six people were killed and 16 injured when Iraqi troops were targeted by a car bomb that exploded at speed in the north of the city. The number of sold
  • Sonatrach takes time on Skikda award

    The award of the estimated $700 million engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract for a new 4.5 million-tonne-a-year liquefied natural gas (LNG) train at Skikda is likely to be delayed until early 2006. A team of Japan's JGC Corporationand the US' Kellogg Brown & Root (KBR)is the only remaining bidder for the contract, following the withdrawal of a consortium of Paris-based Technipand US-based Foster Wheeler in April. Nevertheless, t
  • Spanish scoop Tangier City work

    Local authorities have awarded an estimated Eur 88 million ($106 million) contract to a Spanish team of Fadesaand Grupo Anjoca for the development of the Tangier city centre project. The complex, covering a built-up area of 180,000 square metres, will include a business district and three four-star and five-star hotels with a total of 1,360 rooms, which will increase the city's hotel capacity by almost 20 per cent. The project is set for completion in 2007. Fadesa in Augu
  • Spanish scoop Tangier City work

    Local authorities have awarded an estimated Eur 88 million ($106 million) contract to a Spanish team of Fadesaand Grupo Anjoca for the development of the Tangier city centre project. The complex, covering a built-up area of 180,000 square metres, will include a business district and three four-star and five-star hotels with a total of 1,360 rooms, which will increase the city's hotel capacity by almost 20 per cent. The project is set for completion in 2007. Fadesa in Augu
  • Sporting arena set for rematch

    The main construction contract on the Sheikh Khalifa bin Salman al-Khalifa sports city has been retendered, with new bids due on 23 August. The local Bokhowa Constructionwas low bidder at BD 7.6 million ($20 million) when prices were first submitted in April, with Olympic Contractingand Cebarco, also local, competing. However, all bids came in above the Works & Housing Ministry's budget of about BD 5 million ($13.2 million). The complex, which will replace the
  • Sporting arena set for rematch

    The main construction contract on the Sheikh Khalifa bin Salman al-Khalifa sports city has been retendered, with new bids due on 23 August. The local Bokhowa Constructionwas low bidder at BD 7.6 million ($20 million) when prices were first submitted in April, with Olympic Contractingand Cebarco, also local, competing. However, all bids came in above the Works & Housing Ministry's budget of about BD 5 million ($13.2 million). The complex, which will replace the
  • SSEM signs up for $200 million worth of work

    Saudi Services for Electro-Mechanical Works Company (SSEM) has been awarded two contracts worth a total of SR 737 million ($197 million) for the construction of power transmission lines for Saudi Electricity Company. Under the contracts, SSEM will build two 380-kV double-circuit overhead transmission lines with a total length of 415 kilometres, linking the Al-Fadhili and Al-Shumlul substations in the east with Sudair substation, located 150 kilometres north of Riyadh. The link
  • Stanley grasps KASP contract

    The US' Stanley Consultantshas been selected by the Ministry of Planning, on behalf of the Directorate-General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), for the retendered five-year contract to design, review and supervise the Kuwait airspace system plan (KASP). An official award is expected to be made by the end of September once final approval has been granted by the State Audit Bureau.
  • Star closes in on RAK cement plant

    Star Cement, a subsidiary of Dubai-based ETA-Ascon, is expected to award the estimated $120 million lump-sum turnkey (LSTK) contract to build a greenfield integrated cement plant in Ras al-Khaimah (RAK) by the end of July. The project is one of several planned by the company to help meet growing regional demand.
  • Studies begin for export refinery

    Saudi Aramcohas awarded a feasibility study contract to Parsons E&C, part of Australia's WorleyParsons,for its planned grassroots refinery project in the kingdom. The study will be a key milestone in the project's development, establishing its location, configuration, plot plans and estimated cost. Aramco is proposing to carry out the export refinery project in joint venture with international oil companies (IOCs).
  • Subscription closes on government bond issue

    A two-day subscription closed on 29 June on the government's seventh bond issue. Proceeds from the QR 2,000 million ($550 million) issue, expected to be heavily oversubscribed, were open to local banks on 28 June, and for the first time, to local insurance, investment and semi-government institutions on the following day. The five-year bonds, issued by the Qatar Central Bank, will replace the three-year bonds, taken out in 2002 under the fourth issue, which matures on 30 June. The new bonds carr
  • Substation job awarded

    The team of France's Areva T&D and Japan's Sumitomo Corporationhas been awarded the $85.2 million switchgear package on the project to improve the kingdom's power transmission network, entailing the construction of 15 66-kV substations and the expansion of 14 existing 66-kV substations. The team emerged as low bidder for the contract when prices were opened in early May. Jeddah-based Saudi Cable Companyhas been awarded the cabling package, while a team of
  • Successful close for BFHHC sukuk

    Gulf Finance House (GFH)and the Bahrain Financial Harbour Holding Company (BFHHC) announced on 2 July the successful close of BFHHC's sukuk issue at $134 million. The local Liquidity Management Centreis the lead arranger on the sukuk al-ijara, which pays 250 basis points. The five-year instrument will part-finance the first-phase infrastructure development of the GFH-developed Bahrain Financial Harbour (BFH) project, comprising the Dual Towers, the Financial Mall a
  • Sumitomo dismisses Rabigh pull-out report

    Japan's Sumitomo Chemical Company has denied a mid-July Arabic media report that it is reconsidering its participation in the joint venture Rabigh refinery project with Saudi Aramco, due to escalating costs. 'There are no plans to pull out of the project, this is merely a rumour,' a Sumitomo Chemical Company spokesperson in Tokyo told MEED on 20 July. 'We will proceed with the project as planned.' The Rabigh project, which will see the existing refinery upgraded as well as th
  • Sunni leaders push for political participation

    Sunni leaders called on 14 July for the community to get involved in politics after its members boycotted elections in January. 'We can blame ourselves for staying away at the last elections. It was a big mistake,' leading Sunni cleric Sheikh Ibrahim al-Nima said at a meeting of the General Conference of Sunnis. 'Participating means we shall exist. If we don't participate there will be no existence for us,' he said.'We will be very active in our participation in the election
  • Sunnis pull out of constitutional committee

    Four Sunni members of Iraq's constitutional drafting committee suspended their participation on 20 July following the murder of three Sunni colleagues the day before. 'The environment in Iraq isn't right for anyone to get work done,' said Salih al-Mutlaq, a spokesman for Sunni organisation the Iraq National Dialogue. The move was expected to delay the completion of the document, which President Talabani had said could be ready by the end of July (
  • Sunnis rejoin Iraqi constitution talks

    Sunni Arab representatives called off their boycott of constitutional talks on 25 July after obtaining a pledge from the government to investigate the murder of Sunni constitutional committee member Mujbil al-Sheikh Isa in mid-July. Baghdad also promised to increase security for Sunni drafting committee members. 'We will definitely return tomorrow,' said Saleh Mutlaq, a spokesman for the Sunni group the Iraqi National Dialogue.The constitution is due in mid-August but the dea
  • Suspects in custody for Cairo bombings

    Twenty-three people remained in custody on 8 July suspected of involvement in the April bombings in Cairo. Another 24 were released on 7 July. More than 200 people were arrested in the wake of a trio of attacks that included a bomb blast in Cairo's main tourist bazaar, an explosion near the Egyptian Museum and an attempt to blow up a tourist bus.
  • SWCC eyes sell-off advisory

    State-owned Saline Water Conversion Corporation (SWCC) has released request for proposal (RFP) documents to 16 prequalified companies interested in advising on its planned privatisation. The initiative is the second element in SWCC's privatisation programme. The first, being implemented with Saudi Electricity Company (SEC)through the Water & Electricity Company (WEC)venture, calls for private sector participation in independent water and power projects (IWPPs - MEED 22:4:
  • Syrian human rights activists demand release of their leader

    Members of the Arab Organisation for Human Rights (AOHR) on 10 July demanded the release of their leader Mohammed Raadoun, who has been detained for two months. Security officers arrested Raadoun in May at the group's offices in Latakia. Raadoun's lawyers visited him in jail and were 'extremely surprised at his deteriorating health that caused him to lose a lot of weight', the group said in a press release. The AOHR monitors human rights abuses, arrests and the torture of political prisoner
  • Syrian security officer dies in gunfight with militants

    Syrian police clashed on 4 July with a group of militants that included former bodyguards of Saddam Hussein. The fighting occurred on Mount Qassioun, which overlooks Damascus. One Syrian security officer was killed and police arrested two members of the armed group. A security official was quoted as saying that the militants were 'a group of people wanted for terrorist crimes: some of whom were former bodyguards of Saddam Hussein'.
  • Taisei/ACC wrap up tallest high-rise in JLT

    A joint venture of Japan's Taisei Corporationand Lebanon's Arabian Construction Company (ACC)has been awarded the AED 539 million ($147 million) main construction contract Al-Mas tower at Jumeirah Lake Towers (JLT) in Dubai. At 360 metres high the office tower will be the tallest building in the JLT development and will accommodate the diamond exchange and the headquarters of the Dubai Metals & Commodities Centre (DMCC - MEED 10:6:05).
  • Taisei/ACC wrap up tallest high-rise in JLT

    A joint venture of Japan's Taisei Corporationand Lebanon's Arabian Construction Company (ACC)has been awarded the AED 539 million ($147 million) main construction contract Al-Mas tower at Jumeirah Lake Towers (JLT) in Dubai. At 360 metres high the office tower will be the tallest building in the JLT development and will accommodate the diamond exchange and the headquarters of the Dubai Metals & Commodities Centre (DMCC - MEED 10:6:05).
  • Takreer to beef up Jebel Dhanna capacity

    Engineers India (EIL) is understood to be the low bidder for the position of project manager (PM) on the scheme to build two 1 million-barrel crude oil storage tanks at Jebel Dhanna in Abu Dhabi emirate. Four companies submitted commercial bids in May to the client, Abu Dhabi Oil Refining Company (Takreer), with the other bidders being the US/Canadian VECO, Australia's WorleyParsons and US-based Foster Wheeler. Austria's ILF Consulti
  • Tameer goes regal in Ajman

    Sharjah-based Tameer Holdingshas appointed the local ARC International Engineering Consultantsas architectural and engineering consultant for the estimated $300 million Princess (Al-Ameera) Village development on the Emirates ring-road in Ajman. The project will cover an area of about 100,000 square metres comprising 50 residential and commercial buildings designed in traditional Gulf architecture. It will also include a shopping mall with a 500-metre boardwalk and a hote
  • Tameer goes regal in Ajman

    Sharjah-based Tameer Holdingshas appointed the local ARC International Engineering Consultantsas architectural and engineering consultant for the estimated $300 million Princess (Al-Ameera) Village development on the Emirates ring-road in Ajman. The project will cover an area of about 100,000 square metres comprising 50 residential and commercial buildings designed in traditional Gulf architecture. It will also include a shopping mall with a 500-metre boardwalk and a hote
  • Tanks in the streets as nine die in fuel riots

    At least nine people were killed and 20 injured on 21 July, in a second day of rioting over fuel price hikes. Security forces clashed with protestors in six provinces, while in Sanaa tanks and armoured vehicles took up defensive positions around the presidential palace and key government offices. The fiercest fighting was reported in the Red Sea port of Houdeida, where police fired on protestors trying to break into government oil facilities. Prime Minister Abdul-Qader Bagamm
  • Tasnee selects contractor for Jubail cracker project

    A team of Germany's Lindeand South Korea's Samsung Engineering Companyhas received a pre-commencement order from the local Tasnee Petrochemicalsfor the estimated $1,000 million-1,100 million mixed feedstock cracker at Jubail (MEED 17:6:05).
  • Team sees benefit of education

    A three-strong grouping of the Cambridge Seven Associatesand NBBJ, both of the US, and the local Gulf Consulthas won the 12-month design consultancy contract on the new headquarters for the Education Ministry in South Surra. The group beat off competition from three other international and local design consultants for the estimated KD 40 million ($138 million) project. Tenders for the first construction packages are not expected until 2007. The client is the M
  • Team sees benefit of education

    A three-strong grouping of the Cambridge Seven Associatesand NBBJ, both of the US, and the local Gulf Consulthas won the 12-month design consultancy contract on the new headquarters for the Education Ministry in South Surra. The group beat off competition from three other international and local design consultants for the estimated KD 40 million ($138 million) project. Tenders for the first construction packages are not expected until 2007. The client is the M
  • Tech bids in for phase 2 of Medgaz onshore pipeline

    State energy company Sonatrachis evaluating technical bids from 10 local and international contractors for the estimated $100 million phase 2 contract for the Algerian onshore section of the Medgaz pipeline project. Once technical evaluation is complete, the client will invite commercial offers, expected in the autumn. A final award is due by year-end.
  • Tecnicas wins KOC telemetry work

    Spain's Tecnicas Reunidashas been awarded the KD 14.3 million ($48.2 million) contract to install a telemetry system for the state's southern oil fields. The work is expected to take about two years. State-owned upstream operator Kuwait Oil Company (KOC)is the client.
  • Tehran pessimistic about future nuclear negotiations

    The head of Tehran's nuclear programme said on 5 July that he is not optimistic for future negotiations with the EU about Iran's uranium enrichment programme. Gholamreza Aghazadeh said talks would be harder now Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has been elected as president. 'The Europeans were waiting for the election of the new president to present their proposals. Taking into account the personality of the new president, I think the negotiations will be more difficult,' he said. The EU
  • Tehran threatens to resume nuclear work - again

    Tehran's senior nuclear negotiator Hossein Mousavian warned the EU on 12 July that Tehran planned to resume uranium enrichment soon. The EU is due to present Tehran with a final proposal for a deal on Iran's nuclear programme in August. 'If the proposal considers Iran's legitimate and legal right to enrich uranium, we will continue the [negotiating] process, otherwise we won't accept the proposal,' Mousavian said. Under the terms of an agreement struck between the two parties in November 20
  • Tehran wants to break nuclear seals

    A senior Iranian official confirmed on 6 July that Tehran has asked the UN's International Atomic Energy Agency for permission to break the seals on its nuclear equipment. Iran's uranium enrichment facilities have been closed since Tehran struck an agreement with the EU to suspend nuclear work while talks continued about its nuclear programme. 'Iran's request to temporarily remove seals at some parts of Isfahan's [uranium enrichment] facility is not related to the suspension,' said the depu
  • Tehran will resume nuclear fuel processing regardless

    Tehran plans to resume nuclear work regardless of anticipated EU incentives to permanently halt activities, outgoing Iranian President Khatami said on 27 July. 'Our deadline for suspending nuclear work was the EU proposal. We will wait until the first days of August but will restart activities right afterwards,' Khatami said. The EU will offer Tehran a package of nuclear, economic and political concessions at the beginning of August to encourage it to abandon its nuclear ambitions. Under th
  • Tekfen wins ethane pipeline

    Turkey's Tekfen has been awardedthe engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract on the Ras Laffan-Mesaieed ethane pipeline project. Tekfen beat off competition from three other bidders for the contract, valued at QR 419 million ($114 million). The client is Qatar Petroleum(MEED 3:6:05).
  • Tel Aviv seeks aid boost for Gaza pullout

    Tel Aviv requested on 11 July $2,200 million from Washington to help finance its withdrawal from Gaza. In previous talks, Tel Aviv had indicated that it needed $500 million to cover the cost of moving military bases, improving security on the Egyptian-Israeli border and developing the Galilee and Negev areas, where many of the settlers are expected to be rehoused. Congress needs to approve the aid package before any money is dispersed. Washington's annual aid budget to Tel Aviv totals $3,00
  • Tel Aviv seeks quicker Gaza withdrawal

    Israeli ministers discussed on 24 July speeding up Tel Aviv's withdrawal from Gaza by evacuating the settlements in one go rather than in the four stages planned. 'Any pause could deepen the internal conflict [in Israel] and there is no need for that,' said Deputy Prime Minister Ehud Olmert in reference to a string of protests against the pullout. Almost 60,000 soldiers and police will participate in the withdrawal. Defence Minister Shaul Mofaz and chief of staff General Dan Hultz advocated
  • Tel Aviv shuts off Gaza settlements

    Tel Aviv sealed off settlements in Gaza on 30 June to prevent protesters, who are against Israel's planned withdrawal, from entering the area. The government declared the area a closed military zone and will only allow residents, essential workers and journalists to enter the settlements. 'Updated information exists regarding additional groups of Israelis who are moving toward the Gaza Strip in an attempt to provide back-up for the rioters and further inflame the situation,' said an army sp
  • Tel Aviv will discuss economics of Gaza withdrawal

    The Israeli government was expected to discuss on 13 July the cost of its planned withdrawal from Gaza and four West Bank settlements. Tel Aviv estimates that rehousing and compensating settlers, demolishing settler homes and additional security during the pullout will cost $2,000 million. The BBC reported that dismantling settler homes would cost $30 million and clearing the rubble a further $20 million. Tel Aviv plans to retain security control of the northern West Bank after it withdraws
  • Tenders due for new hospitals

    A tender is due to be issued by late July for a contract to build a speciality hospital in downtown Riyadh. Estimated to be worth SR 100 million ($27 million), the contract will cover the construction of a 100-bed facility, car park, landscaping and related works. The project will take 18 months to complete. The local Larsen & Toubro Saudi Arabia is the design consultant and will also prepare the tender documents. The client is the local Horizons. More private hospital wo
  • Tenders due for new hospitals

    A tender is due to be issued by late July for a contract to build a speciality hospital in downtown Riyadh. Estimated to be worth SR 100 million ($27 million), the contract will cover the construction of a 100-bed facility, car park, landscaping and related works. The project will take 18 months to complete. The local Larsen & Toubro Saudi Arabia is the design consultant and will also prepare the tender documents. The client is the local Horizons. More private hospital wo
  • Tension between Tel Aviv and Damascus rises

    The Israeli Defence Force said its soldiers in the Golan Heights came under fire on 28 June from Syrian territory. An army spokeswoman said the shooting occurred south of the town of Quneitra but that Israeli troops, who were there mending a border fence, did not return fire. Damascus said the noise was children playing with fireworks. Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon called on Damascus on 27 June to return the remains of Israeli intelligence agent Elie Cohen who was hange
  • Tensions mount ahead of Gaza withdrawal

    Violence accompanies dismantling of Israeli settlements
  • Thais to develop Musandam resort

    Thailand-based Six Senses Reports & Spashas signed an agreement with the local Al-Marsa Travel & Tourism to develop the Evason Hideaway resort, under construction in Zighy bay in the northern Musandam Peninsula. The complex will consist of 85 poolside villas and suites, a marina, and leisure and retail facilities. Total project costs are estimated at $27 million, and completion is scheduled for late 2006. Construction and consultancy work are being carried out by Al-Marsa
  • Thais to develop Musandam resort

    Thailand-based Six Senses Reports & Spashas signed an agreement with the local Al-Marsa Travel & Tourism to develop the Evason Hideaway resort, under construction in Zighy bay in the northern Musandam Peninsula. The complex will consist of 85 poolside villas and suites, a marina, and leisure and retail facilities. Total project costs are estimated at $27 million, and completion is scheduled for late 2006. Construction and consultancy work are being carried out by Al-Marsa
  • The Gate opens for work

    The local Al-Bahar Construction for Trading & Contracting Companyhas started work on the excavation, shoring and dewatering works package of the Gate of Kuwait project. The client, the local Al-Shaya Group, is expected to issue by the end of July the prequalification notice for the main construction package on the estimated $200 million mixed-use tower scheme. Construction will take about two years. The 70-storey development, located on Al-Sour street at one of the gates
  • The Gate opens for work

    The local Al-Bahar Construction for Trading & Contracting Companyhas started work on the excavation, shoring and dewatering works package of the Gate of Kuwait project. The client, the local Al-Shaya Group, is expected to issue by the end of July the prequalification notice for the main construction package on the estimated $200 million mixed-use tower scheme. Construction will take about two years. The 70-storey development, located on Al-Sour street at one of the gates
  • The hills are alive

    Cranes mix with minarets across the seven hills of Amman. A new city is taking shape, transforming the capital of the Hashemite kingdom into a modern metropolis. The major projects construction market is currently enjoying a boom, attracting investors from across the region. Leading the way is the National Resources & Development Corporation (Mawared), which was established in 2000 and is overseeing the rebirth of the Al-Abdali district.
  • The reform movement

    A year can seem like an eternity in Lebanese politics. Twelve months ago, with economic activity growing strongly on the back of Gulf investment in tourism and real estate, the main topic for debate among Beirut's chattering classes was whether President Lahoud would seek a constitutional amendment allowing him to stand for another six-year term in office. Few foresaw the chaos that move would unleash.
  • Third GSM licence out to bid

    The Telecommunications & Information Technology Ministry has invited international operators to bid by 2 August for a third mobile licence. The sale of the licence follows the expiry in August 2004 of a four-year exclusivity agreement with the two incumbent operators, Sabaphone and Spacetel Yemen, which won licences in 2000. Under the terms of the tender, all local operators have been disqualified from bidding for the licence. The government is expected to hold a 25 per c
  • Three compete for Viva Bahriya design work

    Three international architectural firms - SRSS & Associates, and WBTL Architects, both of the US,and Canada's Zeidler Partnership Architects - have been selected to compete in the design contest for the Viva Bahriya marina district on the Pearl-Qatar project. The client, UnitedDevelopment Company, says it expects to award the design contract by the autumn. Viva Bahriya's conceptual masterplan, drawn up by the US' ParsonsInter
  • Three compete for Viva Bahriya design work

    Three international architectural firms - SRSS & Associates, and WBTL Architects, both of the US,and Canada's Zeidler Partnership Architects - have been selected to compete in the design contest for the Viva Bahriya marina district on the Pearl-Qatar project. The client, UnitedDevelopment Company, says it expects to award the design contract by the autumn. Viva Bahriya's conceptual masterplan, drawn up by the US' ParsonsInter
  • Three in for fixed-line services

    Three companies have submitted bids for three types of fixed-line licences offered by telecoms regulator Agence Nationale de Reglementation des Telecommunications (ANRT). Licences were on offer for local loop, backbone and international services. The bidders are: the local Maroc Connect,for both limited mobility and fixed services on the local loop; Meditel, a subsidiary of Spain's Telefonica and Portugal Telecomand operator of the country's second
  • TNI gets new head

    Karim el-Solh has stepped down as chief executive officer of The National Investor (TNI), after just under four years in the job. He will be replaced by the current general manager, Orhan Osmansoy. TNI is advising on several of the multiple initial public offerings (IPOs) planned in the UAE and shareholders recently agreed to a proposal to increase the bank's capital to AED 500 million ($136.2 million) from AED 200 million ($54.5 million) through a rights issue.
  • Topaz acquires BUE Marine

    Dubai-based Topaz Energy & Marine(TEAM)has acquired UK-based BUE Marine for an estimated $150 million. The deal makes the group one of the largest offshore support vessel operators in the world, with a fleet of 53 vessels and 19 on order.
  • Toyo wins YanSab EG

    Japan's Toyo Engineering Corporation on 14 July received a letter of intent from Saudi Basic Industries Corporation for the contract to build a large-scale ethylene glycol (EG) plant as part of its YanSab petrochemicals complex at Yanbu (see Banking & Finance; MEED 24:6:05).
  • Trial of Moroccan Islamist republican begins

    Islamist spokeswoman Nadia Yassine went on trial on 28 June accused of attacking the monarchy. Yassine published a statement in a weekly newspaper that said she would prefer a republican government to an 'autocratic' regime. The editor of the paper, Abdelaziz Koukas, was also charged. Hundreds of protesters gathered outside the courthouse in Rabat to support Yassine, who is the daughter of the head of Morocco's main Islamist organisation Al-Adl Wallhssane. Yassine could face up to five year
  • Tripoli focuses on lack of cement supply

    The country's seven existing cement plants continue to run at just 50 per cent of total capacity, resulting in demand severely outstripping supply, a senior industry official told the MEED Middle East Cement conference held in Dubai in late June. 'Our company utilises about 80 per cent [of capacity] and we expect it to reach about 85 per cent by the end of 2005, but it continues to be a problem elsewhere,' said Arabian Cement Company (ACC)chairman Rahab Elmahmoudi (MEED 11:2:05).
  • Tunis plans PPPs for major upgrades

    Tunis is planning a series of public private partnerships (PPPs) to realise a raft of new infrastructure projects as part of its 2002-06 economic programme, Development & International Co-operation Minister Mohamed Nouri Jouini told MEED in late June (MEED 24:6:05, Cover Story).
  • Tunis seeks alternative power

    State energy company Societe Tunisienne de l'Electricite et du Gaz(STEG) is expected to issue tenders in the summer for the estimated Eur 60 million-100 million ($72 million-120 million) contract to build a 60-MW wind farm, with the option of expanding capacity to 120 MW. Five sites are under consideration for the farm, for which the favourite is Abdel Rahman on the Cap Bon peninsula. Discussions are also under way on the structure of the project, with part expected to be reta
  • Turabi back on political stage

    Khartoum released Islamist opposition leader Hassan al-Turabi from prison on 30 June, a year after he was arrested and accused of plotting a coup. Turabi's wife Wisal al-Mahdi said that the authorities had given Turabi's party, the Popular Congress, permission to re-open its Khartoum headquarters and resume its political activities. Turabi's lawyer said no charges had been filed against his client, who was held under emergency laws. Turabi was detained in March 2004 along with army officers
  • Turabi blasts new unity government

    Opposition Islamist leader Hassan al-Turabi criticised on 11 July the arrangement of Sudan's power-sharing government, in which representatives of former rebel group the Sudan Peoples' Liberation Movement (SPLM) will participate. 'I am not objecting to southern representation. They deserve it because they have been disadvantaged for so long, it's the other 52 per cent,' Turabi said in reference to President Bashir's ruling National Congress Party. 'No constitution in the world ever wrote in
  • Turkcell finally gets go-ahead

    Turkcellhas agreed to the new terms for developing a GSM network in Iran as part of the Irancell consortium. Agreement prompted the Supreme Economic Council to formally award the project to the consortium, which must now finalise a shareholders' agreement (SHA) and register as a local company (MEED 1:7:05).
  • UDC rights issue flies

    The QR 1,100 million ($302.2 million) rights issue by the local United Development Company (UDC)was oversubscribed by more than 40 per cent when it closed on 4 July. The allocation and registration process is expected to be completed imminently, with the return of oversubscriptions starting immediately after. The issue will help finance the next stages of the $2,500 million Pearl-Qatar offshore residential development, for which UDC is the developer.
  • Uhde wins EDC supply contract

    Liwa Petrochemical Company, the project company for the planned ethylene dichloride (EDC) and caustic soda plant at Sohar, has signed a $300 million technology and equipment supply agreement with Germany's Uhde. The planned plant will have capacity of 300,000 tonnes a year (t/y) of EDC and 240,000 t/y of caustic soda. The shareholders are Oman Oil Company (OOC), South Korea's LG Internationaland Iran's National Petrochemical Company.
  • Uhde wins EDC supply contract

    Liwa Petrochemical Company, the project company for the planned ethylene dichloride (EDC) and caustic soda plant at Sohar, has signed a $300 million technology and equipment supply agreement with Germany's Uhde. The planned plant will have capacity of 300,000 tonnes a year (t/y) of EDC and 240,000 t/y of caustic soda. The shareholders are Oman Oil Company (OOC), South Korea's LG Internationaland Iran's National Petrochemical Company.
  • UN delays Darfur sanctions

    The UN Security Council delayed on 6 July a programme to impose sanctions on individuals accused of war crimes in Darfur, Sudan. The postponement occurred because of a dispute over who would participate in a panel of experts tasked with identifying perpetrators of atrocities during the conflict in the western region. Sanctions were due to come into effect 30 days after the Security Council agreed a list of offenders named by the panel. Greece's UN ambassador Adamantios Vassilakis announced
  • UNB EMTN priced

    The first drawdown of the euro medium-term note (EMTN) programme of Union National Bank (UNB)was launched on 15 July, priced at 35 basis points (bp) over Libor with a reoffer rate of 41 bp. Citigroupand HSBC are the lead managers (MEED 24:6:05).
  • US receives Sudan apology

    Khartoum apologised to Washington on 21 July for a row between its security staff and US officials and press. US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice had demanded an apology from Khartoum after it emerged that security staff at President Omar al-Beshir's residence had violently barred the US visitors from entering a meeting between Rice and the president, and tried to confiscate press tapes. 'It makes me very angry to be sitting there with their president and have this happen,' Rice said aft
  • US troops capture El-Sherif kidnapper

    The US military said in a statement on 14 July that it had captured an Al-Qaeda militant suspected of participating in the kidnapping and murder of Egypt's envoy to Iraq. Reports said US forces caught Khamis Farhan Abed al-Fahdawi, also known as Abu Seba, on 9 July in Ramadi. Al-Fahdawi 'served as a senior lieutenant of Al-Qaeda in Iraq and is suspected in attacks against diplomats of Bahrain, Pakistan and the recent murder of the Egyptian envoy,' the statement said. Al-Qaeda in Iraq, the g
  • US troops will leave when we say so, says Jafaari

    The withdrawal of foreign troops from Iraq should take place according to Baghdad's requirements, Prime Minister Ibrahim Jaafari said on 12 July. 'We want the withdrawal decision to be an Iraqi decision with an Iraqi timetable, not with a terror timetable,' Jaafari told the Transitional National Assembly, whose members had quizzed him on the presence of US-led troops. 'They will leave when it is decided there is no more need for foreign troops,' he said.'US forces intend to c
  • US/UAE consortium signs up for Ras Laffan sulphur

    A US/UAE consortium of Washington Group Internationaland Al-Jaber Energy Serviceshas been awarded a $360 million contract to carry out the Ras Laffan sulphur handling expansion project. The project, being managed by Qatar Liquefied Gas Company (Qatargas), calls for the installation of additional capacity of up to 12,000 tonnes a day (t/d) and is being undertaken to meet the rapid upstream development of the North field gas reservoir (MEED 22:4:05).
  • USACE invites bids for fight school

    The US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) has issued a pre-solicitation notice for a firm fixed-price (FFP), lowest price technically acceptable (LPTA) design and build contract for the construction of a combat arms branch school in the central district of Baghdad. The complex, used for the training of Iraqi troops, will consist of a headquarters, branch school, student and staff barracks, an armoury, storage facilities, guard towers, and a fuelling station. In addition there will be site improveme
  • USACE invites bids for fight school

    The US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) has issued a pre-solicitation notice for a firm fixed-price (FFP), lowest price technically acceptable (LPTA) design and build contract for the construction of a combat arms branch school in the central district of Baghdad. The complex, used for the training of Iraqi troops, will consist of a headquarters, branch school, student and staff barracks, an armoury, storage facilities, guard towers, and a fuelling station. In addition there will be site improveme
  • USACE invites bids for warehouse operations

    The US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) has issued a solicitation notice inviting companies to bid by the end of July for a one-year contract to operate nine logistics warehouses across the country. Four of the warehouses are already established and located in Baghdad, Umm Qasr, Mosul, Ramadi and the Tikrit, while the remaining five - to be located at Abu Ghraib, Hilla, Al-Zubair, Tadji and the Speicher forward opening base - are still to be built. The facilities will be used to store and distrib
  • US-led consortium takes Qarun

    Egyptian General Petroleum Corporation (EGPC)has awarded exploration licences to two international joint ventures led by the US' Devon Energy. A project company established between the US company, Japan's Teikoku Oil Companyand Australia's Santoshas taken the licence to explore for oil in the 4,901-square-kilometre North Qarun block in the Gindi basin of the Western desert. The joint venture is aiming to invest about $5 million over the first 3.5 years
  • Veolia buys Weir Techna

    Veolia Water, a division of Veolia Environnement, has acquired the desalination and water treatment business of the Techna Division of the UK's Weir Groupin a transaction worth £27.7 million ($49 million). The companies sold to Veolia include Glasgow-based Weir Westgarthand France's Weir Entropie, which have completed numerous water and desalination projects throughout the Gulf and North Africa. 'The changing dynamics of the desalination mar
  • Veolia Water awarded two contracts

    Weir Entropie, now wholly owned by Paris-based Veolia Water, was awarded in early July a Eur 5 million ($6.7 million) subcontract to supply and install two 3,600-cubic-metre-a-day (cm/d) multi-effect distillation (MED) desalination units at Sohar. The order was placed by Germany's Ferrostaal, which is a joint venture partner in Oman Methanol Company (OMC)with Muscat-based Omzest Group and Methanol Holding Trinidad. OMC is carryin
  • Villa infrastructure ready to roll

    Contractors have been invited to bid by 31 July for the main infrastructure contract for The Villa project at Dubailand. The estimated $30 million contract involves construction of internal roads, telecommunications infrastructure and potable water, sanitary and drainage systems. The bidders are likely to include the local Bin Hafeez General Contracting & Transport Establishmentand Wade Adams Contractingand the local/Cypriot National Wheel J&P. The UK's
  • Villa infrastructure ready to roll

    Contractors have been invited to bid by 31 July for the main infrastructure contract for The Villa project at Dubailand. The estimated $30 million contract involves construction of internal roads, telecommunications infrastructure and potable water, sanitary and drainage systems. The bidders are likely to include the local Bin Hafeez General Contracting & Transport Establishmentand Wade Adams Contractingand the local/Cypriot National Wheel J&P. The UK's
  • Violence and vengeance rock Occupied Territories

    The Israeli army continued its crackdown on Palestinian militants, raiding a second West Bank town on 14 July following a suicide bomb attack on the Israeli coastal town of Netanya. Troops killed Islamic Jihad commander Mohammed al-Asi when the army stormed Nablus. The raid followed a similar operation in Tulkarem during which troops reoccupied the town, which had been transferred to Palestinian Authority (PA) control. Soldiers killed a Palestinian police officer and arrested five Islamic Jihad
  • Wade wins interchange 5 overhaul

    The local Wade Adams Contractinghas been awarded the contract for the retendered fifth interchange reconstruction project on Sheikh Zayed highway in Dubai. The existing interchange, which links Dubai Marina with Emaar Properties'residential areas of the Lakes, Meadows and Hills, is one of the most congested on the highway.
  • Wade wins interchange 5 overhaul

    The local Wade Adams Contractinghas been awarded the contract for the retendered fifth interchange reconstruction project on Sheikh Zayed highway in Dubai. The existing interchange, which links Dubai Marina with Emaar Properties'residential areas of the Lakes, Meadows and Hills, is one of the most congested on the highway.
  • Washington fiddles as Baghdad burns

    The White House's public relations offensive on Iraq took another wrong turn in early July when outgoing Pentagon hawk Douglas Feith, one of the main architects of the 2003 invasion of Iraq, expressed doubts over key areas of policy. His remarks came a fortnight after US Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld warned that it could be 'five, six, eight, 10, 12 years' before the insurgency was defeated in Iraq, and that ultimately local security forces, not coalition troops, would have to carry the burd
  • Washington freezes assets of two Syrian officials

    Washington froze the assets of Syrian Interior Minister Ghazi Kanaan and military intelligence chief Rustom Ghazaleh on 30 June. The US Treasury Department named the two officials as 'specially designated nationals' and said they could not access their assets in the US or conduct business with any US citizens. The Treasury said that Kanaan and Ghazaleh directed Damascus' military and intelligence presence in Lebanon and contributed to Syria's support of terrorism there. Both men 'allegedly
  • Washington praises Damascus for tackling militants

    US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice praised Damascus on 5 July for its efforts to tackle militants linked to the insurgency in Iraq. She spoke a day after gunfight between Syrian police and militants on Mount Qassioun near Damascus. 'I too have been reading the reports of clashes between Syrian forces and Iraqi insurgents or Saddam Hussein's bodyguards,' Rice said. 'If that's the case, then that would be a good thing,' she said. Rice called on Damascus to 'do as much as possible' to stop
  • Washington sells air defence systems to Cairo

    The US intends to sell 25 Avenger air defence systems to Egypt in a deal worth $126 million, the US Defence Department (DoD) announced on 27 May. The Boeing Company is the principal contractor for the system. The Defence Security Co-operation Agency, which handles weapons sales to other nations, said the units and related equipment that includes Stinger missiles, would replace Cairo's current air defence system supplied by the Soviet Union. The DoD announced the sale to Congress in a mandat
  • Waste treatment plant shapes up

    The local Arab Contractors (Osman Ahmed Osman & Company)has invited firms to bid by 18 July for the contract to design, supply and supervise the construction of a new liquid industrial waste treatment plant south of Port Said. Arab Contractors is the main contractor to the Sinai Development Agency on the project, which will be located at the Fish Basin Industrial Zone and have capacity to treat 20,000-30,000 cubic metres a day of discharge.
  • Wastewater prequals due

    The Palestinian Water Authority (PWA) has issued prequalification notices for both the consultancy and construction contracts on the north Gaza wastewater treatment plant. The deadline for both applications is 23 August and invitation to bid (ITB) documents for the construction supervision contract are due out at the end of that month. It is expected that ITBs to build the 35,000-cubic-metre-a-day (cm/d) modular treatment plant near Beit Lahiya will be released in early October.
  • Wataniya closes in on finance completion

    Financial close is expected to be achieved on 20 July on the $490 million debt package for Kuwait-based Wataniya Telecom Algeria, which was awarded in December 2003 the country's third GSM licence with a high bid of $421 million.
  • Water firm floats on bourse

    The long-awaited initial public offering (IPO) of shares in Lyonnaise des Eaux de Casablanca (Lydec)was launched in early July. Investors were given from 4-8 July to subscribe to the 1.12 million shares on offer, representing 14 per cent of the company's capital. The target price band is MD 210-MD 240 ($23.1-26.4) a share, with the price to be set on 13 July and shares to be listed on 18 July. The IPO is expected to raise up to MD 2,000 million ($222 million)
  • West Bank barrier building speeds up

    Tel Aviv plans to accelerate the construction of the separation wall in the West Bank, a top security official said on 7 July. 'Jerusalem is a priority, and we hope that if the legal issues can be resolved, it will just be a matter of months to finish the fence and close off Jerusalem as we originally intended,' said Giora Eiland, the head of Israel's National Security Council. The barrier will separate East Jerusalem from the West Bank. Court rulings have forced Tel Aviv to alter the route
  • West Bank-Gaza travel link agreed

    Palestinian and Israeli officials have agreed on a safe passage link between the West Bank and Gaza, Israeli public radio reported on 5 July. Palestinians will be able to travel between the West Bank and Gaza under Israeli security escort after Tel Aviv withdraws from Gaza, the report said. The plan has been presented to diplomats from the Middle East quartet of the US, UN, EU and Russia as well as World Bank representatives. Israel agreed in June to build a rail link between Eretz in north
  • WGI scoops RSHT contract

    Abu Dhabi Oil Refining Company (Takreer)has selected US-based Washington Group International (WGI) for a contract to provide front-end engineering and design (FEED) services on the Ruwais sulphur handling terminal (RSHT) expansion project. The $40 million project calls for the installation of an 8,000-tonne-a-day sulphur granulation unit with liquid and solid storage facilities and the replacement of two granulation units. The project has a construction period of 21 months. Th
  • Where's the way out?

    US President Bush's success in Iraq will be measured by a decrease in insurgent attacks and Washington's ability to lay the groundwork for political and economic stability, says US Middle East policy analyst Anthony Cordesman. However, one year on from the handover of sovereignty to the US-backed transitional government, escalating violence and political assassinations suggest Bush is a long way off target and no nearer to bringing home most of the 135,000 US troops stationed there.
  • Who needs democracy?

    The 2005 Freedom House Report does not make good reading for the UAE. On a scale of one to seven, with seven the least preferable, the federation scores sixes for civil liberties and political rights. It fares little better in the Reporters Without Borders annual press freedom index, where the UAE finds itself ranked 137th in the world - narrowly ahead of Iraq, but behind GCC neighbours Kuwait and Qatar. If the two reports are to be taken at face value, Washington should be applying pressure on
  • Why Gulf gas will soon matter more than Gulf oil

    Oil has seized the headlines because of soaring prices. But in little more than a decade, gas could overtake its liquid rival to become the biggest contributor to the Gulf economy.
  • World Bank loans Iraq $500m

    The World Bank announced on 18 July that it would lend Iraq $500 million in soft loans from 2005-07. The money will finance existing projects administered by the World Bank Iraq Trust Fund set up under the International Reconstruction Fund Facility for Iraq. 'We made a commitment to support the development and reconstruction efforts using World Bank resources, if and when the Iraqi authorities request it,' said MENA vice-president Christiaan Poortman. The loans are part of a lending framewo
  • WorleyParsons to manage green diesel project

    Abu Dhabi Oil Refining Company (Takreer)has awarded a contract to Australia's WorleyParsons to provide project management consultancy (PMC) services for the sulphur-free gas-oil (SFGO) project at Ruwais. The Australian firm beat off competition from two other companies - the US/Canadian VECOand US-based Mustang Engineering(MEED 24:6:05).
  • WTC superstructure package out

    Contractors have been invited to bid by 25 July for the superstructure package on the Dubai World Trade Centre (WTC) residence project. The 14-month package, due to begin in late September, will cover the substructure, superstructure and roofing works. The project calls for the construction of two interconnected towers, one with 40 storeys, the other with 30. The residences are to be built on the site of the former Hilton Hotel, which was demolished in late March. The lead design consultant is t
  • WTC superstructure package out

    Contractors have been invited to bid by 25 July for the superstructure package on the Dubai World Trade Centre (WTC) residence project. The 14-month package, due to begin in late September, will cover the substructure, superstructure and roofing works. The project calls for the construction of two interconnected towers, one with 40 storeys, the other with 30. The residences are to be built on the site of the former Hilton Hotel, which was demolished in late March. The lead design consultant is t
  • Yanbu gas plant expansion PQ due

    Saudi Aramcohas asked international contractors to submit prequalification (PQ) proposals by 19 July for the project to expand the Yanbu gas plant. The move follows responses by international contractors to a solicitation of interest in late June. Invitation to bid documents are scheduled to be released in November. The estimated $100 million-200 million gas plant expansion project will raise total fractionation capacity at the plant to 585,000 barrels a day (b/d) through the installation
  • YanSab goes to market

    Banks have been invited by 30 July to submit expressions of interest in participating in the $3,500 million financing of the YanSab project being carried out by Saudi Basic Industries Corporation (Sabic). ABN Amroand Saudi Hollandi Bankare the financial advisers and bookrunners.
  • Yemeni cleric sentenced to maximum US jail term

    A US federal judge sentenced a Yemeni cleric and his accomplice convicted of terrorist offences to the maximum jail term of 75 years on 28 July. Sheikh Mohammed Ali Hassan al-Moayad and his assistant Mohammed Zayed were charged with channelling funds to Al-Qaeda and Hamas. Al-Moayad was also fined $1.25 million. They were arrested in Frankfurt in January 2003.'Those who finance terrorist attacks, and rejoice in the murder of innocent victims, are no different from those who p
  • Yemeni president will step aside next year

    President Saleh said on 17 July that he will stand down at presidential elections due in September 2006. 'I call on political parties and organisations to choose young and capable [candidates] among honourable citizens,' Saleh said. 'Yemen has been a pioneer in consolidating unity, democracy and a multi-party system, and today it should be consolidating the peaceful exchange of power,' he said. Saleh has been head of state for 15 years and governed North Yemen before unification with the so
  • Yemen's new cabinet urged to promote religious moderation

    Yemen's new cabinet was sworn in on 19 May and was urged by President Ali Abdullah Saleh to promote moderate Islam. The official Sana news agency quoted Saleh as telling the newly-appointed 35-member cabinet to promote clerics 'who inform people about their religion and life properly, far from extremism and fanaticism'. Yemen has been the scene of several terrorist attacks by Islamist militants, including the bombing of the USS Cole in October 2000, which killed 17 American sailors. The cab
  • Zueitina bidders asked to reprice

    The five bidding contractors for the estimated $70 million-80 million contract to build the Zueitina gas pipeline have been asked to submit final revised prices by the local Zueitina Oil Company. The bidders for the contract are: Italy's Bonatti; Athens-based Joannou & Paraskevaides (J&P - Overseas); Germany's MAN GHH; Egypt's Petrojet; and India's Punj Lloyd. The client is expected to make an award in the autumn, once the g

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