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MEED
September 2005

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  • A fresh start

    One of the first acts of King Abdullah's reign was the pardoning of a number of men convicted of undermining the authority of the state. It was a typical act of munificence from a new ruler. The monarchs of the Al-Saud dynasty have traditionally issued pardons to mark holy festivals or grand occasions of state. But it was also a politically astute move. Not only has it helped cement his reputation as a forward-looking leader and a man of integrity, but it also helped to ease relations with Washi
  • A shared commitment INTERVIEW

    Foreign Trade & Industry Minister Rachid Mohammed Rachid outlines the main aims of Egypt's industrial modernisation programme
  • Abbas seeks US help to quell violence

    President Abbas said on 28 September that he intends to visit Washington to ask for US President Bush's help to stem the escalating violence in Gaza. 'It's no secret: that I have to visit the United States, and I had to co-ordinate my position with my Egyptian brothers,' Abbas said on a visit to Cairo. 'The US is a superpower. They are part of the [Middle East] quartet and they have to assume their responsibilities and take action to stop operations that could provoke a collapse of the situ
  • Abbas: negotiations, not violence, led to withdrawal

    Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas said on 9 September that diplomacy not violence led to Tel Aviv's withdrawal from Gaza. 'We agreed a cool-down with Palestinian factions to give negotiation a chance and one of the results is that the Gaza Strip is going to be emptied of settlers and soldiers,' Abbas told Arab-Israeli newspaper Kul al-Arab. 'The balance of force is not in our favour,' he said in reference to superior Israeli firepower. 'Dialogue is more beneficial than viol
  • Abengoa affiliates spread wings

    Two subsidiaries of Spain's Abengoahave been awarded contracts in Algeria and Qatar valued in total at about $23 million. Instalaciones Inabensa has been awardeda $13 million turnkey contract to build a transmission line linking Hadjret Ennous power plant with El-Affroun in northern Algeria. The scope of works includes a topographical study and supply, civils, installation and commissioning of a 400-kV power line. The award is part of an eight-lot international tender for
  • Abu Dhabi calls time on Gulf Air

    Abu Dhabi has become the second major shareholder to pull out of Bahrain-based Gulf Airin less than three years. The decision, widely expected following the launch of the emirate's own airline, Etihad Airwaysin 2003, follows Qatar's withdrawal from Gulf Air in 2002 (MEED 6:5:05).
  • Abu Dhabi pulls out of Gulf Air

    Gulf Air will not change its business strategy in response to Abu Dhabi's announcement that it plans to divest its stake in the airline, president and chief executive officer James Hogan said on 12 September. Abu Dhabi announced it plans to withdraw its shareholding over the course of the next six months. 'For the wider Gulf Air family - our customers, our staff and our suppliers - the key issue is how we are run - and that will be business as usual,' Hogan said. 'I have been delighted to s
  • Abu Dhabi University begins expansion

    Contractors have been invited to submit bids by 5 September for the estimated AED 200 million ($54 million) expansion of the Abu Dhabi University campus at Khalifa City. The project calls for the construction of two new colleges, auditoriums, laboratories and leisure facilities covering about 370,000 square metres. The development is to be implemented in three phases. The first phase will cater for 5,000 students and is due for completion by September 2006. The local Arkonsultis the
  • Abu Dhabi University begins expansion

    Contractors have been invited to submit bids by 5 September for the estimated AED 200 million ($54 million) expansion of the Abu Dhabi University campus at Khalifa City. The project calls for the construction of two new colleges, auditoriums, laboratories and leisure facilities covering about 370,000 square metres. The development is to be implemented in three phases. The first phase will cater for 5,000 students and is due for completion by September 2006. The local Arkonsultis the
  • ABU DHABI: Upgrade frenzy

    These are busy times for Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) and its operating firms. With oil prices riding high and the emirate's production forecast to increase by nearly 6 per cent to 2.5 million barrels a day (b/d) by the end of the year, significant investments are under way to maintain and upgrade its upstream networks.
  • Adco shoots from the HIPPS

    Abu Dhabi Company for Onshore Oil Operations (Adco) has invited companies to submit technical bids by 4 October for the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract to supply and install new pressure valves and control systems at the Thamama C reservoir in Abu Dhabi emirate.
  • ADIC revamps steel plant plans

    Abu Dhabi Investment Company (ADIC)is evaluating revised commercial bids for the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract to build a grassroots steel plant in the federation. The move follows a decision to change the proposed location from Fujairah to Abu Dhabi Industrial City in Mussafah.
  • ADIH approved

    The Central Bank of the UAE has approved the establishment of Abu Dhabi Investment House (ADIH)with a paid-up capital of AED 200 million ($54.5 million). Set up by a group of local and Gulf investors and institutions, ADIH will focus on private equity, capital markets, asset management and investment placement opportunities, as well as managing share offerings.
  • Aedas wins design competition

    Hong Kong's Aedashas won an international competition to design the expansion of the Jebel Hafeet Hotel in Al-Ain. The local Al-Rayan Industrial Companyis the client.
  • Aedas wins design competition

    Hong Kong's Aedashas won an international competition to design the expansion of the Jebel Hafeet Hotel in Al-Ain. The local Al-Rayan Industrial Companyis the client.
  • Ahmadinejad headed for the US

    President Ahmadinejad left Iran on 13 September on his first foreign trip to visit the US and attend the UN summit. He is due to attend the General Assembly and present new proposals on Tehran's nuclear programme.Opposition group the National Council for Resistance of Iran (NCRI) reported that Tehran is building 5,000 centrifuges that could produce enriched nuclear fuel fit for weapons. More than half of the equipment could be used now, the group said. 'This will be the first
  • Airbus revises its latest regional forecasts

    Europe's Airbushas released details of its latest 20-year market forecast for the Middle East and North Africa. The manufacturer predicts that carriers in the region will need to buy 1,016 aircraft worth a total of $124,000 million by 2023 (MEED 16:9:05).
  • Alamara moves ahead with boutique hotel

    Local investment group Alamara Projectsis pressing ahead with plans to build a boutique hotel catering to business travellers in the centre of Kuwait City. Located in Khaleej street, the scope of works entails construction of an 18-storey, 127-room property, a library and associated entertainment facilities. Work on the estimated $100 million project is set to begin in the first half of 2006, with completion scheduled for 2008. The client is looking to appoint an international hotel
  • Alamara moves ahead with boutique hotel

    Local investment group Alamara Projectsis pressing ahead with plans to build a boutique hotel catering to business travellers in the centre of Kuwait City. Located in Khaleej street, the scope of works entails construction of an 18-storey, 127-room property, a library and associated entertainment facilities. Work on the estimated $100 million project is set to begin in the first half of 2006, with completion scheduled for 2008. The client is looking to appoint an international hotel
  • Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade will not disarm

    Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades said on 31 August that it would not disarm following a Palestinian Interior Ministry announcement that it would not allow any armed groups in Gaza. 'We will continue to brandish our weapons in the face of the occupation as Gaza is only the first step toward the liberation of all the land of Palestine,' the group said in a statement. 'The appeals by the Interior Ministry and other parties to give up our weapons are irrelevant.''The Palestinian Authorit
  • Al-Arabiyya to launch web portal

    Al-Arabiyya News Channel, part of Middle East Broadcasting Corporation (MBC)based in Dubai, is to launch an online business news and information portal at the end of October, Al-Arabiyya head of new media Ammar Bakkar said on 17 September. The Anews.net service will provide about 15 stories a day and provide information about personal finance and capital markets. Al-Arabiyya is a 24-hour-a-day Arabic-language news service launched in February 2003.
  • Al-Burj sinks Dubai Waterfront deal

    Government-owned property developer Nakheel is pressing ahead with its Dubai Waterfront development after opting to abandon its original business model to attract strategic investors. The company had originally set up Dubai Waterfront Company(DWC) to enable local and international investors to become partners in the project with Nakheel possessing an overriding 51 per cent share in DWC (MEED 4:2:05).
  • Al-Burj sinks Dubai Waterfront deal

    Government-owned property developer Nakheel is pressing ahead with its Dubai Waterfront development after opting to abandon its original business model to attract strategic investors. The company had originally set up Dubai Waterfront Company(DWC) to enable local and international investors to become partners in the project with Nakheel possessing an overriding 51 per cent share in DWC (MEED 4:2:05).
  • Alcatel to supply broadband solution

    France's Alcatelhas been awarded a contract to provide a gigabit passive optical network (GPON) solution for the Ministry of Communications (MOC). Under the contract, Alcatel will install and oversee the roll-out of a new system to offer subscribers triple-play services - voice, video and data. The new infrastructure will enable the delivery of services such as high-speed internet. MOC is deploying GPON in 33 areas, of which Alcatel's solution will serve about 60 per cent of the acce
  • Algerians say yes to national reconciliation

    Algerians voted in favour of a national amnesty for civil war participants, Interior Minister Noureddine Zerhouni said on 30 September. He said that 97.4 per cent approved the charter for 'peace and national reconciliation' and 80 per cent of eligible voters had taken part. No independent monitors observed the vote and some analysts questioned high turnout figures given that some opposition parties had called for a boycott. 'I can't see why you would be surprised by the participation level.
  • Algiers seeks interest in Arzew helium plant

    The Energy & Mines Ministry has set a bid deadline of 27 September for the estimated $80 million engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract to develop a 600 million-cubic-feet-a-year (cf/y) helium plant at Arzew. Bids will be opened the next day, with an award expected soon after. Prospective bidders are the US' Air Products & Chemicals, Lindeof Germany and France's Air Liquide. The client is state energy company Sonatrach. Constructi
  • Algiers signs EU FTA

    Algiers' EU Association Agreement, a free trade agreement (FTA) providing for the gradual lifting of trade barriers, entered into force on 1 September. Under the agreement, ratified earlier this year following its signing in April 2002, customs and tariffs will be lifted immediately on some agricultural goods, with trade barriers for the remainder, and for manufactured and industrial goods, to be lifted progressively over a period of five-12 years.
  • Al-Hamed in line forAl-Jazeera

    The local Al-Hamed Development & Constructionhas been selected for the main contract to redevelop the Al-Jazeera football stadium in Abu Dhabi after the client opted to reduce the scope of works.
  • Al-Hamed in line forAl-Jazeera

    The local Al-Hamed Development & Constructionhas been selected for the main contract to redevelop the Al-Jazeera football stadium in Abu Dhabi after the client opted to reduce the scope of works.
  • Al-Jaber sows up gardens contract

    Abu Dhabi-based Al-Jaber Building Establishment has been awarded the first major construction package on the Al-Raha Gardens development, winning a contract valued at just under $100 million to build villas. The 12-month contract will comprise two residential lots - Al-Mariah and Muzera - and involves the construction of two gated residential compounds, offering 280 villas and townhouses, as well as roads and related infrastructure. The client is ALDAR Properties.
  • Al-Jaber sows up gardens contract

    Abu Dhabi-based Al-Jaber Building Establishment has been awarded the first major construction package on the Al-Raha Gardens development, winning a contract valued at just under $100 million to build villas. The 12-month contract will comprise two residential lots - Al-Mariah and Muzera - and involves the construction of two gated residential compounds, offering 280 villas and townhouses, as well as roads and related infrastructure. The client is ALDAR Properties.
  • Al-Qaeda chief threatens fresh attacks

    Osama bin Laden's deputy Ayman al-Zawahiri threatened on 2 September future attacks on Western targets. 'The lands and interests of the countries that took part in the aggression against Palestine, Iraq and Afghanistan are targets for us,' Al-Zawahiri said in a videotape aired by the Al-Jazeera satellite channel. He described the July bombings in London as a 'conquest'. 'Just as they made rivers of blood flow in our countries, we will make volcanoes of anger erupt in their countries,' he sa
  • Al-Qaeda number two dead, NATO establishes Baghdad mission

    Iraqi National Security Adviser Muwaffaq Rubaie said on 27 September that US-led forces had killed Al-Qaeda in Iraq's deputy leader Abu Azzam. 'We managed to kill the number two of Al-Qaeda in Iraq,' he said. Rubaie said Azzam 'must have killed 1,200 Iraqis' and his death was a 'major coup'. Azzam was shot in a raid on a safehouse in Baghdad.NATO secretary-general Jaap de Hoop Scheffer inaugurated the headquarters of a NATO training mission in Baghdad on the same day. 'What y
  • Al-Qaeda suspects trapped in Dammam

    Saudi police continued to surround on 5 September a building in Dammam where a group of suspected militants had fled following a gun battle the day before. Two suspects and a security officer were shot during the clashes, which began at noon on 4 September on Prince Mohammed bin Fahd Street. The gunmen were thought to be Al-Qaeda members. Security forces chased the remaining suspects to the Al-Hamra district, where the presumed militants holed themselves up in building. Shooting continued t
  • Al-Zarqawi will move on

    The time will come when Al-Qaeda in Iraq leader Abu Musab Al-Zarqawi will be forced out of Iraq and probably move to east Africa, US Maj Gen Douglas Lute said on 25 August. 'There will come a time when Zarqawi will face too much resistance in Iraq and will move on,' he said. Yemen, Somalia, Sudan and Ethiopia are possible 'safe havens' for Islamist militants, he said.Lute's statement is the latest in a series of US warnings that Al-Qaeda will shift its base from Afghanistan a
  • AMOC part-privatisation goes first in energy sell-off

    The initial public offering (IPO) of shares in Alexandria Mineral Oils Company (AMOC)is due to begin on 13 September, the company announced on 30 August. The mineral oils and paraffin waxes producer is the first of several part-privatisations planned in the energy sector. Cairo is expected to launch IPOs in the coming months in a number of other firms, including Middle East Oil Refinery (Midor- MEED 10:6:05).
  • Anglo Irish enters UAE

    Anglo Irish Bankhas been granted a representative office banking licence by the Central Bank of the UAE. The licence will allow the bank to offer its customers banking and wealth management services.
  • Another bombing shakes Beirut

    An explosion ripped through a building in the Ashrafiya neighbourhood of Beirut on 16 September. Unconfirmed reports said one man was killed and several people were injured. The blast was the latest in a series of bombings that have targeted Christian areas as well as prominent political figures. 'This is a criminal act that comes as part of a series of other criminal acts that Lebanon witnessed,' member of parliament Atef Majdalani said. 'The remains of the Syrian and Lebanese security reg
  • Anti-Mubarak demonstrations continue

    Demonstrators marched through the streets of Cairo on 27 September to protest against the start of President Mubarak's fifth six-year term in office. The hundreds of marchers, who included Kifayeh members, liberals and leftists, shouted 'illegitimate, illegitimate'. Police allowed them to move along the streets in a departure from usual practice that confines demonstrations to one location. Cairo has rejected opposition calls for a re-run of the vote held on 7 September due to electoral fra
  • Apicorp receives $40 million loan

    The Abu Dhabi-based Arab Trade Financing Program has extended a line of credit, worth $40 million, to Dammam-based Arab Petroleum Investments Corporation (Apicorp). The loan agreement, the third line of credit extended by the programme to Apicorp, will be used to finance export and trade initiatives in the region.
  • Arabtec awarded Skygardens

    The local Arabtec Construction has been awarded the main contract to build the 47-storey Skygardens project in Dubai International Financial Centre. First Dubai Holding Company, a subsidiary of Kuwait's Global Investment House, and Al-Mazaya Holding Company, also of Kuwait, are the primary investors in the AED 500 million ($136 million) project. Construction is expected to be completed in 2007. Bahrain-based Projacshas been appointed as
  • Arabtec awarded Skygardens

    The local Arabtec Construction has been awarded the main contract to build the 47-storey Skygardens project in Dubai International Financial Centre. First Dubai Holding Company, a subsidiary of Kuwait's Global Investment House, and Al-Mazaya Holding Company, also of Kuwait, are the primary investors in the AED 500 million ($136 million) project. Construction is expected to be completed in 2007. Bahrain-based Projacshas been appointed as
  • Arabtec saddles up for ranch work

    The local Arabtec Constructionhas received letters of intent for contracts worth a total of AED 487 million ($133 million) to design and build villas in the Arabian Ranches development in Dubai. The larger, 22-month contract covers the construction of 594 villas ranging from two-three bedrooms within the Palmera district. The second contract, to be completed by May 2007, entails construction of 88 villas in the Hatta area. Located in the desert behind Nad al-Sheba, the Arabian Ranche
  • Arabtec saddles up for ranch work

    The local Arabtec Constructionhas received letters of intent for contracts worth a total of AED 487 million ($133 million) to design and build villas in the Arabian Ranches development in Dubai. The larger, 22-month contract covers the construction of 594 villas ranging from two-three bedrooms within the Palmera district. The second contract, to be completed by May 2007, entails construction of 88 villas in the Hatta area. Located in the desert behind Nad al-Sheba, the Arabian Ranche
  • Arabtec selected for Gate Village

    The local ArabtecConstructionis understood to have been selected to build the Gate Village in Dubai International Financial Centre. The contract, which is valued at about $100 million, calls for the construction of 10 four-10-storey office buildings and three car parks with a built-up area of about 270,000 square metres. Arabtec was shortlisted with the local Engineering Contracting Company (ECC)for the contract, which is expected to take about 14 months. The UK's
  • Arabtec selected for Gate Village

    The local ArabtecConstructionis understood to have been selected to build the Gate Village in Dubai International Financial Centre. The contract, which is valued at about $100 million, calls for the construction of 10 four-10-storey office buildings and three car parks with a built-up area of about 270,000 square metres. Arabtec was shortlisted with the local Engineering Contracting Company (ECC)for the contract, which is expected to take about 14 months. The UK's
  • Aramco plans twin export refineries

    Plans have emerged for the construction of a second in-kingdom grassroots export refinery to be built by Saudi Aramcoand international oil companies (IOCs). With a nameplate capacity of 400,000-420,000 barrels a day (b/d), a possible site for the facility is Jubail 2, an extension of Jubail industrial city, in the Eastern Province.
  • Aramco prepares to issue Khurais tenders

    Saudi Aramco has invited companies to submit prequalification applications by 28 September for the four main construction packages on the Khurais crude increment programme. The mega-oil development project, to be implemented in packages, will be Aramco's largest field development in decades and on completion in 2009 will deliver 1.2 million barrels a day (b/d) of new crude capacity. Total project costs, including drilling, are estimated at about $11,000 million (MEED 5:8:05).
  • Aramco sets out details on refinery integration plans

    Saudi Aramcohas revealed further details of its plans to upgrade its Yanbu and Ras Tanura refineries and integrate them with new petrochemicals complexes.
  • Arig takes re-takaful plunge

    Bahrain-based Arab Insurance Group (Arig)launched its sharia-compliant Takaful Re re-insurance company on 19 September. Arig holds a 51.8 per cent stake in the new company, based in Dubai, with an authorised capital of $500 million and paid-up capital of $125 million. The other shareholders are Jeddah-based Islamic Development Bank, Dubai Investments, Emirates Industrial Bank, Emirates Funds,part of the Emirates Bank Group,
  • Arrangers selected for Emirates Cement

    Calyon, HSBCand Mashreqbankhave been appointed as mandated lead arrangers (MLAs) on the debt package to finance the grassroots Fujairah plant planned by Emirates Cement Company, a joint venture of the Fujairah government, Dubai Investment Group (DIG), a subsidiary of Dubai Holding, and Egypt's Orascom Construction Industries. The sponsors are looking for a limited recourse financing worth about $210 million with a ten
  • Asad may miss UN summit

    President Asad may not attend the UN world summit in New York in mid-September, Syria's UN ambassador said on 6 September. 'Syria has a big interest in the New York summit, which is very, very important, and our mission is closely following political preparations already under way,' Faisal Mekdad said. He has not received any official confirmation that Asad would participate, he said. Asad would be the first Syrian leader to lead a delegation if he did visit the UN. Washingto
  • ATG moves ahead with steel plans

    Saudi Arabia's Al-Tuwairqi Group(ATG)is planning to invest more than $800 million on various new steel units throughout the federation. The largest project will be a steel complex in Sharjah's Hamriyah Free Zone. The plant is due to be operational by the first half of 2007. Covering an area of about 1.2 million square metres, the facility will initially comprise three elements: a profile factory for automatic fabrication and welding; a direct reduction iron (DRI) unit; and a
  • Authorities act on DIB share fraud

    With frequent new listings and galloping profits among local corporates, the UAE's bourses are always active. But credulity was stretched on 28 August, when shares worth $2,600 million in Dubai Islamic Bank (DIB) changed hands as two investors flagrantly attempted to manipulate the market. However, the incident had a positive dimension, as market-watchers lauded the authorities' swift and tough action. Other signs of change in the workings of the country's capital markets are also afoot.
  • Award in sight for City of Arabia piling

    The local Middle East Foundationsis in advanced negotiations for the main piling contract on the estimated $2,000 million City of Arabia project, part of the Dubailand development. The scheme comprises residential, office and entertainment facilities catering for about 34,000 people (MEED 12:8:05).
  • Award in sight for City of Arabia piling

    The local Middle East Foundationsis in advanced negotiations for the main piling contract on the estimated $2,000 million City of Arabia project, part of the Dubailand development. The scheme comprises residential, office and entertainment facilities catering for about 34,000 people (MEED 12:8:05).
  • Award nears for Mina al-Ahmadi oil pier work

    South Korea's Hyundai Engineering & Construction Companyhas been selected for the award of the contract to expand the existing oil pier at Mina al-Ahmadi. Estimated to be worth KD 40 million ($140 million), the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract will involve the construction of berths 5 and 6 and related facilities. An official signing is due to take place soon. Hyundai Engineering has built the four existing berths and a 2.2-kilometre-long jetty under a $224 mi
  • Award nears for Palmyra

    Syrian Gas Company (SGC)has completed the technical and financial evaluation of bids from Egypt's Engineering for the Petroleum & Process Industries (Enppi), the Italian office of ABB and Russia's Stroytransgasfor the engineering, procurement, installation and commissioning (EPIC) contract to build a gas treatment plant in the southern half of the Palmyra gas reserves region. Officials say an award will be announced at the end of September (MEED 26:8:05
  • Award nears for RasGas II mega trains

    Ras Laffan Liquefied Natural Gas Company II (RasGas II) is understood to be close to awarding the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract for trains 6 and 7 on its integrated RasGas III project. Industry sources say that an award is expected by mid-September and that the joint venture of Japan's Chiyoda Corporation and Paris-based Technip is the frontrunner. The trains will each have capacity of 7.8 million tonnes a year (MEED 15:7:05).
  • Awards made for JAFZA expansion

    Jebel Ali Free Zone Authority (JAFZA) has awarded two local companies contracts for the earthworks and road infrastructure package on the expansion of the southern sector of Jebel Ali Free Zone. The area encompasses part of the proposed Jebel Ali Airport & Logistics City. The largest phase, worth AED 91 million ($25 million), has been awarded to Ghantout Transporting & General Contracting and covers theconstruction of 40 kilometres of road and the excavation of about 10 million cubi
  • Awards made for JAFZA expansion

    Jebel Ali Free Zone Authority (JAFZA) has awarded two local companies contracts for the earthworks and road infrastructure package on the expansion of the southern sector of Jebel Ali Free Zone. The area encompasses part of the proposed Jebel Ali Airport & Logistics City. The largest phase, worth AED 91 million ($25 million), has been awarded to Ghantout Transporting & General Contracting and covers theconstruction of 40 kilometres of road and the excavation of about 10 million cubi
  • Azarab takes Diz power upgrade

    The local Azarab Energyhas won an $81 million contract to upgrade a hydroelectric power plant on the Diz river in the southwest. The project will involve rehabilitating eight turbine units to increase power capacity to 92 MW from 65 MW. Sixty per cent of the contract value is for foreign currency procurement. The unsuccessful bidders, all local, were Farab, Khouzestan Power Plant Repair Companyand Nier Pars Company. The client is Khouzestan Water &
  • Babtain awarded Hadeed supply subcontract

    The local Al-Babtain Power & Telecommunication Company has been awarded a subcontract worth SR 7 million ($1.9 million) by the local/Austrian Saudi Voest Alpine Industrieanlagenbau (VAI) to supply about 1,500 tonnes of steel for the Jubail direct reduction iron (DRI) and steel melt shop projects of Saudi Iron & Steel Company (Hadeed). The contract involves the manufacture and supply of platforms, heat protection sheets, pedestals and dust protection walls. VAI
  • Baghdad admits infiltration of forces as row of UK soldiers escalates

    Iraq's National Security Adviser Muwafaq al-Rubaie admitted on 20 September that insurgents had infiltrated Iraq's security services. Al-Rubaie admitted that there were problems in many parts of the country but he said that he had no idea of the extent of the problem. 'I have to admit that they have been penetrated by some of the insurgents, some of the terrorists as well, so I can't deny this,' he told the BBC. His comments came after the British Army said it was forced to u
  • Baghdad and Bucharest agree debt terms

    The Finance Ministry announced on 18 August that it had agreed a deal to write off about 80 per cent of its estimated $2,000 million debt to the Romanian government.
  • Baghdad and London stress good relations

    Iraqi Prime Minister Ibrahim Jaafari and UK Defence Secretary John Reid denied on 21 September that unrest in Basra had soured relations between the two countries. Jaafari and Reid met in London to discuss the arrest of two British soldiers in Basra on 19 September. 'Such things are expected to happen. It will not affect the relationship between Iraq and Britain,' Jaafari said. Violent anti-British demonstrations erupted in Basra after the arrest of two UK soldiers for shooti
  • Baghdad International re-opens

    Baghdad International Airport re-opened on 10 September after the Transport Ministry resolved its dispute with foreign security contractors. 'We have reached an agreement: the airport is now open for domestic and international flights,' said the acting transport minister. UK Global Securities Corporation halted operations at the airport the day before, claiming it had not been paid since March 2005. A spokesman for the contractors said that Baghdad had agreed to pay half of the money it owe
  • Baghdad to upgrade Babylon network

    The Project & Contracting Office (PCO) has invited requests for proposals (RFPs) for the engineering, procurement, supply, erection and commissioning of electrical equipment for 132-kV overhead lines between Hilla South, Hashemiya and Shamayia in Babylon governorate. The estimated $10 million-25 million contract is part of an indefinite delivery/indefinite quantity (ID/IQ) design and build multiple award task order contract (MATOC) to maintain, repair and build a nationwide electricity network (
  • Bahraini Guantanamo inmates protest against conditions

    A lawyer for six Bahrainis detained in Guantanamo Bay said on 21 September that his clients had started a hunger strike in June in protest at conditions in the prison. Joshua Colangelo-Bryan said prisoner Jumah al-Dossar informed him during a visit in July that the detainees wished to send the authorities the message that they were prepared to die if the complaints were not dealt with. The men are seeking a hearing on their detention, non-interference in their religious practices, medical c
  • BANKING: Local houses play the market

    As the economy steams ahead, Saudi bankers are having to adapt to a rapidly changing environment. Riyadh's drive to reduce government debt, coupled with increased liquidity, has led to a shift in strategy by Saudi banks away from government lending to investment in the stock market.
  • Banks await pets deals

    Invitations to participate in the debt package for the National Polypropylene Company (NPPC)integrated propane dehydrogenation (PDH)/polypropylene (PP) plant at Jubail are expected in mid-September. The financing facility is expected to be worth about $400 million, with the Saudi Industrial Development Fund contributing additional funding. Gulf International Bankis acting as financial adviser. Banks are also awaiting imminently the debt package, likely to be worth about $
  • Bapco eyes lube oil facility

    A framework agreement was put in place in mid-August between Bahrain Petroleum Company (Bapco)and Finland's Nestefor the estimated $200 million project to build a lube base oil refinery at Bapco's Sitra facility. Completion is due in late 2008.
  • Beirut arrests key security chiefs

    Lebanese police arrested on 30 August the head of the presidential guard and three former security chiefs in connection with the murder of former prime minister Rafiq Hariri. All four have close links with Damascus, which was recently criticised for handicapping a UN investigation into Hariri's death. Police are also looking for Nasser Qandil, a pro-Syrian former member of parliament ( MEED 26:8:05).
  • Beirut port expands its horizons

    Beirut Port Authority (BPA) has decided to proceed with a planned expansion of its container port and related facilities. Bids for a long-term feasibility study aimed at doubling the capacity of the port and developing a new area of 24,000 square metres are being evaluated. The project will see the dredging of berths to a depth of 15.5 metres and lengthening of the quay walls by 600 metres. About five consultants were prequalified to bid for the study, including the local Dar al-Handasah
  • Beirut transport moves

    The Council for Development & Reconstruction (CDR) has selected a local joint venture of Construction Materials Company (CMC)and Jalakhfor the construction contract on the Hayek bridge package of the $120 million Beirut urban transport project (BUTP). The US' Team Internationalis the consultant. Construction of at least five bridges is planned as part of the BUTP. Designs for further packages, the Bchamoun and Aramoun bridge and intersection, the Dora bridge a
  • Belleli awarded IRP tank contract

    Italy's Bellelihas been awarded an $18 million tank subcontract on the inter-refinery pipelines (IRP) project in Abu Dhabi. Two other companies - US-based Chicago Bridge & Iron Company (CB&I) and India's IOTL- priced the contract in June. The subcontract involves the construction of a total of 13 storage tanks, spheres and slop tanks at Mussafah, Al-Ain and Ruwais. The client is Dubai-based Dodsal, which is the main engineering, procurement and con
  • Bemco scoops SEC air cooling jobs

    The local Arabian Bemco Contracting has been awarded the SR 125 million ($33 million) contract to install inlet air cooling systems at two power plants for Saudi Electricity Company (SEC). Under the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract, Bemco will install the cooling systems at the Hail 2 and the Juba power stations, both located in the kingdom's Hail region, to obtain extra power. At Hail 2, Bemco will provide a new inlet air cooling system for five e
  • Bid extension for Industrial City

    The Higher Corporation for Specialised Economic Zones (HCSEZ)has extended the bid deadline to 18 September for the estimated $110 million infrastructure works contract on the phase 1 extension of Abu Dhabi Industrial City. Singapore-based Jurong Internationalis the consultant (MEED 12:8:05).
  • Bid extension for Industrial City

    The Higher Corporation for Specialised Economic Zones (HCSEZ)has extended the bid deadline to 18 September for the estimated $110 million infrastructure works contract on the phase 1 extension of Abu Dhabi Industrial City. Singapore-based Jurong Internationalis the consultant (MEED 12:8:05).
  • Bidders line up for Hawiyah gas plant expansion

    Bids were submitted on 19 September to Saudi Aramco for the lump-sum turnkey (LSTK) contract to expand the Hawiyah gas treatment plant. At least five companies priced the estimated $400 million contract, which is aimed at increasing the processing capacity of the plant by 800 million cubic feet a day (cf/d) to 2,400 million cf/d by 2008 (MEED 17:6:05).
  • Bidding heats up on Olefins II

    Bidding is accelerating on the remaining downstream process packages on the estimated $2,000 million Olefins II petrochemical complex at Shuaiba. Bid evaluation is under way on the styrene monomer and ethylene oxide/ethylene glycol (EO/EG) packages, while contractors are preparing to submit bids for a third package, covering the polyethylene expansion. Progress is also being made on the offsites and utilities works.
  • Bids due for Arak refinery

    National Iranian Oil Engineering Company (NIOEC) has invited contractors to submit bids by 3 October for the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract covering the Shahazand Arak refinery expansion project. Prospective foreign bidders, which will team up with local contractors, include Hyundai Engineering & Construction Companyof South Korea, Canada's SNC Lavalin, Engineers India (EIL)and Toyo Engineeringand Chiyoda Co
  • Bids due for EGDS

    Abu Dhabi-based Dolphin Energyhas invited companies to submit bids by 25 October for the first package on the project to upgrade and modify the eastern gas distribution system (EGDS) in the emirate. Estimated to be worth $10 million-15 million, the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract will cover civil and miscellaneous works and involves the installation of civil and fibre-optic cables and related facilities on the existing Maqta-Jebel Ali pipeline. Prospective bi
  • Bids due for Jeddah transmission

    Saudi Electricity Company (SEC) has invited companies to submit bids by 11 September for a contract to supply and install a 115-kilometre-long, 380-kV overhead transmission line between Shouaiba and Jeddah. Prequalifiers for the estimated SR 260 million ($69 million) contract include the local/Korean Middle East Engineering & Development Company (Meedco)and local firms Saudi Services for Electro-Mechanical Works Company (SSEM), National Contracting Company
  • Bids due for refinerypre-FEED

    Qatar Petroleumhas invited prequalifiers to submit bids by 11 September for the pre-front-end engineering and design (FEED) contract on its proposed grassroots refinery project. Companies invited to bid for the contract include Bechtel, Fluor Corporation, Foster Wheeler, Kellogg Brown & Rootand Parsons E&C, all US-based, and Japan's JGC Corporation. The successful pre-FEED contractor will establish the location and th
  • Bids in for Al-Kawther pipelines

    Technical bids were submitted to Petroleum Development Omanon 20 August by about four companies for the pipelines package on the Al-Kawther gas gathering project. The bidders are understood to include US-based Willbros Groupwith The Oman Construction Company (TOCO), Dubai-based Dodsal, Athens-based Consolidated Contractors International Company(CCC)with Italy's Saipemand India's Punj Lloyd. Commercial bids
  • Bids in for Bu Hasa gas lift

    Five companies submitted technical bids on 30 August to Abu Dhabi Company for Onshore Oil Operations (Adco)for the estimated AED 60 million ($16 million) engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract involving the Bu Hasa gas lift project. The bidders are the UK's Mott MacDonald, Lebanon's CATand Pakistan's Descon Engineering, and Al-Jaber Energy Services and Galfar Engineering & Contracting Emirates, both local.
  • Bids in for Deir al-Zor highway

    The Transport Ministry is evaluating bids for the contract to build the first 100-kilometre section of the planned 255-kilometre highway from Deir al-Zor to Al-Hasakah in the northeast. The project is being funded by a $20 million loan from the Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development (KFAED) and includes the construction of three bridges and one interchange. Work is expected to start in early 2006. About six contractors were prequalified, including Athens-based Consolidated Contractors
  • Bids in for Deir al-Zor highway

    The Transport Ministry is evaluating bids for the contract to build the first 100-kilometre section of the planned 255-kilometre highway from Deir al-Zor to Al-Hasakah in the northeast. The project is being funded by a $20 million loan from the Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development (KFAED) and includes the construction of three bridges and one interchange. Work is expected to start in early 2006. About six contractors were prequalified, including Athens-based Consolidated Contractors
  • Bids in for Dubai-Fujairah highway

    The Ministry of Public Works & Housing (MPWH) received bids on 12 September from six companies for the first two packages on the Dubai-Fujairah freeway project. The scheme was first tendered in 2003 (MEED 26:8:05).
  • Bids in for Dubai-Fujairah highway

    The Ministry of Public Works & Housing (MPWH) received bids on 12 September from six companies for the first two packages on the Dubai-Fujairah freeway project. The scheme was first tendered in 2003 (MEED 26:8:05).
  • Bids in for industrial zone

    TheHigher Corporation for Specialised Economic Zones (HCSEZ)has received bids from at least three local contractors for the estimated $110 million infrastructure works contract on the phase 1 extension of Abu Dhabi Industrial City. The bidders include Bin Hafeez General Contracting & Transport Establishment, Al-Geemi & Partners Contracting and Ghantout Transporting & General Contracting.The contract includes construction of 25 kilometres of internal roads, tel
  • Bids in for industrial zone

    TheHigher Corporation for Specialised Economic Zones (HCSEZ)has received bids from at least three local contractors for the estimated $110 million infrastructure works contract on the phase 1 extension of Abu Dhabi Industrial City. The bidders include Bin Hafeez General Contracting & Transport Establishment, Al-Geemi & Partners Contracting and Ghantout Transporting & General Contracting.The contract includes construction of 25 kilometres of internal roads, tel
  • Bids in for International Gallic city

    Local developer Nakheelhas received bids from at least two contractors for the package 13 contract on the estimated $1,900 million International City country-themed residential district. The estimated $80 million contract calls for the construction of 34 French-themed buildings and associated landscaping works. Bidders include Ali Moosa & Sonsand Al-Sahel Contracting, both local. The client has extended the bid deadline to 12 September for package 14 and 3 Oct
  • Bids in for International Gallic city

    Local developer Nakheelhas received bids from at least two contractors for the package 13 contract on the estimated $1,900 million International City country-themed residential district. The estimated $80 million contract calls for the construction of 34 French-themed buildings and associated landscaping works. Bidders include Ali Moosa & Sonsand Al-Sahel Contracting, both local. The client has extended the bid deadline to 12 September for package 14 and 3 Oct
  • Bids in for Landmark piling contract

    Tenders for the piling contract on the Landmark Tower project in Abu Dhabi have been submitted, with an award expected by mid-October. It is understood the tower will be about 320 metres high and will be built on the capital's corniche. US-based Cesar Pelli & Associatesis the architect and the UK's EC Harrisis the consultant.
  • Bids in for Landmark piling contract

    Tenders for the piling contract on the Landmark Tower project in Abu Dhabi have been submitted, with an award expected by mid-October. It is understood the tower will be about 320 metres high and will be built on the capital's corniche. US-based Cesar Pelli & Associatesis the architect and the UK's EC Harrisis the consultant.
  • Bids in for Rabigh refinery pipeline

    Engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contractors submitted bids on 17 September to Saudi Aramcofor the pipeline package on the Rabigh refinery conversion project. Each contractor has submitted a base price and an alternate offer. The base price is for the engineering and installation works, while the alternate offer includes the line pipe (MEED 24:6:05).
  • Bids in for RLIC port dredging

    Technical bids were submitted on 21 August for the dredging, reclamation and breakwater package on the Ras Laffan port expansion project. About four groups are understood to be participating in the tender, for which commercial bids are due on 28 August. The contract will involve the reclamation of about 42 million cubic metres (mcm), the dredging of 18 mcm and the construction of 18 kilometres of breakwater. The expansion is being undertaken to accommodate rising gas exports at the northern indu
  • Bids in for RLIC port dredging

    Technical bids were submitted on 21 August for the dredging, reclamation and breakwater package on the Ras Laffan port expansion project. About four groups are understood to be participating in the tender, for which commercial bids are due on 28 August. The contract will involve the reclamation of about 42 million cubic metres (mcm), the dredging of 18 mcm and the construction of 18 kilometres of breakwater. The expansion is being undertaken to accommodate rising gas exports at the northern indu
  • Bids in for Sirte pipelines

    About 14 international contractors were expected to submit bids to Sirte Oil Company (SOC) on 15 September for two gas pipeline construction contracts worth a combined total of $270 million. Prequalifiers for the two engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contracts include: Germany's MAN Ferrostaal; Athens-based Joannou & Paraskevaides (J&P - Overseas); Bonattiof Italy; Egypt's Petrojet; India's Punj Lloyd; US-base
  • Bids in for Wafra pipeline

    The local National Kharafiand United Gulf Construction Company (UGCC)are low bidders for two contracts, totalling more than KD 24 million ($83 million), on the Wafra water distribution project. The client, the Ministry of Public Works, is expected to award the work by year-end.
  • Bids in for water storage tanks

    The local Panorama Contracting & Engineering Servicesis low bidder at BD 13.9 million ($36.5 million) for the contract to build six water storage tanks, three at Hidd and three at Salmabad, plus associated piping and civil works. The local Ahmed Mansour al-A'Aliis the second lowest bidder with three options ranging in price from BD 14.7 million-16.3 million ($38.6 million-42.9 million). The other bidders are India's Larsen & Toubroand Nass Industrial S
  • Bids in for WTC redevelopment

    At least two contractors submitted bids on 24 August for the superstructure package on the Dubai World Trade Centre (WTC) residence project. The bidders include Al-Basti & Mukhta (ABM) and Dubai Contracting Company (DCC), both local. The 14-month contract, due to begin in late September, will cover the substructure, superstructure and roofing works. The residences are to be built on the site of the former Hilton hotel, which was demolished in late March. The construction
  • Bids in for WTC redevelopment

    At least two contractors submitted bids on 24 August for the superstructure package on the Dubai World Trade Centre (WTC) residence project. The bidders include Al-Basti & Mukhta (ABM) and Dubai Contracting Company (DCC), both local. The 14-month contract, due to begin in late September, will cover the substructure, superstructure and roofing works. The residences are to be built on the site of the former Hilton hotel, which was demolished in late March. The construction
  • Bids open for more NDIA work

    Bid prices were opened in mid-September for a further two design and build packages on the $2,500 million New Doha International Airport (NDIA) project, covering the utility and air traffic control tower works. Technical bids are also under evaluation for two more contracts. The client is the NDIA Steering Committee; US-based Bechtelis the engineering, procurement and construction management (EPCM) contractor (MEED 9:9:05).
  • Bids open for more NDIA work

    Bid prices were opened in mid-September for a further two design and build packages on the $2,500 million New Doha International Airport (NDIA) project, covering the utility and air traffic control tower works. Technical bids are also under evaluation for two more contracts. The client is the NDIA Steering Committee; US-based Bechtelis the engineering, procurement and construction management (EPCM) contractor (MEED 9:9:05).
  • Bids studied for gas depletion contract

    Evaluation is under way by Petroleum Development Oman (PDO) of applications for prequalification from about eight companies for the combined front-end engineering and design (FEED) and engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract on the estimated $350 million-400 million Saih Rawl gas depletion project. Applicants are understood to include: Italy's Saipem,with Athens-based Consolidated Contractors International Company (CCC); Paris-based Te
  • Bids submitted for quay package

    Bids have been submitted for a 2.5-kilometre-long quay wall package at Arabian Bay. Bidders include the local/UK Dutco Balfour Beattyand the local/Belgian Bel Hasa Six Construct. UK-based Halcrowis the consultant. Australia's PTW Architectsand US-based Parsons Internationalprepared the masterplan for the development, which will be located next to Al-Jaddaf shipyard, opposite the Dubai Festival City site on the creek. The project include
  • Bids submitted for quay package

    Bids have been submitted for a 2.5-kilometre-long quay wall package at Arabian Bay. Bidders include the local/UK Dutco Balfour Beattyand the local/Belgian Bel Hasa Six Construct. UK-based Halcrowis the consultant. Australia's PTW Architectsand US-based Parsons Internationalprepared the masterplan for the development, which will be located next to Al-Jaddaf shipyard, opposite the Dubai Festival City site on the creek. The project include
  • Blasts continue to rock Baghdad

    A wave of insurgent violence targeting Baghdad continued for a second day on 15 September. The attacks struck at Iraq's elite units. The first killed 16 Iraqi commandos and five civilians in the Doura neighbourhood. Ten special forces officers died in two further bomb attacks and the gun battles that followed with rebels in the same area.President Talabani urged the international community to do more to assist in Iraq's reconstruction in an address to the UN General Assembly
  • Bloodbath in Baghdad

    Bludgeoned by relentless insurgent attacks, Iraqis get ready to vote on the new constitution
  • BMA launches short-term sukuk programme

    The Bahrain Monetary Agency (BMA - central bank) has issued its debut short-term sukuk al-ijara, as part of its efforts to develop Islamic liquidity management tools. The six-month paper has a return of 4.06 per cent, and was heavily oversubscribed. Issues of the same size - BD 10 million ($26.3 million) - will be staged each month. 'In the future, the central bank intends to allow the subscribing institutions to use the short-term ijara sukuk as collateral against short-term credit facilities f
  • BMG appointed on healthcare city

    Saudi Arabia-based BMG Financial Advisorshas been appointed to arrange the financing for a $130 million hotel and health centre, being developed in Dubai by global healthcare provider Worldcare. BMG will be responsible for raising a mixture of debt and equity finance. The hotel and health centre will include an advanced diagnostic centre, a 300-bed, five-star hotel and an exercise and dietary education centre.
  • BMI launches Riyadh service

    UK carrier BMI on 1 September launched a three-times weekly service from London Heathrow to Riyadh. The route will be served by an AirbusA330-200 aircraft. For the first two months, flights to the kingdom will leave on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays while return flights will depart on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. The timings will change from 29 October. BMI's launch follows the decision by British Airwaysearlier this year to suspend its flights to the kin
  • Bomb blast at Kuwaiti information office

    A blast at Kuwait's Beirut information office on 19 September killed a security guard and injured one other person. Initial police reports said a parcel bomb caused the explosion on Hamra street in a commercial area of mainly Muslim West Beirut. It followed a bombing on 16 September in the Christian Ashrafiya neighbourhood ( MEED 16:9:05).
  • Bomber targets Israeli bus station

    A suicide bomber injured at least 10 people at a bus station in Beersheba in southern Israel on 28 August. Security guards stopped the bomber, who was carrying a heavy bag, from boarding a bus. He detonated his explosive device nearby. The bombing was the most serious Palestinian militant attack in Israel since an Islamic Jihad suicide bomber killed himself and four others in the Israeli coastal town of Netanya in July. It was the first attack since Tel Aviv began its withdrawal from Gaza i
  • Border chaos at Rafah

    Scores of people continued to cross back and forth along Egypt's border with Gaza on 13 September as confusion continued over control of the frontier. People breached the security fence at Rafah to visit family or to buy goods, which are cheaper in Egypt. Egyptian police did not intervene. Egyptian troops shot one man, Palestinian witnesses said, when hundreds of Gaza residents stormed the border area following Tel Aviv's departure on 12 September. Cairo has agreed to take responsibility fo
  • Boskalis bids low for sports club dredging

    Royal Boskalis Westminsterof the Netherlands and the US' Great Lakes Dredge & Docksare the only two bidders for the contract to carry out dredging and reclamation work for the Al-Najma model sports club development. Boskalis offered three options ranging from BD 1.8 million-2.1 million ($4.7 million-5.5 million), all lower than Great Lakes' single offer of BD 2.8 million ($7.4 million). Germany's Tilke was the masterplan consultant; the Works & Housing Ministry is
  • Boskalis bids low for sports club dredging

    Royal Boskalis Westminsterof the Netherlands and the US' Great Lakes Dredge & Docksare the only two bidders for the contract to carry out dredging and reclamation work for the Al-Najma model sports club development. Boskalis offered three options ranging from BD 1.8 million-2.1 million ($4.7 million-5.5 million), all lower than Great Lakes' single offer of BD 2.8 million ($7.4 million). Germany's Tilke was the masterplan consultant; the Works & Housing Ministry is
  • Brasa buys Sotacib

    Spain's Brasahas acquired white cement company Societe Tuniso-Algerienne de Ciment Blanc (Sotacib), jointly owned by the governments of Algeria and Tunisia, for TD 97 million ($78.9 million). Italy's Italcementiand Cimpor of Portugal also submitted bids. Brasa's bid was more than 10 per cent higher than that of its nearest competitor.
  • BS sale delayed, Italians sell stake

    Bids are due by the end of September for the acquisition of the government's 33.5 per cent stake in Banque du Sud (BS), following a further deadline extension. Companies had been expected to submit bids by the end of August, but are understood to have requested more time for negotiations with the government. Six banks completed the due diligence process by the end of July (MEED 22:7:05). Potential bidders have been assured that they will be able eventually to take a majority stake in
  • Budget approved for six desal projects

    King Abdullah has approved a budget of SR 820 million ($219 million) for the construction of six desalination plants in the western region for Saline Water Conversion Corporation (SWCC), the official Saudi Press Agency said on 30 August. The plants - with capacities ranging from 4,500-22,500 cubic metres a day - will be located at Umm Luj, Al-Wajh, Rabigh, Al-Qunfudah, Al-Laith and on the southwestern island of Farasan. The budget approval will pave the way for the award of the construction cont
  • Buhler wins grain mill supply contract

    Switzerland's Buhler Technology Grouphas been awarded a SF 40 million ($31.8 million) turnkey contract for the supply of a large grain mill near Medina. The contract calls for the supply and installation of mechanical and electrical equipment and control systems as well as a grain storage silo, a precleaning system, a finished products storage system, three bagging lines, and a product loadout section. The plant, which will have grain processing capacity of 600 tonnes an hour, is sch
  • Burgan Bank: Living by the code

    Even in the fast-moving world of US big business, 24 November 2001 is a day that will be long remembered. With little warning, Houston-based energy giant Enron filed for bankruptcy, triggering the largest corporate collapse in history. For years, the company had misled about its profits and hid mounting debts off the balance sheet. When the whistle was blown on the monumental accounting scandal, both Enron and its auditors Arthur Andersen, one of the so-called Big Five of accounting firms, found
  • Bush praises Gaza pullout

    US President Bush praised Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon on 15 September for Tel Aviv's withdrawal from Gaza. 'I know it was hard but I admire your courage,' Bush said when the two leaders met for brief talks on the sidelines of the UN summit in New York. 'It is an opportunity that was created by a bold decision and we will work together to see the vision of peace come to be.' He did not mention Israel's settlements in the West Bank. 'It will be easier to move forward on the roadmap, i
  • Bush puts the pressure on Damascus

    US President Bush ratcheted up the pressure on Damascus on 13 September and warned Syrian President Asad to stop foreign fighters crossing into Iraq. 'These people are coming from Syria into Iraq and killing a lot of innocent people,' Bush said in a press conference after a meeting with Iraqi President Talabani. 'And the Syrian leader must understand, we take his lack of action seriously,' Bush said. Damascus will become increasingly isolated 'as a result of two things. One, not being co-op
  • Calling all investors

    Like many cities on the African continent, Khartoum has suffered from its fair share of economic and demographic pressures over the years. War, drought and poverty have seen the capital's population more than double to 7 million over the last decade as people flock to the city to seek employment, food and refuge. Unsurprisingly, the city's ageing infrastructure has been unable to cope with the influx. Today less than half of its residents have access to safe drinking water, sanitation systems ar
  • Campaigning ends, Mubarak counts on victory

    Campaigning for the Egyptian presidential election ended on 4 September after a period of unprecedented public political debate. But incumbent President Mubarak is almost certain to win a fifth term in office in the first multi-candidate elections to be held in Egypt. Mubarak is confident of victory and has reportedly been planning post-election talks with foreign officials. But he urged Egyptians to cast their vote. 'The Hosni Mubarak speaking to you tonight is seeking the support of each
  • Canadians plan Irbil housing factory

    The Kurdistan Regional Government has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with QB Technology Canadato set up a joint venture to build a factory for the manufacture and assembly into homes of steel-reinforced polystyrene panels. Located in the northern city of Irbil, the agreement on the plant is expected to be signed by late September once QB receives approval from the US and Canadian authorities.
  • CAPITAL MARKETS: Fast learners

    The Capital Market Law (CML) is still in its infancy, and taking a while to filter through to the market. Brokerage regulations, one of its key components, were only issued in July, while the predicted rush of initial public offerings (IPOs) - for which rules were issued earlier - has so far remained a trickle. Compared with other regional markets, the approach to share offerings in Saudi Arabia has been slow and measured. But those involved in the process argue that, for such a young and fast-d
  • Capital power projects get ready to roll

    Consultants have been appointed by Abu Dhabi Water & Electricity Authority (ADWEA) for a further batch of new 132-kV substations in the capital. Construction awards are also pending on a series of major substation contracts across the federation.
  • CASE bulges as reform drive continues

    The Cairo & Alexandria Stock Exchanges (CASE) continues to soar on the back of the government's vigorous economic reform programme and the strong performance of local companies. Deepening of the market is also on the horizon, with the latest initial public offering (IPO) launched in mid-September and further share sales on the cards. And though rising, valuations in regional terms remain very reasonable.
  • CCC scoops Khafji onshore works contract

    Al-Khafji Joint Operations (KJO) has awarded an estimated $100 million contract to Athens-based Consolidated Contractors International Company (CCC) for the expansion of the Khafji crude onshore production facilities in the Divided Zone (DZ - MEED 12:8:05).
  • Chinese in front for Zueitina pipeline

    China Petroleum Engineering & Construction Corporation (CPECC) is the low bidder for the Zueitina Oil Companycontract to build a pipeline from Zueitina's 103A supply base in the Sirte basin to the Brega coastal pipeline.
  • Chinese in line for Salco smelter

    Two Chinese companies are negotiating for the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract to build a new aluminium refinery at Bandar Abbas. The two submitted far cheaper bids than their three competitors, and the client, South Aluminium Corporation (Salco), says one of the pair will take the job despite early concern over equipment specifications (MEED 29:7:05).
  • Citi picks up banking licence

    Citigrouphas become the fourth foreign bank to be awarded a licence to establish operations in Kuwait. The three others to have received licences from the Central Bank of Kuwait (CBK) over the past year are BNP Paribas, National Bank of Abu Dhabiand HSBC. Legislation allowing the entry of foreign banks was passed in December 2003. At a meeting on 11 September, the CBK board also decided to postpone a decision on the final approval for Kuwait Rea
  • Citi wins Abu Dhabi airport advisory

    Citigroup has been awarded a financial advisory mandate by the Supervision Committee for the Expansion of Abu Dhabi International Airport (Scadia). The bank will investigate options for partially privatising the airport, which is undergoing a $6,800 million redevelopment, as well as evaluating debt finance for the expansion (MEED 17:6:05).
  • City masterplanning under way

    Beirut-based Dar al-Handasah (Shair & Partners) has begun work on a masterplan of the transportation needs of Hodaidah and Mukhalla up to 2025. The study is being carried out under the World Bank's Port Cities Development Programme, which also includes the expansion of the two cities' ports. The UK's Halcrow is carrying out a similar masterplan for Aden (MEED 16:7:04).
  • City masterplanning under way

    Beirut-based Dar al-Handasah (Shair & Partners) has begun work on a masterplan of the transportation needs of Hodaidah and Mukhalla up to 2025. The study is being carried out under the World Bank's Port Cities Development Programme, which also includes the expansion of the two cities' ports. The UK's Halcrow is carrying out a similar masterplan for Aden (MEED 16:7:04).
  • Clarifications begin on Ras Laffan dredging

    Qatar Petroleum (QP)has started technical clarifications with bidders for the dredging, reclamation and breakwater package on the Ras Laffan port expansion project in advance of commercial bids being submitted on 18 September. The project, valued at more than $1,000 million, is being undertaken to take account of the rapid rise in gas exports from the northern port, which is the home of the local liquefied natural gas (LNG) industry (MEED 26:8:05).
  • Clarifications begin on Ras Laffan dredging

    Qatar Petroleum (QP)has started technical clarifications with bidders for the dredging, reclamation and breakwater package on the Ras Laffan port expansion project in advance of commercial bids being submitted on 18 September. The project, valued at more than $1,000 million, is being undertaken to take account of the rapid rise in gas exports from the northern port, which is the home of the local liquefied natural gas (LNG) industry (MEED 26:8:05).
  • Commission releases Qandil, questions security heads

    Lebanese authorities released former cabinet member Nasser Qandil on 31 August, who had been detained in connection with the murder of former prime minister Rafiq Hariri. Qandil was one of five high-profile suspects brought in for questioning on 30 August. The UN probe into Hariri's murder is still quizzing three former Lebanese security chiefs and the head of the presidential guard. Qandil said he has co-operated fully with the inquiry. 'I am always prepared to give all the information the
  • Committee moves on Project Kuwait

    The National Assembly (parliament) economy and finance committee has made further revisions to Project Kuwait, the committee's chairman Abdelwahab al-Haroon announced in late August. Speaking after concluding the report on the state's landmark initiative, Al-Haroon said that MPs' concerns had been addressed and that the report was now ready to be sent to the legislature for final approval when it reconvenes in October.
  • Competition heats up for Jebel Ali dredging

    Three groups are left in the running to carry out dredging and reclamation for phase 1 of the new Jebel Ali container terminal after the client, Dubai Ports, Customs & Free Zone Corporation, requested the lowest bidders to submit revised prices in mid-September. The three invited contractors are Van Oord Gulfof the Netherlands, Belgium's Jan de Nuland Royal Boskalis Westminster, also of the Netherlands. The contract calls for the dredging of about 22 million c
  • Competition heats up for Jebel Ali dredging

    Three groups are left in the running to carry out dredging and reclamation for phase 1 of the new Jebel Ali container terminal after the client, Dubai Ports, Customs & Free Zone Corporation, requested the lowest bidders to submit revised prices in mid-September. The three invited contractors are Van Oord Gulfof the Netherlands, Belgium's Jan de Nuland Royal Boskalis Westminster, also of the Netherlands. The contract calls for the dredging of about 22 million c
  • Confusion mounts over state's infrastructure plans

    Kuwait's ambitious island development plans were in disarray in mid-September following the dissolution of the Mega Projects Agency (MPA) just five months after its creation. Several key personnel at MPA have been moved on to different positions at the Ministry of Public Works (MPW), and the fates of the multi-billion-dollar Failaka and Bubiyan schemes are now uncertain.
  • Confusion mounts over state's infrastructure plans

    Kuwait's ambitious island development plans were in disarray in mid-September following the dissolution of the Mega Projects Agency (MPA) just five months after its creation. Several key personnel at MPA have been moved on to different positions at the Ministry of Public Works (MPW), and the fates of the multi-billion-dollar Failaka and Bubiyan schemes are now uncertain.
  • Constitution finalised and released

    Iraq's constitutional committee handed a completed draft of the national charter to the UN on 14 September for distribution. The draft included three changes to a version of the constitution issued at the end of August. Amended article 3 now states that Iraq is a founding and active member of the Arab League and dropped language that said Iraq was a state of Arab people, thereby ignoring its Kurdish population. Iraq's water resources will be managed in accordance with international law, a c
  • Constitutional referendum set for 15 October

    Baghdad will hold a referendum on the draft constitution on 15 October, the head of the Independent Electoral Commission of Iraq said on 7 September. The Shia and Kurdish-dominated National Assembly passed the draft national charter despite Sunni objections over its proposal for a federal Iraq. 'We studied a decision made by the National Assembly suggesting that 15 October be the date of the referendum. We agreed on that and the date is set,' said Hussain al-Hindawi (
  • Construction: Pockets of activity

    Egyptian contractors have been through some testing times in recent years. An economic recession, currency devaluation and reduced government spending saw the construction sector shrink by as much as 5.2 per cent in 2001/02, and then stagnate. But in the past two years there have been some signs of a recovery. The economy is picking up again and, as Central Bank of Egypt figures show, construction activity is beginning to follow suit. The sector grew by 4.7 per cent in 2003/04 and by 2 per cent
  • Consultants sought for Alex growth pole project

    Alexandria governorate has invited expressions of interest (EoIs) for two consultancy contracts being tendered under the Alexandria growth pole project. The World Bank-financed scheme aims at supporting local authorities within the framework of the city development strategy (CDS), which is designed to improve economic infrastructure for private sector development, address high priority investment needs and redevelop the city's Lake Marriout area. The first contract covers the provision of consul
  • Contractors gear up for Kormor clarifications

    Bidders for the engineering and procurement (EP) contract to build gas gathering and processing facilities at the Kormor field in the north have been invited by State Company for Oil Projects (SCOP) to attend a technical clarifications meeting in Jordan at the end of September.
  • Contractors invited for hotel project

    Seven international and local contractors have been invited to bid by 1 October for the contract to build a new five-star hotel in Sulaimaniyah. The estimated $80 million scheme calls for the construction of a 30-storey building with a built-up area of about 49,000 square metres. The contractors include two from Abu Dhabi and Egypt and one from Lebanon, Kuwait and Iraq. The hotel will house 250 rooms, an auditorium and associated recreational facilities. Work is scheduled to take 18 months. The
  • Contractors invited for hotel project

    Seven international and local contractors have been invited to bid by 1 October for the contract to build a new five-star hotel in Sulaimaniyah. The estimated $80 million scheme calls for the construction of a 30-storey building with a built-up area of about 49,000 square metres. The contractors include two from Abu Dhabi and Egypt and one from Lebanon, Kuwait and Iraq. The hotel will house 250 rooms, an auditorium and associated recreational facilities. Work is scheduled to take 18 months. The
  • Correction

    The US' CRSS Internationalis not one of the bidders for the construction management contract on a new 100-metre tower in Abu Dhabi as was reported in MEED 19:8:05.
  • Correction

    The US' CRSS Internationalis not one of the bidders for the construction management contract on a new 100-metre tower in Abu Dhabi as was reported in MEED 19:8:05.
  • Correction

    The Project & Contracting Office (PCO) has only cancelled a single task order for well refurbishment work under the US' Kellogg Brown & Root's (KBR) 24-month indefinite delivery/indefinite quantity (ID/IQ) contract to repair and upgrade oil infrastructure in the country's southern oil fields and not as reported in MEED 2:9:05. KBR is still continuing its ID/IQ contract.
  • Correction, but still on the right track

    The Muscat Securities Market (MSM) has been in correction mode since the highs seen in June and July, with the MSM index down by some 15 per cent. But a year-to-date rise of more than 50 per cent means investors would be hard-pushed to complain about their lot. Prices remain reasonable. And a positive macroeconomic outlook on the back of high oil prices and government delivery on diversification and privatisation augur well for the months ahead.
  • Court bars presidential candidate

    An Egyptian court barred on 3 September one of 10 presidential candidates from running in the upcoming elections. Wahid al-Uqsiri was disqualified as a candidate after a row erupted about the leadership of his Egypt Arab Socialist Party. The court ruled that Al-Uqsiri could not stand after Ayman Mohammed Sadiq claimed that he was the party's actual leader. It ordered Al-Uqsiri to return state funds given to him to fight the election.The court ruled that local non-governmental
  • CPC eyes Abu Dhabi complex

    Taiwan-based Chinese Petroleum Corporation (CPC) has announced plans to build with partners a world-scale petrochemicals complex in Abu Dhabi at a cost of about $6,000 million.
  • Cracker FEED let

    Parsons E&C, part of Australia's WorleyParsons, has been selected to carry out the front-end engineering and design (FEED) package for the 1.2 million-tonne-a-year (t/y) ethane cracker on the $3,000 million new petrochemicals complex planned by the local/US National ChevronPhillips Company (NCP) at Jubail. The cracker will be the centrepiece of the complex, which will produce ethylene, hexane-1, propylene, polypropylene (PP), polyethylene (PE), polystyrene and styr
  • Creek work phase 3 out to bid

    Dubai Municipality has invited contractors to bid by 25 September for the third package on the Ras al-Khor creek crossing project. The contract, valued at AED 260 million ($70 million), will take about 15 months to complete. It calls for the construction of an interchange at Oud Metha on the Bur Dubai side, which will connect to the Ras al-Khor crossing. It also includes access to the Business Bay development. The scope of works includes about six bridge structures, underpasses and associated l
  • Creek work phase 3 out to bid

    Dubai Municipality has invited contractors to bid by 25 September for the third package on the Ras al-Khor creek crossing project. The contract, valued at AED 260 million ($70 million), will take about 15 months to complete. It calls for the construction of an interchange at Oud Metha on the Bur Dubai side, which will connect to the Ras al-Khor crossing. It also includes access to the Business Bay development. The scope of works includes about six bridge structures, underpasses and associated l
  • Crowds flock to Gaddafi celebrations

    People from across Libya gathered in Tripoli on 31 August to mark the Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi's 36 years in government. About 1 million Libyans were estimated to have travelled to the city to take part in state-organised celebrations. Gaddafi was due to address the crowd on the evening of 1 September, the anniversary of the coup he led in 1969 to oust King Idris.
  • Damascus and Washington trade accusations

    Damascus denied on 12 September Washington's claim that insurgents cross from Syria into Iraq. 'These are old, groundless accusations relating to the Iraqi-Syrian borders,' Information Minister Mahdi told Al-Jazeera. 'Syria has exerted efforts almost beyond its capacity as a small and developing country to protect the border because Iraq's stability is a Syrian concern, not just an Iraqi concern.'US ambassador to Iraq Zalmay Khalilzad took Damascus to task on 12 September. 'O
  • Damascus bolsters sinking local currency

    The Central Bank of Syria (CBS) moved on 21 September to strengthen the pound by creating the first Syrian certificate of deposit. The certificate will have a rate of 9 per cent and will encourage saving in local currency, said Deputy Prime Minister for Economic Affairs Abdullah Dardari. The CBS also raised the interest rate to 7 per cent from 6.5 per cent. Banks will sell the US dollar at £Syr 54 pounds, up from £Syr 50-52 in mid-2005, and will be able to set an exchange rate within a band
  • Damascus denies death threats

    Damascus rejected on 28 September that Syrian former intelligence chief Rustom Ghazali had threatened the life of Lebanese Defence Minister Elias Murr. 'Murr is rushing to join the dominant chorus which is throwing accusations at Syria left and right,' said government newspaper Al-Thawra. Murr made the claim on Lebanese television on 26 September. He said Ghazali made verbal threats a while before a bomb targeted his motorcade in July. Murr has lived abroad ever since the assassination atte
  • Damascus rebuts US blame

    Damascus castigated on 15 September the spike in insurgent violence that has killed hundreds in Baghdad. 'Syria strongly and categorically denounces the terrorist explosions, which have killed and injured many innocent civilians in Iraq during the past couple of days,' Damascus said in a statement. 'Syria would like to reiterate its position calling for the unity of the Iraqi people as a path to insure stability and security in Iraq.' The statement described Iraq as a 'quagmire' with implic
  • Damascus undermining Hariri inquiry

    Damascus is not co-operating with the UN inquiry into the murder of former Lebanese prime minister Rafiq Hariri, a senior UN official reported on 26 August. Syria has yet to respond to a long-standing request from the probe led by German prosecutor Detlev Mehlis to interview five Syrian witnesses and obtain other documents, UN under-secretary general for political affairs Ibrahim Gambari told the Security Council. Amman, Tel Aviv and unnamed financial institutions have all helped the inquir
  • Dana Gas launches IPO

    The initial public offering (IPO) of shares in Sharjah-based Dana Gasis due to begin on 20 September, the company has announced. Dana will offer 34.3 per cent of the company's AED 6,000 million ($1,635 million) capital, with shares priced at AED 1 ($0.27) each. Under the first tranche, Dana has reserved AED 700 million ($191 million) for small GCC investors with a minimum subscription of 5,000 shares and a maximum subscription of 75,000 shares. The second tranche will be open to all
  • Dana Gas private placement completed

    The private placement of shares in newly created, Sharjah-based Dana Gas has been completed, and the initial public offering (IPO) of 35 per cent of the company's AED 6,000 million ($1,635 million) capital is due to be launched by mid-September. HSBC is acting as financial adviser and lead manager (MEED 29:7:05).
  • Dar al-Arkan invites bids for Suwaidi Al-Qasr

    Local property developer Dar al-Arkan Real Estate Development Company has invited companies to submit bids by early October for the main construction package on the proposed Al-Qasr mixed-use development at Suwaidi, south of Riyadh. Estimated to be worth at least SR 1,500 million ($400 million), the contract will involve the construction of: 3,800 low-rise apartments; 200 villas; a three-level shopping mall over 210,000 square metres; four schools; and mosques and clinics. The projec
  • Dar al-Arkan invites bids for Suwaidi Al-Qasr

    Local property developer Dar al-Arkan Real Estate Development Company has invited companies to submit bids by early October for the main construction package on the proposed Al-Qasr mixed-use development at Suwaidi, south of Riyadh. Estimated to be worth at least SR 1,500 million ($400 million), the contract will involve the construction of: 3,800 low-rise apartments; 200 villas; a three-level shopping mall over 210,000 square metres; four schools; and mosques and clinics. The projec
  • DAR AL-ARKAN: Going through the roof

    The kingdom is heading for a massive imbalance in housing supply and demand, if market research carried out last year is to be believed. About 7,500 respondents were quizzed by two independent Dubai-based market research firms, which found that housing demand over the next 20 years is predicted to grow by 225,000 new units a year, or 4.5 million homes. The figures have been disputed - more recent research by local real estate developers puts growth at 195,000 units or 3.9 million new homes. Howe
  • Dar al-Handasah takes Hurghada airport job

    Beirut-based Dar al-Handasah (Shair & Partners)has been awarded the design contract on the new terminal and runway project planned at Hurghada airport. The project is one of several being pursued by the Civil Aviation Ministry under a $235 million programme for the development of the local aviation sector (MEED 29:7:05).
  • Dar al-Handasah takes Hurghada airport job

    Beirut-based Dar al-Handasah (Shair & Partners)has been awarded the design contract on the new terminal and runway project planned at Hurghada airport. The project is one of several being pursued by the Civil Aviation Ministry under a $235 million programme for the development of the local aviation sector (MEED 29:7:05).
  • DBB gets more creek work

    The local/UK Dutco Balfour Beatty (DBB)has been awarded the second phase package on the extension of Dubai creek. The new contract will see a further 1.5 kilometres added to the six-kilometre first phase, for which DBB was awarded the estimated $55 million contract in July. The 24-month contract calls for the formation of a new canal to the existing creek. The scope of works includes excavation of about 6.5 million cubic metres of material, construction of side walls and partitions.
  • DBB gets more creek work

    The local/UK Dutco Balfour Beatty (DBB)has been awarded the second phase package on the extension of Dubai creek. The new contract will see a further 1.5 kilometres added to the six-kilometre first phase, for which DBB was awarded the estimated $55 million contract in July. The 24-month contract calls for the formation of a new canal to the existing creek. The scope of works includes excavation of about 6.5 million cubic metres of material, construction of side walls and partitions.
  • DBB to build group HQ

    The local/UK Dutco Balfour Beattyhas been awarded the contract to build the new Dutco Groupheadquarters building in Port Saeed, Dubai. The 15-month project calls for the construction of an 11-storey concrete frame building with a total built-up area of 10,930 square metres. The piling contract has been awarded as a separate advanced works package to Germany's Bauer. The consultant is the local Brewer Smith & Brewer Gulf, the cost consultant is UK-b
  • DBB to build group HQ

    The local/UK Dutco Balfour Beattyhas been awarded the contract to build the new Dutco Groupheadquarters building in Port Saeed, Dubai. The 15-month project calls for the construction of an 11-storey concrete frame building with a total built-up area of 10,930 square metres. The piling contract has been awarded as a separate advanced works package to Germany's Bauer. The consultant is the local Brewer Smith & Brewer Gulf, the cost consultant is UK-b
  • DCA set to issue Jebel Ali airport runway tender

    Dubai's Department of Civil Aviation (DCA) is expected to issue a tender for the construction of the first runway at the proposed Jebel Ali International Airport (JXB) and Dubai Logistics City (DLC) by early October. The contract is part of the first phase of the 140-kilometre development, which centres on the construction of Jebel Ali International Freighter Airport and DLC (MEED 22:3:05).
  • DCA set to issue Jebel Ali airport runway tender

    Dubai's Department of Civil Aviation (DCA) is expected to issue a tender for the construction of the first runway at the proposed Jebel Ali International Airport (JXB) and Dubai Logistics City (DLC) by early October. The contract is part of the first phase of the 140-kilometre development, which centres on the construction of Jebel Ali International Freighter Airport and DLC (MEED 22:3:05).
  • Deadline extended for KHIA, logistics park

    Bids are due by 11 September from prequalified companies and consortia for the 10-year contract to equip and operate the existing cargo terminal at King Hussain International Airport (KHIA) in the Aqaba Special Economic Zone (ASEZ). Submissions are due by 25 September for a joint venture with Aqaba Development Corporation (ADC) to develop, operate and manage the container logistics park in the zone. Officials at ADC say the deadline was extended by four weeks at the request of the bidders. An aw
  • Death sentence for terrorist crimes

    Iraqi members of parliament (MPs) debated a new anti-terror bill on 6 September. The bill proposes the death penalty for terrorists and their accomplices and those stirring sectarian strife. 'The culprit or accomplice in the act would be executed' as well as the 'instigator, the plotter and whoever assists in any of the aforementioned crimes,' the draft act said. It covers a raft of crimes punishable by death, from vandalism to forming armed gangs, attacking police and using explosives to k
  • Deyaar twin towers take shape

    The US' Michael Graves & Associateshas been appointed as architect for a $125 million, 30-storey twin tower project, near the Phoenicia Intercontinental Hotel in the Beirut Central District. The twin towers will house residential apartments, with a five-storey basement for car parking. The client is Dubai-based Deyaar Development, the real estate arm of Dubai Islamic Bank.
  • Deyaar twin towers take shape

    The US' Michael Graves & Associateshas been appointed as architect for a $125 million, 30-storey twin tower project, near the Phoenicia Intercontinental Hotel in the Beirut Central District. The twin towers will house residential apartments, with a five-storey basement for car parking. The client is Dubai-based Deyaar Development, the real estate arm of Dubai Islamic Bank.
  • DFC finalises designs for Marsa al-Khor

    Designs have been finalised for the AED 6,000 million ($1,633 million), 245,000-square-metre Marsa al-Khor neighbourhood being developed by the local Al-Futtaim Group (AFG)in Dubai Festival City (DFC). The complex will be a mixed-use office and residential development located between the existing Garhoud bridge and the under-construction 12-lane Ras al-Khor crossing. Split into three districts and eventually housing up to 14,000 people, Marsa al-Khor will comprise residential and com
  • DFC finalises designs for Marsa al-Khor

    Designs have been finalised for the AED 6,000 million ($1,633 million), 245,000-square-metre Marsa al-Khor neighbourhood being developed by the local Al-Futtaim Group (AFG)in Dubai Festival City (DFC). The complex will be a mixed-use office and residential development located between the existing Garhoud bridge and the under-construction 12-lane Ras al-Khor crossing. Split into three districts and eventually housing up to 14,000 people, Marsa al-Khor will comprise residential and com
  • DFC unveils hilly plans

    The local Abdullah al-Futtaim Group (AFG) has unveiled its latest project in the Dubai Festival City (DFC) development. The developer is negotiating directly with contractors for the estimated $380 million Hillside Community scheme. The project calls for the construction of 900 apartments and 400 townhouses in a Gulf Arabian style. Covering an area of 360,000 square metres, the residential district will be located on a 25-metre-high man-made hill overlooking Dubai creek. Work on the
  • DFC unveils hilly plans

    The local Abdullah al-Futtaim Group (AFG) has unveiled its latest project in the Dubai Festival City (DFC) development. The developer is negotiating directly with contractors for the estimated $380 million Hillside Community scheme. The project calls for the construction of 900 apartments and 400 townhouses in a Gulf Arabian style. Covering an area of 360,000 square metres, the residential district will be located on a 25-metre-high man-made hill overlooking Dubai creek. Work on the
  • DIB offenders named and shamed

    The Securities & Commodities Authority, the stock market regulator, has named the two investors and the brokers involved in the large-scale attempt to manipulate the price of shares in Dubai Islamic Bank (DIB)on 28 August. Rashid bin Zayed al-Qubaisi and Khalid Ahmad Majran al-Kindi, both UAE nationals, were the investors. Palestinian Yahya Awadallah Salama was named for managing the accounts of Al-Kindi without permission and the trading was done through the Al-Sharhan Stock
  • DIB share deals cancelled

    The Dubai Financial Market cancelled all trades in Dubai Islamic Bank (DIB) shares on 28 August after two investors were suspected of manipulating the market. The DIB share price rose by 7.4 per cent and trading in the stock accounted for 84 per cent of market turnover on the Dubai stock exchange, as two investors were reported to have traded shares between each other, hoping to spark market interest in DIB. Rumours of a capital increase had already circulated among local investors. The mar
  • DIFX head lays out plans

    Some 10-15 initial public offerings (IPOs) are expected to be launched through the Dubai International Financial Exchange (DIFX) by the end of 2006, Lynton Jones, chairman of the exchange, told the Third MEED Middle East Capital Markets conference in Dubai on 20 September. He was speaking ahead of the planned opening of the DIFX on 26 September.
  • DIFX prepares to launch

    Up to 15 companies are expected to list on the new Dubai International Financial Exchange (DIFX) by the end of 2006, Lynton Jones, the chairman of the exchange, told the Third MEED Middle East Capital Markets conference in Dubai on 20 September. 'We've had talks with well over 200 companies [about listing on the exchange],' he said. These are active in a range of sectors from companies across the GCC and from Europe. The DFIX is based at Dubai International Finance Centre (DI
  • DIG eats into Big Apple

    Dubai Investment Group(DIG), formerly known as the Investment Houseand now a subsidiary of Dubai Holding (DH), has acquired the Essex Hotel in New York from the US' Strategic Hotel Capital. Although the terms of the deal were not revealed, the company will invest $50 million to turn the hotel into a 500-room property. DIG's sister company, hotel operator Jumeirah,has been appointed to take over management of the hotel. US-based inves
  • DM eyes overhaul of Al-Sufouh

    Dubai Municipality (DM) has unveiled plans for a comprehensive transport system for the Al-Sufouh district of Dubai. The move is seen as a pre-emptive measure to avoid transport mayhem in what will be one of Dubai's most congested areas. The district houses the majority of the emirate's beach hotels, including the Burj al-Arab and Madinat Jumeirah, as well as Dubai Media City (DMC) and Knowledge Village, and will see the number of residents increase to more than 100,000 once the Dubai Marina, th
  • Doha bourse returns to form

    Normal service resumed on the Doha Securities Market (DSM) in August, after a serious correction that had taken hold since April. The benchmark DSM index broke its all-time high on 20 August, and share prices have risen by more than 70 per cent since the beginning of the year. But valuations are reaching alarmingly high levels.
  • Dolphin syndication completed

    Syndication has been completed on the $1,000 million Islamic tranche of the $3,450 million second bridge financing for the Dolphin gas project, with nine banks joining the five-strong mandated lead arranger (MLA) group. The funds take out a previous $1,360 million bridge signed in 2004 (MEED 15:7:05).
  • DSC kicks off stadia plans

    At least 12 international and local groups have been invited to bid by 15 October for the contract to build the first of four stadia planned at the Dubai Sports City (DSC) development. The tender, covering the construction of a 25,000-seat cricket stadium, is the first in a series due to be issued (MEED 1:7:05).
  • DSC kicks off stadia plans

    At least 12 international and local groups have been invited to bid by 15 October for the contract to build the first of four stadia planned at the Dubai Sports City (DSC) development. The tender, covering the construction of a 25,000-seat cricket stadium, is the first in a series due to be issued (MEED 1:7:05).
  • Dubai forges ahead with traffic plans

    The joint venture of South Africa's Africonand the local Al-Burj Engineering Consultantshas started work on a comprehensive masterplan study for Dubai's road and transport systems. The study is expected to take about nine months. France's MVA Systrais already working on a separate transport masterplan for the Al-Sufouh area running from the Burjal-Arab hotel to the Jumeirah Beach Residence development. The client for both projects is Dubai Municipality (DM), w
  • Dubai in the frame for health platform

    Dubai along with Bangalore in India and Houston in Texas has been shortlisted by the US' Economic Technologiesas the location for its planned $1,600 million DTN operational hub for global financial and healthcare management and delivery platform. The final site selection will take place in late October. Economic Technologies, through its Fulana Healthcenterssubsidiary, launched a new healthcare venture to build, operate and manage a network of 5,300 high-tech and globally
  • Dubailand dives into Sharq water project

    Al-Sharq Development, a local subsidiary of the Saudi Arabia-based Al-Sharq Groupof companies, launched on September 14 its estimated $1,900 million Aqua Dunya project within the Dubailand development. The project, formerly known as Aqua Dubai, is one of a host planned within the leisure and tourism development (MEED 30:1:04).
  • Dubailand dives into Sharq water project

    Al-Sharq Development, a local subsidiary of the Saudi Arabia-based Al-Sharq Groupof companies, launched on September 14 its estimated $1,900 million Aqua Dunya project within the Dubailand development. The project, formerly known as Aqua Dubai, is one of a host planned within the leisure and tourism development (MEED 30:1:04).
  • Dubal signs up for Indian JV

    Dubai Aluminium Company (Dubal)and India's Larsen & Toubro (L&T)signed on 17 September a joint venture (JV) agreement to undertake an integrated bauxite and alumina refinery project in the eastern Indian state of Orissa. The venture, in which Dubal's holds a 74 per cent stake and L&T 26 per cent, plans to invest $3,600 million in a two-phase programme.
  • Dutch plan industrial zone upgrade

    Royal Haskoningof the Netherlands is preparing a masterplan for the southern industrial zone in the Aqaba Special Economic Zone (ASEZ). The plans entail the expansion of the existing industrial port with a multi-purpose jetty and terminal as well as industrial areas on the plateau above the port area. Facilities at the main port in the north of the zone will be transferred to the south as part of the plans. Road connections to the port and its related facilities will also be improved and
  • Economy: Days of hope

    The three bombs that exploded in Sharm el-Sheikh on 23 July hit the popular Red Sea resort hard, both in terms of human loss - most of the 88 dead were Egyptians - and in their impact on the local tourism industry. Many tourists were quick to leave the resort, and the country, in the aftermath of the attacks. The question now is when they will come back.
  • Economy: Spreading the wealth

    On 22 August, Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz al-Saud ordered a 15 per cent pay increase for all civil servants, including the military. Effective from October, it is the first blanket increase in pay for government workers for more than 25 years, and exemplifies the kingdom's maturing use of the burgeoning revenues it is receiving from its oil resources.
  • EDUCATION: A steep learning curve

    Education has emerged as one of the key battleground issues in the kingdom in recent years, pitting reformists against conservatives while the government attempts to overhaul a system that is failing to produce sufficient numbers of well-trained Saudis for an increasingly competitive job market.
  • EFB prepares for JPMC acquisition

    Export & Finance Bank (EFB)has been appointed by Jordan Phosphate Mines Company (JPMC)to arrange financing for its proposed acquisition of shares in Indo-Jordan Chemical Company (IJCC). EFB will provide a six-month bridge financing facility in preparation for a bond issue. JPMC is seeking 52.2 per cent of shares in IJCC from its Indian joint venture partner, Southern Petrochemical Industries Corporation (SPIC), in a $57 million deal. The acquisition wil
  • EFIC eyes strategic investors

    Metallurgical Industries Holding Companyhas announced plans to sell a 36.2 per cent stake or 4.7 million of the public sector's shares in Egyptian Financial & Industrial Company (EFIC) to a strategic investor. Companies have been given the chance to carry out due diligence on the company between 1 September-2 October, after which offers will be invited. EFIC, which was set up in 1929, operates two plants at Kafr el-Zayat in the Nile Delta and in Assiut, producing phosphatic fe
  • Egypt/Israel gas pipeline goes ahead

    The Egyptian/Israeli consortium East Mediterranean Gas (EMG) and Israel Electric Corporation (IEC) signeda commercial agreement on 8 August for the supply of gas from Egypt to Israel. A subsea pipeline from El-Arish in Egypt to Ashkelon in southern Israel will transport 7,000 million cubic metres a year of gas. The construction of the pipeline is expected to take 24 months. Cairo and Tel Aviv on 30 June signed a memorandum of understanding for the project (MEED 24:6:05).
  • EGYPT: Early bird

    It has been a good summer for Roger Fox. In May, the chief executive officer (CEO) of Egyptian LNG (ELNG) saw the early start-up of train 1 at the company's liquefied natural gas (LNG) plant at Idku, three months ahead of schedule. Indeed, the project was so early when it came on stream that the offtake contract with Gaz de France (GdF), also one of the five project sponsors, had yet to come into force. But thanks to the buoyant conditions in the energy market, this was not a problem. The UK's B
  • EGYPT: Something like democracy

    For the first time in 24 years, Hosni Mubarak has been returned to presidential office with a popular mandate. Pulling in nearly 89 per cent of the vote, the 77-year-old leader can claim a victory that would make most Western leaders blush.
  • Egyptian elections under way

    Egyptians voted on 7 September in the first multi-candidate presidential elections. Incumbent President Mubarak looked likely to win a fifth consecutive term in office as he faced little competition from nine opposition candidates, who represented small or largely unknown parties. Numan Gumaa of Al-Wafd party was tipped to come second, trailed by Ayman Nour of Al-Ghad. Many Egyptians were not registered to vote and others said they saw little point in casting a ballot as they believed the o
  • Egyptian police battle with bedouin gunmen

    Police clashed on 1 September with bedouin gunmen in the Sinai. Several people were injured in a gun battle that broke out as police searched the area of Jabal Halal for suspects in the Sharm el-Sheikh bombing. The wanted men fled but police said they had raided the gunmen's mountain hideouts and were closing off their supply lines. An additional 500 officers have been added to the 4,000-strong force combing the area for bedouin tribesmen suspected of harbouring the bombers who targeted the
  • Egyptian troops arrive on Gaza border

    Egyptian troops took up positions on the border with Gaza on 10 September ahead of the withdrawal of Israeli troops from the Palestinian territory. Two hundred soldiers arrived on the frontier and were the first of 750 troops who will police the border for arms smuggling. The troops, armed with machine guns and rocket-propelled grenades, were deployed close to the Rafah refugee camp. They will guard a stretch of the border from the Mediterranean sea to the Rafah crossing terminal. Tel Aviv
  • Egyptian troops OK for Gaza border

    The Israeli parliament on 31 August approved the deployment of Egyptian troops along Gaza's border with Egypt. The move will allow the first Egyptian soldiers in the Sinai demilitarised zone since 1979 and for Israeli troops to pull out from the Rafah border area. 'The agreement commits Egypt to combating arms smuggling and terrorist infiltration and opens the way to future security co-operation between our two countries,' said Israeli Defence Minister Shaul Mofaz. Egyptian intelligence chi
  • Egyptians demonstrate against election result

    Thousands of demonstrators took to the streets in Cairo on 10 September to protest against President Mubarak's re-election. Protesters shouted: 'Hosni [Mubarak] rigged the elections'. Presidential challenger and Al-Ghad party leader Ayman Nour attended the rally along with Kifayeh supporters and Tagammu Party members. Nour had demanded a re-run, citing widespread election abuses. He said that his supporters had been prevented from entering polling stations to vote. Mubarak won the president
  • Egyptians, Italians, Russians chase Palmyra

    Syrian Gas Company (SGC)is evaluating bids for the engineering, procurement, installation and commissioning (EPIC) contract to build a gas treatment plant in the southern half of the Palmyra gas reserves region. Bidders include Egypt's Engineering for the Petroleum & Process Industries (Enppi), the Italian office of ABBand Russia's Stroytransgas. The contract also includes a short spur to the existing pipeline and the tie-in of three wells at North al-F
  • EIB, EU to fund water projects

    The European Investment Bank (EIB) is in the final stages of negotiating a $36.7 million loan to the government to contribute towards an estimated $79.5 million project to provide a water supply network and wastewater facilities south of Damascus. Project sources say Damascus plans to build a 30-kilometre water conveyor with distribution networks to supply four towns with a total population of 200,000 and two wastewater treatment plants at Artous and Al-Kiswah. Contracts for the two plants will
  • Eight line up for Al-Raha

    Abu Dhabi-based ALDAR Properties has invited eight local and international companies to submit technical and commercial bids by 21 September for the dregding and reclamation package on the Al-Raha beach development project in the emirate. They are Dredging Internationaland Jan de Nul, both of Belgium, Van Oordand Royal Boskalis Westminster, both of the Netherlands, the US' Great Lakes Dredge & Dock Company, China Ha
  • Eight line up for Al-Raha

    Abu Dhabi-based ALDAR Properties has invited eight local and international companies to submit technical and commercial bids by 21 September for the dregding and reclamation package on the Al-Raha beach development project in the emirate. They are Dredging Internationaland Jan de Nul, both of Belgium, Van Oordand Royal Boskalis Westminster, both of the Netherlands, the US' Great Lakes Dredge & Dock Company, China Ha
  • EIIB applies for FSA licence

    UK-based European Islamic Investment Bank (EIIB), which is predominantly owned by Gulf investors, has formally applied to the UK's Financial Services Authority (FSA) for a licence. If granted, EIIB will become the first stand-alone sharia-compliant investment bank in Europe. Preparatory discussions have already been undertaken with the FSA, and the licensing process is expected to be quicker than that for the retail bank Islamic Bank of Britain- also largely Gulf-owned -
  • EIL takes on tanks

    Engineers India (EIL)has been formally selected as project manager on the scheme to build two 1 million-barrel crude oil storage tanks at Jebel Dhanna in Abu Dhabi emirate. The engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract, for which prequalification is due to be launched soon, will include civils, electrical and mechanical works. Austria's ILF Consultinghas carried out the front-end engineering and design (FEED) work for the facility, which will take 20 months to c
  • ELNG train 2 financing drawn down

    Financial close has been achieved and first drawdown been made on the $880 million financing package for the second train on the Egyptian LNG (ELNG)project at Idku. The deal involved two debt facilities and two loans. The $180 million local loan tranche was lead arranged by Commercial International Bank, National Bank of Egypt, Misr International Bankand National Societe Generale Bank. The $411 million, 12-year international loan facili
  • Emirates Glass scoops airport supply deal

    Dubai-based Emirates Glasshas received an order from Dubai's Department of Civil Aviation to supply glass on its estimated $4,100 million airport expansion. The order covers the supply of 56,000 square metres of high-performance glass for concourse 2, which includes multi-level structures for departures and arrivals, contact gates, loading bridges, a 300-room hotel and a 10,000-square-metre duty-free area. Delivery will begin in the last quarter of 2005 (MEED 5:8:05).
  • Emiri terminal goes for bid

    Bids are due to be submitted by13 November for the Emiri terminal package on the New Doha International Airport (NDIA) expansion project. Twenty-two local and international companies applied for prequalification for the estimated $100 million contract, which includes the construction of a parking structure and a mosque. The $2,500 million expansion project is being carried out in several packages. Bids are due to be submitted by an extended deadline of 21 November for the largest package - the m
  • Emiri terminal goes for bid

    Bids are due to be submitted by13 November for the Emiri terminal package on the New Doha International Airport (NDIA) expansion project. Twenty-two local and international companies applied for prequalification for the estimated $100 million contract, which includes the construction of a parking structure and a mosque. The $2,500 million expansion project is being carried out in several packages. Bids are due to be submitted by an extended deadline of 21 November for the largest package - the m
  • Empower cools Business Bay

    The local Emirates Central Cooling Systems Corporation (Empower), a subsidiary of Dubai Holding,has signed a 25-year agreement with its sister company Dubai Propertiesto supply district cooling to the Business Bay development. Empower will provide 350,000 tonnes of district cooling, covering the entire 64-square-kilometre area. The company will build a central cooling plant on Sheikh Zayed highway and associated piping work. It has also agreed in principle to
  • Entrepose takes field development work

    The US' Burlington Resourceshas awarded France's Entrepose Consultinga Eur 92 million ($112 million) contract to upgrade its oil and gas field. The contract calls for the design, construction and installation of a 65-kilometre network of oil gathering lines and the modernisation of an oil and gas treatment station on the MLN 405 A field, 350 kilometres southeast of Hassi Messaoud in the Sahara desert. Work is to begin immediately and be completed by the end of 2007. Burli
  • EU-Iran nuclear talks resume

    Iran's President Ahmadinejad met UK, French and German senior officials in New York on 15 September to discuss Tehran's nuclear programme. 'Our aim: when we started these negotiations was to keep the matter out of the Security Council,' said UK Foreign & Commonwealth Minister Jack Straw. 'What we are going to do is listen carefully to what the president is going to say on Saturday afternoon and we'll take it from there.' Ahmadinejad is due to announce his proposals to resolve the nuclear st
  • European aid to boost Gaza

    The European Commission (EC) is due to approve Eur 60 million ($73.6 million) in financial assistance to the Palestinian Authority (PA). The funds, which could be made available immediately, will support infrastructure, construction, health and higher education projects in Gaza following Tel Aviv's withdrawal, and institution building programmes in both Palestinian territories. The means of dispersal of the funds has yet to be decided, but previous EC aid has been channelled through the PA, non-
  • Europeans sign up for Jorf Lasfar

    A consortium of Germany's Siemens and Litwin of France has signed a $78.8 million contract for the construction of two power units to serve planned phosphoric acid facilities at Jorf Lasfar. The local affiliate of Siemens has also signed a six-year agreement for the operation and maintenance of 16 turbines, operated by Office Cherifien des Phosphates (OCP).
  • Faregh bidders down to two

    Waha Oil Company (WOC)is seeking final prices from Athens-based Joannou & Paraskevaides (J&P - Overseas) and Germany's MAN Ferrostaal for the estimated $200 million engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract for the phase 2 development of the Faregh field, 200 kilometres south of Ras Lanuf. The two companies submitted revised bids of about $193 million in late August for the contract, which covers the construction of a 180 million-cubic-feet-a-day (cf
  • Fatah victorious in local polls

    Ruling party Fatah trounced rival Hamas in the latest round of municipal elections, according to results released by the Palestinian electoral commission on 30 September. Fatah took 65 West Bank municipalities against Hamas' 22, with 17 seats going to independent candidates. Turnout was 85 per cent, of which Fatah took almost two-thirds of the vote. Seats in 104 municipalities were up for grabs but Hamas did not compete in all of them for fear of arrest by Israeli forces. Candidates were li
  • FBI joins bomb investigation

    US investigators joined on 28 September the probe into the bomb attack on Lebanese journalist May Chidiac. Lebanese Prime Minister Fouad Siniora requested US and French help in the investigation after talks with Lebanese security chiefs. The FBI agents visited the site of the blast that severely maimed Chidiac in the Christian area of Jounieh, north of Beirut. Local police have failed to arrest anyone in connection with a series of bombings that have targeted anti-Syria public figures follo
  • Federation's cement plans move ahead

    Plans to increase capacity in the local cement sector are moving ahead rapidly. Capacity is set to increase by 3 million-4 million tonnes a year (t/y) by 2007 from the current 11 million t/y (MEED 24:6:05).
  • Few cheers in Palestine

    Only because of Nadim Khoury's dogged determination does the first and only Palestinian beer maker still brew, bottle and distribute in the West Bank. Khoury is the owner, general director and master brewer at Taybeh Brewery. 'We had a dream, my brother, my father and I,' he says. 'I think we made history. But lately, it has been very tough managing to stay on our feet. We're still under occupation and the economy is not stable.'
  • FGB boosts foreign stake

    The directors of First Gulf Bank (FGB)have approved a proposal to increase the proportion of foreign shareholding permitted to 30 per cent from 15 per cent, subject to an extraordinary general meeting (EGM) of shareholders. In July, FGB staged a rights issue to almost double capital to AED 1,000 million ($272.5 million) from AED 501.9 million ($136.6 million - MEED 15:7:05).
  • Fighting closes Iraq-Syrian border crossing

    Iraq closed a strategic border crossing with Syria on 11 September as US and Iraqi troops clashed with insurgents in the northern town of Tal Afar. The Rabiah border terminal was closed to all vehicles except those with authorisation from the Iraqi Interior Ministry. Iraqi Defence Minister Sadoun Dulaimi said that US-led forces killed more than 140 insurgents in the sweep and arrested 192. 'We tell our people in Ramadi, Samarra, Rawa and Qaim that we are coming,' Dulaimi said of other towns
  • Final water supply job awarded

    The last of five water supply contracts for the Al-Batinah region has been awarded to the local Hassan bin Juma bin Baker Trading & Contractingfor RO 8.6 million ($22.1 million). The work covers the Shinas area and involves the supply and installation of ductile iron and high-density polyethylene (HDPE) pipes to deliver potable water from the main Sohar transmission system to residential areas. Four similar contracts for different areas in the region were awarded earlier in August. T
  • Financial Services Volunteer Corps: Volunteering advice

    There is no shortage of potential advisers for governments to call on when it comes to developing, structuring and implementing economic reform programmes. The World Bank, the IMF, the EU and the US Agency for International Development (USAID) all provide assistance of some sort. None of this advice comes cheap, however, or without some strings attached. But there is an exception. The Financial Services Volunteer Corps (FSVC), a non-profit organisation funded by the US State Department's Middle
  • Fingers of blame point to Damascus

    Syrian President Asad came under increasing international pressure in the second week of September as both the UN and the US called for stronger co-operation from Damascus. The investigation into the killing of former Lebanese prime minister Rafiq Hariri turned its spotlight on Damascus on 12 September, following an agreement allowing UN officials to question Syrian witnesses. At the same time, pressure from the US on Damascus has intensified, with officials shunning President Asad on the diplom
  • First female bomber kills eight

    The first female suicide bomber killed herself and at least eight others on 28 September in the northern Iraqi town of Tal Afar. Al-Qaeda in Iraq claimed responsibility for the attack. 'A blessed sister... carried out a heroic attack defending her faith... May God accept our sister among the martyrs,' the group said in a statement.Police said 53 people were wounded in the explosion, which targeted civilians queuing to receive compensation for the loss of family members or pro
  • Five chase Bu Attifel water injection

    Agip Oil, a 50/50 joint venture of Italy's Eniand state-owned National Oil Corporation (NOC), is evaluating bids from Germany's MAN Ferrostaal, Athens-based Joannou & Paraskevaides (J&P - Overseas), Bonattiof Italy, UAE-based Petrofac Internationaland Italy's Thosefor an estimated $49 million contract to upgrade production facilities at the Bu Attifel field in the east Sirte basin. The project involves the
  • Five in for Genaveh BOT

    Bids have been submitted for the 500-MW Genaveh independent power project (IPP) in the south. Five developers were invited to bid for the project, which is one of several to be promoted on a build-operate-transfer (BOT) basis, including the Ali Abad and Tabriz projects (MEED 8:7:05).
  • Former minister rejects involvement in missing funds

    Former Iraqi defence minister Hazem al-Shaalen denied on 29 September that more than $1,000 million had disappeared from the ministry under his stewardship. 'I would like to say that this is a lie,' he said at a press conference in Warsaw held with Polish weapons exporter Bumar. 'We chose Polish weaponry because it is of good quality and could be supplied quickly,' he said in defence of his decision to buy equipment the Financial Times described as 'museum pieces'. The London daily publishe
  • Foster Wheeler gets RGD LoI

    Foster Wheeler Italianahas been issued with a letter of intent (LoI) for the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract on the refinery gas desulphurisation (RGD) project, part of the refinery upgrade being carried out by Bahrain Petroleum Company (Bapco). The value of the contract is about $140 million, considerably more than the $120 million originally planned. Kick-off meetings are due to take place in early September. The scope of works includes the installat
  • Foster Wheeler takes Sharq utilities work

    Jubail-based Eastern Petrochemical Company (Sharq) announced on 28 August the issue of a letter of intent (LoI) to US-based Foster Wheeler to carry out the offsites and utilities package on the third phase expansion of its planned polyethylene (PE) project in the Eastern Province. The contract is worth at least $150 million and will be implemented on an engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) and cost-reimbursable basis (MEED 12:8:05).
  • Four bid for Ilam cracker

    Four local companies have submitted rebids for the estimated $350 million Ilam ethylene cracker in the west. The project was first tendered last year, but was retendered after the price of the original low bidder, China's Sinopec, came in above the client's budget (MEED 4:2:05).
  • Four bid for Muscat road

    Four companies are understood to have submitted bids in late August for the contract to construct the Al-Amerat-Quriyat road, out of the 14 that had been prequalified. They are: Athens-based Consolidated Contractors International Company (CCC); the local Al-Shanfari Trading, with Turkey's Nurol; a Malaysian team of WCT and Gamuda; and India's Nagarjuna. However, there are suggestions that the contract may be retendered as pr
  • Four bid for Muscat road

    Four companies are understood to have submitted bids in late August for the contract to construct the Al-Amerat-Quriyat road, out of the 14 that had been prequalified. They are: Athens-based Consolidated Contractors International Company (CCC); the local Al-Shanfari Trading, with Turkey's Nurol; a Malaysian team of WCT and Gamuda; and India's Nagarjuna. However, there are suggestions that the contract may be retendered as pr
  • Four chase Azzawiya harbour PMC

    Four international engineering consultants have submitted bids to Azzawiya Oil Refining Company (ARC)for a project management consultancy (PMC) contract to oversee the construction of a fully protected harbour at Azzawiya. COWI and Niras International, both of Denmark, the UK office of Japan's Nippon Koei and Royal Haskoningof the Netherlands submitted revised bids to ARC in the second week of September, one week after submitting initia
  • Four chase Azzawiya harbour PMC

    Four international engineering consultants have submitted bids to Azzawiya Oil Refining Company (ARC)for a project management consultancy (PMC) contract to oversee the construction of a fully protected harbour at Azzawiya. COWI and Niras International, both of Denmark, the UK office of Japan's Nippon Koei and Royal Haskoningof the Netherlands submitted revised bids to ARC in the second week of September, one week after submitting initia
  • Four in for Gasco FEED

    Abu Dhabi Gas Industries Company (Gasco)has invited four companies - Tebodin Middle East, part of Tebodin of the Netherlands, the US/Canadian VECO, Australia's WorleyParsons and Paris-based Technip- to submit commercial bids by 6 September for the front-end engineering and design (FEED) contract involving the debottlenecking project at Thamama C. Technical bids were submitted in late July. The project is aimed at increasing sour
  • Four submit prices for Thamama C

    Four companies - Paris-based Technip, the US/Canadian VECO, US-based Foster Wheeler and Australia's WorleyParsons - submitted commercial bids on 14 September for the front-end engineering and design (FEED) contract covering the debottlenecking project at Thamama C in Abu Dhabi emirate. Being handled by Abu Dhabi Gas Industries Company (Gasco), the project is aimed at increasing sour gas handling capacity to 630 million cubic feet a day
  • Four US contractors die, one released

    A roadside bomb killed four US contractors in Basra on 7 September. The men reportedly worked for the US consulate and were on their way from the airport to the centre of the city. Roadside bombings are rare in the area and UK military officials said they had started an investigation into the attack. On the same day, US forces rescued a kidnapped US contractor and an Iraqi from a farmhouse south of Baghdad. The contractor, Roy Hallums, worked for a Saudi food company and was abducted in Man
  • Franco/Dutch group poised for YLNG pipeline

    An award is close for the pipeline package on the Yemen LNG (YLNG) project at Bal Haf. A group of France's AMEC Spie Capagwith A Hak Pijpleidingenof the Netherlands is understood to be the frontrunner for the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract, which is estimated to be worth $210 million. The contract will cover the installation of a 38-inch-diameter, 320-kilometre-long pipeline to provide feedstock gas for the main liquefaction plant. Th
  • Frontrunners emerge for Enfidha airport

    Three of the prequalifiers for the estimated $450 million, 40-year build-transfer-operate (BTO) contract to develop a new airport at Enfidha have emerged as frontrunners as negotiations with the Transport Ministry begin to make progress. The bid deadline, initially 3 April, is expected to be delayed until the end of 2005.
  • FTAs mark a return to the bad old days

    Later this month, a new round of negotiations is to be held between representatives of the UAE and the US about a free trade agreement (FTA) between the two countries.
  • GAS: Turning up the pressure

    In 1975, a little piece of history was made in the Gulf's energy sector when King Faisal instructed Saudi Aramco - then Arab American Oil Company - to design, build and operate a master gas system (MGS) for the kingdom. The largest engineering feat to have been carried out by a single company at that time, it employed tens of thousands of workers to build the gas-gathering and fractionation infrastructure linking all the kingdom's onshore and offshore gas-oil separation plants (GOSPs).
  • Gaza clashes continue

    Hundreds of unemployed men in Gaza clashed with security forces for the second day on 5 September. Sixteen people were injured during the fighting in Khan Younis refugee camp. More than 200 Palestinian riot police tackled demonstrators as they threw rocks, fire bombs and bits of concrete at the municipal building and police station. The men and teenagers were protesting against the lack of jobs in the territory, school fees, and corruption in the Palestinian Authority (
  • Gaza Marine team decides against third well

    A consortium of the UK's BG Group, Athens-based Consolidated Contractors International Company (CCC)and the Palestine Investment Fund has abandoned plans to drill a third testing well in the Gaza Marine gas field. Drilling was due to start in September in the Noah South extension, also known as the Border field. However, rising drilling costs determined a third well would not be commercially viable. The amount of gas in the area is estimated to be a fraction of the 1.2 tr
  • Gaza roads set for revamp

    The US Agency for International Development (USAID) has issued a presolicitation notice to US companies for road reconstruction design work in Gaza. Firms have until 12 September to submit architectural and engineering qualifications. The $8 million contract could be extended to include construction management. USAID is waiting for the Palestinian Authority to choose road segments; the project could involve several roads or just the reconstruction of Gaza's coastal road. It is expected that loca
  • Gaza roads set for revamp

    The US Agency for International Development (USAID) has issued a presolicitation notice to US companies for road reconstruction design work in Gaza. Firms have until 12 September to submit architectural and engineering qualifications. The $8 million contract could be extended to include construction management. USAID is waiting for the Palestinian Authority to choose road segments; the project could involve several roads or just the reconstruction of Gaza's coastal road. It is expected that loca
  • GAZA: Offshore lifeline

    Hope is returning to Gaza. With the Israeli withdrawal almost complete, Palestinians will soon be masters of their own domain, if not their borders. The overcrowded Gaza Strip, with its poverty, unemployment, crumbling infrastructure and shortage of clean water, may not look like much of a prize. However, this tiny territory has one key, as yet unexploited, natural asset - gas.
  • Gaza-Egypt border chaos

    Hamas destroyed a section of Gaza's border fence with Egypt on 14 September as Palestinian and Egyptian security forces battled to stop people flooding across. Thousands of Palestinians have passed unchecked into Egypt following Tel Aviv's troop withdrawal from Gaza on 12 September. Cairo declared the border closed and set a deadline for six o'clock in the evening for people to return to Gaza or face arrest. 'You're talking about people who have been physically in prison for the last 38 yea
  • GCC calls for West Bank withdrawal

    GCC ministers of foreign affairs called on 7 September for Tel Aviv to withdraw from the West Bank to make way for the creation of a Palestinian state. The ministers said in a statement that they 'hope the evacuation of Jewish settlements in the Gaza Strip will be followed by other initiatives for a complete withdrawal from all the occupied Palestinian territories so that the Palestinian people can establish an independent state with Jerusalem as its capital.' The ministers reiterated their
  • GCC push Arab constitution for Iraq

    GCC foreign affairs ministers will meet at the beginning of September to discuss the Iraqi constitution. Ministers are seeking a national charter 'which safeguards Iraq's Arab and Islamic identity and is accepted by all segments of the brotherly Iraqi people,' GCC secretary-general Abdulrahman al-Attiyah said in a statement. The ministers 'will discuss developments in Iraq on the basis of their keenness to see security and stability achieved', he said (
  • GCC war games in 2007

    GCC armed forces will stage their largest joint exercise in 2007, KUNA news agency reported on 17 September. The exercise will be in Oman and include army, air force and navy personnel, Kuwaiti navy commander Colonel Jassem al-Ansari told the agency. The GCC established the Peninsula Shield Force of 5,000 men in 1986, which is stationed in northeast Saudi Arabia, near the Iraqi border.
  • German JV takes Deir Ali combined cycle

    A German joint venture of Siemensand Kochhas been awarded the $522 million engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract to build the 750-MW combined cycle power plant at Deir Ali. The client is the Public Establishment of Electricity for Generation & Transmission (PEEGT).
  • GHC signs up Danieli for Mussafah steel plant

    Abu Dhabi-based General Holding Company(GHC)has signed a memorandum of understanding with Danieli & Company, providing for the Italian firm to supply technology to the proposed Mussafah integrated steel complex.
  • Global issues shares in Qatar investment vehicle

    Subscription has been launched for a private placement of shares in First Qatar Real Estate Development Company, the renamed Al-Shamiya Holding Company set up by Kuwait-based Global Investment House (GIH)in 2004 to invest in real estate projects in Qatar. On offer are 390 million shares priced at KD 0.105 ($0.362) each. GIH is acting as lead manager. Minimum subscription is 200,000 shares and maximum subscription is 40 million shares. The share issue will take total paid-
  • Global oil demand growth slows

    OPEC cut its global oil demand increase forecast for the fifth time this year on 15 September. Worldwide demand is now estimated to be an average 83.5 million barrels a day (b/d), or 1.7 per cent above demand in 2004, the cartel says in its monthly report. Its August demand growth figure was slightly higher at 1.9 per cent. The downward estimate was the result of slowing demand from the US and China, the report says. OPEC cut its forecasted 2006 global demand growth to 1.8 per cent.
  • Globecomm sees contract extension

    The Iraqi Telecommunications & Post Company (ITPC) has awarded the US' Globecomm Systemsa one-year extension to provide satellite-based communications solutions throughout the country. Under the contract, Globecomm will provide international voice services to ITPC for calls originating to and from Iraq through Globecomm's partners. The company is the primary service provider for ITPC and has been carrying international voice traffic since mid-2003.
  • Golf Towers phase 3 out

    Dubai-based Emaar Propertieshas invited contractors to bid by 13 September for the contract to build the third phase of the Golf Towers complex within the Views development. Phase 3 calls for the construction of three towers of 30, 35 and 40 storeys at a cost of about $70 million. Canada's NORR Group Consultants International is the consultant. Emaar is also evaluating bids for the contract to build the Golf Towers phase 2. The estimated $75 million project entails the co
  • Golf Towers phase 3 out

    Dubai-based Emaar Propertieshas invited contractors to bid by 13 September for the contract to build the third phase of the Golf Towers complex within the Views development. Phase 3 calls for the construction of three towers of 30, 35 and 40 storeys at a cost of about $70 million. Canada's NORR Group Consultants International is the consultant. Emaar is also evaluating bids for the contract to build the Golf Towers phase 2. The estimated $75 million project entails the co
  • Grindlays Qatar seeks new foreign partner

    Grindlays Qatar Bank (GQB)is in discussions with international financial institutions to take an equity stake in the bank. 'The matter is with the board at the moment,' says a company spokesman. The search for a new foreign partner followed the June sale by Standard Charteredof its 40 per cent holding to Foreign Affairs Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim bin Jaber al-Thani. The remaining 60 per cent is owned by local investors (MEED 4:7:03). Standard Chartered acquired G
  • Group denies murder claim

    Palestinian militant coalition the Popular Resistance Committees (PRC) denied on 7 September that its members killed a military adviser to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. A spokesman for the group's armed wing, the Salaheddin Brigades, earlier claimed responsibility for shooting Mahmoud Arafat in Gaza City. The PRC said the claim had been the result of a misunderstanding and condemned the killing (
  • Group nominated for Burj Dubai MEP

    The group comprising the local Emirates Trading Agency (ETA), India's Voltasand Japan's Hitachi Planthas been nominated by the local Emaar Propertiesto carry out the mechanical, electrical and plumbing (MEP) package on the estimated $900 million Burj Dubai tower project.
  • Group nominated for Burj Dubai MEP

    The group comprising the local Emirates Trading Agency (ETA), India's Voltasand Japan's Hitachi Planthas been nominated by the local Emaar Propertiesto carry out the mechanical, electrical and plumbing (MEP) package on the estimated $900 million Burj Dubai tower project.
  • G-Tower planned for City of Arabia

    Local developer Galadari Investment Office (GIO)is close to completing the prequalification process for the G-Tower project in Dubailand's City of Arabia. The local Arabtec Construction, South Korea's Samsung Corporationand the local/Australian Nasa Multiplexare understood to have already been prequalified,although several other contractors are expected to be added to the list before the main package goes to tender in November. Construction of the
  • G-Tower planned for City of Arabia

    Local developer Galadari Investment Office (GIO)is close to completing the prequalification process for the G-Tower project in Dubailand's City of Arabia. The local Arabtec Construction, South Korea's Samsung Corporationand the local/Australian Nasa Multiplexare understood to have already been prequalified,although several other contractors are expected to be added to the list before the main package goes to tender in November. Construction of the
  • Gulf deals hit the market

    Syndication has been launched of a $750 million borrowing by Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank (ADCB). The deal, understood to be thinly priced, follows a successful first $800 million drawdown of a euro medium-term note (EMTN) programme by ADCB in June, which was priced at 35 basis points over Libor (MEED 24:6:05).
  • Gulf media prepares for a busy autumn

    The brightest and the best gathered on the evening of 4 June to celebrate the wedding of Abdullatif al-Sayegh, chief executive of the Dubai Radio Network (DRN) and the Arab Radio Network (ARN). They included a group of youngish Western men, some with studs in their ears, one with spiky, peroxided hair. The unusual cultural mix was not just evidence of the cosmopolitan nature of modern Dubai. The guests included DJs from DRN?s rapidly-developing radio stations which comprise t
  • Gulf needs to give to Africa, says UN

    The UN urged the Gulf states on 9 September to contribute to its $88 million appeal for Malawi. 'We have received zero pledges for this appeal,' UN relief co-ordinator Jan Egeland said. 'There are many countries in the Gulf and elsewhere who have received an enormous windfall from [high] oil prices. We can save a life for $1 a day,' he said. The food crisis in Malawi is escalating and more than a third of the country's 11 million people are starving after the worst harvest in a decade. The
  • Gunmen target Iraqi MPs

    Gunmen shot dead Kurdish member of parliament (MP) Faris Hussain on 17 September. Hussein's driver and another passenger died when militants ambushed their car on its way to Baghdad. MP Haider Qassem was injured. Hussain was a member of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan and was the third MP to be killed since January elections. On the same day, a car bomb killed 30 people in the mostly Shia Baghdad suburb of Nahrawan. Thirty-eight people were wounded in the explosion. Police have stepped up
  • Hamas says it killed Israeli settler

    Hamas claimed responsibility on 27 September for abducting and killing an Israeli settler in the West Bank. 'We had intended to exchange the Zionist hostage for Palestinian prisoners, but the occupation force's campaign of arrests in the West Bank led us to kill him,' Hamas' armed wing, the Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades, said in a statement. The group claimed Sasson Nouriel, who was kidnapped near Jerusalem on 22 September, was an Israeli spy. His body was found on 26 September near the West
  • Hariri probe moves ahead

    The plodding UN probe into the assassination of former Lebanese prime minister Rafiq Hariri took a huge leap forward at the end of August. After nearly three months of interviews, house searches and collection of evidence by the inquiry led by German prosecutor Detlev Mehlis, Lebanese authorities detained three former security chiefs and a key aide to pro-Syrian President Lahoud. Member of parliament and former minister Nasser Qandil was also taken in for questioning and later released.
  • Hariri probe scrutinises Syrian finances

    Banque du Liban (central bank) granted permission on 15 September for the UN probe into the murder of former prime minister Rafiq Hariri to view the bank accounts of two Syrian senior officials and a number of pro-Syria Lebanese figures. The waiver allows the investigating team to scrutinise the financial dealings of Syrian Interior Minister Ghazi Kanaan, who served as Damascus' military intelligence chief in Lebanon, and his successor in Beirut, Rustom Ghazeleh, who resigned in April. The
  • Heavy lifting DUBAI PORTS INTERNATIONAL

    Controlling Jebel Ali, Rashid, Mina Zayed and Fujairah ports in the UAE, as well as Jeddah and the recently acquired Aden ports on the Red Sea coast, Dubai Ports International (DPI) has built up an enviable portfolio of regional operations. Combined with its concessions in Asia, some claim DPI's control of the shipping lanes has given it a monopoly, dictating which ports shipping companies use and starving other ports of business.
  • Hezbollah minister defends right to bear arms

    Under increasing international pressure to disarm, Mohammed Fneish, a representative of Hezbollah and Lebanese Energy & Water Minister, on 23 September sought to dispel fears among other political factions over the militant group's retention of weapons.'If some Lebanese are afraid of Hezbollah's arms, though there is no reason for them to feel like that, then we have to understand the reasons behind it in order to reach a mutual understanding,' Fneish said. 'Some political fo
  • HHI picked for Ahmadi crude export facility

    Kuwait Oil Company (KOC) has awarded a KD 361 million ($1,244 million) contract to South Korea's Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI) to build new crude export facilities at Ahmadi. The award came after KOC's parent, Kuwait Petroleum Corporation, approved the budget at its board meeting on 23 August.HHI was the clear low bidder when prices were submitted in early June for the retendered contract. Its price of AED 362 million ($1,248 million) was some 25 per cent lower t
  • Hiesco, Combined Group win flowlines work

    The local Combined Groupand Heavy Industry Engineering & Shipbuilding Company (Hiesco) have been awarded two contracts, totalling more than KD 40 million ($138 million), to supply and replace the flowline network in the state's northern and western oil fields. Construction is expected to take about four years. The client is state upstream operator Kuwait Oil Company (KOC).
  • Hollow victory?

    The outcome is almost certain, but voter turnout in Egypt's first multi-candidate elections will determine whether President Mubarak will have anything to celebrate. The number of voters who turned out to cast a ballot will determine the legitimacy of his expected win. It will also indicate whether Cairo's experiment with electoral reform has pricked the Egyptian public's usually apathetic interest in politics.
  • Hot property

    Saudi Arabian exhibitors were out in force at Cityscape, the region's biggest real estate exhibition, held in Dubai in mid-September. Leading local developers were in attendance, as were a large number of visitors looking for new ideas for future developments in the kingdom. 'Events such as Cityscape have shown what Saudi Arabia should aim for when planning projects,' says Hisham Malaika, general manager of architectural and engineering firm Dar al-Riyadh.
  • Hotel work starts in Tala Bay

    Plans for developing Tala Bay into a major tourism resort are taking shape, with progress being made on the construction of four hotels for the estimated $500 million project.
  • Hotel work starts in Tala Bay

    Plans for developing Tala Bay into a major tourism resort are taking shape, with progress being made on the construction of four hotels for the estimated $500 million project.
  • HOUSING: L-shaped solutions

    Saudi Arabia is facing a housing crisis. Current estimates place the kingdom's shortage of residential units at about 270,000 and rising. With the population expanding at about 3.2 per cent a year - one of the fastest growth rates anywhere in the world - and forecast to double by 2025, the situation is unlikely to improve without concerted action by the government.
  • HSBC sets up investment banking unit

    HSBC has established a locally-based investment banking unit, headed by Kapil Chadda, who recently joined the bank from Bank of America. The move is aimed at capturing an increasing proportion of the growing business coming out of the country, particularly in the hydrocarbons, petrochemicals, infrastructure, transportation and tourism sectors. HSBC is also considering the possibility of establishing a presence in the Qatar Financial Centre (QFC). 'We are studyin
  • HSBC-MEED Middle East Business Confidence Index released

    The fourth HSBC-MEED Middle East Business Confidence Index (MEBCI) released on 2 September reveals that business leaders across the region expect healthy economic performance pinned to resolutely high oil prices. However, inflationary pressures are increasing. The survey notes that wages are rising along with the cost of living and petrol prices.To read the full results click here.
  • Huge interest in Qatari construction expo

    More than 500 companies from 29 countries participated in the Project Qatar 2005 exhibition on 21 September. 'The volume of the deals will reach hundreds of millions of dollars,' said Albert Aoun, chairman of International Fairs & Promotions Group, which organised the three-day construction and engineering event. Qatar's Public Works Authority (Ashgal) set up the largest stand; the government agency aims to spend $27,000 million on projects in the next five years.
  • Huge suicide bomb kills 114

    A suicide bomber killed 114 people and injured another 156 when he detonated 220 kilogrammes of explosives in a crowd of job-seekers on 14 September. The blast was one of the deadliest attacks since the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003. The bomber lured a crowd of Shia men to his van promising work and then set off the device. A second suicide bombing killed 11 people as they queued up to refill gas canisters in north Baghdad. Al-Qaeda in Iraq said it was waging a nation-wide campaign in rev
  • Hundreds crushed in Shia parade panic

    As many as 1,000 Iraqis died on 31 August in a stampede on the Tigris River bridge in Baghdad. A crowd of Shia pilgrims marching across the bridge to a religious ceremony panicked when rumours spread that a suicide bomber was among them. Most of the dead were women and children who were either trampled or fell in the river and drowned. The marchers were heading for Kadamiya mosque in north Baghdad to celebrate the martyrdom of the 7th Shia Imam Musal al-Kadam. Seven people were also killed
  • Hundreds face trial for rioting

    More than 800 people will stand trial for their involvement in July riots, Yemen's Interior Minister Rashad al-Eleimi told parliament on 18 September. Scores of people died in violent protests, which erupted after the government announced it would halve subsidies on oil and other products.
  • Hyundai signs Jebel Ali loan

    South Korea's Hyundai Engineering & Construction Company has signed a $325 million syndicated loan, lead arranged by Arab Bank, to fund its turnkey contract for the 1,200-MW second phase of the Jebel Ali power and desalination project. Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank, Korea Exchange Bankand Mashreqbankjoined as arrangers, taking tickets of $40 million, Raiffeisen Zentralbank Osterreichwas a co-arranger with a $30 million ticket,
  • Hyundai signs port deal

    South Korea's Hyundai Engineering & Construction Companyhas been awarded the AED 251 million ($68 million) contract to carry out the quay wall package on phase 1 of the new Jebel Ali container terminal project (MEED 19:8:05). The scope of works covers about 2.8 kilometres of pre-cast quay wall, located 200 metres offshore and running parallel to an existing breakwater. The client is Dubai Ports, Customs & Free Zone Corporation (DPCFZC), which is also evaluating bids for the dredging
  • Hyundai signs port deal

    South Korea's Hyundai Engineering & Construction Companyhas been awarded the AED 251 million ($68 million) contract to carry out the quay wall package on phase 1 of the new Jebel Ali container terminal project (MEED 19:8:05). The scope of works covers about 2.8 kilometres of pre-cast quay wall, located 200 metres offshore and running parallel to an existing breakwater. The client is Dubai Ports, Customs & Free Zone Corporation (DPCFZC), which is also evaluating bids for the dredging
  • IAEA talk over Iranian nuclear policy

    The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) met on 19 September to discuss Tehran's nuclear programme. The EU and Washington want the IAEA to refer Iran to the UN Security Council for possible sanctions. EU diplomats have drafted a referral resolution. 'Do we think we have a majority? Yes, we probably have. Do we think that a majority of say, 20 out of 35 with some big countries voting against or abstaining would be enough to pressure Iran? That is the question,' said an EU diplomat.
  • IAEA to refer Iran for UN sanctions

    The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) passed a resolution on 24 September to refer Tehran to the UN Security Council for sanctions. The text of the resolution questioned Tehran's claim that its nuclear programme is for civilian purposes only and listed Tehran's breaches of the nuclear non-proliferation treaty. The date of the IAEA referral was unspecified but IAEA head Mohammed el-Baradei said the issue would not be dealt with until November, when the IAEA will hold its next board m
  • Ibn Zahr seeks polypropylene SoIs

    Saudi European Petrochemical Company (Ibn Zahr) has released solicitation of interest (SoI) documents for the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract to build a new polypropylene (PP) plant at its existing Jubail complex (MEED 1:7:05).
  • IDB expands sukuk on strong demand

    Jeddah-based Islamic Development Bank (IDB) closed the books on its debut sukuk offering on 27 July. Due to heavy over-subscription - offers totalling just under $500 million were received - the issue was raised from $300 million to $400 million.
  • IDs for camel racers introduced

    The UAE Interior Ministry announced on 21 September that camel jockeys will not be allowed to race without an identity card. The UAE has raised the age of jockeys from 16 to 18 and banned riders weighing under 100 pounds. But some camel racers are as young as four years old and about 3,000 underage boys are estimated to work as jockeys in the UAE. Child jockeys were banned in 1980. The UAE has agreed with the UN to repatriate children trafficked into the country from poorer Asian countries
  • IEA seeks OPEC production increase

    The head of the International Energy Agency (IEA) urged OPEC on 14 September to increase production. 'What would be really useful would be that OPEC says clearly how much future new capacity it will put into production and makes commitments in terms of volume and the timing, while specifying the amount of light crude,' said IEA executive director Claude Mandil in an interview with Revue le Petrole et le Gaz Arabes. This would 'help to give the market some visibility and could break the infl
  • IFC plots Bazyan cement plants

    The International Finance Corporation (IFC), the private sector lending arm of the World Bank, has started work on an environmental review of the first proposed private sector-operated cement plant in Iraq. The review, which will be followed by an environmental impact assessment, is the first step towards providing an estimated $210 million loan to help finance the construction of the grassroots facility in the north of the country (MEED 25:2:05).
  • India seeks consultants for Iran pipeline

    Gas Authority of India (Gail)has issued international tenders for technical and legal consultants on the proposed 2,700-kilometre-long Iran-Pakistan-India natural gas pipeline. At a 2 September meeting in Tehran, the Indian and Iranian foreign affairs ministers pledged to accelerate work on the project, which is still threatened by political issues between New Delhi and Islamabad.
  • Indians mull aluminium smelter

    India's state-owned National Aluminium Company (Nalco)is in negotiations to build a new 250,000-tonne-a-year aluminium smelter in the Gulf at a cost of $2,500 million. 'The government has not yet approved any country,' Nalco chairman CR Pradhan told Reuters News Agency on 7 September. 'Oman looks difficult because availability of gas is a problem, but on Qatar and Abu Dhabi, we are positive.' Nalco will make a final decision on where to build the facility in the next two months once
  • Indonesians win GMR storage tanks package

    CKG Libya Branch, a consortium of Citramegah Karya Gemilang (CKG)and Inti Karya Persada Tehnik (IKPT), both of Indonesia, has received a letter of intent, valued at LD 58.3 million ($44.8 million), to carry out the secondary conveyance and agricultural storage tanks package on the coastal agricultural areas programme.
  • Industrial interchange goes for tender

    The Public Works Authority (Ashghal) has issued another major road tender. Contractors have been given until 25 October to submit bids for the construction of the industrial interchange. The project is the latest in a series of major highway upgrades planned by Ashghal as part of a multi-billion dollar road building programme.
  • Industrial interchange goes for tender

    The Public Works Authority (Ashghal) has issued another major road tender. Contractors have been given until 25 October to submit bids for the construction of the industrial interchange. The project is the latest in a series of major highway upgrades planned by Ashghal as part of a multi-billion dollar road building programme.
  • Insurance merger planned

    Qatar Insurance Company (QIC), Doha Insurance and Al-Khaleej Insurance Companyhave announced their intention to merge, creating an entity with assets of about $1,600 million. Due diligence is expected to be completed by the end of the year. QIC is the state's largest insurance firm (see Capital Markets).
  • Interior Ministry comes under fire

    Gunmen attacked Iraq's Interior Ministry in the early morning of 5 September. Al-Qaeda in Iraq claimed responsibility for the attack, during which more than 30 men in 10 cars fired rockets, mortars and bullets at the building. Two policemen were killed and five others were arrested. The attack was the latest in a series of military-style assaults carried out by insurgents, although attacks on government premises are rare. 'Your brothers set off from five directions and used a variety of wea
  • INTERNATIONAL BANK OF QATAR: A happy marriage

    Opportunities for cross-border acquisitions in the GCC are few and far between, typically occurring only when one of the banks in question needs to be bailed out. The tie-ups between Al-Ahli Bank of Qatar and Ahli United Bank, and most recently between Commercial Bank of Qatar and National Bank of Oman, spring to mind. But when chances do arise, National Bank of Kuwait (NBK) is unlikely to be far from the action.
  • International fund for Palestinian SMEs

    A $500 million loan guarantee fund for small-to-medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the West Bank and Gaza will be launched in the fourth quarter. The US government's Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), the Palestine Investment Fund (PIF) - the Palestinian Authority's investment arm - and the Portland Trust, part of UK-based private equity group Apax Partners, have contributed $160 million in total to the fund. The US' Aspen Institute will partner OPIC, the fund's largest
  • INTERVIEW: Abdulrahman Al-Zamil: A bright future

    What is your view on the current economic environment?
  • INTERVIEW: Abdulrahman Al-Zamil: A bright future

    Over the past 25 years, Abdulrahman al-Zamil has served as chairman of the board of directors at Zamil Industrial Investment Company (ZIIC) as well as in the government as deputy governor of electricity and then deputy commerce minister. He is also a member of the Majlis al-Shoura (consultative council). He talks to MEED about the business environment in the kingdom and the recent political reforms
  • Invest wisely to avoid boom-bust cycle, says IMF to oil producers

    The IMF urged oil-producing nations on 21 September to pump their oil revenues into sustainable investment. 'It will be critical to avoid the mistakes of the 1970s and 1980s,' the IMF said in its bi-annual World Economic Outlook. Oil producers should invest in programmes that 'will have a lasting impact on growth, productivity and standards of living' to avoid boom-bust cycles. The report also urges consistent and sustainable spending to reduce susceptibility to changes in the market.
  • Investcom takes second GSM licence

    A consortium headed by Beirut-based Investcomand including UAE-based Alokozay Grouphas been granted a 15-year, $40 million licence to develop Afghanistan's second GSM network. Investcom has a 60 per cent interest in the consortium with Alokozay owning the remaining 40 per cent stake. Investcom will launch commercial services under its Areeba brand in the first quarter of 2006. The licence can be renewed for an additional 10 years. The GSM licence is the latest for Investc
  • INVESTMENT: Sunny prospects

    As India's expanding economy looks outward, Iran has come to offer a strong investment destination. The advantages of cheap energy, a well-educated local workforce and geographical proximity are numerous. Added to these is a long-standing ambition to open a new north-south trade corridor through Iran, connecting South Asia to Europe - sometimes called 'the new silk road'.
  • IPO activity to pick up

    Gulf International Bank (GIB)has been appointed to advise on the initial public offering (IPO) of shares in food company Halwani Brothers. Kayan Petrochemical Company, the project company for the Jubail petrochemicals complex planned by the local Project Management & Development Company (PMD), has also announced plans to stage an IPO in the fourth quarter of 2005.
  • IPO launched for KCIC

    Subscription was launched on 14 September to the initial public offering (IPO) of shares in Kuwait China Investment Company (KCIC). KCIC was established in June with the objective of facilitating investments in China and other East Asian countries. The company intends to list on the Kuwait Stock Exchange after the mandatory one-year period.
  • IPO process to be made easier for family businesses, says UAE minister

    The UAE is considering amending existing legislation to make it easier for family businesses to make an initial public offering (IPO), Economy & Planning Minister Sheikha Lubna bint Khaled al-Qasimi told the Third MEED Middle East Capital Markets conference in Dubai on 20 September. 'I have called for the amendment of the Company's Law in areas where I thought it was detrimental to further expansion. So, I suggested that we amend the articles which make it almost impossible for successful f
  • IRAN: Contractors wait on movement in Tehran

    The long wait is far from over. At the end of August, the Majlis (parliament) rejected new President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's nomination for oil minister, ushering in a period of fresh uncertainty over the Islamic republic's energy policy. The appointment is not only pivotal for the oil market, but also for the fate of National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) personnel, upstream investment and formulae for awarding major contracts.
  • Irancell saga continues

    The Irancellconsortium faced fresh difficulties in the second week of September, as Turkcelland its local partners clashed over the status of shares the Turkish company was forced to relinquish in order to keep its contract. Ibrahim Mahmoudzadeh, an Irancell director and head of Iran Electronic Development Company, said Turkcell would be replaced by South Africa's MTNin the consortium, but the Turkish company said it was still participating in the
  • Iran-India gas deal still on

    Tehran denied on 28 September that it would ditch a $22,000 million deal to supply India with gas. Supreme National Security Council secretary Ali Aghmohammadi said that India's decision to support a EU resolution to refer Tehran to the UN Security Council for sanctions because of its nuclear programme would not affect the deal. 'We have had good, deep relations with India in many fields and regional affairs. Their behaviour at the IAEA [International Atomic Energy Agency] was strange and w
  • Iraq must stay united, says former US secretary of state

    Washington faces the challenge of keeping Iraq united, former US secretary of state Colin Powell said in a television interview on 9 September. 'The mission we set ourselves from the beginning, and which we told the Iraqis that we were going to do, is to keep this as a single state. And that's the challenge that we have now,' he said. Washington has made mistakes in Iraq, he said. 'What we didn't do in the immediate aftermath of the war was to impose our will on the whole country, with enou
  • Iraq: Coming full circle

    The present banking system was established following the foundation of Iraq as a sovereign state in the mid-1940s. The government set up Rafidain Bank as a new commercial enterprise to work alongside existing banks - a role that saw the bank compete actively and successfully with the other Western and Arab financial institutions in the country at the time.
  • IRAQ: Making the grade

    An hour before dawn, a squad of American soldiers approaches a suspicious vehicle, a battered white Chevrolet sedan parked by the side of the main road. The man in the driver's seat seems half asleep. Two soldiers haul him out and pin him against a nearby tanker truck while their interpreter, face hidden by a ski mask, starts rattling off questions about why the man is breaking the curfew.
  • ISLAMIC DEVELOPMENT BANK: Great strides forward

    The Islamic Development Bank (IDB) celebrates its 30th birthday this year. As the Jeddah-based institution enters its fourth decade, a major shift in focus is under way. Most radically, some 70 per cent of current activities are set to be hived off into a separate institution, allowing the bank to concentrate on the project finance work for which it is best known.
  • Israel and Iran at loggerheads over nuclear weapons

    Tel Aviv attacked Tehran on 20 September for pursuing nuclear weapons as the International Atomic Energy Agency met in Vienna to discuss UN sanctions against Iran. 'I call on them to stop this evil regime from acquiring nuclear weapons,' Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon told the UN General Assembly. 'The security and stability of the entire globe is at stake. This is why it is essential and urgent that the Security Council take action. The international community must rally as one and us
  • Israel eyes Gaza end-game

    Defence Minister Shaul Mofaz recommended to the Israeli cabinet on 7 September that troops pull out of Gaza ahead of the 15 September deadline. The decision followed an upsurge in violence during which Israeli troops killed a Palestinian teenager in clashes near the evacuated settlement bloc of Gush Katif. Palestinian youths threw rocks at Israeli positions as they guarded the empty settlement. 'Since the settlements have been evacuated, there is no reason for troops to stay any longer in t
  • Israel responds

    Tel Aviv continued missile strikes on Gaza on 26 September. Israeli fighter jets fired rockets at buildings in Gaza City and Khan Younis, which the army said were Palestinian militant weapons stores, and two empty fields. 'It's a very critical situation: I think we may need a third party, like the good offices of [US] President Bush or [UK] Prime Minister Tony Blair [to intervene],' said Palestinian spokesman Saeb Erekat. The assault followed a barrage of Palestinian militant rocket attacks
  • Israeli army almost heading home

    Israeli troops demolished the last settler buildings in Gaza on 9 September, two days ahead of a cabinet meeting to formally approve their withdrawal. The last Israeli soldiers are expected to leave Gaza on 11 September.Troops closed Abu Holi checkpoint in central Gaza as they tore down watchtowers and the Israeli liaison headquarters in north Gaza. But Israeli Defence Minister Shaul Mofaz postponed the demolition of synagogues in the former settlements, which could delay the
  • Israeli troops leave Gaza, general escapes arrest

    Tel Aviv finished its withdrawal from Gaza on 12 September when the last of its troops left the territory at dawn. 'The mission has been completed,' said Gaza commander Brigadier-General Aviv Kochavi. Thousands of Palestinians flooded into the former Israeli settlements, where the Israeli army had bulldozed settler houses, municipal buildings and military installations. Some Palestinians picked through the rubble for scrap metal and wood. The Israeli army left the settlements' more than 20
  • ITB issued for Doha East distiller upgrade

    The Energy Ministry has invited six international contractors to submit bids by 13 December for an estimated KD 25 million ($86 million) contract to upgrade and rehabilitate distillation units at the Doha East power and desalination plant. A pre-tender meeting will be held on 28 September. An award is expected in the first quarter of 2006.
  • Japanese to plot Palm monorail

    A Japanese consortium led by Hitachi Corporationhas received a letter of intent for the turnkey contract to design, build and equip the proposed monorail system on Palm Jumeirah in Dubai. The project was first tendered in late 2003, but fresh prices were submitted to local property developer Nakheelin July (MEED 29:7:05).
  • JBIC provides new NPC funds

    National Petrochemical Company (NPC)has signed an export credit facility agreement with Japan Bank for International Co-operation (JBIC), worth about $59 million. Co-financing will come from Deutsche Bankand Standard Chartered Bank. The funding will contribute to the high-density polyethylene (HDPE) planned at Assaluyeh by Mehr Petrochemical Company, a joint venture of NPC, Japan's Itochu Corporation,and National Petrochemical Public
  • Jebel Ali STP deadline extended

    Dubai Municipality has extended the prequalification deadline by two weeks to 19 September for the first phase of the grassroots Jebel Ali sewage treatment plant (STP). Twenty-one civil contractors and 20 international plant firms have been invited to prequalify. The main tender is expected to be issued by the end of the year. Construction is scheduled to take three-four years. The first phase, which will have capacity of 300,000 cubic metres a day, will cost an estimated $150 million-200 millio
  • JEDDAH AIRPORT:Poised for take-off, again

    A new general manager was appointed at Jeddah's King Abdulaziz International Airport (KAIA) in August. The arrival of Mazin bin Abdul-Huda Khashoggi at the helm was a sure sign of change at Saudi Arabia's busiest airport. Sami bin Sulaiman Maqbul, his predecessor, had held the position for the past 20 years, a period in which passenger numbers had soared but plans to expand and upgrade the airport itself had languished on the drawing board.
  • JGC/KBR to project manage Pearl GTL

    The joint venture of Japan's JGC Corporationand the US' Kellogg Brown & Root (KBR)has received a letter of intent to project manage the onshore works programme on the Pearl gas-to-liquids (GTL) project, being developed at a cost of more than $6,000 million by the Royal Dutch/Shell Group. Under the letter of intent, the venture will also provide engineering, procurement and construction management (EPCM) services for the synthesis core, utilities and infrastruc
  • Joining the club

    Amid attempts by the US and Europe to bring Iran before the UN Security Council over its nuclear programme, India's position has become critical. Not only is it a major power with a seat on the governing board of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), but it is also a leading member of the non-aligned movement (NAM), whose members represent a powerful bloc both in that body and at the UN.
  • JORDAN: A life without subsidies

    When it comes to its energy needs, Amman has tended to rely on its more fortunate neighbours for supplies of cheap oil. But the time may have come for the kingdom's citizens to fend for themselves. In July, the government announced its decision to reduce its subsidies on oil derivatives, prompting worried speculation in the local press of the effect on manufacturing and transportation costs. However, the government is confident it can sustain economic life without the crutch.
  • Judges push to supervise election unhindered

    Egypt's judges syndicate warned on 2 September that it could not guarantee against voting irregularities in the upcoming presidential elections. 'We will tell the whole world that Egypt's judges will try to prevent vote rigging with all their might but they won't vouch 100 per cent for the election's transparency,' said Judge Mahmoud Makki. The judges, who are responsible for monitoring the vote, will 'carry out their duty and oversee the vote' but would 'distance ourselves from the poll's
  • JV cements Fujairah deal

    A joint venture of the Fujairah government, Dubai Investment Group (DIG), a subsidiary of Dubai Holding,and Egypt's Orascom Construction Industries (OCI)announced on 12 September plans to build a new grassroots cement plant in Fujairah. The project is the latest planned in the local cement sector as producers look to meet rising demand (MEED 2:9:05).
  • Karagulla builds student centre

    The local Karagulla Engineering & Contracting Companyhas started work on a contract to build the Charles Hostler Student Centre at the American University of Beirut. The project involves the construction of a basketball hall, a swimming pool, squash courts, a cafeteria, an auditorium, an underground car park for 200 vehicles and external works. The architect is Minneapolis-based Vincent James Associates Architects (MEED 15:5:05).
  • Karagulla builds student centre

    The local Karagulla Engineering & Contracting Companyhas started work on a contract to build the Charles Hostler Student Centre at the American University of Beirut. The project involves the construction of a basketball hall, a swimming pool, squash courts, a cafeteria, an auditorium, an underground car park for 200 vehicles and external works. The architect is Minneapolis-based Vincent James Associates Architects (MEED 15:5:05).
  • Katrina and the waves cause market havoc oil prices

    Oil prices jumped in the final week of August, as Hurricane Katrina devastated oil facilities in the Gulf of Mexico. Pledges by OPEC to raise supply and the release of supplies from the US' Strategic Petroleum Reserve had minimal impact. Spot Brent was trading at $66.97 a barrel on 21 August, compared to $65.79 a barrel a week earlier.
  • Kempinski picked to run IFA project

    Swiss-based hotel operator Kempinskihas been awarded the contract to manage the estimated $100 million Al-Abadiyah Hills development overlooking Beirut. The complex will have a total built-up area of about 90,000 square metres and comprise 12 private villas, 33 townhouses and 220 luxury apartments, in addition to a spa and associated leisure facilities. The local Samir Khairallah & Partnersis the consultant.US-based Wimberley Allison Tong & Goo is the concept
  • Kempinski picked to run IFA project

    Swiss-based hotel operator Kempinskihas been awarded the contract to manage the estimated $100 million Al-Abadiyah Hills development overlooking Beirut. The complex will have a total built-up area of about 90,000 square metres and comprise 12 private villas, 33 townhouses and 220 luxury apartments, in addition to a spa and associated leisure facilities. The local Samir Khairallah & Partnersis the consultant.US-based Wimberley Allison Tong & Goo is the concept
  • Khartoum invites EoIs for new airport

    The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), on behalf of the government, has invited contractors to submit expressions of interest (EoIs) by 3 October for the main construction contract on its Khartoum New International Airport (KNIA) project. Under the proposed bidding schedule, prequalification documents will be issued on 17 October with a submission date of 28 November.
  • Khartoum invites EoIs for new airport

    The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), on behalf of the government, has invited contractors to submit expressions of interest (EoIs) by 3 October for the main construction contract on its Khartoum New International Airport (KNIA) project. Under the proposed bidding schedule, prequalification documents will be issued on 17 October with a submission date of 28 November.
  • Khartoum unveils Al-Mogran development

    The local Alsunut Development Companyannounced on 18 September a major real estate development project located on the confluence of the Blue and White Niles in Khartoum. Called Al-Mogran, the development will cover an area of over 7 million square metres, and will cost more than $4,000 million, making it the most ambitious real estate scheme ever undertaken in the country.
  • Khartoum unveils Al-Mogran development

    The local Alsunut Development Companyannounced on 18 September a major real estate development project located on the confluence of the Blue and White Niles in Khartoum. Called Al-Mogran, the development will cover an area of over 7 million square metres, and will cost more than $4,000 million, making it the most ambitious real estate scheme ever undertaken in the country.
  • Kingdom to become holiday destination

    The Supreme Commission for Tourism (SCT) has invited companies to submit expressions of interest by 10 September for a national tourism development study. The scope of work will involve identifying areas of potential development, investment opportunities and the possible socio-economic impact of large-scale tourism projects. Over the next eight years, the SCT intends to increase the number of hotel rooms in the kingdom by a third to about 150,000.
  • Kingdom to become holiday destination

    The Supreme Commission for Tourism (SCT) has invited companies to submit expressions of interest by 10 September for a national tourism development study. The scope of work will involve identifying areas of potential development, investment opportunities and the possible socio-economic impact of large-scale tourism projects. Over the next eight years, the SCT intends to increase the number of hotel rooms in the kingdom by a third to about 150,000.
  • Kipco takes second syndicated loan

    Kuwait Projects Company (Kipco)has signed a $175 million syndicated loan facility, lead arranged by Dresdner Kleinwort Wasserstein, HSBC and Raiffeisen Zentralbank Ostererreich. The five-year loan, priced at 125 basis points (bp) over Libor, was increased in size from $100 million due to oversubscription. Joining at the arranger level were BNP Paribas, Emirates Bank International, National Bank of Dubaiand St
  • Kling to design Falcon City villas

    Germany's Kling Consulthas been appointed to design the first phase of villas in the local Salem al-Moosa Group'sFalcon City of Wonders development in Dubailand. The first phase of the project is expected to begin by the first quarter of 2006 and includes construction of corporate offices and a museum. Spread over more than 4 million square metres, Falcon City will be divided into five overlapped phases, and will feature structures based on the engineering wonders of the
  • Kling to design Falcon City villas

    Germany's Kling Consulthas been appointed to design the first phase of villas in the local Salem al-Moosa Group'sFalcon City of Wonders development in Dubailand. The first phase of the project is expected to begin by the first quarter of 2006 and includes construction of corporate offices and a museum. Spread over more than 4 million square metres, Falcon City will be divided into five overlapped phases, and will feature structures based on the engineering wonders of the
  • KNPC begins the ARDS yards

    Kuwait National Petroleum Company (KNPC) has begun the procurement of long-lead items for its planned new refinery at Al-Zour, with the issue of a tender for the supply of compressors for the atmospheric residue desulphurisation (ARDS) unit. Bids are due by 9 October (see Tenders). The prequalified contractors are: Japan's Kobe Steel, with Juwarath al-Kuwait Company; Japan Steel Works, with the local Halli Trading & Contracting Establishment
  • KNPC discusses LPG train plans with contractors

    At least nine engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contractors attended in early September a meeting with Kuwait National Petroleum Company (KNPC)to discuss the contracting strategy on its plan to build a fourth liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) plant at the Mina al-Ahmadi refinery.
  • Kureimat II tender out soon

    Egyptian Electricity Holding Company (EEHC) has issued a general procurement notice for the second combined-cycle power project at Kureimat, 90 kilometres south of Cairo. The 750-MW Kureimat II station will comprise two 250-MW gas turbines and one 250-MW steam turbine. No bid deadline has yet been set on the project, the scope of which will involve carrying out civil works and supplying and installing a gas turbine generator, a steam turbine, a heat recovery steam generator, switchyard an
  • Kuwait donates aid to Washington

    Kuwait offered Washington $500 million of oil products on 4 September following the devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina at the end of August. 'We, Kuwaitis, feel it is our duty to stand by our friends to alleviate this humanitarian tragedy and express our gratitude for the support extended to us by Washington throughout the distinguished ties between the two friendly nations,' Energy Minister Sheikh Ahmad Fahad al-Sabah said. 'This gives us the opportunity to show our gratitude to our f
  • Kuwaitis take stake in Palestinian bank

    Global Investment House(GIH)has bought a 5 per cent stake in Al-Quds Development & Investment Bank (ADIB). GIH bought 1 million shares at a nominal rate of $1 a share. The Palestinian bank's share price surged by 15 per cent at the end of August to close trading on the Palestine Securities Exchange at $1.15. ADIB plans to raise its capital to $25 million from $20 million through a private placement, which opens on 3 September and closes on 2 October. 'It's a semi-stable
  • L&T wins Mogul work

    India's Larsen & Toubro (L&T) has been awarded the estimated AED 380 million ($103 million) Moguls 2 contract in Dubai's Gardens of Discovery development. The 18-month contract calls for the construction of 27 four-five-storey residential buildings with a total built-up area of about 16,535 square metres. Located between interchanges 5 and 6 on Sheikh Zayed highway, Gardens of Discovery is an estimated $1,000 million project being promoted by local developer Nakheel. Egyp
  • L&T wins Mogul work

    India's Larsen & Toubro (L&T) has been awarded the estimated AED 380 million ($103 million) Moguls 2 contract in Dubai's Gardens of Discovery development. The 18-month contract calls for the construction of 27 four-five-storey residential buildings with a total built-up area of about 16,535 square metres. Located between interchanges 5 and 6 on Sheikh Zayed highway, Gardens of Discovery is an estimated $1,000 million project being promoted by local developer Nakheel. Egyp
  • Labour pains

    In a country where midday temperatures often exceed 50°C, the decision to give open-air labourers a long lunch break was long overdue. It is unfortunate, in the case of the UAE, that it had to be enforced by government decree - contractors face heavy fines if they do not comply with the Labour & Social Affairs directive, issued in early June, that entitles workers to a four-hour break in the summer months. But working conditions are often a casualty in the sort of intensely competitive atmo
  • Lahoud defiant as assassination rumours spur exodus

    President Lahoud vowed on 1 September to remain in office despite calls for his resignation and the arrest of four top security officials in connection with the murder of former prime minister Rafiq Hariri. 'I will continue to fulfil my responsibilities to safeguard the constitution, Lebanese laws and the integrity of Lebanese territory,' Lahoud said. The head of the UN investigation into Hariri's assassination, Detlev Mehlis, said that Lahoud was not a suspect in the bombing. Pro-Syria Lah
  • Lahoud hangs on

    Lebanon's President Lahoud confirmed on 21 September that he will remain in office until the end of his term in 2007. Anti-Syria members of parliament (MPs) have been calling for the pro-Syrian leader's resignation since the murder of former prime minister Rafiq Hariri. Police arrested three former security heads and the head of the presidential guard and Lahoud ally Mustafa Hamdan at the end of August. Several MPs have said they would run for office if Lahoud stood down (
  • Lawyers for Saddam dismiss start of trial

    The lawyers for former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein denied on 21 September that the date of his trial had been set. Saddam's Iraqi lawyer Khalil Dulaimi said he had not been notified by the Iraqi Special Tribunal of the trial's start date and had not been given access to files relating to the charges against his client. The defence team 'will not recognise any date for the trial if it comes within weeks or months,' said Dulaimi. The team has 'not been enabled to review any files of the cha
  • Lebanese PM reviews security situation

    Lebanese Prime Minister Fouad Siniora held a meeting of security chiefs on 26 September following a bomb attack on a prominent journalist. Political talk show host May Chidiac lost her left arm and leg in the blast that left her with extensive burns. The bomb was placed under her car. Chidiac worked for the Lebanese Broadcasting Corporation, which has been critical of Damascus' influence in Lebanon. The explosion was the latest in a series of bombings that has targeted prominent anti-Syrian
  • LIBYA: Drifting downstream

    As international oil companies (IOCs) prepare to submit bids in early October to National Oil Corporation (NOC) for the second tranche of exploration licences, the Libyan oil sector seems well on the way to recovery since sanctions were lifted last year. But privately, contractors and local oil officials harbour deep frustrations with the halting progress on Tripoli's critically important plans to modernise its downstream capacity.
  • Licence withdrawal hits swing plants

    Two high-density/low-density polyethylene (HDPE/LDPE) swing plants face retendering following the decision by Innovene, the recently acquired petrochemical arm of the UK's BP, to withdraw its technology licensing from the projects just days before bids were due to be submitted. The plants are to be situated in Mahabad and Khorramabad, the capitals of West Azerbaijan and Luristan provinces, and have a proposed capacity of 300,000 tonnes a year (t/y) each (MEED 24:6:05).
  • Limited mobility bids due

    A bid deadline of 15 September has been set for Egypt's Orascomand local internet service provider (ISP) Maroc Connectto submit further bid details to telecoms regulator Agence Nationale de Reglementation des Telecommunications (ANRT) for the licence to provide limited mobility services in the kingdom. An award will follow by the end of the month. The two companies submitted bids for the licences in late June, but the client asked that they provide further information. 'M
  • Living up to the promises

    Seen against the vibrant economies of the Gulf, the countries of the Mediterranean rim often seem hopelessly stuck in the past, saddled with the legacy of decades of state-planning, poverty and population growth. But if you are an Egyptian and you have just reached retirement age, chances are you are quietly grateful to past governments. For 92 per cent of the Egyptian workforce are guaranteed a pension, and most will end up living on a sizeable chunk of their final salary. Factor in tax conside
  • LNG SHIPPING: Getting bigger

    The use of liquefied natural gas (LNG) as a clean energy source has increased dramatically over the past decade. In the 1990s, worldwide LNG sales grew by about 45 per cent, but many industry observers expect the sector to double in size by 2011 and to triple by 2020.
  • Local government to get finances in order

    The Palestinian Local Government Ministry will request expressions of interest (EoI) in mid-September for an international consultant to advise on its financial reform project. The ministry is finalising the terms of reference (ToR) for a financial adviser on the $9 million local government capacity building project, which is funded by Copenhagen through the World Bank. Interested firms will have 14 days to respond. The project aims to improve financial management in local government units acros
  • Locals win road work

    The local Arabian Projects & Transporthas been awarded the RO 8.7 million ($22.3 million) contract to build the Yanqul-Fida-Dank road. Nine companies were bidding for the job, which involves the construction of about 43.6 kilometres of seven-metre-wide carriageway. The client is the Transport & Communication Ministry; the consultant is the local Al-Abraj Consulting Engineering & Architects.
  • Locals win road work

    The local Arabian Projects & Transporthas been awarded the RO 8.7 million ($22.3 million) contract to build the Yanqul-Fida-Dank road. Nine companies were bidding for the job, which involves the construction of about 43.6 kilometres of seven-metre-wide carriageway. The client is the Transport & Communication Ministry; the consultant is the local Al-Abraj Consulting Engineering & Architects.
  • Look forward with confidence BUSINESS CONFIDENCE INDEX

    The HSBC-MEED Middle East Business Confidence Index (MEBCI), combining the results of the regional business confidence survey and forward-looking economic data, shows a region full of optimism. In the four months since the publication of the results of the last MEBCI in March, the rolling four-month index of oil prices was up to $49.10 a barrel from $40.10, with production also up by 4 per cent. In the same short period, expert forecasts for 2005 gross domestic product (GDP) for the GCC countrie
  • Maaden moves ahead with phosphate complex

    Two groups of companies - a team of Canada's SNC Lavalinwith the US' Jacobs Engineering, and Australia's WorleyParsons- submitted bids on 22 August to the Public Investment Fund and Saudi Arabian Mining Company (Maaden) for the position of project manager on the development of phosphate resources in the northwest of the kingdom. The scheme will cover the exploration of the Al-Jalamid deposit (MEED 5:8:05).
  • Maaden starts work on phosphate PMC bids

    Saudi Arabian Mining Company (Maaden), with the Public Investment Fund,is due to start technical clarification meetings in mid-September with two groups of companies - a team of Canada's SNC Lavalin, with the US' Jacobs Engineering, and Australia's WorleyParsons- which submitted bids for the position of project manager on the development of phosphate resources in the northwest. Meetings with SNC/Jacobs are due to be held on 12-13 September and with Worl
  • Maale Adumim expansion on hold

    Tel Aviv has suspended controversial plans to extend the West Bank settlement of Maale Adumim, Israeli Deputy Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said on 2 September. Settlement construction plans have been frozen temporarily, Olmert said. 'The State of Israel has committed itself to freeze the building,' he told Israeli newspaper the Jerusalem Post. 'As such, we would be acting in an irresponsible manner if we would do otherwise.'But he said that Tel Aviv's plans to build 3,500 new h
  • MAC awarded Hawiyah NGL work

    The local Modern Arab Construction Company (MAC) has been awarded a subcontract covering the civil and buildings package for the main gas treatment and compression plant on the Hawiyah natural gas liquids (NGL) project. Estimated to be worth at least $50 million, the contract was placed by Italy's Snamprogetti, which was awarded the $800 million main contract in March by Saudi Aramco(MEED 29:4:05).
  • Macchi wins YanSab boiler work

    Italy's Macchi has been awarded a $30 million contract to supply high-pressure boilers for the Yanbu National Petrochemicals Company (YanSab)petrochemicals complex at Yanbu. Under the terms of its contract, Macchi will supply one set of its HHP boilers with total capacity of 900 tonnes an hour of steam. The boilers will be integrated into the offsites and utilities infrastructure work being carried out by the US' Fluor Corporation, and be used to feed the proc
  • Madison chips in with Silicon Boulevard

    Local developer Madison Holdingshas launched Silicon Boulevard, a AED 140 million ($38.1 million) residential and commercial development located in phase 1 of Dubai Silicon Oasis (DSO). The project consists of the Park Terrace residential tower and the Park Avenue commercial tower with a mix of office and retail facilities. The local National Engineering Bureau (NEB)is the consultant. India's Amal Corporationis the project manager (MEED 16:9:05).
  • Madison chips in with Silicon Boulevard

    Local developer Madison Holdingshas launched Silicon Boulevard, a AED 140 million ($38.1 million) residential and commercial development located in phase 1 of Dubai Silicon Oasis (DSO). The project consists of the Park Terrace residential tower and the Park Avenue commercial tower with a mix of office and retail facilities. The local National Engineering Bureau (NEB)is the consultant. India's Amal Corporationis the project manager (MEED 16:9:05).
  • Major work let for RasGas III

    The local/US Ras Laffan Liquefied Natural Gas Company II (RasGas II)has awarded the two main upstream construction packages on its $13,000 million integrated gas project, known as RasGas III. The Japanese/French joint venture of Chiyoda Corporationand Paris-based Technipwon the estimated $3,500 million contract to build trains 6 and 7 at the RasGas complex, while Jebel Ali-based JRay McDermott Middle Eastwas awarded the estimated $450 millio
  • Market recovers from Katrina

    Oil prices slipped back in the first week of September following the spike caused by Hurricane Katrina, as other nations rallied round to offer product supplies and some refineries in the Gulf of Mexico came back on stream. However, OPEC still seems set to raise the production ceiling again at its forthcoming meeting. Spot Brent was trading at $63.37 a barrel on 7 September, compared with $66.97 a week earlier.
  • Markets brace for Rita

    The oil markets reacted nervously to the arrival of another category 4 hurricane in the Gulf of Mexico - home to most of the US' oil refineries - just weeks after the devastation of Hurricane Katrina. Spot Brent climbed to $64.20 a barrel in London on 21 September, up from $63.57 a week earlier, as television pictures showed Hurricane Rita smashing its way through the Florida Keys and across the Gulf. US light sweet crude prices climbed to $67.30 a barrel.
  • Markets see Emily play

    Oil prices fell slightly in the third week of July, as Hurricane Emily caused less damage than feared and OPEC downgraded its 2005 demand growth forecast. Spot Brent was trading at $57.04 a barrel on 20 July, compared with $59.04 a barrel a week earlier.
  • Marriott takes RiverWalk

    US-based hotel operator Marriott Internationalhas signed an agreement to manage two hotel properties at US-based Capital Partners'$1,000 million RiverWalk development in Dubai Internet City.
  • Marriott takes RiverWalk

    US-based hotel operator Marriott Internationalhas signed an agreement to manage two hotel properties at US-based Capital Partners'$1,000 million RiverWalk development in Dubai Internet City.
  • MATERIALS: Levelling the playing field

    The worst seems to be over. After putting up with a substantial across-the-board increase in the price of construction materials over the past 16 months, contractors in the kingdom are heaving a sigh of relief.
  • McDermott wins Safaniya contract

    US-based J Ray McDermott announced on 20 August that two of its subsidiaries - Jebel Ali-based J Ray McDermott (Middle East) and the local McDermott Arabia Company - had been awarded the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract to fabricate and install new pipelines, platforms and associated infrastructure at the three offshore oil fields of Safaniya, Zuluf and Marjan. The contract was placed by Saudi Aramco, which in mid-August awa
  • Mecca & MEDINA: Prime locations

    The centre of Mecca has changed beyond recognition over the last two years, as swathes of the city have been cleared to make way for some of the world's largest buildings. The Jabal Omar project, right, is the biggest of several large developments in Mecca. It involves the construction of 11 high-rise towers, which will include two five-star hotels, three four-star hotels and six three-star hotels, as well as residences for about 100,000 people and car parking for more than 10,000 vehicles. The
  • MEG wins Mukhaizna FEED

    Canada-based WorleyParsons MEGhas been awarded the contract to carry out front-end engineering and design (FEED) studies on the Mukhaizna enhanced oil recovery (EOR) project. The estimated $2,000 million scheme 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. A consortium led by the US' Occidental PetroleumCorporationand Abu Dhabi government-owned Liwa Petroleumi
  • MEW awards substation, pipeline contracts

    Three contract awards have been made by the Ministry of Electricity & Water (MEW) on the project to install three new 220-kV substations to serve the Bahrain Financial Harbour, Seef and Sitra. Europe's ABBhas been awarded the switchgear package for about BD 10 million ($26.3 million), while Japan's Sumitomo Corporationwas selected for the transformers contract, for about BD 8 million ($21.1 million). Saudi Cable Companyhas won the cabling package worth about B
  • Midmac wins NDIA roads

    The local Midmac Contracting has won the latest major contract on the New Doha International Airport (NDIA) project, having been awarded in late August the QR 717 million ($197 million) airside/landside roads and parking package. The award is the 11th on the estimated $2,500 million development which is being handled by the NDIA Steering Committee; US-based Bechtelis its engineering, procurement and construction management (EPCM) contractor (MEED 15:7:05).
  • Midmac wins NDIA roads

    The local Midmac Contracting has won the latest major contract on the New Doha International Airport (NDIA) project, having been awarded in late August the QR 717 million ($197 million) airside/landside roads and parking package. The award is the 11th on the estimated $2,500 million development which is being handled by the NDIA Steering Committee; US-based Bechtelis its engineering, procurement and construction management (EPCM) contractor (MEED 15:7:05).
  • MIGRANT LABOUR: Another day in paradise

    On a Friday morning, Raju Goyal is waiting for a bus to take him from Jebel Ali to Jumeirah beach. 'They say Dubai has good beaches and everyone goes out at the weekend. It is our turn today to enjoy them,' he says. 'I have put on my best shirt and trousers and will take photographs to be sent home to my family.'
  • MIGRANT LABOUR: Another day in paradise

    On a Friday morning, Raju Goyal is waiting for a bus to take him from Jebel Ali to Jumeirah beach. 'They say Dubai has good beaches and everyone goes out at the weekend. It is our turn today to enjoy them,' he says. 'I have put on my best shirt and trousers and will take photographs to be sent home to my family.'
  • Military adviser gunned down

    Palestinian militants on 7 September shot dead a military adviser to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. Militant coalition the Popular Resistance Committees (PRC) claimed responsibility for the murder of Moussa Arafat, a former national security chief and cousin to the late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat. 'The Salaheddin Brigades claims to have eliminated the collaborator Moussa Arafat and kidnapped his son Manhal for reasons to be announced later,' a PRC spokesman said. The P
  • Millions go missing from Defence Ministry

    The UK Independent newspaper reported on 19 September that $1,000 million had been stolen from Iraq's Defence Ministry in 'one of the largest thefts in history'. The money was intended to train and arm Iraq's new military. 'Huge amounts of money have disappeared. In return we got nothing but scraps of metal,' Defence Minister Ali Allawi told the paper. Most of the missing cash was spent buying weapons from Poland and Pakistan, the paper said. A Baghdad company signed the arms contracts, whi
  • Minister calls for market reform

    Economy & Planning Minister Sheikha Lubna bint Khaled al-Qassimi, delivering the keynote address at the Third MEED Middle East Capital Markets conference in Dubai on 20 September, called for further reform of the federation's legal framework to encourage more companies to go public.
  • Mitsui eyes Qatargas 3 stake

    Japan's Mitsui & Companyhas signed a heads of agreement (HoA) with Qatar Petroleum ( QP)to acquire a 1.5 per cent equity stake in the Qatargas 3 project. The HoA also provides for Mitsui to purchase up to 10 million barrels a year of condensate for a period of 13 years and raises the possibility of the Japanese trading house offtaking some of the 7.8 million tonnes a year of liquefied natural gas (LNG) from the integrated project. Mitsui's presence will enhanc
  • Mohammedia tenders out

    Bids are due by early November for two contracts, worth an estimated total of Eur 150 million ($183 million), on the Mohammedia refinery project. Financial close on the estimated $750 million project is expected in mid-November. The client, Societe Anonyme Marocaine de l'Industrie du Raffinage (Samir),has invited bids for an estimated Eur 100 million ($122 million) contract to build a 22-inch-diameter, 250-kilometre-long gas pipeline between the 125,000-barrel-a-day refinery and Ouaz
  • More bond programmes on the cards

    The National Commercial Bank (NCB) is planning a $1,500 million euro medium-term note (EMTN) programme, arranged by Deutsche Bank. Fitchhas issued the programme with a long-term A and a short-term F1 rating, at the same time as upgrading the bank's ratings to the same levels, with a stable outlook.
  • More creek work out to bid

    Dubai Municipality has invited contractors to bid by 16 October for the fourth package on the Ras al-Khor creek crossing project. The contract, valued at about AED 400 million ($108 million), will take about 15 months to complete. It calls for the construction of at least three interchanges near the Sheikh Zayed highway. The scope of works includes bridge structures, road widening, underpasses and associated landscaping work. The Ras al-Khor crossing will be located 1.5 kilometres to the east of
  • More creek work out to bid

    Dubai Municipality has invited contractors to bid by 16 October for the fourth package on the Ras al-Khor creek crossing project. The contract, valued at about AED 400 million ($108 million), will take about 15 months to complete. It calls for the construction of at least three interchanges near the Sheikh Zayed highway. The scope of works includes bridge structures, road widening, underpasses and associated landscaping work. The Ras al-Khor crossing will be located 1.5 kilometres to the east of
  • More Hawiyah NGL work awarded

    Dammam-based Zamil Steel announced on 28 August that it was awarded a SR 41 million ($11 million) subcontract covering the fabrication and supply of structured steel for the Hawiyah natural gas liquids (NGL) project. The order was placed by Japan's JGC Corporation, which is the main contractor for package 1 of the programme under a $1,000 million contract placed by Saudi Aramco. It calls for the construction of a main plant with capacity to treat 3,800 million
  • More refinery work out to bid

    State Company for Oil Projects (SCOP)has invited international contractors to submit bids by 10 November for the contract to supply and install a 6,000-barrel-a-day (b/d) naphtha hydrodesulphurisation (HDS) unit and a 4,000-b/d catalytic reforming unit at the 30,000-b/d Nasiriyah refinery in the south. Prospective bidders have until 20 October to purchase tender documents.
  • More time for DSC sewage plant

    Six companies have now been given until 26 September to submit bids for the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract on a 25,000-cubic-metre-a-day (cm/d) sewage treatment plant (STP) at Dubai Sports City (DSC) using a membrane bioreactor (MBR) system. The prequalified companies include Aquator Emirates, a subsidiary of the UK's ACWa Services, France's Veolia Water Systems, an affiliate of Vivendi Universal, and Eagle Electro
  • More time for Jeddah airport bids

    The Presidency of Civil Aviation Affairs has extended the bid deadline to 22 October for the contract to upgrade and renovate the existing runway at King Abdulaziz International Airport (KAIA). The design and build contract involves upgrades to the airfield facilities, airfield pavement and lighting, fuel network systems and the stormwater drainage network. Contractors will submit bids along with equipment manufacturers. Six groups of companies are prequalified to bid for the package. The contra
  • More time for Jeddah airport bids

    The Presidency of Civil Aviation Affairs has extended the bid deadline to 22 October for the contract to upgrade and renovate the existing runway at King Abdulaziz International Airport (KAIA). The design and build contract involves upgrades to the airfield facilities, airfield pavement and lighting, fuel network systems and the stormwater drainage network. Contractors will submit bids along with equipment manufacturers. Six groups of companies are prequalified to bid for the package. The contra
  • More vanity work for Jumeirah

    Dubai Municipality has invited contractors to bid by 18 September for more beautification work in Jumeirah's Mina area. The project, which calls for general landscaping and associated roadworks, is estimated to cost about $25 million. In April the local Emirates Road Contractingand Saudi Binladin Groupwere awarded three contracts worth $40 million to beautify and add an extra lane between the Burj al-Arab hotel and Union Square on Jumeirah Beach road (MEED 29:4:05).
  • More vanity work for Jumeirah

    Dubai Municipality has invited contractors to bid by 18 September for more beautification work in Jumeirah's Mina area. The project, which calls for general landscaping and associated roadworks, is estimated to cost about $25 million. In April the local Emirates Road Contractingand Saudi Binladin Groupwere awarded three contracts worth $40 million to beautify and add an extra lane between the Burj al-Arab hotel and Union Square on Jumeirah Beach road (MEED 29:4:05).
  • More villa work rolled out for capital

    Local property developer Surouh Real Estate Company has invited contractors to bid by 6 October for the contract to build a new residential area near the capital's Khalifa City.The estimated $135 million project entails the construction of a district covering an area of about 136,000 square metres. The scope of works includes 484 two-five-bedroom villas, a clubhouse, mosque, 20 substations, staff accommodation and associated infrastructure works. The local Ewan Architectural
  • More villa work rolled out for capital

    Local property developer Surouh Real Estate Company has invited contractors to bid by 6 October for the contract to build a new residential area near the capital's Khalifa City.The estimated $135 million project entails the construction of a district covering an area of about 136,000 square metres. The scope of works includes 484 two-five-bedroom villas, a clubhouse, mosque, 20 substations, staff accommodation and associated infrastructure works. The local Ewan Architectural
  • More work out for Al-Quoz development

    Bids are due by 14 September for the infrastructure package on the Al-Quoz land development programme. The scope of works includes the construction of internal roads, telecommunications infrastructure, potable water, sanitary and drainage systems, and pumping stations. The residential project, which covers an area of about 279,000 square metres, is scheduled to be completed by late 2006. The local Associated Construction & Investment Company (Ascon)has been awarded the estimated $76
  • More work out for Al-Quoz development

    Bids are due by 14 September for the infrastructure package on the Al-Quoz land development programme. The scope of works includes the construction of internal roads, telecommunications infrastructure, potable water, sanitary and drainage systems, and pumping stations. The residential project, which covers an area of about 279,000 square metres, is scheduled to be completed by late 2006. The local Associated Construction & Investment Company (Ascon)has been awarded the estimated $76
  • Mott picked for Satah

    The UK's Mott MacDonaldhas been awarded the contract to provide project management consultancy (PMC) services on the proposed Satah full-field development project in Abu Dhabi. Mott beat off competition from two other bidders - Parsons E&C, part of Australia's WorleyParsons, and the US/Canadian VECO - for the contract (MEED 11:3:05).
  • Mouchel runs DMC project

    The UK's Mouchel Parkmanhas been selected to provide consultancy services for all infrastructure works on the Dubai Maritime City (DMC) project - a major mixed-use offshore facility to serve the region's maritime industry. Located at a site between Port Rashid and Dubai Dry Docks, it will be built as a peninsula over an area of 25 million square feet. Handled by local real estate developer Nakheel, the project calls for the construction of facilities for the design, manu
  • Mouchel runs DMC project

    The UK's Mouchel Parkmanhas been selected to provide consultancy services for all infrastructure works on the Dubai Maritime City (DMC) project - a major mixed-use offshore facility to serve the region's maritime industry. Located at a site between Port Rashid and Dubai Dry Docks, it will be built as a peninsula over an area of 25 million square feet. Handled by local real estate developer Nakheel, the project calls for the construction of facilities for the design, manu
  • MPs step up anti-Project Kuwait rhetoric

    Opposition to Project Kuwait is growing at the National Assembly (parliament) as a vote nears on the upstream initiative's enabling law, with several MPs calling for the scheme to be scrapped. One prominent legislator, Ahmed Sadoon, described the project as 'the theft of the century', according to local newspaper reports.
  • MPWH carries on with hospital roll-out

    The Ministry of Public Works & Housing (MPWH) has invited contractors to bid by 5 September for the design and build contract to build two hospitals in Sharjah and Ajman. The hospitals are part of an estimated AED 500 million ($136 million) plan to build five hospitals across the federation (MEED 29:10:04).
  • MPWH carries on with hospital roll-out

    The Ministry of Public Works & Housing (MPWH) has invited contractors to bid by 5 September for the design and build contract to build two hospitals in Sharjah and Ajman. The hospitals are part of an estimated AED 500 million ($136 million) plan to build five hospitals across the federation (MEED 29:10:04).
  • MPWH extends Dubai-Fujairah freeway

    The Ministry of Public Works & Housing (MPWH) has extended the bid deadline to 12 September for the first two packages on the Dubai-Fujairah freeway project. Contract 1 calls for the construction of 23 kilometres of highway at the 45-68-kilometre mark, while the second contract will see construction of 22 kilometres between the 68-90-kilometre mark. The scope of works includes bridges, underpasses, tunnels and access slip roads to ensure uninterrupted traffic. Construction will also include a ne
  • MPWH extends Dubai-Fujairah freeway

    The Ministry of Public Works & Housing (MPWH) has extended the bid deadline to 12 September for the first two packages on the Dubai-Fujairah freeway project. Contract 1 calls for the construction of 23 kilometres of highway at the 45-68-kilometre mark, while the second contract will see construction of 22 kilometres between the 68-90-kilometre mark. The scope of works includes bridges, underpasses, tunnels and access slip roads to ensure uninterrupted traffic. Construction will also include a ne
  • MTC capital hike approved

    Shareholders in local telecoms operator MTChave approved plans by the board to double capital to KD 109.4 million ($377.2 million). The additional funds will help finance regional and global expansion, including repayment of the $2,400 million bridge loan taken out for the acquisition of Amsterdam-based CelTeland the planned acquisition of a new long-term licence in Iraq (MEED 5:8:05).
  • Mubarak challenger seeks rerun

    President Mubarak's main rival in the presidential elections demanded a rerun on 8 September after allegations of vote rigging. Al-Ghad party leader Ayman Nour asked that the Presidential Election Commission postpone the result. 'We request halting the announcement of the result: and look forward to your just and fair decision in rerunning the elections and specifying a date for the rerun,' said a petition launched by Nour. Independent monitors reported ballot stuffing, intimidation and bri
  • Mubarak promises political reform

    Egypt's recently re-elected President Mubarak pledged on 11 September to pursue political reform. 'The true victory is the victory of democracy and pluralism,' Mubarak said in his first speech since he swept the presidential poll on 7 September. 'The pursuit of reforms is irrevocable.' Mubarak vowed to build a modern and democratic Egypt. 'I say to the young, the workers, the peasants, the intellectuals and the middle classes: I will stand by your side and support your causes and ambitions.
  • Mubarak swears in for another six years

    President Mubarak was sworn in on 27 September for a fifth six-year term in office. 'I will work with the utmost determination toward the implementation of the programme I proposed during the electoral campaign,' he said. 'The election was not the end, what is important now is to realise the aspirations of the people and march forward. We will do this with an unalterable determination to pursue reform.' He pledged to pursue democratisation and economic liberalisation. 'We will hold legislat
  • Mubarak to visit Israel, King Abdullah will not

    Tel Aviv has invited Egyptian President Mubarak to visit Israel, Israeli Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom said on 5 September. He said the president would visit Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon at his ranch in the autumn. '[Mubarak] has received an invitation and if he chooses to take us up on that invitation, we will host him in a very warm fashion,' Israeli government spokesman Mark Regev said. Mubarak has never travelled to Israel before for talks, although he did attend the funeral of
  • Mubarak victory expected

    On the eve of Egypt's presidential elections, President Mubarak looked set to sweep the polls and assume a fifth term in office. Ten candidates will stand in Egypt's first multi-candidate elections, but Mubarak is not seen to face any real competition from opposition leaders. The race for second place is widely predicted to be between Ayman Nour of Al-Ghad party and Numan Gumaa of the Wafd party. The Egyptian press has turned its attention to voter turnout. Low turnout would affect the legi
  • Muscat signs up for Dolphin gas

    Abu Dhabi-based Dolphin Energy announced on 5 September that it had signed a 25-year gas sales agreement with Oman Oil Company (OOC)to deliver 200 million cubic feet a day of Qatari gas to the sultanate starting in early 2008. The final agreement came 16 months after the companies signed a memorandum of understanding (MEED 23:4:04). The Dolphin gas grid in the UAE is already connected to the sultanate's through a 45-kilometre pipeline running through Buraimi and tying int
  • Mustang studies CFC units for Petrokemya

    US-based Mustang Engineering is due to complete by late September a concept study covering the replacement of chloro-fluorocarbon (CFC) units at the refrigeration facilities serving the vinyl chlorine monomer (VCM) process plant of Jubail-based Arabian Petrochemical Company (Petrokemya), a subsidiary of Saudi Basic Industries Corporation (Sabic). The study will suggest options to replace the units with more environmentally-friendly alternatives. The next stage
  • Najaf airport out to bid

    The Transportation Ministry has invited local and international contractors to bid by 2 October for the contract to build a greenfield international airport near Najaf. The proposed airport will have capacity of about 2.5 million passengers and 5,000 tonnes a year of cargo (MEED 5:8:05).
  • Najaf airport out to bid

    The Transportation Ministry has invited local and international contractors to bid by 2 October for the contract to build a greenfield international airport near Najaf. The proposed airport will have capacity of about 2.5 million passengers and 5,000 tonnes a year of cargo (MEED 5:8:05).
  • Nakheel golf work tees off

    Dubai-based property developer Nakheelhas invited contractors to bid by 25 September for the first enabling works package on the estimated $135 million Jumeirah Golf Estates development. The scope of works calls for the excavation and disposal of 3 million cubic metres of rock. The consultant is the local office of KEO International Consultants. The project entails construction of residential communities surrounding four themed golf courses - Earth, Fire, Water and Wind.
  • Nakheel golf work tees off

    Dubai-based property developer Nakheelhas invited contractors to bid by 25 September for the first enabling works package on the estimated $135 million Jumeirah Golf Estates development. The scope of works calls for the excavation and disposal of 3 million cubic metres of rock. The consultant is the local office of KEO International Consultants. The project entails construction of residential communities surrounding four themed golf courses - Earth, Fire, Water and Wind.
  • Nakheel Interview: Recolonising the environment

    Dubai's Nakheel is pressing ahead with some of the world's biggest ever offshore developments. Imad Haffar, the company's head of environmental research, explains what is being done to minimise their environmental impact
  • Nass/Murray & Roberts team builds bridges

    The team of the local AA Nass Contractingand South Africa's Murray & Roberts Contractors (Middle East) has been awarded the contract to build the 13 bridges linking the various sections of the Durrat al-Bahrain resort. The client is a joint venture of the Finance Ministry and Kuwait Finance House (KFH- MEED 5:8:05).
  • Nass/Murray & Roberts team builds bridges

    The team of the local AA Nass Contractingand South Africa's Murray & Roberts Contractors (Middle East) has been awarded the contract to build the 13 bridges linking the various sections of the Durrat al-Bahrain resort. The client is a joint venture of the Finance Ministry and Kuwait Finance House (KFH- MEED 5:8:05).
  • Nasser al-Hajri takes PDH subcontract

    The local Nasser al-Hajri Corporation has been awarded a $40 million-50 million subcontract covering civils, buildings and mechanical works for the new propylene project under construction in Yanbu. The 22-month contract was placed by the local/German team of Al-Jomaih & Petrobau Saudi Arabia Companyand Lurgi, which is carrying out the lump-sum turnkey (LSTK) contract on the scheme. The project will be operated by limited liability company The National
  • National first for Jeddah Chamber of Commerce

    The Trade and Industry Minister decided on 14 September to permit women to stand in board elections at the Jeddah Chamber of Commerce and Industry. This will be the first time women have been allowed to be candidates in board elections at any of the kingdom's business chambers. The elections were due at the end of September but will be rescheduled because of the unexpected decision. The election committee previously rejected seven women candidates who put themselves forward in August. Busin
  • NBE loan goes for syndication

    A $300 million loan for National Bank of Egypt (NBE)has been launched into syndication, with ticket sizes of $5 million-20 million being offered. The mandated lead arranging (MLA) group is made up of Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi, Barclays Capital, Citigroup, National Bank of Egypt (UK)and Standard Chartered Bank. The proceeds of the three-year loan, which has a margin of 47.5 basis points over Libor, will be used for general fun
  • NBO appoints Aussie CEO

    Andrew Duff has been appointed chief executive officer (CEO) of National Bank of Oman (NBO), replacing Bellikoth Vasanthan, who had been in charge since July 2004. Duff, an Australian, joins NBO from his position as chief operating officer at Commercial Bank of Qatar, which in July acquired a 34.9 per cent stake in NBO and signed a three-year management agreement. Vasanthan had been brought in largely with a cost-cutting remit. NBO returned to profitability in 2004, after
  • NCB takes Sipchem advisory

    National Commercial Bank (NCB)has been appointed to arrange an initial public offering (IPO) of shares in Saudi International Petrochemical Company (Sipchem). NCB will act as financial adviser, lead manager and lead underwriter on the offering. The funds raised will part-finance Sipchem's phase 2 expansion, entailing construction of an acetic acid and vinyl acetate monomer (VAM) complex at Jubail, due on stream in 2008. Sipchem, which has capital of SR 1,500 million ($400 mill
  • Nesma nets SHY-1 work

    The local Nesma & Partners Contracting Company was awarded in mid-August the lump-sum turnkey (LSTK) contract to carry out a first package on the debottlenecking of the Shedgum-Yanbu east-west-1 (SHY-1) natural gas liquids (NGL) pipeline. The two-year contract - which is worth in excess of $60 million - calls for the installation of an intermediate NGL pumping station with three 50 per cent combustion gas turbines at the east-west crude oil pump station 6 (MEED 14:5:04).
  • New CEO for Oman airports manager

    George Bellew has been appointed chief executive officer (CEO) of Oman Airports Management Company, the now wholly government-owned entity which manages Seeb and Salalah airports. Bellew was previously CEO of New Zealand's Christchurch International Airportand he replaces Colin Hobbs, who has returned to the UK following the breakdown in late 2004 of a private management agreement with a consortium led by the UK's British Airports Authority (BAA). The new CEO
  • New head for IBQ

    Michael Williams has been appointed general manager of International Bank of Qatar (IBQ), replacing Desmond Holmes. Williams joins the bank from National Bank of Fujairahand has also worked at Barclaysand Nomura Securities. National Bank of Kuwait owns a 20 per cent stake in IBQ and also has a management contract (see Special Report).
  • New Kharg NGL extension

    The deadline to bid for the $1,200 million Kharg natural gas liquids (NGL) plant has been pushed back by two months to December, as a result of several new consortia entering the race. The tendering has suffered more extensive delays than almost any other major project in the country and is now running so late that associated downstream facilities will be deprived of feedstock for months or even years, wasting hundreds of millions of dollars (MEED 24:6:05).
  • New prices in for Jebel Ali refinery

    Fresh prices were submitted in mid-September by three companies to Dubai-based ENOC Processing Company (EPCL)for the main contract on its $350 million Jebel Ali condensate refinery expansion project. Bids were submitted on a reimbursible basis, with an option for conversion to a lump-sum turnkey (LSTK) contract. Companies to participate in the repricing exercise are Paris-based Technip, US-based Foster Wheeler and Engineers India (EIL - MEED 14:6:0
  • New Sudanese VP meets Mubarak

    Sudan's new vice-president Salva Kiir Miyardit held talks with Egyptian President Mubarak on 1 September and a number of senior Egyptian officials. The talks reportedly focussed on the conflict in the Darfur region of Sudan and the peace deal between former southern Sudanese rebels and Khartoum. Egypt shares a long desert border with Sudan and hosts the Sudanese opposition group, the Northern Democratic Alliance.Kiir took over as head of the Sudan People's Liberation Movement
  • New timeline for City Centre

    In a further revision to the contracting schedule, bids are now due by 24 September for the main construction contract on the Bahrain City Centre mall, to be built on reclaimed land in the Seef district of Manama. In a revised tender issued to the four prospective bidders, two 16-storey hotels are now included, in addition to the three-storey mall, which will have a built-up area of 450,000 square metres. The client, Dubai-based Majid al-Futtaim Investments (MAF), had been due to iss
  • New timeline for City Centre

    In a further revision to the contracting schedule, bids are now due by 24 September for the main construction contract on the Bahrain City Centre mall, to be built on reclaimed land in the Seef district of Manama. In a revised tender issued to the four prospective bidders, two 16-storey hotels are now included, in addition to the three-storey mall, which will have a built-up area of 450,000 square metres. The client, Dubai-based Majid al-Futtaim Investments (MAF), had been due to iss
  • Nine asked to enrol for school job

    Nine category-A local contractors have been invited to submit bids by 2 October for the main package on the estimated $40 million American School of Doha project. The contract involves the renovation of the existing school and increasing its capacity to 1,700 students from 900. A phased completion is envisaged starting in August 2006 and ending in March 2007. The US' Hillieris the design consultant; the project manager is the US' Hill International(MEED 15:7:05).
  • Nine asked to enrol for school job

    Nine category-A local contractors have been invited to submit bids by 2 October for the main package on the estimated $40 million American School of Doha project. The contract involves the renovation of the existing school and increasing its capacity to 1,700 students from 900. A phased completion is envisaged starting in August 2006 and ending in March 2007. The US' Hillieris the design consultant; the project manager is the US' Hill International(MEED 15:7:05).
  • Nour hits back

    Al-Ghad party leader Ayman Nour staked his claim to leadership of the Egyptian opposition on 20 September and said he would join with other anti-government politicians for the upcoming parliamentary elections. He rebuffed a leadership challenge from within Al-Ghad during its general assembly and dismissed his upcoming trial on forgery charges as trumped up attempts to discredit him. Cairo's parties affairs committee is investigating Al-Ghad and has frozen its activities because of a reporte
  • Nour hits back

    The head of Al-Ghad Party Ayman Nour staked his claim to leadership of the Egyptian opposition on 20 September and said he would join with other anti-government politicians for the upcoming parliamentary elections. He rebuffed a leadership challenge from within Al-Ghad during its general assembly and dismissed his upcoming trial on forgery charges as trumped up attempts to discredit him. Cairo's Parties Affairs Committee is investigating Al-Ghad and has frozen its activities because of a re
  • Novus plans unmanned platform at West Bukha

    Bids were submitted in late August to Novus Oman, part of Novus Petroleum of Australia, for a contract to carry out front-end engineering and design (FEED) and detailed engineering for the fabrication of an unmanned wellhead platform at the offshore West Bukha field. The bidders include Australia's WorleyParsons, the UK's Mott MacDonald, Tebodin Middle East, part of Tebodin of the Netherlands, and Switzerland-based
  • NSGB wins race to buy MIBank

    National Societe Generale Bank (NSGB), the local subsidiary of Societe Generale (SocGen), has acquired a majority stake in partly state-owned Misr International Bank (MIBank). The acquisition of Egypt's second largest bank in terms of assets will result in the formation of the country's biggest private sector bank, with total assets worth about£E 30,000 million ($5,200 million - MEED 5:8:05).
  • Nuclear pressure puts oil deals in jeopardy

    The EU has reconsidered referring Iran to the UN Security Council for sanctions due to pressure from Moscow and Beijing, the BBC reported on 22 September. Supreme National Security Council (SNSC) head Ali Larijani warned the EU that pressure to halt its nuclear programme is putting oil deals at risk, the UK's Financial Times reported. 'Some countries with economic interests especially in oil do not show any feelings of responsibility. The SNSC is determined to create a balance and provide t
  • OCI enters white cement market

    A consortium comprising Denmark's FL Smidth (FLS)and the local arm of Egypt's Orascom Construction Industries (OCI)has been awarded the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract to build the country's first white cement plant.
  • October trial for Saddam

    Baghdad confirmed on 4 September that the trial of former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein would begin on 19 October. Several other former regime members, including Saddam's half brother and intelligence chief Barzan al-Tikriti and former vice-president Taha Yassin Ramadan, will also stand trial alongside Saddam for the massacre of more than 140 Shia men in the village of Dujail in 1982. Saddam could be executed if found guilty. He also faces a raft of other charges, which government spokesman L
  • Oil concessions inked

    The Oil & Gas Ministry on 6 September signed agreements with three international oil companies for exploration in two blocks in the sultanate. A Danish/Swedish team took onshore block 15, in the Dhahirah region, and Ireland's Circle Oil was awarded offshore block 52, close to the Yemeni border.
  • OIL STABILISATION FUND: Industry gets a $10,000 million injection

    Iranian private industry is undergoing a massive expansion, financed by low-interest loans from the Oil Stabilisation Fund (OSF) and powered by access to cheap natural gas. Since its establishment in 2000, the OSF has awarded loans totalling $6,500 million to private and semi-private industrial projects and approved further loans of $3,500 million.
  • Oil's number nears $66 oil prices

    Oil prices rose again as August drew to a close, on the back of a number of actual and potential supply disruptions. At the same time the threat to the global economy was brought into focus by an IMF report. Spot Brent was trading at $65.79 a barrel on 24 August, compared with $62.60 a barrel a week earlier.
  • OMV sells offshore assets to Marubeni

    Austria's OMVhas sold its 7.5 per cent interests in offshore blocks 12 and 13 to Japan's Marubeni Corporationfor an undisclosed amount. The sale, subject to approval by the government and consortium partners, is part of OMV's programme to rationalise its exploration and production (E&P) portfolio. OMV acquired the offshore assets through its 2003 purchase of the E&P international portfolio of Germany's Preussag Energie International. Anadarko Qatar Ene
  • One thousand killed in Baghdad stampede

    National mourning declared after Shia festival disaster
  • OPEC expected to stick with production quota

    OPEC was expected at the start of a two-day meeting on 19 September to stick to its production ceiling and leave output quotas untouched. Oil consumer countries had anticipated a production increase of more than 500,000 barrels a day (b/d). The cartel is leaning toward sustaining existing output with an option to up crude production by 2 million b/d when required, OPEC president and Kuwait Energy Minister Sheikh Ahmad al-Fahad al-Sabah said. Several members have objected to p
  • OPEC to consider production increase

    OPEC members will discuss raising oil production when they meet in mid-September, the cartel's spokesman Abdulrahman al-Kheraigi said on 29 August. 'Increasing the [production] ceiling has not been ruled out, but no decision has been made,' he said. 'I am sure OPEC will take any necessary measure: to meet any additional growth in demand for the remainder of the year and 2006: to curb the high oil prices.'OPEC president Sheikh Ahmed Fahad al-Sabah said current high oil prices
  • OPIC offers reconstruction funds

    The US' Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) has approved $150 million in financing for a new trust facility aimed at supporting Iraqi Trade Bank (ITB) to rebuild the country's economy. The first $70 million tranche has been arranged by Citigroupon a six-month revolving basis. OPIC will guarantee financing by ITB to foreign exporters involved in reconstruction efforts. The agreement is the first facility that ITB has secured from a commercial bank and will allow ITB to issu
  • OT trims operations

    Cairo-based Orascom Telecom(OT) announced on 15 September the sale of its 100 per cent direct equity stake in Oasis, its operator in the Democratic Republic of Congo, for $35 million. The telco acquired the stake in the company through its wholly owned subsidiary Telecelin April 2000.
  • PA assets frozen in US

    The federal court in Rhode Island froze on 31 August all the US assets of the Palestinian Authority (PA). The court made its ruling after the PA failed to compensate the family of a Jewish couple murdered by Hamas in 1996. The family filed a suit against the PA and the Palestinian Liberation Organisation (PLO) in 2000. US law permits compensation claims against groups responsible for the deaths of US citizens. The relatives asked the court to freeze the PA's assets in April, claiming that t
  • Palestinian infighting on horizon

    Hamas warned on 26 August of factional splits and a popular uprising against the Palestinian Authority (PA). 'If the PA cannot meet the people's basic needs, there will be a new intifada not against Israel but among ourselves,' said Hamas leader in Gaza's Jabaliya refugee camp, Fathi Hamad. 'There will be a huge popular uprising. Hamas is preparing for mass demonstrations.'Hamad said the PA only spoke for some Palestinians and predicted that Hamas would defeat the ruling Fata
  • Palestinian militants end truce

    Al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades called an end to a six-month truce with Israel on 29 September. 'There will be no limits to our responses: We need to protect our people,' said the group's leader Zakaria Zubaidi after Israeli troops killed Al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigade local leader Samer Saadi in Jenin and two Islamic Jihad militants. 'The Zionist enemy only understands the language of bullets. We in the Al-Aqsa Brigades have committed ourselves to the truce but this enemy is not committing to the truc
  • Palestinian minister takes Sharon to task

    Palestinian Planning Minister Ghassan Khatib on 16 September criticised Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's speech to the UN General Assembly as deceptive. 'This was a public relations speech to exploit the withdrawal from Gaza and to realise diplomatic gains, no more. It has no credibility as he goes on with his policy to build the [West Bank] barrier and settlements,' he said.'Israel is asking us to assume our responsibilities in the Gaza Strip when the fact is that Israe
  • Palestinian police to restore border order

    About 1,500 Palestinian security officers were deployed to Gaza's border with Egypt on 17 September to restore order. Palestinians have been streaming across the frontier through unmanned holes in the border fence to visit family and buy goods in the Egyptian half of Rafah town. Israeli troops withdrew from the Rafah terminal on 12 September as they completed their pullout from Gaza ( MEED 14
  • Pars LNG FEED nears

    The front-end engineering and design (FEED) package for the Pars liquefied natural gas (LNG) project is likely to be completed in October, allowing the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) tender to be issued. However, contractors are not likely to be called to bid for several months (MEED 15:7:05).
  • Parsons picked for Fertil work

    Ruwais Fertiliser Industries (Fertil) has formally awarded Australia's WorleyParsons the project management consultancy (PMC) covering the front-end engineering and design (FEED) phase on its planned urea debottlenecking project. The scheme will involve the installation of a 350-tonne-a-day carbon dioxide unit and a major granulation unit. The proposed expansion is aimed at utilising additional volumes of feedstock gas (MEED 12:8:05).
  • Parsons to upgrade SEK masterplan

    Australia's WorleyParsonshas been awarded a contract to review and upgrade the masterplan involving the existing surface production facilities in the oil fields of southern and southeastern Kuwait (SEK). The scope of works for the 18-month contract includes the development of a new infrastructure masterplan (IMP), suggesting ways for an artificial lift and carrying out a study to replace the ageing equipment. The contract will also involve replacing existing pipelines and crude manif
  • PCO cancels KBR oil contract

    The Project & Contracting Office (PCO) has cancelled the US' Kellogg Brown & Root's(KBR)24-month indefinite delivery/indefinite quantity (ID/IQ) contract to repair and upgrade oil infrastructure in the country's 60 southern oil fields. The decision came after the contractor declined to work on the job without stronger protections and indemnifications should the programme run into difficulty. KBR was originally awarded the contract in March 2004, while a joint venture of the US
  • PCO tenders more power work

    The Project & Contracting Office (PCO) has issued three solicitation notices for power projects throughout the country, valued in total at about $30 million. Proposals are due by 8 September to carry out the engineering, procurement, supply, erection and commissioning (EPSEC) for the expansion of a 400-kV substation at Khor al-Zubair. The 240-day job is valued at $10 million. The PCO has also invited contractors to submit proposals by 26 September for an EPSEC contract on the Khor al-Zubair-Nasi
  • PCO to issue Baghdad multiple task order

    The Project & Contracting Office (PCO) has issued a presolicitation notice for an indefinite delivery/indefinite quantity (ID/IQ) multiple award task order contract (MATOC) for work on Iraq's 33-400-kV networks. A solicitation notice is expected to be issued on 8 September. Each individual task order will be worth $200,000-$3 million, with the total one-year programme value estimated at more than $80 million. Work will vary from the installation of 33-kV underground feeder lines to installation
  • Peremba scoops Deira hotel work

    Malaysia's Peremba Construction (PECD)has been awarded an estimated AED 65 million ($18 million) contract for the structural works on the redevelopment of the Centre Hotel & Residential Apartments in Dubai's Al-Muteena district. The contract is the second for PECD on the site following a contract for the forward works in May. Three further packages on the project are still to be awarded.
  • Peremba scoops Deira hotel work

    Malaysia's Peremba Construction (PECD)has been awarded an estimated AED 65 million ($18 million) contract for the structural works on the redevelopment of the Centre Hotel & Residential Apartments in Dubai's Al-Muteena district. The contract is the second for PECD on the site following a contract for the forward works in May. Three further packages on the project are still to be awarded.
  • Petrel takes Subha-Luhais fields

    Ireland's Petrel Resourceshas been awarded a $197 million contract by State Company for Oil Projects (SCOP)to upgrade the Subha and Luhais oil fields in the south of the country. The award is the third major field development contract awarded in Iraq since the end of combat operations almost two years ago (MEED 1:4:05).
  • Petrofac heads public

    One of the region's most active engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contractors, UAE-based Petrofac, has announced plans to launch an initial public offering (IPO) and secure a listing on the London Stock Exchange. Petrofac, which recorded total revenues of $951 million and net profits of $46 million in 2004, says that the IPO will be through a placement with institutional investors in the UK and the rest of the world. Petrofac has a major office in Sharjah and has recent
  • Petronas in co-operation deal

    Malaysia's Petronashas signed a co-operation agreement with local oil exploration and services company Tharwa Petroleum. Under the deal, the companies will carry out jointly studies to identify the hydrocarbon potential of concession areas in the country. The studies' findings will then be submitted to the local authorities for evaluation, with Petronas Carigali, Petronas' exploration and production subsidiary, to be given the first option to participate in th
  • Petronas invests in Port Sudan refinery

    Malaysia's Petronashas signed an agreement with the Energy & Mining Ministry to develop jointly a new refinery at Port Sudan. India's ONGC Videshwas earlier offered the opportunity by Khartoum to develop the facility (MEED 11:2:05).
  • Philadelphia takeover complete

    The merger between Jordan National Bank (JNB)and Philadelphia Investment Bankhas been completed, and JNB shares were relisted on 24 August. The conversion ratio was one JNB share to 500 Philadelphia shares, creating a merged entity with capital of JD 72.5 million ($102.1 million). A takeover of the ailing Philadelphia has been on the cards for some time, with various banks showing interest. Negotiations were earlier conducted with Housing Bank for Trade & Finance
  • Pipeline sabotage continues

    A bomb explosion on 21 September damaged an oil pipeline that connects the Bay Hassan oil fields to Kirkuk. The overland pipeline will take five days to repair, local police said. The IMF readjusted in August Iraq's estimated oil production to 2 million barrels a day (b/d) down from 2.4 million b/d because of insurgent sabotage of oil installations. Iraq currently exports 1.6 million b/d, mainly through ports in the south that have not been subject to as many insurgent attacks.
  • Plans rev up for Hamriyah IPP

    Plans for the construction of Sharjah's first independent power project (IPP) are gathering pace after the selection of a developer for the proposed grassroots plant. To be located in the Hamriyah Free Zone, the project aims to supply the growing number of heavy industries in the zone.
  • Plantation sows Dubailand seeds

    The UK's Plantation Holdingshas released the first construction tender on its estimated $200 million Plantation Equestrian & Polo Club project within the Dubailand development. Five local contractors have been invited to bid by early September to build the stable blocks.
  • Plantation sows Dubailand seeds

    The UK's Plantation Holdingshas released the first construction tender on its estimated $200 million Plantation Equestrian & Polo Club project within the Dubailand development. Five local contractors have been invited to bid by early September to build the stable blocks.
  • Plight of Western Sahara prisoners hangs in the balance

    The UN said on 22 September that it is investigating the plight of 35 hunger-striking prisoners from Western Sahara held in Moroccan jails. Abdel Elah bin Abdelsalam, head of the Moroccan Human Rights Association, said the prisoners were in poor health and some had been hospitalised. The association has written a letter to Prime Minister Sayyid Idris Jettou asking him to intervene. The prisoners started their hunger strike on 8 August. Most of them were arrested for rioting against Rabat in
  • PMC sought for Ras Issa refinery

    A selection is due for the position of project manager on the Ras Issa oil refinery project on the Red Sea after bids were submitted by international contractors. Estimated to cost $250 million-300 million, the proposed scheme will entail the construction of a grassroots refinery with initial nameplate capacity of 30,000 barrels a day (b/d). US-based Chicago Bridge & Iron Company (CB&I)has completed the front-end engineering and design (FEED) package, while the US/Canadian VE
  • Police clash with suspected militants

    Syrian security forces have clashed with suspected Islamist militants in Hasaka in northeast Syria, human rights activists reported on 9 September. Police killed one suspected militant and arrested two others. The incident followed a gun battle days before between police and members of the Jund al-Sham militant group, which the authorities say is planning attacks on Damascus. The group was responsible for bombing a theatre in Qatar in March and has been linked to the Taba bombings in Octobe
  • Police raid suspected Al-Qaeda base

    Saudi security forces raided a suspected terrorist hideout on 6 September after a three-day siege of the premises in Dammam. Reports said that security officials established control over the building after a long-running gun battle with the suspects inside. The gunmen were presumed to be Al-Qaeda members and had fled there after clashes with police on Prince Mohammed bin Fahd Street. Police killed five gunmen during the shooting. One of them was reported to be Saudi citizen Zaid al-Samari,
  • Port relocation set for phase 2

    The government of Sharjah and UK's Halcrow are finalising plans for the reclamation of Dibba fishing harbour as part of phase 2 of the port's relocation scheme. Total project costs are estimated at about $50 million. The first phase of the project, awarded to China Harbour Engineering, involves the construction of a new harbour south of the existing facility and the relocation of surrounding facilities. It is expected to be completed by year-end.
  • Port relocation set for phase 2

    The government of Sharjah and UK's Halcrow are finalising plans for the reclamation of Dibba fishing harbour as part of phase 2 of the port's relocation scheme. Total project costs are estimated at about $50 million. The first phase of the project, awarded to China Harbour Engineering, involves the construction of a new harbour south of the existing facility and the relocation of surrounding facilities. It is expected to be completed by year-end.
  • Ports in a storm

    There has never been a busier time for Middle East ports. From the $1,000 million Tangier Mediterranean (Tang-Med) project near the Atlantic ocean to the estimated $300 million rehabilitation and expansion of Salalah port on the Indian ocean, every country in the region is expanding or building port infrastructure in an investment programme worth billions of dollars (see projects table).
  • Pre-bid meeting held for India gas pipeline

    Four international engineering companies have attended a job explanation meeting for consultancy work on the Iran-India gas pipeline. The Indian government, which recently appointed Ernst & Youngas its financial consultant on the project, is now seeking a technical adviser. The four companies that attended are Belgium's Tractebel Engineering, Australia's WorleyParsons, JP Kenny, part of the UK's Wood Group, and Germany's Pipelin
  • Prequalification exercise under way for refinery

    State refinery operator Kuwait National Petroleum Company (KNPC)has invited international contractors to submit prequalification applications by 13 October for the construction of its new refinery at Al-Zour. At least 20 engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contractors expressed interest by the early-September deadline in the estimated $6,300 million project, which with capacity of 615,000 barrels a day will be the region's largest refinery.
  • Prequals in for Jebel Ali sewage treatment plant

    Dubai Municipality has received prequalification applications from at least nine groups for the first phase of the grassroots Jebel Ali sewage treatment plant (STP). Twenty-one civil contractors and 20 international plant firms were invited to prequalify by 19 September (MEED 9:9:05).
  • Prequals invited for Tunisie Telecom stake

    Expressions of interest have been invited by 20 September from companies interested in bidding for a stake in state-owned operator Tunisie Telecom. On offer is a 35 per cent stake. Banque d'Affaires de Tunisieis advising the government on the sale (MEED 27:5:05).
  • President pardons rebels and royalty

    Yemen's President Saleh pardoned on 25 September hundreds of Zaidi rebels and offered compensation to the ousted royal family. The pardon applies to 600 detained Zaidi fighters but not 36 followers of Hussain Badr Eddin al-Huthi. 'We declare the pardon despite the blood that spilled from 700 young men who were killed because of Al-Huthi,' Saleh said. Al-Huthi led the Faithful Youth movement in an uprising against the government until he was killed by government forces in 2004. More than 400
  • PRICE SUBSIDIES: The source of all misery

    'All of Iran's misery, wretchedness, lawlessness and corruption during the last 50 years has been caused by oil and the extortions of the oil company.' Radio Tehran broadcast these words of warning shortly after Mohammed Mossadegh became prime minister in 1951 on a promise to nationalise the oil industry.
  • Prices due for Thamama C FEED

    Commercial bids are due to be submitted by a tentative deadline of early September for the front-end engineering and design (FEED) contract involving the debottlenecking project at Thamama C in Abu Dhabi emirate. About four companies submitted technical bids in late July for the scheme. Being handled by Abu Dhabi Gas Industries Company (Gasco), the project is aimed at increasing sour gas handling capacity to 630 million cubic feet a day (cf/d) from 540 million cf/d. Commercial bids a
  • Prices sought for Qatofin LLDPE

    Commercial bids are due to be submitted on 11 September to the local/French Qatofin for the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract covering its planned 450,000-tonne-a-year (t/y) linear low-density polyethylene (LLDPE) plant at Mesaieed. Three companies - Japan's Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI), Italy's Snamprogettiand Germany's Linde - submitted technical bids in early May. An award is due in late autumn. The tender is the thir
  • Prince Talal advocates political change

    Prince Talal bin Abdulaziz said on 27 August that Saudi Arabia needed 'political reforms in the first place, then economic and social reforms, such as reforming education and the judiciary.' He said in an interview with Radio Monte Carlo that political reform would start with the introduction of a constitution. The document would be a 'social covenant between ruler and ruled, compatible with known constants in Saudi Arabia in terms of religion and genuine traditions.' The Majlis al-Shoura (
  • Privatisation moves closer for NGWA

    A consultant for the planned restructuring of the Northern Governorate Water Authority (NGWA) is due to be appointed imminently. The appointee will work with the management of NGWA to operate and maintain water and wastewater facilities in the northern region for three years, at the end of which NGWA is scheduled for privatisation. NGWA provides water supply and wastewater disposal services to a population of about 1.4 million. Deutsche Gesellschaft fuer Technische Zusammenarbeit (GTZ)is advisin
  • Pro-government papers declare Mubarak victory

    Pro-government Egyptian newspapers on 9 September reported that President Mubarak had won a fifth term in office. Unofficial media reports said that Mubarak took 80 per cent of the vote in the presidential poll two days before. 'Mubarak obtains the trust and support of the people,' government newspaper Akhbar el-Yom reported. Al-Ahram said that Mubarak had won in 15 of the 26 provinces where votes had been counted, taking 69-98 per cent of ballots. Unofficial reports put voter turnout at 19
  • Projacs picks up Sharjah jobs

    Bahrain-based Projacs Internationalhas been awarded two project management (PM) contracts in Sharjah. The first is for an estimated AED 300 million ($81.7 million) hotel and serviced apartments complex at Al-Muntaza Beach. The nine-storey building will have 300 keys and 200 apartments. A design competition is under way and completion is scheduled for late 2007. The facility is likely to be operated under either the Marriott or Sheraton chains. The second PM contract is for the constr
  • Projacs picks up Sharjah jobs

    Bahrain-based Projacs Internationalhas been awarded two project management (PM) contracts in Sharjah. The first is for an estimated AED 300 million ($81.7 million) hotel and serviced apartments complex at Al-Muntaza Beach. The nine-storey building will have 300 keys and 200 apartments. A design competition is under way and completion is scheduled for late 2007. The facility is likely to be operated under either the Marriott or Sheraton chains. The second PM contract is for the constr
  • Project managers chase Bouregreg PMS

    Bids are under evaluation for the contract to provide project management services (PMS) for the planned $2,000 million real estate development in the Bouregreg valley near Rabat. The client is Dubai International Properties, a subsidiary of Dubai Holding, which in May was awarded the development contract by state-run pension fund Caisse de Depot et de Gestion (CDG) and its affiliate SABR Amenagement(MEED 20:5:05).
  • Project managers chase Bouregreg PMS

    Bids are under evaluation for the contract to provide project management services (PMS) for the planned $2,000 million real estate development in the Bouregreg valley near Rabat. The client is Dubai International Properties, a subsidiary of Dubai Holding, which in May was awarded the development contract by state-run pension fund Caisse de Depot et de Gestion (CDG) and its affiliate SABR Amenagement(MEED 20:5:05).
  • Property rights and the democratic deficit

    The Abu Dhabi Executive Council, in August, approved a law permitting foreigners to buy leasehold rights in real estate developments in Abu Dhabi. The measure complements the activities of ALDAR Properties, the quoted Abu Dhabi developer which is moving ahead with the $15,000 million Al-Raha Beach development as detailed in MEED last week.
  • Proposals due for airport terminal

    The Supervision Committee for the Expansion of Abu Dhabi International Airport (Scadia) has invited design consultants to submit proposals by 8 October for the midfield terminal complex on the first phase of the estimated $6,800 million redevelopment of Abu Dhabi airport. Scadia has shortlisted four companies for the design competition. They are Hellmuth, Obata & Kassabaum (HOK), Skidmore Owings & Merrill (SOM)and Kohn Pederson Fox Associates (KPF), all US-bas
  • Proposals due for airport terminal

    The Supervision Committee for the Expansion of Abu Dhabi International Airport (Scadia) has invited design consultants to submit proposals by 8 October for the midfield terminal complex on the first phase of the estimated $6,800 million redevelopment of Abu Dhabi airport. Scadia has shortlisted four companies for the design competition. They are Hellmuth, Obata & Kassabaum (HOK), Skidmore Owings & Merrill (SOM)and Kohn Pederson Fox Associates (KPF), all US-bas
  • Proposals due for Amman-Zarqa line

    Technical and financial proposals are due by 27 October from prequalified companies for the estimated $100 million build-own-operate-transfer (BOOT) contract for a 26-kilometre light railway between Amman and the industrial city of Zarqa. Officials at the Public Transport Regulatory Commission (PTRC) say an award will be made in mid-November. Seven international companies are shortlisted for the contract. The PTRC estimates that the new system will carry about 45,000 passengers a day in its fir
  • Proposals in for SWCC advisories

    Thirteen prequalified companies have submitted proposals to state-owned Saline Water Conversion Corporation (SWCC) for the four advisory posts on its planned privatisation programme. Award of the advisory contracts, which cover strategic, technical, financial and legal work, are expected in the autumn (MEED 8:7:05).
  • Protesters rail against EU nuclear stance

    More than 300 protesters descended on the UK embassy in Tehran on 28 September to protest against EU attempts to send Iran to the UN Security Council for sanctions. Demonstrators threw stones and smoke bombs over the walls of the embassy compound and chanted 'nuclear energy is our legitimate right' and 'we will fight, we will die, we will never surrender'. The protest coincided with a vote in the Majlis (parliament) on a bill to reduce the number of international nuclear inspections. The bi
  • Pushing the envelope

    Within the banking sector of the wider Middle East and North Africa, the GCC is the natural focus of attention. With more than $400,000 million of assets under management and spectacular profits growth, this preoccupation is not surprising. In the first half of 2005 alone, a host of banks posted earnings growth in excess of 100 per cent and many Gulf players beat the 50 per cent mark. 'Shareholders now expect triple-digit growth,' says Mashreqbank chief executive officer Abdul Aziz al-Ghurair.
  • PWC completes rights issue

    The rights issue by the local PWC Logisticsclosed on 7 September, with a total of 71 million shares in the company sold at a fixed rate of KD 2.25 ($7.76) each, raising KD 249 million ($846 million). Shareholders submitted requests for about 110.5 million common shares, equivalent to 156 per cent of the common shares offered. National Bank of Kuwaitis the sole selling agent. PWC will use the additional funds to finance ongoing expansion, which has recently seen the compan
  • PWC stages rights issue

    The local PWC Logisticshas launched a KD 160 million ($551.7 million) rights issue. Subscription closes on 7 September to the 71 million new shares, priced at KD 2.25 ($7.76) each. National Bank of Kuwaitis the sole selling agent. PWC will use the additional funds to finance ongoing expansion, which has recently seen the company acquire the US' GeoLogistics Corporation(MEED 22:7:05).
  • PWC wins again

    The local PWC Logisticsannounced on 20 August that it had been awarded a five-year contract, worth up to $180 million, to provide warehousing and distribution services to the US Defence Logistics Agency (DLA). Under the terms of the defence distribution depot Kuwait/southwest Asia (DDKS) contract, PWC will provide climate-controlled and outdoor storage space as well as value-added services, including asset tracking, packing for ground and air transportation and IT development and imp
  • QA signs up for A350s

    Qatar Airways (QA)signed in early September a letter of intent to buy 60 A350s from Europe's Airbus. The signing came three months after it announced the $10,600 million deal at the Paris Air Show. Qatar Airways also announced on 14 September the signing of an agreement with Germany's Lufthansa Systemsfor the upgrade of its IT infrastructure (MEED 17:6:05).
  • Qatar and Israel make closer ties

    Qatar and Israel's ministers of foreign affairs met on the sidelines of the UN summit on 15 September. Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim bin Jaber al-Thani met Silvan Shalom a day after the Qatari minister urged Arab states to soften their stance toward Israel. The talks were reportedly the first step toward a Qatari-Israeli summit. 'We agreed to continue our dialogue,' Shalom said after their 30-minute meeting.'Arab countries must take a step toward Israel through an international mee
  • Qatargas 3 PIM out

    Banks have been invited to respond by 28 September to the preliminary information memorandum (PIM) on the commercial debt package to fund the integrated Qatargas 3liquefied natural gas (LNG) project. Societe Generale is acting as financial adviser (MEED 19:8:05).
  • Qatar's birthday sets the scene for an annus mirabilis

    It is by now no secret that Qatar has the world's fastest growing economy. After expanding by almost one-third in 2004, its gross domestic product (GDP) should grow by at least 25 per cent more in 2005 on the surge in world oil prices, which hit $70 a barrel for the first time on 30 August.
  • Q-Chem II downstream award close

    Qatar Chemical Company II (Q-Chem II)is close to awarding the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract to build its downstream units at Mesaieed. A group of Europe's ABBand South Korea's Daelim Industrial Companyis understood to be the frontrunner for the award, which is valued at more than $700 million (MEED 11:3:05).
  • Qipco office tower goes for tender

    Qatar Investments & Projects Development Holding Company (Qipco)has issued tender documents for its office building in West Bay, inviting prequalifiers to submit bids by 13 November. About eight international companies are prequalified for the contract to build the 50-storey building, which has been designed in the shape of a tornado and will comprise a reinforced concrete core with a structural steel frame (MEED 15:7:05).
  • Qipco office tower goes for tender

    Qatar Investments & Projects Development Holding Company (Qipco)has issued tender documents for its office building in West Bay, inviting prequalifiers to submit bids by 13 November. About eight international companies are prequalified for the contract to build the 50-storey building, which has been designed in the shape of a tornado and will comprise a reinforced concrete core with a structural steel frame (MEED 15:7:05).
  • QNB CEO replaced

    Saeed al-Misnad has stepped down as chief executive officer (CEO) of Qatar National Bank (QNB). Ali Shareef al-Emadi, head of the risk management and credit division, will serve as acting CEO until further notice.
  • QNB refinances Qafac loan

    Qatar National Bank (QNB) has extended a $212 million loan to Qatar Fuel Additives Company (Qafac) to refinance a $300 million loan taken out in 2002, which was itself a refinancing arranged by QNB along with four other banks. The new loan has a tenor of five-and-a-half years. Qafac is planning an expansion which will increase capacity by 6,750 tonnes a day (t/d) of methanol and 1,000 t/d of ammonia (MEED 7:1:05).
  • Rabigh PIM released

    The preliminary information memorandum (PIM) has been issued to banks on the $2,000 million debt package to fund the estimated $8,500 million Rabigh integrated refining and petrochemicals complex. Proposals are due to be submitted by the end of October to the 50:50 joint venture of Saudi Aramcoand Japan's Sumitomo Chemical Company, known as Rabigh Refining & Petrochemical Company (PetroRabigh).
  • Rafah crossing closes

    The Gaza-Egypt border crossing at Rafah could be shut for six months, Tel Aviv said on 8 September. Tel Aviv closed the border terminal on 7 September for maintenance. 'We reached an agreement with Egypt that we will wait six months before we consider opening the Rafah passages in and out, [while] we get repairs done,' said Israeli Foreign Affairs Minister Silvan Shalom. Palestinian people and goods could cross into Egypt through an existing border point within Israel at Nitzana, he said.
  • Raft of projects announced for Business Bay

    Work on a raft of new projects within the Dubai Properties(DP)Business Bay development is set to move ahead after developers announced a series of projects at the Cityscape exhibition held in Dubai on 17-19 September. The new projects include:
  • Raft of projects announced for Business Bay

    Work on a raft of new projects within the Dubai Properties(DP)Business Bay development is set to move ahead after developers announced a series of projects at the Cityscape exhibition held in Dubai on 17-19 September. The new projects include:
  • RAYA HOLDING: Spreading the net

    When information and communications technology (ICT) provider Raya Holding announced its first-half results on 14 August, analysts, investors and shareholders alike were watching closely. After all, it was the first time in the company's six-year history that it had to post a financial statement, following its listing on the Cairo & Alexandria Stock Exchanges (CASE) in May.
  • Reality check

    Producers and consumers have been in unusual agreement in recent months on the reasons for soaring oil prices, blaming a dangerous mix of a thin supply cushion, downstream bottlenecks and political tension in key producing regions. So while drivers, airlines and headline writers professed their horror when prices hit $70 a barrel in early September, it came as little surprise to those in the industry.
  • Red-Dead gets World Bank go-ahead

    Plans to carry out the $800 million Red Sea-Dead Sea Conveyor have taken a step forward, with the World Bank pledging $15.5 million towards the project. The funds are expected to be used to finance a feasibility study lasting one-two years. Once the study is finished, tender documents will be prepared for phase 2, which will involve the construction of a canal, water conveyors and desalination plants. The contract is likely to be let on a build-operate-transfer (BOT) basis. The planned 180-kilom
  • Regional banks plan ECP bond issues

    Emirates Bank International (EBI)has appointed Bank of America (BoA)and UBSto arrange a $1,500 million euro commercial paper (ECP) programme. EBI is one of several banks in the region planning ECP programmes: National Bank of Kuwaitrecently launched a $2,000 million scheme, managed by Barclays Capital, while Riyad Bankis looking at a programme of similar size (MEED 15:7:05).
  • Regulator cracks down on DIB scam

    The Securities & Commodities Authority (SCA) cancelled all trades in the shares of Dubai Islamic Bank (DIB)on 28 August, after a large-scale attempt to manipulate the market by two Saudi investors. The regulator won approval from observers for prompt and tough action, as it barred all those involved, including a brokerage house, from future trading and pledged an investigation (see Capital Markets).
  • Revised bids in for Khalifa sports city

    The local Mohammed Jalal Contractingis low bidder at BD 7.4 million ($19.5 million) with the cheaper of its two options for the retendered contract to construct the Sheikh Khalifa bin Salman al-Khalifa sports city. Mohammed Jalal's price was only 3.1 per cent lower than that from the local Bokhowa Group, which was low bidder when the contract was originally tendered. The two companies are also lowest on the alternative option, at BD 9 million ($23.7 million) and BD 9.5 mi
  • Revised bids in for Khalifa sports city

    The local Mohammed Jalal Contractingis low bidder at BD 7.4 million ($19.5 million) with the cheaper of its two options for the retendered contract to construct the Sheikh Khalifa bin Salman al-Khalifa sports city. Mohammed Jalal's price was only 3.1 per cent lower than that from the local Bokhowa Group, which was low bidder when the contract was originally tendered. The two companies are also lowest on the alternative option, at BD 9 million ($23.7 million) and BD 9.5 mi
  • RFP issued for Abu Dhabi O&M

    The request for proposals (RFP) has been issued for the eight-year operation and management (O&M) contract for Abu Dhabi Distribution Company (ADDC), with prequalifiers preparing to submit proposals by late November. The RFP is due to be released in late September to the same prequalifiers for a second eight-year O&M contract covering the emirate's other electricity and water distributor, Al-Ain Distribution Company (AADC). The O&M contracts are seen as the first stage in
  • RFPs due for Sohar smelter

    Banks have been informed that requests for proposals (RFPs) are due to be issued in mid-September on the debt package for the Sohar aluminium project. The sponsor, Sohar Aluminium Company (SAC), is understood to be looking at debt of about $1,200 million, out of total project costs of some $2,200 million. Islamic and conventional tranches are likely to be included, according to teaser documents sent to banks earlier in the year. The US' Bechtelis the engineering, procurem
  • Rice softens stance on Hamas political participation

    US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice indicated on 20 September that Washington is becoming resigned to Hamas' participation in Palestinian legislative elections set for January. 'I think we have to give the Palestinians some room for the evolution of their political process,' she said after a meeting of the Middle East quartet of Washington, Russia, the EU and the UN. 'We understand that the Palestinian political system is in transition: toward a democratic system and that has to be a Pal
  • RIVER TRANSPORTATION AUTHORITY: River phoenix

    The Greek historian Herodotus observed during his visit to the country in the fifth century BC that 'Egypt is the gift of the river Nile'. Throughout history, the Nile has nourished Egypt by providing water for irrigation and fertilising the Nile valley and delta. It has also been a line of communication and transportation, for civil and military purposes. Without the river, the development of Egyptian civilisation would not have been possible.
  • Riyadh opens its coffers

    Three weeks after his accession, King Abdullah announced on 22 August a raft of economic measures aimed at increasing public sector salaries and improving government services.
  • Riyadh ready to boost oil output

    Saudi Arabian Petroleum & Mineral Resources Minister Ali Naimi told the World Petroleum Congress in Johannesburg on 27 September that Riyadh was ready to raise capacity from 11 million barrels a day (b/d) to 12.5 million b/d to meet demand for oil. He said Riyadh was making plans to increase output to 15 million b/d by 2020, which would require an investment of $30,000 million. Saudi Arabia will spend $50,000 million on oil and gas development projects until 2009, he said, with $23,000 mill
  • Riyadh relaxes visa rules

    The kingdom announced on 20 September wide-ranging changes in business visa regulations, as part of efforts to attract more foreign investment. Under the new rules, 11 categories of professional will be granted either business or tourist visas without the need for an invitation by a local sponsor. They include owners, chairmen, board members and directors general of international companies, investors, engineers and technicians. Entry visas will be granted to representatives of international
  • Riyadh seeks international anti-terror body

    Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Sultan said on 15 September that Riyadh would introduce a draft resolution to the UN General Assembly to set up an anti-terror task force. 'We greatly hope that this draft resolution will be endorsed and that we can take yet another step toward improving international co-operation in fighting terrorism,' he said in a speech to the General Assembly. The task force will review the recommendations of the UN's anti-terrorism conference. The kingdom has been battling a
  • Riyadh sets up second human rights body

    Riyadh announced on 12 September that it plans to establish a second human rights agency for the kingdom. The body will 'protect human rights and spread awareness about them: in keeping with the provisions of Islamic law,' the cabinet said in a statement. King Abdullah will appoint a chairman with ministerial rank, a deputy and an 18-member board, who will serve for four years. The first Saudi human rights monitor was a private organisation established in March 2004.
  • Riyadh to get new mall complex

    Local real estate developer Benaa al-Kawaedhas announced plans for an estimated SR 2,000 million ($533 million) new mall project in Riyadh. Called Benaa City, the scheme will be the first of three Benaa al-Kawaed plans to build in the kingdom.
  • Riyadh to get new mall complex

    Local real estate developer Benaa al-Kawaedhas announced plans for an estimated SR 2,000 million ($533 million) new mall project in Riyadh. Called Benaa City, the scheme will be the first of three Benaa al-Kawaed plans to build in the kingdom.
  • RLIC seawater cooling goes for bid

    Qatar Petroleum has invited bids by 9 October for the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract covering the phase 2/3 expansion of the Ras Laffan Industrial City (RLIC) common seawater cooling system. About eight companies are prequalified to bid for the estimated $400 million-500 million contract, which involves a 765,000 cubic-metre-an-hour expansion of the seawater cooling system (MEED 19:8:05).
  • Road bids in

    Bids were submitted on 29 August for the 24-month contract to widen the existing road and build new sections of highway between Al-Amerat and Quriyat. It is unclear which of the prequalified companies submitted bids, but a number of those on the list are known to have declined, among them Galfar Engineering & Contractingand Hassan bin Juma bin Baker Trading & Contracting, both local, Austria's Strabag, Turkey's STFAand Cyprus-based Joannou
  • Road bids in

    Bids were submitted on 29 August for the 24-month contract to widen the existing road and build new sections of highway between Al-Amerat and Quriyat. It is unclear which of the prequalified companies submitted bids, but a number of those on the list are known to have declined, among them Galfar Engineering & Contractingand Hassan bin Juma bin Baker Trading & Contracting, both local, Austria's Strabag, Turkey's STFAand Cyprus-based Joannou
  • S&P upgrades sovereign rating

    International rating agency Standard & Poor's(S&P) in early August raised Rabat's long-term foreign currency rating to BBB from BB+ on the back of an improved external position and the government's ongoing economic reform efforts. The long-term local currency rating of BBB, short-term foreign currency rating of B and short-term local currency rating of A3 were all affirmed, with a stable outlook. 'The upgrade is supported by robust external indicators, including high external
  • S&P upgrades sovereign rating

    International rating agency Standard & Poor's(S&P) in early August raised Rabat's long-term foreign currency rating to BBB from BB+ on the back of an improved external position and the government's ongoing economic reform efforts. The long-term local currency rating of BBB, short-term foreign currency rating of B and short-term local currency rating of A3 were all affirmed, with a stable outlook. 'The upgrade is supported by robust external indicators, including high external
  • Sabic obtains first credit ratings

    Saudi Basic Industries Corporation (Sabic) has been assigned a senior unsecured A and short-term F1 rating from Fitch, and a long-term A and A1 short-term rating from Standard & Poor's (S&P). The company has also been assigned an outlook of stable from both international rating agencies. It is the first time the petrochemicals giant has been granted a corporate rating, enabling it to issue bonds on the international market.
  • Sabic signs up EPC contractors

    Saudi Basic Industries Corporation (Sabic)has announced the signing of two engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contracts, for which the contractor selection took place in June and July. South Korea's Samsung Engineering Companyhas signed the $350 million-400 million contract to build the 700,000-tonne-a-year (t/y) ethylene glycol unit for the Sabic affiliate, Jubail-based Eastern Petrochemical Company (Sharq -MEED 1:7:05). The joint venture of Oslo-base
  • Sabic to invest $70bn over next 15 years

    Saudi Basic Industries Corporation (Sabic)plans to spend up to $70,000 million over the next 15 years to become the dominant global player in the sector, according to one of its vice-presidents. 'Sabic's current and planned investments for production expansion will likely total more than $20,000 million over the next three years and as much as $70,000 million in the next 15 years,' said Fahad al-Sheaibi, vice-president for PVC/polyester, at IBC's Fourth Middle East Petrochemicals Conferen
  • Saddam deserves to die, says Talabani

    Saddam Hussein has confessed to crimes committed during his leadership of Iraq and deserves to die, President Talabani said on 6 September. The former president admitted to ordering executions and the Al-Anfal campaign against the Kurds during questioning by an Iraqi investigator, Talabani said. 'Saddam deserves a death sentence 20 times a day because he tried to assassinate me 20 times,' he told Iraqi state television. 'There are 100 reasons to sentence Saddam to death,' said Talabani, who
  • Safege wins water audit deal

    The Water & Electricity Ministry has awarded France's Safegea six-month contract to study and evaluate the water distribution system in Jeddah. Under the terms of its SR 20 million ($5.3 million) contract, Safege will carry out a wholesale audit of the capital's water network, including its storage, distribution, collection and metering systems. According to the ministry, up to 40 per cent of water produced is lost through leaks, and substantial investment in the network is required
  • Safra takes Foster Wheeler on board

    Safra Company, part of the local Xenel Industries,has issued a letter of intent to US-based Foster Wheeler for a contract to provide project management consultancy (PMC) services on its new aromatics plant planned to be set up in Yanbu. The gasoline de-sulphurisation and fractionation scheme will involve the construction of two naphtha processing streams, distillation units, continuous catalytic reformers (CCRs) and related facilities. Set up in 1986, Safra is the
  • Sale nears for JPMC

    The information memorandum has been sent out to international and regional companies bidding for the sale of the government's 37 per cent stake in Jordan Phosphate Mines Company (JPMC). A shortlist of qualified bidders will be announced by the end of September. Sources close to the sale say companies will then have a month to submit their final bids. The Executive Privatisation Commission formally signed a contract in July with a team led by HSBCto advise on the sale of a
  • Saraya heads for RAK

    The Ras al-Khaimah (RAK) government has signed a heads of agreement with Jordan-based Saraya Holdingsand Arab Bank for the development of a $500 million new residential and tourist development on the emirate's coast. Known as Saraya Islands, the project is one of several new ambitious schemes planned in the emirate. Spread along three kilometres of coastline in the Jofar area, the development will feature 200 villas, several hotels, a golf course and a retail area, spread
  • Saraya heads for RAK

    The Ras al-Khaimah (RAK) government has signed a heads of agreement with Jordan-based Saraya Holdingsand Arab Bank for the development of a $500 million new residential and tourist development on the emirate's coast. Known as Saraya Islands, the project is one of several new ambitious schemes planned in the emirate. Spread along three kilometres of coastline in the Jofar area, the development will feature 200 villas, several hotels, a golf course and a retail area, spread
  • Sasakura closes in on SWCC desal work

    Japan's Sasakura Engineering Company is in final negotiations with Saline Water Conversion Corporation (SWCC) for the contract to build six desalination plants in the western region. King Abdullah approved a budget of SR 820 million ($219 million) at the end of August for construction of the facilities. The plants - with capacities ranging from 4,500-22,500 cubic metres a day - will be located at Umm Luj, Al-Wajh, Rabigh, Al-Qunfudah, Al-Laith and on the southwestern island of Farasa
  • Saudi Binladin rebuilds Jamarat bridge in Mina

    Saudi Binladin Group (SBG)has started work on the Jamarat bridge facilities expansion project in Mina, following the long-awaited award of the contract. Estimated to be worth at least SR 4,000 million ($1,067 million), the expansion is aimed at increasing the capacity of the bridge to 500,000 pilgrims an hour from 80,000.
  • Saudi Binladin rebuilds Jamarat bridge in Mina

    Saudi Binladin Group (SBG)has started work on the Jamarat bridge facilities expansion project in Mina, following the long-awaited award of the contract. Estimated to be worth at least SR 4,000 million ($1,067 million), the expansion is aimed at increasing the capacity of the bridge to 500,000 pilgrims an hour from 80,000.
  • Saudi Ismailis seek political representation

    Ismaili representatives have urged King Abdullah to grant them an increased roll in public affairs, the US-based Institute for Gulf Affairs said on 22 September. A small Ismaili delegation met the king on 17 September to pledge allegiance and present a letter listing their complaints. 'Qualified natives of Najran have been denied the honour of serving the homeland and the leadership in high state institutions,' it said. The letter asked King Abdullah to pardon prisoners detained in connecti
  • Saudi landbridge prequals in

    State-owned Saudi Railways Organisation (SRO) received applications for prequalification on 4 September from nine international and local consortia on the planned $5,000 million Saudi landbridge project. Under SRO's schedule, a shortlist for the build-operate-transfer (BOT) contract will be drawn up in October, which will be followed by the release of a request for proposals (RFP) in November (MEED 19:8:05).
  • SCOP extends refinery deadline

    State Company for Oil Projects (SCOP), the engineering arm of the Oil Ministry, has extended the bid deadline by six weeks from 11 September for the design and supply of a 140,000-barrel-a-day (b/d) grassroots refinery at Nahrain, in the central region close to Baghdad (MEED 24:6:05).
  • Scott Wilson picked for port infrastructure

    The UK's Scott Wilsonhas announced that it has been appointed design and supervision consultant for the infrastructure works on the phase 1 expansion of the Jebel Ali container terminal. Dubai Ports, Customs & Free Zone Corporation awarded in August the quay wall package on the stage 1 project to South Korea's Hyundai Engineering & Construction Company. It is also close to placing the dredging and reclamation contract. The consultant on the dredging and reclamation works
  • Scott Wilson picked for port infrastructure

    The UK's Scott Wilsonhas announced that it has been appointed design and supervision consultant for the infrastructure works on the phase 1 expansion of the Jebel Ali container terminal. Dubai Ports, Customs & Free Zone Corporation awarded in August the quay wall package on the stage 1 project to South Korea's Hyundai Engineering & Construction Company. It is also close to placing the dredging and reclamation contract. The consultant on the dredging and reclamation works
  • SD/Sabic win contract for mega EO/EG plant

    A joint venture of Saudi Basic Industries Company (Sabic)and US-based Scientific Designhas been awarded a contract to license its proprietary technology for the what will be the world's largest ethylene oxide/ ethylene glycol (EO/EG) plant at the Jubail olefins complex. The client is the local Project Management & Development Company (PMD).
  • Security heads on the block

    A Lebanese investigative judge was due to question on 2 September four security chiefs charged in connection with the murder of former prime minister Rafiq Hariri. Detlev Mehlis, head of the UN investigation into the assassination, requested their arrest and the men were detained at the end of August. The four security officials have close ties with Damascus and were all in post in February when a huge bomb killed Hariri and 20 others in central Beirut. The men are suspected of involvement
  • Security spike for Shia festival

    Iraqi security forces were on high alert on 19 September as hundreds of Shia pilgrims gathered in the town of Karbala for a major religious festival. Police have banned cars from the city to reduce the risk of suicide bombings and searched worshippers. US-led forces have taken up positions around the city. Hospitals in the area have been preparing for casualties. The festival marks the birth of the 12th Shia Imam Mehdi.More than 260 people have been killed since 14 September,
  • Security, US refining push prices higher

    Oil prices continued their relentless upward trend in the second week of August, climbing by more than $2 a barrel on new fears of instability in Saudi Arabia and more problems in the US refining system. OPEC's statement of reassurance that the crude market is well supplied fell on deaf ears. Spot Brent was trading at $64.01 a barrel on 10 August, compared with $61.50 a week earlier.
  • Seven in the hunt for Zueitina pipeline

    Seven international contractors have been invited to submit revised prices to the local Zueitina Oil Company for the estimated $70 million-80 million contract to build a pipeline from Zueitina's 103A supply base in the Sirte basin to the Brega coastal pipeline. The selected bidders are: Germany's MAN GHH;Athens-based Joannou & Paraskevaides (J&P - Overseas); Bonattiof Italy, with UAE-based Petrofac International; Egypt's Petroj
  • Sharjah mulls new city district

    Canada's B+H Architectsis set to present concept designs in mid-September to Sheikh Sultan bin Mohammed al-Qassimi, ruler of Sharjah, for a proposed new town development in the emirate. The company was selected to carry out a masterplan for the project in August. Further details on the estimated $170 million development are expected to be released later in the year. The project will be financed by the government. B+H is also working on plans for three large-scale youth centres in the
  • Sharjah mulls new city district

    Canada's B+H Architectsis set to present concept designs in mid-September to Sheikh Sultan bin Mohammed al-Qassimi, ruler of Sharjah, for a proposed new town development in the emirate. The company was selected to carry out a masterplan for the project in August. Further details on the estimated $170 million development are expected to be released later in the year. The project will be financed by the government. B+H is also working on plans for three large-scale youth centres in the
  • Sharjah signs pipe deal

    Sharjah Pipeline Company (SPC)signed on 18 September a lease agreement with the Hamriya Free Zone to build a jet storage facility in the free zone to be linked to Sharjah International Airport by pipeline. Under the terms of the agreement, SPC will build a 50,000-tonne storage tank farm in the free zone, comprising four tanks and import facilities. The 45,000-square-metre facility, known as Anabeeb, will be connected to the airport via a new 41-kilometre pipeline. The UK's Mott Ma
  • Shia violence erupts

    Shia militias clash as the draft constitution goes for approval
  • Shias march for constitution

    Several thousand Shia Muslims marched in Basra on 2 September in support of the draft constitution. They gathered in response to a call from government coalition partner the Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq (Sciri). The crowd chanted: 'The constitution, our weapon against terrorism.' Members of the Badr organisation, Sciri's former military wing, attended the demonstration. Badr fighters clashed with followers of the Shia cleric Moqtada al-Sadr in mid-August. Al-Sadr has align
  • Shiraz seeks consultants for water project

    Shiraz Water & Wastewater Company (SWWC)has invited local and international consultants to submit bids by 14 October for the design contract to expand and rehabilitate the city's water distribution networks. The project is being financed by the World Bank.
  • Simplex piles into Pearl-Qatar

    India's Simplex Concrete Piles has started work on the first stage of the piling works at Porto Arabia on the Pearl-Qatar development. The scope includes piling for Porto Arabia Town Houses, the retail development and Tower 4. Test piling has been completed. The overall project manager is Beirut-based Dar al-Handasah (Shair & Partners); the client is the local United Development Company (UDC - MEED 19:8:05).
  • Simplex piles into Pearl-Qatar

    India's Simplex Concrete Piles has started work on the first stage of the piling works at Porto Arabia on the Pearl-Qatar development. The scope includes piling for Porto Arabia Town Houses, the retail development and Tower 4. Test piling has been completed. The overall project manager is Beirut-based Dar al-Handasah (Shair & Partners); the client is the local United Development Company (UDC - MEED 19:8:05).
  • Sinochem deal set to further boost growth in phosphate production

    China's Sinochemsigned on 4 September a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with state-owned Office Cherifien des Phosphates (OCP) for a joint venture (JV) to supply fertiliser to China and conduct a feasibility study on a new phosphoric acid plant at Jorf Lasfar. Under the five-year supply agreement, OCP will supply 750,000 tonnes a year (t/y) of di-ammonium phosphate (DAP) to Sinochem from 2007-11.
  • Sitra bridges out to tender

    Bids have been invited by 15 November for the long-awaited contract to expand the Sitra causeway to cope with increasing traffic congestion on the route.
  • Sitra bridges out to tender

    Bids have been invited by 15 November for the long-awaited contract to expand the Sitra causeway to cope with increasing traffic congestion on the route.
  • Six in for SAS operation

    About six companies responded in mid-August to an initial inquiry from Abu Dhabi Company for Onshore Oil Operations (Adco) for a contract to provide front-end engineering and design (FEED) services for the proposed Sahil, Asab and Shah (SAS) full-field development project. The contract also includes project management consultancy (PMC) services during the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) phase.
  • Six make list for North Gaza plant

    The Palestinian Water Authority has shortlisted six companies for the consultancy contract on the $34 million north Gaza wastewater treatment plant. Requests for proposals have been invited by 13 September from Dorsch Consultand Fichtner, both of Germany, Metcalf & Eddyof the US, US-based Montgomery Watson Harza, Sogreahof France and Sweden's Sweco. The deadline to submit prequalification applications for the construction co
  • Sixty-six prequalify for licences

    National Oil Corporation (NOC)has prequalified 66 international oil companies (IOCs) for its second oil and gas exploration licensing round since the lifting of international trade sanctions in mid-2004. About 97 IOCs expressed interest in the 17 concessions on offer, which cover 44 blocks. The round uses NOC's fourth exploration and production sharing agreement (EPSA-4) model. Prequalified bidders have until 2 October to submit final bids (MEED 6:5:05).
  • Smelter power island down to two

    The contest to build the Sohar aluminium power island has narrowed, after the client invited two bidders to attend meetings in mid-September. South Korea's Doosan Heavy Industries & Construction Companyand Paris-based Alstom Powerwere the low bidders for the estimated $450 million engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract when about five bids were submitted in July. The smelter project is being promoted by Sohar Aluminium Company, a joint ventur
  • SNC scoops more Dubal work

    Dubai Aluminum Company (Dubal)has awarded Canada's SNC Lavalinthe engineering, procurement and construction management (EPCM) contract on the estimated $285 million expansion of its Jebel Ali smelter. The project, called potline 7b, will add 100,000 tonnes a year (t/y) of capacity to the seventh potline, taking total capacity to 861,000 t/y (MEED 12:8:05).
  • Sohar's renaissance, sultanate's future

    With little fanfare, Sohar, on Oman's northern Al-Batinah coast, has emerged as one of the most active new Middle East industrial centres. More than $10,000 million has already been pledged to manufacturing and service industries that are being established in the town's industrial port. It is confidently forecast that Sohar will create a total of 30,000 sorely-needed jobs in the sultanate's most populous region.
  • Sokhna refinery on track

    The scheme to build the estimated $1,000 million grassroots export refinery at Ain el-Sokhna near Suez is set to enter the next phase with the formation of a project company expected by the beginning of Ramadan in early October. The establishment of the project company will pave the way for several other agreements relating to feedstock and debt financing to be finalised in the last quarter (MEED 20:5:05).
  • SOM completes new tower designs

    US-based Skidmore Owings & Merrill(SOM)has completed initial designs for a tower to be built by Al-Sharq Development, a local subsidiary of the Saudi-based Al-Sharq Groupof companies. To be located on Sheikh Zayed highway near the Burj Dubai development, the 70-storey building is designed with suspended floors and ceilings. The project is the latest planned by Al-Sharq in Dubai. The company is developing the estimated $1,900 million Aqua Dunya developme
  • SOM completes new tower designs

    US-based Skidmore Owings & Merrill(SOM)has completed initial designs for a tower to be built by Al-Sharq Development, a local subsidiary of the Saudi-based Al-Sharq Groupof companies. To be located on Sheikh Zayed highway near the Burj Dubai development, the 70-storey building is designed with suspended floors and ceilings. The project is the latest planned by Al-Sharq in Dubai. The company is developing the estimated $1,900 million Aqua Dunya developme
  • Sorouh launches Shams on Al-Reem

    The local Sorouh Real Estate Companyhas launched Shams Abu Dhabi as its first real estate offering. The 1.3 million-square-metre mixed-use development will occupy about 25 per cent of the 633-hectare Al-Reem Island 300 metres off the coastline. Shams Abu Dhabi is one of three major real estate projects announced for Al-Reem, previously known as Abu Shoum.
  • Sorouh launches Shams on Al-Reem

    The local Sorouh Real Estate Companyhas launched Shams Abu Dhabi as its first real estate offering. The 1.3 million-square-metre mixed-use development will occupy about 25 per cent of the 633-hectare Al-Reem Island 300 metres off the coastline. Shams Abu Dhabi is one of three major real estate projects announced for Al-Reem, previously known as Abu Shoum.
  • SPC joins forces with EWOS

    Sharjah-based East & West Oilfield Services (EWOS)on 31 August received a licence from the Petroleum & Mineral Resources Ministry to set up a new joint venture company to pursue oil field services contracts. Called Orient Oilfield Service Company, it will have a capital of $9.6 million. Syrian Petroleum Company (SPC)will have a 50 per cent stake. The new company plans to invest in wireline, logging and other oil field service projects. The joint venture will l
  • SPV set up for polystyrene plant

    Egyptian Petrochemicals Holding Company (ECHEM) is pushing ahead with plans to set up a styrene/polystyrene complex as part of its 20-year masterplan for the petrochemicals sector. The state-owned company has established a special purpose vehicle (SPV) with capital of $4 million to promote and develop the project. ECHEM holds a 50 per cent stake in the SPV, while 40 per cent is held by the Finance Ministry and National Investment Bank (NIB), the government body that handles th
  • SRO reveals landbridge applicants

    State-owned Saudi Railways Organisation (SRO) has announced the names of the nine consortia which submitted prequalification applications in early September for the planned $5,000 million Saudi landbridge project. Under SRO's schedule, a shortlist for the build-operate-transfer (BOT) contract will be drawn up in October, which will be followed by the release of a request for proposals (RFP) in November (MEED 9:9:05; 19:8:05).
  • Stratic-Kufpec sign up for block 17

    Canada's Stratic Energy Corporationand Kuwait Foreign Petroleum Exploration Company (Kufpec)have signed a production sharing agreement (PSA) with Syrian Petroleum Company (SPC)for block 17, near Palmyra. Under the terms of the 42-month PSA, Stratic and Kufpec are obliged to acquire 625 kilometres of new 2D seismic and to drill one exploratory well, with a financial commitment to spend $5.2 million. The contract has two optional extension periods of three-four
  • Sudanese parliament re-opens

    The Sudanese parliament met for the first time on 31 August since the government and southern rebels signed a peace deal in January. President Al-Bashir's National Congress dominates the legislature, with 52 per cent of the seats under the terms of the agreement. The Sudan People's Liberation Movement (SPLM) holds 28 per cent. National Congress members were selected as speakers for the two houses, the National Assembly and the Council of States, and deputy speakers were chosen from the SPLM
  • Sulphur bids delayed

    State refinery operator Kuwait National Petroleum Company (KNPC)has extended the bid deadline to 2 October for the contract to carry out a feasibility study to upgrade the existing solid sulphur handling and ship-loading facilities at the Mina al-Ahmadi refinery. KNPC has invited about 10 international companies to price the contract, but only a handful are expected to bid (MEED 19:8:05).
  • Sultanate's tourism projects take shape

    The estimated $15,000 million Blue City project, located about 100 kilometres northwest of Muscat along the Al-Sawadi seafront, is moving forward, with consultants appointed and prequalification of contractors completed for the first-phase construction contract. A new resort project has also been launched close to the flagship Wave resort off the coast of the capital.
  • Sultanate's tourism projects take shape

    The estimated $15,000 million Blue City project, located about 100 kilometres northwest of Muscat along the Al-Sawadi seafront, is moving forward, with consultants appointed and prequalification of contractors completed for the first-phase construction contract. A new resort project has also been launched close to the flagship Wave resort off the coast of the capital.
  • Sunnis march in praise of Saddam

    Thousands of supporters of former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein marched through Baqubah on 26 August chanting Saddam's name. 'Bush, Bush, listen well: We all love Saddam Hussein,' the demonstrators shouted, demanding the US president hear their protest. They carried banners that read: 'We reject the American and Iranian constitution,' and 'No to a constitution that breaks up Iraq'. Sunni opponents of the draft constitution still being negotiated have accused the Shia-dominated government of b
  • Sunnis reject Al-Qaeda declaration of war

    The Committee of Muslim Scholars condemned on 16 September Abu Musab al-Zarqawi's declaration of war on all Shias in Iraq. 'What Zarqawi said is very dangerous and plays into the hands of the occupier who wants to split up the country and spark sectarian war,' Iraq's leading group of Sunni clerics said in a statement. The group urged Al-Zarqawi to retract his comments. 'From a religious point of view, you must renounce your threat because it abuses the image of jihad,' the group said. It wa
  • Sunnis seek anti-constitution alliance

    Sunni negotiators are looking to ally with radical Shia cleric Moqtada al-Sadr in their opposition to the draft constitution, Sunni drafting committee member Saleh al-Mutlaq said on 30 August. 'We would like to co-operate with Moqtada al-Sadr and very soon we will start negotiations with him,' Al-Mutlaq said. Sunni negotiators are trying to arrange an alliance of groups who oppose the constitution, Al-Mutlaq said. 'It's not just about the Sunnis anymore. It is about all those
  • Swing plant goes for rebid

    Bakhtar Petrochemical Companyis retendering the Khorramabad high-density polyethylene/ low-density polyethylene (HDPE/ LDPE) swing plant in Luristan after it received only one valid bid by the early September deadline. Contractors say they also expect a sister project in Mahabad, West Azerbaijan Province, to be retendered (MEED 9:9:05).
  • Syria: The final frontier

    Gold prospectors, cowboys and settlers needed their wits about them to survive and prosper in the Wild West. Bankers arriving in Damascus from Beirut and Amman say they need similar qualities to navigate the country's embryonic banking sector. For beneath the surface of the state-controlled economy, things are beginning to stir. Interest is growing in the local financial market, with the Lebanese in the vanguard. Yet newcomers are still confronted by issues of transparency and stifling bureaucra
  • Tabreed to cool campus

    Abu Dhabi-based Mubadala Development Company has appointed the local National Central Cooling Company (Tabreed)to provide district cooling services for the new 290,000-square-metre UAE University campus at Maqam in Al-Ain. Tabreed will invest about AED 100 million ($27 million) in the project. The other firms invited to submit proposals were Majutek/Emirates District Cooling Company and Palm District Cooling,both local. Mubadala is developing the e
  • Tabreed to cool campus

    Abu Dhabi-based Mubadala Development Company has appointed the local National Central Cooling Company (Tabreed)to provide district cooling services for the new 290,000-square-metre UAE University campus at Maqam in Al-Ain. Tabreed will invest about AED 100 million ($27 million) in the project. The other firms invited to submit proposals were Majutek/Emirates District Cooling Company and Palm District Cooling,both local. Mubadala is developing the e
  • Tabreed to cool Dubai light rail

    Dubai Municipality has selected Abu Dhabi-based National Central Cooling Company(Tabreed)to provide district cooling services for the Dubai Light Rail (DLR) system. Under the terms of the AED 3,000 million ($816 million) contract, Tabreed will initially provide district cooling facilities with capacity of 36,000 tonnes for 43 metro stations, passageways and carriages. Ultimate capacity will rise to 350,000 tonnes once the project is completed. The 30-year concession has been a
  • Taiwan signs up for RasGas gas

    Ras Laffan Liquefied Natural Gas Company II (RasGas II)signed on 13 September a sales and purchase agreement (SPA) with Chinese Petroleum Corporation (CPC)for the supply of 3 million tonnes a year (t/y) of liquefied natural gas (LNG). The 25-year SPA, due to start in 2008, will supply gas to the 4,200-MW Ta-Tan power plant being developed by Taiwan Power Company. The signing of the SPA came two years after CPC and RasGas II signed a heads of agreement for the gas s
  • Tartous port expansion moves ahead

    Tartous Port General Company (TPGC)has issued a tender for construction and operation of two new quays on a build-operate-transfer (BOT) basis. The contract is for 35 years and is renewable; the bid deadline is 12 November. The quays will have lengths of 470 metres and 266 metres and two roll-on, roll-off (ro-ro) berths. The first berth will be 125 metres long at the northern side of the 470-metre quay and the second 35 metres long at the northern side of the 266-metre quay. The existing
  • Tartous takes off

    Work is under way on the first phase of the estimated $415 million Tartous tourist resort, following the award of contracts to Wahoud Trident Contractors, Al-Amal Engineering Houseand Tayara & Partners, all local. The contracts involve constructing a new ferry port, filling the site of the existing port of about 350,000 square metres and raising the general site level to 3.5 metres above sea level.
  • Tartous takes off

    Work is under way on the first phase of the estimated $415 million Tartous tourist resort, following the award of contracts to Wahoud Trident Contractors, Al-Amal Engineering Houseand Tayara & Partners, all local. The contracts involve constructing a new ferry port, filling the site of the existing port of about 350,000 square metres and raising the general site level to 3.5 metres above sea level.
  • Technip-led team takes liquefaction plant EPC

    Yemgas, a three-member consortium comprising Paris-based Technip, Japan's JGC Corporationand the US' Kellogg Brown & Root,announced on 6 September that it had been awarded the first major construction package on the grassroots Yemen LNG (YLNG) project.
  • Tehran bullish in face of international sanctions

    President Ahmadinejad on 22 September warned countries not to attack Iran. 'Those who decide to misuse our nation's honour and dignity and want to test what has been tested in the past, should know that the flames of the nation's wrath are very hot and destructive,' he said at a military parade to mark the 25th anniversary of the start of the Iran-Iraq War. 'Iran's enemies understood that the nation is very serious in defending the country's security, integrity, and the achievements of the
  • Tehran could go nuclear in five years

    Tehran is five years away from acquiring a nuclear weapons capability, says a report issued on 6 September by the London-based International Institute for Strategic Studies. 'We estimate, if everything goes right, if they throw all their effort into solving their problems, they might be able to produce enough weapons-grade uranium for a single nuclear weapon within five years,' said Gary Samore, the editor of the report entitled Iran's Strategic Weapons Programmes - A Net Assessment. But Te
  • Tehran fights for its nuclear rights

    Fresh from the conservative landslide elections in July, President Ahmadinejad has made the quest for nuclear power a symbol of Iran's march to modernity. The religious establishment has set itself squarely behind the task of entering the atomic age, leaving foreign diplomats with little idea of what back channels might still be available for negotiation. The EU has indefinitely suspended talks on the country's nuclear activities, due to resume on 31 August, after Tehran broke an agreement to su
  • Tehran offers oil aid to Washington

    Tehran offered 20 million barrels of crude oil on 6 September to Washington to help in the recovery effort following the devastating impact of Hurricane Katrina. Tehran will send the oil if Washington lifts economic sanctions on Iran first, said Tehran's OPEC representative Hosein Kazempur-Arbedili. The hurricane has disrupted oil production in the Gulf of Mexico, where rigs supply up to a quarter of US oil supplies (
  • Tehran rejects IAEA resolution

    Tehran on 26 September condemned an International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) resolution that referred Iran to the UN Security Council for sanctions regarding its nuclear programme. 'This resolution is based on an invalid legal precept, an unjustified technical ground and a misguided political forecast,' Iran's vice-president Gholamreza Aghazadeh told the IAEA general conference. 'There is no doubt that a report to the Security Council initiates a chain of actions and reactions that breed t
  • Tehran talks about talks

    Tehran's chief nuclear negotiator Ali Larijani met International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) head Mohammed el-Baradei on 26 August. The meeting was their first and took place after the IAEA issued a resolution calling on Tehran to halt resumption of nuclear work at its Isfahan plant. Larijani said after the meeting that Tehran would come up with new proposals for nuclear talks with the EU. Fresh talks between the EU and Tehran were due to start at the end of August. The EU ha
  • Tehran to share nuclear knowledge

    President Ahmadinejad said on 15 September that Tehran is ready to give its nuclear know-how to other Islamic states. 'The Islamic republic in no way seeks weapons of mass destruction and with respect to the needs of Islamic nations for nuclear technology, we are ready to transfer nuclear knowledge to these countries,' he said on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly summit in New York. The president noted that Tehran has 'mastered the fuel cycle and we have clearly decided to peacefully
  • Tel Aviv finishes planned pullout

    Tel Aviv completed its withdrawal from two remaining West Bank settlements on 21 September, ending the pullout that began in Gaza in August. Israeli troops left Ganim and Kadim near Jenin and thousands of Palestinians flooded into the abandoned settlements. 'They left without co-ordinating with us. We therefore headed to the area with about 100 security service personnel,' Jenin mayor Qadura Moussa said. The Israeli army will still conduct patrols in the area and the Palestinian Authority (
  • Tel Aviv must change course of West Bank fence

    The Israeli Supreme Court ruled on 15 September that Tel Aviv must re-route its West Bank separation fence. The ruling followed objections from Palestinian villagers near the northern West Bank town of Qalqilya, who complained that the wall cut them off from the rest of the territory and cost them their jobs. 'The state must within a reasonable period reconsider the various fence route alternatives at [Israeli settlement] Alfei Menashe while examining security alternatives which cause less
  • Tel Aviv to build new Gaza crossing

    Israeli Defence Minister Shaul Mofaz was due to meet with his Palestinian counterparts on 1 September to discuss the location of a new border crossing in Gaza. Tel Aviv will start to build a new border terminal at Kerem Shalom on its joint frontier with Gaza and Egypt to replace the crossing at Rafah, Israeli daily Haaretz reported on 1 September. The border relocation will enable Tel Aviv to control the passage of goods and people into Gaza after it has completed its withdrawal from the te
  • Tel Aviv to keep control of Gaza border

    Tel Aviv wants to move Gaza's southern border terminal at Rafah to its joint border with the territory and Egypt at Kerem Shalom. The relocation would ensure Tel Aviv retained control of the movement of goods in and out of Gaza. 'We know very well that the Gaza Strip has to be open to the outside world, but we are not going to allow it to be transformed into a terrorist arsenal,' said an aide to Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon. 'The problem is not so much the crossing of people as goods
  • Tel Aviv to retain grip on West Bank settlements

    Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon said on 29 August that Tel Aviv would retain its control of major settlement blocks in the West Bank, but would pull out of other enclaves. 'Not all the settlements in Judea and Samaria today will remain,' Sharon said in reference to the West Bank. But he indicated that Tel Aviv would keep Maale Adumim and Ariel, which are the biggest settlement blocs in the territory. 'These settlements will remain in our hands and will be linked territorially to Israel.
  • Telco sale raises interest

    Tenders are due to be issued to shortlisted bidders on 28 September for the acquisition of a 35 per cent share in state-owned Tunisie Telecom. Expressions of interest in the strategic stake are due by 20 September. The sale is expected to be completed by the end of the year. Among telecoms companies understood to have made initial enquiries are Emirates Telecommunications Corporation (Etisalat), France Telecom, Bahrain Telecommunications Company (Batel
  • Telecom Egypt puts in strong H1 performance

    State-owned Telecom Egypt (TE)on 16 August announced a net profit of £E 1,030 million ($179 million) for the first half of 2005, a year-on-year increase of 70 per cent. Revenues reached £E 4,030 million ($701 million) in the first half, an increase of 6.4 per cent on the same period in 2004. The carrier also said that its subscriber base rose by 7.6 per cent to 9.9 million at the end of June. The positive performance comes as the Communications & Information Technology Ministry is pr
  • Tender due for aromatics FEED

    Abu Dhabi Oil Refining Company (Takreer)is due to issue a tender by early November for a contract to carry out the front-end engineering and design (FEED) package on its planned world-scale aromatics complex at Ruwais. Companies interested in participating in the tender are expected to include Australia's WorleyParsons, Paris-based Technipand Fluor Corporation and Mustang Engineering, both US-based. Foster Wheeler, also of the US
  • Tender due for green diesel FEED

    Abu Dhabi Oil Refining Company (Takreer)is due to issue a tender by early October for the front-end engineering and design (FEED) package for the sulphur-free gas-oil (SFGO) project at Ruwais. Companies interested in bidding for the 12-month contract include Mustang Engineering, Foster Wheeler and Fluor Corporation, all US-based, and Paris-based Technip. Known as the green diesel project, the scheme calls for the construction of a 37,000-bar
  • Tender due for OPQL platform

    Occidental Petroleum of Qatar (OPQL)is due to issue a tender by mid-October for a construction contract to fabricate a new accommodation platform and related facilities at the offshore Idd al-Shargi north dome (ISND) oil field. The contract is estimated to be worth $50 million-65 million and will take about a year to complete. OPQL is carrying out detailed design of the proposed facilities and will also procure the long-lead items. The contract is part of the second-phase development of I
  • Tender nears for Duqm port

    The government has agreed with the other companies involved in the Duqm port project to issue a tender by year-end for the estimated $385 million dredging, breakwater and quay wall contract. The two new breakwaters will each have a length of about four kilometres. The port will include two graving docks capable of handling post-Panamax tankers. A consultant is due to be appointed imminently on the construction of an airstrip nearby. South Korea's Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering
  • Tender nears for Duqm port

    The government has agreed with the other companies involved in the Duqm port project to issue a tender by year-end for the estimated $385 million dredging, breakwater and quay wall contract. The two new breakwaters will each have a length of about four kilometres. The port will include two graving docks capable of handling post-Panamax tankers. A consultant is due to be appointed imminently on the construction of an airstrip nearby. South Korea's Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering
  • The hidden cost of El Dorado

    Robert and Carolyn spent the end of August on their honeymoon. After two weeks of tanning on the white beaches of the Maldives, they arrived in Dubai for more of the same - but with the allure of shopping thrown into the bargain.
  • The Patel case: Gone but not forgotten

    It may be six years since Madhav Patel pulled off one of the biggest frauds in Gulf banking history, but he is not forgotten at Mashreq-bank. Chief executive officer (CEO) Abdul Aziz al-Ghurair remains determined to recover the bank's share of Patel's missing millions, which at the time of his hasty departure from the UAE in 1999 were estimated at close to $250 million. 'We will do whatever it takes to recover the money,' Al-Ghurair vows.
  • THE PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION: Opening the door to democracy

    On 25 May, a referendum was held on a government bill to change the presidential electoral system. About 17 million voters participated, and the bill was passed by an 82 per cent majority.
  • Theatre fire kills scores

    A fire in a packed theatre near Cairo killed 31 people and injured about 60 others on 5 September. The blaze occurred during an evening performance in a theatre in Beni Suef, south of Cairo. Some of the dead suffocated while others were trampled in a stampede that occurred after an actor accidentally knocked over a candle on a set made of paper bags. Reports said the fire spread quickly from the stage through the auditorium and audience members scrambled to get outside.
  • Third GSM licence to hit market in September

    The National Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (NTRA) is gearing up to release request for qualification (RFQ) documents in September for the country's much-anticipated third GSM licence.
  • Three in for CPA advisory

    Three bids have been received for the advisory mandate on the sale of the government's stake in Credit Populaire d'Algerie (CPA)following the extension of the deadline to 3 September. Rothschild and Lazardboth resubmitted the bids they had withdrawn following the initial 17 August deadline, and were joined by Santander Investment, which is understood to have requested the extension. Technical bids are now subject to a review process expected to tak
  • Three in race for Sanaa airport

    The field has narrowed to three bidders for the contract to build a third terminal at Sanaa International Airport. They are Beijing Urban Construction Investment Development Company, which submitted a low bid of $114 million when prices were opened in July, Saudi Binladin Group- which offered the second lowest price of $134 million but ranked higher technically, and Turkey's Alarco, which also scored well during technical evaluation. The other bidders were
  • Three in race for Sanaa airport

    The field has narrowed to three bidders for the contract to build a third terminal at Sanaa International Airport. They are Beijing Urban Construction Investment Development Company, which submitted a low bid of $114 million when prices were opened in July, Saudi Binladin Group- which offered the second lowest price of $134 million but ranked higher technically, and Turkey's Alarco, which also scored well during technical evaluation. The other bidders were
  • Tiger prowls in Damascus

    Tiger Real Estate, a subsidiary of Sharjah-based Tiger Contracting, is gearing up to invest $545 million in five projects across the capital, after receiving provisional approval from the Syrian Investment Office (SIO). The first project will be the estimated $120 million, 50-storey Damascus World Trade Centre (WTC) with a built-up area of 1 million square metres.
  • Tiger prowls in Damascus

    Tiger Real Estate, a subsidiary of Sharjah-based Tiger Contracting, is gearing up to invest $545 million in five projects across the capital, after receiving provisional approval from the Syrian Investment Office (SIO). The first project will be the estimated $120 million, 50-storey Damascus World Trade Centre (WTC) with a built-up area of 1 million square metres.
  • Time to deliver, say investors

    The Saudi stock market continues its inexorable rise, with the Tadawul All-Share Index (TASI) up by more than 70 per cent since the start of the year. But analysts are increasingly warning of the irrational impetus behind the market's twists and turns. And complaints are being heard widely about the pace of concrete reform of the kingdom's capital market, behind the well-intentioned policy headlines.
  • Tough times in Tehran

    President Ahmadinejad spent over a month working on his new cabinet, examining more than 1,000 possible candidates, and eventually submitting his choices to the Majlis (parliament) only hours ahead of deadline. Good governance is based on justice, empathy, serving the people and spirituality, and these were qualities that guided his choice, he said.
  • Towards the half-trillion GCC economy

    The news just keeps on being bad for Western oil consumers. In some parts of the UK, gasoline was retailing in the middle of September at more than£1 a litre, equivalent to almost $8 a gallon. Hurricane Katrina has knocked out almost 25 per cent of American refining capacity. And now we hear there is a serious shortage of the offshore oil rigs needed to help sink more wells in the Gulf and keep oil production going up rather than down.
  • Township bids opened

    Mushrif Trading & Contracting Companyand First Kuwaiti Trading & Contracting, both local, are the low bidders for two township infrastructure contracts following the submission of bids in early September.
  • Township bids opened

    Mushrif Trading & Contracting Companyand First Kuwaiti Trading & Contracting, both local, are the low bidders for two township infrastructure contracts following the submission of bids in early September.
  • Tripoli seeks diplomatic relations with Riyadh

    Tripoli made moves on 14 September to mend ties with Riyadh. 'Libya has informed the Arab League that it is ready to order the return of its ambassador to Riyadh, to receive the Saudi ambassador in Tripoli and re-establish normal diplomatic relations between the two countries,' said deputy minister of foreign affairs Hasuna Shawsh. Riyadh has accused Tripoli of plotting to assassinate King Abdullah in 2003 when he was crown prince. The king pardoned five Libyans accused of involvement in th
  • Turkcell set to appeal

    South Africa's MTNis to send a team of technical and financial experts to Tehran to negotiate a stake in the Irancellconsortium, which won the licence to develop the country's first private GSM network. Turkcell, which was the lead partner in the successful Irancell bid, is now expected to lodge appeals with the Majlis (parliament) and courts after its local partners decided to end their relationship (MEED 16:9:05).
  • Two bid for bank sale advisory

    Banks have been given until early September to bid for the advisory mandate on the sale of the government's stake in Credit Populaire d'Algerie (CPA). A two-week extension was granted after only two banks - Rothschild and Lazard- submitted bids by the original 17 August deadline. Government regulations stipulate that at least three bids must be received. Algiers plans to offer at least 50 per cent of the bank's shares. Interest in acquiring the stake is expect
  • UAE hikes petrol price

    The UAE announced on 30 August a 30 per cent increase in the price of petrol and diesel. The cost of a gallon of petrol rose by AED 1.50 ($0.40) to AED 6.25 ($1.7) and diesel jumped by AED 1.40 ($0.38) to AED 7.70 ($2). Oil prices rocketed to a new high on 29 August as Hurricane Katrina shut down oil production on rigs in the Gulf of Mexico. October light sweet crude hit $70.80 a barrel before dropping to $67.80 a barrel on the New York exchange. State-owned oil company Emirates National Oi
  • UGB goes Islamic again

    Bahrain-based United Gulf Bank (UGB)has appointed Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank, Bawag International Bank, Standard Bankand WestLBto arrange a three-year, $100 million syndicated murabaha facility, priced at 100 basis points (bp) over Libor. UGB is the investment banking arm of Kuwait Projects Company (Kipco), and in December signed a $65 million Islamically structured loan arranged by Calyonand Maybank(MEED
  • UK downbeat about Ahmadinejad nuclear speech

    UK Foreign & Commonwealth Secretary Jack Straw said on 18 September that he was disappointed in Iranian President Ahmadinejad's speech to the UN on Iran's nuclear programme. 'The Iranian president has offered nothing in this speech to suggest that he wants to abide by the agreement Iran has made,' Straw said in reference to Tehran's agreement to halt nuclear work while talks with the EU about its atomic ambitions continued. Ahmadinejad said in his speech that Iran had an 'inalienable right'
  • UK looks to train Iraqi doctors

    The UK's Department of Health has invited specialised organisations or consortia to submit bids by 7 October to provide clinical training and development for Iraqi doctors. Based in the UK, the estimated $10 million programme is the next phase in the reconstruction of the country's healthcare system, which has suffered severely through war and sanctions. The contract will see the selected organisation train about 50 clinical teams over a two-year period. The overall objective is to enable partic
  • UN aid to Darfur hangs in the balance

    Increased levels of violence in the Darfur region of Sudan could force the UN to halt its aid programme there, UN emergency relief co-ordinator Jan Egeland said on 28 September. 'In the last few days we have seen colleagues being harassed, attacked, robbed or abducted every day. It cannot continue,' Egeland said. 'If it continues to escalate, we may not be able to sustain our operations for 2.5 million people requiring life-saving assistance. In Darfur, [our aid programme] could all end tom
  • UN Hariri probe arrives in Damascus

    The head of the UN investigation into the murder of former prime minister Rafiq Hariri arrived in Damascus on 12 September to question senior Syrian officials. Detlev Mehlis and Riad Daoudi, legal adviser to the Foreign Affairs Ministry, agreed the format of the interviews, the official SANA news agency reported. Mehlis is expected to quiz Interior Minister Ghazi Kanaan, who was Damascus' military intelligence officer in Beirut at the time of the bombing that killed Hariri, as well as his s
  • UNB increases capital

    Union National Bank (UNB)has closed subscription for a AED 250 million ($68.1 million) rights issue, taking paid-up capital to AED 1,250 million ($340.6 million). Applications from existing shareholders were received for 173 million shares, compared to the 100 million on offer. A further 150 million shares were allocated to the government. Several other banks in the federation are planning capital hikes, including First Gulf Bank and National Bank of Abu Dhabi (MEE
  • US data triggers new price spike oil prices

    A week of falling prices that took crude oil back to pre-Hurricane Katrina levels ended abruptly on 14 September, as prices spiked by nearly $2 a barrel on the back of new data showing that US crude and heating oil stockpiles dropped more than expected in the wake of the storm. After falling to $61.61 a barrel on 13 September, Spot Brent was trading at about $63.57 a barrel on 15 September compared with $63.08 a week earlier.
  • US defence firms set to do business in Libya

    US President Bush on 28 September lifted some restrictions on US arms exports to Libya. The move will allow US companies to participate in Tripoli's programme to destroy its chemical weapons stockpiles and to refurbish eight C-130H transport planes. The planes were bought by Tripoli in the 1970s but have never been delivered. The waiver of arms export limitations set out in the Arms Export Control Act is the latest in a series of steps taken by Washington and Tripoli to mend ties. Washingto
  • US envoy raises human rights issue ahead of Jeddah visit

    US under-secretary for public diplomacy Karen Hughes criticised Saudi Arabia's human rights record before she was due to meet King Abdullah on 27 September. 'We are concerned, and I'm going to say it in Saudi Arabia, about human rights issues in the kingdom,' she said on her way to Jeddah. 'They've got a long journey there and a lot of work to do,' she said.Hughes commended Riyadh for its counter-terrorist measures. Saudi Arabia is 'the victim of terror attacks: and has becom
  • US forces resume fight with Mehdi Army

    US forces clashed with gunmen from radical Shia cleric Moqtada al-Sadr's Mehdi army in the early morning of 25 September. The fighting started after US forces entered the Sadr City neighbourhood of Baghdad to arrest Mehdi fighters. A US military spokesman said that US troops were conducting an operation with the Iraqi Army when they came under fire. A spokesman for Al-Sadr said US soldiers arrived in the area and opened fire at random. Four Mehdi fighters were killed in the gun battle. It w
  • US releases direct aid to PA

    Washington and the Palestinian Authority (PA) have agreed the transfer of $50 million in direct US aid to fund projects in Gaza. The money will finance the construction of new housing, roads, water infrastructure and education and health facilities. The PA will administer these projects under US monitoring. It is the third time Washington has issued direct financial assistance, which requires a presidential waiver, to the PA. US President Bush announced the budgetary support in May. Previous dir
  • US troop cuts likely

    Washington could cut troop numbers by 40,000-50,000 by the end of 2005, President Talabani said on 13 September. 'We think that America has the full right to move some forces from Iraq to their country because I think we can replace them [with] our forces,' he said in an article published by the Washington Post. The number of well-trained Iraqi troops stands at 60,000 and will reach 100,000 by the end of the year, Talabani said. The cut would reduce US troop numbers by more than a third. Ta
  • US-Libya ties on the mend but not healed

    US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said on 17 September that Washington is committed to close ties with Tripoli, but she did not indicate that the US was willing to resume diplomatic relations. Rice met her Libyan counterpart, Foreign Affairs Minister Abdul Rahman Shalgam, on the sidelines of the UN summit in New York. They discussed human rights and weapons of mass destruction, but Rice said Tripoli still has a way to go to meet Washington's criteria for full diplomatic ties. 'We're no
  • Violence grips Gaza

    The security situation in Gaza remained tense following the murder on 7 September of a military adviser to Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas. A Palestinian militant coalition, the Popular Resistance Committees, claimed responsibility for the killing of Moussa Arafat, a former Gaza security chief and the cousin of the late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat. 'The Salaheddin Brigades claims to have eliminated the collaborator Moussa Arafat and kidnapped his son for reasons to be ann
  • Violent upsurge ahead of Algerian amnesty vote

    Suspected Islamist militants killed five security force members on 26 September, days before Algerians will vote on an amnesty for rebel and government participants in the civil war. Gunmen ambushed two security guards in Ain Defla, southwest of Algiers, and killed two military police officers in Saida. A roadside bomb killed a soldier in the eastern town of Boumerdes. President Bouteflika has called a national vote on 29 September on his reconciliation plan, which offers a p
  • Vote yes, says Grand Ayatollah

    Leading Shia cleric Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani urged his supporters on 22 September to vote positively for the upcoming charter on the country's draft constitution. Addressing local television stations in Najaf, the influential cleric called on his aides to spread the word to help ensure a 'Yes' outcome for the 15 October national referendum. Sistani has previously insisted on sweeping aside the various differences between the country's major factions to meet constitutional deadlines. The
  • Washington presses Mubarak on emergency laws

    US under-secretary for public diplomacy Karen Hughes reminded President Mubarak on 26 September of his promise to lift the state of emergency. Mubarak made 'a pledge about the lifting of emergency laws to the people of Egypt as part of the presidential campaign,' she said in Cairo. Hughes met Prime Minister Ahmed Nazif and he told her that reviewing the law would take some time as it involved a constitutional amendment, but 'they have every intention to act on the reforms the president outl
  • Wave resort gathers momentum

    The Wave resort, the sultanate's flagship tourism project located along the coast opposite Seeb, has been expanded and revised in concept. As a result of the changes, project costs are now estimated at more than $1,000 million, up from about $800 million, according to Wael al-Lawati, acting chief executive officer of Waterfront Investments. The developer is a joint venture of government-owned Waterfront Investments and Dubai-based Majid al-Futtaim Investments (MEED 10:6:0
  • Wave resort gathers momentum

    The Wave resort, the sultanate's flagship tourism project located along the coast opposite Seeb, has been expanded and revised in concept. As a result of the changes, project costs are now estimated at more than $1,000 million, up from about $800 million, according to Wael al-Lawati, acting chief executive officer of Waterfront Investments. The developer is a joint venture of government-owned Waterfront Investments and Dubai-based Majid al-Futtaim Investments (MEED 10:6:0
  • West Bank council elections test for Hamas

    Palestinians voted in the third round of municipal elections in the West Bank on 29 September. Turnout was high among the 144,000 eligible voters and about 2,500 candidates stood to fill 1,018 council seats. The polls are widely seen to be a test of Hamas' popularity ahead of parliamentary elections in January. 'Particularly after Israel's withdrawal from Gaza and the run-up to legislative elections, the municipal results will have important political implications,' said the head of the Hig
  • West Bank raids continue

    Israeli troops continued raids on the West Bank on 30 September and killed two Palestinian gunmen and a 13-year-old in their search for militants. 'We strongly condemn this continued Israeli escalation that will undermine the cessation of violence,' Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat said. Al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades announced that it was no longer abiding by the ceasefire brokered with militant groups in March. The Hamas rocket attacks from Gaza that prompted the Israeli incursions stopped o
  • West Bank well bids due

    Bids are due on 15 September for the contract to equip the East Herodian well number 2 between Bethlehem and Hebron. Works include the construction of a pumping station for the existing 1.7 million-cubic-metre well and the installation of a submersible pump, two boosters and a 1,500-cubic-metre balance tank at an estimated cost of $4 million. The local Midmac Construction Companyis building the main line connecting the well to the existing transmission system. Construction of the six
  • Work gathers pace on Ruwais melamine

    Front-end engineering and design (FEED) work is due to be completed by December for the proposed melamine plant at Ruwais. Estimated to cost $160 million, the proposed plant will have capacity of 80,000 tonnes a year (t/y - MEED 6:5:05).
  • Work kicks off at new Dead Sea resort

    Work has started on an estimated $60 million hotel resort development by the Dead Sea. The project, which is being developed by the local Sun Days International for Tourism Investment (SITI), will comprise a five-star hotel with 194 rooms, a large-scale water park, several restaurants, a spa and conference among other facilities. The resort will also have access to its own private beach covering a stretch of 280 metres. The project is due for completion by the end of 2007. Several in
  • Work kicks off at new Dead Sea resort

    Work has started on an estimated $60 million hotel resort development by the Dead Sea. The project, which is being developed by the local Sun Days International for Tourism Investment (SITI), will comprise a five-star hotel with 194 rooms, a large-scale water park, several restaurants, a spa and conference among other facilities. The resort will also have access to its own private beach covering a stretch of 280 metres. The project is due for completion by the end of 2007. Several in
  • Workers demonstrate for unpaid wages

    Several hundred site workers from Abu Dhabi-based Al-Hamed Development & Constructionbrought Dubai's Sheikh Zayed road to a standstill on 19 September as part of a demonstration demanding unpaid wages. Some 5,000 workers claim to have not been paid since May. The Labour & Social Affairs Ministry initially instructed Al-Hamed to pay all unpaid salaries immediately, but later allowed the contractor to pay salaries for May and June by the end of September and salaries for August by the
  • Workers demonstrate for unpaid wages

    Several hundred site workers from Abu Dhabi-based Al-Hamed Development & Constructionbrought Dubai's Sheikh Zayed road to a standstill on 19 September as part of a demonstration demanding unpaid wages. Some 5,000 workers claim to have not been paid since May. The Labour & Social Affairs Ministry initially instructed Al-Hamed to pay all unpaid salaries immediately, but later allowed the contractor to pay salaries for May and June by the end of September and salaries for August by the
  • World Bank urges increased growth

    The World Bank has urged Morocco to step up its drive for economic growth and boost job creation efforts in order to avoid the social problems that will otherwise develop. In a report entitled Strategy for Co-operation 2005-09, the organisation highlighted the promising annual growth rate of 4.5 per cent in 2001-04, but described its predicted fall to 3 per cent in 2005 as 'disappointing'. The report blamed inconsistent agricultural output and shortcomings in other production sectors, as well as
  • Would-be immigrants try to charge into Europe

    Four people died in riots on the border between Morocco and Spain on 29 September. Would-be immigrants, most of them from sub-Saharan Africa, stormed the border fence between Morocco and the Spanish enclave of Ceuta. Two of those attempting to cross were shot with rubber bullets and died from their injuries. Another two were reportedly crushed to death. The incident occurred as Spain's Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero met with his Moroccan counterpart Driss Jettou to discuss ille
  • WSP selected for Motorcity work

    UK-based WSPhas been selected for engineering consultancy work for Motorcity. Under development by the local Union Properties,the 3 million-square-metre project is an extension of the already complete Dubai Autodrome and will be used as a business park for the motor and motor-related sector. The project includes the construction of a Ferrari world theme park complete with a museum, interactive displays, a clubhouse, restaurants and retail areas.
  • WSP selected for Motorcity work

    UK-based WSPhas been selected for engineering consultancy work for Motorcity. Under development by the local Union Properties,the 3 million-square-metre project is an extension of the already complete Dubai Autodrome and will be used as a business park for the motor and motor-related sector. The project includes the construction of a Ferrari world theme park complete with a museum, interactive displays, a clubhouse, restaurants and retail areas.
  • WTO agreement in final stages

    Riyadh is in the final round of talks with the US over its accession to the World Trade Organisation (WTO). Speaking on a visit to Washington in early October, Finance Minister Ibrahim al-Assaf said that negotiations were nearing completion. A bilateral trade agreement between Riyadh and Washington is a prerequisite for the kingdom to join the trade body. Three main issues remain to be resolved between the two countries: protection of industries; services - including financial services; and copy
  • WTO membership awaits Riyadh

    Riyadh took a significant step towards accession to the World Trade Organisation (WTO) on 9 September with the signing of a bilateral trade agreement with Washington after months of negotiations. The agreement, the last hurdle to accession, paves the way for the kingdom to join the trade body, possibly as soon as the end of the year.
  • Yasser Arafat was not poisoned, confirms report

    Former Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat died of a stroke, the New York Times reported on 8 September. Arafat's medical records show that he suffered from a blood disorder caused by an unidentified infection, the paper said. The report dispelled rumours that Arafat was poisoned.Arafat died in a military hospital outside Paris in November 2004 after a month of illness. His medical records had been kept secret and his cause of death was never announced. He suffered from a seriou
  • YLNG gets the go-ahead

    The final investment decision (FID) has been taken by the shareholders on the Yemen LNG (YLNG) project, following government approval for the estimated $3,100 million scheme, bringing to an end almost a decade of deliberations on the liquefied natural gas (LNG) project. Sales and purchase agreements (SPAs) are in place with three offtakers (MEED 12:8:05).
  • Zadco issues tender for major upgrade

    Zakum Development Company (Zadco) has invited companies to submit technical and commercial bids on 25 September for a conceptual study contract aimed at increasing production capacity at the Upper Zakum field and processing facilities on Zirku island in Abu Dhabi. Prospective bidders include the US/Canadian VECO, Tebodin Middle East, part of Tebodinof the Netherlands, Paris-based Technip, WorleyParsons of Australia and Mu
  • Zadco plans Zakum work

    Zakum Development Company (Zadco) has invited companies to submit technical bids by mid-September for a front-end engineering and design (FEED) contract covering the fabrication and installation of gas injection topsides at the Upper Zakum field.
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