07 January 2000

AS Algeria enters a new phase of relative peace and stability, a number of large construction projects that had lain dormant during the long years of civil violence have been brought back to life. Through hotels and water projects, airports and pipelines, international contractors are re-establishing links with the market, though many believe that further efforts need to be made by the authorities to improve their tenderingprocedures, including the recruitment of international consultants.

One of the largest projects scheduled to begin in 2000 is the completion of the passenger terminal, already 85 per cent built, at Algiers airport. The project, which includes managing the terminal once it is finished, is estimated to be worth around $300 million. Some 40 companies have applied to prequalify for the contract, including Athens-based Consolidated Contractors International Company (CCC), and Groupe GTM and Bouygues, both of France.

Other major civil construction works due to begin in 2000 include two drinking water projects in the Algiers and Constantine regions. The four- year contracts will entail network mapping, the provision of technical assistance and the setting up of commercial and management systems. Both contracts will be financed by the World Bank which has allocated $30 million for the Algiers project which encompasses the city's 2.6 million population, and $25 million for work in Constantine which has some 950,000inhabitants.

The oil and gas sector continues to provide a wealth of construction opportunities with at least two projects that are estimated to be worth about $1,000 million. State energy company Sonatrach is currently considering five technical bids on one of them, the Oughroud oil field development project, for which engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) proposals have been submitted. The commercial bids and financing proposals for the project which is estimated to cost $1,000 million are due to be submitted in mid-February.

International construction companies are also awaiting a decision by Sonatrach about the construction of the OZ2 pipeline system to expand the capacity of the crude oil corridor between the Haoud el-Hamra oil field and the port of Arzew. Bids for both the two 400-kilometre pipelines and the six pumping stations along it were submitted in September and are expected to be awarded in the first half of 2000.

Development is also due to take place in the Hassi Berkine field following the September signing of an agreement between Sonatrach and Anadarko for the quadrupling of production. The agreement calls for the construction of a second stage of production facilities including three trains capable of processing 75,000 barrels a day each as well as a network of pumping and transport stations linking 46 wells in the area.

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