EXCLUSIVE: Bahrain construction sector grows as project spending peaks

29 May 2017

Contract awards on airport and aluminium smelter drove record performance in 2016

Bahrain’s construction sector recorded growth of 5.7 per cent in 2016, as spending on new projects increases after contract awards on major new developments.

According to the latest figures published in the Economic Development Board’s (EDB’s) Bahrain Economic Quarterly, construction was one of the country’s strongest performing sectors, along with finance, which grew by 5.2 per cent, and social and personal services, which grew by 9.1 per cent.

The construction sector has benefited from Bahrain’s $32bn priority programme of infrastructure projects, and according to data from regional projects tracker MEED Projects, there was a record $8bn of contract awards across all sectors in Bahrain in 2016, which is more than double the 2015 total and the highest total on record.

bahrain contract awards 2008 2016

bahrain contract awards 2008 2016

The schemes for which major contracts have already been signed include Alba’s $2.5bn Pot Line 6 and associated $800m power station, the $1.1bn airport expansion project and a new $355m gas plant for Banagas.

The GCC Development Fund is also playing an important role and the volume of active projects has doubled from $1.6bn in the first quarter of 2016 to $3.2bn in February 2017.

Top Bahrain awards in 2016*


Contract value ($m)

Aluminium Bahrain (Alba) smelter expansion: phase 6


Alba power station 5


Bahrain International airport upgrade: terminal expansion


Bahrain Gas Plant (BGP 3)


400kV transmission network: substations package


East Hidd housing project: infrastructure package (phase 1)


Bahrain Financial Harbour: Harbour Row


400kV transmission network: cable works for phase 2 package B


Alba power station: distribution package


*=Selected. Source: MEED Projects

There are also future projects that are at the early stages and are not included in the EDB’s $32bn priority programme. They include the new causeway that will connect Bahrain with Saudi Arabia, and a new airport built on reclaimed land that will cost at least $10bn to develop.

Overall, economic growth in Bahrain reached 3 per cent in 2016.

The growth is a slight improvement on the 2.9 per cent increase achieved in 2015, and was largely driven by a 3.7 per cent uptick in the non-oil sector, which was also up slightly from 3.6 per cent in 2015.

Bahrain plans $10bn-plus airport on reclaimed island

Bahrain Airport Company to launch several tenders

Bahrain Airport Company to launch several tenders

Bahrain Airport Company to launch several tenders

Project expected to be developed with private sector

Bahrain is planning to build a new $10bn-plus airport on a reclaimed island to the north of the existing Bahrain International airport.

“We have limitations with our airport. We have only one runway and that will only give you a number of movements. We know that if we are lucky and have the growth that we want we need a new airport in 15 years,” Minister of Transport & Telecommunications Kamal bin Ahmed Mohammed told MEED. “If you want to build a new airport, it takes 10 years so we need to start now to plan for the other one.” Read more


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