A focus on metals, shaped by the Dubai Industrial Strategy, which was launched in June 2016, has helped the UAE to dominate the industrial projects market in the GCC over recent years.

In 2018, the total value of industrial projects completed in the GCC came to $7.5bn, with $5.7bn, 76 per cent of the total, completed in the UAE.

The value of industrial projects completed in Qatar was $587m, putting the state in a distant second place.

The biggest project completed in 2018 was Emirates Global Aluminium’s (Emal) aluminium complex, known as the Al-Taweelah alumina refinery.

With a budget of $2bn, it was worth almost four times more than any other industrial project completed in the GCC region.

The development has a production capacity of 4 million tonnes a year and is located adjacent to Emal’s Khalifa Industrial Zone smelter site in Abu Dhabi.

The 10 biggest industrial projects completed in the GCC during 2017-18
Project Project sponsor Country Value ($m) 
Aluminium complex: Al-Taweelah alumina refinery Emirates Global Aluminium UAE 2,000
Waad al-Shamal Phosphate City: phosphate mines & utilities Maaden/Mosaic/Sabic Saudi Arabia 1,500
Nesto distribution centre Western International UAE 545
Food production facility at Kizad National Food Products Company UAE 408
Yanbu titanium sponge plant Tasnee/Cristal/Toho Saudi Arabia 300
Logistics facility in Doha: phase 1 Aramex Qatar 300
Kizad: steel pipe manufacturing facility Al-Gharbia pipe company UAE 299
Steel rolling mill complex United Iron & Steel Company UAE 272
Sudair Industrial City: pharmaceutical factory Sudair Pharmaceutical Company Saudi Arabia 266
Ruwais industrial waste treatment facility BEAAT Adnoc Refining UAE 260
Source: MEED Projects

Another large metals projects that was completed in the UAE during 2018 is the Al-Gharbia Pipe Company’s $299m steel pipe manufacturing facility, which is part of a broader plan to develop a world-class steel cluster through partnerships and investing in strategic industrial assets to expand into manufacturing away from oil.

This development is also located in the Khalifa Industrial Zone. It has an annual manufacturing capacity of 240,000 metric tonnes of steel pipes to meet domestic demand from oil and gas construction projects.

Across the GCC, the value of completed industrial projects in 2018 was 8 per cent higher than in 2017.

This growth was driven by a surge in completed industrial projects in the UAE, where the value of commissioned projects nearly doubled.

Large-scale industrial developments in the UAE outside of the metals sector included Western International’s Nesto Distribution Centre, which had a budget of $545m, and NFPC’s food production facility at Kizad, which had a budget of $408m.

The MEED Projects Awards 2019 in association with Mashreq recognise the best projects in the GCC. Reflecting the latest market trends, this year’s awards feature 17 different categories for entries. If you have been involved in a project completed in 2017 or 2018 that you believe deserves to be recognised, you can submit your entry at: MEED Projects Awards 2019.