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Middle East contracts awarded October 2013

The contract awards for October were dominated by one deal, the $6bn project awarded to Switzerland-based Satarem by Iraq’s Oil Ministry for the construction and operation of a new 150,000 barrel a day (b/d) refinery in the Missan province.

The deal has been questioned by some analysts, who say that Satarem has no known experience in the construction or operation of refineries. Its previous projects have involved cement production and renewable energy schemes.

Adding to the uncertainty, the Oil Ministry has signed private refinery agreements before, but so far none have proceeded. Iraq signed a memorandum of understanding with Egypt’s Citadel Capital for a refinery in Mosul in 2011, which was given three years to prepare studies and designs. Another deal was signed with the Refinery of Karbala Corporation, an Italian-UAE joint venture, although this too collapsed. The Karbala refinery will now be built by the government.

The planned Nasiriyah refinery, which has been linked with the upstream development of the Nasiriyah oil field looks the most likely to proceed. Iraq has prequalified dozens of firms and bids are due to be submitted in December.

There were no other major contract awards in October. The second largest deal also came from the oil and gas sector. France’s Technip was awarded an estimated $200m turn-key engineering, procurement, installation and commissioning contract for an offshore platform in Qatar. The project covers a living-quarters platform and utility platform, along with a connecting bridge for state-owned Qatar Petroleum (QP).

The deal is part of QP’s Forward Mounted Base (FMB) project, which aims to provide a system for observation and security for Qatar’s vital offshore assets through a series of towers and platforms.

Away from oil and gas the largest contract awarded in October was in Dubai, which after enduring nearly five years of inactivity, has begun to show signs of resurgence. One of the most ambitious schemes planned for the emirate is the extension of Dubai Creek, which will create a new waterfront development known as Dubai Water Canal.

In early October, the emirate’s Roads & Transport Authority (RTA) awarded the estimated $185m contract for the construction of the first phase of the road and bridge network for the Dubai Water Canal project to Turkish contractor Gunal.

Other notable awards in October were the estimated $160m contract awarded to Italy’s Bruno Presezzi by Abu Dhabi’s Taweelah Aluminium Extrusion Company (Talex) for the construction of an aluminium extrusions plant, a $150m contract secure by India’s Larsen & Toubro for an engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract to expand Abu Dhabi Refining Company’s (Takreer) aviation fuel depot at Abu Dhabi International airport.

The only other contract awarded in October worth more than $100m is the $149m contract secured by the Omani/UK Carillion Alawi for the construction of the new Kempinski hotel near Muscat for The Oman Hospitality Company.

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