Top 100 projects in the Middle East and North Africa

24 December 2017
Regional developments scale up as post-oil planning takes root in earnest across the region

While the Middle East and North Africa (Mena) projects market has long been dominated by the sort of ambitious schemes that are only brought about by both serious capital and resolute political will, 2017 saw a seismic shift in the scale and scope of projects being envisioned.

Scroll down for a list of the region's top 100 projects

The debut of the $500bn Neom masterplan in late October represents something of a paradigm shift for the region. If successful, the vast undertaking will become the new benchmark.

With backing from the government and the Public Investment Fund (PIF), this flagship development of the ascendant Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman al-Saud is set to envelop 26,500 square kilometres of land along 468km of coastline along the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aqaba. It will also cross into Jordan and Egypt connect Saudi Arabia and Egypt with a causeway across the Red Sea.

By 2030, Neom’s contribution to the kingdom’s economy is expected to be at least $100bn. If these projections are correct, and the scheme is successful, this would make it a significant contributor to the country’s post-oil future.

Neom’s first tangible development is the appointment of the UK’s Buro Happold as the programme manager. The construction of its first phase is scheduled to be completed by 2025.

Egyptian ambition

Another demonstration of the dynamism of the region’s projects landscape was a last-minute spike in the value of contract awards in December 2017, brought about by a deal between Egypt and Russia for the construction of the $21bn El-Dabaa plant, Egypt’s first nuclear energy project. The project is part of a wider atomic vogue sweeping the Middle East – with the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Iran and Jordan all now advancing along the path towards the roll-out of nuclear power.

The award of the El-Dabaa facility more than doubled the value of Egypt’s 2017 contract awards to $38.5bn, placing it just behind the UAE, at $46.8bn, and far ahead of Saudi Arabia, at $25.2bn.

Neither is this Egypt’s only project of note. On the contrary, President Abdul Fattah al-Sisi is proving himself to be a megaproject enthusiast. Egypt has its own mixed-use urban megaproject, The Capital Cairo, with a development cost of $45bn, and is expected to issue the first contracts for the Golden Triangle, a $29bn mineral resources masterplan, in 2018.

UAE projects

In the UAE, the $55bn Mohammed bin Rashid (MBR) City being developed by the local Emaar Properties and Dubai Holding includes at least one sub-project that merits the title of megaproject in its own right: the $17.7bn Dubai Creek Harbour (DCH), which covers 6 square kilometres in the Ras al-Khor area.

The largest element of the overarching MBR masterplan, DCH is being managed by US-based Hill International, and includes plans for the world’s tallest man-made structure: the Santiago Calatrava-designed Tower at Dubai Creek Harbour.

The masterplan’s retail district is meanwhile tipped to become the world’s largest shopping mall, with a total built-up area of about 3 million square metres, including 1.7 million sq m of retail. Emaar’s Dubai Mall, by contrast, has a total area of 1.1 million sq m.

The $5bn main contract is currently out to tender. The contract award was originally scheduled for September 2018, but Emaar extended the bid submission deadline from 17 December 2017 to 26 April 2018, which could postpone the award.

Other massive mixed-use projects include the $55bn Dubai South development, which encompasses the development of Al-Maktoum International airport by Dubai Aviation Engineering Projects, as well as the masterplans for the $40bn Capital District, the $37bn Yas Island, the $37bn Al-Reem island and the $27bn Saadiyat Island in Abu Dhabi.

[caption id="attachment_290506" align="alignnone" width="165"]Total Mena contract awards Total Mena contract awards[/caption]

A range of special economic zones also pepper the roster of the region’s top projects, including four schemes valued at $30bn: Oman’s Special Economic Zone at Duqm (SEZAD), Iran’s Chabahar Port development, and Saudi Arabia’s Jizan City and Jeddah Economic City.

Jeddah also lays claim to two important strategic transport infrastructure schemes that make the upper echelons of the list: the $30.4bn public transportation programme, which includes the Jeddah Metro, alongside a bus, tram and water taxi network; and the $28bn King Abdulaziz International airport.

While Saudi Arabia’s $4.8bn Red Sea tourism project does not make the Top 100 megaprojects list in terms of spending, it represents a significant strategic development for the kingdom that could well yield significant indirect economic benefits by driving the kingdom’s tourism sector forward.

Further afield, the estimated $66bn renewable energy scheme by Algeria’s state-owned Sonelgaz looks set for its next phase after the EU agreed to fund the project in March 2017.

There is significantly more doubt as to whether phase 13 of the $91bn South Pars gas field development will move ahead, as US President Donald Trump’s decision not to ratify the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action raises the spectre of renewed sanctions.

The story across the region, however, is one of renewed vigour in the projects pipeline, bold visions, and the determination to push through ambitious infrastructure schemes in spite of adverse conditions.

Biggest megaprojects in the Middle East

RankProjectProject ownerCountryStatusValue ($m)AwardEnd
1NeomPublic Investment FundSaudi ArabiaStudy500,00020192030
2Iraq housing programmeMinistry of Construction & HousingIraqExecution200,00020052025
3DubailandDubai HoldingUAEExecution146,85520072030
4King Abdullah Economic CityEmaar, The Economic CitySaudi ArabiaExecution93,00020082034
5South Pars gas field developmentPars Oil & Gas CompanyIranExecution91,00019992023
6Nuclear power reactorKing Abdullah City for Atomic & Renewable EnergySaudi ArabiaFeed70,00020192040
7Saudi housing projectHousing MinistrySaudi ArabiaExecution68,00020112031
8Renewable energy development programmeSonelgazAlgeriaExecution66,00020132030
9Mohammed bin Rashid CityDubai Holding/Emaar PropertiesUAEExecution55,00020142035
9Dubai South: mixed-use development (Al-Maktoum airport phase 2)Dubai SouthUAEExecution55,00020062040
11Lusail developmentLusail Real Estate Development CompanyQatarExecution45,00020082022
11The Capital CairoAdministrative Capital for Urban DevelopmentEgyptExecution45,00020162028
13Barakah nuclear power plantBarakah One CompanyUAEExecution40,00020092020
13Qatar integrated rail projectQatar Railways Company (Qatar Rail)QatarExecution40,00020112026
13Capital DistrictAbu Dhabi General Services (Musanada)UAEExecution40,00020102030
16Al-Reem IslandBunya EnterprisesUAEExecution37,00020062023
16Yas Island developmentAldar PropertiesUAEExecution37,00020062030
18Dubai WaterfrontNakheelUAEExecution35,00020082030
19Jeddah public transportation programmeJeddah Metro CompanySaudi ArabiaBid evaluation30,40020182023
20Cap Djinet 2015 industrial port complex masterplanCevitalAlgeriaExecution30,00020112018
20Duqm Special Economic ZoneSpecial Economic Zone Authority at DuqmOmanExecution30,00020122023
20Renewable energy programmeRenewable Energy Project Development OfficeSaudi ArabiaBid evaluation30,00020172024
20Chabahar port developmentGovernment of India/Government of IranIranExecution30,00020112026
20Business BayDubai PropertiesUAEExecution30,00020062030
20Jeddah Economic CityJeddah Economic CitySaudi ArabiaExecution30,00020112031
20Jizan City for Basic Industries & ConversionSaudi Industrial Property Authority (Modon)Saudi ArabiaExecution30,00020092034
27Golden Triangle Mining & Urban DevelopmentMinistry of Trade & IndustryEgyptDesign29,00020182047
28King Abdulaziz International airport in JeddahGeneral Authority of Civil Aviation (Gaca)Saudi ArabiaExecution28,00020062035
29Iraq strategic crude export pipelineOil MinistryIraqExecution27,50020172022
30Saadiyat IslandTourism Development & Investment CompanyUAEExecution27,00020062030
31High-Speed Railway Network: eastern routeMinistry of TransportIraqStudy23,35720182025
32Riyadh Light Rail Transit (Riyadh Metro)Arriyadh Development AuthoritySaudi ArabiaExecution23,00020132019
33Masdar CityAbu Dhabi Future Energy Company (Masdar)UAEExecution22,00020082022
34El-Dabaa nuclear power plantEgyptian Electricity Holding companyEgyptExecution21,00020172029
35Palm JumeirahNakheelUAEExecution21,00020032030
36Expressway programmePublic Works Authority (Ashghal)QatarExecution20,00020032020
36Duqm New TownDuqm Development CompanyOmanExecution20,00020102022
36Dahiyat AlfursanHousing MinistrySaudi ArabiaStudy20,00020192025
36Yanbu oil-to-chemicals complexSaudi Aramco/Saudi Basic Industries CorporationSaudi ArabiaStudy20,00020202025
36Zubair field developmentEni/Oxy/Korea Gas Corporation/Missan Oil CompanyIraqExecution20,00020122028
36Downtown DubaiEmaar PropertiesUAEExecution20,00020042030
36Cairo Metro networkNational Authority for TunnelsEgyptExecution20,00020062032
36Haramin Access Project (Mecca Gate)Al-Shamiyah Urban DevelopmentSaudi ArabiaExecution20,00020132034
36Heart of Jeddah developmentJeddah Development & Urban Regeneration CompanySaudi ArabiaPQ20,00020182034
45Tehran MetroTehran Urban & Suburban Railway CompanyIranExecution19,85520042023
46Downtown Jebel AliLimitlessUAEExecution19,00020062019
47Iran Gas TrunklineIran Gas Engineering & Development CompanyIranExecution17,86320042021
48South gas utilisation projectBasrah Gas CompanyIraqExecution17,20020142019
49New Refinery ProjectKuwait Integrated Petroleum Industries CompanyKuwaitExecution17,00020142019
49Mecca Public Transportation ProgrammeMecca Mass Rail Transit CompanySaudi ArabiaExecution17,00020172030
51Clean Fuels ProjectKuwait National Petroleum CompanyKuwaitExecution16,28520122022
52Upper Zakum full field developmentAdnoc OffshoreUAEExecution16,18020092020
53Block 61 developmentBPOmanExecution16,00020142020
53North Pars gas field developmentPars Oil & Gas CompanyIranStudy16,00020192023
55Oman national railwayOman RailOmanDesign15,60020182024
56Hamad International airportHamad International Airport Steering CommitteeQatarExecution15,50020022020
57Khalifa Industrial Zone Abu DhabiAbu Dhabi Ports CompanyUAEExecution15,45520072030
58Al-Raha Beach developmentAldar PropertiesUAEExecution15,00020102020
58Hail and Ghasha sour gas developmentAdnoc Sour GasUAEStudy15,00020192022
58Meydan CityMeydan GroupUAEExecution15,00020072035
61Local Roads & Drainage ProgrammePublic Works Authority (Ashghal)QatarExecution14,60020122022
62Dubai MetroRoads & Transport AuthorityUAEExecution14,35220052035
63The WorldNakheelUAEExecution14,05020032030
64Riyadh Dammam high-speed railSaudi Railways OrganisationSaudi ArabiaStudy14,00020192023
64Pilgrim City (mixed-use development in Medina)Dar al-Hijrah CompanySaudi ArabiaExecution14,00020142024
64Al-Negila nuclear power plantEgyptian Electricity Holding companyEgyptStudy14,00020242026
64Al-Khiran CityPublic Authority for Housing WelfareKuwaitStudy14,00020222035
64Cairo Airport CityEgyptian Holding Company for Airports & Air NavigationEgyptDesign14,00020192050
69High-Speed Railway Network: western routeMinistry of TransportIraqStudy13,80020182035
70Haramain High-Speed Rail NetworkSaudi Railways OrganisationSaudi ArabiaExecution13,74320092019
71Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum solar parkDubai Electricity & Water AuthorityUAEExecution13,61320122030
72Arabian Bays (Al-Jadaf area redevelopment: culture village)Dubai HoldingUAEExecution13,50020052030
73Deira IslandsNakheelUAEExecution12,50020052035
74Dubai MarinaEmaar PropertiesUAEExecution12,30020032025
75New Suez CanalSuez Canal AuthorityEgyptExecution12,00020142020
75West Nile Delta: North Alexandria concession phase 1BP/RWE DEAEgyptExecution12,00020162020
75Nasiriyah integrated projectMinistry of OilIraqPQ12,00020182023
78Bul Hanine field redevelopmentQatar PetroleumQatarExecution11,00020152021
79GCC water inter-connectivityGCCSaudi ArabiaStudy10,50020182021
80Barzan gas developmentRasGas CompanyQatarExecution10,30020112023
81Salamat fieldMinistry of Petroleum & Mineral ResourcesEgyptStudy10,20020192023
82Alexandria-Aswan high-speed railway lineMinistry of TransportEgyptStudy10,16020182024
83Masjed-e Soleiman fertiliser complexMIS Petrochemical CompanyIranExecution10,00020112019
83Halfaya project surface facilityPetroChina/South Oil Company/Petronas/TotalIraqExecution10,00020112020
83Marsa ZayedAl-MaabarJordanExecution10,00020112021
83Red Sea-Dead Sea water conveyanceJordan Red Sea Project CompanyJordanPQ10,00020182021
83Bab sour gas projectAbu Dhabi National Oil CompanyUAEStudy10,00020182021
83New Bahrain International airportBahrain Airport CompanyBahrainStudy10,00020192022
83Khuzestan Energy ParkKhuzestan Regional Electricity CompanyIranStudy10,00020192023
83Housing complex in BismayahNational Investment CommissionIraqExecution10,00020152024
83Barwa al-Khor developmentBarwa Real Estate CompanyQatarExecution10,00020132025
836,000MW coal fuel power plantEgyptian Electricity Holding companyEgyptBid evaluation10,00020182025
83Amra nuclear power plantJordan Atomic Energy CommissionJordanStudy10,00020182025
83Kuwait National Rail RoadKuwait Authority For Partnership ProjectsKuwaitStudy10,00020192026
83Roua al-MadinahPublic Investment FundSaudi ArabiaStudy10,00020182027
83Roua al-HaramPublic Investment FundSaudi ArabiaStudy10,00020182029
83Gulf Of Suez Special Economic ZoneSezone/Main Development CompanyEgyptExecution10,00020122040
98Abu Dhabi airport expansionAbu Dhabi Airports CompanyUAEExecution9,40020062022
99Rabigh: Phase 2PetroRabighSaudi ArabiaExecution9,39820122019
100Hamad portNew Port ProjectQatarExecution9,36220112025
Feed=Front-end engineering and design; PQ=Prequalification. Source: MEED Projects

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