This year has marked a period of recovery in Oman’s construction sector, with the value of contract awards for the first three quarters rising 20 per cent compared with the same period in 2011.

The increase in construction activity will please contractors after the sultanate witnessed a 47 per cent contraction in its building sector from 2010 to 2011, with contract awards falling from $5.2bn in 2010 to $2.7bn last year.

Spending plans

Despite being one of the region’s smaller construction markets, Oman’s planned economic development programme will ensure a steady flow of new projects in the next five years.

Oman top 5 construction awards, 2012
Project Client Value ($m)
Batinah Expressway: phase 1 Transport & Communications Ministry 361
Batinah Expressway: phase 2 Transport & Communications Ministry 319
Mixed-use development Public Authority for Social Insurance 183
Salalah port expansion: general cargo terminal Salalah Port Services Company  143
Sinaw to Duqm road: phase 1 Transport & Communications Ministry 108
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As part of its 2011-15 plan, the government has pledged $30bn towards the development of major infrastructure schemes. As a result of civil unrest and political protests in early 2011, Muscat vowed to boost spending targets to develop infrastructure and create new jobs.

A key element of its strategy involves upgrading and expanding transport links. The current five-year plan has allocated $15bn for the development of the sultanate’s roads, airports and ports. The transport projects are crucial to plans involving the revival of Oman’s tourism industry, a key sector of its economy.

Upcoming tender deadlines
Project Client Submission
Sohar Port: infrastructure Transport & Communications Ministry Q4 2012
Bidbid-Sur road: phase 2 Transport & Communications Ministry Q4 2012
Muscat and Salalah airports: cargo facilities Transport & Communications Ministry Q4 2012
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Three of the highest value construction deals awarded in 2012 have been for major road projects. The two largest awards to date, worth $361m and $319m, have been for two packages on the 265-kilometre Batinah Expressway scheme, which will extend the current Muscat Expressway to Khatmat Malaha, located on the Oman-UAE border.

Oman is also currently undertaking large expansion projects at the Muscat and Salalah international airports. In August, firms were invited to submit bids to build cargo and new maintenance, repair and overhaul facilities at each airport. The sultanate is also expanding four domestic airports, with a number of tenders expected before the end of 2013.

Oman’s plans to upgrade its social infrastructure will also offer opportunities to regional contractors in the coming years. Muscat aims to build two hospitals and 27 health centres by 2015 as part of the country’s eighth development plan.

The government is planning to construct more than 100 schools in an attempt to raise education standards.

Oman is building an estimated $1bn exhibition and conference centre as part of its plans to boost the tourism sector and diversify its economy. The convention centre will house a 3,200-seat theatre constructed over three levels and more than 22,000 square metres of space for exhibitors.

The Oman Tourism Development Company (Omran) is planning to award the first major construction package on the convention centre before the end of 2012.