The development of the $4bn Qatar-Bahrain Causeway has not progressed since being put on hold in June 2010.
The project manager on the causeway, US-based engineering and construction company KBR, has been unable to clarify the status of the project.
“We’ve had no luck getting a point of contact … It’s been difficult to get in touch with anyone from our end on the project,” says a spokeswoman for KBR.
While Bahrain’s Works Ministry declined to comment on the status of the project, Nayef al-Emadi, general secretary of the Qatar-Bahrain Causeway Foundation (QBCF) says he has “no new information about the project”.
While the reason for the causeway being on hold is not clear, one possible reason is that Bahrain is unable to finance its own share of the causeway and this is why the project remains on ice.
“A fairer account would be that Bahrain is ready to pay up to their equity contribution in the capital of the JV [joint venture], possibly up to $375m but could consider that the financing be arranged by their richer partner Qatar considering the strength of [its] credit rating, especially since Bahrain has now been downgraded to BBB and the muscles Qatar could flex to lenders,” says a industry observer based in Doha.
“They are having a territorial dispute over who does what. The [industry] is predicting a GCC fund, or a kitty so that each state will contribute towards it,” says another source.
The recent political unrest in the kingdom has also impacted the development of key projects, including the Qatar-Bahrain Causeway. The project is a key component to Qatar’s Fifa World Cup plans in 2022.
The causeway was put on hold in June 2010 and the contracting consortium demobilised (MEED 6:6:10).