Amid the challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic, the normalisation of relations between Doha and four of its Arab neighbours following a three-and-a-half-year diplomatic dispute is a breath of fresh air for Qatar's economy and society. It comes at an important time for the country.
Over the past decade, the focus of Qatar’s investment has been on the development of the infrastructure needed to deliver the Fifa football World Cup in 2022, including the stadiums, airports, rail and metro lines, and leisure and hospitality facilities.
The World Cup has underpinned about $13.6bn a year of project contract awards in Qatar over the past decade, with the peak years coming in 2014 and 2015, when award levels rose to about $20.9bn and $17.4bn, respectively.
Since 2015, however, awards have slowed, and the question is: What comes after the World Cup?
Qatar’s projects market in the 2020s will have many similarities to the boom of the first decade of the 2000s
Part of the answer came on 8 February 2021, when Qatargas awarded a $13bn contract for the main package of the first phase of its North Field Expansion (NFE) megaproject to a consortium of Japan’s Chiyoda Corporation and France-based Technip Energies.
It is the biggest single EPC contract ever awarded in the region, and is redolent of the early 2000s, when investments to develop six large liquefied natural gas (LNG) trains propelled Qatar to become the world’s biggest gas exporter.
Qatar’s projects market in the 2020s will have many similarities to the boom of the first decade of the 2000s. And the similarity goes beyond LNG.
Another reminder came at the end of 2020, when Doha was selected to host the Asian Games in 2030. The Qatari capital hosted the games for the first time in 2006 and a range of major sporting and hospitality projects were completed ahead of the event.
Doha is implementing a new tourism strategy that it hopes will turn the one-off economic and political capital boost of the World Cup into a long-term driver of sports, business and leisure tourism.
Qatar's Vision 2030
This time around, Qatar’s gas projects come in parallel to the Qatar National Vison 2030, Doha’s long-term strategy to transition away from energy, diversify economically and attract investment.
The plan includes the vigorous pursuit of investment in research and development in the hope of stimulating the formation of a broader knowledge economy.
Doha is also stepping up its efforts to draw investment through public-private partnership (PPP) schemes, and issued a new PPP law in May 2020.
The government has also been making progressive reforms with respect to worker welfare and its Kafala system, deemed necessary for Qatar's future economy.
Qatar 2021 assesses the outlook for Qatar’s projects market and the opportunities for businesses. Covering oil, gas, petrochemicals, power, renewables, construction, tourism, water, PPP and transport, the report is a powerful resource for anyone seeking to do business in Qatar.
Qatar projects market at a glance
Value of projects under execution: $44.5bn
Value of planned future projects: $121.4bn
Value of project contracts awarded from 2011-20: $136.7bn
Biggest drivers of project spending in 2011-20: Real estate and transport investment
Proportion of planned projects accounted for by gas schemes: 37.4%
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