Qatar’s projects spending programme has not been affected by oil prices, says Ed James, director of content and analysis at regional projects tracker MEED Projects.

Speaking at MEED’s Qatar Transport Forum 2015 in Doha on 15 September, James said Doha had invested some $45bn on transport projects over the past six years and shows no sign of scaling back on its transport plans.    

“Oil prices are almost irrelevant to Qatar’s projects because it has to deliver,” said James. “2015 is set to be a record year.”

Using data from MEED Projects, James said Qatar has about $200bn-worth of projects at the design and planning stage.

He said Qatar Railways Company (Qatar Rail) would be the biggest sponsor of future projects in the country, with some $23bn-worth of projects planned.

The Public Works Authority (Ashghal) has the country’s second-biggest portfolio of future projects, with some $16bn of schemes planned. The New Doha International Airport Steering Committee will be the third-biggest client as it seeks to expand Hamad International airport.

Ashghal’s’s QR40bn ($11bn) Expressway programme and QR50bn roads and draining programme (LRDP) will be major drivers of projects spending, while further work might come from the authority’s QR22bn Sharq Crossing across Doha Bay, which was delayed in 2014.

James said there were indications the Sharq Crossing project may be restarted, although he said that was unlikely until after the Fifa football World Cup in 2022.  

James said that from 2008-14, Doha had invested about $45bn on transport projects, with about $14bn going to roads and interchange projects – about 30 per cent of overall spend. About $11bn of contract awards were made for street and utility projects, equivalent to about 22 per cent of overall spend. Tunnelling projects accounted for $10bn of contract awards, about 21 per cent of overall spend, and rail saw $6bn of contract awards.

James warned, however, that capacity constraints and logistics bottlenecks could create delivery challenges if not addressed.

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