On 21 November, the Fifa football World Cup kicks off in Qatar, marking the end of a glorious cycle of investment and the start of Qatar’s next phase of development.
Nine stadiums have been built for the tournament at a cost of about $5bn. Together they crown a $157bn programme of building and infrastructure investment in Qatar over the past 12 years that has seen the development of new airports, railways, highways and cities, in one of the most spectacular construction booms ever seen.
But with the development work now complete, the question for companies in Qatar is: What next?
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 to 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.
In January 2022, Saudi Arabia and Qatar relaunched a planned rail link, setting a date to begin studying the connection. This is a consequence of the improved relations between Qatar and its GCC partners and will bring fresh dynamism to the GCC rail initiative. Cooperation across borders is also expected in aviation and shipping.
Doha is stepping up efforts to draw investment through public-private partnership schemes
New projects cycle
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.
This time around, Qatar’s gas projects parallel its National Vision 2030, Doha’s long-term strategy to transition away from energy. The plan includes pursuing investment in research and development to stimulate a knowledge economy.
For more information and sample pages from MEED Insight's Qatar 2022 premium intelligence report, please click here
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