Record-breaking $254bn of contract awards in 2023

04 January 2024
Middle East and North Africa projects market surpasses previous awards record set in 2014


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Contractors in the Middle East and North Africa region secured more than $254bn of contract awards in 2023 in a record-breaking annual tally, according to regional projects tracker MEED Projects.

The previous record value of projects awarded in a single year was $240bn, reached in 2014 when global macroeconomic factors had driven Brent crude oil prices above the $100-a-barrel mark.

The fact that this value has been exceeded in 2023 when Brent crude is hovering around the $80 mark makes the record-breaking contract award sum all the more exceptional.

The heightened activity was driven by extraordinary levels of contract awards in both the Saudi Arabian and UAE projects markets, which saw $92bn and $78bn in awards, respectively.

In Saudi Arabia, there has been a surge in project work under the kingdom’s Vision 2030 gigaproject programme, as well as ongoing investment in energy infrastructure. In the UAE, a similar revival in construction activity alongside renewed investment in hydrocarbon exploitation has spiked awards.

Qatar was the next most active market with $19bn in awards, led by the single-largest project contract of the year: the $10bn QatarEnergy contract for two liquefied natural gas trains for the North Field South development awarded to the joint venture of France’s Technip Energies and Greece’s Consolidated Contractors Company.

The UAE’s Adnoc also signed two major gas contracts, both valued at more than $8bn, for the onshore and offshore packages of its long-awaited Hail and Ghasha sour gas field development.

Many of the largest contracts in Saudi Arabia were also in the gas sector, led by Saudi Aramco’s award of the $2.9bn package one and $2.2bn package two of phase two of the commercialisation of unconventional resources (Cour) project at Jafurah.

Industry breakdown

Broken down by industry, the busiest areas of activity were construction, with $69bn in awards, and gas, with $51bn in awards.

Transport projects made up a further $33bn in value for a total of $103bn across construction and transport, while a further $21bn of oil awards and $16bn of chemical awards made for a total of $87bn across the entire oil, gas and chemicals sector.

Power and water projects made up a further $57bn-worth of awards, alongside $7bn of other industrial projects.

The 2023 awards value also surged well beyond the average value of annual awards in the past five years, which was $159bn, and the $178bn 2014-22 average annual award value.

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