The frontrunner for the Palm Deira dredging and reclamation package is understood to be Van Oordof the Netherlands, which is already working nearby on the Deira sea corniche development and is the main dredger on the World. If the work goes to Van Oord, it is expected to be placed as a variation order on one of its existing contracts.

Although the Deira will be similar in size to the other two Palms, the dredging and reclamation package is expected to be considerably bigger. ‘The talk is that it [Palm Deira] will require up to 400 million cubic metres of sand and rock, which is about five times the size of Palm Jumeirah,’ says a source close to the project. It is unclear whether Nakheel has appointed a project manager on the scheme. The client issued a letter of intent in the summer to the US’ Kellogg Brown & Root (KBR) to act as overall programme manager on Palm Jumeirah.

The first two palms each have 17 fronds and a trunk, extend five kilometres offshore and are five kilometres in diameter. While reclamation and dredging work has now been completed on Palm Jumeirah, where infrastructure and building works are proceeding, the marine works on Palm Jebel Ali are not due to be completed by main contractor, Belgium’s Jan de Nul, until early 2006.

Sheikh Mohammed said in a report carried by the official Emirates News Agency (WAM) that the decision to proceed with the third palm had been taken in response to investor demand. He also indicated that many more developments were planned, stating that the multi-billion-dirham projects so far announced were ‘just the tip of the iceberg’. Several other offshore projects are understood to be under consideration, including a development known as the Pearl, which is earmarked to be located close to Palm Jumeirah.