UPDATE: Please note that when producing the Q2 2013 index, MEED removed the $8.5bn Tehran to Mashhad Electrification project from the index due to doubts about its value. For consistency, in our Q2 analysis, we retrospectively reduced the index value for previous quarters by $8.5bn. Therefore, $8.5bn must be subtracted from the total Q1 2013 and Q4 2012 figures below, as well as for the value of transport projects and projects in Iran. The Q2 2013 index report can be read here.

The top 100 projects in construction was broadly flat, dipping by $430m or 0.2 per cent to $281.2bn in the first quarter of 2013, down from $281.6bn in the fourth quarter 2012.  

During that period, 10 projects from the previous top 100 table were completed, worth $20bn. This quarter, 12 projects have entered the table, worth $30bn.

There have been changes at the top end of the table during the latest quarter. The number one project in the fourth quarter of 2012, the UAE’s Baraka nuclear power plant, has now been split into four, smaller projects, all of which still feature in the table, while the project that was second in the list, Saudi Arabia’s Al-Shamiyah Development in Mecca, is back in study, having previously been on hold and then in execution. The master plan has been drawn up for Al-Shamiyah, and its design will commence once the expansion of the Grand Mosque in Mecca has been completed.

This means Iran now occupies three of the top five slots in the table, with phases 19 to 21 of the South Pars gas field development, the Tehran to Mashhad electrification project (one and two respectively) and the offshore phases 17 and 18 of South Pars (number five), at a combined value of $25bn.

Iran, Saudi Arabia and the UAE continue to be the clear top three when the table is filtered by country, with project values of $81.3bn, $78.7bn and $46.7bn respectively. The top two have swapped places over the quarter, with Iran now having the most projects by value in the top 100.

Value of projects in top 100 by country
Country Q1 2013 contract value ($m) Q4 2012 contract value ($m)
Algeria 21,442 29,768
Egypt 13,450 6,800
Iran 81,336 77,536
Iraq 22,340 20,840
Jordan 4,500 0
Kuwait 7,958 5,958
Morocco 7,100 9,363
Oman 3,434 3,434
Qatar 7,000 5,500
Saudi Arabia 78,705 96,255
UAE 46,681 48,651
Source: MEED Projects; data compiled 8 April 2013; all projects in execution

Saudi Arabia and Qatar disappointed the projects market in 2012 in terms of contracts awarded. Both were expected to make more awards than happened, and the first quarter of 2013 has shown little evidence that this has been reversed. 

Saudi Arabia saw the sharpest decline in project value for the top 100 index in the first quarter, falling 18 per cent. This fall is due to $3.8bn-worth of projects from the top 100 being completed and two major schemes being reclassified by MEED Projects, resulting in them no longer appearing in the table. 

Only one project from the kingdom has come into the table, the $3.35bn Riyadh Security Forces Medical complex in what has been a slow start to the year for major contract awards. In total, Saudi Arabia has more than $207bn-worth of projects in execution, with another $59bn-worth of projects at the main contract bid stage, leaving it as the biggest projects market in the Middle East.

Awards expected to be made this year include the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract for the Midyan non-associated gas processing plant in Saudi Arabia, parts of the Riyadh metro scheme and for the first package at the planned $3bn-5bn gasification project at Jizan.

Qatar continues to grab attention for its potential, but as yet, little of that is turning into awards. It saw an uptick in project values in the first quarter of $1.5bn, but despite this is not making the number of contract awards the market expected, as it improves its infrastructure and prepares for the 2022 Fifa World Cup Finals. The country has $94.2bn-worth of projects in the pipeline, with $40.5bn of that at the main contract bid stage.

In Egypt, the value of contract awards appearing in the top 100 doubled to $13.5bn, as the projects market in the country comes back to life follow the uprising in 2011. Chief among its projects, and new to the top 100, are the Tahrir petrochemicals complex and Samalout power plant, with a combined value of $6.6bn.

The top three projects by sector are once again gas, transport and construction, with respective values of $70.8bn, $52.2bn and $51.7bn, with gas rising by $8.8bn in value, due to contracts being awarded for phase one of the Iran to Syria gas pipeline, the onshore and offshore elements in phase 11 of the South Pars gas field development (all in Iran) and the onshore element of phase two of the Bazan gas development in Qatar.

Value of projects in top 100 by sector
Sector Q1 2013 contract value ($m) Q4 2012 contract value ($m)
Chemical 12,300 8,550
Construction 51,719 59,719
Gas 70,784 61,982
Healthcare 2,300 2,300
Metals & Mining 8,300 8,300
Oil 39,269 49,217
Power 49,430 41,730
Transport 52,224 69,207
Water 7,600 3,100
Source: MEED Projects; data compiled 8 April 2013; all projects in execution

Overall, prospects for the region are good, with the value of projects planned rising 3.6 per cent during the quarter, to $1.5trillion. Across the Middle East, there are $210bn-worth of projects at the main contract bid phase, of which, approximately $78bn-worth feature in the top 100 during 2013.

Contracts that, if awarded, should make the top 100 this year include the Khazzan & Makarem fields in Oman, tunneling works for the Green, Golden, Red South and Red North lines in the Qatar metro, phases one to six of the Riyadh metro in Saudi Arabia and the Mirfa independent water and power project (IWPP) in the UAE.

Value of projects planned in the Middle East by country
Country Q1 2013 budget value ($m) Q4 2012 budget value ($m)
Algeria 182,075 164,218
Bahrain 55,683 51,725
Egypt 94,496 89,913
Iran 113,740 126,880
Iraq 159,398 157,038
Jordan 57,380 55,321
Kuwait 118,133 126,654
Lebanon 2,932 4,754
Libya 5,680 2,340
Morocco 17,276 14,633
Oman 78,222 61,933
Qatar 94,237 93,990
Saudi Arabia 262,747 247,749
Sudan 440 240
Tunisia 23,206 13,236
UAE 243,524 243,663
Yemen 7,558 9,206
Source: MEED Projects; data compiled 8 April 2013 (Q1) and December 2012 (Q4)