By Gordon Platt
The return of economic confidence in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries is evident in the awarding of major new contracts and invitations for bidding on future projects, some of which were delayed by the global financial crisis. In one of the biggest such deals, Qatar reopened bidding for the first part of the third phase of the New Doha International Airport, a project with a total cost of $11 billion. The new tender is for construction of part of the passenger terminal.
In the United Arab Emirates, Abu Dhabi Gas Industries awarded four contracts in July totaling $9 billion. The largest contract, a $4.7 billon deal for a gas-processing plant, was assigned to a group comprised of Japan-based JGC and Maire Tecnimont, based in Italy. In addition, Abu Dhabi Oil Refining signed a $400 million contract with French engineering firm Technip to design the second phase of a pipeline that will link two refineries and a storage and distribution depot with Abu Dhabi International Airport.
Abu Dhabi, incidentally, has been selected as the headquarters for the International Renewable Energy Agency, which the United States joined at the end of June. Abu Dhabi is building Masdar City, a $22 billion carbon-neutral development, which will rely totally on solar and wind power and will produce no waste.
In Saudi Arabia, Aramco is expected to award preliminary design and project-management contracts in September for the Arabiyah offshore gas field and a natural gas liquids recovery plant at the Shaybah oil field. Once the design work is completed in the second quarter of next year, Armaco will invite bids to construct the facilities. The kingdom is anxious to meet growing domestic demand for natural gas.
Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia is developing an aeronautics industry to assemble Typhoon fighter jets as part of a $33 billion deal signed in September 2007 with BAE Systems, based in Britain. BAE will deliver 24 of the new fourth-generation Eurofighter planes, while an additional 48 of the aircraft will be assembled in the kingdom. Some spare parts for the jets will be manufactured in Saudi Arabia.