With more than $40bn worth of new contracts awarded in the six-nation GCC alone in the first quarter, the projects markets of the Middle East are set to enjoy record-breaking year in 2014.
So far, among the high profile projects that have been awarded include the $12bn Kuwait National Petroleum Company’s Clean Fuels Project; Qatar’s Ashgal has so far awarded over $3bn worth of projects for the Expressway and LRDP schemes; Abu Dhabi’s Musanada has awarded over $1bn worth of contracts for the Mafraq-Ghuweifat Road Development project; Qrail has awarded $700mn worth of contract for the Elevated Section of the Doha Metro’s Red Line South project; and Al Reem Island in the UAE has awarded the main contract with a value of $705mn.
MEED’s latest forecast is that new contract awards in the GCC will approach $150bn in the year ending 2014 compared with about $135bn in the previous 12 months. The project boom encompasses all six markets and extends across all sectors.
Confidence is being further lifted by the irresistible rise in project spending in Iraq where oil production last year reached an all-time high of more than 3m b/d. At least $20bn of new contracts are expected to be placed in Iraq by the end of 2014 in a capital investment programme that will establish the country as one of the most exciting prospects in the world for the local, regional and global construction industry.
Figures compiled by MEED Projects show that a total of almost $2.5trn worth of contracts are planned or under way in the GCC. A further $500bn worth of projects are at a similar stage in Iraq. For the MENA region as a whole, more than $4trn worth of projects are planned or under way. This vast, varied and challenging opportunity will be comprehensively reviewed in MEED’s annual Arabian World Construction Summit (AWCS) which opens in the Sofitel Hotel on Palm Jumeirah on 12 May. More than 60 speakers representing all high-growth Middle East construction markets and the largest region’s project sectors will address the event.
Among the highlights of the summit includes a keynote session on developing ‘Solution-based Delivery Strategies for the Region’s Complex Construction Projects’. Dr. Faysal Alaquil, Director, Department of Business Development & CSR, Construction Products Holding Company (CPC) of Saudi Arabia, a Strategic Partner of the event, said, “The complexity of the megaprojects either underway or in the pipeline requires contractors to design and execute to the highest quality standards available. We will share a number of building solutions that will help transform these projects from concept and design to physical realities that are not only of the highest technical standards, but conform to sustainable and environmental practices.”
Across the region, there is a greater need for social and housing capacity. In the past six years, according data collated by MEED Projects, residential projects comprised 29% of total construction projects awarded during the period, followed by mixed use projects at 18%. With real estate opportunities back to pre-bust days, meeting the growing demand for private residential and social housing developments will be of paramount importance. Imad Ghantous, Managing Director-Property, Hyder Consulting Middle East, said, “Rapid population growth will be a key driver of this continued growth in the construction sector, with a particular focus on residential and social infrastructure projects.” Experts currently estimate that the region’s population is expected to grow to more than 600 million by 2030, from around 340 million today.
Saudi Arabia, the Middle East’s biggest project market which is expected to witness more than $70bn of projects awarded in 2014, will once again be at the heart of the conference. Speakers will review the trends in the kingdom’s construction industry and evaluate the opportunities in energy, water, rail, port and real estate markets. Special attention will be paid to the remarkable King Abdullah Economic City (KAEC) in Rabigh where one of the world’s largest new ports started operations earlier this year, and progress on the Jeddah Kingdom Tower, the world’s tallest high-building, and the supporting development. A special presentation will be delivered by the General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA), the largest new airport client in the Middle East.
The UAE will get special attention as investment in the federation starts in the run up to the opening of the World Expo in Dubai in October 2014. More than $100bn worth of new projects is on the agenda for the emirate which expects 25m people to visit the six-month expo. The conference will review some of the largest real estate developments in Dubai including exciting projects being developed by Meraas Holdings. Other markets to be reviewed will include Oman, Bahrain, Iraq and Egypt where 40 megaprojects worth more than $500m are planned or under way. The challenge of delivery complex, multi-component megaprojects will be one of the key themes of AWCS 2014. Regional and global experts in megaproject delivery and the role high-level programme management can play in bringing megaprojects in on time and budget will be among the key participants in the event.
“The AWCS was launched in 2007 and is established as the premier annual event for major clients and senior construction industry executives working in the Middle East megaproject market,” said MEED Events chairman Edmund O’Sullivan. “This year, the delegates will learn about the widest range of new projects and construction opportunities since the first AWCS opened seven years ago. I’m confident they will leave inspired to intensify their efforts across the region,” he added.
As the premier construction event in the region, AWCS has been able to enlist the support of CPC and HSBC as Strategic Event Sponsors; Hyder Consulting and Six Construct as Gold Sponsors; Projacs, AGIS and Mashreq as Silver Sponsors; Drake & Scull, Hill International, Zurich and AKSA as Conference Sponsors; Deloitte as Knowledge Partner and EC Harris as Lunch Sponsor.
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