Latest News
  • Mawani implements $950m of Saudi port projects


    2 June 2023

    Saudi Ports Authority (Mawani) is implementing a series of projects over the coming 18 months as part of its efforts to improve and expand infrastructure at ports and increase their utilisation rates.

    The programme, worth about SR3.5bn ($950m), comprises just over 150 projects, of which 48 are strategic in nature, 90 infrastructure-focused and 14 targeting security enhancements.

    The most significant projects are:

    At Jeddah Islamic Port

    • A four-year contract to build a new road, interchanges and flyovers to link Gate 9 with the Al-Khumrah integrated logistics park.
    • Deepening over three years of the north basin approach channel to 14 metres and the construction of a bull nose dike

    At Ras al-Khair Port

    • Increasing the draft depth of berths 11 and 12 to 16 metres
    • A three-year job to widen and dredge the approach channel from 300 metres to 500 metres and deepen it by 3 metres to 19 metres

    Other key investments include installing integrated security systems at Jeddah Islamic Port and King Abdulaziz Port in Dammam and constructing a new 40MVA substation at King Fahd Port in Yanbu.

    The contracts are expected to be tendered and awarded by the end of 2024.

    Mawani’s planned investment comes on the back of several major contracts awarded over the past 12 months, including an agreement with DP World to set up the Al-Khumrah logistics park, the reconstruction and expansion of the first and second container terminals at King Abdulaziz Port, and the upgrade of berth infrastructure and draft depths at Jeddah Islamic Port and King Fahd Port.
    Edward James
  • Dubai unveils new masterplan for Palm Jebel Ali


    1 June 2023

    Dubai has released details of the new masterplan for Palm Jebel Ali, an artificial island located south of Jebel Ali Freezone.

    Double the size of Palm Jumeirah, Palm Jebel Ali will have 110 kilometres of shoreline and extensive green spaces. The development will feature over 80 hotels and resorts, along with a diverse range of entertainment and leisure facilities.

    Strategic masterplan

    The unveiling of the masterplan aligns with Dubai's commitment to doubling the size of its economy by 2033, as outlined in the Dubai Economic Agenda.

    The project, approved by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, includes seven connected islands, catering to approximately 35,000 families. The development also emphasises sustainability, with 30 per cent of public facilities powered by renewable energy.


    MEED reported in January that local developer Nakheel had approached contractors to complete the reclamation works for Palm Jebel Ali.

    As with Palm Jumeirah, it is estimated that it could take around 20 years for Palm Jebel Ali to reach its full development potential. Nakheel has previously secured AED17bn ($4.6bn) in funding to expedite the development of various projects, including the Dubai Islands and other waterfront schemes.

    The upcoming dredging contract for Palm Jebel Ali is anticipated to involve 5-6 million cubic metres of material, contributing to the completion of the man-made offshore island.

    While reclamation work for Palm Jebel Ali is mostly finished, the project was put on hold in 2009. Nakheel had made some progress with infrastructure development, including the construction of bridges on the island by Samsung C+T.
    Colin Foreman
  • Swedish firm to deliver apartments for Neom


    1 June 2023

    Swedish modular home manufacturer SIBS has been awarded a contract to deliver 2,174 apartments for Neom.

    The engineered equipment supply contract involves SIBS constructing 35 buildings within Neom’s primary staff accommodation and office cluster.

    The apartments will cater to professionals involved in the planning, engineering and construction of Neom. The entire project is expected to be delivered and commissioned by the third quarter of 2024.

    The $500bn Neom development in northwestern Saudi Arabia is the region’s largest construction project and employs thousands of staff.

    Elements of the project that have been officially launched so far are The Line, Oxagon, Trojena and Sindalah. There are also plans for an international airport and a coastal strip of hotels known as the Gulf of Aqaba.
    Colin Foreman
  • Worley wins Shell contract for global project services


    1 June 2023

    UK/Dutch energy major Shell has awarded Australia-based energy consultancy firm Worley a major contract for the provision of services to its global portfolio of projects.

    The duration of the enterprise framework agreement (EFA) is three years and it comes with two one-year extension options.

    This EFA follows a previous five-year framework agreement announced by Worley on 22 May 2017.

    The scope of work on the contract covers engineering, procurement and integrated project management services for Shell’s projects across all its businesses.

    The contract outlines incentive mechanisms that reward excellence in project execution, Worley added.

    Worley’s project execution teams will be based across several locations worldwide, including the Middle East, Canada, the US, Europe, South East Asia and Australia. They will “deliver services with a focus on digitalisation and replication”.
    Indrajit Sen
  • Iraq approves budget for offshore oil pipeline


    1 June 2023

    Iraq’s cabinet has approved a budget of $417m for a project to construct a third offshore export pipeline, according to a statement.

    The client on the project is state-owned Basra Oil Company (BOC) and the Dutch company Royal Boskalis has been contracted to execute the project.

    The pipeline is expected to have the capacity to transport two million barrels of oil a day (b/d).

    This contract is the latest in a series of offshore export pipeline projects in Iraq.

    In 2017, Petrofac was awarded a $160m contract for a project known as the Iraq Crude Oil Export Expansion Project (ICOEEP).

    The project scope included laying 300km of subsea pipeline and 1,800m of subsea hose infrastructure at the Al-Faw Peninsula in southern Iraq.

    Iraq has launched several major oil infrastructure projects since finalising a three-year budget law in March this year.

    It announced a draft budget of ID197.82tn ($152.17bn) for 2023, with an agreed operational expenditure of ID150.27tn ($115.59bn) and an investment expenditure of ID47.55tn ($36.58bn).

    MEED's June 2023 special report on Iraq includes:

    > COMMENTIraq’s bumper budget holds promise and risk
    > GOVERNMENT: Al-Sudani makes fitful progress as Iraq's premier
    > ECONOMYIraq hits the spend button
    > UPSTREAM DEVELOPERSNo place like Iraq for international oil firms
    > OIL & GASIraq's energy sector steadily expands
    > POWERIraq power projects make headway
    > CONSTRUCTIONTransport plans underpin Iraq’s reconstruction
    > DATABANK: Iraq’s spending plans lower fiscal forecast

    Wil Crisp
  • Abu Dhabi to begin waste-to-energy bids clarification


    1 June 2023

    Abu Dhabi-based utility offtaker Emirates Water & Electricity Company (Ewec) and Abu Dhabi Waste Management Company (Tadweer) will undertake clarifications for the proposals received for the contract to develop the emirate's first waste-to-energy (WTE) project starting this month.

    Ewec and Tadweer received bids for the contract on 14 April and revealed the bidders on 4 May.

    A team comprising Japan's Marubeni Corporation, Switzerland's Hitachi Zosen Inova and Japan Overseas Infrastructure Investment Corporation is understood to have proposed a levelised waste treatment cost of AED175 ($47.6) a metric tonne (MT) as part of the contract to develop the WTE project.

    This is equivalent to 45 per cent of the tariff of AED391/MT proposed by the second team, which comprises France's Suez and the local Pal Cooling Holding, according to industry sources.

    MEED understands the power tariff for the project is fixed at 11.215 fils ($c3.05) a kilowatt-hour.

    Waste treatment is one of the components of the project, which MEED Projects estimates to require an investment of roughly $600m.

    The WTE plant will be located near the Al-Dhafra landfill in Abu Dhabi. It will have a processing capacity of 900,000 tonnes of waste a year and generate enough electricity to power up to 52,500 households once complete.

    The clients issued the request for proposals (RFP) for the contract in July 2022. The clients completed the site visit with the companies qualified to bid for the contract in September last year, as MEED reported.

    The project will involve the financing, construction, operation and maintenance of the WTE plant, which will use advanced moving grate technology to convert municipal solid waste into electricity using a high-efficiency steam turbine generator set.

    The plant is expected to reduce carbon dioxide equivalent emissions by up to 1.1 million tonnes a year, equivalent to removing more than 240,000 cars from the road.

    The successful developer or developer consortium will own a 40 per cent shareholding in the project's special-purpose vehicle and sign a waste- and power-purchase agreement with Tadweer and Ewec.

    The local/Australian Tribe Infrastructure Group is the client's financial adviser, while the UK's Ashurst and Denmark's Ramboll are legal and technical advisers, respectively.

    The project aligns with the UAE's aims to divert 75 per cent of waste away from landfills.
    Jennifer Aguinaldo
  • EY bids low for Al-Dur 3 consultancy


    31 May 2023

    UK-based consultancy Ernst & Young has submitted the lowest bid for the consultancy contract for Bahrain’s next independent water and power producer (IWPP) scheme Al-Dur 3.

    It offered BD681,689 ($1.8m) for the contract to provide advisory services to the client for the project.

    The other bidding team, headed by KPMG Fakhro, offered BD758,072 for the contract.

    Bahrain’s Electricity & Water Authority (EWA) opened the technical bids for the consultancy contract in September 2022, as MEED reported.

    The Al-Dur 3 IWPP is expected to consist of a combined-cycle gas turbine plant with a capacity of 1,500MW-1,800MW and a seawater desalination plant with a capacity of approximately 50 million imperial gallons a day (MIGD).

    The power generation and water desalination plants are expected to produce early power and water in the summer of 2027, with full commercial operation in summer 2028.

    Al-Dur 3 will be Bahrain’s fourth independent utility scheme. 

    Al-Dur 2

    An earlier project, the Al-Dur 2 IWPP,  started full operations in June last year.

    EWA selected a team led by Saudi-based utilities developer Acwa Power to develop the project in 2018.

    The power generation plant is equipped with combined-cycle gas turbines and has a design capacity of 1,500MW.

    The desalination plant uses seawater reverse osmosis technology and can treat up to 227,000 cubic metres of water a day.

    The special project vehicle, Haya Power & Desalination Company, comprises Acwa Power, which maintains a 60 per cent share, Japan’s Mitsui with a 30 per cent holding and the local Almoayyed Contracting Group with a 10 per cent stake.

    A consortium of China’s Sepco 3, Power China and France’s Sidem was selected as the project’s engineering, procurement and construction contractor, while Acwa Power subsidiary Noma is the operation and maintenance contractor.

    The latest available figures show that Bahrain hit a peak capacity of 3,418MW in September 2018 against available system generation availability of 4,158MW.
    Jennifer Aguinaldo
  • Leading Mena banks give little ground in 2023


    30 May 2023


    The past year has seen significant upheavals in the ranking of the Middle East and North Africa (Mena) region’s largest listed banks due to a combination of market conditions, mergers, acquisitions and new listings, according to the 2023 MEED Top 100 companies list.

    Weakening international investor sentiment amid higher interest rates, and concerns over the collapse of several US and Swiss banks, has perhaps been the most prominent factor in their performance.

    In a trend largely independent of actual performance, which regional banks have generally improved in the 2022-23 fiscal year – both in terms of gross revenue and the bottom line – many banks have found their market values reduced, with banks in the MEED Top 100 companies list shedding more than $85bn in value.

    Regional ranking

    Despite this, Al-Rajhi Bank and Saudi National Bank, although temporarily diminished in overall market capitalisation, remain the top two banks in the region by value, as they were in 2022. 

    In third place now is QNB, having just edged ahead of First Abu Dhabi Bank in value terms. Fifth place is occupied by Kuwait Finance House, which has risen significantly in value over the past year through its full acquisition of Ahli United Bank in a share swap transaction, displacing Riyad Bank.

    National Bank of Kuwait, Emirates NBD, Saudi Awwal Bank (formerly Saudi British Bank) and Alinma Bank remain in the same relative positions as last year.

    Outside of the top 10 regional banks, two improvers have been Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank and Mashreq Bank, both of which have seen their market capitalisation rise by about $2.5bn. In the case of Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank, its performance rose after reporting a 55 per cent rise in profits in 2022 and a further 43 per cent rise in profits in the first quarter of 2023.

    Mashreq Bank meanwhile announced a 270 per cent leap in its 2022 profits to $1bn, and a further 163 per cent surge in profits in the first quarter of 2023. Both banks have overtaken numerous peers in terms of equity market value.

    Qatar’s Dukhan bank joined the MEED Top 100 for the first time as a newly listed bank, having joined the Qatar Stock Exchange with a direct listing in February 2023. 

    Several major regional banks fell short of the list, the bar for which rose significantly in 2023 to a market capitalisation of $3.7bn.

    Middle East equities hold largely steady
    John Bambridge
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