Read the February 2024 MEED Business Review

31 January 2024

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After years of planning, Saudi Arabia’s gigaprojects are producing major contract awards. The most recent was in early January when Italian contractor WeBuild signed a $4.7bn deal to construct three dams at Neom’s Trojena mountain resort in Saudi Arabia.

Like most in the kingdom, the project is large and technically challenging. It also has an aggressive delivery schedule as the lake – and the surrounding resort and ski slopes – must be ready for the Asian Winter Games in 2029. 

The project will also have to be completed at the same time as the rest of the growing volume of work in the kingdom. 

According to regional projects tracker MEED Projects, the Saudi market enjoyed its best year on record in 2023 with $95bn of contract awards across all sectors. A net project value of $181bn of deals at the tender stage means more contract awards are anticipated in 2024.

With the challenges facing the kingdom’s construction sector amplified this year, the latest issue of MEED Business Review considers how the development firms tasked with delivering Riyadh’s five official gigaprojects – and the raft of other large masterplanned projects – are rethinking their delivery methods

This month's exclusive 14-page market report highlights Qatar, where a post-World-Cup repositioning is forcing a shift in Doha's spending to focus on oil, gas and utilities schemes. Doha is now reinvesting in the mainstay of the Qatari economy, awarding hydrocarbons projects worth more than $47bn between 2021 and 2023.

MEED's latest issue is also packed with insight and analysis. The team examines the challenges facing Kuwait's new emir, Sheikh Mishal Al Ahmad Al Jaber Al Sabah; considers what impact the 2024 US presidential elections could have on the Middle East region; and assesses the effect that the ongoing harassment of commercial ships in the Red Sea is having on global logistics.

In MEED's 2024 Water Developer Ranking, we discover how Acwa Power is continuing to dominate the GCC water sector and look at the exceptional growth under way around the Middle East and North Africa region as governments focus on projects to tackle water security. 

February's issue also takes an in-depth look at how construction work is picking up pace on Saudi Arabia's stadiums as the kingdom gears up to host international sporting events such as the 2034 football World Cup, as well as the 2030 World Expo. Furthermore, CEO of Saudi Arabia's Boutique Group, Mark DeCocinis, reveals how the hospitality company is turning the kingdom's palaces into luxury hotels.

In addition, this issue also considers the role of South Korean companies in the region's oil and gas sector, examines how a power shift in Kuwait could spark an oil projects boom, and takes an in-depth look at the upwards climb of the Gulf projects market following a record-breaking year for contract awards in 2023, with a total of $254bn-worth of deals signed.

We hope our valued subscribers enjoy the February 2024 issue of MEED Business Review


Must-read sections in the February 2024 issue of MEED Business Review include:

AGENDA: Rethinking how Saudi projects are delivered

> LEADERSHIP: Constructing a sustainable future

INTERVIEW: Sustainable design is key to cutting carbon emissions

> CURRENT AFFAIRS: Kuwait's Emir Mishal faces familiar set of challenges

> CURRENT AFFAIRS: US elections set to disappoint region

> CURRENT AFFAIRS: Red Sea attacks squeeze global logistics

MEED's 2024 water developer ranking
> Acwa Power tightens grip on GCC water

> Mena water delivers exceptional growth


> INTERVIEW: Opening Saudi Arabia’s palaces to the world

> ANNUAL CONTRACTS: Record-breaking $254bn of contract awards in 2023

> SAUDI STADIUMS: Construction of Saudi stadiums gathers pace

> SOUTH KOREA: South Korean firms stage Mena oil and gas comeback

> KUWAIT: Kuwait power shift could spark oil boom

> COMMENT: Qatar adapts to post-Fifa market
GOVERNMENT & ECONOMY: Qatar's return to economic normality
> BANKS: Qatar's banks adjust to new circumstances
> OIL & GAS: Qatar enters period of oil and gas consolidation

> POWER & WATER: Qatar power and water projects to take off
> CONSTRUCTION: Qatar construction enters reboot mode
> SPORT: Qatar’s sporting vision transcends World Cup
> DATABANK: Macroeconomic data

Chinese New Year for Middle East projects

Aramco maintains offshore spending momentum
Kuwait’s cabinet needs to move fast
Jordan water project enters critical phase

> GULF PROJECTS INDEX: Gulf projects market continues upward climb

> DECEMBER 2023 CONTRACTS: Region records largest-ever annual contract awards value

> MARKET SNAPSHOT: Saudi's stadium and expo projects

> OPINIONLebanon’s pain captured in a call from Beirut

BUSINESS OUTLOOK: Finance, oil and gas, construction, power and water contracts

To see previous issues of MEED Business Review, please click here
MEED Editorial
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    At least one developer team is highly likely to submit a proposal to develop the gas-fired plant, sources close to the project tell MEED.

    Qatar state utility General Electricity & Water Corporation (Kahramaa) had previously extended the tender closing date for the contract in response to developers’ requests, as MEED reported.

    The Facility E IWPP scheme will have a power generation capacity of 2,300MW and a water desalination capacity of 100 million imperial gallons a day (MIGD).

    “We hear that at least one consortium is being formed … others are preparing proposals, but appear unsure if they will ultimately submit them or not,” a source close to the project told MEED in November last year. 

    Kahramaa initially expected to receive bids on 14 December 2023.

    The contract to develop the Facility E IWPP was first tendered in 2019. The three teams that submitted bids for the contract in August 2020 were:   

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    The original plan was for the Facility E IWPP to have a power generation capacity of about 2,300MW and a desalination component of 100MIGD once fully operational.

    However, the project owner revised the power plant’s design capacity to 2,600MW and sought alternative prices from bidders. 

    Kahramaa eventually cancelled and reissued the tender in September 2023. The current tender entails a power generation plant with the same capacity as initially tendered in 2019.

    MEED understands that the new target commercial operation date for the Facility E IWPP project has been moved to 2027. 

    The state utility’s transaction advisory team includes UK-headquartered PwC and Clyde & Co as financial and legal advisers, respectively, led by Belgrade-headquartered Energoprojekt as technical adviser.

    Facility E is Qatar’s fifth IWPP scheme. Completed and operational IWPPs include three projects in Ras Laffan – known as Facilities A, B and C – and Facility D in Umm Al-Houl.

    Awarded in 2015 and completed in 2018, Facility D was developed by a Japanese consortium of Mitsubishi Corporation and Tokyo Electric Power Company (Tepco). South Korea's Samsung C&T was the engineering, procurement and construction contractor.
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    19 July 2024

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    18 July 2024


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    State-backed offtaker Saudi Water Partnership Company (SWPC) received separate responses from companies for five independent water projects (IWPs) and seven independent sewage treatment plant (ISTP) projects by 4 July, industry sources tell MEED.

    Local and regional companies, in addition to Japanese, Spanish, French and Chinese utility developers, are understood to have sought to prequalify to bid for the contracts, which are set to be tendered in 2024-26. 

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    The UAE government could start the tendering process this year for the state's next nuclear power plant, located in Abu Dhabi, according to a Reuters report citing a senior UAE government official.

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    The next phase of the Barakah power plant, comprising reactors five to eight, has been in the planning stage since 2019, according to regional projects tracker MEED Projects.

    The UAE became the first Arab state to operate a nuclear power plant when the first of the four reactors at Abu Dhabi’s Barakah nuclear power plant became operational in 2021.

    Each of the four reactors at the Barakah nuclear power plant can produce 1,400MW of electricity.

    Three of the plant’s four reactors are operational. Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation's operating and maintenance subsidiary, Nawah Energy Company, completed the loading of fuel assemblies into Unit 4 in December 2023. 

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