Regional News


October 2016

Van Oord completes reclamation

Van Oord has successfully executed an impressive ground improvement project for Kuwait National Petroleum Company (KNPC).

The project, which started in 2014, involved the reclamation of 65 million cu m of sand and extensive soil improvement. The reclamation area of 1,320 hectares is intended for Al Zour Refinery, one of the largest oil refining plants in the Middle East.

The reclamation project executed by Van Oord was the first phase of KNPC’s investment for this new refinery, which will produce 615,000 barrels per day of low-sulphur fuel.


Omran signs PPM deal

Omran has signed an initial private placement memorandum (PPM) agreement for the development of the Madinat Al Irfan Urban Centre project in Muscat.

The signing of the agreement has been a successful first stage of the company’s public-private sector partnership approach.

Omran said two pension funds have invested a total of 20 per cent in the new Crowne Plaza property, a part of Phase One of the Madinat Al Irfan Urban Centre, which will open next year.


Bahrain interchange goes up

Work is progressing well on the Jasra Interchange Revamp Project in Bahrain with the first phase on track for completion by the end of this year.

Phase One of the project, which commenced in April, involves constructing a new slope to link Janabiya Highway to Sheikh Isa Bin Salman Highway and revamping of the existing slopes to improve traffic flow along the highway, said the Ministry of Works, Municipalities Affairs and Urban Planning.

The project has been awarded to Haj Hassan Group at the cost of BD429,465 ($1.12 million).


Construction consultancy rebrands

International construction consultancy Bruce Shaw has changed its name to Linesight. The company has a wide range of multinational clients across the world as well as a portfolio of high-profile projects across the GCC.


Amlak to transform suq

Amlak, the real estate investment arm of Bahrain’s Social Insurance Organisation (SIO), is set to transform Souq Al Buhair into a modern mixed-used facility catering to the demands of the neighbourhood.

The company has appointed Al Hedaya Contracting to revamp the suq located in East Riffa. The renovated suq will include 30 retail units and will be ready by mid-2017.


Bahrain delivers 3,200 more homes

The Bahrain government is handing over an additional 3,200 housing units in the kingdom’s various governorates, in line with the directives of HRH Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa, the Crown Prince, Deputy Supreme Commander and First Deputy Prime Minister.

The ministry was to start distributing the homes from last month (September 25), the BNA reported, citing the Housing Minister Bassim bin Yaqoob Al Hamar. With this handover, the total number of housing units distributed in 2016 will rise to 6,200.


Investments for cable car sought

Companies are being invited to invest in Bahrain’s first cable car attraction. The Muharraq Municipal Council will seek private funds for the project, which it approved in June. It had forwarded the proposal to the government, but limited public funding means it is now inviting interest from the private sector.

The plan is to connect several locations in Muharraq with a cable car network, which would offer a bird’s-eye view of attractions such as Arad Fort, Bu Maher Fort and the Pearl Route project, which has been recognised as a World Heritage Site by Unesco.


Bahrain to draw up urbanisation plan

A blueprint for urbanisation in Bahrain is expected to be drawn up by the end of the year, it was revealed. The country’s existing construction regulations, which Works, Municipalities Affairs and Urban Planning Minister Essam Khalaf said were outdated, will undergo drastic revision. Another issue that will be tackled is better utilising empty plots of land in different parts of the country.


China plans $217m Oman retail hubs

Leading Chinese groups are to set up a network of four shopping and commercial hubs in Oman.

The total investment in the four centres, which will each be named ‘Chinese Commercial Town’, is estimated at RO84 million ($217 million), according to the Oman Observer. The centres, to be developed by China Commercial Town and Guangzhou Dongyong Construction & Engineering Company, will come up in Barka, Suwaiq, Al Buraimi and Raysut.


Alargan’s square nears completion

Kuwait-based Alargan International Real Estate Company said work is progressing well at its retail and leisure development, Argan Square, coming up in Salmiya region with about 85 per cent of the project completed.

The project extends over 4,800 sq m, surrounded by Sabah Al Salem Street and the Gulf Road, and situated directly opposite to the American University of Kuwait. The net leasable area is 5,640 sq m.


Qatar Cool to commission third plant

Qatar Cool will commission a third plant in the West Bay district next year. The new cooling plant is designed to have a capacity of 40,000 tons of refrigeration (RT), said the company. Qatar Cool launched its first cooling plant at West Bay in 2006 which later became the country’s first large-scale district cooling system. The 37,000-RT second cooling plant in the district became operational three years later.


Turkey opens new Bosphorus bridge

Turkey has opened a new bridge across the Bosphorus Strait, which divides Asia and Europe. Built in the style of New York’s Brooklyn Bridge and boasting pylons higher than the Eiffel Tower, the suspension bridge is 1.4 km long and 59 m wide, with eight vehicle lanes and two high-speed rail lines.

 The Yavuz Sultan Selim, which runs from the Garipce area on Istanbul’s European side to the region of Poyrazkoy on the Asian side, is the third bridge to span the strait. It has been built by Italy’s Astaldi and Istanbul-based IC Ictas.


Turkey fund to finance key projects

Turkey’s new national wealth fund will finance projects including airports, seaports, roads and railroads across the country, the Gulf Times reported.

The fund, which is seen having a value of $200 billion, will implement projects that don’t have a build-operate-finance model, Transport, Maritime and Communication Minister Ahmet Arslan said, according to the report.

The government is also planning to auction the rights next year to build a tunnel for a road and railway under the Bosporus to carry about 6.5 million passengers a day, Arslan said.


Bahrain launches new e-service

Bahrain’s Ministry of Works has launched a new e-service for internal tenders at and the national portal

The service allows  companies to search and view internal tenders and get the documents for any new tender or buy copies of them. The service also allows them to receive copy of the documents obtained previously.


UDC mulls new link to Pearl-Qatar

Qatar’s United Development Company (UDC) is to conduct a study for a new road linking its flagship The Pearl-Qatar island to the capital Doha, in co-ordination with the Ministry of Transport and Communications. Currently, the main highway leading to The Pearl-Qatar has eight lanes, four of which are used for entry and four for exit.


Work on new mill to begin in Sohar

Work on a major flour mill in Oman with  a capacity of 500 tonnes per day is scheduled to commence this month (October) within the Sohar Port and Free Zone.

The project is being implemented by Sohar Flour Mills, a subsidiary of Oman Flour Mills (OFM), the Oman Daily Observer reported.

The mill is being built adjacent to a silo-based grain storage complex and the project is expected to be completed by end-2017.


KFH inks deal with developer

Kuwait Finance House – Bahrain (KFH-Bahrain) has signed a memorandum of understanding with Diyar Al Muharraq to provide finance for the beneficiaries of ‘Mazaya’ to purchase homes in Deerat Al Oyoun. 

Deerat Al Oyoun is in the southern area of Diyar Al Muharraq and includes 3,100 housing units valued at more than $730 million. The units are scheduled to be ready in the last quarter of 2018.

Mazaya is a social housing finance scheme between the Housing Ministry and KFH-Bahrain to offer loans subsidised by the government.


Waste offers untapped opportunities

The GCC’s waste management sector offers untapped opportunities for companies as sustainability efforts drive change on how waste is addressed, says a report.

Rise in waste, especially municipal waste, is likely to become a major reason for concern for the GCC, with the total waste generated expected to increase from 94 million tonnes in 2015 to 120 million tonnes per annum by 2020, said the report by Frost & Sullivan.

The rise is significant as municipalities in the GCC are not equipped to handle this level of waste through the existing landfilling strategies. Adoption of alternative mechanisms would be required, especially when the GCC is also striving to make amends to the energy mix, said the report.


Oman sea outfall work on track

Oman’s Haya Water said that 85 per cent of the work on two sea outfall projects at Darsait and Al Athaiba has been completed.

The project, undertaken by a JV of Spain’s Technicas Reunidas and the local Sarooj Construction Company, is designed to handle emergency outfalls from the Darsait sewage treatment plant and the Al Athaiba central pumping station.

The project is aimed at ensuring that the discharges cause no environmental damage to the coastal region and avoid an adverse impact on beaches and desalination plants that are nearby. 

The JV had successfully completed the construction of Al Seeb outfall last year.


Sezad seeks project financing

Oman’s Special Economic Zone Authority at Duqm (Sezad) is looking to tap project finance to fund major infrastructure development projects in the sultanate.

The government entity recently asked contractors bidding for certain projects to include financing options in their offers, the Oman Observer reported.

The projects include a contract for the construction of the Jurf and Saay flood protection dams in Duqm, as well as the construction of a system for supply cooling water for the zone’s heavy industries.

The largest of the ventures being weighed for execution against project finance is the first phase of the bulk liquid berths terminal in the port.


Kuwaiti developer expands in Oman

Al Mazaya Holding, a leading real estate development company in Kuwait, is set to invest in its second residential project in Oman, said a top official.

Mazaya Residences, a residential and commercial development in Mawaleh in Muscat, will boast 300 residential units in various sizes and designs with prices starting from $98,000 onwards.


Oman plans two desal plants

Oman Power and Water Procurement Company (OPWP) aims to build two major independent desalination plants to meet growing demand for potable water in the northern region.

Sites in Muscat are being evaluated for a plant with a capacity of 60 million gallons per day (mgpd),  which will come on stream by 2021, the Times of Oman reported, citing a seven-year outlook report by the OPWP.

There are also plans for a 44-mgpd plant in the Northern Batinah and Dhahirah region, which will commence operations in 2022, the report said.

The OPWP is expected to issue tenders for these projects, the report added.


Suez tunnels to be completed in 2018

Egypt’S Arab Contractors and Orascom Construction have started work on a E£18-billion ($2 billion) project to build three tunnels under the Suez Canal which will be completed by the end of 2018. Two of the tunnels are located in Port Said and will be designated for vehicles while the third will be for a railway linking the canal from east to west, the Amwal Alghad reported.


Redcon builds coastal housing

Egypt’s Redcon Construction will soon deliver the first phase of a residential project on the country’s northern coast, about 340 km from the capital Cairo.

Redcon is developing the Caesar North Coast project for property developer Sodic, with the first phase more than 85 per cent complete, reported Amwal Alghad.

Phase One involves the construction of nine residential buildings over an area of 25 million sq m at a cost of E£30 million ($3.4 million).


Amman’s airport expanded

Work on the second-phase expansion of Queen Alia International  Airport (QAIA) in Amman,  Jordan, has been completed.

The $214-million project was undertaken by International Group (AIG), a consortium led by Abu Dhabi’s Invest AD. The expansion adds over 43,000 sq m to the airport’s total area, raising its annual capacity from the current seven million to up to 12 million passengers, with future plans to increase capacity even further to 16 million per year. Also, the total number of gates has nearly doubled from 13 to 25. 


Boutique residences ready

A boutique residential development at Amwaj Islands in Bahrain has been completed. Designed by Elevation Architects and Engineers and developed by Zahid Modern Properties,  Modern Residence-2 offers apartments ranging from 87 sq m to 198 sq m in size with sea-views as well as leisure facilities.

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