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Posted On: 24 September 2009 01:32 pm
Updated On: 12 November 2020 02:10 pm

Govt projects to offset private sector slump

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Government projects are set to play a key role in Qatar’s economy as private sector development has slowed down as a result of the global economic downturn. A majority of the upcoming projects in Qatar are government backed, which will enter key stages of development in the coming months. Project-related works worth billions of riyals are likely to be tendered between October and January, which may bring the much-needed cheer to the local construction industry. The Qatar – Bahrain Friendship Causeway and the New Doha Port at Mesaieed are some of the major infrastructure projects that will take off in the coming months. The work on New Doha International Airport and Sidra Hospital projects has also reached key stages. Project-related works worth QR20bn would be tendered in Qatar between October and January, according to Meed. Site preparation work on the estimated $2bn causeway linking Ras Ashiraj on the west coast of Qatar to Askar on the east coast of Bahrain is expected to start by the year-end. Dredging and reclamation work may be carried out next year. The Friendship Causeway is understood to be providing both rail and road links between the two countries, boosting bilateral trade. Dredging and excavation on the multi-billion dollar world-scale deep water port at Mesaieed will begin next year. The QR16bn first phase is slated for completion in 2014. The New Doha Port Project would have a container capacity of 2mn TEU (Twenty-foot Equivalent Unit) a year in the first phase. On completion of the third phase (expected by 2030), the port will have a container capacity of 6mn TEU. Spread over 20 sq km, the port will be equipped to handle the world’s largest ships, each laden with up to 12,000 containers. Two other ongoing infrastructure projects – New Doha International Airport and Sidra Hospital have made significant progress, sources said. The first phase of the $11bn New Doha International Airport is due for completion in 2011 / 2012. Initially, the New Doha International Airport will be able to handle 24mn passengers annually, rising to 50mn when fully operational beyond 2015. The work is ongoing on the QR8.6bn Sidra Hospital, which according to Meed has been awarded to a joint venture of Spain’s OHL and US-based Contrack International in late 2007. Some other infrastructure projects that are being discussed include a rail link connecting some industrial cities of the country. Although private sector activities have slowed down in the country in recent months, Qatar’s economy still remains the best performer in the region. An IMF forecast is that Qatar’s economy will grow 18% this year and 16.4% in 2010. Qatar’s sterling performance has been mainly due to the significant returns from its LNG exports. Qatar is now the world’s largest exporter and trans-shipper of LNG. Currently, 10 LNG trains are in operation – five each at RasGas and Qatargas. They account for 45mn tonnes per year (tpy). When the scheduled development is complete, Qatar’s LNG production will top 77mn tpy from 14 trains.