10 Qatar projects forging ahead

With Qatar boasting one of the largest economic growth rates in the world in 2009, The Big Project discusses what’s in store for the New Year and outlines 10 developments to look out for.

Euromonitor International, Museum of Islamic Arts, New Doha International Airport

Qatar has displayed resilience to the global economic downturn having posted one of the highest economic growth rates in the world in 2009 driven by its energy sector and liquid natural gas, according to Euromonitor International. The organisation reports that Qatar’s economy has been growing by more than 10% per year; boosted by growing world enery prices and its increased production of natural gas.


Qatar can now claim to be the world’s richest economy in per capita terms, but the government needs to scale back the generous state subsidies for consumers, which date from the oil boom of the 1970s-80s, reports Euromonitor.


Furthermore, the government has begun to pay off its large external debt, which was accumulated for infrastructure investment in oil and gas projects. These projects sharply increased Qatar’s oil production capacity creating facilities for the export of LNG and petrochemical plants.


And the outlook looks bright for 2010 and beyond, with Qatar’s economy expected to grow by more than 15% per year over the next three years. The value of total annual exports could triple by 2014 to around US$114 billion. In fact, Euromonitor ranked Qatar fourth in a ‘doing business in 2010 report’ for selected countries; Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, UAE, Kuwait, Oman, Jordan, Egypt, Lebanon and Syria. It achieved a score of 39 (on a scale where 1 is the best and 183 is the worst) succeeded by Saudi Arabia (13), Bahrain (20) and the UAE (33).


However, despite all its wealth, Euromonitor highlights that Qatar cannot rely solely on energy exports and officials are attempting to diversify the economy by investing in tourism, education and health-related projects. In recent years, the country has seen major developments such as the Museum of Islamic Arts; part of an initiative to establish the country as the cultural hub of the Middle East and landmark hotel projects including W Hotel Doha, as well as Sharq Village & Spa in Doha.


While a number of projects underway have faced delays, these have generally been minor and the country has attracted foreign direct investment through its industry sector.


Such investments have brought some knowledge and expertise transfer to Qatar and the wider GCC. It has also created jobs and encouraged inbound labour migration, especially from India and Pakistan. Population in Qatar rose by an average annual 15.3% in Qatar between 2003 and 2009.


Here, we outline 10 of the most significant developments planned and underway in the country, based on market research by Proleads.


10 Qatar projects you should know about…


1 New Doha International Airport (NDIA)


Various aspects of phase one are available for tender including airside and landside facilities; design engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) of 645,000m² of roads and 28,500m² of bridges and ramps, three twin level semi-directional interchanges and ramps and parking area facilities at a value of US $300 million. It will also include aspects like street and area lighting, storm water drainage, traffic signals and road striping, marking and signage and fencing and intruder detection systems. Construction work has been delayed, but is expected to be completed in 2011.


2 Qatar National Bank (QNB) Headquarters


The project calls for the design and construction of a 510m high, 104-storey building that will cover a builtup area of 250,000m² in the centre of the Corniche area in Doha. Scope of work will includes basement, entrance, banking halls, offices and other related facilities. Construction due to start in April 2011.


3 The Pearl Qatar


This Riviera-style man-made island is being developed by Qatar shareholding firm United Development Company (UDC) in Doha. The project occupies 400 hectares and is Qatar’s first international urban development venture.


4 New Doha Port


Owned by the Higher Committee for the Co-ordination & Pursuance Executive Council, the new Doha Port is located approximately five kilometers east of the new international airport. The port will be linked to the mainland by an 8.5km bridge and will feature a greater cargo handling capacity, with each of the new container terminals able to handle two million 20-foot-equivalent units annually, a 15m-deep approach channel to the port, an 8-13.5m deep harbour basin, and berths for general cargo, the Qatari and visiting navies and yachts.


Contactors have been invited to submit bids by February 14 for phase one of the development, which includes five general cargo terminals and berths, four container terminals and berths, a roll-on/roll-off berth, an administration and customs complex, as well as a berthing area for tugs and pilot boats. Works also include dredging a sea channel that will link to the existing sea channel for the nearby Messaeid Industrial City (MIC).


5 Heart of Doha City


Dubbed as a ‘city within a city, Heart of Doha is a 35-hectare site, which aims to create a dynamic local economy, with school and basic amenities and facilitating community interaction and social exchange in a sophisticated public area. Bauer International Qatar has been awarded the first construction contract.


 6 Education City Development – Sidra Medical & Research Centre


Owned by Qatar Foundation – Weill Cornell Medical College in Qatar JV and valued at $2300 million, the Education City Development calls for the design and construction of a nine-story hospital comprising 380 beds. It will provide medical care, training, a research centre and treatment resources. It is expected that the speciality teaching hospital will be a world-class female and paediatrics hospital covering 98,000m² and include a 60,000m² car-parking area. Construction work is in progress and is scheduled to be completed by 2012.


7 Qatar Petroleum (QP) New Headquarters Complex


Comprising two or three office buildings in Ras Laffan, Bids have been submitted for the main contract for Qatar Petroleum’s new headquarters complex.


8 Qatar National Convention Centre


Expected to open in 2011, Qatar National Convention Centre is designed to be a ‘green technology venue’ and is the first of its kind being built to US Green Building Council’s LEED certification, according to developers. The venue will provide up to 40,000m² of exhibition space.


9 Qatar Bahrain Causeway (Friendship Bridge)


The construction of the 40km double-lane causeway linking Qatar and Bahrain will include bridge structures covering 20km and another 20km of embankments.


The causeway will start at Askar Village, Bahrain and end at Ras Ashraj, 5km from Zubarah in Qatar. The project will also include 17,000m² land area for buildings and 600,000m² of green areas. Owned by Qatar-Bahrain Causeway Foundation and valued at $3000 million, construction is scheduled to start in March and is expected to be completed by the end of 2014.


10 Qatar-Bahrain Transrapid Train


The Qatar-Bahrain Causeway project also calls for the design, supply, construction and operation of a Trans-rapid magnetic levitation fast-track train between Bahrain and Doha comprising two rail tracks on the left side of the 40km causeway at a value of $1500 and scheduled for completion by 2015.


One of the tracks will carry a passenger train with a maximum speed of 160km per hour and the other is for a 120km-per hour freight train, which together will form part of Qatar’s rail system; eventually expected to form part of an 800km corridor linking Bahrain, Qatar and the UAE.


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