DUBAI, (Reuters) – Following is a round-up of the main Gulf Arab stories in Middle East Economic Digest, a London-based weekly published late on Friday.
GULF ARAB REGION
Gulf project finance market collapses
A liquidity crisis engulfing global money markets has triggered a collapse in the region’s project finance sector, with the number of banks actively pursuing deals plummeting in recent months, MEED reported, citing industry sources.
Only 12 firms are actively seeking deals as dollar liquidity dries up and the appetite for long-term funding diminishes, down from more than 45 two years ago, the sources said.
Aramco seeks support for Ras Tanura
Saudi Aramco is in talks to bring in a second contractor to work alongside U.S. engineering firm KBR on managing the $26 billion Ras Tanura refinery upgrade, MEED reported without saying how it received the information. The complex is being developed by Aramco and Dow Chemical Co.
Aramco is expected to award a section of the original deal to one of KBR’s rivals to help it hit pre-agreed deadlines, an executive close to the talks said, according to MEED.
Saudi developers call for action on mortgage law
Developers and property lawyers in the kingdom are warning that delays to legislation making mortgages available to property buyers are undermining the real estate market, according to MEED.
Foreign companies invest $24.3 bln in Saudi in 2007
Foreign companies invested $24.3 billion in Saudi Arabia in 2007, up from $18.3 billion in 2006, through acquisitions and investments in new projects, according to the U.N. Conference on Trade & Development, MEED reported.
UNITED ARAB EMIRATES
IPIC holds talks with oil majors over Fujairah
Abu Dhabi’s International Petroleum Investment Company (IPIC) is in talks with two international oil companies about developing a 200,000-barrels-per-day oil refinery at Fujairah, but has shelved plans for an integrated petrochemicals unit, MEED reported citing an adviser to the UAE firm
The scope of the project has been downgraded by the company to 200,000 bpd from the initial 500,000 bpd target, in line with widespread speculation, the adviser said.
Abu Dhabi to set up tourism development joint venture
Abu Dhabi’s Tourism Development & Investment Company is in talks with the UAE contractor Alec to form a joint venture contracting company, MEED reported, citing unidentified sources.
Negotiations are under way, although sources close to the discussions tell MEED there is still a lot of work to be done before any final agreement is signed.
RAK Properties invites interest in record deal
UAE-based developer Ras al-Khaimah Properties RPRO.AD has invited selected companies to express interest in a 2.5 billion dirham ($680.6 million) contract to build a series of apartment buildings, making it the largest construction contract ever to be contested in the emirate, MEED reported, without saying how it got the information.
Qatari Diar launches subsidiary to develop Lusail
Qatari Diar Real Estate Investment Co has launched a separate company to be in charge of the development, construction and operations of its Lusail project, MEED reported, without citing a source.