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MEED initiates move to find region’s best projects

Business intelligence service MEED has launched the 2014 round of its annual quest to find the region’s Project of the Year but candidates have been told that their projects will have to be outstanding if they are to win the accolade.
Entries are now open for the 4th MEED Quality Awards for Projects, in association with Mashreq. MEED Editorial Director Richard Thompson tells aspiring winners that this will be the most difficult year yet to win an award.
“The GCC today is the world’s most happening market for major projects and world-class projects are under way across the region,” said Thompson. “Any project that is recognized by the MEED Quality Awards for Projects 2014, in association with Mashreq will be truly outstanding. The winner of the supreme Project of the Year Award will be something very, very special.”
Previous winners of the MEED Quality Project of the Year include Dubai’s Burj Khalifa (2011 winner), the worlds’ tallest building, Qatar’s Pearl GTL project (2012), and Concourse A — Dubai International Airport (2013).
“Each year the competition increases and this year’s awards are set to be the most competitive ever,” said MEED Awards Chairman Edmund O’Sullivan. “Owners, developers, designers and contractors are not only competing for contracts, but also striving to deliver project excellence. Our goal is to recognize and celebrate their achievements and I am really looking forward to seeing this year’s candidate projects.”
The MEED Quality Awards for Projects recognize the very best achievements of the region’s projects industry and are established as the region’s premier accolade for project achievement.
According to MEED, the GCC projects industry is set to record its biggest-ever year with up to $150 billion worth of contracts due to be awarded in the 12 months up to the end of 2013 — a 40 percent increase on total value of contract award in 2012.
The forecast comes from Mena Projects Forecast and Review 2013, the latest project market outlook report from MEED Insight, MEED’s advisory division.
“The primary driver of the region’s projects boom is a government drive to invest in national infrastructure in order to stimulate investment, create employment opportunities, to support long-term economic diversification and to meet the everyday needs of the region’s fast-growing population,” says Head of MEED Insight Ed James.
“The GCC’s governments know they have a fantastic window of opportunity to make huge investments in major projects that will lay the foundations to support growth and development in the region for generations to come,” says Thompson.
“The result is that we are witnessing a unique period of history in the Gulf that is seeing some of the most incredible constructions the world has ever seen.”
Since 2005, a massive $1.12 trillion worth of projects have been awarded in the six GCC states. There are no indications that this is set to change anytime soon, with $1.17 trillion worth of planned and un-awarded projects still in the pipeline.
“The construction sector is a significant contributor to the growth of the socioeconomic landscape of the region. In Mashreq, we are firm believers of the miraculous drive to evolve and modernize our region, which started a few decades ago. Having been around throughout this unique journey and being part of the success story entrenches our belief in the bright future of our region hence makes our support toward the 2014 edition of the MEED Quality Awards for Projects a natural step to promote such platforms required to ensure the development and evolvement of this sector,” says Julio Armando De Quesada, head of corporate and investment banking group, Mashreq.
It is very likely that Saudi Arabia will dominate this year’s entrants, as it remains the number one projects market in the region. The recent award of the $22 billion-plus Riyadh metro contracts, emphasizes the Kingdom’s commitment to investing in its infrastructure and will ensure that it remains comfortably ahead of its neighbors.
Winning projects from Saudi Arabia in last year’s edition of the awards include the Development of King Abdul Aziz Endowment Project (Makkah) owned by the Higher Endowment Council for King Abdulaziz Endowment for the Two Holy Mosque — the Makkah Endowment Project (entered by Saudi Binladin Group) in the GCC Social Project of the Year category; and the Maaden Ammonia Plant Project owned by Maaden (entered by Samsung Engineering), a joint winner in the GCC Mashreq Oil & Gas Project of the Year category.
Qatar has finally started to see the acceleration in activity as it gears up for the 2022 FIFA World Cup. With more than $16 billion-worth of contracts awarded in the first 9 months of the year, the state has already awarded more deals than the whole of last year, and under its current pipeline is expected to hit close to than $20 billion by year-end.
Meanwhile, the UAE market is expected to improve on last year on the back of offshore oil and gas projects, the second phase of the Etihad rail project, as well as an improvement in the real estate sector.
Kuwait remains a comparatively small market compared with its neighbors thanks to political issues having constrained project activity. However, it is also the market with one of the biggest potentials in the region, and is expected to double contract awards next year thanks to the launch of its mega refinery upgrade program.
Now in its fourth year, the awards program will recognize projects completed between January 2012 and December 2013 across several categories, including Oil & Gas Project of the Year, Industrial Project of the Year, Power and Water Desalination Project of the Year, Water Reuse Project of the Year, Leisure and Tourism Project of the Year, Transport Project of the Year, Social Project of the Year, Building Project of the Year, Sustainable Project of the Year and Award for Innovation.
The deadline for submission of projects has been set on Jan. 31, 2014. Winners will be announced in Dubai in May.