Saudi contract awards surge to highest in four years

Saudi Aramco continued awarding projects to international contractors at its Marjan oil field. (Getty Images)
Updated 11 September 2019

Saudi contract awards surge to highest in four years

  • The contract tally reached SR64.3 billion during the second quarter — up 32 percent on the previous quarter and an increase of 92 percent on a year earlier
  • The oil and gas sector overwhelmingly dominated the contracts awarded in the second quarter, accounting for almost three-quarters of the total

LONDON: The value of contracts awarded in Saudi Arabia almost doubled in the second quarter compared to a year earlier, led by the energy, property and military sectors, according to a report published on Tuesday.
The contract tally reached SR64.3 billion ($17.2 billion) during the period — up 32 percent on the previous quarter and an increase of 92 percent on a year earlier, the US-Saudi Arabian Business Council (USABC) said in its report.
It represents the highest value of contracts awarded by quarter in four years with more awards made in the first half of this year than the whole of 2018.
“This highlights the resurgence in 2019, which is on pace to match the construction boom witnessed prior to the brief economic downturn,” USABC said.
The collapse of oil prices in 2014 led to billions of dollars worth of projects being placed on hold throughout the Gulf, but business activity in Saudi Arabia, the region’s largest economy has started to accelerate.
While a majority of the contracts were awarded by the government, the private sector was an active participant in the real estate sector in particular, USABC noted.
The oil and gas sector overwhelmingly dominated the contracts awarded in the period, accounting for almost three-quarters of the total.
Saudi Aramco continued awarding projects to international contractors at its Marjan oil field as well as the Tanajib oil complex in the Eastern Province, the council said.
For the second consecutive quarter, the Eastern Province contributed the largest share of awarded contracts by region.
The order pipeline for the rest of the year also looks set to continue the strong momentum, led by Aramco’s Marjan and Berri field projects as well as the first phase of the Red Sea Tourism Project.


Abu Dhabi carrier Etihad launches more fuel-efficient Boeing 787 Dreamliner

Updated 41 min ago

Abu Dhabi carrier Etihad launches more fuel-efficient Boeing 787 Dreamliner

  • Etihad’s CEO Tony Douglas described the aircraft as a flying laboratory for testing that could benefit the entire industry
  • This year, Etihad flew the world’s first passenger flight using sustainable biofuel made from a plant that grows in saltwater

DUBAI: Abu Dhabi’s flagship carrier Etihad Airways announced on Monday it is launching one of the world’s most fuel-efficient long-haul airplanes as the company seeks to save costs on fuel and position itself as a more environmentally-conscious choice for travelers.
Etihad’s “Greenliner” is a Boeing 787 Dreamliner that will depart on its first route from Abu Dhabi to Brussels in January 2020. Etihad’s CEO Tony Douglas described the aircraft as a flying laboratory for testing that could benefit the entire industry.
With fuel costs eating up around a quarter of airline spending, Douglas said the goal of the Greenliner is to be 20 percent more fuel efficient than other aircraft in Etihad’s fleet.
“This is not just a box-ticking exercise,” he told reporters at the unveiling of the initiative at the Dubai Airshow alongside executives from Boeing.
Douglas said the aircraft “not only makes sense economically from a profit and loss account point of view, but because it also directly impacts the CO2 because of the fuel burn.”
Etihad has reported losses of $4.75 billion since 2016 as its strategy of aggressively buying stakes in airlines from Europe to Australia exposed the company to major risks.
Despite its financials, the airline continues to be among the most innovative.
This year, Etihad flew the world’s first passenger flight using sustainable biofuel made from a plant that grows in saltwater. It also became the first in the Middle East to operate a flight without any single-use plastics on board to raise awareness of the effects of plastic pollution.
Aviation accounts for a small but rapidly growing share of greenhouse-gas emissions — about 2.5 percent worldwide. But forecasters expect air travel to grow rapidly in the coming years.
Etihad says it plans to make the Greenliner a “social media star” to bring under sharper focus its developments and achievements worldwide. Douglas said anything that Eithad learns with Boeing from this aircraft’s operations will be open domain knowledge “because it’s about moving the industry forward in a responsible fashion.”
“We’re like a millennial and like all good millennials, they’re really focused on the environment and the sustainability agenda,” Douglas said, referring to Etihad’s 16 years in operation.
The Greenliner will be the only aircraft of its kind in Etihad’s fleet of Dreamliners. The company currently has 36 of the 787s in its fleet with plans to operate 50.
“This is a small step today, but in a very, very long journey,” Douglas said.