Posted on January 13, 2015

Qatar’s infrastructure projects pipeline is set to soar with more than $30bn worth of new projects deals in 2015, according to the latest data from MEED Projects, the region’s leading online projects tracker.The record year has come on the back of major project awards on Ashghal’s Expressway and Local Roads & Drainage Programmes as well as significant investment in real estate and transport projects such as Msheireb, Lusail and the New Port Project.

This year will be boosted by forecasted project awards on the $5bn-plus Al-Karaana petrochemical complex, the $2bn-plus rolling stock and systems contract on the Doha Metro, and five main multi-billion-dollar packages on the mega water reservoirs main packages. “Despite falling oil prices, Qatar has the project pipeline, the political impetus, and the financial reserves to continue project spending as it prepares to host the FIFA 2022 World Cup,” says Ed James, Director of Analysis at MEED Projects. “With around $30bn worth of projects, 2014 witnessed a 25% increase in project spending as compare to the year 2013, and there will continue to be an upward trend in project activity.” 

Project spending will be boosted by the fact that Qatar continues to be the fastest-growing economy in the GCC in the years to 2020 as the country presses ahead with one of the world’s most comprehensive and ambitious economic development and infrastructure programmes, the annual MEED Qatar Projects Conference in Doha on 10-11 March 2015 will be told.According to the Qatar’s Ministry of Development Planning & Statistics, Qatar’s economy will expand by 7.7 per cent in 2015, providing evidence that the world’s leading LNG exporter expects lower oil prices will have minimal impact on growth. 

“Solid expansion in non-hydrocarbon activities will continue to drive overall economic momentum, propelled by investment spending, an expansionary fiscal stance and population growth,” the ministry said. “In calendar years 2014-2016, the overall fiscal balance is expected to stay in surplus.” Qatar is the Middle East’s most creditworthy economy. The Standard & Poor’s credit rating is AA. Moodys rating for Qatar sovereign debt is Aa2. The IMF’s annual Article IV report on the Qatar economy published earlier this year showed Qatar’s budget and balance of payments’ surpluses were by far the highest in the region and were among the largest in the world. Its financial reserves are more than 100 per cent of GDP.

“Qatar has ample policy space to deal with unexpected circumstances in the short term,” the IMF said. Fiscal buffers and remaining natural resources are sizeable and spending is unlikely to be affected by a drop in hydrocarbon prices or market volatility in the near term.” Qatar’s oil and gas wealth per capita is the highest in the world. “Qatar has enormous oil and gas wealth, especially in relation to the size of its national population,” Qatar National Bank said in a report in September. “At current extraction rates Qatar’s proven gas reserves would last at least another 156 years.” Combined oil and gas production in 2014 is equivalent to more than 2 million barrels a day.

The resilience of Qatar’s economy and its commitment to the objectives of the Qatar National Vision 2030 will be the themes of MEED’s annual conference. Keynote speakers will include Qatar Central Bank governor HE Sheikh Abdulla Saoud al-Thani. Other speakers are Remy Rowhani, director general of the Qatar Chamber of Commerce & Industry; chairman of Daruna HE Sheikh Nasser bin Abdulrahman bin Nasser al-Thani; group chief executive officer of Barwa Ahmad Abdulla al-Abulla; chairman of the Gulf Organisation for Research & Development (GORD) Dr Yousef Alhorr and director at the Qatar General Electricity & Water Corporation Ahmed Nasser Al Nasser.

Ahmed Nassar Al Kowsi, logistics director at Qatar Rail, and senior representatives of the Public Works Authority (Ashghal) will also address the conference. Topics to be covered will include latest developments in the national development strategy; trends and opportunities in the banking and finance sector and news about Qatar’s latest energy and infrastructure projects. The conference will focus on the challenge of delivering Qatar’s $200bn major project programme for the Qatar World Cup Finals in 2022 and after.

“Qatar’s going to lead the region and the world once more with further progress in the execution of its inspiring vision for the years to 2030,” says Edmund O’Sullivan. “Lower oil prices can’t be ignored, but it’s clear that Qatar has the financial and human resources overcome this challenge. The MEED Qatar Projects Conference will be the perfect place to learn how Qatari, regional and global businesses can play their part in delivering the vision.”

The MEED Qatar Projects Conference is organised in partnership with Ashghal and in association with GORD. Daruna is gold sponsor; Mashreq Bank and UrbaCon Trading and Contracting part of Al Khayyat Contracting and Trading are silver sponsors; Qatar Steel is Associate Partner; IBQ is gala dinner sponsor; Engineering Consultants Group (ECG) is conference sponsor and Qatar Steel is associate partner. Al Jaber Engineering and Arab Bank are exhibiting.

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