(MENAFN - Arab News) The UAE leads the MENA region in value of contracts awarded in the oil and gas sector, with Zakum Development Company (ZADCO) awarding a huge 3.7 billion contract on the development of the offshore Upper Zakum field.
The contract is more than 50 percent of the total 6.7 billion worth of engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) deals awarded so far in the region in the second quarter of 2013. The ground-breaking Upper Zakum Field Development project has a total budget of around 15.6 billion.
These developments mark a critical stage in the UAE's push to expand its offshore output to new fields. Equally important, however, is the country's push to optimize oil production, sustainability and innovation through successful integration of new and expanding projects. These developments will be discussed in depth at the forthcoming UAE Oil and Gas Greenfield Projects Conference on Sept. 10-12, at the Sofitel Hotel in Abu Dhabi. The event will gather high-level participation from government and semi-government entities, financiers and investors, contractors, project managers and international operators and developers.
According to Middle East projects tracker MEED Projects, if contracts are awarded as expected, this quarter could be the biggest-spending period since the final quarter of 2011, with several major projects moving toward the construction phase. Since then, contract awards for each subsequent quarter have hovered between 5 billion and 10 billion, with spending dominated by Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Iraq and Iran.
The UAE is likely to award two more major contracts in the second quarter - both on the Umm Al-Lulu offshore oilfield development - which combined are worth in excess of 2 billion. The first package on Umm Al-Lulu is set to be awarded to Abu Dhabi's National Petroleum Construction Company (NPCC). The second package is still to be decided after France's Technip and South Korea-based Samsung Engineering were asked to resubmit bids in April.
The only other billion-dollar-plus contract in the MENA region so far in the second quarter was Qatar Petroleum (QP) awarding a deal to Taiwan's CTCI and Japan-based Chiyoda Corporation. This was for the 1.2 billion expansion of its Ras Laffan refinery.
"There is an enormous potential for contractors looking to work on rehabilitation, upgrade and modification schemes in the GCC. This clearly defines the Middle East's brownfield market as one of the region's high potential markets. The Middle East Brownfield Projects Conference will focus on specific challenges and opportunities over the next 12 months," said Edmund O' Sullivan, chairman, of MEED Events, which organizes the conference.