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Oman projects set for record-breaking year

Oman has traditionally been a small market by regional standards, with about $8bn-worth of contracts awarded each year

Oman’s projects market is set for another record-breaking year, according to the latest data from MEED Projects, the region’s leading online projects tracking service.

After eight months of the year, the sultanate has already awarded more than $11bn-worth of contracts, and is on track to beat the $14.8bn signed awards on 2014, which itself was a record performance.

The pace has been set by a raft of major projects, including the multi-billion-dollar Khazzan and Makarem tight gas development, the $900m Yibal Khuff sour gas development, the $630m Salalah independent power project, and the estimated $600m Miraah solar power plant.

Also anticipated this year are awards on the first segment of the Oman Rail project, expected to be worth in excess of $1bn, the four multi-billion-dollar main packages on the Liwa plastics scheme, and the Barka and Sohar independent water projects, valued at about $500m each.

Updates on Oman’s major infrastructure, transport, power, water, social and tourism projects will be shared at this year’s Oman Projects Forum taking place on 26-28 October 2015 in Muscat. The forum is under the patronage of HE Dr. Ali Massoud Al-Sunaidi, Minister of Commerce & Industry. Representatives from the sultanate’s key project owners, developers and contractors will participate in candid discussions sharing critical insight into Oman’s capital expenditure plans and the scale of opportunities across these sectors.

“Whether Oman beats last year’s record for contract awards will largely depend on the award of a handful of major contracts by the end of 2015,” said Ed James, MEED Projects Director of Content and Analysis. “However, with most of them at an advanced stage of tender evaluation, we are hopeful that awards will be made soon,” he added.

Oman has traditionally been a small market by regional standards, with about $8bn-worth of contracts awarded each year. However, the past 18 months have seen a steep change in activity in the sultanate as the government looks to proceed with a number of key projects such as the Muscat International Airport, the modernisation of the Sohar refinery and the planned railway network.

However, in light of the oil price slump, concerns are growing over whether current spending levels can be maintained into 2016 and beyond with the government under pressure to cut expenditure. “Like most GCC states, Oman is reliant on oil income and will be under pressure to cut spending,” said James. “If it is to maintain a steady flow of new projects, then the sultanate may well have to look at new ways of raising finance such PPP-type deals and bond and sukuk issuances,” he added.

These issues along with the prospects for the current and future projects market will be discussed at MEED’s Oman Projects Forum, where stakeholders including Oman Airport Management Company, Ministry of Manpower Oman, OMRAN, Oman Air, Ministry of Transport & Communications Oman, Sohar Port & Freezone and more will share their plans for 2015 and beyond.