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.


RDIF chief praises Saudi reforms, says Bezos hacking story is ‘Fake News’

Updated 25 January 2020

RDIF chief praises Saudi reforms, says Bezos hacking story is ‘Fake News’

  • Kirill Dmitriev: Investors interested in business opportunities presented by tourism, improved position of women and youth demographic in Kingdom

DAVOS: One of Saudi Arabia’s biggest investment partners has reassured the global community about doing business in the Kingdom and ridiculed the Jeff Bezos accusations of phone hacking.
Speaking on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum (WEF) annual meeting in Davos, Kirill Dmitriev, CEO of the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF), told Arab News that stories about the apparent hacking of Amazon boss Jeff Bezos’ phone did “not look plausible at all.
“We in Russia have some experience of phone hacking and this has all the signs of being fake news put about by enemies of the Kingdom.”
Dmitriev, whose organization has channeled investment into Saudi Arabia and partnered with the Kingdom on billions of dollars-worth of joint ventures, said the people he had spoken to in Davos remained in favor of the opportunities presented by Riyadh’s Vision 2030 strategy.
“Lots of people here are positive about the changes going on in Saudi Arabia, both from the West and Asia. They are interested in the business opportunities presented by tourism, the improved position of women and the youth demographic. I’m surprised the Western press does not give the full picture about what is happening in Saudi Arabia,” he added.
While in Switzerland, the RDIF announced a deal to invest in an online tourism platform that would benefit from increased Russian tourism, especially by members of Russia’s big Muslim minority, as well as other potential visitors to Saudi Arabia.
The Bezos allegations, which have been dismissed by Saudi officials as “absolutely silly,” were a hot topic of conversation at the WEF meeting.
A Western executive at a leading Gulf energy company, who declined to be named, said: “Phone hacking and cyber-security is a growing problem in the business world and is not confined to any one country.
“You have to take it all with a pinch of salt. If you’re going to do business in Saudi Arabia you will look at all the pros and cons, and this (the Bezos allegation) is not likely to deter you.”