|21.09.2016||‘World’s Largest’ Construction Project in Doubt
A proposed tanscontinental railway line, running 5,300 km, from Brazil’s Atlantic coast to Peru’s Pacific coast, has been thrown into doubt due to its US$ 60 billion price tag.
As per the original proposal, the line would cut through both the Andes and the Amazon, potentially lowering significnantly the cost of transporting goods from Latin America to Asia.
China, which is Peru’s biggest trade partner, first suggested the rail link in 2014, and Peru agreed to a feasibility study for the project last year. At that time, a total cost of around US$ 10 billion was suggested for the line.
When a delegation from Lima met Chinese officials in Beijing, however, they admitted to being surprised by a US$ 60 billion estimate.
Peru’s vice president and transportation minister, Martin Vizcarra, told Peruvian broadcaster RPP a sum of around US$ 35 billion would be required to cover his country’s section of the line, while Brazil’s contribution would be US$ 25 billion.
“With that money,” he said, “we could build a lot of projects to benefit Peruvians.”
Chinese premier Li Keqiang told the state-run news agency Xinhua that he felt both countries would benefit from the project.
|12.09.2016||Indian Solar Farm Set to be World’s Largest
A solar power project in Pavagada in central southern India is set to be the world’s largest, according to the country’s energy minister.
DK Shivakumar has suggested that the plant, with published plans to cover five square kilometres and generate 2 GW of power, could ultimately generate some 5 GW of power.
Shivakumar said, “We have already acquired 1,200 acres of land for setting up the plant and the work will start soon. Once it is commissioned, the power problem being faced by the state will be eased to a great extent.”
The plant – in the state of Karnataka and some 160 km north of Bengaluru – will be developed by the National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC), and will be the largest of more than 20 solar parks approved by the state’s energy ministry.
Currently, Karnataka produces 4 GW of renewable energy, but plans so far approved could lead to the generation of around 20 GW.
Plans for the Pavagada site call for the solar plant being split into lots of 50 MW, which will be auctioned to investors a plan that is already underway. So far, Adani Power, Tata Power Renewable Energy and Fortum India have each secured 100 MW, at a tariff of US$ 79/MWh.
|22.08.2016||Chinese and US Firms Join Forces on NY Tower
Artist’s impression of the proposed Central Park Tower in New York, US
A new supertall tower in New York City is to be built as a joint venture between Chinese and US developers.
The 472 m-high Central Park Tower is being developed by Extell Development and the US subsidiary of Shanghai Municipal Investment (SMI) and is set to become the tallest residential building in the western hemisphere.
The cost of the project is reported to be around US$ 3 billion, with Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture – architects of both the Burj Khalifa in Dubai and the even taller under-construction Jeddah Tower in Saudi Arabia – responsible for the design.
Slated for completion in 2019, the tower will provide a combination of high-rise residencies and retails units.
|Turkish-owned firm in US$ 4.2 billion deal to build power stations in Iran
A Turkish-owned energy company has been contracted to build seven power plants in Iran, with a total installed capacity of 6,000 MW.
Once completed, the plants are expected to increase Iran’s current energy output by as much as 10%.
The developer, Unit International (www.unit.com.tr), a Brussels-based firm, is owned by Unal Aysal, former chairman of Istanbul football club Galatasaray.
The contracts were signed in Tehran on 1 June, with Iran’s Thermal Power Plants Holding Company, which is acting on behalf of the country’s energy ministry.
Construction on the power stations is set to begin in the first quarter of 2017, with Unit providing the capital for the build.
Once completed, the agreement includes Unit operating the power stations for 20 years.
|30.05.2016||Limak Signs $4.34bn Deal to Build Kuwait International Airport Terminal
Turkey’s Limak Construction has signed a contract to build the new terminal at Kuwait International Airport.
The development comes nine months after reports first emerged that it had won the work, and more than 18 months after reports said that all initial bids had been rejected.
The company, which is part of the 50,000-strong Limak Holding group, submitted a bid of US$4.34 billion to carry out the work and was told by Kuwait’s central tenders committee last August that its bid was the lowest.
Once complete, the new passenger terminal will have a capacity to handle 25 million passengers per year and be able to handle all aircraft types through 51 new gates and stands. The Foster + Partners-designed terminal is due to take six years to complete, but Limak’s contract also includes a further two-year maintenance contract.
The contract-signing ceremony was attended by Kuwait’s minister of public works, Ali Al Omair; the president of its civil aviation directorate, Fawaz Al Farah; and the Limak Group vice chairman, Sezai Bacaksız.
The procurement process for the 708,000 square metre terminal has been running for several years. Foster + Partners’ designs for the project, which features an ability to generate 12 megawatts of solar power through 66,000 roof panels, were first unveiled in October 2011.
Limak and its Kuwaiti agent Kharafi National were initially revealed to have submitted the lowest bid to build the project – at $4.78bn – in November 2014. However, at the time, the ministry of works decided to reject all of the bids on the table and re-tendered the project, before eventually re-awarding it to Limak for the slightly lower sum. A project supervision package has also been tendered, but not yet awarded.
“The project is more than an airport, it’s a link between the two countries; – Kuwait and Turkey – between two economies, between two societies,” said Mr Bacaksız.
“As a result of this link, new technologies will be introduced and transferred, new jobs will be created locally, planned local procurement will be in the hundreds of millions of dollars, local businesses will flourish – all while we train and equip Kuwaiti men and women through various education and empowerment initiatives that we have planned for Kuwait over the next six years and beyond.”
More than 1 million cubic metres of concrete and more than 100,000 tonnes of structural steel will be used in the terminal’s construction, which has been designed with a single roof canopy containing glazed openings aimed at letting in light while deflecting heat.
It is hoped that once construction completes, the terminal will be awarded LEED Gold sustainability status.
The Arabian Gulf’s governments have continued to spend on developing airports despite challenges arising from lower oil prices constraining budgets, with Dubai’s recent award of a contract to Alec to expand Al Maktoum International’s terminal from a capacity of 5 million passengers to 26.5 million the most recent example.
Writing in Deloitte’s new GCC Powers of Construction report, the firm’s regional head of airports, Dorian Reece, said that several governments across the region are looking at alternative ways of funding airport development, including potential privatisations and public-private partnerships (PPP).
“Saudi Arabia has announced a pipeline of airport PPPs, building upon its recent announcement of granting an operate and maintain [O&M)]concession for Riyadh Airport,” said Mr Reece.
The kingdom’s first PPP airport project opened at Madinah in July last year and was built by a consortium including Turkey’s Tav Construction, Al Rajhi Group and Saudi Oger.
The O&M contract for King Khalid International Airport’s Terminal 5 building was awarded to Dublin Airports Authority International (DAAI) in February. DAAI’s sister firm ARI also secured a 10-year contract to run retail operations at Abu Dhabi International’s new Midfield Terminal Building last December.
|28.05.2016||$100B Hydorelectric Project to Include World’s largest Dam in Congo
Construction will begin in a few months on the word’s largest dam. A consortium of Chinese companies is expected to win the contract for the project. The Inga 3 project, 4,800-megawatt hydroelectric plant, is estimated to cost $14 billion and is part of a larger, $100 billion project along the Congo River in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Concerns have been raised, however, because no environmental surveys are required and 35,000 people will have to be relocated during the first phase.
With subsequent phases, together costing about $100bn, could eventually span the Congo river, the world’s second largest by volume. It is expected to have an electricity-generating capacity of nearly 40,000MW- nearly twice as much as the Three Gorges dam in China or 20 large nuclear power stations.
The Congolese government has no intention to carry out a social and environmental impact assessment for the huge project before construction starts. Developing Inga 3 without an EIA will violate national law, World Bank safeguard policies, and Chinese guidelines for overseas contractors.
|25 Feb 2016||India’s UltraTech in the hunt for 20 m tonne cement deal
India’s largest cement maker, UltraTech, has reportedly offered more than Rs. 18,000 crore (US$ 2.62 billion) for the cement division of Jaiprakash Associates.
The debt-ridden business currently generates more than 20 million tonnes of cement annually, and UltraTech, along with KKR & Co and Dalmia Cement have reportedly each made bids.
An unnamed source said, “UltraTech is in the advanced stage of acquiring Jaiprakash Associates’ cement assets. The company is working on various modalities for this acquisition.”
The source also said UltraTech – a subsidiary of Aditya Birla Group – would fund the deal primarily with loans and a small amount of equity.
At this point, there has been no comment from either UltraTech or Jaiprakash. If agreement were to be reached between the two companies, there are a number of regulatory issues that could potentially prevent a deal going through.
Amendments would need to be made to the Mines and Minerals Act, which currently does not allow a company to transfer rights to an allotted mine to another company or subsidiary. As it stands, it would be difficult for a deal to be done on the cement assets, without the related limestone mines being part of the equation.
There could also be anti-trust issues, with UltraTech’s acquisition of Jaiprakash’s assets giving it a significantly expanded presence in northern and central Indian markets.
The anonymous source said options currently under consideration include “acquiring the cement division and then divesting according to the CCI [Competition Commission of India] requirements”.
|24.02.2016||Arabtec Results Reveal US$ 627 Million Loss
Dubai-based construction company Arabtec – which helped build the Burj Khalifa – has released its financial results for 2015, revealing a loss of US$ 626 million.
In its report, the company – which is backed by Abu Dhabi’s state-run Aabar Investments – said revenues for the year was also 12% down on 2014.
Arabtec cited the “continuing difficult environment…and the challenging economic backdrop” among its reasons for the poor performance, but also admitted a number of poorly performing projects had adversely affected its bottom line.
In 2014, Arabtec signed a US$ 40 billion deal to build a million affordable homes in Dubai – a project which has been beset by confusion and stoppages. In the same year, the company’s CEO unexpectedly departed.
Acting CEO, Saeed Al Mehairbi, said the company was now pursuing “…a more selective approach to project tendering, ensuring new projects deliver appropriate returns”.
Last month, Arabtec moved forward with two major new projects: a US$ 544 million development of 1,000 villas on Yas Island; and a US$ 1.1 billion modernisation of Bahrain International Airport.
|09.02.2016||Italy and Iran Agree US$ 5.6 bn Rail Deal
A memorandum of understanding has been signed by the governments of Italy and Iran, regarding Iran’s planned 10,000 km railways development.
The agreement covers some US$ 5.6 billion of work to be carried out by Italy’s state-owned rail company, Ferrovie dello Stato (FS), for its counterpart in Iran, Iranian Islamic Republic Railways (RAI).
FS said in a statement it will design and build two high-speed rail lines, one connecting Tehran and to the city of Hamadan, the other linking the industrial cities of Arak and Qom.
Iran plans to extend its 10,000-km railway system by 25,000 kilometers by 2025. Of these, 7,500 are already being built.
FS’s certification arm, Italcertifier is working on the design of a test centre for infrastructure and rolling stock, while the company’s engineering arm, Italferr, is a preferred bidder for the contract to work on the construction of a metro in Mashhad, in the north-east of Iran.
The agreement sees FS and RAI resuming commercial relations for the first time since 2006, when the UN Security Council imposed sanctions on Iran.
Abbas Akhoundi, Iran’s minister of transport, who signed the agreement with Graziano Delrio, Italy’s minister of infrastructure, said talks had also been held with China and “some European countries” and he was hopeful they would “yield positive results.”
|08.02.2016||High-rise toppled by deadly earthquake in Taiwan had tin cans in its concrete
An investigation has been launched in Taiwan, into the construction of a building that collapsed during an earthquake on Saturday, killing at least 33 people.
The 17-storey Wei-guan Golden dragon Building in Tainan City was the only high-rise building to collapse during the 6.7-magnitude earthquake.
Witnesses have reported that the building’s collapse exposed blue and white oil cans, which appear to have been used as filler inside some of the concrete beams.
It has also been reported by Reuters that one Taiwanese bank had a policy of rejecting loan requests from residents of the building, citing its poor construction.
The mayor of Tainan, William Lai, said civil engineers had been brought in to investigate the construction of the 20-year-old building, adding, “When it’s completed, we’ll punish those who should be held accountable.”