No.of Reads (113)
Denny’s, the world’s largest full-service family dining chain, announced plans on Tuesday to open 30 new restaurants in the Middle East.The food retailer said it has signed a franchise agreement with Advance Investment, an affiliated entity of Food Quest Restaurant Management, for the development of the new Denny’s restaurants in nine countries over the next 10 years.
It said Advance Investment has the exclusive rights to open restaurants in the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Bahrain, Kuwait, Egypt, Lebanon, Iraq and Jordan.The first Denny’s restaurant is slated to open doors to diners in the UAE in 2015, a statement said.
Fareed Bilbeisi, chairman of the board of Food Quest, said: “We are proud to be associated with the Denny’s brand and look forward to developing it in the Middle East. This is a great addition to the management portfolio of Food Quest covering the family dining segment.”
John Miller, Denny’s president and CEO, added: “We are making significant progress expanding the Denny’s brand internationally with the right franchise partners and this is further evidence of our momentum.”This significant development agreement is our first major expansion in the Middle East and expands Denny’s unopened international pipeline to over 60 restaurants.”
Denny’s opened its first international restaurant in 1966 in Acapulco, Mexico and has since expanded its footprint to 11 countries and US territories, including 100 locations in Canada, Chile, Costa Rica, Curaçao, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guam, Honduras, Mexico, Puerto Rico and New Zealand.
Denny’s currently has almost 1,700 franchised, licensed, and company restaurants around the world with combined sales of $2.5 billion.
No.of Reads (117)
But the government has awarded a number of megaprojects in the past several months, including a power and water desalination plant and a 36-kilometre (22-mile) causeway, each costing $2.6 billion.
The government is also in the process of awarding a number of oil projects estimated to cost around $30 billion.Kuwait is projecting spending in the current fiscal year, which ends on March 31, at 21.0 billion dinars, with revenues at 18.1 billion dinars, leaving a deficit of 2.9 billion dinars.
No.of Reads (113)
Iran-Pakistan (IP) gas pipeline project must be completed before 2015 while coal reserves must be utilized to overcome the energy crisis, says expert.Talking to Radio Pakistan, Energy sector expert Dr. Gul Faraz said that the government can overcome the energy crisis by developing people-friendly policies.
“Public policies succeed only in case if people become part of those policies after finding them beneficial”, he added.He added that the elected governments prioritize the basic needs of common people while making policies. He further said that gas in Pakistan is not sufficient for the needs of the country and IP gas pipeline will be a boost for industrial sector. Gul Faraz said that steps should be taken on emergency basis and that is the only way to handle the crisis.
He said that provision of gas to industrial sector has been suspended in winter season for the last two or three years but now this practice should be changed.“Supply of gas to industrial sector should be ensured to increase production” he said.
He added that the government should take steps on emergency basis to complete the IP gas pipeline project because Pakistan will have to pay a fine according to international laws if the project was not completed in the proposed time.He was of the view that provision of gas to industrial sector will lead to an increase in production and subsequently a rise in national income will be a bonus.
No.of Reads (128)
The expansion of the existing Farwaniya Hospital is comprised of three new buildings, as follows:
1) a new hospital with a large ER facility, surgical units, outpatient clinics, an oncology unit, and 465 patient beds,
2) a physical therapy and dermatology clinic,
3) a dental clinic and teaching facility.
On the exterior of the three buildings, solar mitigation mechanisms have been incorporated into the façade system, as large expanses of exposed glass would allow for too much heat gain due to the hot climate of Kuwait. The team devised a three-dimensional screen with openings that allow visibility to the library, the mosque and the auditorium. The spacing of the apertures and the angles of the screen panels change gradually according to the program and orientation of each façade, to allow more or less light and view.
The patient experience and staff efficiency were driving components in the layout and design.The curvilinear forms of the patient bed wings bend to make the most of open views, and create the distinctive massing of the hospital. The free-flowing form of the connector, which houses waiting areas for patients’ families and gathering areas for the staff, gently interweaves with the bed towers to augment the curved forms of the building. The connector was also designed to have maximum transparency along exterior walls to help with orientation within the building. Internal courtyards have been introduced in part to bring natural light into various spaces.
Owner : Ministry of Health
Consultants: TROJB/Dar Saleh Al Qallaf Engineering Consultants
Cost : 500 million US $
Status: Design Phase
No.of Reads (139)
Qatar wants to help Iran to develop its share of the world’s biggest gas field so both countries can reap the maximum long-term rewards, sources at state-run Qatar Petroleum (QP) say.
The Persian Gulf state has offered its support in response to a request from Iran amid signs that western sanctions might ease after it signed a deal in November that offers more transparency over its nuclear program.
The giant gas field beneath the waters of the Persian Gulf, which Iran calls South Pars and Doha calls the North Field, accounts for nearly all of Qatar’s gas production and around 60 percent of its export revenues.
Multi-billion dollar plants built with big Western energy companies have helped Qatar become the world’s largest liquefied natural gas (LNG) exporter, while western sanctions have prevented Iran from mirroring that success.
Worried that overproduction might reduce long term recovery from its biggest asset, in 2005 Doha imposed a moratorium on new developments which is expected to last until at least 2015.
Iran, which suffers severe domestic gas shortages, has made a rapid increase in production from South Pars a top priority and some in Qatar are concerned too much Iranian exploration drilling might impair recovery rates for both sides.
Some in Doha believe Iran’s relations with the West have thawed enough for other experts in Qatar’s multi-national energy industry to share some knowledge already gathered from probing deep below the seabed.
“After Iran signed the nuclear deal this has opened the door for us to help them with making more use of South Pars, and the plan is to give them advice on technology and exploring the geology of the field,” a QP source said.
According to the International Energy Agency, the field holds around 51 trillion cubic meters of gas and some 50 billion barrels of condensate, a valuable light oil byproduct which makes Qatari LNG one of the most cost-competitive gas supplies in the world.
A Qatari government official working at one of QP’s drilling units said that many of the easily recoverable reserves lay in the area on either side of the countries’ maritime border.“There has been a lot of drilling activity in that area and we have many studies on the field that I’m sure can benefit Iran,” he said.
Despite the moratorium on new developments, exploration on both sides of the border has caused the pressure to drop in many wells, reducing flows to the surface, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.
Iran’s new energy minister said in August that he wants the two countries to work together to maximize production and there are signs that they are looking to cooperate.
“We have established channels of communications and established teams…between the two countries,” Qatar’s Energy minister told Reuters at an OPEC meeting in Vienna in early December.“We always explore the means of cooperation and coordination together,” he said, declining to give details of specific plans.
LNG production in Qatar is divided between two companies, Qatargas and Rasgas. QP owns a majority stake in both, with international oil companies holding smaller stakes in individual production facilities.
QP holds 70 percent of Rasgas, with U.S. oil and gas giant ExxonMobil holding 30 percent. Qatargas is owned by a consortium including Total, ExxonMobil, ConocoPhillips and Royal Dutch Shell.
With QP mainly relying on foreign partners in the technology used to develop the North field, some analysts say there is limited practical help that QP could offer as long as sanctions remain in place.
No.of Reads (135)
The year 2013 registered high levels of commercial exchange between Iraq and Iran, which reached — according to both Iraqi and Iranian officials — more than $ 12 billion. This comes at a time when the Iraqi government aspires to increase trade between the two, with a goal of $ 15 billion.
In a telephone conversation with Al-Monitor, adviser to the Iraqi Prime Minister for Economic Affairs Abdul Hussein al-Anbaki explains that the most common goods imported from Iran to Iraq are canned food — including canned cheese and dairy products as well as soft drinks, meats, vegetable oil, household items and electrical appliances.
The Iraqi government hopes that this trade increase will strengthen Iraq’s role in ensuring stability in the region in light of the economic and political influence of Iran. Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s media advisor, Ali Musawi, told Al-Monitor that Iraq was striving to strengthen ties with all neighboring countries, without exception.
He noted that Iran has had an important weight in economic transactions with Iraq, notably since 2003, and pointed to the ease of commercial exchange between the two countries in terms of transportation and quality of goods, among other factors. Thus, according to Musawi, it is only normal for the two countries’ commercial exchanges to increase.
For his part, the head of the Commerce Department in the Iranian Embassy in Baghdad, Mahmoud Bahzar, told Al-Monitor that Iran hopes to have $ 20 billion worth of commercial exchanges with Iraq by the end of 2017, saying, “According to our market observations, commercial exchange reached $ 10-13 billion by the end of November 2013.” He noted that the increase would come in the form of investments in the gas and electricity sector.
Iran is currently exporting 24 billion cubic meters of gas to Iraq annually. Iraq also imports 400 megawatts of power from Iran through the Kermanshah-Diyala line, the Zihab-Khanaqin line and the Abadan-Basra line. These provinces are provided with electricity through high-voltage power lines.
The Iraqi Ministry of Trade noted that it has restrictions and mechanisms in place to monitor and restrict commercial exchange between Iraq and Iran through mobile teams in the Iraqi market and on the borders. In an interview with Al-Monitor, Undersecretary of Trade Yehya Ahmad Faraj attributed the increase in commercial exchange with Iran to “the desire of Iraqi traders to import Iranian goods, given their competitive prices and the ease of transporting goods and bringing them into Iraq.”
He added that according to the ministry, the increase in commercial exchange with Iran does not affect the Iraqi market, since it is a large and open one.Amer Ghanam, who specializes in economic affairs of the Middle East countries, told Al-Monitor that the trade balance is tipping in favor of Iran in an exaggerated way and it is important to bring it back to its normal level.
He explained that during the imposition of sanctions on Iran, Iraq has become the biggest trade market for the latter. At the end of 2010, commercial exchanges reached around $ 10 billion.The Iranian Trade Development Organization announced in June 2013 that Iraq is the biggest importer of Iranian goods, affirming that 72% of Iran’s exports go to Iraq. It also noted the Iraqi imports of Iranian goods have increased by 15.7% in comparison to last year.
No.of Reads (126)
Top industrialists are pressing Saudi authorities for effective measures to speed up infrastructure and construction projects delayed by manpower shortage and other reasons.A recruitment specialist, however, voiced hope that the crisis would likely end within six months.
Their comments came after local media reported that the exodus of foreign workers, caused by the ongoing campaign against illegal residents, had disrupted government projects worth more than SR100 billion.
Abdul Rahman Al-Zamil, president of Riyadh Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said there are two main reasons for the disruption.“First, most contractors have been employing illegal workers; second, they were charging less than the market price to clinch deals,” he told Arab News.
“The government should extend the period to implement the projects at least by another year while the Labor Ministry should provide enough number of workers,” he said.Al-Zamil voiced concern that the number of stalled projects might increase if authorities did not take remedial action.
Abdullah Ridwan, chairman of the contractors committee at Jeddah Chamber of Commerce and Industry, earlier said that more than 30 percent government projects had been affected by the labor campaign to weed out illegal workers.
Professor Bassam Ghelman of the College of Engineering and Construction at Umm Al-Qura University in Makkah, estimated the value of stalled government projects during the last three years at SR100 billion from a total of SR1 trillion worth of projects.
Fahd Al-Hammadi, a member of the board of directors of Riyadh Chamber, urged authorities to implement the decisions taken by the Cabinet to solve the problem of stalled projects..
“Ninety days have passed since the Cabinet announced the decision. But it is unfortunate that government departments have not yet implemented it,” Al-Hammadi said, adding that the chamber would continue to press for its implementation.
The Labor Ministry has licensed about 15 recruitment companies to meet labor shortage and many of them have started operating.“We have received license to recruit 500,000 workers,” said Siddeek Ahmed, CMD of Eram Group, about his Eastern Recruitment Company.
“We’ll supply managers, IT professionals, drilling specialists, engineers, skilled technicians and other workers required by clients across the Kingdom,” he told Arab News.“This is a transition period, which will be difficult for sometime but within six months the problem will be solved,” he added.
Via : Arab news
No.of Reads (148)
A government study has revealed that more than 300 projects in construction and other sectors in the western Saudi town of Makkah have been blocked because of poor management, widespread courtesy among officials and other reasons.
The study, which was presented at a seminar held in the Western Saudi Red Sea port of Jeddah at the weekend.It showed there are 755 projects are under construction while 228 others have not been approved by the competent authorities. The study said 36 other projects are under tendering and 31 are being considered.
“The study pointed out that more than 300 projects in Makkah have either faltered or have been delayed,”.It quoted the study as saying the faltering ventures include six infrastructure and construction projects, two in transport, seven in the economic sector, 116 municipal projects, 103 in education and the rest in health and public works.
“The study cited nine reasons for the failure of those projects including lack of qualified engineers, absence of efficient management of projects and prevailing courtesy among officials,” the paper said without making clear how courtesy is affecting projects.
But it quoted the Makkah region undersecretary Abdul Aziz Al Khudairi as telling the seminar that there is a plan to save faltering projects in the city.“We have drafted a 10-year plan to transform faltering projects to delayed projects as a first step to have them restarted and delivered on schedule,” he said.
The paper quoted other officials as saying a large part of the projects announced by the Saudi government over the past few years are based in Makkah given the huge value of such projects involving expansion of the Grand Mosque and Makkah Train.
Via: Gulf in Media
No.of Reads (126)
Prime Minister of Pakistan Muhammad Nawaz Sharif on Friday invited Qatars petroleum and gas companies to invest in Pakistans oil and gas exploration and production sector, said an official press release.
While talking to Board Chairman of Doha Group Sheikh Falah Bin Jassim Bin Jabor Al-Thani, the premier said that Pakistans vibrant economic sector offers an investment friendly environment to Qatars investors.
He further said that Qatar is a principal player in the world energy market especially in the export of Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) and Pakistan would welcome cooperation with Qatar in the energy sector.
He added that the two countries had great potential to increase the existing level of bilateral trade. He said, “We wish to promote, diversify and strengthen relations in all fields of our bilateral relations.” The Prime Minister said that Pakistan attaches great importance to its close and cordial relations with Qatar and values its contribution to regional peace and stability, the release added.
No.of Reads (126)
Technip was awarded by Kuwait Oil Company (KOC) a contract, worth over USD 400 million, for consultancy services for project management and engineering. This deals with the construction of new oil and gas infrastructure facilities, as well as the upgrading of existing facilities, in Kuwait. Technip will provide services for the next five years with an option for an additional period of one year.
As a world leader in project management, engineering and construction for the energy industry, Technip has decided to leverage its experience gained over the past fifty years for the benefit of energy players, by developing a new expertise focused on Project Management Consultancy services (PMC) and named as Technip PMC. Providing an independent and experienced management team, Technip PMC enables clients to ensure safe and successful execution of their projects. This new contract with KOC is part of this expertise.
Technip will accompany more specifically KOC through different services, including project management, feasibility studies, front-end design, project controls, planning, engineering, procurement, construction management and training of KOC project staff.
The services will mainly be performed by Technip’s teams in an operating center created specifically for the occasion and housed at the offices based at KOC’s headquarters in Ahmadi, Kuwait, with the support of Technip’s organization in the Middle East, while the Group’s operating center in Milton Keynes, United Kingdom, will execute the feasibility studies and front-end engineering and design.
Riccardo Moizo, Senior Vice President of Technip PMC, stated: “We are proud to have been awarded this contract by KOC. This award establishes Technip as one of the top-tier Project Management Consultancy companies worldwide. It has been fueled notably by skills and assets gained from the acquisition of Stone & Webster process technologies in 2012.”
Vaseem Khan, Senior Vice President of Technip in the Middle East, commented: “This contract is a significant milestone for Technip in the Middle East. The Group will be able to reinforce its operations in the Region through the addition of another important services center in Kuwait developed specifically for the occasion, further strengthening our current engineering capabilities in the Region through operating centers in United Arab Emirates and Qatar.”
By : WCK
No.of Reads (150)
National Bank of Kuwait (NBK) participates in a consortium of international banks to arrange a loan of USD 1.43 billion to finance the first phase of the Az-Zour North Power and Desalination Project in Kuwait, the first Public Private Partnership (PPP) project in Kuwait.
NBK is the only Kuwaiti and the only Arab bank to take part in this consortium. It is also the largest contributor to the financing among the participating commercial banks. In addition to NBK, the consortium includes Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC), Nippon Export and Investment Insurance (NEXI) – both are Japanese governmental agencies – Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ Ltd., Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation and Standard Chartered Bank, according to media news.
The shareholders of the special purpose Project Company, Shamal Az-Zour Al-Oula for the Building, Execution, Operation, Management and Maintenance of the First Phase of Az-Zour Power Plant K.S.C., are Azour North One K.S.C.C. (40%), Kuwaiti public institutions (10%), and the remaining 50% will be made available to the Kuwaiti citizens through an IPO following the commencement of operations.
The Project Company will build a combined cycle natural gas-fired power plant with the capacity of approximately 1,500 MW and a seawater desalination plant with the capacity of approximately 105 million imperial gallons per day at Az-Zour North. It will sell the power and freshwater generated to the Ministry of Electricity and Water for 40 years on the BOOT basis.
Shaikha Al Bahar, NBK Kuwait Chief Executive Officer, said: “Being the only Kuwaiti and Arab bank in this consortium and having the largest contribution to the financing reflects NBK’s strong reputation, professionalism and track-record in arranging and leading mega financing deals in Kuwait and the region.” “NBK has always been at the forefront in supporting Kuwait’s power sector,” Al Bahar added. “In addition to its importance to increase the power production in order to meet the growing demand, this project is the first in Kuwait under the PPP scheme. This is an indication of the improvement in the execution of Kuwait’s Development Plan. We are positive on Kuwait’s economic outlook as more projects are expected to be implemented in the future.”
Founded in 1952 as the first indigenous bank and the first joint stock company in Kuwait and the Gulf Region, NBK is the largest financial institution in Kuwait and has been consistently awarded the highest credit rating in the region from Moody’s, Standard & Poor’s, and Fitch Ratings. NBK was also named among the 50 safest banks in the world for the eight consecutive times.
NBK continues to enjoy the widest banking presence with an international network reaching 170 branches worldwide. NBK’s international presence spans many of the world’s leading financial centers including London, Paris, Geneva, New York and Singapore, as well as China (Shanghai). Meanwhile, regional coverage extends to Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq, Egypt, Bahrain, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and Turkey.
No.of Reads (159)
Oil shale exists in the layers of earth in Kuwait as there are several studies conducted by experts in this regard, said Ahmad Al-Eidan, Manager of Exploration Group of Kuwait Oil Company (KOC). On the sidelines of the 33rd GCC meeting of the Petroleum Cooperation Committee, he said that oil shale’s existence has not yet been confirmed or denied, stressing that there is a permanent coordination with Saudi Arabia and the UAE to draw conclusions for oil shale production. On the seismic surveys carried out by KOC in Al-Abdali, he said the company is not authorized to give away compensation lands and the government alone is responsible for it, noting that KOC is only carrying out exploration, development and production procedures, according to media news.
He said the coordinating committee of the national oil companies in the Gulf states, which was established in 1997, aims at promoting cooperation and exchange of knowledge among oil companies. It also encourages experts’ technical participation in training sessions, as well as conducting joint studies and participating with work papers for regional and global conferences, he added. There is an integrated database between all the Gulf national companies used in emergency cases, he noted, indicating that it was used previously by Saudi Arabia and Kuwait due to threats made by online hackers.
The committee meeting, held twice a year in one of the Gulf states, consists of five sub-committees of production, maintenance and drilling operations, exploration, development, environment and health and safety. For his part, Head of Public Relations Department at Petroleum Development Oman (PDO) Sulaiman Al-Manthari said that the company has major investments in a number of capital and operational projects, noting that the cost of each project ranges from $2-3 billion as annual investments range from $5-6 billion.
There is a priority for Omani companies and employees in the oil sector, he said, adding that PDO has its arms wide open for the GCC oil companies as well. Regarding the impact of the fluctuation and decline in oil prices on the investments, Al-Manthari said that those prices are not effective due to the preset feasibility studies on the basis of prices of less than $100 per barrel.
No.of Reads (122)
Saudi Railway Organisation (SRO) expects the design of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) train project in the Kingdom to be ready by the end of next year.
Mohammed Al-Suwaiket, president of the SRO, told Arab News that every individual GCC state would be responsible for the design and implementation of their part of the project.He said the tenders for the design and implementation of the 2,200 km network would involve international firms.
“There is no specialized Saudi firm in the field of designing and implementing railways. We expect the designs to be ready by the end of the coming year. This means the implementation process will commence early in 2015.”
The GCC railway project will link all member states, starting from Kuwait and ending in Oman. It also includes a causeway rail link between Saudi Arabia and Bahrain.Gulf officials said earlier that each Gulf state would bear the costs of its part of the project on its land. The network is expected to be completed in 2018.
Al-Suwaiket dismissed claims that the project has faltered. “One cannot deny that there have been some delays, particularly when the project had to shift course to the west of Hufouf, but construction works resumed recently.”
Calculations by World Bank had put the cost of the project as high as $11bn (AED40.4bn) but in October the Bahraini Minister of Transport Kamal bin Ahmad said this figure was too high.
No.of Reads (85)