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by Daniel Stanton - ITP Net
and gas has long been the foundation of the Gulf's prosperity, but
often the region has failed to offer the value-added services
associated with the energy industry.
The developers of Energy City Qatar (ECQ) hope to change that by
creating a custom-built business hub to focus on the entire oil and
gas supply chain.
In building the development from the ground up, ECQ has taken the
decision to create a 'city with a brain' and invest in a
state-of-the-art communications infrastructure, to be delivered by
Cisco and its partners.
In conjunction with a team including Accelerator Technology
Holdings, Cisco will identify and design advanced technology
solutions to create the infrastructure required to support the
US$2.6 billion regional energy hub, which is part of Qatar's Lusail
Qatar, which has a healthy supply of oil and boasts the world's
largest natural gas reserves outside Russia and Iran, is in a good
position to attract both upstream and downstream investment in a bid
to develop its economy in other parts of the energy supply chain.
The project is part of the economic vision of His Highness the Emir
of Qatar and is located in the northern part of Doha, alongside what
will be the international headquarters of Qatar Petroleum, making it
the Middle East's first integrated energy business centre.
"Other energy business hubs have developed organically over time to
answer the need to have one location in each region to enable the
synergy between upstream and downstream companies," says Bob Moore,
Energy City CEO.
"Having undertaken an exhaustive planning process including
face-to-face conversations with global industry leaders, Energy City
Qatar has identified a number of industry specific products,
services and facilities that are either prerequisite or
competitively advantageous in the long run in the establishment of a
global energy hub for the 21st century."
Facilities will include the new International Mercantile Exchange (IMEX),
shipping and logistics, and business process outsourcing services.
As well as sophisticated office facilities, ECQ will also include a
US$1 billion residential development for workers and their families,
making the whole development one of the world's largest IP-enabled
projects, and the largest for Cisco in the region. The business park
will contain approximately 92 buildings and be designed to
accommodate around 20,000 employees.
of the foundation stones required to make such a sophisticated and
integrally dependent facility work efficiently and seamlessly is the
most advanced and comprehensive technological platform available,"
says Moore. "We needed to ensure that the technological platform for
the city will enable communication locally and internationally
whilst supporting the most sophisticated office facility management
technology. Energy City Qatar must take its place as a link in the
worldwide network of existing energy industry hubs and also as the
first purpose-built it has the opportunity to become the most
connected and technologically efficient of them all."
He adds: "As the Middle East hub for energy business equities,
Energy City Qatar must deliver access to the highest possible
standards of connectivity and efficiency. Cisco's proven expertise
and ingenuity will help us to make this a reality." Without a
robust, innovative communications infrastructure, much of what ECQ
hopes to achieve would not be possible. As Moore says: "A 21st
century business infrastructure is a key. Not only does the high end infrastructure enable business, it also
provides an advantage over other regional energy business hubs, and
means that companies can be housed and ready to do business in a
"Energy City is unique in how its developers are leveraging
technology to deliver an ecosystem that provides the most innovative
corporate, commercial, and residential services to all of the city's
stakeholders,” says Fayez Husseini, vice president of Accelerator
Technology Holdings. “Through ECQ, a new standard is being set, one
where technology-enabled services are the differentiators for
investors and businesses choosing their regional base.
"What we see is of huge relevance to the region. Rather than
exporting a commodity we need to be exporting value-add. It should
not just be about exploration and extraction." Wayne Hull, country
manager, Cisco South Gulf, agrees that the energy hub is a good
example of using ICT as a differentiator to create added value.
"The impact Energy City will have on the Middle East, as well as the
global energy industry, will be felt by the overwhelming level of
intelligence that will preside the City tenants' daily lives in
every aspect, that will have an impact on their productivity,
effectiveness and efficiency," he says.
"ECQ is really what Cisco is about. It presents the opportunity for
us both through our team in Qatar and through our international
force to be able to build a connected city. It gives us the
opportunity to present a world class project to the rest of the
ECQ takes delivery of the land in the first quarter of 2007 and
construction is expected to begin mid-year. The first building in
the business park will be ready for residence in 2009, with
completion of the entire business park scheduled for 2012.
"We will be rolling out services ahead of that," says Moore. "We
will be building non-city-dependent businesses."
There is no doubting the ambition or the scale of the project, both
from a regional and international perspective.
Samer Alkharrat, general manager, Cisco Gulf, says: "This is one of
the largest tier one projects we have been involved with on a
He believes that this scheme gives the Middle East an ideal
opportunity to lead the way, since it has the advantage over other
energy hubs of being a greenfield development with no legacy systems
or infrastructure in place. "It's going to be a showcase the world
can learn from," Alkharrat predicts.