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Keppel's Qatar contract is largest environmental deal clinched by Singapore

By Johnson Choo, Channe - NewsAsia

SINGAPORE : Keppel Integrated Engineering (KIE) is setting a high benchmark for firms seeking opportunities in the Middle East.

The unit of Keppel Corp has released details of the two waste management contracts it recently clinched in Qatar, worth S$1.7 billion.

Under the contracts from the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Agriculture, KIE will design and build an integrated facility in Qatar, and operate it for 20 years.

The S$1.7 billion project it has just clinched in Qatar is the largest environmental engineering undertaking won by a Singapore company in the international market.

It will also be the first such integrated solid waste treatment facility in the Middle East - one of the few in the world.

"Environment is a business that is increasingly becoming important, not only to governments and agencies that are interested in green, but also the average citizen. The recent haze is a very good example, and I believe governments are becoming more aware that damage to environment is not only costly, but irreparable and irreversible as well," says Lim Chee Onn, executive chairman of Keppel Corporation.

"So attention will be there, and hopefully more budgets will be set aside for a clean and green environment. And that's where we come in."

The contracts will be undertaken by Keppel Seghers, a wholly-owned subsidiary of KIE, together with the National Environment Agency of Singapore.

Using its own proprietary technology, Keppel Seghers will design and build four waste transfer stations and one integrated solid waste management centre to handle and treat domestic solid waste for the whole of Qatar.

The integrated facility will have an initial capacity of handling more than 1,550 tonnes of waste a day.

The facility is expected to be operational in 2009.

The two contracts will help propel KIE's infrastructure division to become a significant contributor to the Keppel Group.

The division is expected to contribute about 10 percent to the net earnings of Keppel Corporation for the next three years, beginning next year. - CNA /ls

Cement shortage hits construction sector

The Middle East construction industry is facing severe shortage of cement, according to a report released by the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry (DCCI).

Cement production totalled 122 million tonnes in 2005, while consumption was estimated at 128 million tones, said a report in the Gulf News quoting from the DCCI statement.

The region is facing a deficit of six million tonnes and this has resulted in an increase in the price by 10 per cent.

Apart from cement, steel prices, especially those for hot rolled plates, jumped by 45.2 per cent in August, according to the report.

'Dubai is affected by the situation in the Middle East and the world. Due to high consumption in the local market, steel prices increased even more sharply,' the report noted.

'Steel production in the region increased by 12 per cent in 2005, from 14.2 million metric tonnes in 2004, while on the other hand consumption increased by 37 per cent in 2005 from, 25.3 million tonnes in 2004.'

World steel production was affected by high prices for iron ore, which increased by 71.5 per cent in 2005. The product on the world market had an excess supply of 119 million metric tonnes in 2005, and from the supply-demand point of view this should stabilise prices.

In contrast prices have increased. For example, the price of hot rolled plates increased by 13.6 per cent from December 2005 to August 2006, the report added.



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