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Thursday, April 16, 2009

East to West, Saudi is the best!

By Conrad Egbert
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has proved itself to be the region's biggest and mightiest, yet again.

In the midst of the financial crises when rumours of a final round of ‘manpower streamlining' have sent companies scrambling for cover, Saudi Arabian Bechtel Company (Sabco) steps out into the light and expresses it's desire to hire 70 employees at the end of this year, to support its Jubail Industrial City expansion project.

Is it just my imagination or is there any sort of recession happening down there at all?
With a 2009 budget of US $880 million (SAR3.3 billion), a 35% to 40% increase from the previous year, Jubail Industrial City includes the development of Jubail Two - an 84km2 industrial zone for petrochemical related industries, and a four 10km2 residential district, a 195km heavy rail network, a university for 18,000 students and labour housing for 12,000.

And as if this wasn't enough, last week Saudi Binladen and French defence specialist Thales signed a $500 million signaling and security systems contract for the main 1800km section of the monstrous $2 billion North-South Railway Project.

And next week, you'll probably hear of a few more contracts that happened to fall out of the bag along the way and were inadvertently picked up by some unsuspecting but welcoming contractors.

Maybe it's time to head down to the Kingdom to look for some work. Arabtec certainly didn't waste any time getting down there.

And with our Saudi Arabia Conference in Jeddah only a month away, you'll have to excuse me. I need to go pack.

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