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MIDDLE EA$T BOOM

Growth of the construction sector is outperforming previous oil booms as engineers drive the creation of a new Middle East.

Click here for Middle East Boom map

In the history of development in the Middle East, profits from the buoyant oil industry have never been so determinedly invested in infrastructure.

Previous peak oil prices in 1973, 1979 and 1990 failed to produce significant investments in construction projects beyond the energy sector.

Today it is a different story. Across the six GCC states of Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (home of Dubai and Abu Dhabi), revenues from oil prices
of above $140 a barrel are being poured in to civil engineering projects.

These in turn are driving economic growth by supporting a massive population boom and diversification into new business sectors previously neglected by Gulf governments.

And despite other global oil producers making similar gains, the Middle East is racing ahead of the rest of the world in terms of growth in its construction industry.

"The Middle East is by far the most buoyant economy," explains Ed Twait, a Dubai based director at global recruitment consultant Beresford Blake Thomas (BBT).

"In terms of construction professionals we are competing against the Olympics, a great lifestyle in Australia and a resurgent South African economy," he says. But he underlines the fact that demand for engineers in the Middle East remains higher than anywhere else in the world.

Investment figures support these claims. Over the past six months the number of construction projects planned or underway has grown by more than 60%.

Figures from project tracker MEED Projects run by NCE's sister publication Middle East Business Intelligence, show that since February 2008 the value of projects underway has grown from £92bn to £148bn, and those planned have grown from £462bn to £679bn.

For Gulf governments, consultants and contractors there is only one factor limiting the pace of growth and that is human resources.

Engineers have never been in such high demand.

- For more information on Middle East construction projects go to www.meedprojects.com

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