Tenders for $41bn Doha Metro project pushed back

Tenders to go out in second quarter after latest delay to Qatar rail project
(Getty Images - for illustrative purposes only)
By Reuters
Tue 31 Jan 2012 05:14 PM

Tenders for the Doha Metro project will be issued in the
second quarter, Qatar Railways Co's group director said on Tuesday, in the second
delay in tendering the $41bn rail project.

"It will be in April or May," Ghanim al-Ibrahim
said by telephone.

In October, the company said it would delay tenders until
the first quarter of 2012 in order to complete more detailed studies on the
project.

Qatar Railways, which had originally planned to issue the
first tender by the end of 2011, said in October it had received bids from
around 60 consortiums with at least two contractors each.

The project will include four rail lines and will link
stadiums for the 2022 soccer World Cup which Qatar will host, with an
underground component in the centre of the capital Doha. It is expected to
employ more than 20,000 workers during the peak of construction.

Two Doha-based sources said that plans for the project's
underground component were in question.

"They're seriously considering whether this will be
something people in Doha actually use after the (2022) tournament. An
underground metro takes a very long time to build," one source close to
the deal said, declining to be identified.

"They are re-evaluating that part of the project."

In 2009 Deutsche Bahn and state-owned Qatari Diar Real
Estate Investment Co signed an agreement to design the project.

The tiny Gulf Arab state, the world's top liquefied natural
gas exporter, has allocated 40 percent of its budget between now and 2016 to
infrastructure projects.

It plans to spend $11bn on a new international airport,
$5.5bn on a deep-water seaport and $1bn for a transport corridor in Doha. It
will spend an additional $20bn on roads.

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