After the cyclone, Oman recovers from a battering

Cyclone Gonu hit Oman in June, wreaking havoc and causing possibly billions of dollars worth of damage to the country's infrastructure.
After the cyclone, Oman recovers from a battering
By Conrad Egbert
Tue 27 Nov 2007 09:58 AM

Like most of the Middle East, the sultanate of Oman has witnessed a massive increase in construction activity over the past few years. From residential and tourist developments to infrastructure, water and power, the country is on a steady upward path. Some would even describe it as ‘booming'.

The government seems to have grown more comfortable with privatisation over the past few years, and this has been reflected mostly in the power and water sector.

In addition to existing construction work, the destruction and damage caused by cyclone Gonu that hit the coast of Oman in June this year has generated a lot more work and placed Oman among the busiest construction markets in the region.

"Oman is booming at the moment," David Skinner, regional manager, Carillion Alawi Muscat Oman, told Construction Week.

"The recent cyclone that ravaged the country has generated a lot of reconstruction work. There has been close to US $208 million (OMR80 million) in refurbishment and reconstruction of roads alone and about $78 million in the construction of precautionary structures like dams in order to avoid such a calamity again."

Gonu has cost Oman's economy almost $4 billion, according to initial government estimates.

An official source at the Ministry of National Economy said reconstruction could cost the country between $3.24 billion and $3.89 billion in total.

Cyclone Gonu wreaked havoc on the country in June, battering its coast for three days and killing around 50 people.

It halted Oman's oil and gas exports and damaged main roads and bridges connecting the eastern provinces with the capital Muscat, and caused floods and landslides across all regions.

In Muscat's centre, streets were turned into turbulent rivers, trees uprooted and power lines cut. Cars were left piled on top of each other, stuck in rubble and mud.

The country also suffered from power outages for days after the storm left its coast and moved up to southern Iran.

But apart from reconstruction work, new landscaping and new precautionary measures are being built against floods and storms, Oman also has many ongoing multibillion residential and commercial developments.

"There are so many massive projects that are under construction in Oman at the moment," said Skinner.

"There is The Wave project that we're working on along with one other contractor, Al Turki, who are doing the residential buildings while we are doing the town houses. We are also pursuing works at the Yeti development that is being done by Sama Dubai. We had won small enabling works contracts for Yeti but we're chasing more work on it. Then there is also the Yenkit Heights development that is partly owned by Majid Al Futtaim and Blue City where at least $1.5 billion is expected to be spent."

Carillion Alawi has been commissioned by The Wave to build 191 townhouses in the premier project. Other infrastructure work to be undertaken by the company includes manufacture of quay wall blocks for the marina and manufacture of core-loc blocks for the offshore reef.

Major local developer, Al Turki Enterprises will be involved in the construction of 303 villas as well as infrastructure work which includes all of the services. Construction contracts have also been awarded to the joint venture between local Al Mashrikia-Travo LLC and Societe Nationale d'Enterprises from Lebanon for offshore reef construction based on their extensive experience in marine works.

Bauer Spezialtiefbau GmbH of Dubai won the piling contract. Some of the biggest contracting companies currently operating in Oman include Carillion Alawi, Shapoorji Pallonji, Al Turki Enterprises, Bahwan Contracting Company, Enka, Yahya Costain and Strabag.

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