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Thu 20 Jan 2011 04:05 PM

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Atkins nuclear venture sees big business in Gulf

Nuclear JV sees 60% of business coming from the Middle East after Feb launch, say directors

Atkins nuclear venture sees big business in Gulf
FIRST CUSTOMERS: Nuclear JV, Nuclear Atkins Assystem Alliance, expects Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and the UAE to be its first customers when it launches (Getty Images)

A nuclear engineering venture fronted by contracting firms Atkins and Assystem expects Gulf states Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and the UAE to be among its first customers when it launches next month.

The Nuclear Atkins Assystem Alliance expects to win at least two contracts in its first year of business, targeting the nuclear new build sector.

Around 60 percent of the firm’s target companies will be in the Middle East, with 30 percent in Europe and 10 percent in Far East, Phil Malem, strategy director at Atkins and a director of the venture, said.

“We are definitely looking at the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait as these all have clear plans for nuclear power development,” he said.

“We will also be looking at other GCC countries, some of which haven’t necessarily identified the need for nuclear power yet. We hope, that because of the high demand for expertise in the Middle East, we’ll win at least one to two contracts in the first year."

The Gulf states need nuclear power to help meet a significant rise in nuclear demand, driven by a rise in population and industry amid a petrodollar-fuelled economic boom.

Franck Ladehaillerie, a director of the venture who also works for Assystem, said the Gulf was relatively new to the nuclear industry but had significant potential.

“It’s massive but it’s still brand new, so the sooner you get experience the better chance it gives you to win other contracts,” he said.

The joint venture will be targeting as much as 20 percent of the overall $80-100m market, and hopes to see a profit after 18 months.

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