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Tue 10 Aug 2010 04:00 AM

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Seasonal advantages

Newcomers need not write summer off as down time.

This year the Holy Month of Ramadan falls throughout August and September. With temperatures reaching their peak, and managers timing holidays around their children's school holidays, one could be forgiven for thinking that business activity across the region will drop down a notch.

Veteran expatriates working in the Middle East, however, will be looking to take advantage of the more informal opportunities which will spring up in August, well ahead of the major trade shows, to build or renew acquaintances before the mad rush we will see really kicks in.

The energy project landscape in the GCC started the year with a potential award pot topping US$230 billion. National oil companies and key energy infrastructure projects, such as pipelines, distribution networks and export facilities have been chief amongst these for companies which can work in the upstream and midstream space. Crucially, whilst $30 billion worth of energy projects had been awarded in the first half of the year (with the potential for a further $12 billion expected to be signed off and made public when the report was written), that number came up short of H1 expectations. Many companies will no doubt hold off some big announcements for the events season, but the ground work for those deals will be going in now.

Corporate sponsored Ifthar's and Suhoor's are great places to catch up with peers and potential clients, and with the exhibition and trade show season about to descend on the region from October through to year-end, managers who choose to keep a low profile "because its summer" might find themselves playing an exhausting game of catch-up when busy-season returns. In a nutshell, don't believe the hype, there will be plenty going on in the energy sector over the next six weeks.

Daniel Canty is the editor of Oil & Gas Middle East.

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