Atkins lands contract to master plan Omani city

The building consultancy Atkins has won a contract in Oman to help develop a new city in Duqm, close to the city’s huge new port.

The company said that the contract covers the creation of a new master plan for Duqm covering an area of 150 square kilometres consisting of five distinct districts including existing and future residential, commercial, mixed-use, logistics and tourism projects.

The contract was awarded by the Special Economic Zone Authority of Duqm (Sezad) – the body that has been responsible for developing more than US$4 billion worth of projects in the area, including the new port, a dry dock and an industrial area.

New residential communities have also been created, but mom­entum in the city’s development took a major step forward in May when a deal was signed with a Chinese consortium to build a $10bn industrial city in Duqm over the next 50 years.

Plans for this project include an oil refinery, petrochemicals complex and an aluminium plant, among other industries.

Sezad, which is responsible both for developing Duqm’s infrastructure and attracting investment, anticipates that the population of Duqm will increase from 12,000 in 2010 to 100,000 by 2020.

Atkins said the first phase of its project is to be divided into four stages and spread over 30 weeks.

Its scope includes developing a detailed city master plan, a market and technical feasibility study, environmental and sustainability assessments, concept designs, a tourism strategy, transport master plan and a drainage plan.

Marco Malpiedi, the managing director for Atkins in Oman, said: “We’ll be working in partnership with Sezad and other stakeholders to create a city fit for its future needs. This is an exciting time to be part of such an important development in Oman’s economic expansion.”

Late last month, Oman’s biggest publicly listed contractor, Galfar Engineering & Contracting, secured a 60.7 million Omani rial (Dh579m) contract to build a new fishing harbour at Duqm from Sezad.

In a statement to the Muscat Securities Market, Galfar’s chief executive Hans Erlings said that it would take 30 months to complete the project following a six-month mobilisation period.

He said that he expected Galfar to make “reasonable income” from the project.

mfahy@thenational.ae

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