Hyundai Engineering gets $1.5 billion Ma'aden pact

Saudi Arabian Mining Co., or Maaden, said Monday it has awarded South Korea's Hyundai Engineering & Construction Co Ltd. a contract worth $1.5 billion to build the alumina refinery for its joint venture project with U.S.-based Alcoa Inc. (AA) in the kingdom. The joint venture, known as Maaden Bauxite and Alumina Co., has signed a letter of intent to award Hyundai E&C a contract to build the alumina refinery, the company said in a statement posted on the Saudi market website. The duration of the contract will be 29 months from the date of signing it, according to the statement. Maaden Bauxite and Alumina Co. is owned 74.9% by Maaden and 25.1% by Alcoa and comprises a bauxite mine and an alumina refinery project. It is the second phase of the $10.8 billion, fully-integrated aluminum complex that Maaden is developing with Alcoa, which will include an integrated alumina refinery, aluminum smelter and rolling mill at Ras Al Khair on Saudi's eastern coast on the Persian Gulf. Maaden added Monday that a contract--related to the alumina refinery--previously awarded to the joint venture of Fluor Corp. and Worley Parsons Ltd. has now been amended to be limited to project management. The alumina refinery is part of Maaden Aluminum Complex at Ras Al Khair in the Eastern Province with an annual production capacity of 1.8 million tons. Source: Zawya Dow Jones

Oman firm bids to drill for gold on Pacific seafloor

Mawarid Mining, a subsidiary of Oman-based MB Holding, is part of the world's first company expected to begin drilling for gold in the Pacific Ocean by the end of 2013, Muscat Daily has reported. Mawarid has a 10% stake in Canadian mining outfit Nautilus Minerals, making it the third-largest investor in the Toronto Stock Exchange-listed company. Nautilus is currently developing the Solwara 1 concession, on the Pacific Ocean seafloor close to Papua New Guinea, where the company is hoping to drill for gold, silver and copper. In addition to its Solwara 1 concession, Nautilus holds 600,000sq km of 'highly prospective exploration acreage' across the western Pacific including the Solomon Islands, Fiji, Vanuatu and Tonga as well as in international waters in the eastern Pacific, Mawarid said. Source: Muscat Daily

Mubadala to invest $2 billion in Brazilian group

Abu Dhabi-based Mubadala Development will invest $2 billion in the Brazilian business group EBX founded by Eike Batista as part of a strategic partnership. Under the terms of the agreement Mubadala will make the investment in exchange for a 5.63 per cent preferred equity interest in Centennial Asset Brazilian Equity Fund and other offshore holding companies of Batista. The proceeds of Mubadala’s investment will be used to reinforce the group’s already strong capital structure so as to help fund new enterprises across multiple business areas including recently announced partnerships by EBX. Mubadala’s investment is structured as a preferred equity security that gives it, in addition to certain rights and protections consistent with a minority investment of this size, a 5.63 per cent economic interest in EBX including an indirect interest in both its publicly listed holdings, OGX, OSX, MMX, LLX, MPX and core privately-held assets such as AUX, REX and IMX. The agreement also gives Mubadala participation in both EBX and Batista’s pipeline of future investment opportunities, such as technology companies, cement, fertilizers, entertainment and others. In addition, the partnership creates a platform and framework for further collaboration between the two organizations in areas of mutual interest. Khaldoon Khalifa Al Mubarak, Mubadala CEO and managing director, said: “Partnering with world-class companies is a key element of our investment and development strategy and we are proud to announce this partnership with Eike and EBX, one of Brazil’s and the world’s leading and most dynamic groups. This well-structured transaction marks our first significant direct investment into one of the fastest growing markets and is an important step in Mubadala’s development of strategic opportunities in Brazil and Latin America. We are confident that this partnership will pave the way for future collaboration.” Batista, founder and controlling shareholder of EBX, said: “We are delighted to welcome Mubadala to Brazil through this landmark transaction, Mubadala’s first significant direct investment into Brazil. This is the first time we have invited a strategic partner to invest at our holding company level. The investment considerably strengthens the entire group and its ability to successfully implement current and future projects. Mubadala, after conducting thorough due diligence of our companies recognizes the great potential of our Latin American assets. We are very proud to welcome our new partner and believe that this transaction strengthens the relationship not only between our two groups, but also our two countries,” he added. Source: TradeArabia News Service

Bapco lube plant wins top quality award

The $314 million Bapco Lube Base Oil Plant has been declared the winner of the Meed Quality Awards for Projects, the only awards program in the GCC to recognize completed quality projects. Judged by an independent panel consisting of experts in the projects industry, the Meed Quality Awards for Projects 2012 selected Bapco Lube Base Oil Plant for its economic, social and environment impact, as well as innovations and achievements in design, engineering and construction. "The Lube Base Oil Plant is one of the largest of its type in the world, and we are honored to have played a role in the development of Bahrain as the engineering, procurement and construction contractor for this project," said Kyung-tae Kim, vice-president, Samsung Engineering, which submitted the project to this year's edition of the awards. "With the support of our respected client Bapco and partners, we were able to execute the project on time and achieve the safety milestone of 10 million man hours without lost time incident," Kim added. The opening of the plant last year provided a fresh impetus to business investments in Bahrain and has set new benchmarks for use of technology in the oil and gas industry. It also boosted local employment, hiring 3,000 new workers for the development phase, including 200 Bahrainis. The plant is expected to achieve 17 per cent investment revenues and will reinforce the reputation of the Bahraini refinery as a refinery with high quality products and will open new markets for Bapco products. Judging panel chairman Edmund O'Sullivan said the award salutes the architects, engineers, builders, financiers and clients behind some of the biggest social and economic developments that will change the Middle East and the world for the better. "Meed is honored to produce an initiative that recognizes best practice in the projects sector. These projects have shown that Bahrain and the GCC have come of age and are, in many respects, showing everyone else how to conceive, build and run great projects." Besides Bahrain, winners were also selected from amongst projects completed in Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the UAE. GCC winners will be announced at the annual Meed Quality Awards for Projects in May at The Westin Abu Dhabi Golf Resort & Spa, UAE. Source: TradeArabia News Service

South Sudan plans underwater pipeline for oil exports

South Sudan, locked in a row over oil transit fees with neighbor Sudan, said it plans to build a temporary underwater oil pipeline along the Nile to deliver crude for export. The pipeline would extend from oilfields to the capital Juba where the crude would be transferred to trucks and taken on to Kenya and Djibouti, South Sudan’s Minister of Petroleum and Mining Stephen Dhieu Dau told Reuters by telephone. Oil provides about 98 per cent of South Sudan’s income and is vital to the impoverished country as it tries to develop infrastructure and institutions devastated by a war that killed an estimated 2 million people. South Sudan seceded last July under a 2005 peace agreement that ended decades of civil war with Khartoum. But peace remains uneasy at best, with the north and south deadlocked over oil transit fees that have contributed to recent high global oil prices. Some 30,000 barrels per day (bpd) of crude would be delivered to ports under the project, which could be completed by the end of the year, Dau said. “The temporary pipeline will be established under the water of the Nile from Tharjath up to Juba,” he said. The landlocked new nation took control of about three quarters of the unified country’s oil output of roughly 500,000 bpd, but it needs to export its crude through northern pipelines to the Red Sea port of Port Sudan. The two nations separated without agreeing how much the south should pay to use oil facilities in the north. South Sudan, now seeking alternative routes to export its oil, plans to truck crude from oil blocks seven and three in Upper Nile state through Ethiopia to port at Djibouti, Dau said. Source: Albawaba