Multi-billion dollar projects in the Middle East oil and gas industry are driving developments in the design and operation of the workhorses of the sea, according to industry experts. A growing demand for workboats of all sizes is also being stimulated by the mega-dollar port and reclamation schemes taking place around the Arabian Peninsula.
All will come under the spotlight at a dedicated industry event - Middle East Workboats 2008 at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre (28-30 April 2008) - organized by Seatrade. The exhibition will be supported by a high level conference aimed at senior managers and decision-makers.
Abu Dhabi, capital of the United Arab Emirates and the heart of the workboat industry in the region, is becoming a gateway to the global workboat business with projects in hand totalling more than $400b.
The energy industry in the Gulf Co-operation Council (GCC) countries of Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates is investing a combined total of $56.7 billion in offshore oil and gas projects, according to database company Proleads. In liquefied natural gas (LNG) projects alone, all of which require terminals, Qatar, Oman, the UAE and Kuwait are investing more than $21 billion in facilities.
An example of the unprecedented demand for offshore supply and service vessels across the oil and gas industries is provided by ESNAAD, the supply arm of Abu Dhabi National Oil Company
. It currently manages a fleet of 36 vessels and has 10 new vessels on order for delivery at the end of 2008.
It is estimated that annually more than 2,000 workboats, from tugs
to dive boats
to dredgers are docked or repaired in the Middle East. There are 13 ship repair yards in the region sustaining five dry docks, eight floating docks and 17 slipways, confirming the Gulf as a well established hub for workboats.
Middle East Workboats has gained industry backing with sponsors including the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company, ESNAAD, Irshad, Det Norske Veritas, TJ Shipping and Logistics, Nico International, Svitzer and Wartsila. Supporting organizations include the International Marine Contractors Association and the UKâ€™s Royal Institution of Naval Architects.