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Abu Dhabi’s Masdar and Spain’s Sener have agreed to invest up to $5 billion on the 60/40 Torresol Energy joint venture that seeks the construction of concentrated solar power plants across three continents. According to Enrique Sendagorta, President of Sener, the company is aiming to add about 6,000 megawatts (MW) of capacity over the next three years. “We are developing a pipeline of projects in Spain, the US and in the Middle East North Africa (MENA) region. The investment would range between $3.5 billion to $5 billion,” he said at the World Future Energy Summit in Abu Dhabi.

According to the data released on Wednesday, average inflation in the UAE stood at 0.9% during the last year, well below analysts’ forecasts. “Although producer prices have seen some pressure in 2011, this was not enough to push up consumer prices, particularly in the face of weak consumer demand and overcapacity in the housing sector,” Liz Martins, senior MENA economist at HSBC, said.

The Al Habtoor Group has announced it will construct Habtoor Palace, a US $1.33 billion mega-project to be built on site of the Metropolitan Hotel on Dubais Sheikh Zayed Road. The complex will comprise of 1,616 rooms, a 60,000 sq.feet banquet hall and a theatre to recreate Vegas-style shows – a first in the Middle East. It will also feature a sports academy, meetings facilities and multiple themed restaurants. Work will start in June and is expected to be completed within 46 months.

Meanwhile, troubled developer Nakheel has announced plans to start luxury cruises around its Palm Jumeirah and The World developments in a bid to generate extra revenue. The hourly cruise, with a price tag of AED1,000 ($272), will cater to various groups on three different sized vessels. “Cruise with Nakheel’ is a completely new concept for marine tourism. Travellers can now go inside the Palm Jumeirah and enjoy views of the island and its buildings as never before. The Palm is already one of Dubai’s biggest attractions, and we look forward to bringing more visitors to this world-famous landmark through our new cruise service,” Saeed Hareb, managing director of Nakheel Marine and Leisure, said.

On the other hand, world’s one and only 7-star Burj Al Arab hotel has announced it will illuminate in red and gold its exterior sail to mark the beginning of the Chinese New Year on 23 January 23. The hotel will also be hosting Chinese dignitaries who will gather for a VIP reception to mark the most important holiday in the Chinese calendar. Many other attractions will also take place in the luxury hotel in line with Chinese New Year traditions and festivities.

Qatar has announced it will embrace international labour laws on all construction projects related to the FIFA Football World Cup 2022. “Major sporting events shed a spotlight on conditions in countries. There are labour issues here in the country, but Qatar is committed to reform. We will require that contractors impose a clause to ensure that international labour standards are met,” Qatar 2022 Supreme Committee Secretary General Hassan Al Thawadi told at a press conference in Doha.

Iraqi oil ministry has announced it will be boosting its oil export capacity to 850,000 barrels per day by the end of this month while increasing production in parallel. The expansion comes amid completion of a 2007 programme which oversaw the construction of five floating terminals in the Gulf. “The first of these terminals will be inaugurated on 25 January, and after a trial period of five to six days, tankers will be able to get supplies from it,” Abdel Karim al-Luaybi told a news conference. The minister added that the country will increase production capacity to 3.4 million bpd and raise exports to 2.6 million bpd this year.

(By Moign Khawaja -Editor: Arabian Gazette)

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