|11 July, 2019

China's state construction giant sees more energy projects in Iraq

China State Engineering Corp seeks to expand in Saudi Arabia and Oman

Image used for illustrative purpose. A worker is seen at the Zubair oilfield in Basra, Iraq May 9, 2018.

Image used for illustrative purpose. A worker is seen at the Zubair oilfield in Basra, Iraq May 9, 2018.

REUTERS/Essam al-Sudani

DUBAI- China State Engineering Corp sees more opportunities for oil projects in Iraq and is interested in expanding into Saudi Arabia and neighbouring Gulf state Oman, a company executive said.

The company's Middle East entity, headquartered in the United Arab Emirates, operates in six Gulf Arab states and Iraq. It has sent teams to Syria in the past.

It is interested in pipeline projects in Iraq having previously won groundworks and civil engineering contracts.

"We are paying more attention to the oilfields because that is the core business of Iraq," China State Engineering Corp Middle East Chief Executive Yu Tao told Reuters

"I think we should be able to sign at least one contract a year."

China's state construction giant is also looking at major infrastructure projects in Iraq as part of the country's efforts to rebuild after years of conflict.

However, the company is unlikely to get involved in projects outside Iraq's oil industry until there is an improvement in safety, Yu said.

The company wants to take part in large projects in Saudi Arabia and Oman such as road infrastructure, and was looking at whether it could partner with Omani companies to enter that market.

"Hopefully we will have a breakthrough this year," Yu said.

The bulk of China State Engineering Corp Middle East's work is in the UAE and Kuwait. Other entities work in other parts of the region like North Africa.

Yu also said he believes that foreign construction companies would enter Syria within the next five years to start rebuilding the country, though the situation remains unclear at present.

"It is just a matter of time," he said.

(Reporting by Alexander Cornwell; Editing by Elaine Hardcastle) ((Alexander.Cornwell@thomsonreuters.com;))

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