Internationalism is perhaps among the Middle East construction industry's most reliable and enduring characteristics, and over the years, American construction companies have played a key role in developing some of the most defining projects in the region – be it contractors such as Bechtel, which in 2018 celebrated its 75th year of operations in Saudi Arabia, or consultants such as AS+GG, the Chicago company that is among the designers of Dubai's iconic Burj Khalifa.
As the US readies to celebrate Independence Day 2019 and to shed light on the data trends revealed by the recently published 2019 Power 100 list, Construction Weekrounds up the top American construction companies operating in the Middle East as of July 2019.
American construction companies active in the Middle East as of July 2019 include:
1. Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture2. Aecom3. Bechtel4. DeSimone Consulting Engineers5. Fluor6. Gensler7. Halliburton8. Hill International9. Hyperloop TT10. Jacobs11. KBR12. McDermott13. Parsons14. Perkins + Will15. Reed Smith16. Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (Som)17. Ted Jacob Engineering Group18. Thornton Tomasetti 19. Turner Construction 20. Virgin Hyperloop One
Please note that this list has been alphabetically arranged and is not a ranking.
1. Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture (AS+GG)
Chicago-based design and architecture firm AS+GG was involved in the design of Expo 2020 Dubai’s Al Wasl Plaza, a centrepiece of the World Expo’s 438ha site that features the 130m-wide dome.
The company has also designed the 1km-tall Jeddah Tower — formerly known as Kingdom Tower — backed by Saudi Arabia’s HH Prince Al Waleed Bin Talal-led Kingdom Holding. Of course, in the Middle East, AS+GG is best remembered for the tallest tower in the world, Dubai's Burj Khalifa.
Chief executive officer of the California-headquartered engineering firm Aecom's Mena operation, Hamed Zaghw, was ranked #23 in the 2019 Construction WeekPower 100 list.
The American construction giant recently bagged a project management consultancy contract for Saudi Arabia's $500bn (SAR1.9tn) Neom gigaproject, which is being driven by the kingdom’s Public Investment Fund, chaired by HRH Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman.
In 2018, Aecom worked on projects such as Warner Bros World Abu Dhabi and Damac Heights in Dubai.
Bechtel, an engineering, procurement, and construction (EPC) heavyweight based in Virginia, US, has been working on the design and construction of Aluminium Bahrain’s Line 6 Expansion Project since 2016.
Bechtel's president for international and government affairs, and senior vice president, David Welch, was ranked #31 in the 2019 Construction Week Power 100 ranking.
The contractor's portfolio also includes the Riyadh Metro and Jubail Industrial City megaprojects in Saudi Arabia.
4. DeSimone Consulting Engineers
Founded in 1969 in New York City, structural engineering firm DeSimone Consulting Engineers counts projects such as Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque’s New Visitor’s Centre and Plaza in Abu Dhabi, Wasl Tower in Dubai, and King Abdullah Financial District Museum of the Built Environment in Saudi Arabia in its portfolio.
Ahmed Osman, managing principal of DeSimone, was ranked #73 in the 2019Construction Week Power 100 list in June 2019.
Irving, Texas-headquartered engineering and construction firm Fluor is currently building Halliburton’s plant at the ethylene oxide/propylene oxide cluster of the Plaschem Value Park in Saudi Arabia's Jubail Industrial City 2.
Separately, the firm is also working on an EPC contract it was awarded by Saudi Arabia's Sabic for the recommissioning of its polyphenylene ether (PPE) resin plant in Bergen op Zoom.
The CEO of Fluor, Carlos Hernandez, featured in the 2019 Construction Week Power 100 list at #88, marking his debut in the decade-old Power 100 franchise.
California-based global design and architecture firm Gensler has been associated with Middle East projects such as The Avenues in Kuwait.
In 2018, the company was also appointed by UAE-based real estate company Lootah Real Estate Development to manage the master-plan of its 10.7ha project in Dubai South's Residential District.
Earlier this year, New York Stock Exchange-listed contractor Halliburton was awarded two contracts to work on Iraq’s Zubair Oil Field in agreement with Eni Iraq BV.
Under the contract, the Texas-based firm was tasked with the mobilisation of four to six rigs onsite, with the aim of drilling development wells over the next two years.
In July 2019, Halliburton inked an agreement with Kuwait Oil Company to provide integrated offshore drilling services for six high-pressure high-temperature exploration wells on two jack-up rigs, work on which is expected to begin in mid-2020, with start-up on each rig expected in July 2020 and January 2021.
8. Hill International
Pennsylvania-based construction consulting firm Hill International is currently working on the 13.4km2 King Salman Park, which is planned to become the world’s largest park when it opens in Saudi Arabia.
In April 2019, the company’s senior vice president in Saudi Arabia, Dr Adel Karem Jemah, told Construction Week, that the company had won contracts to work on Sports Boulevard alongside King Salman Park – two of the four $23bn (SAR86bn) megaprojects unveiled by the Custodian of Two Holy Mosques, King Salman bin Abdulaziz, in March 2019, to urbanise Riyadh.
The NYSE-listed firm also won a contract earlier this year to provide project management services for Taj City and Sarai, two mixed-use megaprojects under development by Madinet Nasr for Housing and Development in Egypt.
9. Hyperloop TT
Hyperloop Transportation Technologies (Hyperloop TT) is working on the world’s first planned commercial hyperloop system in Abu Dhabi.
Construction of the planned hyperloop network is set to begin in Q3 2019.
In 2018, Hyperloop TT inked an agreement with Abu Dhabi's Aldar Properties for the creation of a new Hyperloop TT centre in the emirate.
Dallas, Texas-based engineering company Jacobs has been selected by Saudi Arabia's Sepco to deliver engineering services for Packages 4, 5, and 6 of Saudi Aramco-held King Salman International Complex for Maritime Industries and Services in Ras Al Khair.
Spanning an area of 4.3km2, the shipyard complex will be the “largest in the region” when complete, Jacobs said in a statement earlier this year.
Chairman and chief executive officer of Jacobs, Steve Demetriou – who joined the firm in 2015 – was ranked #83 in the 2019 Construction Week Power 100 list.
Another NYSE-listed engineering, procurement, and construction firm, KBR – formerly a subsidiary of Halliburton – earlier this year won a front-end engineering design (Feed) contract from Oman LNG for debottlenecking work at its facility at the city of Sur.
KBR will also provide licenser, vendor management, and associated services as part of the contract.May 2019 saw KBR bag a basic engineering design and Feed contract for Algeria’s Rhoude el Krouf Field redevelopment project from the country’s energy company Sonatrach and Spanish firm Cepsa.
EPC and installation firm McDermott has had a successful H1 2019, with several big project wins announced during the period.
McDermott’s vice president for the Mena region, Linh Austin, made his debut in the 2019 Construction Week Power 100 list and was ranked #96, thanks to the American company's busy run so far this year.
In June 2019, McDermott won an EPC and installation contract worth up to $250m from Saudi Arabia's state-run Saudi Aramco for its offshore Marjan and Zuluf fields.
In May, McDermott was picked to deliver Feed services on design-competition basis for Phase 1 of Abu Dhabi National Oil Company’s (Adnoc) Umm Shaif Gas Cap Condensate Development project in Abu Dhabi.
Set to create over 500 jobs in 2019 in Saudi Arabia is American consultancy Parsons, one of the Mena region's busiest American engineering companies.
In February 2019, Sharjah Airport Authority awarded a $14m (AED51.5m) contract for Sharjah International Airport Expansion's project management services to Parsons, which in Saudi Arabia is overseeing construction of Lines 1, 2, and 3 of Riyadh Metro.
President of Parsons' MEA business since the last five years, Gary Adams, was ranked #17 in the 2019 Construction Week Power 100.
14. Perkins Will
In October 2018, Perkins Will, along with Dar Al-Handasah and Currie and Brown, was appointed to lead the project design of Hyperloop TT's project in Abu Dhabi.
The American firm, which recently appointed Morgan Fleming as design director of its Dubai studio, has previously worked on region projects such as the headquarters of Citi Bank and LinkedIn in Dubai, and the Kings College Hospital London project as well.
15. Reed Smith
Pittsburgh-based global law firm Reed Smith’s office managing partner in the Middle East, Sachin Kerur, was ranked #59 in the 2019 Construction Week Power 100.
Reed Smith’s Middle East team has been focusing on the areas of financial services, energy, and natural resources under Kerur's leadership.
16. Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (Som)
New York-headquartered design house Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (Som) is the architect behind the 550m-tall Burj Jumeira tower that was unveiled in January 2019 by HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE, and Ruler of Dubai.
Som, which has also designed Burj Khalifa alongside AS+GG, is currently working on Kuwait’s Al Ahmadi Cultural Centre.
The project will include two 800-seat theatres and a 400-seat concert hall, and is projected to be completed in 2020.
17. Ted Jacob Engineering Group (TJEG)
California-headquartered engineering firm Ted Jacob Engineering Group (TJEG) is working on Dubai-based real estate developer Nakheel's $1.6bn (AED4.2bn) Deira Mall, which is due to complete in 2021.
TJEG's regional portfolio also includes Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi, American School of Dubai, and a 400-bed teaching hospital in Karbala.
18. Thornton Tomasetti
New York City-headquartered engineering consultancy Thornton Tomasetti invested in French 3D printing firm Xtreee as part of the Paris-based technology firm’s latest round of funding earlier this year.
In 2015, Tomasetti was part of the team that developed the Office of the Future, a 186m2 building in Dubai, concept-designed by Gensler and created using a 6m-tall 3D printer.
Thornton Tomasetti's other projects include a pavilion and public plaza designed by Shop Architects that served as the entrance to the 2016 Design Miami Fair.
19. Turner Construction
Turner Construction has had a presence in the Middle East since 1975 and has worked on several projects in the UAE, including Emirates Palace Hotel in Abu Dhabi, Louvre Abu Dhabi, Dubai Mall, and Burj Khalifa.
In 2014, India’s Larsen & Toubro (L&T) appointed Turner Construction as the main consultant for the world's tallest statue in Gujarat, Statue of Unity – depicting Indian freedom fighter Sardar Vallabhai Patel – which was inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in October 2018.
20. Virgin Hyperloop One
Las Vegas-headquartered American transportation technology company Virgin Hyperloop One, in which Dubai's DP World is a majority shareholder, has been busy in 2019.
The company has floated a proposal with Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Transport for a “specific route” in the kingdom, managing director for the Middle East and India, Harj Dhaliwal, told Construction Week in May 2019.
Virgin Hyperloop One also expects to start Phase 1 work on its India route in 2019.