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Middle East Workboats 2008 set for Abu Dhabi next April

Abu Dhabi: The growing demand for workboats of all sizes to serve port and reclamation schemes taking place across the Gulf will come under the spotlight at Middle East Workboats 2008, a dedicated industry event taking place at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre April 28-30, 2008, organised 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 fast becoming a gateway to the global workboat business with projects in hand totalling more than $400 billion.

The energy industry in the Gulf Co-operation Council (GCC) countries of Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the UAE 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.

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.

A number of trends in the oil and gas industry are influencing the design and operation of workboats. They include the "increasing share of oil and gas discoveries and production situated in deepwater; the increasing size of LNG carriers to control shipping costs in response to the industries continued globalisation; and the siting of LNG terminals in more exposed locations," says Capt Gary Dockerty, Group Business Development Manager, of UAE-based Lamnalco, a global provider of towage and associated marine services to the oil and gas terminal industry, which will be taking part at the event.

Among the other industry related topics at the Middle East Workboats conference will be the financing of workboats, contracting arrangements and the expanding regional construction and repair facilities. The importance of maintaining the safety record of workboats along with class rules will also be examined along with technological changes in small craft and manpower recruitment in today's challenging environment.

James MacHardy, the former General Manager at the Society of International Gas Tanker and Terminal Operators, will be chairing the conference.

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 organisations include the International Marine Contractors Association and the UK's Royal Institution of Naval Architects.

For more details about Middle East Workboats 2008, please visit: www.middleeastworkboats.com  [12/12/07]

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