Four British-based firms in frame for Doha metro scheme but UK contractors could miss out on £35bn-worth of work


At least four UK engineers have been shortlisted for a £6.3bn metro scheme in Doha, Qatar.

Hyder, Mott Macdonald and UK-supported teams from Ramboll and URS are among the shortlisted bidders, Building understands.

However no UK contractors have been shortlisted for the work, sparking concern UK builders could miss out on a total of £35bn worth of rail work in Qatar.

The Doha metro is the first phase of a wider £35bn programme to build a state-of-the-art rail network across the country - one of the largest infrastructure projects in the world.

The vast majority of the 35 shortlisted contractors for the Doha metro project are from other European countries, with 28 of the continent’s largest builders represented, including Germany’s Hochtief, France’s Bouygues and Spain’s Dragados.

The contractors are organised into 18 consortia, which were shortlisted for five separate packages of the Doha metro scheme last month.

Various consultants – including the UK engineers - are bidding in conjunction with the contractor-led consortia.

The packages incorporate construction of the city’s planned red, gold and green metro lines and two proposed hub stations.

It will feature links to major locations including Doha airport and football venues hosting the 2022 Qatar World Cup.

A senior director at a UK consultant, who preferred to remain anonymous, said he was “surprised” at the absence of UK contractors from the shortlist.

He said: “Given the state of the economy in the UK and Europe you’d think [UK contractors] would be chasing it down harder.”

Phil Dowrick, a Middle Eastern business specialist at UK Trade & Investment, said he had “every belief” UK contractors would win work on later elements of the Qatar rail programme.

He said UK contractors were more likely to get involved in the project at tier two or below by forming consortia with local contractors or providing “niche and specialised” services.

The wider Qatar rail programme includes a 180km high speed line to Bahrain, a 100km passenger transport line to Saudi Arabia and a 325km freight network.