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Abu Dhabi’s Union Railway Awards Engineering Contracts

Abu Dhabi’s Union Railway Co., which plans to link the United Arab Emirates via cargo and passenger trains, awarded project management and engineering contracts, Chief Executive Officer Richard Bowker said.

Parsons Brinckerhoff Inc. and Parsons Systra won contracts for management and preliminary engineering consultancy work on the 40 billion-dirham ($11 billion) project, Bowker said at a conference in Abu Dhabi today. He said Union Railway will tender construction contracts for its first segment in early 2011.

Union Railway hired UBS AG to advise it on financing, Bowker said, adding "we’re looking at various procurements and financing options." He declined to give the value of the contracts.

The government-led project’s first phase will link state energy producer Abu Dhabi National Oil Co.’s Ruwais port to gas treatment facilities at Habshan and then to the Shah natural-gas field in the desert southwest of Abu Dhabi city. It will later link Abu Dhabi to air and seaports in Dubai and other emirates.

The venture between U.S.-based Parsons Corp. and France’s Systra Group won the contract for project management for the lines within Abu Dhabi and to Dubai and neighboring emirates. Parsons Brinckerhoff will handle preliminary engineering on the lines to Dubai and other emirates.

The U.A.E. rail line will link with a train system covering the six nations in the Gulf Cooperation Council within seven years, Bowker said. The U.A.E., Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Oman, Bahrain and Qatar comprise the GCC.

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