The chances that oil prices will again reach $147 a barrel, as it was in 2008, are minimal. And to make it worse for all OPEC and non-OPEC members, the great equaliser that US Shale oil has lately become, has brought about the now familiar boom and bust pattern in the world oil markets. Many experts are predicting this market to be led by the US, which could become by the way no later than this this summer, a net exporter of oil for the first time since 1953. Saudi oil exports related revenues percolating down allowed extravaganzas of such as the Jeddah Tower amongst many other things. Would the world’s tallest tower be in Saudi Arabia?
Here is in the meantime, the story of the main force behind that scheme in the person of Prince Al Waleed bin Talal, who is now after a deal with the government back at managing his business of big projects.
One of them and the most important is the Jeddah Tower, the world’s tallest skyscraper, that is going ahead despite all of the above.
Per Wikipedia the Jeddah Tower, previously known as Kingdom Tower and Mile-High Tower, is a skyscraper under construction in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, at a preliminary cost of SR4.6 billion. Its Construction started on 1 April 2013 and is scheduled to be Completed by 2019. It has been Costed at a preliminary US$1.23 billion
Here are some excerpts of Reuters’s Reem Shamseddine elaborating on the ubiquitous situation of this supertall structure.
JEDDAH, Saudi Arabia (Reuters) – Construction of the world’s tallest skyscraper in Jeddah is going ahead, the head of the consortium behind the $1.5 billion project said, despite the detention of some businessmen backing the plan in Saudi Arabia’s crackdown on corruption.
His comments were a sign that the government is trying to prevent the purge from disrupting major economic development schemes, even as authorities seize billions of dollars of assets from detainees in settlements of allegations against them.
“We have faced delays. In projects of this magnitude you always have delays — I hope we’ll recover the delays we’ve had. We will be open for business by 2020, hopefully,” Mounib Hammoud, chief executive of Jeddah Economic Co (JEC), said in an interview.
JEC is owned by Saudi investors including Kingdom Holding Co, which has a 33 percent stake, and construction giant Saudi Binladin Group, which has 16.6 percent and is the project’s main contractor. Both those companies were affected by the corruption purge.
Kingdom’s owner, Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, was detained for nearly three months before being freed in January. He insisted publicly he was innocent of any wrongdoing, but Saudi officials said he agreed to an undisclosed financial settlement after admitting to unspecified “violations”.
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The Jeddah Tower, featuring residential and hotel space as well as shopping facilities, is projected to be over 1,000 meters (3,281 feet) tall, eclipsing Dubai’s Burj Khalifa, which is currently the world’s tallest building at over 828 meters.
Construction has reached the 63rd floor and the superstructure – the concrete shell and the cladding – is to be completed next year, Jomah said, adding that delays in some areas were inevitable because of technical challenges.
The concrete mix has to be approved by a structural engineering firm in Chicago every month, given the potential impact on it of Jeddah’s changing temperatures and winds, while experts must check almost every week that the tower is 100 percent vertical.
“Between theory and application, what has been designed and what is actually on site – that is quite another world,” Jomah said.
JEC will sign this week a contract with power utility Saudi Electricity Co to build a 134 megawatt substation to serve the project, Hammoud said, adding that his company had begun negotiations with investors to build hotels at the site.
CNN had previously covered the same story and produced this report.