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Indian construction leader to support the Bedouins: Larsen & Toubro is building Qatar's World Cup
Prasad Mehta | 22 Oct 2015

Larsen & Toubro is still rock solid when it comes to exporting Indian construction expertise abroad. Even countries that used to consider India as a third world country are now begging for Larsen & Toubro's services. Larsen & Toubro Qatar LLC is now well established in the Bedouin emirate and is bagging up some of the most prestigious construction projects for the 2022 World Cup.

After successes in Oman and Saudi Arabia, Larsen & Toubro is now becoming one of the leading construction companies working for the state of Qatar. Qatar has finally understood that they need international expertise to support their future as hosts of the World Cup.

In 2014, while Larsen & Toubro was in its final stages of completion of a major sewage treatment plant in South Doha, the Indian based company was already signing a contract with Qatar's Public Works Authority (Ashghal) for the Design-Build and Operate-Maintain works of the Al Shamal sewage treatment facilities in the north of the small emirate. That contract was already major, as it included the construction of a 7,500 cubic meters per day sewage treatment and reusable plant, as well as the operation and maintenance for ten years. This meant that Qatar was already willing to collaborate with Larsen & Toubro, and with India in the long term. The project was worth 238 million Qatari Riyals (over 4.2 billion Indian Rupees) and is expecting to grow exponentially with the World Cup approaching. The project is to be completed in the next two years.

"The works shall not only comprise design, construction, supply, installation, testing and commissioning of the facilities, but also long term operations according to Ashghal's high standards. Here, our experience as a water and wastewater technology provider and operator will come into play," (1) said Stijn Wyffels, Sales Director of Waterleau, a Belgian firm specialized in wastewater treatment, and a partner of Larsen & Toubro. The company decided to partner with the Belgian firm for now. They haven't been working on water and sewerage construction projects, but are willing to obtain enough experience in the field to become a national leader in water systems.

In March, Larsen & Toubro won its single largest road order in the international market through Ashghal as well. "The Transportation Infrastructure Business of L&T Construction has secured a major prestigious international order worth RS 3,655 crore from Ashghal, state of Qatar for design and construction of Wakrah Bypass Road," said the Infrastructure major. The project includes the construction of an '11km road consisting of 10 lanes and four lane sections with additional roads and ramps'. (2)

"This is the company's single largest road order in the international market and is an important turning point in our plans of growing the company's business in the Middle East Region," said Larsen & Toubro senior executive vice president (infrastructure and construction) S N Subrahmanyan. Doing business in Qatar will allow Larsen & Toubro to acquire the expertise they were lacking in India and also to rebuild themselves an international image after the few construction delays that they experienced in the past putting them in a complicated situation in some Indian states.

Thanks to Qatar, shares in Larsen & Toubro at the time went up almost one percent and they are still growing today, as Qatar is about to give Larsen & Toubro the responsibility of one of its major projects: the Inner Doha Re-sewerage Implementation Strategy (IDRIS). IDRIS will involve the construction of a series of deep tunnels that will serve the Doha South catchment area and will eliminate the need for pumping stations in the South part of Doha. In other words, Qatar will be able to shine for its brand new sewerage system during the World Cup, all thanks to India.

This past August, Larsen & Toubro once again confirmed that it is in Qatar for good, and that the Qatari authority completely depends on India when it comes to public construction work. Qatar's KAHRAMAA (Qatar General Electricity and Water Corporation) has awarded Larsen & Toubro 491.45 million Riyals (864 crore in Indian Rupees), revealing that besides infrastructure and water, Larsen & Toubro is also building a name for itself in the electricity field.

'The order encompasses the engineering, procurement, and construction of two substation packages. The first substation package includes upgradation and strengthening of two 400kV substations and the extension of a 132kV substation while the second package is for construction of 4 new 66kV substations." a Larsen & Toubro official declared. This is only the beginning of Larsen & Toubro's work in Qatar and in the Middle East.

Because of Qatar's World Cup, Larsen & Toubro will be able to build itself an international image and learn from its new experimental fields of water, sewerage and will be able to further develop in the coming up years. This will hopefully allow Larsen & Toubro to employ the additional expertise it has acquired in the Bedouins' desert back in India.

(1)  L&T and Waterleau sign a contract for wastewater reuse in Qatar, Waterleau, December 18th 2014

(2)  Larsen & Toubro wins Rs 3,655-crore road project in Qatar