Boston, MA -- (SBWIRE) -- 01/15/2013 -- BMI View: Due to a historical data change made by the national statistics office, we estimate a moderation in construction industry value and infrastructure industry value real growth for 2012, with both anticipated to have registered 2.7%. However, we maintain our bullish outlook for the energy and utilities sector following successes in exploration at the massive offshore gas fields (Leviathan and Tamar), which will prompt the construction of new gas transmission and power generation infrastructure, as the country seeks to maximise its chance of energy independence.
The key developments in Israel's infrastructure sector are:
- In July 2012, the state-owned NTA Metropolitan Mass Transit System Ltd. announced that the Red line of the Tel Aviv Light Rail project would not be affected by the government budget cuts. The supervising consultant of the project expected operation to commence in 2017. However, reports surfaced in August 2012 that the construction of the Red Line will be ILS2bn - ILS3bn over-budget, meaning that operations will begin in 2019. Therefore, due to this uncertainty, we have not factored into our railway infrastructure industry value forecasts the construction of the Tel Aviv Red Line and will intervene to raise the forecast when the construction timeline becomes more certain.
- Although politically orientated disputes had arisen over the construction of a new high-speed railway line connecting Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, Israel Railways announced that the building of the high-speed rail is scheduled to commence in 2017. This announcement has enhanced our forecasts from 2017 onwards, on the back of railway construction for the transport infrastructure sector. Therefore, we now expect a bullish outlook from 2017 lasting until the end of our forecast period in 2021.
- Political and global diplomatic undertones play a major role in tenders for major infrastructure works. With global major engineering companies eager to participate in transport and energy projects in the Middle East, involvement with Israel can prove to be a liability. This was proven in 2009 with French engineering companies Alstom and Areva, whose association with the Jerusalem Light Railway project is jeopardising contracts elsewhere in the Arab world.
- The discoveries of significant reserves of natural gas in offshore Israel will enable the country to achieve a high degree of energy independence. We expect a large amount of construction of natural gas-fired power plants in the coming years as production of natural gas is ramped up. Israel's Tamar field, which has 254 billion cubic metres (bcm) in reserves slated for domestic consumption, is expected to begin commercial production during the second quarter of 2013.
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